Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith are fellow nomadic retirees, travelers, housesitters and co-founders of To Travel Too. Like many of us they love finding ways to make that travel budget stretch further. They were kind enough to share with us how they reduce most travelers’ biggest expense, flights!
How we saved 60% on Airfares from Mexico to Nicaragua
Out of the blue we were gifted a House Sitting Assignment in Granada, Nicaragua starting on the 30th September 2015. Good timing as we would be finishing another House Sitting Assignment in Puerta Vallarta the day before. The question we asked ourselves was ‘Could we make the assignment viable from a cost perspective?’ as we know that flights in and around Central America can be quite expensive.
Maybe this would throw quite a lot of you into a mild panic, what to do and how to get there at a reasonable cost that won’t blow out the advantages of this 15 night House Sitting Assignment.
It was time to kick into planning mode!
First, we determined our budget for flights. If we could find airfares that were equal to or less than 15 nights accommodation in Granada, it was a viable assignment.
We searched for centrally located accommodation in Granada, Nicaragua and found Hotel El Almirante that was about US $44.00 per night – over the 15 night period that would come to US $660.00.
Our challenge was to get airfares lower than USD660.00 to make it all worthwhile. Did we achieve it? Check out our table below.
Please note that included in our figures is one night’s accommodation in the transit points of either Mexico City, Guatemala City or San Jose, Costa Rica – average costs between US $30-40.There are many ways of searching for the lowest airfares for your travels.
Option 1: Carrier Aeromexico and routed from Puerta Vallarta via Mexico City to Managua, Nicaragua = US $ 1462
Option 2: Using search engines Google Flights and Cheapoair flying Interjet from Puerta Vallarta to Mexico City then Aeromexico from Mexico City to Managua, Nicaragua = US $1202
Option 3: Using search engines Interjet, Skyscanner and edreams flying Interjet from Puerta Vallarta Mexico City then Avianca/Taca – Mexico City to Managua, Nicaragua = US $ 1056
Option 4: Searching Interjet/ Tripsta/Copa flying Interjet from Puerta Vallarta to Guatemala City via Mexico City then Copa Airlines from Guatemala City to Managua, Nicaragua = US $ 1029
Final search and choice was found through Interjet and Nature Air, flying Interjet from Puerta Vallarta via Mexico City to San Jose, Costa Rica, then Nature Air – San Jose, Costa Rica to Managua, Nicaragua = US $584
The difference between the highest and the lowest quote was US $ 878 which is a saving of 60%
Here are a few of our tips and tricks we used in this exercise:
- Be flexible with your dates of travel, check websites such as Google Flights. You can view a month of airfares at one time for your destination
- Searching for flights used to be cheaper on a Tuesday or Wednesday, but these days we recommend checking four times a day a few weeks prior to travel, longer for international.
- Early morning, late evening and travelling mid-week tends to have the cheapest options
- Search for flights in a new browser each time, or clear your cookies just before booking
- Use whichbudget a site particularly useful for booking budget airlines and cheap tickets. We also searched direct with Spirit Airlines who have an extensive network from the US around Central America but the flights were fully booked on the day that we needed to fly
- Be flexible in your destination, budget airlines will fly into non major airports which can save you money, but check the ground transport costs to compare with flying into the major airport
- Look at different search engines e.g. Skyscanner, Tripsta and Google Flights just to name a few, but there are many more out there
- Sign up for airfare alerts such as airfarewatchdog and search engine alerts
- Use Yapta – for tracking flights and hotel prices, if you find your airfare has dropped within 24 hours of booking you may be able to receive a refund on your airfare depending on the airline. Yapta also provides instant price drop alerts.
- Check the airline direct for promotional fares
- Sign up to the airline’s twitter and facebook pages – there are times when they release special airfares for a short period via their social media networks
- Check flying with two different airlines to your destination, it can work out cheaper than using just the one
- Join the Airline’s Frequent Flyer programs
- Look at return airfares, sometimes these can be cheaper than one way fares, sounds crazy but it happens
If this is all too much for you, let us assist you in your travel planning, click on our To Travel Too Planning Services and choose from the a la carte services offered.
Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith are Co-Founders of To Travel Too. Jane and Duncan offer advice to Baby Boomers on how to get off the treadmill and make a dent in that travel bucket list. Their experience in downsizing/empty nesting can assist Baby Boomers to take the first step to travel longer term. They offer strategies on how to travel on a budget and how to ‘chase time not money’. As part of their travel strategy, they use House Sitting assignments locally and internationally, which allows them to travel longer, slower and to enjoy living like locals in areas that they had not considered before.
- Website: www.totraveltoo.com
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Thanks for sharing Jane & Duncan. There are a few sites that we hadn’t used before, we will be checking them from now on.
We have one other tip to add after reading this article, about the varying results found on Macs and PC’s . Apparently, Mac users will find higher quotes. Interesting! Check out this article.