My visa was about due to expire and I needed to leave Vietnam to re-apply, lest I be hunted down by the government and imprisoned as an illegal immigrant!
Or at least that’s what I’d like to imagine could happen
Of course things aren’t that serious, and traveling around Asia can be surprisingly cheap, so no biggie.
I’m going to share with you my own personal “travel hacks” that helped me save money on airline tickets in Asia. Since I was in no position to apply for credit cards or had any frequent flyer miles saved, I had to use these other methods to find the best deals.
This is a ticket I booked to Hong Kong for $56 USD one way.
After a few days of enjoying the sites and sounds of the Pearl of the Orient, I booked a ticket back to Da Nang for $45USD.
So I not only got to renew my visa in Vietnam, but I was able to visit a country I’ve never been to for about $100 bucks.
Here are some other trips I booked with huge savings:
Da Nang, Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam: $22.50 USD each way
Da Nang, Vietnam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: $70 USD each way
Bali Indonesia to Singapore: $55 USD one way
How can I find the best deals on airline tickets in Asia?
The key here is to know which are the discount airlines in Asia and what days are the best to fly.
Luckily all of this info is on one app.
Use the Skyscanner mobile app
The Skyscanner mobile app is my favorite tool to use for finding the cheapest tickets.
Skyscanner’s desktop site is a bit cluttered in my opinion since they try to sell you on hotels and rentals. But the mobile app is clean and focused only on flights.
I used to use Kayak to search for airline tickets, but the functionality of Skyscanner blows Kayak out the water (pun intended).
There are two features I LOVE:
- The quick monthly overview that tells you the cheapest price each month.
- The option to view the absolute lowest price to ANY destination.
Using these features will be immensely helpful in planning your trip. But to really benefit from them, you’ll have to be flexible.
Be flexible with your days of travel
If you can be flexible with the days you travel, you’ll be able to save much more than booking on certain days of course.
Here’s what I do on Skyscanner:
Let’s say I want to go to Hong Kong.
At a glance I can see what months are the cheapest to book.
In this case, it looks like the best time to travel is in April.
Looks like I’ll be going to Hong Kong on April 30th!
But if you find that it’s still expensive, then the next best thing is to try other cities to stop at.
Be flexible with your destination.
Let’s say I want to go to Tokyo, Japan from where I’m at.
Looks like the cheapest price is $274 in April. Not bad.
But I think I can do better.
Using the “Everywhere” option in Skyscanner, I can see what my other options are.
From the home screen, click on the “Flying to” text box and you’ll be taken to this screen above.
Then click on the “Everywhere” option.
Be sure to select the dates as “Anytime” to see the absolute cheapest price.
From here I can see other cities I can stop at that might have a better price to Tokyo.
PRO TIP: Sometimes purchasing one way tickets are cheaper than roundtrip tickets so be sure to check on both prices.
Looks like one way tickets are really cheap to Hong Kong.
My next step is to see what the cost will be from Hong Kong to Tokyo.
Looks like May has the cheapest prices for a roundtrip to Tokyo from Hong Kong at $147USD.
Skyscanner sometimes shows you old data, so make sure you check each day for sure just incase the airline changed their prices.
Looks like the price is really about $153USD.
Let’s do some hypothetical math to give you an idea of my thought process:
- One way ticket from Da Nang (where I’m from) to Hong Kong is $47
- Round trip ticket to Tokyo from Hong Kong is $153
- One way ticket back to Da Nang (assuming we found just as good of a price as we did to HK) $47
Total cost: $247
Compare that to the $274 cost of going directly from Da Nang to Tokyo.
That’s a $30 savings AND I get to visit an entirely different country!
So this is what I do each and every time I want to go on an adventure through Asia!
Now of course you have to take into consideration the cost of accommodations and the opportunity cost of time when flying around. Sometimes this doesn’t make the most sense, but hey, its worth trying out.
Once you’re ready to book, Skyscanner redirects you to the airlines mobile website.
I prefer just making note of the airline or website with the cheapest ticket, then I go to their desktop website to complete the purchase. But you can use your mobile phone to complete the entire purchase too.
Hopefully this gives you some ideas of how you can “hack” (last time I use that word I swear) your travels through Asia using a simple mobile app and spending about 30 minutes to an hour searching through your options.
How do you plan for your travels?
Do you have any advice for me?
Let me know in the comments section below!