Your travels are far too important to leave for someone else to arrangeWho am I to come up with such arrogant nonsense? I am a hardcore traveller and I travel more than most. Travel matters to me, and being in control of the travel experience is essential in order to enjoy it.
I don’t want to end up having to get up at 04:45 because a random travel agent has decided that the 06:35 flight to Paris is ‘the right one for me’ in order to connect to Tokyo. Especially not when I will get to my destination faster, cheaper and at a more convenient time by flying via Frankfurt at 10:10 or via Munich at 11:55.
Or why should I fly by a One World airline where I do not have a frequent flier card when I have Star Alliance Gold Card which ensures fast track rights and lounge access? And of course I prefer the friendly, service minded and visually appealing cabin crew of airline A over the nasty, stuck-up and service avoiding ones from Airline B.
Then again, price always matters. Just remember that your time has a value too. Let’s say that itinerary A takes 22 hours while itinerary B takes 16. How much are each of those 6 additional hours worth to you? A fair comparison might be your hourly wage. Do not forget to add the return trip either.
Here are my tips to make sure that I find the best deals on flights:
1. Subscribe to newsletters from all airlines that are relevant to you. That means those that fly from an airport near you or to a country you would really like to visit. This is usually how you first get notified of great deals. It can save you hundreds of dollars.
2. For long distance flights, do not only search from your home airport. Also try to search from hubs in other countries. Airlines have different offers from different countries and you may save a lot of money. Then buy your return ticket from your home airport to that hub separately.
3. Dare to be impulsive. Good deals rarely last for long.
4. Travel to un-traditional destinations, i.e. not to Spain or Egypt over Easter. ‘Everyone’ else will be looking for the sun at those mainstream destinations. Go for a different sort of holiday or travel to more original beaches. Less demand = lower prices.
6. Remember to double check price and travelling times on the airline’s own website afterwards (I did not get paid by the search engines above to say that either).
7. Take advantage of transits and stay a day or two extra. If you do this on both your outbound and return journey you will all of a sudden have had three holidays in one. And again, the trip may cost less.
8. If possible, travel very early in the day (unless you value your sleep too much).
9. travelling in the middle of the week will often also save you some cash.
10. Read up on geography and history as well as political and economical ties. Most countries in South America do for instance have historical ties to Spain. That means a lot of direct routes and hence competition to and from Barcelona and Madrid from various airlines. Just remember that Brazil is ‘Portuguese,’ that Surinam is ‘Dutch’ and that Guyana is ‘British.’
11. Find out which airlines that can take you to your dream destination. Not all of them will show up in your preferred search engines, but require that you book with them directly online or via the phone. Wikipedia’s airport entries are usually quite accurate for info on who flies where.
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