There are tons of search engines acting as virtual travel agents helping you find an affordable flight. You also have come across articles telling you what days to travel on, what days to buy your ticket, and even what hour to buy tickets. If all of these tools are out there, why are people still buying over priced airline tickets? One reason is because it’s a daunting task. You have to treat finding affordable airfare like it’s your job. If you already have a full time job, you would rather sit down and relax after a long day than spend hours on your computer finding the best deal. Luckily, I find it thrilling to put together travel itineraries and find an unbeatable price. I have become the go to person for family and friends when trying to find a great airfare deal. I should probably start charging them. Haha
Naturally, when it was time for us to start planning our grand family adventure around the world, I was in charge of finding our flight tickets. We had a loose plan for what countries we wanted to travel to, but we were not controlled by it. We were open to traveling anywhere that had the cheapest flights and spring/summer temperatures while traveling there. Some people travel by destination, which can be limiting when finding the best flights. If you are able to, try to search by the deals. You still get to travel and you might even visit a place that was not even on your radar. Be open to new experiences, because that’s what traveling is all about.
Just like you are doing now, I read different travel blog sites and news articles, I watched travel shows, and I joined travel forum groups to learn more about the tips and tricks to traveling. With all this knowledge I was ready to plan our trip. Since we were open to where we wanted to go, I went to a really cool website that post daily deals to different destinations. Its called Secret Flying and is run by other passionate travelers. When they find a great deal, they immediately post details about the fare on their website. If you like the deal, proceed to book with a third-party online travel agent. The deals are up for a certain amount of time before they expire and they usually have a certain timeframe that you can travel within.
While one might find this as a restraint, I looked at how I could manipulate the dates and times. The initial deal that I found was a double open-jaw ticket from Los Angeles, California to Bangkok, Thailand and leaving Kuala Lumpur to Vancouver, Canada for $348. Open-jaw means that either the flight returns to a different location to where it all began or the outgoing destination is different to the incoming origin, in this case it was both. The dates that the deal was available was September 25th-November 7th. We knew that if we were in Southeast Asia we would want to visit Oceania (Australia & New Zealand) as well. We wanted to get more bang for our buck. It’s cheaper to travel to countries that are closer together, than spaced out. It also helps to do extended traveling in similar time-zones, you don’t want to keep adjusting to the different times. Try getting a kid to sleep when they still feel like it’s 2PM.
The third party site to buy the tickets was PriceLine. Once being directed to the site, I put in the initial flight from L.A. to Bangkok but clicked Multi-Destination to add in the other places we wanted to visit. This was a tedious process because I had to figure out the most affordable days to travel, the cities we wanted to fly into, how long we wanted to stay, and making sure the times that we were traveling were not crazy hours. Traveling with a young child makes you pick the most comfortable options. Happy kid, happy life. Finally, we settled on Los Angeles, California, USA ---> Bangkok, Thailand ---> Jakarta, Indonesia ---> Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ---> Sydney, Australia --->Auckland, New Zealand. While I did not use the deal that was advertise completely, I did take the best parts of it, traveling to Thailand for a great price and utilizing the Multi-destination feature. Initially for our 5 destination one-way flights for 3 people (15 tickets total), we spent $3,104. But, after doing a cross reference on the flights we found an even better deal that added money back into our budget. You can read about our savings on each flight HERE.
We once thought that we had to be rich to travel, but researching for this trip and the ones in the past have taught us something different. Great deals are out there, you just have to take the time to find them, or you can hire me as your personal travel agent. Wink wink