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My First Error Fare

A simple glitch in the system helped me visit 15 cities in 7 different countries over 6 weeks. Think it’s impossible? Think again. I found an error fare and it’s kind of like winning the travel lottery.

So what exactly is an “Error Fare” anyway?

No that’s not a typo. I meant to say ‘error’ fare and not ‘AIR’ fare. Many people kindly correct me thinking I have made a typo. If you have never heard of an error fare, you’re not alone. Most people have never even heard of these fares and even fewer people know how to find them. So what exactly are these mysterious wonders of the travel world? An error fare is basically a mistake or glitch in the computer system of the airline or global distribution system causing a pricing error that can save you thousands of dollars on flights!

How do these errors occur?

Mistakes happen within every industry of business. The airline industry is no different. There are so many complex algorithms and systems all attempting to work together simultaneously. With millions of flight variations, it’s easy to see how these errors can happen so often.

Some Examples:

– A system error occurs where the base fare price is improperly altered or taxes are miscalculated.

– An employee makes a typing error due to “fat fingers” and leaves off a zero, or types in the wrong number.

– Currency conversion mistakes are made due to global numbers changing daily in multiple countries.

…And the list goes on!

No matter what the reason may be, I see error fares occur almost every day!

 

I wrote about error fares in a recent post where I snagged a round-trip flight to Copenhagen for $193, but my first error fare was actually a multi-city ticket around the world for $325. Here’s the screenshot.

 

 

This fare got me from New York to Milan, and then I had to get myself to Prague on my own. In Prague, I would fly to Paris and then to Bangkok. I scored all this for only $325! Even flying from New York to Milan for $325 would have been a deal in itself. So the fact that I got multiple cities was a major bonus. What a deal!

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Maximizing the Deal

Since I purchased this deal in May and the first flight wasn’t until November 3rd, I had plenty of time to plan. I live in San Diego so I needed to first get myself to New York. I was able to take my time and search cheap flights to New York. I also have a friend in New York so I thought it would be fun to spend Halloween in the city. I set an alert for San Diego to NYC around these dates. I watched the prices go up and down and easily got the alerts straight to my email. I noticed the trends and when a cheap flight hit, I purchased. I flew one way to NYC on October 30th for under $200 and had the time of my life with friends for Halloween. After a few days of sightseeing and hanging out in NYC, I took the first flight of the featured itinerary to Milan.

Italy is one of my favorite places, and I had been to Milan before. I spent a day or two here to settle in and then continued on. Now I had to get myself from Milan to Prague in order to continue to the itinerary. Since I know that train travel in Europe is cheap and super easy to book last minute, I chose to leave this pretty open allowing for some spontaneity. This was a good choice as I was able to visit multiple cities along the way.

From Milan, I took the train to Florence. Florence is beautiful and I always enjoy stopping here. The best “appertivo” is at the Ritz Carlton; free snacks with any drink purchase. I enjoyed a glass of champagne in their beautiful ambiance of luxury and was sent tray after tray of the finest free delectable bites. After Florence, I took the train to Rome. Rome is one of my favorite cities, and I have been there many times. I stayed awhile to breathe in its bustling energy to get my fix. After Rome, I took the train to Vienna for a quick visit to admire the beautiful architecture and then continued on to Budapest.

Budapest is a hidden gem. If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend it. There is plenty to do to keep you busy, and it is also very budget friendly. After relaxing in the Hungarian baths of Budapest I took an overnight sleeper train to Prague. This saved me on travel time and also saved me money by not needing a hotel for that night. After taking in the sights of Prague I continued on the original itinerary and flew to Paris. I have a friend in Paris so I stayed with her and enjoyed a night on the town before my final flight to Bangkok.

Extending My Trip

When I landed in Bangkok the multi-city error fare ticket was complete. My trip had been 3 weeks long already. I decided to stay another 3 weeks in Thailand since it is very budget friendly. I had an amazing time exploring the country. I explored in Bangkok and then took an overnight train to Chiang Mai to shop the markets and enjoy some bamboo rafting down the river. After Chiang Mai, I hit the beaches of Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, and Krabi before settling into my favorite island of Koh Samui. From there I took a day trip to Koh Phangan to experience my first Full Moon Party.

Splurge vs Save

My philosophy in life is always to save where I can, and splurge where it counts. I hadn’t spent much money since I had either stayed with friends along the way or negotiated a place on Airbnb. I saved money by living more like the locals. I enjoyed authentic street food and shopped at the markets, even cooking from time to time. The dolce sausage from Mercato Trionfale in Rome will forever be one of my favorites! Since Airbnb places typically have a full kitchen you can really save money on dining. I definitely enjoyed some meals out as well and splurged when I felt it was worth it. While traveling I actually prefer to enjoy my coffee in the morning with a nice homemade breakfast snack before getting dressed and running out for the day. This actually gives you plenty of extra money to enjoy a nice dinner when you’re really in the mood for it. However, sometimes I’m exhausted from a long day of sightseeing, and I’d rather go home, relax, and enjoy something light. On those days I may opt for a big lunch instead. The lunch prices are always cheaper than dinner out.

Completing My First Trip Around The World

Now I just needed a flight home from Bangkok to complete the trip. I had secured a one-way award fare for 40,000 miles from Bangkok to San Diego with a layover in Taipei. This completed my journey around the world on very little money! In 6 weeks I visited New York, Milan, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Paris, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi, Koh Samui, and Koh Phangan. I explored 15 cities in 7 different countries. It all started with an error fare and an open mind. I filled in the gaps and made it happen. It was a great experience that I was able to check off of my “bucket list”!

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How I Traveled Around the World on an Error Fare!

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