$9 airfare and 9 other travel hacks

Extreme savings means getting a lot more bang for your buck -- and maybe being able to afford more fun than you thought possible. Here's how to do it.

By Donna Freedman

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May 25, 2011 3:39PM

Re: Getting there by air: CheapOair cost me $900 on a ticket I couldn't even use. Almost every time I called customer care for help, I'd be (a) on hold for 20+ minutes, (b) disconnected, or (c) some combination of the two. Eventually, I was finally able to connect to a human. Too bad her information was completely wrong and useless. I had to spend another $1300 for usable tickets through Priceline.


CheapOair is so scammy and unprofessional, I wouldn't let someone I don't like book through them. Do a google search on them...my story is a bit too common.

May 27, 2011 3:26PM
      This story is a little misleading. I don't see anywhere that tells you where or how to get 9$ airfares.
The $9 airfare is INCREDIBLY misleading.  It's on Spirit Airlines.  What they DON'T tell you is this:

Spirit charges for carry on bags.  ($30-$45 PER BAG).
Spirit (like all airlines) charges for checked ($28 for the first, $35 for the second).
Spirit charges if you want a seat assignment ($6 for a middle seat, $12 for a window/aisle).
Spirit charges $25 overweight fee at 40 pounds.  All other airlines allow 50 pounds.

I've flown on Spirit.  You can fly cheaper on other airlines when you add all the extra "fees" Spirit charges.
May 27, 2011 2:34PM
Free home stays?.....you gotta be kidding......personally i wouldn't care if came back and saw an internet video of my wife and I taking a shower......but you might.
Honey,look!.....its a spy-cam !.....ha ha ha!

May 27, 2011 2:13PM
I would rather save a little here, so I have it when I really want to buy something nice for the spouse. Any way someone can save a dollar is a good thing, even if you have to go without the perks of a vacation you are on. Save, and save some more.
May 27, 2011 1:36PM
@George Sinks: As long as I'm not carrying liquids in my lunch there doesn't seem to be a problem. I bring along an empty water bottle and fill it on the other side. However, I make the bottle a "disposable" one, e.g., an empty soft-drink bottle, in case they confiscate it. Don't want to lose the stainless steel water bottle that someone gave me for Christmas.
May 25, 2011 6:05PM

Regarding cheap eats, Costco always has samples out at lunchtime. Nice way to either bolster that buck-fifty dog and Coke or replace it (especially on weekends). Note: Don't be a hog and scarf up the snacks.


One thing Donna did not mention: You must be a Costco member to go in. Memberships start at $50 a year. Buy one tank of gas per week and you've paid your fee in savings.

May 25, 2011 5:56PM

Note: You can NOT buy a Japan Rail pass in Japan. It is ONLY available to non-Japanese travelers coming to Japan. You buy it in your country (in my case the U.S.) and get your receipt. You show the receipt at a suitably-sized train station (Hiroshima yes, Saijo no), and get your pass.


The Green pass (1st class) is worth the extra fee if you're broad like me and want a larger seat. Do NOT get talked into buying it if you don't need it.

Pround-to-be-American wrote:

no it doesn't....i don't know which airport you fly through but USA air ports don't allow food in trough the gates. just water, that still needs to be swapped for a test.

Um.... you are VERY wrong.  NO liquid is going to be allowed through  That INCLUDES water.  The only exception to this is baby formula.  Food can be carried through with no problem.  Much like others here, I have carried food through with no problems.
May 27, 2011 3:53PM
@TexasMom: The $9 airfare mention was illustrative, i.e., if you sign up for e-mails regarding flash fares you will be privy to such prices as they happen.

May 27, 2011 5:25PM
Darn, I don't know what airlines you guys fly.......or from where!  I live in Mexico 2 months, then back to Washington state for 2 months, year around.  I ALWAYS pack a lunch or buy food prior to either trip, carry it through security.  I've NEVER had to throw anything away, ever.  Obviously I don't take liquids through, buy those on the other side of security.  Listen, I've taken KFC, home-made chef salads, whatever I feel like for the current trip.  I always take 5 pounds of cheddar cheese going south (can't buy it in Mexico), and always bring quesadilla cheese coming north (too expensive to buy here).  I fly out of Guadalajara, Puerta Vallarta, Manzanillo, Seattle, Los Angeles.  All this food in my little hand carried cooler.  Only thing I've ever had to throw away was two avocados I couldn't get through customs in L.A. 'cause they still had the seed in them.  Guy said had I removed the seeds prior to going through they wouldn't have been a problem.  Maybe you all should ask to see the regulations concerning food products going through security before you arbitrarily let them make you throw your lunch away!
May 27, 2011 3:52PM
The fare to which I referred was actually a JetBlue special. With fees, the $9 became $39 RT.
As to $9 Spirit airfares, I'd say that it's still a darned cheap flight even if you get charged for a carry-on.
And I swear, guys, that I have taken bagels, apples, sandwiches and other foods through the security checkpoint. No food has ever been confiscated from me. I'm not sure why this happens to you.

May 27, 2011 1:39PM
Another option I took on a recent vacation was to ship some clothing and other various supplies ahead to my timeshare.  These were all 'disposable' items...clothing I was wearing for the last time, a little laundry detergent, etc.   I just threw these things away as I used them, and flew home pretty much hands free.   It cost $20 to ship, and a min. bag check would have been $25 each way.
May 27, 2011 3:21PM
Answer to post 11 "YES IT WORKS"

no it doesn't....i don't know which airport you fly through but USA air ports don't allow food in trough the gates. just water, that still needs to be swapped for a test.

and to be honest with you, you might like the CHEAP  vacation but have you though of the people that your staying with....i know for sure i wouldn't want my aunt to constantly coming to visit me because i live in Fl and taking my car all the time. I mean sure i love my family and i love when they visit....but they get a rental (unless i have a spear car) and they pay for the food.

and a lot of the times are out of the house so that my family still gets our space (my mom and dad visited me for 3 weeks last year) so you cant just live on coupons...and discount cards or whatever.

save up money before you go visit your family so that than you dont look like the CHEAP AUNT! 

May 27, 2011 4:25PM

$1 bus fares California, Arizona, and northern Mexico




May 27, 2011 4:25PM

Right now AirAsia is having a sale from Kuala Lumpour to 

USD $3 each way to Singapour, Thailand, Malaysia, some destinations in Indoesnia.

USD $9 each way to Japan and some destinations in India.

USD $17 each way to some destinations in Indoesnia, viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia.

USD 72 each way to Some destinations in Australia, Taiwan, Some destinations in India and some destinations in China.

USD$90 each way to some destinations in Australia, Korea and New Zeland

The most expensive of them is

USD $197 each way to London, Paris, Tehran

Only thing not included is Airport fees and taxes.

My wife is from Thailand and we fly AirAsia as much as possible when we are there. The have specials all the time. Usually not as good as these but many times have similar sales within Thailand that we often take vacations within our vacations just because we can fly to the southern islands for only a few dollars each way. They have a modern fleet of aircraft and SUPERB in flight service. only thing

Sep 10, 2013 5:24AM
Very interesting and useful travel tips and airfares.. visit : www.cheapflightstrip.blogspot.com
May 27, 2011 3:23PM



I used it on my laptop, not sure about the phone.  Just goog it and you will find it easily (I would type the url but it won't let me post a hyperlink).

May 27, 2011 3:17PM
@ Just saying417- Is sky scanner an app on the phone?
May 27, 2011 4:46PM

Hotels often provide a coffeepot and cups.  I bring couscous or mungbean noodles that cook with just hot water, bouillon and dried vegetables.  Mix with hot water, cover, sit a few minutes, and I've got soup for supper.  Try hot cereals packets for breakfast.  

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