Forget Round-Trip Flights: Booking Two One-Way Tickets to Certain Cities Could Save You Cash

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Planning a trip to Florence or Barcelona? Before you book that round-trip flight, you may want to check out Kayak's 2018 "Flight Hacker Guide," which helps travelers save money on airline tickets. As Travel + Leisure reports, one of the quirks of the airline industry is that it's sometimes cheaper to book two separate one-way tickets as opposed to a round-trip package.

Whether or not you stand to gain from this approach depends on the city you're traveling to, as well as the departure airport. When traveling to certain destinations—like Colorado Springs and Memphis, Tennessee—you can save more than 11 percent by booking two one-way tickets, according to Kayak's analysis.

To save travelers both time and money, Kayak compiled a list of the top 10 international cities and top 10 U.S. cities where travelers will save the most by booking two one-way tickets instead of round-trip tickets. The lists are based on search results from Kayak's U.S. website between June 2017 and June 2018.

The Flight Hacker Guide also shows the median airfare for each city, broken down by month, so you can see when it's cheapest to fly. Florence is the best city to book separate tickets to, and with a median airfare of $720, February is the cheapest time to go.

Here are the top 10 international destinations where you'll save the most money by booking two one-way tickets:

1. Florence, Italy: Savings of at least 16 percent
2. Frankfurt, Germany: Savings of at least 15 percent
3. Bangkok, Thailand: Savings of at least 14 percent
4. Prague, Czech Republic: Savings of at least 14 percent
5. London, England: Savings of at least 13 percent
6. Tokyo, Japan: Savings of at least 13 percent
7. Edinburgh, Scotland: Savings of at least 13 percent
8. Munich, Germany: Savings of at least 12 percent
9. Barcelona, Spain: Savings of at least 12 percent
10. Manchester, England: Savings of at least 12 percent

And here are the top domestic destinations, ranked by savings:

1. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Savings of at least 12 percent
2. Cincinnati, Ohio: Savings of at least 11 percent
3. San Antonio, Texas: Savings of at least 11 percent
4. Madison, Wisconsin: Savings of at least 11 percent
5. Ontario, California: Savings of at least 11 percent
6. Memphis, Tennessee: Savings of at least 11 percent
7. Miami, Florida: Savings of at least 11 percent
8. Omaha, Nebraska: Savings of at least 10 percent
9. Des Moines, Iowa: Savings of at least 10 percent
10. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Savings of at least 10 percent

If you're planning to take this approach, Kayak has a few words of advice on booking each flight separately: "Since there are multiple bookings, it is important to verify fares and availability for each flight before completing any purchase. Hacker Fares tickets are sold with different airlines and subject to each airline's booking terms, including changes to itineraries."

Looking to visit a city that isn't on the list, but still want to snag a good deal on flights? Check out our guide to "hidden city ticketing"—a sneaky way to save money by booking a multiple-stop flight and then skipping the last leg of your journey (as opposed to flying directly to where you really wanted to go in the first place).

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Mental Floss Store Is Back!

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America's Top 25 Colleges and Universities for 2021

Harvard University's Memorial Hall.
Harvard University's Memorial Hall.

Deciding what makes a certain college more desirable than another is highly subjective. Some prospective students might think a championship-winning football team and a massive student body are major selling points, while others prize a small, tightly knit community above all else.

To try to come as close as possible to identifying objectively great colleges and universities around the country, WalletHub analyzed a whopping 30 factors in seven categories, from student selectivity and cost to campus experience and career outcomes. These encompass basic metrics—admissions rate and average class size, for example—as well as more specific considerations, like study abroad programs, on-campus employment opportunities, and the median salaries of recent graduates.

Of all 1008 schools included in the study, the Ivy League ones continue to reign supreme. Harvard University ranked first, with a score of 78.6 across all 30 metrics, edging out Yale by just .03 points. Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Brown also made the top 25. With low acceptance rates and high graduation rates—not to mention huge endowments—these stately old institutions are rather difficult to compete with, but they’re definitely not the only esteemed places to get a four-year education.

As a testament to the continuing success of the tech industry, three technology institutes made WalletHub’s list: Massachusetts in third place, California in fifth, and Georgia in 11th. Those three schools ranked in the top five for return on educational investment, meaning that graduates make high starting salaries compared to how much their education actually cost.

Geographically, New England (and the East coast in general) is home to a majority of the top schools, though five from California alone did chart, too: Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; Pomona College; and Claremont McKenna College, in addition to the aforementioned California Institute of Technology.

Check out the top 25 below, and see where your alma mater ranks on WalletHub’s full list here.

  1. Harvard University // 78.6
  1. Yale University // 78.57
  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology // 78.44
  1. Princeton University // 78.41
  1. California Institute of Technology // 77.65
  1. Stanford University // 77.12
  1. Rice University // 76.96
  1. Northwestern University // 75.4
  1. Duke University // 75.18
  1. University of Pennsylvania // 74.95
  1. Georgia Institute of Technology // 74.92
  1. Vanderbilt University // 74.66
  1. University of California, Berkeley // 74.54
  1. Columbia University // 74.51
  1. Johns Hopkins University // 74.37
  1. University of Chicago // 73.59
  1. Dartmouth College // 73.43
  1. Williams College // 73.19
  1. Brown University // 73.17
  1. Carnegie Mellon University // 73.11
  1. Washington and Lee University // 73.08
  1. Swarthmore College // 73.08
  1. Pomona College // 72.92
  1. Claremont McKenna College // 72.84
  1. Amherst College // 72.83