Jen Ruiz is a travel blogger who’s determined to take 12 international trips in 12 months—and she wants to do it all before she turns 30.
The best part? She’s doing it all on a budget. Ruiz recently shared some tips for how she regularly scores round-trip international flights for less than $400 a pop.
She’s flown to Sweden, Puerto Rico, Iceland, Ecuador and a handful of other awesome destinations, so her advice is super valuable.
Some of her suggestions include:
1. Flying Budget Airlines
You might be worried about flying on a budget airline when you’re taking a long-haul flight across the globe. But Ruiz says they’re not as bad as you think—many offer the exact same service as other airlines for a much lower price. Many discount airlines will give you meals, snacks, a blanket and complimentary headphones, all for the price of your ticket.
On some budget airlines, you’ll have to pay for everything on top of your ticket (even water), but Ruiz suggests grabbing some food in the airport beforehand and taking whatever seat the airline assigns you.
2. Get On Email Subscription Lists
Sign up for email subscription lists that will alert you to super low prices on international flights. Ruiz suggests Scott’s Cheap Flights, which helped her nab a $182 round-trip flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico recently.
3. Sign Up For A Travel Credit Card
Ruiz got a $145 flight to Ecuador because she signed up for a travel credit card and got 5,000 bonus miles. There are tons of cards that offer sign-up bonuses like this one, but make sure you read the fine print (is there an annual fee?) before you commit.
4. Be Impulsive
When you’re in the market for cheap flights, time is of the essence. If you see a good deal, book it—don’t waste precious time checking in with travel partners or trying to plan the trip first. Ruiz says it’s even a good idea to book a super cheap one-way flight when you can, then worry about the return flight later.
5. Be Flexible
If you’re willing to be flexible on dates and departure airports, you can get some sweet deals. Use Good Flights or the best fare finder on an airline website to get the best deal. These services can take the guesswork out of when you should buy your ticket in order to get the best deal.
It’s also helpful if you’re flexible on airports—Ruiz scored a cheap $76 flight to Morocco by flying to Madrid first.