Want to know how to get the cheapest flights for your volunteer trips abroad? With a little forward planning, creativity, and some insider tips, you can land some insanely cheap international flights and make your volunteer dreams come true.
Here we answer all your burning questions to make sure you can snag those super affordable airline tickets:
How far do you have to book your flights in advance?
Booking in advance is the single most important thing you can do to get a cheaper flight. Flights are not full and you still have the option to buy a cheaper seat on the plane. So start exploring flights as soon as you sign up to volunteer with IVHQ and lock in your program dates.
A good rule of thumb is to book at least 40-70 days before you think about leaving.
Pro tip: If you’re planning to volunteer overseas for Spring, the Aviation team at StudentUniverse recommends the best time to book Spring Break flights is January or early February. It’s not too early, but the flights haven’t been filled yet. As soon as the flights start to fill up, the cheap prices will sell 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 registering and enrolling into your chosen IVHQ program as soon as possible. This means you’ll secure travel dates and your first choice volunteer program, and then you can start looking for the cheapest flights! Best part? If you find a cheaper flight for a different date or destination, you can make free changes to your IVHQ booking up to 14 days before departure, thanks to our flexible bookings!
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 season and you will be in the best position to get a good deal. Peak travel seasons can vary depending on the destination, but in general, there are certain times of the year when flights and accommodation are more expensive and crowded.
The following months are a popular time to travel, which can drive up prices and make it difficult to book cheap flights:
- March and April are when colleges and schools have Spring Break, which is a popular time to travel for students and families
- June, July and August are the months when many people go on summer vacations
- December is the month when many people travel to their families for Christmas and New Years
According to StudentUniverse, the cheapest time of year to travel is January and February, as this is when airlines are busy filling flights, meaning you can save hundreds! Check out our top recommendations for volunteering abroad over Winter Break.
What are the cheapest international flights?
Being flexible with your travel destinations is also a great way to cut your flight costs. The closer to home you travel, the cheaper your flights are likely to be! Explore IVHQ’s volunteer destinations to see which location is closest to you, then look up flight prices to compile your shortlist.
Here are some recommendations for cheap international flight destinations based on the following countries of departure:
- From the US or Canada – consider volunteer destinations like Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica and even Peru
- From England or Europe – You can choose European volunteer destinations such as Croatia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain, or get great deals on flights to Morocco or Ghana
- From Australia, Asia or New Zealand – Southeast Asia is a popular choice for volunteer travelers based in Asia Pacific, see Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines. Or Fiji, Australia and New Zealand are other popular choices on your doorstep
- From Latin America – easily get cheap flights to nearby countries, like Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru or even the Caribbean!
- From Africa – besides exploring the amazing options for volunteering in Africa, you can take a relatively cheap flight to Europe and experience volunteering in Europe
Where do you book the cheapest flights?
The internet is your best friend when it comes to finding cheap flights. Use online comparison sites, such as Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Kayak, to look around and see what different airlines and travel agents have to offer.
How do you get cheap last minute flights?
Fly on certain days of the week
We all know which days are busier for us in life in general – the same goes for flights. So flying on weekends will definitely be more expensive than Tuesdays for example.
According to a study by Expedia, the cheapest days to fly for domestic flights are usually Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. This is because airlines tend to offer lower prices 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 on than others — meaning cheaper airfares! Consider flying to the nearest airport and then taking public transportation, or taking a connecting flight to save money. Sometimes a little extra travel time is worth the savings.
How do you find cheap discount flights?
Some airlines and travel agents offer special discounts for students, military personnel and other groups. Be sure to check if you qualify for any discounts applicable to your trip. For example, our aviation partner StudentUniverse offers exclusive travel deals and student discounts!
Certain airlines offer great loyalty perks for frequent flyers, so if you haven’t signed up to your favorite airline’s loyalty program – you should!
Are flights cheaper when you travel in a group?
The more the merrier, and that’s especially true for flight bookings. Group rates can be much cheaper than booking individually, so grab friends, family, or even people you don’t know and join a group.
At IVHQ, we organize volunteer expeditions for universities and corporate groups or you can volunteer overseas with your family, so your entire trip can be a group experience.
What are some other tips for volunteering abroad cheaply?
Volunteering overseas with IVHQ is a truly life-changing adventure, and with these simple tips, you can save money on travel expenses and have more funds to support your volunteer experience abroad.
There are so many ways to make your volunteer trips abroad super affordable! Here are some more ideas:
Remember, if you are organized and flexible, you can achieve anything without breaking the bank!