One recent Quora thread asked, “What are some great tips and tricks for air travel?”
Experienced traveller and Quora user Konrad Waliszewski answered with one tip: alternative travel route hacking.
Here’s how Waliszewski explains the hack:
“The principle of alternative route travel hacking is that by optimising individual legs of a flight, the total flight can cost less than if you relied on a travel search engine or airline for your results.”
So basically if you’re travelling from London to Tokyo, instead of finding a direct flight on a travel search engine like Kayak, split the trip up so you have a layover somewhere, like Dubai. The hope is that the combined total of the flight from London to Dubai and the flight from Dubai to Tokyo will be less than the one direct flight from London to Tokyo.
However, the trick here is to find your own layover, rather than rely on a search engine to find one.
Waliszewski breaks the hack down into steps:
1. Find the cheapest direct flight to your destination
Even though you probably won’t end up booking this flight because you’ll find a cheaper option, you’ll want to identify this price to use as a comparison variable.
2. Find cities that offer cheap flights to your final destination
Waliszewski often relies on this Wikipedia list of the busiest airports in the world to help with this. Once you’ve identified a city that offers inexpensive flights to your destination, you’ll want to make sure you can get there easily from the city you’re originally flying out of.
3. Find a flight from the city you’re departing from to the city you’re now connecting in
Once you find the cheapest flight from your departing city to the new connecting city you found in step two, add the price of this flight to the price of the flight you found in step two and make sure it’s less money than the price of the direct flight from step one. If it’s not, go back to step two and find a new connecting city with a cheaper flight. If it is cheaper, you’re in the clear.
Waliszewski also recommends checking the websites of discount airlines like RyanAir, since these flights aren’t always listed on travel search engines like Kayak.
4. Check one last time that your new flight itinerary is the cheapest it can be
Waliszewski suggests using an international travel search engine like Skyscanner to cross check both of your new flights. You might end up finding a less expensive flight. Either way, you’ll come away with a cheaper overall ticket price, and — if your travel plans are flexible — you have the option of extending your layover in your connecting city, providing you with the opportunity to visit another place.
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