Carrie talks about finding cheap travel deals at

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Carrie talks about finding cheap travel deals

Carrie saves us a ton of money on traveling, just by doing a few simple things every time she hunts for plane tickets or other travel.

So, I asked her about it in this interview. We'll get a transcript up shortly as well.

Download the Interview (MP3 - Ipod friendly) Here

Here's the travel tips transcript:

Travel Questions: So this is Jonathan Kraft and I am here with my wife, Carrie Kraft. I believe that's the first time I've actually ever said your name, like introducing you as my wife that way. So who knows who's actually going to hear this call, but if you're hearing this call, the reason you're listening to this call right now is because Carrie knows a ridiculous amount about how to get inexpensive rates on travel. And I've said to her, like I don't know how many times, but you should write a book, you should put it together, because people would really like that information and it would be really helpful. So this is the start of that process and Carrie's actually already got a site up at and she offers all kinds of cool stuff there, books, travel reviews, movie reviews, all kinds of cool stuff.

But in this call, the reason we're talking today, other than the fact that she's my wife, is because I want you to know the information that she knows about inexpensive travel and how she's helped us save a lot of money on all the travel that we do. So, what's up Carrie?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Hi, how are you?

Travel Questions: How's that for a nice introduction?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Yeah, it's great!

Travel Questions: Travel expert aficionado!

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Oh, thank you! Very nice!

Travel Questions: Carrie Kraft; the artist formerly known as Carrie Kraft. No, no, that's Carrie Will-Kraft or Carrie Kraft. So, anyway, let's get started.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Ok.

Travel Questions: I think one of the questions people have all the time is, I mean, well, let's just start on the other side. What is the most expensive way, if I wanted to spend the most money possible on a trip, what do you think would be the most expensive way to take a trip?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Booking through a travel agent. Because they, I mean, they make their money by your booking travel through them. So they mark everything up. And they do have some advantages, but the advantages that they offer; you can get on your own as well.

Travel Questions: So what are some of those advantages of using a travel agent?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Well, they offer a kind of travel insurance which is not necessary in all cases, but sometimes it's probably nice to have and they can act as a third party, an intermediary, between you and whoever you're booking with. So if any problem comes up, they would deal with it rather than you.

Travel Questions: So there's probably a plus in that anyway.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Right.

Travel Questions: But you would say that it's more expensive to go through a travel agent than doing it yourself.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Oh, definitely more expensive.

Travel Questions: Right. So what would be the least expensive way to go travel?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Just spend a little time and do, and by a little time, I mean a very little time, and do some research on your own and have a little bit of flexibility in your travel.
So that means flexibility with dates of travel, and flexibility with, you know, places you're willing to go as well.

Travel Questions: So if I want to go to Los Angeles, I should be willing to go to San Diego instead?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: No, if you're waiting to go to Los Angeles, you should be willing to fly into other airports, other than LAX.

Travel Questions: So looking at other airports in the area can sometimes be cheaper?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Yes.

Travel Questions: Cool. So if I want to, let's say, since we're using Los Angeles as the example, if I wanted to find like the cheapest deal on a flight, from New York to Los Angeles, how would I do it? I mean, what would be the process? If I called you and said, Carrie find me the cheapest rate, what would be your process for finding a really cheap deal from New York to Los Angeles?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Ok. Well the first place that I go is, I go to because they give you a nice overview of who flies from which destination into which destination because not every airline flies in all cities. Then they will kind of give you a rough idea of what it's going to cost. So, if we go to and we click on "Leaving From" and we type in NYC, which is New York City, and it also means all airports in New York City and then you type in in "Going To" you type in Los Angeles, CA and depart, let's see; you generally want to book your tickets two weeks in advance. And it's cheaper to travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. So how long do you want to stay?

Travel Questions: Which days?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Travel Questions: Ok, so let's say I wanted to stay for six days.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Six days. Ok, so let's have you fly out on Wednesday, let's check Wednesday, January 23rd, and have you return on Tuesday, January 29th and one adult and "Search for Flights".

Travel Questions: Ok.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: And so you see, when it pulls up Expedia, it says it needs a little more information and I was really general when I typed in Los Angeles, because I wanted to make sure I included all the airports that were in that area, and it lists all of them for you. Are you going to "All Airports" in Los Angeles, you wanted to go to all of those, or you only wanted to go to one? So, I usually click "All Airports".

Travel Questions: Is there any downside to choosing "All the Airports" I mean other than if I'm staying right next to the LAX airport or something like that. But is there any downside to having all of those airports selected if I don't really care where I'm staying, if it's not too far away from the airport?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: No, you'll usually, I mean, it just shows you which airport is the cheapest.

Travel Questions: Ok.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: And I mean the downside is if you're staying across town and you don't want to have to get all the way across town from one airport to the other. Some people I know have family in Burbank, so they prefer to fly into the Burbank airport, because it's really close to their house, instead of flying into the Los Angeles one and having to drive across town, through Los Angeles, because a lot of people don't like driving through LA.

Travel Questions: Sure.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: So then when Expedia comes up with its results, we look and we have this grid at the top and it shows you prices; and prices range anywhere from $248, if you're willing to have a layover, and if you want non-stop, you can fly for as low as $258. Now, usually, that's a lot bigger gap between those two numbers, but in this case, time-wise, I think it's, the $10 you would spend for a non-stop flight is probably worth it. So, but you can see that you would get on US Airways, non-stop, is $827! So if you were loyal and only flew US Airways, and you had a non-stop flight, you would pay $600 more than if you're willing to fly on another carrier. Ok, so from ...

Travel Questions: So it pays to shop around is what you're saying.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Right.

Travel Questions: And you found all of those results because you searched on Expedia and it comes up with five or six different airlines that actually run that route and compares those different airlines.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Right.

Travel Questions: Ok.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: So from here I would look at that and I would see that Delta is the cheapest, so I'd open a new window and I would go to and run the same search. So I would say, from NYC to QLA which is the code for "All Airports" in Los Angeles, and then ...

Travel Questions: But you didn't know that before you got the search right? I mean you got that QLA code for "All Airports" from Expedia.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: That's right.

Travel Questions: Ok.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: And I would say departing on the 23rd of January and returning on the 29th. And on Delta, they have this really great box that says "Search + or - one day from my travel dates". So that will show you the lowest price plus or minus one day from the days that you selected. So then you click "go".

Travel Questions: So by being a little flexible, it gives you multiple day options and some of those days are going to be cheaper than other days?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Right, exactly. Ok, so Delta apparently doesn't like the multiple-city code, so for Delta you have to select an exact airport that you want to fly out of. So because JFK is kind of the biggest, we'll select JFK. And then going to, and then we'll change that to LAX which is the code for the biggest airport in LA. Flexible travel dates, see now, under this it says "flexible travel dates" and you can change that to as many as three days earlier and three days after, on both return and departure. So then you have more options rather than just one day plus or minus, but one day plus or minus works as well.

Travel Questions: Ok.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Are you recording this on your screen or should we have been recording it on mine?

Travel Questions: No, we can, I mean, the reason for doing this is actually so we have the audio, and then we can match it up with a screen shot too if we want to.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Right.

Travel Questions: I'm not recording it on my screen at the moment, no.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Oh, ok. I was just, because I'm saying all these prices and prices change every time.

Travel Questions: Right, so and that's important for somebody listening to this, if you're doing this search, it's not going to be the exact same price, but the point is to understand the concepts of how she's finding these inexpensive fares, or how she's finding the cheapest fare for the travel time. So, you know, if there's a screen shot accompanying this, there may or may not be, you might be listening to the audio of this and not seeing the screen, the important thing is to understand the concepts of what Carrie is talking about.

Because I've just been amazed at how much money we can save on travel. You know, I would just book the ticket at Hotwire or wherever and figure that's the cheapest rate and just book it. We've saved $50-$100, we've saved. When we went to Africa last year and we saved ... how much? We could have saved a lot more on the tickets if we bought them earlier, but I think we still saved like $300 on each of our tickets by shopping around. So...

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Ok, so back to this Delta search; it pulled up this grid and it gave me the options of leaving anywhere from Sunday, January 20th to Saturday, January 26th and coming back anywhere from Saturday, January 26th through Friday, February 1st. And I have to say, this is the first time I've ever seen a grid look like this, where it doesn't matter what day you travel in that entire grid, every price is the same. So we'll stick with our departing January 23rd and returning January 29th.

Travel Questions: So, but by booking through Delta versus booking through Expedia, what's the difference in price?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: It hasn't shown me yet.

Travel Questions: Ok.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Ok, so it pulls up, let's see, and all the ones that it's showing me right now have a layover of at least one layover. And they are showing a price of $258 roundtrip plus taxes and fees for a total price of $299.60. So, let's go back and let's pick on, we'll pick the same flight with a stop on Expedia and it shows it's $248 plus $29 in taxes and fees for a total of $277. So in this case, Expedia is actually cheaper than Delta. So next we can run to, if you want, we can look through these other airlines, Frontier Airlines, US Airways, American and United and see what their prices are going to be. Would you like to do that or would you just like to look at the Delta one?

Travel Questions: We can do that, but the point out of this is really that you're running a few different searches at the same time. You're not just assuming that Expedia is going to be cheapest. And this case, Expedia is actually cheaper than booking directly through Delta. But usually what I've noticed, is that you can find, what you do usually is you find what airlines fly there and what airlines have the routes there and it's actually, you know, $20, $30 $40, sometimes $100 cheaper to book directly through the airline instead of booking through Expedia or Hotwire or some of the others. And sometimes it's cheaper to go through Expedia. So I think the concept is really the important part, not so much the actual fare. You know what I mean?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Uh-huh.

Travel Questions: So yeah, we can continue, if we were to continue with it, what would be the next step that you would take though?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Next I would work down the line, I'd look at Frontier Airlines, I'd look at US Airways, I'd look at American and I'd look at United. And I'd look at all those directly and then I would go to some of the other budget websites; like I would go to Hotwire, I would go to CheapTickets. Generally though, I avoid Travelocity, because I have never once, in all my searches, found them to be the lowest. So I just, I mean, after years of searching and going through this process, I have never found them to have the lowest price, so I just stopped using them. So I've stopped even looking. So the same with Orbitz actually.

But if we run over to Hotwire and check out what their prices are, we can compare those two, but the challenge with Hotwire is that once you book your...Well, if you book your flight through Hotwire, they actually don't allow you to earn Frequent Flyer miles. So, if Frequent Flyer miles are important to you, you'll want to avoid Hotwire. But if price is the most important thing to you, then sometimes they have the best price.

Travel Questions: So really then it depends on really what people are wanting to do. Do you know if that's the case with Expedia? Like can people get frequent flyer miles through Expedia if they buy their ticket through Expedia?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: I'm not 100% positive; I think it depends on the airlines. Sometimes when you go to check-in at the airport, you can put in your Frequent Flyer mile number and sometimes they won't let you because you booked it on Expedia. But that's generally airline-specific.

Travel Questions: Cool. Go ahead.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Well I was just going to say that on my Hotwire search, to fly the exact same flight from JFK to LAX is $279 on Hotwire; which is more expensive than Expedia. But, on Hotwire, they also give you the option to change your airport, so if you're willing to fly out of LaGuardia and to fly into the Orange County airport, which is in the area, it's kind of Burbank, which is right next to LA, I mean it's basically one city now, the price is $254. So that saves $23, just for flying into a different airport.

Travel Questions: And that would be good to know. I mean if your family lived right there in Orange County somewhere, maybe you wouldn't even have to rent a car to get from LAX to where they lived or they come pick you up from that airport if it was close by to them or something.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Right.

Travel Questions: So yeah. Some of these searches that you do it's like well, could we fly into this airport instead and what would be the extra cost, maybe we would have to rent a car, would it be $15 to rent a car or $30 to rent a car? Are we going to save 10 bucks and is it worth it for the extra hassle? We go through a lot of these questions, but really, it might take us 30 minutes but we travel a fair amount and so we save $30, I mean frequently, I think on almost every flight, we save at least $30-$40 a ticket over what somebody else is spending.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Absolutely.

Travel Questions: So I think the most important thing is for people to understand then is the concept of what you're doing and how you're kind of going about it. So you're using all these different websites, what are the Top 5 budget travel sites that you know of?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Well, honestly, in the United States there aren't really budget travel sites. Most of them tend to be about the same. I go to Expedia first because it's the easiest for me to see... again, like we said earlier, it's easiest for me to see a general price range and who flies into what area, what hotels are available in that area. But you can also, like if you're, if you live in Chicago, and you know that United is the hub for your city, then you're going to want to go because a lot of the time they'll run specials out of your city. And the same thing for Houston and Continental, or you know, Delta and Atlanta. You just need to know what's available in your city. But, I mean, Southwest Airlines is another airline that doesn't show up on Expedia, on Hotwire, it doesn't show up on those sites or on those searches. So it's always good to at least give one a check, see Southwest and see what they are offering too.

Travel Questions: So do you have kind of checklist? You and I should put this together; I know you don't - I'm asking this question and it's a very loaded question. But we should put together a checklist, I think that would be beneficial for people and out of this call maybe we can kind of listen back through this call and put together a checklist of kind of the order of things that you go through. Because I think that would be helpful for people to have a checklist of some kind to go through. Is that something you could do you think?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Yeah. I can do that.

Travel Questions: So if there's all these budget travel sites, but Southwest isn't included, people can kind of go through that process. You mentioned something, that you said there aren't really budget travel sites per se in the U.S. What do you mean? Where are there budget travel sites and how do you use them and all that?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: There are budget travel sites in Europe especially, because Europe is, it maintains separate countries, but it's the European Union now so travel between countries has become really easy and because of that, airlines are able to operate at really low prices because they don't necessarily have to pay the same taxes they had to pay before to use other airports and use international air space because. Even though it's still an international flight, it's not, because it's the European Union. So it's kind of like one big country, even though it's still a good idea, you still need your passport to travel through but you don't necessarily, I don't know what I'm trying to say; you don't have to have it if you're a European Union citizen. But it just makes things easier for travel within the European Union. So, some of those websites are and,; you know, there's a bunch of options for you in Europe that just unfortunately aren't available in the U.S. at this time.

Travel Questions: I know one that we were excited about over there was Germanwings because they had all these routes. We didn't actually fly through them or anything but we saw all the routes that Germanwings had, do you remember that? Is it Germanwings, is that right?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: It is.

Travel Questions: Cool. So that's a really great point too, once you're in Europe, you can actually fly really cheap.

Obviously flying out of the U.S., one of the most popular travel destinations, a couple of the most popular travel destinations are Mexico and Hawaii. What would be the cheapest way to find airline tickets or package deals or anything, what do you recommend? Do you recommend that people find package deals or do you recommend that they fly into an area and get a rental car, and hotel and package all that, or what's the best route there if they're going to Mexico or Hawaii or Alaska I guess? It's the same sort of situation isn't it?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: I don't know, I haven't done searches for Alaska. But I know for Mexico and Hawaii, again I would start at Expedia and they have an option on Expedia where you can choose flight plus hotels, flight plus car, flight plus hotel and car. Again, I mean that's a really good way to get some kind of general price range, who flies into what area, what hotels are available. And then you can look and see what is offered and if any one airline comes up; like flying out of Denver, I look at Expedia for those destinations, but then I immediately go to Frontier and to United, because both Frontier and United have hubs in Denver. So I know that I'm generally going to be able to find a cheaper option through those two companies when I'm going on kind of bigger vacation types, like Alaska and Hawaii. And both Frontier and United offer vacations, so it's just and for your flights and hotels. And then I would also look, I would run a search and I would run individual flight searches to see if it's cheaper to book together or it's cheaper to book them separately; and sometimes it's cheaper together and sometimes it's cheaper separately.

Travel Questions: So your real message is, spend a few minutes and actually research it?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Right.

Travel Questions: Cool. I think that's a great tip out of this call if people are able to actually go and spend a few minutes and I know if we're able to put together a template that will help to kind of simplify that process for people too. Are there any other kind of, we'll wrap this up, I mean didn't want to take too long, but are there any kinds of tips or anything you'd like to share with people about hunting for travel and travel deals?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Just the biggest thing is to spend just a few minutes looking on your own and have a little bit of flexibility, if it's at all possible. I know that sometimes it's not possible, but if you're willing to adjust your flights by even one day you can save $100 per ticket. I mean, our experience when we were flying out for Thanksgiving, if we were willing to stay one day later, we could save $100 on each ticket. So, for us, that was an easy decision to make.

Travel Questions: Well thank you for taking a little bit of time today. It's kind of funny to be interviewing my wife, but just having the internet marketing background, I thought this would be a really good thing to just get out there and share with people. So, thank you for taking a few minutes to share some of your tips and if they want to get that checklist list or get other tips from you, where do they find that?

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: At C-A-R-R-I-E-S-C-L-A-S-S-I-C-S dot com.

Travel Questions: Awesome! Well Carrie, thank you very much.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Thank you very much Jonathan, have a great day!

Travel Questions: Thanks, you too.

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Thanks.

Travel Questions: See you in front of the living room soon!

CarriesClassics Travel Tips: Ok!


This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. And found many deals and was able to find cheap travel information thanks to your advise. Thanks!

It's great that you took the time to write all this up. Thank you. It's been a big help to me.

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