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.
Hack: Sign Up For Emails from Next Vacay for Cheap Flights
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.
Become a Next Vacay member for $25 a year
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That’s some neat info! There is always some advice thrown around about how to go about booking flights. And when to do it; like days and months. But it’s all so messy. This helps clear up a few!
I agree, it’s very overwhelming trying to keep on top of all of the latest tips and advice to finding cheap flights. It’s nice to have someone / an algorithm who can do it for you! I love how simple it is to just check my email when I get a deal alert :)
Thanks for this post! I should look into saving points and miles more because in Holland it’s not very common to do that, yet we have so many airlines and one of the biggest airports in the world right close to where I live. I can totally see how it gets more difficult from Australia though because you are a bit more isolated. I will check Next Vacay out because I used to work at a travel agency and could always get great deals, but not anymore so I need to find other ways :-)
You’re welcome Anto – definitely check out Next Vacay if you’re looking for a new way to access similar deals. Yes, I think the points thing in Australia is because we really don’t have the competition of airlines that countries like the UK or America do. So there’s not as much incentive to provide extras like rewards programs.
Sucks to hear that it’s the same in Holland too. Can definitely stay on top of awesome deals with subscriptions though :)
Hi Megan! Thanks for the great trip!
In order to take full advantage of this website, would your travel dates and locations need to be flexible in order to take advantage of the greatest deal? You mentioned that you get email alerts based on your home-base airport, but are there are customization options?
For example, I’m looking to maybe go to Japan in 2020 for the Olympics, so obviously the dates and location are not flexible. Would I still be able to get airfare deals for that trip through this site?
They don’t currently take specific requests for dates or destinations, but I’ve been told that they are releasing that feature soon. So for something specific like the Japan 2020 Olympics, this wouldn’t be the platform to use.
That said I’ll update you on when they roll the feature out.
I have started saving points etc recently and wished i done it sooner. I given up on airline subscriptions because they are just one big pain in the ass when it comes to my inbox (as you mentioned as well). Neat info on here, and thanks for the tip off on Neat Vacay.
Yep, I’ve unsubscribed from the majority of my airline subscriptions because it’s just irrelevant info. Next Vacay is amazing, and it’s so much better receiving their emails with properly targeted info which actually applies to me.
There are times I would love to be Australian. We have Trump and better airline points. Maybe it’s a wash. It’s amazing how vastly different airline prices are and how many “mistake” prices there are out there. If you have a connection to the travel industry like Vacay you could really save a lot of money.
Haha does sound like a wash :D Oh, I’m amazed at how often error fares pop up, it wasn’t until I really started networking within the travel industry that I realized! Personally I don’t have the time to continually scour deals websites, but I love that smart people like Naveen have developed an algorithm to do that. $25 a year for use of his application is money well spent!
That vacay site sounds like the bomb(Pun partially intended). I’ll have to check it out. Being Irish based though sucks as we just get cramped with Ryanair.
Ah, yes I’ve taken quite a few flights with Ryanair – they’re not the best from my experience! At least they get you there though I guess!
Definitely check out Next Vacay, they should be able to hook you up with flights on the more mainstream airlines :)
Eoin, check out “jacks flight club” . Similar to Meg’s description of Next Vacay, except they fly from Irish, UK and Northern European airports. Longhaul and some short weekend breaks.
Meg, thanks for putting Next Vacay on my radar.
Thanks for the tip Robbie, and thanks for reading! :)
This is great, I hadn’t heard of Next Vacay before. Searching for bargain fares is so time consuming and there’s so many sites to sift through! $25 is very reasonable for this service, I’d much rather be enjoying a destination than being holed up over my computer searching for my next affordable flight. Thanks for the recommendation, looking forward to snagging my next flight for a rock bottom price.
Glad we could introduce you to Next Vacay Heather :) Trying to stay on top of flight deals is definitely time consuming – and $25 for not having to waste whole days is an incredible offer for people who value their time.
Totally agree that I would much rather enjoy a destination and let them notify me when they’ve found my next flight!
I always love finding good travel deals. There’s a subscription I’ve for travelling from airports in Canada (where I’m from), but now I’m in Dublin and that doesn’t do me much good. I’ll have to check out these site. $25 for some good flight deals seems worth it.
Who doesn’t right! Cool to hear that there are subscriptions out there for specific airports – can highly recommend Next Vacay though if you don’t have the same for Dublin. They’re great because if you move around you can just change your airport :)
Holy crap, I totally just put your advice about travelling on a Tuesday to the test and found straight up that flights to Canberra from Proserpine were over $100 cheaper on a Tuesday. That’s incredible. Thank you! Now I just need to figure out who is free to hang out with me mid week. Haha.
I dont really travel enough to warrant a subscription, but do collect my frequent flyer points where I can, kinda wish I’d been doing this for ever, but I was one of the dummies who thought my few points here and there wouldn’t really have much of an impact. How wrong I was?!
It’s crazy right! The mid week thing really does work – because leisure travelers are usually at work, and business travelers fly in on Sunday or Mondays – so Tuesdays are super low traffic, hence the cheaper price :)
Collecting points can be a slow process, but they definitely add up over time if you let them accure. So if you’ve got one airline you usually stick to, maybe once every couple of months, or once a year you’ll have a free flight somewhere :)
This is such a great idea and $25 per year is NOTHING compared to even the cheapest local airfares! I agree with you that the US has the best deal going on airline miles, but I wouldn’t want to keep opening new cards just for the sign on rewards. We live in Europe and did sign up more than a year ago for a credit card that gives us Lufthansa points. After looking out for all the deals and offers we can to collect extra points, we have a nice little stash saved up, but we want to keep them for long-haul flights so we can maximise the cost savings. I will check out NextVacay though, we will travel a lot more in the next year or so, this little gem could save us a lot! Thanks so much for sharing.
Absolutely, you earn your $25 back in no time, with one flight! Awesome to hear that you’re onto Lufthansa points – they do come in handy when they build up over time! I’m the same with my Qantas points though, I like to save them up for my biggest flights.
Definitely check out NextVacay – hope you find some amazing deals!
I’ll check NextVacay for sure. It is so difficult to find good offers from Athens airport in Greece, so I would need a little help with that! I usually check offers from Rome or Milan especially when heading to Europe, as there are multiple carriers operating there!
Clever to also monitor airports which are cheap for you to get to – opens up your possibilities a lot more :) Definitely check out Next Vacay, why not have them do the work for you right!
I’m a sucker for a cheap flight. I’ve wondered before if Next Vacay was worth it. Thanks for the helpful write up.
I can say that it definitely is worthwhile – hope you find some amazing flights!
I am based in the UK and do travel hack but use points to fly business for less than economy as our taxes are so high, it doesn’t really make sense for economy, I haven’t heard of NExt Vacay but will check it out as sounds like it is very much up my street
Business for less than economy sounds amazing – sounds like you really have a handle on the system of points – nice one! Clever too to realize when it does and doesn’t make financial sense to use them.
Definitely give Next Vacay a look, especially as it sounds like you’re a fan of great deals on flights!
I love using miles and points for free flights. It’s harder for you guys in Australia but as you’ve found it’s still doable. I haven’t heard about Next Vacay but then I have my own methods for finding flight deals. I’ll have to check them out because you can never have enough cheap flights.
Definitely harder on the points front here in Australia, but I do have accounts set up with Virgin and Qantas which are the big two. I let them build up and every so often get a free rewards flight.
Definitely check out Next Vacay – you hit the nail on the head there – can never have enough cheap flights!
It’s the first time I’ve heard of Next Vacay. What a great idea and affordable too! Finding deals on flights can be such a time-consuming exercise as you said in your article having 50 newsletters in your email to shift through. Plus not being about the places you’re planning on going too. And you’re so right about Australian reward programs! I had to spend like 100,000 points for two flights from Perth to Melbourne which meant I needed to spend $80k to get those point. I think it took me about 6 years to get them haha!
100,000 points for two flights from Perth to Melbourne!! Damn that’s crazy – yes, Australia doesn’t have quite the same level of opportunities for travel hacking as countries like the UK or the States do. Every now and then I get a free flight though.
Glad we could introduce you to Next Vacay – seriously, it’s so nice to have a clean inbox now, and receive emails which are actually targeted specifically to me :)
These are such great tips! I had no idea Tuesday was the cheaper day to travel! Like you, we have a lot air miles that we need to use up. In fact, Air Canada is opting out of Star Alliance so I’ve got to get on that this year. Having a subscription is something else I should do. Nobody’s forcing you to book anything, but at least you have all the deals at your disposal.
Thanks Jodi – I’m glad you found benefit from the post :) I hadn’t heard that Air Canada was opting out of Star Alliance – we have a number of points with them too, so might think about jumping on that – thanks for the heads up!
And absolutely re the subscriptions – information is power these days!
Great information, as I have not heard of some of these. I’ll have to try some of these hacks out while planning an adventure. Next Vacay sounds interesting, that’s one I’ll be checking out right away.
Thanks Sara, I’m glad you found benefit in out tips :) Definitely jump on the subscription for Next Vacay – I almost titled the post “If you’re not subscribed you’re missing out on flights” but it was too long lol!
Flights are always the most expensive thing on our budget, and sometimes we had to delay a trip because the flights were too pricey. Maybe I should start paying more attention to the newsletters, I never subscribe because more often than not I get lots of spam messages! But I might give a try at NextVacay, it’s both cheap and useful!
I think a lot of people, us included, are in that boat too Dany – can highly recommend subscriptions as a great solution. I agree that the majority are spam, but Next Vacay is a diamond among the rough! Hope you can bring one of those trips forward using their emails for cheap flights!
Nice Tuesday tip ;) I was not aware that things really dropped off price-wise on this day. Will forward to my book agent I mean Kelli LOL.
This plane/plain makes sense. Subscribe to receive the best prices versus doing as much leg work. When you think long term, and wish not to trade time for anything or money, you pay for services to max out your convenience factor. A few bucks here saves you hundreds or even thousands plus the element of time, which is invaluable, when you think about it.
Big fan of maxing my convenience factor these days. Especially as my blogging business grows.
Super flight prices I see up there, in addition to the free flights. Well done Meg!
Hi Ryan, yes, Tuesday is a great hack I learnt about, and it really works! Both booking then, and flying then. Now my favorite day of the week :D
And absolutely re the business model – personally my time is my most valuable resource these days, so if someone is happy to do the leg work for me in searching for cheap flights, I’ll happily pay. You make your $25 back straight away – it’s a great investment.
I think you would get a lot of use out of Next Vacay. Thanks for stopping by!
Grrrrr…. I hate hate hate the feeling of seeing someone else get a bargain flight or an error flight and finding out about it when it’s too late. A subscription service would be great for me, not only to curb my jealousy but also because we fly out of Ottawa, for the most part, but nearly all the emails I see have deals that look great but are for our neighbours, Toronto and Montreal. Good for them but I’m out of luck! So it would be great to get something tailored for my home airport.
I know right! Always seems to happen to, in terms of missing the boat on the error fares. The thing I love about Next Vacay is they always give you time too, they recognize that people have families, and jobs they need to consult with, so don’t send you last minute fares which have to be booked now. They’ve set up a really great model which actually works for regular folks.
And totally feel you on the irrelevant emails – we’re in Tasmania, so naturally the airlines send us deals out of Hobart, but we’re actually 3 hours away. Devonport and Launceston are closer. So it’s nice having a subscription who sends appropriate information across.
Can highly recommend Next Vacay :)
Meg, That’s something really nice and quite useful. Even we are last minute ticket bookers and always fail to use travel hacks.Do we need to add the dates on the website for the particular trip? The Tuesday tip is really new to us and I am surely gonna try it out. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Suruchi, glad we could share our travel hacks :) With Next Vacay, you don’t have to add dates to the website – they email you with the best deals they find from your airport, and direct you to the airline website, where you can then put in your dates, or if it’s an error fare for a specific day for instance, you won’t have too much flexibility with your flight times. So it’s more of a great way to be opportunistic with your travel when a deal arises.
Definitely try out the Tuesday tip – has saved us quite a lot on past trips!
The number of flights I’ve booked in the last six months is crazy, I could have done with some of these tips. And I’m definitely going to look into signing up for the newsletter.
New strategies going forward then! Enjoy Next Vacay – some of the trip deals they find are insane!
Next Vacay sounds like a great way to keep track of fare sales. I’m going to have to go check it out, although I’m afraid I’ll be tempted to book flights all the time and never stay home any more!
Absolutely Tami haha yes, you may find you’re a non-resident Nomad after the emails start coming in!
I have the exact same problem. Too many airlines and as much as I travel I can’t seem to get enough points for a free flight.
only now, after years of traveling, I was able to collect enough points to get a free flight but only in the winter and only to Europe (Like 3-5 hours away) Lol.
I totally feel you – we’re always more concerned about the cheaper flight as opposed to staying loyal to one airline, so I would have to have so many different frequent flier programs, and the little you accrue on each one takes forever to become something worthwhile.
Definitely check out Next Vacay :)
Oh, I am so with you. I love the idea of travel hacking in theory but being from Canada we don’t have the same opportunities as Americans and I’m too lazy to spend hours combing through sites so I’ll definitely be checking this out. I did score one deal once, flying to Vancouver from Palm Springs was actually cheaper in Biz Class than Economy. Score!
Sounds like a subscription with Next Vacay would be perfect for you Carol – saved my life, I love hearing about travel deals without having to put in any of the research time!
Congrats on your business class score – that’s a great one!
As a flight attendant, I fly for free in the United States but even outside the U.S., I’ve never spent more than $100 for a ticket using my benefits. We’re allowed to fly on 50+ airlines around the world. With that said, I have friends and family asking about ticket prices all the time and I have no idea. This is a great resource for them and for me when I want a confirmed ticket instead of flying standby. $25 a year is nothing! I spend $25 at 7-11 on junk. I’m going to sign up and tell my friends!
Oh wow Mia, sounds fab! I’ve always wondered what type of discounts flight attendants would get – definitely a perk of the job!
Totally with you on spending $25 at 7-11 on junk. It’s throw away money, and very well spent on a subscription like this. Yes, tell your friends! Maybe you’ll find a deal for a fab group trip!
We too are not good at using the air miles, have never used till date. The fact that we do not consistently fly on one airline has ensured this for us too. The very fact that we travel on airlines that have the best deal at that time defeats this purpose. Next Vacay sounds like a neat way to keep track of great deals and then tie up your travel plans with the best deals!
Sounds like a subscription service like Next Vacay would be a great thing for you :)
I’ve never heard of this before. And I thought I was actually doing a great job when it comes to looking for flight deals. I love that you can keep track of deals. Im like the majority of people who only look through websites such as Skyscanner, Google Flights and Hopper. But I’m definitely checking out NextVacay for future trips so thanks Meg for sharing!
Glad we could give you an overview of the idea of travel subscriptions Janice :) Next Vacay is a great one – takes the time commitment out of finding those great deals!
Cool article! I love the Skyscanner app too. I find myself scouting for flights to anywhere anytime just browsing to help pass the time. I wonder if anyone else does this too. LOL
Thanks Carla! I know right – the skyscanner app is a fun way to just pass the time – you’re definitely not alone in that habit!
This is such a useful article, Megan. I can’t believe you managed to get free flights to Antarctica. That is my ultimate bucket list destination. I do use Skyscanner app but have never used the email subscription of Next Vacay This post is definitely going to be bookmarked by me.
Thanks Archana! Antarctica was incredible, to clarify, we got the flights to Argentina, and then caught a cruise. Highly recommend it though, was one of the greatest trips of our life!
Give Next Vacay a go and see how you like it :)
Hi Megan – I was just wondering if you are actually seeing many deals out of Australia with Next Vacay???
Hi Jane :) You get at least one deal a week leaving Australia, sometimes 2-3 … the airports they have available leaving Aus are Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney :)
Let me know if you have any other questions … hope you find some good deals!
Interesting article on a great service! Thanks, Meg!
Glad the review was helpful Paul :) Happy travels!