Worrying about the right flight for your next travel destination can be a real hair-gripper.
Sifting through a bloodbath of prices can leave you trapped, and if you're not careful, your flight will make up the bulk of your travel expenses.
Through the magic of mindfulness, we’ve mastered a trick of flexibility that will save you money before you lose all your hair!
The terror of starting
In the planning stages of any trip—which is arguably the most exciting dreamlike stage—we filter through our wanderlust of destinations and narrow it down until we’re ready to head out right then and there.
But this spirit to leap ahead is a forcefulness with a volatile cost...
Knowing that we were going to South East Asia for roughly 5 months, we wanted to spend money in country rather than crippling our wallets on the flights getting there.
After all, we saved a few thousand, and quit our jobs! We are right in the grip of it; triumph or catastrophe.
By being mindful of how we approached our new situation, we were stunned to learn how flexibility was so instrumental to stretch what little money we do have.
We could have bought tickets getting out to Japan on the spot. In hindsight, we would have payed double the price we actually got it for in the end! That was an eye-opener.
Thus far, we’ve purchased many flights from San Diego to Japan; Japan to Vietnam; Laos to Malaysia, etc. And they all carry the same patterns: cheap flights when being flexible; expensive flights when being forceful in our approach.
Therefore we now have discovered two pathways when booking flights for travel: flexibility and forcefulness.
Here’s the real difference:
Flexibility decreases flight costs allowing more time in destination (due to having more money), the danger being grounded too long and never traveling.
Forcefulness increases flight costs by flying anywhere on your time, sacrificing time in destination (due to less money), but giving you fearless control over your actions.
Which would you travel by?
The answer is pretty obvious, right? I mean sure, flying when you want and on your schedule is ideal, but unless you’re made of money, chances are, depleting your money for flights destroys your whole travel budget.
Sometimes we must take the more expensive option out of necessity. That can be when working under other’s timelines, or having no additional planning time…
But why pay $1500 for a flight to Thailand when living there is half that for a wondrous month? Seeing these prices inspired us to try being flexible.
Stepping back, we know that living with intention is our path, and we can be forceful in pursuing our inner visions (in this case, our travel agenda), therefore we leave room for flexibility to become our new bread and butter to reduce flight costs, and give us that much desired time in country.
The risk of adopting flexibility
With no more job to rob us of our time, we are daringly eager to start traveling.
But a frantic rush of this process is the fastest way to spending too much money—which we have a horrific amount to begin with!
Waiting for our trip to begin also dwindles our funds in waiting... so we’re left with our wealth in faith.
A dose of reality
Carelessly blowing money on flights means that trip we were so excited for becomes a burden on our finances. The dream of wandering starts to shimmer less and our mind drifts for other options...
“Maybe now is not a good time after all,” we might think. Sadly, this kind of thinking is the exact reason we should travel! If not now, when?
By not accepting defeat, we challenge our creativity to conquer any obstacles. To keep a mindful perspective by being flexible with our time, we empower ourselves to keep going. Even as we’re living at the edge of our draining funds, we grow braver with a new fearlessness.
Now before we take a look at flexibility in detail, we need to pick the right tools to get these flights!
What tools do you need for cheap flights?
(It’s important to scope out prices in incognito mode within your browser to avoid cookies raising prices. Also when booking, go directly through the airline to avoid inflated referrals and fees.)
Sometimes it’s best to simply settle down and focus on one thing at a time. For us, we predominately use Google Flights.
Why? It’s easy to use, and cuts to the chase.
It displays a wide variety of flights and options from many sources into one spot, saving you ample time searching back and forth. Also, it’s FREE!
Our favorite aspect is its features that allow us to look at a map of the world, inspiring our wanderlust but also giving insight into great deals you wouldn’t have looked for to begin with.
Bouncing around the map can be more cost effective than going straight to the destination. Weird, but true! Nevertheless, that’s more bang for your buck.
Now the fun part: How Flexibility Saves Us Money
There are four benefits to flexibility (the how).
Enables cheap flights with patience (what)
Booking in advance surprisingly cuts flight costs in half (when)
Keeping your arrival dates open delights you with the best deals (where)
Devotion to the big picture (why)
1 Finding Cheap Flights Begins With Vision
In order to get the cheapest flights, you’ll need to ease out of forcing your way through everything. It’s great to have a solid plan, but when traveling, it will never work out perfectly.
Being flexible is all the fun in planning. It’s getting to decide where you’ll get to go in the end. You can dream all day, and your new job is to figure out how to connect the dots.
Realize that finding cheap flights is very much about creating your inner vision, and use this to fuel you through your next steps.
2 Booking in Advance Chops Flight Prices in Half
While living completely in the future can have it’s detriments (like never actually traveling), this isn’t the case at all when it comes down to cutting flight costs.
By looking a few months down the line instead of traveling forcefully right now, you’ll see a drastic price cut. Most of the time, it looks like this:
This pattern can be seen everywhere.
Tickets to France cost 1599 booked today from Denver (where I’m at now), but wait a month and they drop significantly to 565! Now that’s 1034 extra cash to travel with!
That’s practically your whole week of budget traveling, free! Well… free in the sense that you’re not wasting it on flights…
This shows that travel doesn’t have to be expensive when you’re flexible with the dates. More time for travel is what we want, and that’s how you get it—with a calm mind, using the future and gifts of vision to your benefit.
3 Being Open to Arrival Dates has mind-blowing differences
Time is on your side. We continually save money by readjusting our schedule.
Some weeks, the prices will be 120 for a flight, then shift to 81 for one random day within the week. A trip to Iceland may be perfect on a Monday for us, but if we could save 50$ by going Tuesday, then why not? Saving money for longer travel is a perfect reason for us to seize the moment!
In this example of September for a flight from San Diego to Japan, the prices are quite contrasted for the weekend.
If you really wanted to go on the weekend, why not make arrangements to go a day early, and use that extra money for a free day in Japan?
Even assuming only a 50$ difference, hostels run around 20-25$ on Hostelworld. Chip in a meal and a train ride, and that’s easily under $50 for the day.
Otherwise, what’s travel to you if you’re not taking advantage of it?
There’s no rush or need to force anything. Use the opportunity to discover new events happening around you, experiencing the moment for what it is.
When planning out months ahead, you have all the time you need to watch for the most opportune flights. Keep an open mind, always.
4 The Big Picture
Knowing why you travel at the core of your being is far the most important aspect about this whole process.
If you’re rushing to get out there to travel, you’re missing out on who you are right here, right now. This is the only moment that exists!
We’re not traveling to escape anything, since you’re going to essentially be the same person when you arrive there. So it’s important to know the underlying intentions of your travel, and how you can turn it around to your advantage.
For us, traveling for 5 months in South East Asia was our way of challenging our boundaries. Facing fear head on, we’re learning to budget our money, manifest income in creative ways, and practice mindfulness in ever-changing situations. We couldn’t ask for more!
In the end, we’re pinching pennies to show you the best ways to travel mindfully, because that’s how we choose to do it ourselves. Win/win.
Did this help you or did we miss something that we could improve on? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear your feedback!