LEAKED: Travel Hack for Cheap Airfare
I never really understood why, but whenever I used to try to book a domestic flight in another country, the prices were always ridiculous!
Last year, a quick domestic flight from Bangkok to Trang, Thailand was going to cost me almost $300.
As soon as I landed in Bangkok, I booked a seat on that very same flight for under $30!
This was because of the “Point of Sale” – the physical location where the retail transaction was completed. Point of Sale can have a drastic affect on the pricing of any flight with an international component.
I’d be delusional if I claimed to have cracked the how’s and why’s of airline pricing, but it is true that some airfare is much cheaper, depending on where you are when you but it.
Or better yet: where you appear to buy it from.
‘Point of Sale’ Travel Hack
You can leverage foreign currencies and a “fake” point of sale to your advantage…
Most people have no idea that they can change where they appear to be buying a plane ticket from. That’s how I managed to swindle a flight from LAX to Rio for a meager $482 instead of $1,000+
Although this method can be used for regular international flights, it often works best when you’re buying domestic flights in another country. A Brazilian friend told me that flights to Sao Paulo were much cheaper to buy once in Rio rather than from abroad.
He also showed me how airfare for the exact same routes often varies between the U.S. and foreign versions of an airline’s website. This is often because of regional sales and promotions. However, the local currency’s exchange rate may also factor into your favor.
Anyone up for saving money?
How It Works
In order to demonstrate how this travel hack works, we planned a mock trip to Columbia.
A Kayak search showed that the cheapest flight on LAN was $116 and Avianca’s cheapest as $137. When we conducted the same search in Google ITA with New York City as the Point of Sale, we saw the exact same prices.
Skyscanner fetched the best results but at $114 on LAN and $136 on Avianca, the savings were marginal at best.
But then we changed the Point of Sale…
Though Skyscanner actually had the best prices, we didn’t stop there.
You can change the Point of Sale to any place in the world you want, so we decided to change it from an American city to one in Colombia. (This is only searchable in Google ITA.)
The biggest difference you’ll see doing so, is that you’ll get the price in the local currency. Ours was in Colombian pesos, which is exactly what we wanted…
After switching the Point of Sale to a Colombian city, the exact same Avianca flight was now roughly $61.59 and the LAN flight approximately $91.96.
- We would have saved $22.04 on the LAN flight and $74.41 on the Avianca flight, simply by paying in a different currency.
- There was a $54.41 price gap between the cheapest U.S. and Colombian flights.
- We tested and proved the idea that you can save money just by comparing flights in different currencies.
The Only Issue
Now that we could see the price difference with Google ITA, our only problem was that we had to find a place to purchase the ticket in pesos.
We cruised over to Avianca’s website and clicked on the menu in the top-right corner of the screen. We were able to set Colombia as our country and English as our language. (Note: If you’re trying on another airline’s website and English isn’t an option, most internet browsers are capable of translating the page, albeit roughly.)
Doing this allowed us to purchase airfare from a “fake” Point of Sale, in Colombian pesos…
…and on the cheap.
You may not always be able to get the exact fare seen in Google ITA, but you can almost always find airfare much cheaper than what Kayak will serve up.
The cheapest flight we could find in our search was 136,000 COP or $72.14, which was slightly more than what Google ITA showed us, but it was still a lot better than Kayak’s price. All in all, we managed to find a flight for roughly $43.86 cheaper than I could find on any U.S. website.
NOTE: In order to maximize your savings, be sure to use a credit card that won’t charge you a foreign transaction fee.
But don’t despair if you don’t already have a travel-friendly card, we found that, in the end, it would still be worth paying a foreign transaction fee just to be able to pay in pesos.
If we had to pay the standard 3% foreign transaction surcharge, it would have only cost an additional $2.16 for the airfare.Although each credit card issuer has different policies, the fact of the matter is that if you’re smart, you can still come out on top.
So, to Sum it Up
With a little finesse, this Point of Sale method can also be used to purchase an international flight.
The best and most obvious Points of Sale to search for typically include both the destination country and the country where the airline is based in.
Theoretically, you could search every country as a Point of Sale if you’re truly committed! Well, if you do, and if you end up stumbling across something really awesome, be sure to share your story with us!
The discounts we’ve been able to find using this handy travel hack can range anywhere from a a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. This is usually done by leveraging foreign currencies against each other.
You may find that this travel hack may not work every time, but it’s time well-spent nonetheless…
…And if there’s one thing I love more than travel, it’s travel-deal hunting.