With our upcoming trip to Colombia right around the corner, I’ve already started the mental checklists of what I need to pack. This means that 80% of the clothes I will take with me will be donated to a women’s shelter before I leave. Same with my husband’s clothes. This is where you are asking yourselves “Why are they traveling with clothes they don’t even want?” and I’ll tell you why.We generally travel to South American on Spirit Airlines, a no frills nothing included bare to the bones airline. Why? Because its so cheap!
I found tickets for Tim, my brother, and myself roundtrip (Tampa to Miami, Miami to Colombia) for less than $1000! As someone who has traveled on some of the most luxurious airlines and the not so safe looking ones too, I’ve come to realize that I would much rather save money on my flight.
No Frills Airline
I think 80% of “No Frills” travel is mental preparation. You won’t get a pillow and there usually aren’t any USB plugs for you to charge your phone. But if you prepare, you should be A-OKay. And if you see yourself panicking remember: It is only a few hours.
There are no free snacks on no frill airlines, not even a packet of peanuts. This never really bothered me because I’ve always been a snack packer. Call me Mary Poppins but you will always find my carry on filled with snacks! The way I look at it, I’d rather have my bad ass granola and delicious chocolate bar so this one doesn’t bother me too much.
Printing your boarding pass at home/checking in online
You can pay between $5-10 to have them do it at the airport or you could do it at home. This one is another one I can look past even though I have been known to forget and end up paying the fee at the counter.
Picking your seats
Unless you are traveling with kids, chances are you can stand being away from those you are traveling with. For this upcoming trip we are looking at a 45min flight from Tampa to Miami and about a 3.5 hour flight from Miami to Colombia. I didn’t bother picking seats for the Tampa flights because $50 (3 people, 2 flights, about $8 each) didn’t seem worth it. I did pick seats for Tim and I to be together on the flight to Colombia because he’s never been and I wanted to be able to tell him about the areas we will be flying over. My brother? He’s a lone wolf on the flight so he might end up with us, he might not. He’s not worried about it and neither am I! Seat picking could be anywhere between $1-200 depending on the trip too.
Taking a Carry on
When it comes to luggage, this is where I start getting iffy about my bare bones fare choices, but I like to really toy around with what the airline considers a “personal” item as I have some GIANT ass purses. I don’t pay for a carry on. Instead I take a backpack (filled with snacks, an empty water bottle that I fill up at a fountain machine once INSIDE the gate, and other personal items) and inside the backpack is usually a smaller reusable tote I also use if my backpack gets to be too full. The beauty of this trick is that I really am getting a carry on AND a personal item, they just don’t realize it!
This my friends, this right here, is why I donate my clothes before our return flight. At $30 a bag PER flight PER person, this quickly gets to be one of the most expensive parts of the trip and can sometimes even cost just as much as your bare bones fare. And like most trips, I usually end up with much more to bring back than I originally arrived with. My solution was to travel with clothes I would be okay parting with. I’ve done this so many times now too that I’ve started to put things aside in my closet designated specifically for our next trip!
Cheap flights means more money in your pocket while you travel, so for us its totally worth going without some of the expected amenities of travel. If you think about it too, a lot of these changes are gradually being made across other airlines! No frills companies cut their over head by cutting back on their marketing and over all expenses meaning they can offer cheaper flight options.
No frills airlines are the new hostel lodging and Air B&B. They make it really easy to travel within your budget and plan last minute getaways like a boss. This will be my 5th trip on Spirit Airlines and I can honestly say that the no frills airlines are the way to go if you can plan accordingly.