Are you dreaming of international travel? Does the cost of airfare keep you grounded?
For years, I dreamed of traveling to Europe, Asia, and other international destinations. We are a typical middle-class family with busy schedules, a mortgage, car payments, etc.
I figured that if we saved our money long enough, we could eventually afford to take a dream trip. Someday…
Then I found out that airfare to Europe and Asia doesn't have to cost as much as I thought. International roundtrip fares under $500-600 are not rare if you know where and how to look.
And if you can afford the flight, then you can afford to travel just about anywhere in the world. It doesn't cost more to visit Paris, London or Tokyo than to visit New York, San Francisco, or other big cities closer to home.
There are lots of ways to find bargain fares. Scott's Cheap Flights has recently become one of my favorites – because instead of hunting for airfare deals on my own, the deals come to me.
I started with a Scott's Cheap Flights premium free trial and later upgraded to a paid membership. Here is my Scott's Cheap Flights review.
I signed up for a Scott's Cheap Flights free trial in September 2020. Within six months, I booked two exceptional airfare deals for our family.
The first deal was $200 from Salt Lake City (my home airport) to Boston for April 2021. I would normally say that $300 is a good price for roundtrip flights to Boston, so this deal was too good to pass up. I'm excited for my kids to visit Boston for the first time.
A couple of weeks later, Scott's Cheap Flights sent me a deal for Japan. This destination tops my family's wish list, so I opened the email, searched our dates, and discussed a possible trip with my husband and kids.
A few hours later, we booked $600 flights to Japanfor our family for June 2021. That's half the usual cost, and we are so excited that we can afford to take our dream trip!
How it works
I receive 3-5 emails per day from Scott's Cheap Flights. The subject line includes the destination and the price, such as “Europe – $500s.”
The email contains information that helps me quickly decide whether this deal might work for me. It includes
- Departure airport(s)
- Destination airport(s), with fares
- Normal price
- How long the deal might last (usually 1-2 days)
- Travel dates
From there, I can click a button in the email that takes me to Google Flights, where the search and filters for this deal are already set up. I adjust the dates and other variables to see my exact price.
My exact price is often a little higher than what was in the email, but it's usually still in the ballpark.
If I like what I see on Google Flights, then I go to the airline's official website and search again. The fare is usually the same. Now things are getting serious… If this is really the right fare for the right trip at the right time, we usually book within hours.
Obviously, Scott's Cheap Flights sends me a lot of deals that I don't book. But when the right one comes along, it's so exciting!
When I signed up for Scott's Cheap Flights, I listed my home airport (Salt Lake City). Later, I added Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Oakland to my profile because I can drive or fly to these larger airports inexpensively if the right international deal comes along. All of the email deals I receive are for Salt Lake City and other airports near me.
Tips for Success
Many airfare deals only last 1-2 days, so if a particular destination catches your eye, don't wait too long to look into it.
Emails from Scott's Cheap Flights start going to my Promotions folder if I go a few days without opening one. Drag these emails back to your Primary folder and open them daily when you're serious about booking a trip.
Flexibility is always the key to getting the best price on airfare. Scott's Cheap Flights works best for travelers who want to travel anywhere and who can adjust their dates to match the least expensive fares.
I love getting travel rewards from my credit cards, but I hate paying interest. I keep a savings account just for travel and add money to it every month so that we can book deals like these without paying any interest.
If you miss a particular deal, the good news is that great airfare deals are not rare. They happen all the time, and Scott's Cheap Flights can make it a lot easier for you to spot them.
How soon will it pay for itself?
At $50 per year, a premium membership will likely pay for itself the first time you book a flight deal. Between our Boston and Japan fares, my family of four has saved more than $2,500 in less than 6 months.
However, I think less about what it saves me than the opportunities it buys me. Because honestly, we wouldn't be going to Boston or Japan at all if we had to pay the regular price for airfare.
As I see it… it only cost $50 to put our dream trip to Japan within reach.
What about the pandemic?
As I write this, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. We booked our flights to Japan knowing that most international travelers aren't welcome yet. But vaccines are being distributed and warmer weather is on the way, so we are optimistic for June.
We also read the fine print carefully when we booked our flights. Most major airlines are currently waiving change and cancellation fees. We can change or cancel our Boston flights and we can change our Japan flights for no extra fee. It would be disappointing to change or cancel, but we won't lose our money, so we decided it's worth the risk.
If you are considering an international flight, I would:
- Read the airline's change and cancellation terms carefully.
- Visit the U.S. State Department's website to get current information about your destination.
- Visit your destination's official travel and health department websites.
- Not book any hotels, activities, transportation, etc. that you can't un-book for a full refund.
- Buy travel insurance, and read the terms carefully. COVID-19 is a known risk and coverage may be limited.
Scott's Cheap Flights isn't doing anything that you couldn't do yourself. They are using public search engines to find the best fares from your home airport. But who has time to search for flight deals every day?
If you are always on the lookout for your next trip, or even if you just want to book one special trip in the coming year, I recommend Scott's Cheap Flights. You'll likely save more than the cost of your membership the first time you book a flight.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means that I will receive a small sales commission if you sign up for a premium free trial at Scott's Cheap Flights (thank you!) However, I signed up for a free trial, paid for a premium membership, and booked flights before becoming an affiliate partner. I genuinely recommend this service.