How to Find Cheap Flights and Other Transportation for Your next Adventure - Bonus Observation

how to find cheap flights anywhere and other transportation - extended observation - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog

This article is bonus content for the article, "How to Book Cheap Flights Anywhere". I highly recommend you read that article before continuing through this one.

 

One of the most challenging aspects of going on an adventure is finding affordable, quality transportation to get you to the places you need to go.

In this article, I’m going to give you a play-by-play look at my process for booking the best flights and other transportation (trains, buses, and ferries specifically) in hope that via your observing my trials, errors, and eventual booking success - you will become more fluent in the art of booking transportation for world travel.

I’m going to be using Google Flights to find the majority of my transportation throughout this practice. If you’re a beginner at using Google flights or booking transportation for travel altogether, read this introduction.

Live Travel Booking Observation

Here’s the itinerary for my upcoming multi-destination trip I’m going to be booking transit for throughout this article:

  • May 1st Fly from Los Angeles TO Dublin
  • May 2nd – May 6th Dublin, Ireland (4 days)
  • May 6th – May 9th Paris, France (3 days)
  • May 9th – May 12th San Sebastian, Spain (3 days)
  • May 12th -  May 15th Santorini, Greece (3 days)
  • May 15th Fly from Santorini TO Los Angeles

Booking Transportation for the First Leg of My Trip - Los Angeles to Dublin

To get started, I'm going to head over to Google Flights to figure out transportation for the first leg of my trip, Los Angeles TO Dublin.

Los Angeles TO Dublin during the month of May…

Los Angeles to Dublin google flights

Pretty good option on May 1st circled in yellow above!

When I click on the $300.00 flight, it reveals itself to be a WOW Air flight with a quick layover in KEF (Iceland).

Google flights Los Angeles to Dublin flight

The flight departs at 12:20PM from LAX and arrives in Dublin the next day at 10:05AM

I’m tempted to just go with this flight and lock in the first leg of transportation for my trip but I’m curious to know if I could possibly get to Dublin for a lower price by connecting through London.

This practice of trying to save money getting your final destination by connecting through a more prominent nearby city is called "finding a connection" which is discussed extensively in my intro article (last time I'll mention it, I swear).

Let’s see if there’s an opportunity to save money via a connecting flight.

Los Angeles TO London on May 1st

Los Angeles To London google flights

May 1st has a option for just $210.00. That's promising!

When clicking on the circled $210.00 option, the flight turns out to be a Norwegian flight that departs at at 6:30 pm and arrives at London's LGW airport the next day (May 2nd) at 1 pm. The reason why the flight arrives in London the next day is because of the roughly 10 hour flight duration and time-zone change.

If the cost of the Norwegian flight from Los Angeles TO London PLUS the cost of a "to be determined" flight from London TO Dublin (my final destination) is less than the $300.00 WOW Air flight I was initially presented with, we will have succeeded in finding a cheaper route!

Let’s see if there’s a flight leaving from London after I land in the city at 1 pm on May 2nd going TO Dublin. Let's also make sure that the flight is departing from the London Airport I'll be arriving at from Los Angeles which is Gatwick or LGW airport (London has 4 major airports).

London (LGW) TO Dublin on May 2nd

London to Dublin google flights

Woohoo! Circled above we have a flight at 3:35 pm via Ryanair for just $32.00! It will get me to Dublin at 4:55 pm.

The combined total for my Los Angeles TO London and London TO Dublin flights are just $242.00!

A $58.00 savings over my initial Los Angeles TO Dublin flight search results.

I’m going to book these two flights and record their information in a nifty format I always use to keep my travel itinerary organized -

Leave Los Angeles (LAX) on May 1st at 6:30pm via Norwegian air ($210.00), Arrive in London (LGW) at 1:00pm on May 2nd

Leave London (LGW) on May 2nd at 3:55pm via Ryanair ($32.00), Arrive in Dublin (DUB) at 4:55pm on May 2nd

The first leg of my trip is booked and now I just have four to go!

Booking Transportation for the Second Leg of My Trip - Dublin to Paris

Given that my itinerary calls for four days in Dublin, including the day I arrive on May 2nd, I will be leaving Dublin for the next stop on my trip, Paris, on May 6th.

Let's find a flight!

Dublin TO Paris on May 6th

Dublin to Paris google flights

Lots of options. Unfortunately, the cheapest one ($51.00 on Ryanair) leaves too late for my taste since I always like to get to my destination as early as possible to maximize my time there.

For that reason, I’m going to go with the circled $91.00 Aer Lingus flight that leaves at 9:40am. If I wasn't on a fixed schedule, I would have happily booked the $51.00 flight and just built the lost time into my trip on the back end. Therein lies the value and money saving power of being flexible while traveling!

Now that I have the Dublin TO Paris leg of my trip booked, this is where I’m at with my transportation plan –

Leave Los Angeles (LAX) on May 1st at 6:30pm via Norwegian air ($210.00), Arrive in London (LGW) at 1:00pm on May 2nd

Leave London (LGW) on May 2nd at 3:55pm via Ryanair ($32.00), Arrive in Dublin (DUB) at 4:55pm on May 2nd

Leave Dublin (DUB) on May 6th at 9:40am via Aer Lingus ($91.00), Arrive in Paris (CDG) at 12:25pm on May 6th

Booking Transportation for the Third Leg of my Trip - Paris to San Sebastian

My itinerary calls for three days in Paris and since I arrived in the city on May 6th, that means that the next bit of transportation I need to figure out is…

Paris TO San Sebastian on May 9th...

Paris to San Sebastian google flights

After typing in my May 9th departure date into Google Flights, I’m seeing a decent flight option circled above for $98.00 via Iberia that leaves at 7:45am and gets me to San Sebastian at 12:55pm (with a layover in Madrid).

Given Paris’ proximity to San Sebastian though, I may have the opportunity to do even better by opting for a bus or train.

Knowing when buses and trains are an option versus when they aren't can be a hard thing to just… know. In my experience, if two places you’re trying to get between are relatively close and not separated by large bodies of water or other countries, there’s a good chance that there is a bus or train route connecting the two.

If you’re looking at two locations on a map and think there may be bus or train route but aren’t sure, Google can help you find out!

To solve your problem via Google, go ahead and search, “[your origin city name] to [your destination city name] by bus” OR “[your origin city name] to [your destination city name] by train”.

If bus or train options exist, Google will show you booking websites where you can purchase tickets or at least turn up other resources that will tell you how to go about purchasing tickets if online booking is not available.

For my trip, I’m going to take the advice I just gave you and ask Google, “Paris to San Sebastian by bus” to see what results I get.

google search bus from Paris to San Sebastian

I’m seeing a couple of results pictured above that seem to be claiming that there’s a route… The first result seems relevant, even though it's an ad. I'm going to click on it.

flixbus Paris to San Sebastian  results

That click has taken me to “FLIXBUS” which is claiming fares as low as 29 euros. I’m going to pop in my dates and hit “search” to see if specific prices are available.

Flix bus no results

Booo.

No prices are available that far in advance. Can’t say I’m surprised.

Airlines are good about getting their fares up well in advanced but buses usually don’t have fares up outside of 2-3 months in advanced.

In lieu of being able to see specific price information for my travel dates, I would at least like to get an understanding of how long a bus ride between Paris and San Sebastian is just to get a sense of if buses are an option I’d even be interested in. To do that, I’m going to check Paris TO San Sebastian bus prices on FLIXBUS but for more imminent dates since the transit time should be about the same for buses leaving now as they are for buses leaving in May.

flixbus Paris to San Sebastian buses

Pictured above are the results FLIXBUS just gave me and it looks like 10 – 14 hour transit times via bus. I don’t care how cheap the tickets are, an average of 12 hours is way too long in transit given the small amount of time I have to spend in San Sebastian.

Let’s check on trains.

I'll Google search “Paris to San Sebastian by train” to see what I get.

paris to San Sebastian by train google results

The top result circled above is for “Go Euro”, a company I’ve booked with before. I’ll click onto the site to see what they have to offer.

Go Euro Train paris to San Sebastian

Popping in my departure date and hitting search.

Paris to San Sebastian May 9th Go Euro results

Pictured above is a great train option Go Euro is offering me. The train is leaving at 7:52am from Paris’ Montparnasse train station for $61.66 (the price was originally presented to me in euros but in the upper right hand corner of the screen, you can switch currencies. Keep that in mind if you're ever booking on a foreign website as most times you can switch the languages and currencies to your native one).

This $61.66 train is $36.34 cheaper than the flight option I saw earlier and it’s going to take me about the same amount of time in transit.

I’m loving this train option but there is one issue I’m seeing that you always need to be mindful of when booking buses and trains – The train drops me off at "Gare d'Hendaye Station" and I have no idea where that is in relation to San Sebastian.

As a matter of fact when I click on the yellow text above that says “1 Change”...

results go euro Paris to San Sebastian Bus

I get information that says I’ll need to find my own way between Gare d'Hendaye and San Sebastian because this train does not go all the way there.

Never assume that your train or bus is dropping you off exactly where you want to go. Always know what station you’re getting dropped off at and where it is in relation to your final destination.

In my case, Google can help me figure out "how to get from Gare d'Hendaye station to San Sebastion" so I’ll go ahead and ask.

How to get from Hendaye to San Sebastian

It looks like just a 24 minute car ride which means San Sebastian is close by. I'm going to click on the public transit tab to see if there are bus/train options since hiring a car would be pricey.

Public transit connecting Hendaye to San Sebastian

I've clicked on the public transit tab and circled above are some simple looking options available for this journey. Annoyingly, there's no information offered on how much these public transit options cost... I went ahead and checked out some of the other websites Google turned up when I asked it "how to get from Gare d'Hendaye station to San Sebastion" and multiple sources are saying the public transit costs should be around $6.00 between the train station and my destination.

That’s $61.66 for the train from Paris TO Hendaye plus $6.00 for the public transit from Hendaye TO San Sebastian's city center which equals a total of $67.66.

That’s $30.34 cheaper than the plane option and only about an hour slower with everything added up…

I vote train.

Let's recap all of that. At 7:52am on May 9th I'll take Train #8231 from Paris and arrive at Hendaye station at 1:11pm. From there, I'll hop on public transportation that will take about forty-five minutes to get me to the city center of San Sebastian.

I should arrive at roughly 2 pm.

With that leg finished, here's my transportation plan -

Leave Los Angeles (LAX) on May 1st at 6:30pm via Norwegian air ($210.00), Arrive in London (LGW) at 1:00pm on May 2nd

Leave London (LGW) on May 2nd at 3:55pm via Ryanair ($32.00), Arrive in Dublin (DUB) at 4:55pm on May 2nd

Leave Dublin (DUB) on May 6th at 9:40am via Aer Lingus ($91.00), Arrive in Paris (CDG) at 12:25pm on May 6th

Leave Paris (Montparnasse Train Station) on May 9th at 7:52am via Train #8231 ($61.66), Arrive in Hendaye (Train Station) at 1:11pm on May 9th

Leave Hendaye (via public transportation) on May 9th at roughly 1:15pm (roughly $6.00), Arrive in San Sebastian at roughly 2:00pm on May 9th

As you can see, figuring out alternative means of transportation to planes can take a little more legwork. The extra work can net you decent savings though. Going through this practice is especially important when you’re trying to get to smaller, more secluded cities since planes charge a lot to travel to less popular destinations.

Booking Transportation for the Fourth Leg of My Trip - San Sebastian to Santorini

Speaking of getting to secluded locations, I need to figure out how to get from San Sebastian, Spain TO Santorini, Greece on May 12th for the next leg of my trip.

This probably isn’t going to be as straightforward as popping both cities into Google flights and hopping directly between them because both are small destinations and flights between them are not popular which means they’ll probably be expensive.

Let’s give it a shot though.

San Sebastian TO Santorini on May 12th

San Sebastian to Santorini google flights result may 12

No good options. All too late (the top flight for $266.00 won't get me to my destination until 12:25 am the next day) or too expensive… Let’s see if we can connect through Athens (Greece's capital).

San Sebastian TO Athens on May 12th

San Sebastian to athens on may 12th google flights

We have a decent option pictured above, an 8:35 AM Vueling flight for $148.00 that will get us to Athens at 2:15 PM.

Let’s see if Athens has a flight TO Santorini after 2:15 pm when I land.

Athens TO Santorini after 2:15 PM

Athens To Santorini on May 12 google flights results

Nothing that impressive. The only flight I'm eligible for is a $92.00 one that will get me to Santorini at 6:00 pm. Adding everything up, I'm looking at San Sebastian to Athens for $148.00 + Athens to Santorini for $92.00 which equals $240.00. I hate that price but I don't think I have any other options if I'm committed to sticking to my itinerary (which for the purposes of this article, I am).

Maybe I can get to Santorini by boat?

I’m going to Google “ways to get from Athens to Santorini” to find out.

Ways to get from athens to santorini google result

The top result is an ad that looks non-relevant given that it's trying to sell me a flight. I'll go ahead and click on the second result which is a website called Santorini Secrets.

Santorinisecrets.com

Looks like I have two options, ferry and plane. We already know about planes so let’s click on “By Ferry.” *CLICK*

Clicking that option has redirected me to a ferry booking website called "Let's Ferry".

Before we ferry, Let’s change the language of this site to English...  In the upper left-hand corner of the screen, there's a switch.

let's ferry website

*ENGLISH-CHANGE-O*

Athens to santorini lets ferry english site

Now that I can read, I'm going to enter that I’m looking to get from Athens to Santorini on May 12th and hit search!

Let's ferry athens to santorini ferries on may 12th

I've been quoted 69,70 euro for a 5-hour trip. That price when converted to dollars is $82.00, $10.00 cheaper than my flight option but five times longer.

That's a bad value so I'm going to opt for the $240.00 flight we found earlier.

Here's my travel plan with that leg finalized-

Leave Los Angeles (LAX) on May 1st at 6:30 pm via Norwegian air ($210.00), Arrive in London (LGW) at 1:00 pm on May 2nd

Leave London (LGW) on May 2nd at 3:55 pm via Ryanair ($32.00), Arrive in Dublin (DUB) at 4:55 pm on May 2nd

Leave Dublin (DUB) on May 6th at 9:40 am via Aer Lingus ($91.00), Arrive in Paris (CDG) at 12:25 pm on May 6th

Leave Paris (Montparnasse Train Station) on May 9th at 7:52 am via Train #8231 ($61.66), Arrive in Hendaye (Train Station) at 1:11 pm on May 9th

Leave Hendaye (via public transportation) on May 9th at 1:15 pm (roughly $6.00), Arrive in San Sebastian at roughly 2:00 pm on May 9th

Leave San Sebastian (EAS) on May 12th at 8:35 am via Vueling ($148), Arrive in Athens (ATH) at 2:15 pm on May 12th

Leave Athens (ATH) on May 12th at 5:15 pm via Olympic ($92.00), Arrive in Santorini (JTR) at 6:00 pm on May 12th.

Booking Transportation for the Final Leg of My Trip -  Santorini to Los Angeles

Final leg! Time to find a cheap way back to Los Angeles from Santorini on May 15th!

Santorini TO Los Angeles on May 15th...

Horrifying flight prices from Santorini to Los Angeles

That is horrifying.

Let’s try connecting through Athens.

Santorini TO Athens on May 15th

Santorini to Athens on May 15th

I want an early flight to give me plenty of time to catch a connection from Athens TO Los Angeles. The top result is a very cheap Ryanair flight for $33.00 but it's too early at 12:35 AM... The next earliest flight is $80.00 at 8:20 am which lands me in Athens at 9:10 am. I'll have to go with that.

Let’s see if there's a good connecting flight from Athens TO Los Angeles on May 15th after 9:10 am...

Athens to Los Angeles bad flight prices google flights

Garbage. All of the results are too expensive and way too long.

Let’s try connecting through London instead of Athens to get to Los Angeles since London was the city I connected through at the beginning of my trip. Going with a London connection would make my route - Santorini TO London TO Los Angeles.

Santorini TO London on May 15th

Santorini to London on May 15th google flights results

I see a possible winner with this "Thomas Cook Airlines" flight pictured above for $120.00. The flight is probably running too late in the day though (3 pm) for me to be able to catch a final connection to Los Angeles from London… let’s see.

London TO Los Angeles on May 15th

London to Los Angeles on May 15th google flights

Great flight on Norwegian, but as expected, it's leaving too early for my flight from Santorini which won’t get me to London until 3 pm.

I’m going to have to rapid-fire through cities in Europe using the Google Flight's Explore feature to try and find a solution. Google Flight's Explore feature lets you put in your origin city and the date you want to travel. It then shows you the prices of all of the cities in the area you can fly to that day. The goal here is to find a cheap major city to fly from Santorini into and then pray that the city has a cheap flight to Los Angeles I can catch.

Google Flights explore Santorini to Europe on May 15th

Looks like Santorini flies into Barcelona ($77.00) and Rome ($95.00) for pretty cheap on May 15th… let’s see if either of those two cities have a late connection to Los Angeles at a decent price.

Barcelona TO Los Angeles on May 15th…

Barcelona to Los Angeles May 15th google flights

There’s a Norwegian flight but it’s leaving at 8:10 am which is too early in the morning to make it over from Santorini. It's also a long flight at 16 hours.

Let’s try Rome.

Rome TO Los Angeles on May 15th

Rome to Los Angeles flights on may 15th google flights

Again, too early…

I’m running out of ideas here…

City of lights?

Paris TO Los Angeles on May 15th...

Paris to Los Angeles on May 15th google flights results

DING DING DING DING DING.

Paris has a $235.00 direct flight TO Los Angeles via Norwegian leaving at 3:15 pm from CDG airport.

Now, pray to whatever you believe in that I can get from Santorini TO Paris' CDG airport early enough (and cheap enough) to catch that 3:15 pm flight to Los Angeles.

Santorini TO Paris (CDG) on May 15th...

Santorini TO Paris CDG on May 15th google flights

YESSSSDSDAOUIWQEU!!!! (I literally threw my arms up and yelled that just now...)

Circled above is a flight for $109.00 leaving at 6:40 am that will get me to Paris’ CDG airport at 11:10 AM!

That’s a comfy four hours before my flight to Los Angeles!

I'm going home!!!!!

Total cost for this final leg home is just $344.00!

Here’s my final transportation plan for my May trip:

Leave Los Angeles (LAX) on May 1st at 6:30 pm via Norwegian air ($210.00), Arrive in London (LGW) at 1:00 pm on May 2nd

Leave London (LGW) on May 2nd at 3:55 pm via Ryanair ($32.00), Arrive in Dublin (DUB) at 4:55pm on May 2nd

Leave Dublin (DUB) on May 6th at 9:40 am via Aer Lingus ($91.00), Arrive in Paris (CDG) at 12:25pm on May 6th

Leave Paris (Montparnasse Train Station) on May 9th at 7:52 am via Train #8231 ($61.66), Arrive in Hendaye (Train Station) at 1:11 pm on May 9th

Leave Hendaye (via public transportation) on May 9th at 1:15pm (roughly $6.00), Arrive in San Sebastian at roughly 2:00 pm on May 9th

Leave San Sebastian (EAS) on May 12th at 8:35am via Vueling ($148), Arrive in Athens (ATH) at 2:15 pm on May 12th

Leave Athens (ATH) on May 12th at 5:15pm via Olympic ($92.00), Arrive in Santorini (JTR) at 6:00 pm on May 12th

Leave Santorini (JTR) on May 15th at 6:40am via Aegean ($109.00), Arrive in Paris (CDG) at 11:10 am on May 15th

Leave Paris (CDG) on May 15th at 3:15pm via Norwegian ($235.00), Arrive in Los Angeles (LAX) at 6:00 pm on May 15th

Wrapping Up How to Find Cheap Flights Anywhere and Other Transportation

If you felt like your head was spinning while following me through my transportation booking process, I don’t blame you. Mine was too.

The moral of the story here is that Google Flights is your friend when booking place tickets and when certain flights seem expensive, explore the possibility of finding connections or finding non-flight methods of transportation (buses, trains, etc.).

I know I promised I wouldn’t mention this again but I'm a compulsive liar - If you haven’t read my intro to finding cheap flights article yet, check it out. It’s a much smaller version of what you’ve witnessed here that will hammer in a lot of these concepts.

My challenge to you is to now put into action everything you've learned here to book cheap flights and other transportation for your next big trip!

As always, if you need individual help processing this information or just need a passably decent humanoid to talk to, leave me a comment below.


Following along with my Six-Step Course on How To Travel The World? Kudos on taking the time to read this bonus article! Your apparent commitment to learning all you can to make your travel ambitions come true is seriously incredible! Next up, learn all about booking cheap accommodation!

If you have no idea what course I'm talking about and are interested in a fun, free (fun & free, not fun-free... we'll have a lot of fun) comprehensive course on How To Travel The World - Click here!

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