Some long-haul flights can be unnecessarily expensive. However, the good news for consumers is that there are some very straightforward ways to instantly lower the cost of overpriced airfare. For instance, did you know there are some "hub" cities that can drastically reduce the overall cost of your trip when you book your flight?
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In fact, sometimes just by scheduling one strategic layover, you can save hundreds of dollars on a one-way ticket. This means more money for you to enjoy during your vacation. Check out these five routing options to trim your airfare costs. (See also on WiseBread.com: 10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets)
The Caribbean via Florida
The Caribbean is a common destination for people living in North America. It's close enough to be convenient and far enough away to feel like a different world. With a balmy, tropical climate, the region boasts numerous island destinations that attract millions of tourists every year.
Flying there directly can be expensive. But you can often save a few hundred dollars by flying through Florida (Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, especially). Airfare to Florida is usually reasonable, and from there it's easy to book a cheap flight to your destination in the Caribbean.
This is especially useful if you're traveling to Aruba, but also check prices for St. Thomas, Antigua, and the Cayman Islands.
Australia via Singapore
Flights to Australia are notoriously expensive. It's not unusual to see prices of $1,000 each way for a ticket from U.S. cities. However, you can drastically reduce the cost of your airfare by flying through the international hub of Singapore.
Singapore is a strategic place because there are lots of outbound flights to Australia, and if you happen to be coming from Europe, you'll find lots of flights on those routes, too.
Flying from Singapore to Australia can cost as little as $77 one way. Flying to Singapore can be cheap as well, with deals from the U.S. West Coast starting at around $250. A trip to Australia for less than $350 each way is a huge savings when compared to paying more than $1,000 for a one-way ticket.
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Hawaii via California
Many airlines have great sales and competitive prices on short-haul flights to Hawaii from California. You can increase your search criteria to include other cities on the West Coast as well.
Cities to watch are San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. If you're interested in this destination, you can also subscribe to alerts from airlines that fly there, such as Alaska Airlines, to keep an eye on special sale fares.
Bangkok as a gateway to Southeast Asia
Bangkok is a major hub in Southeast Asia and many budget airlines fly from there to other places in the region for low prices. The Thai capital is interesting in itself, so you may want to consider spending a few days there to explore the city and recover from jet lag before heading on to your final destination in Southeast Asia.
Some major budget airlines you can use in this region are Singapore's Tigerair and Jetstar Asia, Japan's Skymark, and -- my personal favorites -- Malaysia-headquartered AirAsia for short-haul flights and AirAsia X for long-haul flights.
Iceland as a gateway to Europe
To increase tourism to Iceland and to boost sales, Icelandair has been offering great rates to other parts of Europe. Some flights also give you the option to schedule a layover in Iceland.
Take a look at the Icelandair website for the latest deals. At the time of writing, it was offering a great rate from Boston to Amsterdam for about $500 round-trip.
General international booking tips
If the airfare to your final destination seems outrageous, it probably is. Do a bit of research to figure out what the local budget airlines are. Then you can work backward from there to connect the dots that will get you where you want to go.
For instance, if you are traveling in Europe, look for cheap airfare on airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet. If you find a great deal from the U.S. to a European hub, you can then take a local flight on one of these airlines to your final destination and potentially save big.
In the U.S., look to discount carriers such as Spirit Airlines for potential savings. Just be aware that the price of the ticket includes the bare minimum. That means you'll have to pay extra for checking a bag and even for having overhead bin space.
Justifying the inconvenience
Always be aware that booking through multiple airlines can be an extra inconvenience. It may mean you'll need to schedule extra time during your layover so you have time to claim any checked bags and check in again with a different airline. If you've got the flexibility, you may want to make your layover a few days, so you can check out the place you're flying through. It could be a way to get two trips in one!
On the downside, if you have to check your bags twice, you may also have to pay checked-bag fees twice as well. Factor in all prices before you book two flights, so you can be sure it is actually cheaper than flying one airline. If you can, travel with just a carry-on to make the process easier and cheaper.
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If you do decide to book yourself two discounted tickets instead of one direct flight, try to consider it an added value that you get to discover two destinations for less than the price of one.
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