Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Sat May 30 2015

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  • Shannon Wolf | May 30, 2015 4:00 PM ET

    The Fiscal Backpacker: Cheap International Flights

    The Fiscal Backpacker: Cheap International Flights

    Flying high over the San Jose Volcano on the way to California

    As we all know, Canadian and U.S. airlines like to gouge us with high prices, and that’s one of the most expensive parts about hitting the road … Or well, the air. On the bright side, there ARE ways to fly cheaply, and it’s not called Skyscanner, Kayak, or Priceline. 

    Say hello to my favorite frugal flight finder: BootsnAll.

    Whether you're planning an around-the-world trip or simply want to go to a few destinations, BootsnAll will come to the rescue. (But you don't have to go around the world to use it, and it doesn't cost a fortune.)

    Around The World Flights

    First things first, there are two types of Around the World (RTW) tickets — segment or mileage based.

    Segment based RTW ticket: You are allowed up to 16 flights in total.

    Mileage based RTW ticket: There are three levels — you can travel 26,000, 29,000, or 39,000 miles in economy class.

    If you are flying to further-away destinations, segment RTW tickets are the way to go. If you are planning on flying to closer destinations such as Canada, the United States, Mexico, etc., you are better off with a mileage RTW ticket. For example, I went with a segment-based ticket due to flying to different continents. My itinerary is as follows and cost me a total of $1,300 CDN (around $1,050 USD) (including tax)

    Toronto > Costa Rica > Los Angeles > Berlin

    Note: You do not need to book all of your flights at once in order to get a RTW ticket and you also don’t need to go around the world; the only catch is that you will need to book at least two flights in order to use the BootsnAll service.


    1. Create an account on BootsnAll (it’s free).

    2. Enter your departing city, and any other locations you want to travel to! (You can save multiple itineraries as you'd like on their website to see what works best price-wise — that’s how I saved the most money!)

    3. Add your departure dates. (But be willing to be flexible. Look for flights on Tuesdays or Wednesdays for the cheapest airfare.)

    4. Book your ticket!

    Below are screenshots of the trip planner for BootsnAll using my flight from Toronto to Berlin.

    Note: If you are doing a route similar to this one, it is cheaper for you to fly to the States first before flying overseas to Europe! There is a BIG price difference if you want to fly direct. If you have any questions regarding the best route, live chat is available on BootsnAll, and the staff is extremely helpful in making your money stretch further.

    After clicking "Search Fares" this page will come up and give you options for the cheapest flights.

    An example of saved itineraries I made to see the price differences of routes.

    Helpful Tips for even cheaper flights:

    • Before looking for flights, do “Private” or “Incognito” Browsing.
    In Safari: Click “Safari” > click “Private Browsing” > Done
    In Google Chrome: Click “File” > Click “New Incognito Window” > Done

    • Always book a flight on Tuesdays — always cheaper!
    • Use “fake” location to get cheaper flights as seen on Map Happy.
    • Go to the airline’s website — they sometimes offer better rates on their own sites rather than 3rd party sites.
    • Always do a price comparison between BootsnAll, Skyscanner, and Priceline for the best deal.


    Due to European flights already being incredibly cheap, it’s better to book these flights separately from the RTW ticket to save even more money. Be sure to book early for better savings. The cheapest airline websites are as follows:

    EasyjetRyanairNorwegianOpen Jaw FlightsGermany Blind BookingSkyscannerPricelineKayakWizz Air


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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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