How To Get Cheaper Air Fares

How To Get Cheap Airfare Tickets

One sector of the economy which has suffered perhaps more than any other from the depression in the global financial market is the travel industry. To be slightly more accurate, international travel is where the squeeze has really been placed. A lot of people who most years would actively consider flying abroad for their holiday have decided in the wake of job losses and reduced incomes that staying close to home for a holiday is perhaps more prudent. For anyone who retains an element of wanderlust that simply cannot be satisfied by a short stay in a neighbouring state, the importance of reduced air fares has become all the greater. You can still fly abroad for a holiday, assuming you have the means to pay – it is all about maximising what you can get for your money.

To find the cheapest air fares, you need to widen the range of your search. The laws of supply and demand dictate that where there is a lot of demand the prices will be higher. Therefore, while prices may have dropped to forestall a mass exodus from the traditional holiday hot spots, there will still be a premium for flying to places where a lot of people still want to go. But just because a place is not frequented by as many tourists, that does not mean that it is going to be a bad place to visit. For many of us, in fact, that is a selling point. Many people complain about the tourist traps as holiday destinations, feeling that if they want an experience that is just like home, they could stay at home and save a lot of money. Visiting somewhere that is off the beaten track may be the best thing you can do to enjoy your holiday and save on your budget.

To find a cheaper air fare you may be well advised to avoid package deals. Certainly, it is easier to make one payment and have your flight, board and meals covered for the holiday. It is, however, also more expensive. You can make an immediate saving by looking to arrange the details separately, although this will obviously be easier if you have a working knowledge of the language spoken in the country you are visiting. Travel agents are excellent at arranging lower cost air-fares if these are not bundled with transfers and accommodation.

Another way of finding lower air fares is to look online. There are numerous sites which promise to arrange the flight for you, and search for the lowest fare. You do, however, then have to pay them for the privilege of arranging things. There is an alternative here – you can use these sites to search for lower air fares and then book directly via the airline website, saving the arrangement fees in the process. This will mean more work on your part, but when you see the savings you make by being prepared to make your own arrangements it can easily pay for itself, and also give you greater freedom once you are on the ground in your destination.

What Happens to Your Aeroplan Miles?

Air Canada Buys Aeroplan

Air Canada created Aeroplan in 1984 to reward Air Canada and its alliance members. Then in 2008 Air Canada sold Aeroplan, but still maintained its partnership. Last year, Air Canada declared its intention to abandon Aeroplan in 2020 to create its own frequent flyer program and then this year (2018), Air Canada - along with its partners such as TD, CIBC, and VISA - have bought back Aeroplan for $450 million with its 1.9 billion miles liability.

If you are an Aeroplan member and not sure what to do with your miles after all these developments, I will shed some light today in simple terms so you can get the most out of your Aeroplan miles.

Aeroplan provides the best value when you redeem them for business class flights. However, make sure you don’t pay fuel and other surcharges levied by some airlines including Air Canada. Watch this video to learn more about it: How Not to Get Dinged by Air Canada on Aeroplan Rewards

So if you have a trip coming up before 2020, redeeming Aeroplan for business class will provide the most value. Although, Air Canada mentioned Aeroplan will be transferable to the new Air Canada loyalty program, I doubt that you will get better value than redeeming your miles now for business class flights.

However, if you are not taking a trip, don’t rush to redeem your miles. Rush decisions often make poorer judgements and lower redemption values.

In terms of Aeroplan credit cards, no one knows at this point whether these cards will continue as is or will have decreased rewards and benefits. As far as you are concerned, you can keep using these cards to earn miles. I don’t see any need to cancel and change these Aeroplan cobranded credit cards yet.

I do see more credit cards with hefty sign-up bonuses and a variety of benefits & rewards coming up in the future, once Air Canada is set to go with its new frequent flyer loyalty program in 2020 and beyond.  

There is a possibility that Air Canada will devalue Aeroplan at the time of the transfer or after that. This is because of the humongous amounts Air Canada and its partners are paying to absorb Aeroplan will have to come from somewhere and devaluing seems to be the easiest way to make that happen.

So, to summarize everything in brief:

- If you need to redeem Aeroplan, redeeming for business class flight will provide the best value and I doubt you will getter better value than now even after the transfer to the new program.

- Keep using your Aeroplan credit cards as usual.

- Keep an eye out for more credit cards with mega bonuses and possibly better reward structure and benefits in the future.

If you are interested to learn more about Aeroplan, watch my Aeroplan videos here:

Aeroplan 101 - Tips, Tricks, & the Basics

Light Traveler's Travel Checklist

Light Travel Packing List 

First Published: Dec 11, 2011

I love to travel. And I guess it would be hard to find someone who does not like to travel. I am a minimalist person and what I have found out throughout my years of travel experience is that applying a minimalistic approach while you travel does make a difference - a lot of difference. When I travel, my objective is to pack only those things in my bag that are absolutely necessary. There is a day and night difference between carrying negligible-weight luggage and carrying bulky, hard to carry luggage. I have my own list of objects that I must need when I travel. Today, I will share this list with you. 

The Absolutely Can’t Survive Without It List   

- Toothpaste
- Toothbrush
- Mouthwash
- Cotton Swabs
- Floss
- Razor
- Deodorant
- Sunscreen
- Shave Foam
- Soap/Shower Gel
- Shampoo
- Conditioner
- Lotion
- Lip Balm
- Perfume
- Chewing Gum
- Glasses/Sunglasses
- Comb
- An unlocked cheap Smartphone
- Nail Cutter
- Hair Trimmer
- Polo Shirts (2-3 pieces) 
- T-Shirts (2-3 pieces) 
- Pants (2-3 pairs) 
- Underwear (2-3 pieces) 
- Socks (2-3 pairs) 
- Long Sleeve Shirts (1-2 pieces) 
- A packable Raincoat Light Jacket
- A winter Jacket, Scarf, Gloves, etc. (if your destination is a cold country) 
- Shorts/Pajamas (2-3 pairs) 
- A Tablet Computer
- A small Camera
- One Universal Travel Adapter (most of the A/C adaptors are dual voltage compatible these   
  days and you may not need a separate universal power converter) 
- A small Flashlight
- One pair of Light Shoes
- One pair of Light Sandal
- Some OTC Medicines and Accessories (Such as Band-Aids, medicines for pain, nausea,   
vomiting, cold and flu, diarrhoea, heartburn and gas, and so on) 
- Alcohol Wipes/Towelettes
- A few different size Ziploc bags and plastic bags
- Some Cereal Bars
- A mini travel First Aid Kit

The reason I asked to leave your expensive smartphone at home is because in some countries it may attract the unwanted attention of thieves or robbers. You need an unlocked phone because it lets you buy a SIM card in the destination country to make cheap phone calls if you don’t have Wi-Fi to use Skype. 

The reason I can survive with only 2-3 pairs of all my clothes is because I hand wash my dirty clothes every day and they are ready to wear again the next day. Also, if I think I missed something, I just buy it in my destination country.   

You may not need some items I mentioned here to travel light, or you may need to add some more. Save or print this page and make your own list if it will help. And yes, don’t forget to double-check before you leave to make sure you are not missing anything. Happy traveling! 

WestJet Starts Its Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier Swoop

Swoop (Fly) Within Canada for As Low As $39 One-Way

Video Link:

A return flight within Canada can cost more than a return flight to Europe. But those days will soon be gone with Canada’s new budge airline Swoop offering ultra-low-cost flights within Canada.

A one-way flight between Abbotsford to Edmonton is as low as $39 one-way. However, there is a catch. You will not be fly out of major airports in big cities such as Toronto or Vancouver. Instead, Swoop operates out of smaller cities’ airports, such as Hamilton in Ontario or Abbotsford in British Columbia. These locations are an hour or more commute from big cities.

Also, you are allowed to have only one personal item. Anything extra will cost you money and so are extra amenities like WiFi, movies, snacks, drinks, and so on.

Most travellers wouldn’t mind paying for the extra items, given the fact they are getting such great deals on fares.

Swoop will start flying in June, but booking is available on its website ( starting in June.

There are more low-cost carriers currently operating or will be operating from Canada internationally or locally. Here is a list of what we have so far:

Wow Air – Iceland based. Started in 2015.

Primera Air – Denmark/Latvia based. From May, 2018.

Flair Air – Kelowna based. In operation.

Jetlines – Vancouver based. From June 1, 2018.

Swoop – Owned by WestJet. From June, 2018.

More carriers mean more competition and lower prices. I hope we will see more of these low-cost carriers to make flying more affordable for Canadians. According to the 2017 Flight Price Index Canada ranks 65th out of 80, making it very expensive to fly out of Canada.

Air Canada Departs Aeroplan – 3 Things You Must Know

Aeroplan and Air Canada

The Date – The first thing you need to know is June 30, 2020 is that date when Air Canada terminates its contract from Aimia, which is the parent company of Aeroplan. After this date you will not be able to use Aeroplan to earn or redeem Air Canada or any other Star Alliance members’ points.

Aeroplan Points – The second thing you need to know is that your Aeroplan points after June 30, 2020 remain intact. Aeroplan points or miles will remain the same and they are not going anywhere. However, what you are losing is access to Air Canada or Star Alliance flights. Why this is so important? That’s in #3.

Flight Redemptions – The third and most important thing is that after June 30, 2020 you will not be able to redeem Aeroplan for flight resumptions for Air Canada or any Star Alliance members. Star Alliance is the world’s largest alliance and it has partners such as Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss Air and many others—28 total. Because Air Canada is a part of this alliance, Aeroplan has access to any alliance members for flight redemptions, especially for business class flights. Once Air Canada departs Aeroplan, you will lose that privilege and will not be able to redeem points for flights. You will still be able to redeem Aeroplan for gifts and merchandise but you will not get value out of your points.

Let me give you an example. My business class flight for my upcoming trip from Toronto to Dhaka gave me 7 cents per point return. You will never get this type of return redeeming for non-flight categories. So the best use for Aeroplan would be to redeem them for business class flights before the termination.

But be careful redeeming for business class flights, as some of the Star Alliance members charge hefty fuel surcharges. I have a video discussing the details of everything I mentioned here:

| Aeroplan & Air Canada Departure | 3 Things You Must Know Now |