Travelling tips - Research and Plan 4

Prices and availability

The quickest way to price up your holiday is to use a website  to compare the cost of flights or cruises.
 Ensure you check both mid-week and weekend travel to see if you can get a better price and also consider alternative airports to the obvious to open up other options.

We wanted to fly from LA to Vegas and found it was half the price to fly from Long Beach airport rather than LAX

If our cruise was leaving from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale USA we might fly into Miami instead.

Sometime a different airport might open up different possibilities as well.
We found a cheaper flight by a few hundred dollars each, flying the same carriers, from Venice than from the planned Rome, so we got to spend a few days in Venice at no real extra coast.

 If you want to fly to specific places and arent sure about airlines a great starting place is to find the website for your departing or arriving airport which often lists the airlines it caters to.

Then  do a series of Internet searches to find prices for airlines that fly this route.

This will give you a starting price on the trip.
Think about if you are going to fly into and out of the same airport. If you are doing other smaller flights within that country or continent or want a multi city flight.
Prices can change dramatically.

Time of year effect flights, flying holiday season anywhere is a premium, thanksgiving USA, Chinese new year in China,
 Airfares are generally lower during the shoulder season -- the period of time between high and low season,Europe's high season lasts from May through September. But head to London in October and you'll enjoy fewer crowds, comfortable temperatures and cheaper airline ticket prices. The Caribbean and Mexico have great weather in late April and May, but prices for flights drop during these months as they fall after spring break and before summer vacation.

When booking a flight, arrange your schedule to travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, if possible. These days are generally the cheapest times to travel.

If your departure and return dates are flexible, use airfare search engines to play around with various dates and find a cheaper airline ticket,

Airfare search engines scour the Internet for airline fares, covering hundreds of travel sites in a matter of seconds and saving you the time of clicking through each airline site on your own

Booking direct with an airline might give you bonus miles or other benefit but weigh up the price against a website deal.

What if your not happy or confident  booking a flight online yourself.
 If you see a deal online, print out the information  take it to a reputable travel agent near you and ask them to match the price. One travel agents in Australia's slogan is 'We'll Beat Any Web Airfare Quote Or You Fly Free.'

 Though we have frequent flyer cards with a few airlines  no one has had my undivided loyalty so far. I do have my favourites and a few I will never ever ever fly again.
  •  Even if you now can no longer do it, sitting 32 hours while people smoked shisha pipes put me off one Middle Eastern Airline. Its still rated in top 10 Worst airlines online poll
  • Waking me up so I can clap along while a retiring cabin stewardess paraded up and down the aisles for 20 minutes, sorry one USA airline you lost me for good. That and the fact that the whole crew where her longest friends, all been flying since the Wright brothers,  and spent the whole time chatting rather than doing their job for 12 hours
  • Having no other meal choice but Chicken and Noodles, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the weird meal at 3 am, to be honest there was a fish and rice choice once, it was 3am. Sorry certain Asian airline you lost me, though at the time we were laughing. 
  • The airline that left an hour earlier than scheduled as the pilots mother was 80 that day and he wanted to get home. The same flight made an unscheduled stop at another airport in their country too, so the pilot could drop off flowers. Only 40 people on a plane of 189 made the flight that day. A Middle Eastern Airline.
  •  Having a flight from America to Australia yet many of the flight attendants do not understand English AT ALL. Not one word.  A different Asian Airline rated slight worse than the above Middle Eastern Airline in top 10 Worst airlines online poll
I just proved to myself that cheap fares, no matter how attractive they are to your wallet are a waste of money.
I found  10 Worst airlines online poll and have flown 7 of them and agree with the comments.

I might make a list of the ones I love and why.. another blog entry for another day

Booking the wrong destination/date

Checking and double checking your destination and departure point when looking at your flights when you are preparing to book.
I had a work mate when I lived in UK that said I had inspired her to visit Australia, so she booked a flight  for the end of February, the end of Australia's summer.  It was amazingly cheap, some  'special deal'.
Two weeks later when she returned to work (who goes all that way for 2 weeks ???). she explained the special deal. She flew from Heathrow, to Halifax Nova Scotia to Sydney Nova Scotia. with a suitcase full of bikinis and suntan lotion in the middle of  Nova Scotia winter. She actually returned on the next flight and had been too embarrassed to leave her house for 12 days. She was told this happens a couple of times a year.

I also know someone that booked for Austria not Australia but realised it before departure.  They had booked and pre-paid rental cars and a few hotels and tickets for a performance at Sydney Opera House.
and it wasnt Arnold

I once booked a hotel for an overnight stop over in Singapore on a flight to Europe, I have been so busy looking at the dates in Europe after crossing the international date line, I booked Singapore for the wrong night. We turned up at the hotel for them to tell me I had booked last night, luckily that had a vacancy for that night.

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