The notification on your phone boasts: A trip across the Atlantic is cheaper than a fight in Florida. And that’s true.
But before you blindly buy the travel deals that social media influencers are touting, you should probably do some homework.
Some offers are legitimately good. For example, Scott’s Cheap Flights tweeted on Thursday about low fares to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day 2022. That deal is 100% done.
With just two searches, we found round-trip flights from San Francisco to Dublin by coach for $403. For perspective, a round-trip coach ticket to Miami for the same weekend costs $413.
BEWARE OF ADD-ONS
If you’re buying, be sure to check the details, though. For example: baggage. This $413 fare does not include checked baggage. Adding this to our test booking bumped the rate from $109 to a new total of $522 – still a bargain.
Extras – like baggage or seat assignments – vary by airline and can add up quickly. If you’re booking on a third-party travel site, take a second before you buy to visit the airline’s website. Make sure that the travel agency’s calculation of additional charges matches what the airline actually charges passengers.
If you find a discrepancy, delay booking until you know exactly what the airline will charge you in extras.
LAST MINUTE OFFERS
Some of the best airfare deals right now are for last-minute international travel.
For example, we easily found a round-trip coach flight from San Francisco to Stockholm next week for $572. This is an unquestionably solid fare for a summer trip that will begin in a few days. For perspective: a flight to New York costs $538 in the same week.
But, before you book that fare – or any last-minute international deal – stop and ask a simple question: will the country let me in?
WILL YOU BE ALLOWED TO ENTER?
In the case of the Stockholm tariff, the answer is probably: no. Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the Swedish government continues to enforce an “entry ban”. American tourists will probably not be allowed to enter.
Of course, the airline will gladly sell you a ticket to Sweden. But it’s up to you to make sure you’ll be allowed in.
Don’t get caught. Do some research before booking.
As of this writing, more than four dozen countries are open to American tourists, according to NBC News. However, many others are either closed or have restrictions.
Need help? Use the NBC News map at this link to guide you. Then, to be sure, confirm the country’s status on its immigration website.
Some fantastic fares are popping up between the US and UK Lately, a round trip of around $500 from San Francisco to London has become somewhat common.
UK entry restrictions are more relaxed than those of Sweden. Still, there are steps to take, COVID tests to perform, and places where the process might get bogged down. In the worst case: you are ordered to do a mandatory 10-day quarantine.
So, of course, the $500 fare might excite you. But the UK Border Agency website might also give you pause. He talks about a “quarantine hotel package”. Search it on Google. It’s hardly a vacation. You will need to book a managed quarantine hotel for ten days and eleven nights, as well as quarantine transport and COVID-19 testing for days 2 and 8 of quarantine.
Does this dose of reality cast that $500 flight offer in a different light?