This is probably the most nerve wracking step to take when planning your trip abroad. There are so many sites, so many options, that most people get confused and overwhelmed. Let’s simplify this process so you can get the best deal and the best experience. Simplify your task by cutting it down to easy steps.
1) Find the right place to book.
When I book any flight, I have some favorite sites: kayak.com ; googleflights.com; expedia.com
There is also a new site that is fun to use and gives you unusual routes: rio2rome.com
Don’t discount using the direct airline site such as delta.com or united.com for example.
You might have a different favorite that you use but make sure it is a trusted site.
2) Plug in the right dates!
You don’t want to end up paying for extra hotel nights because you made a mistake on the date of departure. Read and check the dates and check again. If you want to save money on a flight but you have to spend an extra day in a hotel and have to buy food…well, you are not saving money.
3) Look carefully at the itinerary.
Do you have long layovers? Or are they too short to make connections leisurely? You can save some money by having a longer layover in a smaller airport. Bring a book and enjoy the break while you think about the money you saved. Can you fly to a major airport and then take a train to your final destination? Carefully weigh the options and then decide.
4) Think about frequent flyer miles.
Airlines change their frequent flyer use rules quite frequently. Some airlines give you the option to use miles and pay the difference if you don’t have enough accumulated. Check credit cards that give points for travel too.
5) Look for a good deal but don’t wait too long.
You will soon get an idea what a good deal is. Remember that if you are flying in the high season, rates are relatively unchanged and don’t often go down in price. When you see a rate that is good and has good connections, book it! Also keep in mind that if you are using the same computer to check on flights, you will have “cookies” that tag you and you won’t get the best deal. Use a different computer or use an “incognito” tab.
6) Enjoy the travel process.
Even if you are traveling for the first time, in a country you have never visited, someone, somewhere, will be able to help you. What you need to keep in mind is to enjoy the experience, think of this as the first step to your wonderful trip and make a few new friends on the way! Don’t just think of the destination and arrival, enjoy the entire process of the trip from the moment you leave your house. Your next adventure awaits!
By Marie Kaposchyn, www.simplytravelabroad.com