If you’re among the lucky people who’ll be headed to the World Cup in South Africa to cheer on New Zealand’s national team, then I hope for your sake you’ve already made your travel plans. The World Cup is coming up fast, and the truth is the best World Cup travel deals were snapped up several months ago (if not last year). Still, if you’re making last-minute travel plans, there are some tips you can use to avoid paying full price on your airline ticket.
Some of the tips in this article will be useful to you for a trip to the World Cup or any trip – regardless of where you’re flying or when. But when you’re traveling to a major event like the World Cup it’s even more important that you pay attention to tricks like these, because deals are tougher to find.
Make Sure Your Itinerary is Flexible
There’s nothing that will give you a better chance of getting cheaper airfare than by making sure your itinerary isn’t limited to one particular travel day or (even worse) a short window of time on a particular day. There are peaks and valleys throughout each day and each week for higher and lower prices on the same flights, and by limiting yourself to a small window you could easily miss those lower fares.
The easiest way to make sure you’re not missing out is by using the “my dates are flexible” option most airfare booking sites offer. It’s usually a box you can check near where you put in your itinerary, and it lets the system know to tell you if there are great deals within a few days on either side of your target date and time.
Learn When Flights are Cheapest
As mentioned above, there are highs and lows during the week and each day when it comes to airfare – the trick is knowing when the lows will come. Thankfully, there’s some regularity to it. It’s not always going to be exactly this way, but these days and times are cheaper more often than not, so it’s worth checking them.
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Wednesday tends to be the cheapest day to fly, followed by Tuesday and Saturday. The earliest flights of any day are often the cheapest ones, along with the late-night and red-eye departures. Remember that these aren’t rules that are set in stone, but if you’re being flexible with your itinerary these days of the week and times of the day are good places to start your search.
Look at All Your Airport Options
Usually this tip refers to the idea that there’s more than one big airport near you and more than one near the city you’re flying to – and checking all of them gives you a greater chance of finding a great deal on airfare. In the case of flying from New Zealand to South Africa for the World Cup, however, your choices are more limited, thereby making your airport hunt a bit more complicated.
You’ll have to fly from New Zealand to another country that has flights to South Africa to start with, since there aren’t any airlines connecting New Zealand with South Africa. Not only that, the vast majority of international flights into South Africa arrive in Johannesburg, the country’s biggest airport. Still, if you have to fly through another country anyway, you can be a little pickier about your route. Flying through Australia limits your options when it comes to airports in South Africa (they all fly to Jo’burg), but if you fly to Dubai instead, you have more options for airports you can fly directly to in South Africa.
Break Down the Cost of Package Trips
Booking a World Cup package trip is tempting because it’s so easy, and it’s especially tempting when you’re making last-minute travel plans. But you want to make sure the package you’re booking isn’t overpriced before you buy it – and the only way to do that is to do the math.
You’ll need to do a little research to find out what the cost of the individual components of the package would be if you booked each one separately, as best you can. Things like the airfare, accommodation, ground transportation, and tickets to the games should be easy to get prices for. If the prices you’re finding are comparable to the total cost of the package, then it could be a good option for you. This is especially true if the package you’re looking at includes extras that you think are useful – things like some meals, or special souvenirs.
photo by flowcomm