So, you want to visit Medellín, Colombia, but don’t know where to begin? No need to fret. Traveling to and from Medellín over the years has taught me some tricks on how to save time and money before I decided to settle down here myself not too long ago.
Here’s the best way to fly to Medellín, Colombia:
- Choose a date with flexibility (ideally two months from now)
- Familiarize yourself with Google Flights and Trip Advisor
- Download the mobile apps Hopper or Skyscanner
- Plugin your desired dates and set up notifications for price fluctuations
- Avoid flights with long layovers
- Don’t get tempted by Spirit Airlines’ cheap fares
Picking the best flights isn’t always that easy, especially if that traveling itch clouds your better judgment, so let me break it down for you.
There are actually two airports in Medellín, but you’re most likely going to fly into the international airport: Josè María Córdova (MDE). Roundtrip tickets can cost as low as $360 to as much as $650, depending on when you book your flight, how long your layover is, and where you’re flying out from.
Direct flights are available if you prefer them, but only if you live in Florida or New York.
Try to select from these three airlines: Copa Airlines, Avianca Airlines, or American Airlines. You can conveniently save time and money without being pigeonholed into small seats with cramped leg space, overpriced fees, or unnecessary delays.
Google Flights and Hopper are going to become your favorite travel search engines, especially if your dates are flexible because they adeptly track price fluctuations and can offer cheaper fares for differing days.
Do you live in Miami or Fort Lauderdale? Then you have it easy. You can fly non-stop to Medellín with JetBlue, Spirit, VivaAir, Avianca, or American Airlines. But let’s ignore the first few and focus on the latter two.
If you haven’t heard of Avianca Airlines, it’s Colombia’s largest airline and country’s flag carrier. It’s safe, clean, and you can even earn award miles if you’re a MileagePlus member.
You’re probably familiar with American Airlines, but did you know that it’s actually the world’s largest airlines? I didn’t. Their customer service is fine, prices are decent and offer plenty of flights to choose from.
Copa Airlines, Panama’s flag carrier, also offers MileagePlus miles to members. Try flying Copa if you’re traveling from the Midwest or East Coast because they have fair prices from those locations.
Online Resources to Find the Best Flights
Moving on, there are a plethora of third-party websites you can use to check dates and prices, such as Flights.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, and the list continues, but I prefer Google Flights because they cater to my preferences.
They’re app-friendly, easy to use, and if your dates are flexible, you can set up notifications on your phone or email to let you know if prices have dropped, or increased, and when the best time to book them are. Not to mention that you’re safe from being bombarded with useless spam emails from the other websites.
If you use your phone (assuming you have a smartphone in 2019) more than your computer, download Skyscanner and Hopper; they’re both useful travel search engines that’ll help you track price fluctuations and even search for multi-city flights if you want to extend your vacation.
Skyscanner is helpful if you want to add book hotels and car rentals, but I’m fond of Hopper.
You can put in your preferred travel dates and Hopper finds you the cheapest flights, but it also warns you if they’re severely overpriced, makes suggestions on when to purchase, and will notify you when they drop.
Hopper is only available as a mobile app, but I highly recommend it. Since it’s considered a travel agency, it’s able to gather data from airlines and pull from itineraries to curate algorithms that help guide you on the best time to buy flights. It’s like having a really honest travel agent in your pocket.
Even if you’re unsure of travel plans due to work commitments, or if your best friend is being flaky, you can “watch” a variety of different flights over a period of time, even to different destinations, and it’ll let you know which dates are cheapest, and when they become more expensive.
What to Avoid
Keep in mind that exchanging convenience to save a few bucks isn’t always worth it. Don’t risk missing connecting flights or messing up your itinerary just because you see Spirit Airlines dangling dirt-cheap flights in front of your glazed, desperate eyes.
Long layovers, expensive bag fees, no food options, cramped spaces; these are all possibilities of choosing subpar airlines. Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes it’s not, and it’s never worth it if you choose Spirit Airlines.
Spirit is the bane of my existence. It’s the off-brand, generic airline that wants to fly with the big boys, but they’re just not good enough. In every way.
The prices will catch your eye, I guarantee that, but don’t fall for their tricks. Their bag fees are insanely expensive, and they even charge you for your personal carry-on items. One time, my flight from Las Vegas was delayed five hours because one of the pilots was apparently drunk and had to sober up. Last month, my friend said they charged him for a. Cup. Of. Water.
Spirit is like the C minus team of your high school JV league softball team. It’s like when you choose Great Value ketchup over Heinz. It’s like getting Destiny’s Child without Beyoncé.
You get the point.
Airport Do’s and Don’ts
When you do book your flights, decide if you want to check a bag, but you’ll most likely be able to manage with a personal item (backpack, purse, etc.) and a carry-on. It’ll make traveling easier and save you a few coins at the airport.
Haven’t flown in a while?
Don’t get held up by TSA by remembering these tips:
- Don’t bring any bottled fluids over 3.4 Fl oz
- Have your laptop, camera, or any other large electronic packed in an easily accessible spot because you need to take it out separately for security
- Wear comfortable attire and shoes you can quickly take off and on
- Pack your toiletries altogether in a separate bag. TSA won’t always ask you to take them out, but in case they do, have the bag near the top so it’ll be easier to reach
- E-cigarettes and pens are okay to travel with.
- Don’t pack anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.
- Invest in a personal water bottle/canteen (if you don’t already have one) so you can help the environment and won’t waste money on buying plastic bottles of water
I know what’s it’s like to silently suffer from the repercussions of choosing inferior airlines, not to mention the unnecessarily long layovers in countries you have no interest in visiting. That’s when I decided: I refused to waste my valuable vacation hours on senseless traveling. So, over the years, I became more and more meticulous on how to pick decently-priced flights without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
Alright so, that’s it. Pick a date. And go.
Which airlines fly to Medellín, Colombia?
These are all the airlines that fly to Medellín, ordered from best recommended to least: Avianca, American Airlines, Copa, Alaskan Airlines, LATAM Airlines Group, AeroMexico, JetBlue, Viva Air, Interjet, and lastly, Spirit.
Does the Medellín airport have WiFi?
Yes, you can connect to “AeropuertoRinoNegro-JMC” and it’s not bad. From there you can easily grab a taxi or catch an Uber. One thing to note: Uber is technically illegal in Colombia so make sure you sit in the passenger seat.
Is Medellín safe to travel alone?
Yes. Medellín’s economy has boosted since they’ve been attracting more travelers, and the city’s homicide rates drastically declined over the years. But just be mindful and treat it like any other major city; be wary of your surroundings, don’t wander without cell service, and learn a little Spanish.Other than that, I want to signify that traveling by yourself is one of the more gratifying experiences you’ll get to appreciate.