The first transportation item you should book is getting from here to there. You might go by ship but I will be dealing with flgihts…I don’t have any knowledge of other modes of transportation over the big blue sea.
In my scenarios I am assuming you will be leaving and returning to the same point in your home country.
You will need to decide if you are flying into and out of the same city at your destination. For example, are you going to fly into Rome….tour Italy….then return back to Rome to fly back home? Or are you going to fly into Rome….tour Italy…travel to Switzerland by train…tour Switzerland then fly home from Geneva?
In scenario one, you would look into a normal round trip ticket. In scenario two you would look into a multi-city ticket.
SNAP EASY TIP: In many cases, it is just as cheap to fly multi-city. This saves you from the expense and time of traveling back to your arrival city.
My normal mode of operation is to check out www.travelocity.ca or www.travelocity.com as my first go to website. I check the prices and seats available on different itineraries. I will go to www.kayak.com and www.vayama.com to check and see if they have any thing cheaper or with a better schedule.
If I like a certain price and itinerary I will go to the airline’s site and see if they have it at the same price. If so, I book it on their site. The number one reason is if I have to change or cancel the flight it is much easier to deal with the airline directly. If you book through a third party you have to go through them for any changes. Sometimes they charge their own change fee in addtition to the airline’s change fee.
However, that being said, many times you find a deal on the third party sites when they combine different airlines to give you the best price and schedules. For example, you may fly United to your destination and Lufthansa on your return.
SNAP EASY TIP: Be warned. You do get a better rate going with various airlines on third party sites. However, you must be prepared to pay change fees with each airline involved with change in itinerary and the second party site you booked through. If you are fairly certain there will be no changes then this is a good way to book. If you are not sure, stick with one airline and book through them.
Let me choose my seat please……
I, personally, CANNOT stand to be in the middle seat on a short or long flight! I will not book a flight on a plane that does not have an aisle seat for me.
SNAP EASY TIP: Make sure you check for open seats before you click purchase. Is there one that you would choose? If not, keep looking!
Look for an aisle seat for long flights. If you need to get up during a flight to go to the bathroom and the person next to you is either snoozing or has their tray down it is most uncomfortable waiting!
If you are traveling with a partner the aircraft with two side seats are awesome.
Look up the aircraft on www.seatguru.com It will warn you of seats that you do not want to get stuck in.
For me, if the airline offers choice seats for a charge it is worth it if the flight is over 4 hours. The more I travel and the older I get the more worth it I find! Young’uns will endure cramped AirTransit flights stuck in the middle on the back row to save $100.00.
Once you have your international flight booked you can begin to build your itinerary. It must be your number one concrete, secured planning item.