Want to know how to get the cheapest flights for your volunteer abroad trip? Saving on flights is the biggest opportunity to cut your travel costs. With a bit of forward planning, creativity and some insider tips, you can score some seriously cheap international flights and make your volunteer dreams a reality.
Here are our top tips to score the best deal for your volunteer trip, so you can snap up those super affordable plane tickets:
- Where do you book the cheapest flights?
- How far in advance should you book flights?
- How do you find cheap flight discounts?
- When is the best time to fly for the cheapest flights?
- What are the cheapest international flights
- How do you get cheap last-minute flights?
- Are flights cheaper when you travel in a group?
- What are other tips to volunteer abroad for cheap?
Where do you book the cheapest flights?
The internet is your best friend when it comes to finding cheap flights. If you’re considering a volunteer trip with IVHQ, a great place to start is to think about where and when you would like to volunteer abroad. You can then use online comparison sites, such as Google Flights, Skyscanner and Kayak, to shop around and see what different airlines and travel agencies have to offer for the destination and dates you’re interested in.
- If you’re flexible with travel dates: Use a flight search engine like Google Flights to work out the cheapest time of year to travel to your preferred IVHQ destination. IVHQ programs have flexible, year-round start dates, so you can choose to volunteer abroad when it makes most financial sense for you!
- If you’re flexible with destinations: Pick a few different IVHQ destinations that appeal to you (you can check out the cheapest ones here) and use a tool like Google Flights to compare the costs to fly to these different destinations.
- If you’re flexible with dates and destinations: Sign up for deals alerts from websites like Going (if you’re US based) or Jack’s Flight Club (for those in the UK) to get notified when deals pop up from your local airport to IVHQ destinations.
Pro tip: IVHQ’s flexible booking policy means you can make unlimited free changes to your dates, destination or volunteer project up until 14 days before your start date. So if you find an awesome flight deal at a different time of year or to a different destination, you can update your booking for free (even after you’ve paid your Registration Fee)!
How far in advance should you book flights?
Booking in advance is the single most important thing you can do to get cheaper flights. Flights aren’t as full and you still have options to purchase the cheaper seats on the plane. So, start browsing flights as soon as you’ve registered to volunteer with IVHQ and locked in your program dates.
A good rule of thumb is to book at least 40-70 days before you’re thinking about heading off.
Pro tip: If you’re planning to volunteer abroad for Spring, the Flights team at StudentUniverse recommend the best time to book Spring Break flights is January or very early February. It’s not too early, but the flights haven’t filled up yet. Once flights start filling, the cheap prices will be sold out. Plus January is the best time to start looking for cheap flights to volunteer in Europe or Asia for travel in May, as well as flights to volunteer in Mexico, and even the Caribbean.
This is why we recommend applying and registering for your IVHQ program of choice as soon as possible. It means you’ll secure your first choice travel dates and volunteer program, and then you can start looking for the cheapest flights!
How do you find cheap flight discounts?
Some airlines and travel agencies also offer special discounts for students, military personnel, and other groups. Be sure to check if you qualify for any discounts that could apply to your travel. For example, our flight partner StudentUniverse offers travel deals and discounts for volunteers of all ages!
Specific airlines offer great loyalty perks for frequent flyers so if you’re not already signed up to your favorite airlines loyalty program - you should be!
When is the best time to fly for the cheapest flights?
One of the best ways to save money on flights is to be flexible with your travel dates. Avoid peak seasons and you’ll be best positioned to get a good deal. Peak travel seasons can vary depending on the destination, but generally speaking, there are certain times of the year when flights and accommodations are more expensive and crowded.
The following months are popular times to travel, which can drive up prices and make cheap flights more difficult to book:
- March and April are when colleges and schools have Spring Break, which is a popular time to travel for students and families
- The months of June, July, and August are when many people take their summer vacations
- December is the month that many people travel to their families to celebrate Christmas and New Year
According to StudentUniverse, the cheapest time of the year to travel is January and February, because this is when airlines are rushing to fill flights, meaning you could save hundreds! Check out our top recommendations to volunteer abroad over Winter Break.
What are the cheapest international flights?
Being flexible with your travel destination is also a great way to cut costs on your flights. The closer to home you travel, the cheaper your flights will likely be! Explore IVHQ’s full range of volunteer destinations to see which locations are closest to you, then search for the flight prices to get your shortlist together.
Here are some destination recommendations for cheap international flights based on the following departure countries:
- From the US or Canada - consider volunteer destinations such as Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica and even Peru
- From the UK or Europe - you could choose European volunteer destinations such as Croatia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain, or grab some good deals on flights to Morocco or Ghana
- From Australia, Asia or New Zealand - Southeast Asia is a popular option for volunteer travelers based in Asia Pacific, check out Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines. Or Fiji, Australia and New Zealand are other popular options on your doorstep
- From Latin America - it’s easy to score cheap flights to nearby countries, such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, or even the Caribbean!
- From Africa - in addition to exploring the incredible range of options for volunteering within Africa, you can take a relatively cheap flight over to Europe and experience volunteering in Europe
How do you get cheap last-minute flights?
Fly on specific days of the week
We all know which days are busier for us in life in general - well the same applies to flights. So flying on the weekend will definitely be pricier than a Tuesday for example.
According to a study by Expedia, the cheapest days to fly for domestic flights are typically Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. This is because airlines tend to offer lower prices on these days to fill seats. However, it’s important to note that these statistics can vary depending on the destination, time of year, and other factors.
Take an unconventional flight path
Not all flights go directly to your destination, and some airports are cheaper to land at than others — meaning cheaper airfares! Consider flying into a nearby airport and then jumping on some public transport, or taking a connecting flight to save some cash.
For example, if you want to volunteer in Cusco, Peru, you could save money by flying into Lima (the capital city of Peru) and then catching a bus to Cusco. Sometimes a little extra travel time is worth it for the savings. Our team can help with providing options for travel between different cities.
Are flights cheaper when you travel in a group?
The more the merrier, and that’s especially true when it comes to booking flights. Group rates can be significantly cheaper than booking individually, so grab your friends, family or even people you don’t know and join a group.
What are other tips to volunteer abroad for cheap?
Volunteering abroad with IVHQ is a truly life-changing adventure, and with these simple tips, you can save money on your travel expenses and have more funds available to support your volunteer experience abroad.
There are so many ways to make your volunteer abroad trip super affordable! Here are some more ideas:
- Read more tips on how to volunteer abroad on the cheap
- Narrow down your options and check out our lowest-cost volunteer programs for a low-cost volunteer vacation starting from only $20/day including accommodation and meals!
Remember, if you’re organized and flexible, you can make anything happen without breaking the bank!