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How I saved over 50% on my flight to Lisbon

After nearly a year of hoping and planning, it’s finally here. Today is the day to finally book my airfare for my summer backpacking trip. Lots of friends ask how I’m able to find my flights so cheap, so let’s go over this purchase step by step.

  1. Be flexible with your travel dates

Obviously, the more flexible you can be with your travel dates the better. A flight that leaves on Wednesday may be twice as cheap than the flight you ideally wanted on Saturday. A flight that leaves the next Wednesday might be even better. And shit, the flight that leaves on some random day a month from now may cost even less. The more availability you give yourself, the better odds you have at scoring a great deal.

In this case, I have fairly restricted availability. I want to get to Portugal by June 12th, the Eve of Saint Anthony. June is the month of Festas dos Santos Populares (The Feast Days of the Popular Saints). The streets of Lisbon are overflowing with lively crowds, and a buzzing energy that comes with the festivities. The pinnacle of these celebrations occurs on the 12th, where the streets are bustling with parades, costumes, parties, and all the best food down the BBQ-lined allies. I want to start my journey with mojitos and an explosion of Portuguese culture, so June 12th it is.

I’ve got knee surgery today, with an expected 2 month recovery time. This means my life can be reinstated on June 9th, 2018. I’d like to arrive at least 1 full day in advance to get situated in the city, so the 11th is out of the question. That leaves me with a 2 day window to work with — June 9th of 10th. Not great. In fact, very shitty options. But let’s see what we can do.

2. Start at SkyScanner.com

I always begin my airfare search with SkyScanner.com. SkyScanner is a metasearch search engine for airfare. It’s like Google for planes. It aggregates flight information from across the web and slaps it into one page for your convenience. It’s free, its global, and it searches airfares from both direct airlines and travel agencies.

I know I want to fly out of New York City because I know that they typically always offer the cheapest flights from the east coast to Europe. If you didn’t know this, you’d select ‘USA’ from the drop-down and search for the cheapest fares from all US airports and find that NY was in fact the cheapest departure point. I then select Lisbon as my destination, and select my departure date as the entire month of June so I’ll be able to see a Low Fare Calendar and compare costs between the 9th and the 10th.

Skyscanner search

I see that my cheapest option is a $334 flight on the 10th of June via Primera Air (a 15 hour flight with 2 stop overs).

Now instead of just going ahead and booking this flight, I go ahead and run a second search from New York City to ‘Everywhere’ for the month of June.

I see that there is a $114 option to Dublin, Ireland sometime in the month of June. Upon clicking this, I see all of the Ireland flight options for the month and see that it would cost $126 for a direct flight to Ireland on either the 9th or 10th of June via Norwegian Airlines.

I now search for a flight from Dublin, Ireland to Lisbon, Portugal via the same process. I find a direct flight on the appropriate date for only $68 thru Aer Lingus.

Stitching these flights together from two different airlines would give me a total cost of $194 to get from New York City to Lisbon. However, these prices found on SkyScanner are not always 100% accurate. They only represent fare prices found & purchased in the last 2 weeks by customers. Therefore, you always have to go directly to the airline’s website to verify the fare.

3. Head directly to the airline’s website

I go to Norwegian’s website to book the $126 fare for June 9th from New York to Dublin, Ireland. To my surprise, I find that the fare has since been reduced to $99.00 including all taxes and fees.

I then go to the Aer Lingus site to book the $68 fare from Dublin, Ireland to Portugal. Again, I was happy to see that the actual fare on AerLingus.com was only $66. I had the option of two different times, but opted to take an 18 hour layover in Dublin instead of the quicker option. I researched and found that I could get a Dublin Leap Visitor Card for only 10 Euro, which would allow me to get to and from the airport and give me unlimited travel around the city. So I get a full day to explore before I head to Lisbon.

All in all, a little bit of research took me from a $334 price tag to only $165 including taxes and fees. Over 50% off! Same departure points, same dates, and even less stopovers than that original $334 fare.

With such limited availability, I can say I’m a fairly happy camper with the outcome of this purchase. Next step….packing!

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02 Comments

  1. Las Vegas escape room

    Hi there, just wanted to mention, I liked
    this blog post. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

    April 15, 2018 Reply
  2. Lisa

    Love this blog… broken down to the simplest form,(how to’s with visual aids) who wouldn’t love to follow these steps. Well, shit, thank you Ashley!

    P.s. entertaining read with the word shit.😂😙

    April 19, 2018 Reply

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Welcome to the adventures & misadventures of a solo female traveler. Detailed itineraries, fresh discoveries, photo recaps, and all the storytime so you can live vicariously thru my journals as I weasel my way across the world.

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