Airfare Articles

Cheap International Plane Tickets

By: Steve Gillman

Cheap International Plane Tickets

The best place to buy cheap international plane tickets is
online. We've tried travel agencies and they can't compete
with the discount ticket websites. You can search google
("cheap airfare South America", for example), or go straight
to one of the well-known sites, like Expedia, Travelocity,
Cheap Tickets, Hotwire or Priceline.

I just did a quick search for the cheapest airfare from
Tucson, Arizona, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, using the five
sites mentioned. They ranged from $1221 down to $873, and
there were fares as high as $3728. Hotwire happened to have
the cheapest, but they were the worst of the five when I
searched for a domestic flight earlier. You cannot say which
service will find the cheapest international plane tickets
from week to week. My number one money-saving tip is to
always check several websites when shopping for inexpensive

My Accidental $1000 Discovery

Before going to Ecuador, I searched several websites that
deal in cheap international plane tickets. The cheapest
airfare from Traverse City, Michigan to Quito, was $1720.
Out of curiosity, I checked Miami to Quito, and it was only
$400. Airfare from Traverse City to Miami was $300. Book two
separate flights and save more than $1000! The discount
sites aren't set up to check in this way (yet), so you have
to do this on your own.

If your first flight is late and you miss the second, you
may not get a refund, but it is still cheaper (every time I
checked) to just book a flight to Miami and catch a flight
to Quito without a reservation, thus avoiding this problem.
This strategy is best for those in towns without
international airports. If you live in Miami, you already
have cheap international airfare.

Courier Flights

As an air courier, you can get really cheap international
plane tickets. Courier companies ship material in the
luggage space of an aircraft passenger because it can be
quicker, cheaper, and more reliable than sending the
shipment unaccompanied, since checked luggage bypasses many
of the typical customs delays. The courier company begins by
purchasing airfare, and then they resell the plane tickets
to you. In exchange for your luggage space, they give you a
discount on the airfare.

An Example Of A Courier Flight

I saved over $150 on my plane tickets this way when I went
to Ecuador the first time. I had to walk several suitcases
of car parts through customs, but there was a representative
of the courier company on either end, and I did get to look
inside the luggage, so I knew what I was carrying. I had to
carry a plane propeller on the return trip, but it wasn't
too much trouble, and made a good story.

Limitations To Courier Travel

You generally can only be an air courier if you travel
alone. Once in a while, a courier company will have
opportunities for flights on or near the same date.
Otherwise, your travel partner can pay full fare on the same
flight. You also can usually only bring carry-on luggage,
since the point is for the shipping company to use your
checked luggage allowance.

Really Cheap Courier Flights

Sometimes air couriers fly internationally for free, and
almost always very cheap. It is a matter of how badly the
company needs you and how flexible you can be (can you fly
to Paris on Friday?). In general air courier opportunities
are becoming rarer, due to the recent heavier regulation of
international flights. There still are opportunities for
cheap tickets, though. You can find out more at The Air
Courier Association Website ( The ACA
can also help you get really cheap plane tickets by way of
airline ticket wholesalers, discounters, last minute
specials, and stand-by travel.

More Tips On Cheap International Plane Tickets

When searching for fares using the discount websites, try
several different departure and return dates if you can. The
difference of a day or two can save you a lot. There is
little logic to airfare pricing, so don't try too hard to
figure it out. Just be aware that if you leave on Friday
instead of Wednesday (or vice-versa), you may save $100.

Check the boxes that say "any time" for departure and "2 or
more connecting flights". Even if you aren't sure that you
want to leave at midnight, see what your options are-the
savings might change your mind. Whenever the search criteria
allow you choices, take the ones that are the least
restrictive for the airlines. Again, if the savings aren't
enough, you can always book first class, direct flights, or
whatever you prefer.

Buying your plane tickets at least a week in advance is
usually cheaper. Also, there can be a dramatic difference
(but not always) if your trip is over thirty days. You may
want to cut it from 32 days to 30 to save hundreds of
dollars on your fare. Play with the dates on one of the
websites mentioned. You never know what you might discover.

Want To Go Really Cheap?

You can take a bus to a major city, if you don't live in
one, and then take an international flight from there to
save quite a bit of money. My wife and I recently went to
Ecuador for six weeks. The cheapest discount website plane
tickets we could find were $3400 for the two of us. By
taking a bus to Miami ($352 round-trip for 2), then flying
from there to Quito ($622 round-trip for 2), we saved over
$2400 - even after the taxi fare from the bus station to the
airport. That's a lot of money to us, certainly worth an
extra day-and-a-half on a bus. (The whole six weeks cost
less than $2500.)

The bottom line is that if you spend a few minutes or an
hour to do some research, you might save hundreds of
dollars. Good luck and happy travels.

About the Author

Steve Gillman hit the road at sixteen, and traveled alone
across the U.S. and Mexico at 17. Now 40, he travels with
his wife Ana, whom he met in Ecuador. His travel stories,
tips and information can be found on his website His

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