How to Save on Airfare


3 minutes

Spend your time making friends instead of hunting for cheap flights.
Spend your time making friends instead of hunting for cheap flights.
Image courtesy of Kristen K.

By leaving airfare costs out of our program fees, we empower Working Abroad participants to seek out the best rates according to their own unique travel plans. That being said, airfare costs can vary widely depending on when and how they are booked, your travel dates, departure city, and other factors. Before booking, here are a few tips to consider:

Consider adding personal travel before or after your program!

Some of our Working Abroad programs have specific start and end dates, but this doesn’t mean your adventure abroad needs to start or end at the same time! Many people plan for personal travel before or after their program. Having a wider window of possible travel dates can help you find better deals.

Compare airfares by plugging in several sets of dates into your favorite travel search engine. Some allow you to search within a range of travels dates with calendar features, making it easy to compare fares.

How to Book: Travel Agents, Search Engines, and Direct Bookings

Kayak.com, Skyscanner.com and StudentUniverse.com are just a few sites that turn up cheap flights, but no matter where you conduct your initial search, do your research and compare flight prices. Using travel agents or secondary booking sites to purchase flights might make the booking process easier, but it could also mean added fees as well. Don’t forget to check the rates through individual airlines’ websites.

Know that a flight search tool is not necessarily a booking site. For example, Kayak.com will search flights at no cost but to make a purchase, you’ll ultimately be directed to an airline’s website or another site such as Priceline.com. The most important thing is to be aware of any fees and policies - particularly cancellation or change fees - from both the airline and the service you use to book your flight.

One-way or Round-trip?

Are round-trip flights always cheaper? It may often be the case, but not always. Be sure to run multiple searches - first for round-trip, then for two one-way trips - to compare.

A word of caution: if your program requires a visa, check with the appropriate consulate to see if a round-trip flight is required. Additionally, know that some airlines refuse to allow passengers to board their planes with only a one-way ticket - even if the passenger has a valid visa.

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Some airlines may not be familiar with the exact entry requirements of the numerous countries they service (although they should be, of course). When they aren’t 100 percent sure, they tend to be overly cautious to protect themselves. If you’re interested in buying a one-way ticket, you should definitely give the airline a call to see if you may have problems.

Check Multiple Airports or Multi-City Booking

Do you need to arrive into or depart from a particular airport or are you open to exploring another city and hopping on a bus to finish the journey? If your travel plans are flexible, you might do well to seek out flights to or from another destination.

Many Working Abroad participants like to add some personal travel time after their program ends, which means that departing from your arrival airport may not align with your itinerary. Using the multi-city function on search engines and airline websites gives you the option to book flights to and from various airports in one booking. You might spend a little more on housing and either ground transportation or a budget airline, but if you’re keen to add some personal travel to your program, this could be a good option for you!

Consider a Stopover!

Taking a long flight that involves a layover or two? If you’d like to spend a couple of days in a layover city, it might be worth booking two separate round-trip flights - for instance, booking one round-trip between New York City and Los Angeles, and another between LA and Sydney, Australia (instead of one booking between New York and Sydney with a layover). Though this strategy might not always result in cheaper fares, it’s worth looking into this option if you have reason to visit that layover city.

InterExchange Staff InterExchange Staff

InterExchange is proud to have an experienced team that is dedicated to international cultural exchange. We come from a variety of backgrounds, but nearly every member of our New York City-based staff has extensive experience traveling, working, or living abroad.

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U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation