Tips for Saving Money on International Travel

With so many options in air travel these days, it can get a little confusing if you're trying to save money. How do you find the best deals? What is the deal with all these budget airlines? Are they safe? How do you know what airlines fly to certain airports if it doesn't appear on flight booking sites? How can you avoid baggage fees?

These questions are relevant and the answers are easier than you think. Here are some money-saving air travel tips that will help you navigate the confusing world of international air travel and save money at the same.

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Air Asia is simply put the best airline, dollar for dollar, in the world. It is no frills, but you can get all of the frills you want for not that much extra money. For instance, they have hot seats which feature extra legroom, like exit seats. These seats rarely get sold and are always open but the rest of the plane is generally packed. So the move is to either to book ahead and spend the extra $9 for the comfortable seat – or wait until you are on the plane and see if the plane is full; i.e. if you have anyone next to you and then offer to pay the same money for the upgraded seat if you need it. It sounds so simple but it works every time in my experience. Here are some other money saving tips.

First, know how much your bag weighs in kilograms because that's the weight measure they use. Second, know the weight limit for carry-ons. It's usually 7kg for Air Asia which is about 17 pounds or so. Third, be aware that you are allowed a carry on less than 7kg and also a computer bag even if it's a backpack. Fourth, determine what your heaviest clothes are – sweatshirts, jackets, sneakers – and wear them on the plane. If your bag is still over the 7kg limit, move some things from your main bag to your computer bag such as toiletries or jeans which can weigh a kilo or two. This is fool proof and has worked for me every time. If you travel 10 times, it can save you over $100 by not paying bag fees – not to mention time waiting for baggage claim.

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Another tip is look around. Even with Air Asia being so prevalent in Southeast Asia, there are several other great discounters. Some of these are Jetstar, Tiger, Silkair and Firefly to name a few and they all have hubs in the major airports in the region. It is certainly worth getting up early as well to catch some 6 a.m. flights as they can be a fraction of the price of waiting for a good time on a major airline. It is a bit of a tradeoff because the Asian airlines are easily the best in the world. However, if I can save some money and still get good service and nonstop flights, I am pretty happy and will always choose these discounters.

Finally, know who flies where you want to go. Again, it sounds simple but it's amazing how many people have no clue which airlines go where. The move is this: type in the name of the airport in Google or Wikipedia. Then you will scroll down in Wikipedia and it will show you which cities and airlines service that airport. This is a useful planning and price comparison tool.


About the Author

Lee Abbamonte is the youngest American to visit every country in the world. He has appeared on NBC, CNN, ESPN, GBTV, Fox News and has been featured in the New York TimesWashington Post, Bloomberg, Smart Money, Slate, OK! Magazine, and on Peter Greenberg radio. He has visited 301 countries and is one of the world's most-traveled people. Lee is an active member of the exclusive Travelers Century Club, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Circumnavigators Club. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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