How I Choose My Travel Destinations
I apply the 80/20 rule to pretty much everything. It works for me. When it comes to traveling, 80% of my travel destinations are decided by emails I receive from Scott's Cheap Flights. The other 20% is for when I need to be in a certain city on specific dates.
Every day, sometimes multiple times a day, I receive an email that contains flight deals for international flights from the airports of my choice. My home airport is Denver, but I also request deals out of Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. Sometimes, the deals out of those cities are worth the extra cost for me to fly from Denver. For example, a flight to Australia from NYC was $600 round trip. A round trip flight from Denver to NYC or LAX usually costs me $200 or less. So $800 roundtrip to Australia isn't bad at all.
I could provide a ton of examples of cheap flights, but sharing my process will help you find your own deals and you might even enjoy the hunt. I love it.
My tools of choice
On September 27th, I received an email from Scott's Cheap Flights telling me about flights to Europe for $300-$500 roundtrip between November and April. Do I want to go to Europe then? Can I go? If I answer yes, then I scroll through the list of airports.
The only destination out of Denver for this price is Dublin for $464. Have I been to Dublin before? No. Do I want to go? Of course. But, I'd like to visit somewhere else while in Europe, too. This is when I start the search on Google Flights.
I enter the airports associated with the deal and then I click the calendar to show me pricing for each day for a two month period.
After looking at the calendar, I found a flight to Dublin from December 1 to December 10th for $513. The $394 price you see does not include a carry on.
Now I have a cheapish flight to Europe. Maybe I want to spend the entire time in Ireland. Maybe I want to explore other areas in Europe. Let's check Momondo for my options. I chose to explore the options of different locations between 12/4 and 12/9. That gives me a few days in Dublin before taking off to my next destination. I enter Dublin as my departing city and choose Anywhere on Momondo. Then, I search the map.
- Brussles - $57
- Paris - $60
- Amsterdam - $104
- Rome - $86
Rome it is. For $86 round trip. So, for $600 round trip I'm able to fly from Denver, spend a few days in Dublin and then head to Italy. That's not a super crazy deal like some I've had in the past, but it's better than the $1,000+ cost if I do a search directly to Rome from Denver on the same exact dates.
That's just one example from the last email I received from Scott's. With a little bit of flexibility, it's possible to visit any part of the world for cheap. Below is a screenshot of the emails I received from Scott's in the past couple of days. You'll see that there are a ton of options to apply my process and find somewhere to explore for cheap.
When I receive an email, I typically look at the continent first. That's because once you arrive in Europe or Asia, it's cheap to fly within the continent. Dublin to Rome for $86 round trip is one example. You'll see the same thing when searching within Asia.
One of the top dream destinations I hear people talk about is Bali. Most of the time, flights are expensive when you fly directly there. BUT, if you ever see a cheap flight from the US to anywhere in Asia (Bangkok and Tokyo pop up a few times a year), you can apply the same process as my Denver to Rome example.
Phew, that's it. Happy splorin!