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SALT LAKE CITY — An emerging trend in the interceding worlds of travel and social media has been the introduction of Instagram and Facebook accounts dedicated to sharing cheap flight fares.
Flights From Home, which was one of the first Instagram accounts out of Utah to share cheap flights from Salt Lake City International Airport, has gained a following of more than 242,000. They share flight deals as they find them, achieving traditionally expensive travel fares that are half or one-third as pricey as usual.
Flights From Home has achieved such success that they started offering a subscription for more cheap flights for a fee.
Jeff Cox, an avid traveler, decided to start an account which would share flights to those who didn’t want to pay extra fees for the deals. He created Cheap SLC Flights, which has a significant following and shares cheap fares without a subscription.
“I've tracked cheap international flights for myself for a while,” Cox told KSL.com. “When I saw other cheap flight tracking services start to charge for access to the deals, I figured why not post the flights I find for free — I am just happy that someone might benefit from what I can share!”
Cox has a few methods for finding cheap plane tickets, with his favorite being Google Flights. The platform allows the searcher to look at a wide range of dates and a variety of destinations, optimizing the process to find the cheapest places and times to travel.
“You can stick "Europe" in there and see the prices for destinations all throughout the continent,” Cox said. “You can also look at a single destination and view prices for many months in advance to pinpoint when exactly is the cheapest time to fly.”
He added that he always books directly with the airlines and never uses online travel agents like Kayak or Orbitz. “Google Flights will send you straight to the airline's website to complete your booking at the price shown,” he said. “And if problems arise with your flight, the airline will take care of you, while the online travel agents can be a huge hassle.”
Cox is an avid traveler and even runs a small travel website. He offered some tips for people looking to travel more and for less cost:
- If you're looking to fly for less money, it’s essential to be flexible. “Be flexible with your travel dates. Having strict dates will make it much harder to get a really good deal,” Cox said. “Depending on the deal, departing on, say, a Wednesday versus a Thursday could make the difference of several hundred dollars.”
- Be flexible with your destination. “Cheap flights to Rome are much rarer than flights to Milan,” Cox explained. “It's an easy train ride from Milan to Rome. Plus, you get to see places you probably wouldn't have otherwise.”
- When a cheap flight pops up that might work for you, book it. All major U.S. carriers have a 24-hour cancelation policy, according to Cox. Cheap flights can sometimes only last a few hours.
- Don’t count on getting deeply discounted international flights in the summer. “The best I've found was end of August, once,” he said. “Cheap flights generally run end of August to the beginning of May.”
- “Don't overbook yourself,” Cox urged. “Give yourself time to adjust to the new time zone and make sure you give the city you're in a fair shake. It's all too easy to plan on seeing a new city every other day. You will wear yourself out, you won't really get to experience where you are, and you may even resent having booked the trip at all.”