save money by flying from alternate airports

Think Outside The Airport

[trip style = budget conscious]

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One common money-saving tactic used by trip style = budget conscious travelers is to think outside the airport by comparing and contrasting the same flight route at close-by departure points. Sometimes this five minute search can result in $400+ savings per airline ticket.

Whenever I travel a new route, my first order of biz is research which nearby airports would expand my departure and arrival options, especially to the following destinations with overlapping flights: Florida, Vegas, LA, Palm Springs, the Hawaiian islands, Phoenix, etc... Thirty percent of the time it makes sense to use an airport other than YVR {my home airport}.

In January I took a trip style = {extended} weekend trip to Honolulu. To find the best price, flight schedule and carrier to accrue air miles, I checked direct flights from three airports: Vancouver, Bellingham and Seattle. Here's an example of the return fares I found: Vancouver, BC: $750 /// Bellingham, WA: $370 /// Seattle, WA: $450.

I chose the Bellingham flight for the following reasons: a} price, b} it's only an hour away, c} I can cross the border quickly with Nexus, d} parking is easy at BLI, d} I collect air miles with my flight's carrier: Alaska Airlines, and e} it had the best flight times for an efficient trip style {extended} weekend trip: depart Thurs 6pm, return Tues at 7.10am.

How To :: The Three-Min Think Outside The Airport Search 1/ Determine which airports surround you. 2/ Do a google search for similar flight routes at each airport {Google "direct flights from <insert airport here>" to find results quickly, see example in Google Traveler Tricks} 3/ Go to and manually enter the departure and arrival airport options. See example below between Vancouver and LA. 4/ Survey the results, does it make sense to travel from an alternate airport?

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[graphic by @tripstyler, image pulled from]