Sometimes life catches you by surprise and other times it blindfolds you and drops you off at the other end of the world. At least that’s how it felt for me. I wasn’t happy in my 9 to 5 (being called useless on a daily basis and not being able to afford even my rent didn’t help) and taking a year off on a work and travel Down Under seemed like a great idea. Seeing that I had a second working holiday visa lined up for Japan should have given me the clue. I was in for the long run and I learnt a lot about flight hacking along the way.
The Worst Flight Hacking Mistake
I generally do not like country hopping as it only brushes the surface of any cultural experience but I will definitely not say no to a short layover. And so when I was searching for a flight that would take me all the way from Germany to Australia with an included stay in New Zealand I was not sure where to start. Being on a plane for such a long time and that for my very first time meant I valued the feeling of comfort and safety over super cheap.
If you are wasting a day being up in the air (and getting “time taken from you” thanks to time zones), why not make it worth your while? Of course you could invest in a budget airline like I did on my flights from the USA to Berlin with a 2h delay and no water to drink resulting in me ending up in hospital due to dehydration, but I will not recommend this. So how do you invest rather than splurge on your travel experience but still get your money’s worth in great experiences?
Creating Your Own Around the World Ticket
For my very first flight I decided to not go with budget airlines and headed for two comparison sites to see what options and flight companies would be available during the time period I had set. Soon I realised that most flights would have a stop in Hong Kong. I quickly did a price comparison on the German page swoodoo.de and (the following is an affiliate link but still an honest recommendation) Skyscanner* and realised that Cathay Pacific offered the best prices for an acceptable amount of flying time (and an awesome service!).
Next in my flight hacking, I opened the multiple leg function, which gives me the best price I have seen for a flight to Auckland. Since I planned on staying in New Zealand for longer and Cathay Pacific did not fly between New Zealand and Australia, I opted for the budget airline jetstar for the shorter flight and highly recommend signing up for airline newsletters to hear about great deals and last minute flights.
Make Use of Layovers
So not only did I get the best price I saw on my price comparison search, but it turned out to be slightly cheaper booking through Cathay Pacific. As an added bonus, the multi leg feature even offered me a layover in Hong Kong for no extra price. I decided to stay for five days in Hong Kong, exploring my first Asian country and visiting old friends.
Not only was this the perfect way to stretch my legs after a long flight but also to get the best out of travel: an unexpected adventure. In the end, I paid 700€ for a 7 day journey to the end of the world and I absolutely loved it! If you want to recreate my easy 10 DIY steps to flight hacking and scoring that perfect flight wherever you want to go internationally, I prepared a handy PDF document for you to download.
*An affiliate link just means that I get a small commission if you buy from the link at no extra cost for you. Just imagine me affording half a chocolate on a long haul flight from this. And me being eternally grateful, of course.