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Save Money By Booking Two Separate Flight Tickets

Sunset in Goa
Today I write to you from Palolem Beach, a most idyllic stretch of sand in the southern part of the Indian state of Goa. And it is right here where I shall plant my nomadic rear end for the next ten days or so in order to catch up on work, to celebrate the New Year, and most importantly, to take part in some relaxed beach living, which happens to be a kind of living I enjoy sprinkling into my lifestyle every now and then.

And while I’ll write more about my time here in Goa at some point after the New Year, and knowing that many people are busy with the holidays and end of year festivities this week, this post will be a short one, the goal of which is to offer a piece of travel advice that just might save you some money on your travels.

It is this very same, and very simple, method that I’m about to explain that saved me about $193 USD the other day here in India.

Four days ago I was in that crazy city of Varanasi when my friend and I decided that we wanted to go to the beach. And after a quick online search revealed that the train ride from Varanasi to Goa would take almost 40 hours and that there weren’t any seats available on any trains heading in that direction for at least a week, we decided to look at our flight options.

It turned out that we could fly from Varanasi to Goa, having to change planes in Delhi en route, for $393 USD per person one-way. Ouch. That’s expensive and didn’t seem worth it at all.

But then, I started messing around with different destinations, combinations of flights and trains and any other possible routes I could think of. And after thirty minutes, I surprisingly found an infinitely better option.

The flight for $393 USD would have left Varanasi at 11:30am and arrived to Delhi at 12:50pm. The next flight would have left Delhi at 5:15pm and arrived at Goa’s Dabolim Airport at 7:45pm.

However, if I searched for each of those legs separately, I discovered that I could buy one ticket from Varanasi to Delhi for $70 USD and one ticket from Delhi to Goa for $130 USD. And the incredible thing was that these two separate flight tickets were for the exact same airline and the exact same flights as the more expensive ticket above.

So in the end, just by booking each of the two sections of the journey independently, I managed to save $193 USD.

To make sure this wasn’t a fluke, and knowing that I might have to fly to Bucharest in mid-January for a quick stop, I started researching airfares from India. And sure enough, after twenty minutes of looking, the cheapest option I found was a one-way ticket from Mumbai to Dubai, followed by a separate one-way ticket from Dubai to Bucharest. This option would save me $35 USD and while that might not be a huge amount of savings, it’s certainly not insignificant and, more importantly, it helps prove the point that you should always check to see if two separate flight tickets are cheaper than one!

You never know what you’ll find and you could end up saving big, like I did this week.

Safe travels everyone and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!


And you might want to have a look at this pocket-sized solar recharger from GoalZero.com (a very cool company!). It could be the perfect gift for anyone who takes their gadgets on the road!

Solar Power Travel Charger

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33 Responses to Save Money By Booking Two Separate Flight Tickets

  1. No, it doesn’t. If a trip from A to B (via C) is on 2 two separate tickets (A to C and C to B), even on the same airline, the only obligation of the airline is to take you from A to C, and from C to B… provided that you show up in time for those flights.
    Should your flight from A to C be delayed and make you miss your connection, you would have to forfeit your second ticket, since you’re a no-show. It doesn’t matter whose airline flew you to C, it’s YOUR fault if you didn’t make it in time for the flight, not the airline’s.
    So be careful when using this trick.

  2. You can sometimes find cheaper tickets that way. Especially when you’re flying from an out of the way place. But other times the opposite is true. In the past I’ve found tickets with a stop over somewhere, then checked the price if I booked both sections of the flight separately and found it to be as much as double the cost.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      @Angler’s Notebook – Very true…this is just another option that should be checked in one’s search for the lowest fare!

  3. Sofie says:

    What I find weird is how often round-trip tickets are WAY cheaper than one-way tickets. I’ve been researching a trip to Portugal lately and I first wanted to fly to Porto, cross the country and then fly back from Lisbon or Faro. I’ve consulted several flight search engines + the websites of different airline companies and each time a single ticket to for example Porto was MORE EXPENSIVE than a round-trip ticket to Lisbon (I’m flying from Brussels, by the way).
    I even contacted some agencies asking them how this is possible, but they just replied that this situation often occurs…

  4. Great to know! Saving a few hundred dollars on a flight could mean a few more months of delicious Phad Thai. ;)

  5. We did this exact same thing when we flew from Varanasi to Cochi. One ticket to Delhi, another down south. saved over $100 each.

    One word of advice…missed connections due to flight delays might not be honored if you booked two separate tickets…

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Liz – Yes, that does seem to be the case about missed connections. But when it works, it can be a good money-saver. Hope you and Shannon are having a wonderful New Year celebration!!

  6. Matthew Cheyne says:

    Thank you for these tips Earl. I was fiddling around on http://www.webjet.com.au on Christmas Day after reading this and you’re entirely right. Tweeking the legs of your journey and buying tickets one way can save you some serious dough.

    Also going through the airlines websites and different travel search engines and vice-versa can add to the savings as well.

    Do you have any tips as to what websites are best in terms of cost to book airline tickets and accommodation outbound from Australia? I’ve read a lot about booking outbound from North America but nothing about Australia from all the bloggers I follow, even the Australian ones.

    I hope that you’ve had a good Christmas and I wish you all the best for a safe and happy New Year :)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Matthew – I wish you an excellent New Year as well! As for booking out of Australia, I still usually find that the major travel sites – Cheapoair.com – are the best options. Other than that, trying the individual airline sites like you mentioned can be great as I’ve found cheap fares that way too. I once found a fare from Sydney to Germany on GulfAir.com for around $500 one way, a fare that I could not find on any other site at all. However, when I leave Australia, I am usually flying to SE Asia and so I just book my flights on the budget airlines websites – JetStar, Tiger, etc.

  7. Forest says:

    Hey Earl, a great tip and one I have used many times. It’s always worth checking every option including actually calling the airline sales to see what they have.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Forest – That’s a tip (calling the airline) that I know can work well in getting the lowest fares too…I have rarely done that myself but I know many travelers who swear that it’s often the best option.

  8. kori says:

    this might not be such a great idea in case your first flight is delayed or worse canceled. as there is no connection between the two, you might end up missing your second flight and the airline company will not reimburse or change your ticket. 193 USD might worth taking the risk, but 35 usd definitely not !!

  9. Sharni Bartlett says:

    Great tip but it can backfire!
    I did just that when I was traveling through India but the first flight was delayed and I missed the second leg. Because I hadn’t booked right through I wasn’t able to check my luggage through nor was I offered much assistance when I missed the second flight.
    I suggest making sure you have a tonne of time between flights just in case!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Sharni – That’s a good tip, especially if the two separate tickets are with separate airlines. My flights were both with SpiceJet and that certainly limited the possibility of such a situation but it can backfire at times I’m sure.

  10. Great tip Earl, and yes, yes fiddling with air options every-which-way-from-Sunday can often save you lots of dough.

    My own tip is not to rely exclusively on the large air portal sites like Expedia, Kayak, etc., as often these sites will not bring up some of the more obscure airlines that serve your target destination (note: Skyscanner SAYS they do, but in reality only scan the major ones).

    Better, to first Google for all the airlines that serve your destination, and then check fares directly from each airlines’ website. I’ve often saved a bundle of money that way.

    And finally, be sure to check out non-direct routes, as these too will often yield some nice savings (with little or no inconvenience.)

    Merry Christmas from Dalat, Vietnam! ;)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Dyanne – That’s a solid tip as well and in the end, it really is all about experimentation. One should try out every site possible and every combination of options in order to really find that lowest fare! Merry Xmas to you (hope you had one!) and have a great New Year’s over there in Dalat!

  11. Last year I wanted to fly from Penang (PEN) to Siem Reap (REP). The cheapest airfare I could find was over $600 roundtrip. Instead I booked two roundtrips, the first between Penang and Kuala Lumpur and the second between KL and Siem Reap. Roundtrip this came to around $160!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey John – That’s a perfect example and while such bargains won’t be found every time one uses this method, you just may enjoy a ton of savings like you did. Hope you enjoyed your visits to both Malaysia and Cambodia!

      • For a while Penang was my second home. I was spending a lot of time there working. While in SE Asia I tried to see what I could. Cambodia was neat. Siem Reap was a little touristy, but hey, I’ve been there. :-)

  12. Colleen says:

    This is a wonderful piece of advice. Thank you. = )

    I spent the happiest Christmas of my life on the beach at Palolem 11 Christmases ago. Our sons were then 10 and 7. We arranged for a coconut tree toddy tapper named Coco Menino to climb up about 20 palms and lash our sons Christmas gifts to the fronds, all wrapped up in shiny colored paper. On Christmas morning we invited our neighbors from nearby huts to celebrate with us. We had about 20 cups of chai ready, everyone came out and we told our sons, “OK guys, go find your presents and the only hint is that Coco Menino will help you.” = ) After about 3 minutes of running around and lots of giggles I told them, “OK, only ONE more hint. Look up.” And then they saw the shiny packages tied high up in the palms. Coco Menino shimmied up each tree in lightening speed to cut the gifts down. The boys got a lot of beautiful amethyst and other gemstone rocks from a shop on the main Palolem strip, a toy black and yellow auto rickshaw, a frisbee and I can’t remember what else. So many people said that moment really gave them the Christmas spirit, in the otherwise unlikely setting of that tropical paradise. = )

    Thank you for the gift of this wonderful website all year long. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! = )

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Colleen – That sounds like such a perfect XMas that you had here in Palolem. I wish I had thought of the gifts in the tree idea as that is just perfect. I’m sure a lot has changed in this little town since you were here but I also think that it has maintained much of its charm as well, which I am definitely enjoying so far.

      I wish you and your family a most wonderful 2013!

  13. mary says:

    Merry Christmas Earl!!!

  14. Geoff says:

    Hi Earl, Make sure you go to see Matt Darey in Goa :-) Matt Darey ‏@Matt_Darey Hey India!! Just confirmed, NYE party in Bangalore & pre NYE party on the beach in Goa
    Happy Christmas! I loved Goa especially after Varansi :-)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Geoff – Thanks for the tip and I’ve already been hearing plenty about pre-NYE and NYE parties up and down most beaches here. Should be a good time :)

  15. Bradford Rogers says:

    re: Save Money By Booking Two Separate Flight Tickets

    A note of caution. Be aware if booking separate tickets from different airlines that if the first flight is delayed and you miss your connection, you will lose the second leg of your trip. Happened to me going from Bangkok to Delhi and on to Jaipur.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Bradford – That’s definitely a good point and the two flights I booked were with the same airline which certainly made it less risky.

  16. Lien says:

    Hey Earl, thanks for the tip. I heard Goa is very nice, have a great time! :-)

  17. Hey Earl, great tip! Wish I had read this before our direct flights from Goa to Jaipur were cancelled last minute and we had to re-book via Mumbai! Oh well! Might see you on the beach tomorrow! Happy Christmas!!

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