A common flight booking mistake is to think a round trip ticket is the only way to buy a cheap ticket. Yes, having a round trip ticket from your departure city to your destination city is the simplest way to fly but not always the cheapest. There are many alternatives to investigate before simply buying a round trip fare. By doing a little research on your flight, you may be able to save hundreds and perhaps add an extra day to your trip or upgrade your experience.
I have written extensively on common flight booking mistakes and wanted to touch briefly on alternatives to traditional round trip tickets that sometimes can be much cheaper and more interesting that a lot of modern traveler still do not know or take advantage of. Here are 4 alternatives to buying round trip tickets.
1. Consider one-way fares. Sometimes booking (2) one way fares on different airlines is cheaper than a single round trip ticket plus it allows for greater flexibility in arrival and departure cities. For example, I booked (2) one way flights to/from Germany on different airlines, one into Munich and one out of Berlin. Tip: Save money by using miles for one of the tickets. If you don’t have enough miles for the full round trip, just use your miles for one leg. This method saves you $400-500 over the total cost of the flight.
2. Think about stop overs. These are great ways to see 2 cities for the price of one. They work like regular flights but allow up to a 7 day stop in another city on your way to your final destination. The great thing about a stop over, they do not add to the price of your ticket. Tip: Icelandair is famous for their Reykjavik stop overs on your way to Europe and some airlines allow (2) stop overs on one ticket
3. Deliberate on open jaws. A trip in which a traveler flies in to one destination and returns from another. This is usually done on the same ticket and these flights are bookable on airline portals. An open jaw is ideal for travelers who are planning to cover a lot of ground during their trip and who don’t want to waste time returning to their original airport. These flights almost feel like (2) one way flights but are done on the same ticket.
4. Look at buying (2) round trip tickets. A lot of amazing flight deals I see simple don’t depart from my home city of Charlotte, but they do depart from places that are a quick and cheap flight away. Recently I saw a $600 flight to Santiago, Chile leaving from Washington DC. DC is a short flight from Charlotte and I can buy a round trip ticket there or use miles rather easily. The only downside of this method is rechecking through security at the DC airport, which doesn’t bother me too much since I have Global PreCheck. This method saved me a little over $500 on the flight. Tip: Make sure you give yourself 2-3 hours in between flights just in case security lines take longer than expected.
As you can see there are many great alternatives to buying round trip tickets in the form of open jaw, stop overs and one way flights. Don’t feel you have to settle for extremely expensive airfare when there are so many other choices available.