Risky Ways to Save Big Money on Flights

Every now and then, an adventurous friend of mine tells his family to saddle up because they're going to hit the airport and fly whatever's cheap. This fellow actually checks out last-minute deals from his home airport and makes an occasion of it; it might not be a destination on his bucket-list, but he usually has fun. You can try this too by checking out Priceline's "name your own price" deals or see if other comparison sites are offering potluck deals. It happens. You can always spice up your "mystery" adventure by checking your mobile for unusual things to see and do (and the folks at "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" always have ideas on regional cuisine).

4. Semi-risky international travel:

The risk here is pairing up two different airlines, and here's an example: You take a low-cost carrier to your jumping-off point to Europe -- maybe New York, Charlotte or Philly -- a hub city with a lots of competition on well-priced non-stop routes to London or wherever. The risks: baggage issues and making connections. If the low cost carrier is late to your jump-off city, you could wind up in Europe without a bag, or even worse, missing the flight yourself.

5. Destination cheaters beware:

You might have friends that have carried this off, but I do not recommend it, for some very big reasons. I'm talking about destination cheaters, and it works this way: you want to travel to a smallish town, but flights there are expensive so you find a cheaper flight to another city with a stop in the town you want to visit, and you get off there. Beware: this practice is specifically banned by most airlines and if you're found out, the rest of your ticket might be cancelled, and if you're an elite flier, you could lose your miles.

One minor risk you can always take: fly a red-eye or overnight flight. In most cases, it will be cheaper, but the risk is you'll be too tired to enjoy your getaway, especially if it's just a jaunt for a day or so.

So, are you willing to give the wheel a spin? Only you can decide if these odds are worth it. You could wind up on a nice, cheap vacation. Or you could wind up home on the couch.

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