A Backpacker’s Budget: Cheap Flights To California

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Boarding plan
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Are you ready to go for your next backpacking trip to California? If you are on a budget then this post is for you. We have compiled a list of cheap flights to California. You should know that some services offered by other airlines for free, maybe charged as an extra cost by cheap flight airlines.

Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air is a cheap flight airline that goes to California. It uses the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. All its seats are economy class. In addition, it flies to 40 destinations within the USA. It is not a full time all day everyday type of airline. It only flies some days of the week. While this flight may have cheap air tickets, you have to bear in mind that you will pay extra for carry-on baggage.

CA Flight
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They have a complimentary service for veterans and military travelers whereby they do not pay for carry-ons. So if you fall into any of those categories, and are going to California, remember not to pay for the carry-ons. Other services that the airline charges include: changing seats, for instance, if you are traveling with a fellow backpacker and you want to sit together, then you may have to pay extra for to sit next to them.

The airline also charges extra for refreshments and food. So come prepared either when you have already eaten or ready to pay extra. Note also that comfort should not be a priority for you as the seats do not recline. Their baggage weight limit is 40lbs as compared to other flights that allow a maximum of 50 lbs. Allegiant also uses alternative smaller airports as opposed to regular airports. So consider this while booking, the airport could be closer to your destination. Also, smaller airports are less crowded.

Flight
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Taking these flights would be best for you if you are on a budget and have minimal luggage. Baggage fees for a carry-on bag cost anywhere from $18 to $51. If you have an extra bag you pay $25 – $51. Flights cost anywhere from $369 depending on destination.

South West Airlines

South West Airlines is an American based carrier considered to be the biggest low-cost airline. The carrier only has the economy class. Unlike the Allegiant airline, South West does not charge extra for baggage, snacks, and drinks- these items are free. It, however, charges for online check-in and alcoholic drinks. One tip to have when flying this airline is check-in 24 hours before to secure your boarding pass.

While looking for cheap flights to California, we found some advantages of flying South West Airlines. Also, cheap flights to California costs start from $59, there are no assigned seats and that is why you should check in 24 hours earlier to secure a boarding. Early check-in will allow your board in first and this gives you a better choice of seats. There is also a provision of two checked-in bags at no extra cost. The carrier also has a South West Credit card.

SW Air
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If you are backpacking as a group, you may want to consider getting the companion pass. Southwest allows you to select a companion pass while booking so that you can fly for free. To get this offer, you must have flown 100 flights on one way to earn at least 110,000 points annually. If you get to this level, you have a chance to use a companion pass for a year including the year when you earned the points.

On the downside, the airline does not include meals in its plane tickets for cheap flights to California. So its best come already prepared with snacks or have a meal before the flight. You have to plan accordingly considering that the flight does not offer seat confirmation.

JetBlue Airline

Plane
Image by John Murphy on flickr

JetBlue Airways is another cheap airline that flies through the United States, the Caribbean, and South America. It only has an economy class. It flies to Long Beach Airport. The points earned for flying JetBlue do not expire. These points can be utilized in several ways. Once accumulated, they can be used to cover the cost of another trip. JetBlue has vacation packages in which you can take advantage of using your points.

The carrier has partner airlines, if you fly using these airlines, you also earn points. These carriers are South African Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Emirates. Besides this, you can collect points for staying in their partner hotels. With JetBlue, you will not get bored as the flights offer a wide selection of TV shows and movies, including drinks and snacks.

Spirit Airlines

Flights Brand
Image by Tomás Del Coro on flickr

Spirit Airlines is based in Florida and the carrier goes to 55 destinations within the United States, South America, and the Caribbean. It has an entire economy class. The front seats of the airline are much bigger and provide legroom. To access these seats, passengers have to pay an extra cost. The airline also charges extra for checked baggage, drinks, and snacks. The carrier has two operating airports, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) and Fort Lauderdale.

Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

If you choose to fly this budget airline ensures you are properly organized as there is no compensation for missed flights. The seats too have no leg room and they also do not recline. The only item your ticket is valid for is your seat, every other service is paid for. So if you are on a budget these are the things to consider. The cost of checking in baggage ranges from $31-$67 for flights going to Mexico if you have more than one bag you pay $31-$67. The maximum baggage allowance is 40lb. For domestic flights, carry-on bags cost between $36 and $67 and any extra bag costs $36 and $67.

Sun Country Airlines

Cheap Flights
Image by John Murphy on flickr

If you have a backpack then you may want to consider another airline as this one has restrictions on the size and weight of the bag. This airline charges for snacks and drinks so if you are on a budget then it would be best to purchase prior or come ready to fly not expecting a meal and snack. The airline has an economy only class seating that is divided into three types: Best, better and standard seats.

The best seats are located at the front of the airline and they have more legroom, adjustable headrest and the seat can be reclined. They also have USB charging ports with air conditioning outlets. Better seats are located in the middle of the plane and they also have USB charging ports. The standard seats are on the rear of the plane and also have USB charging ports. With these flights, passengers receive a complimentary nonalcoholic drink. Note that you pay extra to select the type of seat you one. The Best and better seat selection is cheaper than the standard seats.

Cheap Flights
Image by WikiCommons

Overall with all the additional service costs, this airline costs less than other budget airlines across the USA. The carrier has a baggage limit which is a personal item and a carry-on bag. There are limitations to the personal item. Bigger bags are not accepted as personal items and you will have to pay for them and the bag you take in as your personal item has to fit under a seat. Carry-on bags are only allowed up to 35lb.

Cheap Flights Travel Tips

The concept of cheap flights becomes interesting when the cost of the ticket is indeed cheap. However when you factor in other costs that you pay extra in addition to the ticket, then it would be best to compare with other cheap flights to California that offer all-inclusive services to the cost of the ticket. If you are backpacking on a budget then compare all the aspects of the cheap flight and in the process find out when are flights the cheapest. Look at what comes with the ticket. Sometimes you may end up paying more than you bargained for in extra fees. In conclusion, know the fees because a flight that costs $50 can quickly skyrocket with additional fees.

Cheap Flights
Image by Victor Toh from Pixabay

Make a quick comparison between the fares, using different flight search engines. You can also subscribe to their emails to get the latest fares sent to your inbox. Consider what you value most; budget, comfort, convenience, and good service. If you are on a budget, some of the services will not be a priority for you. You will value the budget more than convenience and good service.

Be a smart backpacker, use a bag that fits just right so that you can pay the lowest cost possible. Some of the airlines allow one free personal item which could be a backpack or handbag. Most of the seats in these budget airlines are not as comfortable so it would be best to protect your neck. Always remember to carry a pillow. It would also be advisable to purchase your snacks before your flight. Arrive early to check-in comfortably. If you choose to ask for help then these services will also come at an extra cost.

Do you have any experience of traveling on cheap flights? Then contribute your experience in the comments below.

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