Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time Out...You Have To Get There First
I love to travel, obviously or I wouldn't be writing a blog about it. However, in addition to all the fabulous places that you can travel to around the globe, there are other things that you need to know. One of those things is how to get there. Flying is the inevitable way that most of us get to the majority of our vacation destinations. The real question is, how many are there really to choose from and how do we choose?
There are approximately 300 commercial airlines in the world. That's a lot of choice. There are hundreds of online airfare and vacation booking sites as well. Where do you go to find out the best deals? Excellent question. But I can tell you that it does take work. There are no amazingly efficient sites that do all the work for you. I would love that, but that method takes a lot of trust, and the sites that claim these things aren't basing their claims on anything much. Do some of them show you the prices for things on several other sites? Yes. Does that help? Yes, sometimes.
The problem with the comparison sites here in America is that they deal more with the big guys and the coalitions than they do with the overall comparison. For instance, when was the last time you even found Southwest on a vacation or comparison site? Normally doesn't happen. If you always book with the big guys like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Priceline; you'll most likely never see airlines like Spirit, Frontier, Jet Blue, Alaska and so on. There are plenty of airlines out there that we don't see on the big sites. And their airfare is often times worth looking for.
So, what does one do? Well, I sometimes just throw the question out there. What are the cheapest airlines in America? What are the cheapest airlines in the world? You'll most likely find a blog or something that has taken a poll, done the research, and come up with a pretty good answer. What this does is gives you a list of some airlines that you've probably never heard of like Wizzair, Pegasus, Flybe and so on. You might be surprised what you learn.
Most countries have one national airline or more. Check out where they may connect with your country, and check out their fares. Most countries want tourism business, and offer some pretty good fares for people from abroad to visit their country. If you want to get a good deal on top of that, check out the off season or--and this may be radical--go to a less popular destination. You know that I always advocate looking in on different locations and such. Let's just say that you want to go to Paris in the springtime. You're kidding, right? If you really want to go to Paris on a budget, go in the winter. The trees are not as pretty, but the sights are all still there. You can go on the lighted boats and everything. It's worth making your trip nearly half price. If you want to go in the summer, try Iceland. This wonderful country has struggled with tourism since it's inception. It's probably the rugged terrain, the name of the country, and things like that. It's an amazing place to visit with tons of things to do, and it's just not as pricey as some places in the summertime.
Here's something else to think about. Europe is home to most of the most inexpensive airlines in the world. I can tell you that with some great certainty. Here's something to think about. Get over there, and then use their airlines to get around and save yourself some bucks. A couple of years back, I flew over on Finnair because they were having some great anniversary deals. They hooked me up with my flight on to Switzerland on one of the cheaper smaller European airlines. They did it for me. There are all kinds of deals you can make. Look around. If you've never flown on a non American based airline, you may find out that you're missing out. My experience is that the foreign airlines are better for the traveler. They treat you well. Not like in America where most of the time you have to pay outrageous first class fares to get some service and comfort.
On Finnair they treat everyone great. It was a great experience, and I will do it that way from now on. But there are many ways to get the best deal. I like to look at the sites that say they will do it all for you, find what they say the best flight is, go to the airline that has that flight, look at their site and see if they have a better deal. You know what? Most of the time they do. It's a little more leg work, but you can save another hundred or more dollars a lot of the time. If you're taking several people or your family you can save a lot.
So, there are a lot of things that you need to think about and look into if you want to take a cheap flight. Check for those littler airlines. Check for off times to visit. Check for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If you travel mid week, most of the time it's cheaper. When you put your departure dates in one of those search boxes, make sure you check the thing that says that your travel dates are flexible, so you can get the lowest price possible. Check a multiple site to start. Get some ideas. Check the Huffington Post for listings of cheap hotels, airlines, flight deals, search sites and many other things. The Huffington Post is always rating things like that. There are many things you can do. Look for airlines that are just starting up a new service. Wow Airlines is starting service to America this summer, and the prices for transatlantic flights are great. If you want to fly from Boston to Reykjavik, you can't do better. There are thousands of flights around the world every day. Think about that. If you're my age, the concept is mind boggling. When I was a kid, it wasn't nearly that easy to get around. So, take you time, do it right, check all you options, and get that good deal on a great flight to an unforgettable location. Have the vacation of a lifetime without spending way too much.