Airfare Tips, Tricks and Twitter

In a previous article “Where to Next? Japan?” I stated that I manged to snag a rout trip ticket to Japan for under $600 USD. How did I manage to do that?

Are you on Twitter? If not, you should be!

I know you’re expecting a giant list but I won’t do that to you. I will however tell you a few things.

  • There are a lot of amazing people on Twitter.
  • You’re able to connect with those amazing people through Twitter.
  • Twitter is a constant feed of great information.

I don’t consider myself to be an airfare expert by any means but I do believe in a little dumb luck and a bit of preparedness. If you are wondering how much of an expert I’m NOT, I don’t even an a reward miles credit card. Or a credit card at all for that matter.

So how did I mange to find a round trip (abbreviated “rt” on Twitter when referring to airfare) ticket from Portland, Oregon to Haneda, Japan? The answer is fairly straight forward.

The first thing you need is a little bit of cash. I do most of my banking while in the United States at ING Direct for a few reasons. They have a kick-ass online banking system and overdraft protection and they allow you to open as many savings accounts as you like. Naturally I have an account named “Travel” that I continually put money into and build over time. This allows me to separate my travel fund and reduces my temptation to spend it.

The second thing you’ll need is a flexible schedule. Thankfully being a contractor for a local web development company I’m able to work from home, the office, or anywhere I like. I’m also able to determine my own hours and days I work. For the most part I hold down an 8-5 Monday through Friday office job but on occasion I work from home. I try not to work from home too much as I start to go stir crazy after awhile.

The third thing you need is a Twitter account; mine is @adam_mayfield. Once you have your Twitter account and find all your friends and family, you should follow @AirfareWatchdog. Airfare Watchdog tweets deals all day long. They employ real, live people to search the web and find awesome deals. Most of their tweets look like this.

LAX-Moscow June $666 rt w/tax

The deals usually contain a to and from airport, a time period, a cost, rather it’s rt (round trip) or ow (one way), and a link to their site. Once on their site you’re presented with different search options and from that point on it’s like any other airfare deal site.

The deals they post usually last for a short period of time and are only good for certain days or months. The key is to have a travel fund ready and the ability to travel when the deal is hot. For me, this was two weeks at the end of June. I would have loved to spend more time in Japan but two weeks is what the deal was for and my travel fund is still recovering from Thailand and a term at school.

I’ve seen some crazy things come through and I make sure to check it daily when I’m looking for a place to go. Another thing you need is an open mind to new places. You might be waiting for a long time for a deal to a specific destination so don’t be afraid to take a chance and try something new!

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