5. Use "hidden-city" ticketing
"It's counter-intuitive but because an airline's booking algorithms are based on supply and demand, demand for a short flight is often higher than demand for a longer flight," Chambers says.
This means that farther destinations can be cheaper than closer ones, so if there's a connection in your flight itinerary, some insiders will book the entire ticket but only fly the first half of the route. It's often called "hidden-city ticketing."
"I save thousands of dollars a year by booking a flight to somewhere that has a stop through my destination, where I get off. It's often cheaper this way," says Chambers.
To find routes, Travis uses Skiplagged, an app that's free to download. Skiplagged shows flights other search engines won't show you, including hidden-city flights. With the app, you can filter flights by duration, number of layovers, takeoff/landing time and more.
"My most common flight is Boise to Salt Lake City," Chambers says. "When I book my flight ahead of time, it's $130 round trip and all is well. A last-minute booking is $500, but a last-minute flight to Los Angeles via Salt Lake is as little as $220. Anytime I encounter a fare that just seems unreasonable for the distance, I check hidden-city connections and more often than not it is half the cost or better."
But be careful if you plan to book this way. Hidden-city ticketing is not illegal (United tried to sue Skiplagged and failed) but frowned upon by airlines.
You also take risks and make sacrifices. For instance, you cannot check a bag if you're going to abandon the second leg of the trip. Also, if a flight attendant gate-checks your bag, you're basically screwed.
"We've successfully skiplagged a few dozen times without any issues, and If you properly manage the risks, you can save up to hundreds of dollars per flight," Chambers says. "You should take time to know risks involved, like an airline can take away all your points if they want to."
6. Take a cheap bus
Munich, Germany-based FlixBus is a low-cost bus travel company with 250,000 daily connections to around 1,700 destinations in more than 27 European countries, and it debuted in the western U.S. on May 15.
"FlixBus travel takes a little longer but it's about $30 compared to a $150 Euro train ticket. You can even take it overnight so you can sleep, thus saving travel time and money on a place to sleep."
FlixBus tickets in the US will start as low as $2.99 one way. For now, scheduled routes debuting this summer only include select cities in California, Arizona and Nevada, including Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Tucson and San Diego.
There's also MegaBus, where fares start at $10.
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