The key to traveling for less is being flexible about your dates or destination. The more flexible you are, the better you’re able to take advantage of deals!

This may seem like you’re compromising, but that shouldn’t be the case. There are lots of places I want to go and seeing which destinations are the the least expensive to get to helps me narrow it down.

Before you book a pet sit or home exchange, make sure you can get there and back affordably.

Finding cheap flights

Before you start searching for flights, open an incognito mode tab. Keep doing searches in different tabs or clear your cache.

You might find a great deal by searching for flights on the local version of an airline website. Just make sure your credit card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Stop paying too much for flights by keeping your eye on Google Flights. You can search and set up alerts to find the best deals on a certain route. If you have specific dates in mind, you can see what flights are in your budget by clicking ‘explore destinations.’

Hidden city ticketing

I’ve found some amazing deals on Skiplagged. This is when you book a multi-stop flight, but you’re real destination is your layover city. This has been a lifesaver when I’ve needed to book a flight with specific dates and a destination in mind.

How does Skiplagged work? Flying from Birmingham, AL to New York is $145, but flying from Birmingham, AL to Toronto, via New York is $95. Buy a ticket to Toronto and get off in New York.

Obviously, you can’t check a bag if you’re doing this, since it’ll go to the final destination. Be sure not to book this way for a round-trip flight, or your return ticket will often automatically be cancelled.

Long distance flight deals

If you’re flying to a different continent, it’s usually worth it to book the cheapest flight to the general area and take a second flight or travel over land to your actual destination. I like to spend a couple days at my layover city. This is why I’ve been to Dublin and London so many times, but sometimes I’ll get to explore a different city.

AirWander is designed to make it easier to plan multi-day layovers without booking two separate flights.

Know what you’re booking

Before you book your ticket, make sure you know what you’re getting into!

Be careful to make sure you’re including fees and have everything in the same currency when comparing flights.

Make sure you know what airport you’re flying into. Some secondary airports (or even primary airports) are far from the city and don’t have decent public transit options. This is especially true if your flight arrives or departs at times late at night or early in the morning when transit may not be running. The cost of getting to an airport further from the city might be more than whatever money you’re saving on the flight!

Check to see what your carry-on restrictions are, if meals are served on the flight, and if you’ll need to print a paper ticket to avoid fees.

If you’re immediately filled with regrets after booking a flight, you usually have 24 hours to call in and cancel your ticket or change the information (like making sure your passport matches your ticket).

Sign up for flight alerts

These emails are my weakness. If you’re the kind of person who wants to go everywhere and has the flexibility to travel whenever, these are magic. I see a cheap flight to Jerusalem or Istanbul and suddenly I’m texting my friends (or my mom) to see who wants to go with me.

I like Airfare Watchdog, the Flight Deal, Scott’s Cheap Flights, GTFO Travel, and Travelzoo.

You don’t always have to fly

If you want to stay local, Wanderu’s Explore feature can show you the cheapest land routes coming up or for a specific date.

As much as trains in North America aren’t real trains compared to Europe, I love finding good deals on Amtrak and Via’s discount Tuesday deals.