The day has come for me to prove that the mysterious flight deals referenced in my bio (below each blog post) are not myths. My time at Fly.com has been filled with amazing finds, like the three below that I actually purchased. These seemed like once-in-a-lifetime trips, but turned out to be more like once or twice a year.
$250 — NYC to Barcelona Nonstop (R/T incl. tax)
During the afternoon hours of Tuesday, November 30, 2010, an amazing $250 roundtrip fare to Barcelona was published in a Travelzoo Newsflash alert. As soon as the email went out, I booked the fare knowing that it was likely a mistake by the airline and it could disappear at any moment. This was more than half off the regular price for this route so, despite a lack of desire to visit Spain, I jumped on it. The cheapest fare as of today is $680 roundtrip, including taxes if you leave this week. Fares climb to over $1000 this summer!
The trip turned out to be incredible. Between the architecture and the food, I was in heaven. Tapas is now one of my favorite ways to eat, as you can try a little bit of everything. What could be better than that? For arguably the best tapas in Barcelona (and frankly one of the best meals I’ve ever had), head to Cerveceria Catalana (not to be confused with the hundreds of other restaurants that say cerveceria on the front). It’s worth the wait, which can sometimes be nearly two hours.
Before the trip, I was hesitant to visit a city where the main draw seemed to be architecture. Boy, was I wrong! Not only are there a ton of things to do, but the Guadi buildings were incredible, especially the Sagrada Familia. The cathedral both from the inside and outside was one of the most impressive structures I’ve ever seen. It almost looks like it’s melting, but honestly you need to see the basilica in person to appreciate it.
$150 — NYC to Sweden Nonstop (R/T incl. tax)
This fare was featured in a Travelzoo Newsflash that was sent out Feb. 15, 2011 at 1 p.m. EST. Other fares including New York City to Barcelona, Paris, Madrid, Copenhagen and Rome were all available for under $400. Having already traveled to Barcelona for $250 (was so annoyed because this time it was $211), I decided to choose Sweden despite the frigid temperatures in mid-March. The fare disappeared within a couple of hours, but I booked it promptly upon receiving the Newsflash.
With only three days in the country, there was little time to waste so despite the cold weather we set out to see as much of the city as we could. One thing that struck me by surprise was the extremely expensive food we encountered at nearly every restaurant. Every time I travel now, I do some restaurant reconnaissance before departing to ensure every food experience is an enjoyable one. Despite the price, we had several great meals, including a decadent reindeer filet (it’s pretty popular there) over lingonberry sauce at an upscale restaurant and a delicious, and affordable, fish stew in Hötorgshallen market. Located under a movie theater, the enormous market was filled with everything from meats to fish to chocolate. It closes relatively early, so it’s probably best to go there for lunch.
My favorite attraction was the Vassa Museum. This huge building houses a warship that was built and sunk in the 17th century. The ship was raised from water in 1961 and has been restored. The boat is massive and restoration work that has been done is nothing short of miraculous.
$232 — NYC to Brussels (R/T incl. tax)
This trip was the longest of the three, so I had time to visit several cities along the way, including Paris, Amsterdam and Bruges. It was really simple to take trains between the cities. Had I flown to Paris or Amsterdam directly, I would have spent $700 if not more! While the cost of train tickets add up fast, the cheap flight enabled me to see places outside of Belgium.
It was my second time in Paris and Amsterdam, but it was still quite amazing to see all the major attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre in Paris as well as the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Having visited some of these cities before, I was able to navigate and avoid the pitfalls of tourist restaurants. That was the only major disappointment my first time around was the horrible food I encountered, this time I did my research and was armed with a long list of recommended eateries. It definitely paid off, do not miss the Indonesian food in Amsterdam!
Deal Verification Process
Sometimes when we find these fares, even we don’t believe they are real. That’s where Travelzoo’s Test Booking Center steps in to carefully verify each deal published on Fly.com. The dedicated team tests every single deal, multiple times, both before and after it’s published to ensure our users get the most accurate information possible. If we can’t verify the deal ourselves then we will not publish it. However, this does not mean that the fares will last forever, in fact most of the above prices were only bookable for a few hours. So, when we say book ASAP, we mean it!
Stay tuned for an upcoming post where I disclose the secrets behind finding these incredible fares.