At the beginning of the year we traveled to Antarctica, and while I was excited for the cruise, I was also psyched about the fact that we managed to organize free flights.
We had just enough points on our credit card rewards to book a free flight from Chile to Argentina after having paid for the Sydney – Santiago leg. And, even though getting to South America from Australia was expensive, we saw it as a win that premium economy was on sale, and actually cheaper than the fares listed for economy when we went to book. Seriously amazing timing.
And I think I was excited by the rewards flight because we so rarely manage to travel hack properly. First of all, we travel on so many varied airlines, that I can’t be bothered to keep track of frequent flier accounts to gather points. Even though I know I should.
Secondly, travel hacking for Australians is almost impossible, because it’s very difficult to accrue points, and we don’t have the level of rewards / programs that other countries have access too (America I wish I was you).
Even if we did, I really don’t think I would want the hassle of opening credit cards just for the sake of gaining points. And I don’t want to spend hours searching for deals through dozens of websites. Tough luck right. Though I do still have a couple of tricks for not paying full price.
The Below Tricks Got Me Flights to…
My Process for Booking Flights
My process for booking flights to date has been to pull up a third party website, like Skyscanner, Momondo, Orbitz (Skyscanner has a great free mobile app for finding cheap flights), and monitor the price over a couple of days.
I usually aim to book on a Tuesday, when airlines compete to release their lowest price, fly on a Tuesday, because other people don’t seem to want to, and pick annoying times of the day to fly (less demand means cheaper flights).
And sometimes I get lucky, as we did with our premium economy seats from Sydney – Santiago, and just happen to log on when there’s a really great price.
But finding an amazing airfare doesn’t have to be left up to luck, and that’s why apps, newsletters, and subscription sites which alert us to flight deals have seen a rise. They allow us to sit back with a cup of tea, email open, and wait for the travel deals to arrive.
The Rise of Travel Subscriptions
One of my biggest tips for hearing about cheap flights is to sign up for airline newsletters, as they send deal alerts and information on sales.
An issue however with this approach is that the deals are rarely relevant to my location, and between the 50 odd airlines who send me emails, my inbox overflows. Though after signing up for emails from a newcomer called Next Vacay, I’ve been able to go through my massive list of airline subscriptions and hit unsubscribe.
The subscription economy is booming at the moment, and companies like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime are leaving competitors behind. So the emergence of the subscription model in the travel industry was only a matter of time.
Leading with this idea, NextVacay is an new, online and personalized travel agency that aims to make air travel more affordable. It works off a subscription model of $25 per year and supplies real time sales, deals and error fares (those absurdly cheap flights posted as a mistake by the airline) directly to your inbox, according to your home base airport.
A New Model of Finding Flights
Next Vacay CEO Naveen Dittakavi started the company after he and his wife caught the flight-hunting bug (admittedly a bug I don’t have, so I’m happy to let them do it for me!). They’d seen a friend’s Facebook post about a $300 round trip from D.C. to India and they were sold.
Friends noticed the couple’s frequent travels and asked how they were managing this. They were finding rock bottom prices (think Costa Rica for $273, and Santorini for $393) by obsessively checking crazy fare websites. But a time consuming task, Naveen used his skills as a software engineer to develop a system which found deals for them.
From that, Next Vacay became a subscription service that costs $25 a year and is personalized to members’ origin airports — and it’s one of the few of its kind that is questioning the old model of finding flights.
Once you become a member you get an email alerting you instantly when they find a great deal from airports near you, along with instructions to book the flight directly with the airline. Yep, you buy your ticket directly with the airline. Next Vacay makes their money from your $25 a year.
Screenshot of Next Vacay Site
Who Travel Subscriptions Will Appeal To
Sign up if any of these are you
➡The traveler seeking the best deals, but who doesn’t want to spend hours searching through dozens of websites.
➡The traveler who wants flights at travel hacking prices without the hassle of opening credit cards just for the sake of gaining points.
➡ Busy professionals who dream of traveling more.
➡ Backpackers; because you can travel far longer with the huge savings you find on flights, and $25 a year is nothing – even for you.
➡ Families; because when you’re booking 4 + airfares, the costs really start to add up.
➡ Millennials; Next Vacay brings back the comforting feeling of having a trusted travel agent but fits into our time constrained digital world.
➡ Newlyweds who want an affordable honeymoon.
➡ People who think they can’t afford to fly. These people are now traveling to multiple destinations, for cheaper than they ever thought possible.
➡ People who like to try before they buy. Next Vacay offers a free one-month trial. And they send you reminders before they charge your card after the trial is over.
➡ People who decide where they’re heading next based on deals and sales. If you’re not signed up to Next Vacay you’re missing out on cheap flights.
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