DrVoyageur - Budget Travel Tips Home Page

Priceline.com Air

Travelocity's Low Fare Alert searches thousands of flights for fares that can save you 20%* or more on your trip.

save up to 60%


Tell a friend about this page

Airfare savings
Visit North America fares

Finding cheap tickets for international visitors to Canada and the United States

Persons who live outside of Canada, northern Mexico, and the United States can buy tickets called "Visit Canada", "Visit USA", "Visit North America", or similar names.

Sometimes, using these may be cheaper than buying one-way or single journey tickets on budget airlines in Canada and the U.S., depending on the route.

Moreover, they may be valid on routes budget airlines do not fly.

They may also give you the ability to change dates without penalty.

Compare prices

Because so many routes in Canada and the U.S. are flown by budget airlines, you should compare the price of Visit North America passes with individual route fares.

Airlines to check include Southwest and AirTran in the U.S. and Westjet in Canada.

Also, do one-way (single ticket) fare checks by clicking on like sites like these and choosing the "one-way" option:

(for Canada)

(for USA)

These show low fares on other airlines.

Pass rules

Pass rules vary by airline, but several are common to all. These are subject to change.

  • Ticket booklets must be purchased before arrival in Canada or the U.S.

    Usually, you must actually live outside of North America, and be able to prove it.

  • You may have to use the airline you choose for your pass to fly to and from North America.

    Air Canada, though, has traditionally allowed passengers who fly other airlines to North America to buy its "Air Canada Unlimited" passes. It merely charged them more.

  • Tickets consist of coupons, each good for one flight or for each flight with a different flight number.

    Therefore, because coupons are usually valid on only the issuing airline, you want to pick an airline that goes where you wish to travel without connecting flights that would use up two coupons.

    For example, routes of almost all airlines in Canada and the U.S. centre on hubs, airports where most travellers change planes.

    A traveller from Des Moines, Iowa, to Fort Myers, Florida, may take American Airlines via Chicago, Dallas or St. Louis, United via Chicago, or Northwest via Minneapolis.

    In general, on Air Canada (the "Air Canada Unlimited" programme), you can travel from Florida to Canada to California.

    In the U.S., United Airlines offers the most widespread nonstop or direct flights with its extensive route system across the U.S., and up and down the east and west coasts, followed by American and Delta. Northwest may soon become part of Delta, which will give more options.

    These may not fit your trip, however, so check on routes before buying a coupon plan. American has more flights than United, but it does not offer as much north and south service.

  • There may be route restrictions.

    On United Airlines, for instance, you can only use nonstop flights across the U.S. twice. On the other hand, don't worry too much about this, as you may "cheat" and use Las Vegas or Reno as your western destination.

  • Coupons are almost never valid for travel on other airlines.

There are other rules, including cancellation penalties, but Dr. Voyageur gets a headache thinking too much about them.

On United, coupons can be brought in books of three, four, five, six, seven, or eight coupons, and just one coupon book per international air ticket can be purchased.

Again, all these situations are subject to change.

Prices vary by season and age.

Sadly, price may also vary by where you purchase your pass.

We suspect that those who live in less competitive air ticket markets, such as Japan and Switzerland, usually pay more.

Sample pass routing

Using the air passes available to international visitors and other transportation, you could do the following to give a flavour of many regions:

  • New York City - Washington, D.C., Amtrak rail ticket

  • Washington, D.C. (Dulles Airport) - Seattle, United or other coupon

  • Seattle - Victoria, - ferry

  • Victoria - Nanaimo, Via Rail Canada or coach ticket

  • Nanaimo - Vancouver, B.C. Ferry and coach via Horseshoe Bay

  • Vancouver - Banff and Jasper National Parks - Vancouver, coach or rental car (circle trip)

  • Vancouver - San Francisco, Amtrak ticket

  • Day coach tour to Carmel and Monterey

  • Day coach tour to Muir Woods or Napa Valley.

  • San Francisco/Oakland - Las Vegas, United or another coupon

  • Las Vegas - Grand Canyon - Utah national parks - Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park - Denver, rental car

  • Denver - Orlando, United or other coupon

Using just three flight coupons, this is just a sample of thousands of possibilities.

If you live offshore, check out these Visit North America or Visit USA programmes!

Have a super time travelling "on the cheap" in North America.

For more airfare savings tips:

Go to >> Airfare savings introduction
Go to >> Finding cheap fares
Go to >> Last-minute fares
Go to >> Combining fares
Go to >> Open jaws & circle trips
Go to >> One-way (single) airfares
Go to >> Bereavement flights
Go to >> Weekend internet fares
Go to >> Budget airlines, or Southwest Airlines
Go to >> Bucket shop fares
Go to >> Visit North America fares

homecontactsprivacy policy
© Copyright 1999-2016 Nadeau eSolutions, LLC. All rights reserved.