Flying Cheap with Allegiant Airline

Destinations are in blue and orange above with the most popular in orange. Visit their interactive route map here- https://www.allegiantair.com/interactive-routemap

You may have read this title and clicked to read because you have never heard of Allegiant Airline, but that’s okay. Allegiant Airline is a smaller airline but is growing and adding new flight routes all the time. They pride themselves on cheap and non-stop only flights. Greg and I have been flying and saving money with them since 2014… but really, July 2019 we got a flight for $8.00 from Florida to Pennsylvania. Continue reading to find out more!

BOOKING A FLIGHT

Booking a flight with Allegiant is super easy! Visit Allegiant.com, put in your destination, dates, round trip vs one way, how many passengers, and hit search.

Your next step is to book with the dates selected or to view the rate calendar, I always recommend this if you can change your dates- it may save you some money!

*** If you book a round-trip flight an automatic $20.00 discount will be applied to your total which is what you see above.

Once you select your dates, hit continue. At this point you will have the option of booking a rental car, reserving a hotel, buying insurance, etc. but if you do not need these options just skip through and purchase!

HOW ARE THEIR FLIGHTS SO CHEAP?

Many people wonder how Allegiant flights are so cheap. Fortunately, they offer an A la carte service so you are only paying for what you need. Don’t need a bag, to pick your seat, or want priority boarding… your flight will be cheaper.

MOBILE APP

Download the Allegiant mobile app for free in the app store. This app saves us so much time at the airport! We usually only travel with a “personal bag” so we can check in beforehand and head right to the security line when getting to the airport, you can do the same while traveling with a carry-on (NOTE- If you are traveling with a checked bag you must go to the ticket counter at the airport).

The app will also pull your boarding pass or passes up for anyone in your party (when booking just use the same e-mail linked to the account) after you check in.

You have the option of booking a flight right from the app but we find it easier to book from a computer or laptop.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Okay, the part you are waiting for. After flying with Allegiant for some time we have learned how to save.

The first and easiest way is to sign up for their Mastercard (information below). Allegiant always has sales but sometimes only for their Mastercard holders- this past Memorial Day they were having $50.00 off which is how I got that $8.00 flight I previously mentioned. Awesome right?!

Another way we save is by flying, yes, you read that right. About 2-3 days after we fly, Allegiant ALWAYS send us a coupon code active for 72 hours only for $20.00 off. Another awesome deal right?! Book your round trip flights separate if you are flying with someone else and turn that $20.00 into $80.00 off.

When booking, you have the option of picking your seats but if you can handle being 1 or 2 rows away from your loved one then skip on this option. Greg and I never pay to sit next to each other and 75% of the time we get seats right next to each other if not 1 row away.

Packing light will pay off! We make long weekend trips back to visit family/friends all the time and pack in a “personal bag” such as a backpack or small duffel bag. My favorite to pack in is the Vera Bradley weekender bag- fits everything I need. When flying Allegiant, there is no charge for a personal bag but there is a charge for carry-on and checked luggage, if you can pack light you will save like us! NOTE- if you do need a carry-on or checked bag make sure to book it when you book your tickets, adding these at the airport will be an extra charge.

Booking online vs over the phone will save you a service charge of $12.00 for each reservation.

Downloading the free mobile app will save $5.00 as you can access your boarding pass and will not have to print it at the airport.

As mentioned above, if your dates are flexible, check the rate calendar as it may save you money.

If you do not have a coupon code, book a round-trip ticket and you will automatically receive $20.00 off. If you are flying with someone, purchase your tickets separate so you both get the $20.00 off deal.

Check out the deals page on the Allegiant website- below is an example of a deal we can get from our home airport.

ALLEGIANT MASTERCARD

So, the Allegiant Mastercard is the main way we get our flights for cheap, there are so many perks. For starters, as you can see above, when you sign up you get a 15,000 bonus when you spend $1,000.00 in the first 90 days which is equal to $150.00 of travel credit; but guess what, if you apply for the card while you’re flying (they make their rounds during every flight), you get 17,500 points which is equal to $175.00 of travel credit after spending $1,000.00 during the first 90 days.

No matter what you use your card on you are building points! Points will be updated on your account after every statement. For example, my statement is the 28th of the month so if I make a large purchase on the 29th, I will have to wait until the following 28th of the month to see the points added.

A low annual fee of $59.00 pays for itself after only a few flights. Add up the price of priority boarding, a free beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), and travel credit and it’s like there is no fee to pay. The priority boarding in itself if our favorite part.

To use your points, continue checking out normally. When you go to purchase your flight, you will have the option to use your points or not to in order to save them. I am unable to show a picture of this part as I just used all of my points when I booked a flight last week, I got $93.00 off which brought my flight down to $117.00 after purchasing the front row seat and insurance (perks we usually pass on).

MILITARY DISCOUNT

Allegiant supports U.S. active duty military, military veterans, and members of the National Guard, military reserve, and their dependents by offering select free services.

Free services offered for U.S. active duty or reserve duty and National Guard:

Free services offered for U.S. military veterans and spouses or dependents of U.S. active duty or reserve military, and National Guard:

For all other information regarding Allegiant Airline, visit their website or comment below any questions we may be able to answer- https://www.allegiantair.com/how-allegiant

I Live Where You Vacation

If you don’t already know, Greg and I live in Dunedin, Florida (click HERE to read about our move to Florida). Dunedin is on the west coast of Florida, about 30 minutes west of Tampa and north of Clearwater- it is right along the Gulf of Mexico and is known for their beaches, downtown area, Honeymoon Island, and their part of the Pinellas Trail. We have enjoyed this area so much and have taken advantage of many opportunities it has to offer; we live like we are on vacation… well after getting off work and during the weekends. Here is more information and some of our favorite things to do- there is so much more that may attract you, we hope this urges you to visit!

Speaking of visiting, luckily there are 2 airports close by: Tampa International Airport (about 25 minutes) and St. Pete- Clearwater Airport (about 20 minutes- here you will be able to fly smaller airlines, this is our go-to airport)

Dunedin Causeway– The causeway is a 2.5 mile route that leads from Bayshore Boulevard directly to the entrance of Honeymoon Island State Park. The causeway has free parking and is our absolute favorite spot to watch the sunset, especially from our hammock that hangs in between the palm trees. No dogs allowed on the beach but they are allowed on the trail which runs the entire 2.5 miles. Unfortunately, we do not have a Jet Ski but there are always people on theirs here so if you have one, go for it! We often bring our kayak to this location and head to Caladesi or Honeymoon Island (you can also rent kayaks and paddleboards, HERE is the website). Their hours are from 5am – 11pm.


Honeymoon Island State Park– A Florida State Park located on Honeymoon Island. The island receives more than 1 million visitors each year and is the most visited state park in Florida. There is an $8 entrance fee per vehicle (8 people or less in the vehicle unless you are alone which is $4). Greg and I have their family annual pass which we paid $125. The park is open from 8am to sundown, 365 days a year and offers the following: trails (biking, walking, running), fishing, picnicking, beaches (cheaper and less crowded compared to Clearwater beach), concession and restaurants, playgrounds, interpretive exhibit, and our favorite the dog beach (Dogs must be on a leash at all times. There is a wash station outside but you have to bring your own dog shampoo and towels- this is great for getting the sand off before your dog gets back in the car. If you are visiting during the weekend plan on arriving before 11:30am or you will sit in traffic for about 25 minutes on the causeway- gorgeous views but you’ll want to get in).

Caladesi Island– An island accessible by boat, kayak, the ferry, or by walking 3 miles from Clearwater beach. You can take the ferry from Honeymoon, $7 for children and $14 for adults (you also have to pay the fee to get into Honeymoon). This island has a small restaurant with foods like burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, etc but has a great beach!

Pinellas Trail– The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is a linear trail currently extending from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs (over 30 miles) and is a multi-use trail everyone can use for: running, walking, skating, and biking- no motorized vehicles are allowed. Greg and I enjoy hopping on the trail by bike and going downtown to eat or visit one of the many breweries.

Breweries– There are 7 microbreweries in downtown Dunedin, all within walking distance. Woodright Brewing Company, Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin House of Beer, 7venth Sun Brewing Company, Caledonia Brewing, Cueni Brewing Co., and Soggy Bottom Brewery.  All are different in their own ways and offer things like live music, pool, darts, beer pairings, food, games, etc.

Spring Training Baseball– This speaks for itself. I grew up in Philadelphia and was raised to be a Phillies Pan, luckily, we are 8 minutes from the Phillies Spring Training field which also holds other events during the non-baseball season. The other stadium right in Dunedin is for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Downtown Dunedin– Okay our downtown offers so much, there is literally something happening all the time. I was told they will be decreasing the number of events held this year because there were over 150 in 2018… I think they are great and they should keep it how it is, that is what attracts people! From November to June we have the farmers market every Friday and Saturday morning (clothes, homemade items, food, drinks, entertainment, etc.) Our main street is filled with local shops, cafes, and restaurants that are great, you’ll be able to find whatever you are looking for and if not take in the amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico down by the arena.

You can even go fishing off the pier!

Some of our favorite things right outside of Dunedin:

Weeki Wachee – An enchanted spring where you can see live mermaids, take a trip on a river boat cruise, learn about Florida wildlife, swim, or paddle down the river. There are many places you can kayak from but we recommend the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Kayak Rentals (click HERE for their website). The cost is $50 for a tandem kayak for 4 hours which is plenty of time to complete the 5 mile river trail. If you are looking to book, I recommend a week day as the weekends are so crowded you have no room for yourself! We were told the manatees are in this are from the middle of January to the beginning of April- we visited April 2 and saw about 10!

Dog Bar– The dog bar is another one of our favorite places to take Nash (click HERE for their website). It is a unique combination of an off-leash dog park and a full service bar, is there any better combination?! They have 2 pools and various areas for the dogs to play on as well as a “rufferee” that watches over the dogs, although you will be too. You must be 21+ to enter but you do not need a dog with you. You can catch us either here or at the Honeymoon Island Dog Beach every weekend!

Busch Gardens– Although we have only been here once since moving to Florida, this is a great amusement park, ZOO, and water park about 35 minutes from Dunedin. Click HERE for their website.

Clearwater Beach– If you are looking for a tourist beach this is the place for you. In 2018, Clearwater was named #1 beach in America and was in the top 10 beaches in the world; not only will you get great views but there are so many things you can do to fill your time- boating, fishing, shopping, water sports, dining, dolphin watching, etc. We typically will bring out guests here once during their trip and then to Honeymoon Island because, to be honest, sometimes it is too crowded and parking can be a little expensive. If you are visiting during the “warmer months” which is basically May- September I would recommend arriving by 10:00am so you can get a parking spot or you can take the Ferry from Dunedin!

Tampa– It would take me forever to list all of the fun things to do in Tampa. Fortunately, because there is so much to do in our town of Dunedin we do not spend as much time in Tampa- we go there maybe once a month. Do your research before you go because visiting Tampa could be a vacation in itself.

Moving 1,200 miles from home

July 4th, 2014 was the first week I spent in Dunedin, Florida with Greg and his family- it was my first time ever visiting the west coast of Florida but Greg had been here before to visit his Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. I LOVED the area from the beginning, if you have never been here I recommend you book a trip now. I told Greg I wanted us to live there one day… even though he and I didn’t even live together at the time and wouldn’t for another year and a half in New Jersey. We would continue to visit every July to celebrate the 4th of July and January to go to Gasparilla- a pirate festival held in Tampa that attracts over 300,000 people every year.

As we were planning our trip for January 2017, Greg told me he was not going to be able to get off work to go this time; working in the medical field, my schedule is very flexible as I can swap a day and work on the weekend. I remember telling Greg I still wanted to go and he was surprisingly okay with the idea. My parents ended up coming along because they knew we loved the area so much and had talked about moving one day. The trip was great, like always, filled with beach days, shopping, and hanging out, but I did something I had never done before on this tip- I contacted a realtor to “see houses”, my excuse was that houses in Florida are VERY different from houses up North so I wanted to see what they were like. My parents, the realtor, Greg’s Aunt, and I headed out to look at houses the day before we were scheduled to leave, I fell in love with the first house but continued to look at 6 others; at the end of the day I requested to go back to the first house and was still in love- it was in a great neighborhood, a reasonable price for the area, 2 miles from the Gulf of Mexico which meant THE BEACH, 2 miles from downtown Dunedin which meant we could ride our bikes, 4 bedrooms so family could visit, a huge backyard for the area, and was just completely redone from top to bottom. I called Greg and said “Hi, I love you, and I love this house I went to look at”, his response “You’re crazy”. Houses in this area tend to sell within 1-2 weeks (this one was on the market for 3 days) so I explained to him that if we put in an offer, the house would be “ours” for 2 weeks so I could come home, we could talk and decide what to do. Greg is the most easy-going, go with the flow go guy (I’m so lucky to have that trait in a husband) and agreed. I called and did it… I placed an offer on a house while I was on vacation, a house Greg hadn’t even seen (to be fair before he said yes, I sent pictures and a video walk through). The next morning, as I was boarding the plane to go back to New Jersey, I got a counter offer, literally walking on the plane I called Greg who said to go for it, called them back, and accepted the offer! Sitting on the plane I was thinking “Is this the right thing to do? Are we really going to move 1,200+ miles from 99% of our friends and family?” We are both so close to our entire families and will be starting over if we move- new jobs, new friends, new state, new temperatures, new everything!

I get back to our 750 sq ft apartment in Jersey, in the cold, with a view of a parking lot- wanting to be back in Florida already. We talked it over and the decision was a little scary but we knew if we didn’t make a move now, we would get married, have kids, and then possibly never move- there is always an excuse for why you shouldn’t make a huge life change, right? I felt that the spontaneous decision was exactly what we needed! We agreed that if we ended up not liking Florida we would move back; if 1 of us was unhappy we could not stay as it would probably cause fights and make things worse.

Buying a house in a different state is difficult and I’ll be honest, causes a lot more stress- everything is done through e mail/the phone so I recommend if you are thinking of doing this get a folder and keep everything together- we were unable to fly down from when we bought the house to when we moved in, looking back I would have made that possible. We were not able to be there during the inspection which also caused some issues, the day we moved into our house we had no electric in 1 room, our problem now as it “passed during inspection”.

As for moving our belongings, we used the company PODS which was the most convenient option and I would 100% recommend. Basically, they drop off a storage container at your house (you can pick from 3 sizes), you load it up, call them, they pick it up and deliver it to your destination of choice, and then you unload it. I believe it took about 3 days for it to go from New Jersey to Florida – we were on a vacation in Europe so luckily Greg’s family unloaded it for us, still thankful for them! We got the largest POD although were told the smallest could fit a small apartment and is the size of an elevator. We filled the largest POD… other than bathroom/kitchen/personal items we had: 2.5 bed room sets, a couch with 2 chairs, and a dining room table with 8 chairs- not all of this was in our apartment as we were moving to a bigger house. PODS has insurance on their containers which we also liked but some rules which caused Greg to have to drive down with a U-haul. You are unable to put anything with gas in them even if it is empty- no grills, no motorcycles, no lawn equipment, etc. Something else to make note of is rules of the town/neighborhood. Our neighborhood has an HOA and only allowed the POD to be in our driveway for 4 days which is why we had people empty it while we were on vacation.

I shipped my car so I could fly and probably used the worst company out there- I don’t remember the name but they were based out of New York, I erased it from my memory. I based my choice off website reviews and the price, don’t do that, do more research than I did because looking back every review on the website was the name of someone I talked to. If I talked with John S. on the phone then John S. had a 5/5 review on the website, if I talked to Barbara M. then she had nothing but great things to say on the website reviews and would “book them again in a heartbeat”. Doing more research, I found the terrible reviews. My car wasn’t damaged or anything but the experience was horrible- communication sucked, they tried to change the price, they were late picking up my car (again we were on vacation so a friend sat all day waiting for them to pick it up), and they were 2 days late dropping it off so I had limited ways to get around once in Florida.

Jobs. While on the vacation back in January 2017… you know, the one responsible for this move, I also reached out to a few rehabilitation centers. I basically sent e mails explaining that I was thinking of moving to Florida and if they believed they would have a job opening within the next 6 months, I would like to come take a tour/meet the staff- 1 place got back to me, how disappointing. Anyway, I set up a time to meet and fell in love with the facility; I knew I would learn so much as an Occupational Therapist working there. It was only 18 minutes from Dunedin which was also a plus. Unfortunately, the Director of Rehab said she did not foresee any job openings but if I wanted to fill out an application for PRN (as needed work) I could for when I moved, so I did. March 2017, I get an e mail that stated a full time OT job was opening up and asked if I was interested, heck yes! but we were not moving for another 4 months. I explained my situation and she said “Lets go through the interview process and if you are the right fit for the job then we will hold it for you”, is this real? This is perfect! I go on 2 phone interviews and end up getting the job which was a huge relief, I was to start July 2017. Greg worked with a recruiter and landed an Accounting job before we moved as well- all of his interviews were through Skype. We are both still at the same companies and have grown from our jobs.

It has been a year and 10 months since moving to Florida and we love it- we aren’t sure if this is our “forever” place in the states but as for now this is home. We have had visitors or either been back up North almost every month of living here which might sound like a lot but it helps with being homesick- we also have each other and so many great friends that fill our weekends with adventure.