Sometimes digital nomads need to get away too.
Maybe you’re tired of sweating and finally need a break from the tropical heat – a good problem to have, for sure. Or you’ve just decided that it’s been too long since you’ve met up with that friend you met in Thailand so you’re off to visit Bangkok for a few days. Whatever the reason, last-minute travel is sometimes just part of the working nomad experience.
But here’s the problem: while having the option to fly on such short notice is a huge advantage of this lifestyle, the high cost of these flights is often the worst part of last-minute travel as a working nomad.
Luckily, many of our flight deal experts here at Dollar Flight Club aren’t just travel enthusiasts – they’re digital nomads too. So to help you start saving money when you’ve just got to get away, we’ve asked them for some of their top tips for last-minute travel as a working nomad.
We’ve already discussed the importance of being flexible in our ultimate guide to finding cheap flights, so consider this section to be our crib notes version of that post.
As a digital nomad, you’re probably already used to Plan A not working out. This adaptability will help you when trying to plan last-minute travel as a working nomad.
See, the more rigid your needs are, the fewer options you have for a flight. To give yourself as many options as possible, you need to be more flexible with:
Airlines set ticket prices based on demand so just a day or two can make all of the difference in the price of a ticket. This means that you can save hundreds on your ticket just by being able to fly when others can’t. As a working nomad, this is where you can use your unconventional work schedule to your advantage.
Most booking platforms let you search for tickets with flexible dates. Options can be as flexible as the 6-month window found on Google Flights to Momondo’s 3-day window.
Depending on where you are in the world, you may have multiple options when it comes to where you fly out of. For instance, our founder Jesse once saved over $700 by taking a train from San Diego to Los Angeles so that he could fly out of LAX.
If your closest airport is Newark Airport, you should also be willing to fly out of JFK, LaGuardia, or even Philadelphia. Even if it costs a few extra bucks to get to the further airport, you're still able to save hundreds of dollars overall.
Packing lightly is essential for working nomads that are looking to save both time and money. Many budget airlines make up for their low prices by charging high prices for additional and oversized bags. Remember that your cheapest option for last-minute travel as a working nomad will probably be a budget airline. So you need to make sure that the money you save on a ticket doesn’t immediately go toward inflated baggage fees.
We recommended the Osprey Farpoint on our digital nomad packing list because its removable day pack is great for bringing on planes. If you only need one bag, another excellent choice is the Osprey Porter, a carry on size pack with plenty of storage.
Compare sites before booking directly
No one site or airline will always have the cheapest price. This includes flight aggregators like Kayak or Google Flights. In fact, you’ll occasionally find the cheapest deal by booking directly with the airlines.
When searching for cheap flights, be sure to compare prices on all of the main flight finding sites like Skyscanner, Momondo, and Google Flights. After, check the airline’s website to see if their price is the same or cheaper than what you’ve found elsewhere.
Finally, once you think you’ve found your lowest price, read our quick and easy breakdown of how to know if you booked the cheapest flight possible.
Book separate one-way tickets
This option isn’t our first choice but could be a calculated risk worth taking for an experienced working nomad. Still, consider this sentence to be all of us at Dollar Flight Club telling you to try this at your own risk. Like a ‘using the airplane bathroom in your socks’ type of risk. Yuck.
While selecting a roundtrip ticket is often the default option for booking a flight, buying separate one-way tickets can sometimes save you a quite few bucks. These separate tickets may be with different airlines or may even arrive and depart from different airports, creating your own open-jaw ticket.
There are a few ways to do this. First, you can simply buy separate departure and return tickets. Of course, if your trip is altered or canceled, you run the risk of not being able to have one or both of your tickets refunded since they’re not a part of the same trip.
Another – potentially more ambitious – method that is useful for longer international flights is to fly to a city with cheaper flights to your target destination. This option carries the most risk because if your first flight is delayed, you run the risk of missing the second flight to your final destination.
An example of this method in action: I recently had to fly home to the US from Bali, Indonesia. The problem was that, because Bali is an island, it’s a notoriously expensive place to fly in and out of. To work around this, I chose to fly out of Hong Kong – an airport where I often find great deals to the East Coast – and booked a $199 ticket from Hong Kong to New York City. I paid about $90 to get to Hong Kong and still ended up spending hundreds of dollars less than the $900+ tickets that were being advertised from Bali.
Use Dollar Flight Club
Hey, we wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.
We send out millions of flight alerts to our users every month. Once you sign up for free, you’ll never be far from a cheap flight deal. Simply tell us what airport you’d like to fly out of and our flight deal experts will send you deals for 60-90% off. Then, when you’re ready to pack up and move on to your next digital nomad destination, all you have to do is open your inbox. It’s like having a constant supply of cheap tickets just waiting for you!
BY: ZACH ANDERSON, CONTENT MARKETING & FLIGHT EXPERT
Zach is a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helps 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.