Trip Planning: Getting There

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Congratulations! You've picked a destination for your upcoming trip. Take a nap. Eat some cake. Have a party blower solo. The next step in your trip planning adventure is to figure out your transportation. (There are a lot of -tions in trip planning. That's how you know it's serious business.)

CAR, TRAIN, OR PLANE

For most trips you'll probably be choosing between car, train, and airplane travel. I like making lists for this decision. Ask yourself a series of questions and number your answers from best to worse. Which kind of travel is your favorite? Which one is most convenient? Which one is least expensive? Does any option make you anxious? Etcetera. Although lists won't always give you a sure answer, I find they can help organize your thought process and point to an answer.

BOOKING YOUR FLIGHT

If you're traveling overseas, you're probably going to end up flying. Conventional advice says you should purchase your airline ticket about 3 months in advance. Statistically, this is when flights are cheapest. However, I find that there are a few exceptions to this rule. The first is travel during the holiday season. Holiday seats book quickly, and it's best to check regularly over a period of weeks to find the cheapest prices. Remember to use a private browser window or else delete your cookies after checking an airline so that your price doesn't go up based on web views. The other exception is award travel. You should always book award travel as soon as the seats open if you are sure about your destination and dates.

TRAVEL SITES

There are masses of websites these days that help you locate cheap airfare. Some are great at searching for deals, while others lag behind a bit. If I'm looking for a flight on a non-budget airline, I usually use Kayak and Expedia. Both are easy to navigate and find reasonably good deals. My favorite site by far is Skyscanner which includes budget and student airlines in its list of prices. Skyscanner also provides the most freedom in searches. You can look at specific prices for every day in a month or you can leave your destination open ended to find the cheapest places to visit.

The other  resource not be overlooked are deals available on specific airline websites. If you are a member of a loyalty program, you may want to fly with a specific airline to accrue miles. If this is the case, try checking the specific airline's website for special offers and deals. Special offers often don't come up in expedia-like searches, so remember to check.

Or you could just take a boat.

Do you have any transportation tips?

The last post in this series: Picking a Destination
Next post in this series: Accommodation
Series Introduction and Master Post

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