By Mac Jaehnert
Traveling cheaply can be tricky, especially if you don't have much experience hunting for deals and comparing their prices across multiple websites/systems. However I'm booking, I try to maintain some basic benchmarks for whether or not I consider something to be a "great" airfare deal. My general guidelines for standard economy fares (not booked with points) are as follows, with caveats for routing and amenities:
- Regional flights under $100.
- Domestic flights under $200.
- Canada/Mexico/Central America/Caribbean under $300.
- Transatlantic flights under $400.
- Transpacific flights under $500.
I use tools like Skyscanner to keep an eye on the cheapest airfare from my home airport, so I'll be the first to know when fares to a certain city or country drop below its usual rate. Replace "Denver" with whatever city is easiest for you to depart from and check out a list of all the countries you didn't know you could afford to visit!
Using this method, I was able to find some really attractive fares this afternoon from Denver to various cities in Thailand for well under $500! If you want to check out one of the crown jewels of Southeast Asia during the start of their cool, dry season, these are some pretty astonishing deals from Denver to Bangkok or Phuket.
Now for the downside: beyond the obvious 30+ hour length of each leg, these fares are also both on China Eastern. China Eastern, like all Chinese carriers, does not allow the use of mobile phones in any way on their airplanes at any time, and yes, this includes Airplane Mode. So if you wind up booking a flight on China Eastern, be sure to load up your tablet or laptop with all the content you'll need to fill 13 1/2 hours. While this draconian policy is rumored to be changing soon, it's definitely still occurring, with some rule breakers finding themselves locked up abroad.
Would you give up your phone for 13 1/2 hours for a cheap flight to Thailand? To find these fares for yourself and explore the rest of the calendar, check out this Google Flights search.