Travel tips

Rebook Southwest flights to save

Southwest allows you to make changes for free to your flights. If you change your flight, you’ll only be responsible for the difference between the fares. This can work in your favor if the price decreases from the time of your purchase. If the price in cash or Rapid Rewards goes down from the time you book, you can rebook your flights and be credited for the difference. Wanna Get Away fares get a travel credit and Business Select and Anytime can get a cash refund. When the flash deals come out always check if your route is cheaper.

  • Read more about how to cancel and change flights here.

Southwest doesn’t release flights one year in advance

Unlike many other carriers, Southwest does not allow you to book flights a year out in advance. Instead, you may only find flights about 7 months in advance. Southwest will publish their release dates and you should be able to start making bookings early that morning (though sometimes technical difficulties require you to wait). With the new flights coming to Hawaii, you’ll definitely want to jump on some of these routes as quickly as possible to lock down the best rates Click here to see the latest release dates.

You can fly stand by

Business Select, Anytime fares, and A-List members can opt for earlier flights when they have opened up free of charge. But Business Select and Anytime fares can simply be changed to earlier flights when there’s availability so sometimes it doesn’t make sense to go the standby route. Wanna Get Away passengers can sometimes get put on standby two hours before or after their flight — this is an unstated policy though so YMMV. The deadline for making changes to your flight is 1 hour prior to departure.

Last-minute flights are expensive

One important tip for flying Southwest, is that last minute flights on Southwest can be very expensive. It’s somewhat dependent on the route but it usually pays to book Southwest flight well in advance. This is especially true when flying internationally — for more on all of the Southwest international routes and prices, click here!

Wanna Get Away fares offer great value

Wanna Get Away fares are the cheapest Southwest fares and don’t allow you to cancel them and get a cash refund (though you still get a credit for the originally ticketed passenger only). These fares can be dirt cheap, especially when Southwest runs flash sales. These flash sales come around a few times a year and offer some exceptionally low fares as low as $40 one way. Keep an eye out for these fares because they can save you tons but you they require you to act fast and are often limited to flights on certain days of the week (that aren’t very desirable like Tuesday or Wednesday).

  • When these sales aren’t running you can still check the low-fare routes by using this tool.

Get “real drinks” for free

If you’re flying on a holiday or it’s near your birthday or anniversary, you should let the flight attendants know and they might hook you up with a free drink or two. We’ve also gotten free drinks from just starting conversations with some of the nice flight attendants.

  • Read more about how to get free drinks here.

Two free checked bags

Southwest allows each passenger two free checked bags. So you usually don’t have to worry about paying for your luggage. If you want to check a third bag, it will cost you $75. If you’re considering flying with low-cost carriers like Frontier and Spirit, be sure to factor these savings in!

  • Read more about the baggage policies here.

Upgrade to Business Select

Instead of paying the high prices for business select, consider upgrading to business select at the gate. It will cost you $30 to $50 depending on the distance of the route. I usually first inquire about which spot we’ll be given upon upgrading. For example, it might be A1 or A10, you never know. If it’s near the top, that almost always means that seats in the emergency exit rows will be available (and so you might be able to get the row with only two seats or extra leg room). This usually doesn’t work on routes with high business travel traffic but often works out great when flying to places like the Caribbean. You can read more about upgrading to business select here.

Bring something to entertain you

Southwest is not like other alines, such as JetBlue that offer screens for you to enjoy in-flight entertainment. For this reason, you need to make sure you have the battery power or literature, puzzles, etc. you need to keep yourself entertained for the duration of the flight. Some Southwest flights will have wi-fi, though. You can check if your Southwest flight will have wifi here. If your flight has wi-fi then you can use the Airtime Player app to use view features a flight tracker, arrival and connecting gate information, games, and access to (it’s free to access all of that). If you want to pay for wifi, you can watch free live TV, on-demand TV, movies, and enjoy web browsing and messaging during your flight. You can read more about the in-flight entertainment here. You must download the Airtime Player app before boarding if you want to view a movie or on-demand TV. Here are the download links for that app:

  • Download for iOS®
  • Download for Android

The best activities aren’t necessarily traditional tourist ones

Some of my biggest highlights are things that sound so normal: it was drinking and singing with newfound friends in the Philippines, hiking alone in the mountains surrounding Taipei, trying to guess what everything was at a wet market in Saigon, dropping my travel plans to fly home and surprise my mum for her birthday, and spending six weeks in Madrid because that’s where my friends were spending the summer.