Category Archives: Airfare

Travel Tuesdays? Not So Much.

A few months ago, I learned that the best time to search for low cost airfare is on a Tuesday, specifically at 3pm EST.  Of course, as is often the case, because I want to look for fares at 3pm EST every Tuesday, I always forget to look for fares at 3pm every Tuesday.  Well, yesterday I remembered.  And I searched.

And searched.

And searched.

I used Kayak, I checked out actual airline websites, I stalked travel discount sites on Twitter and Facebook and in my inbox.  And do you know what?  I found nothing.

The ‘cheapest’ trans-Atlantic fare for travel in July was over $1200.  Anywhere Caribbean–over $400.  California?  Around $600.  Seriously?  We flew to London last summer for $695.

Oh–and remember that fare to Phoenix I found last week for $117?  It is three times that now.  Damn.  I will not hesitate again.  Ever.

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My Travel Cost Guidelines

Today I have a new problem–it is called ‘indecision’.  Yes, I know, it seems clear that I’ve been struggling with this issue for years now.  Case and point–my lack of a summer vacation plan.  But today, said indecision reached a new level.

I found a fare sale for flights to Phoenix.  I really want to go to the Grand Canyon, and Phoenix is where you fly into to do so.  I got all the way to the point where you click ‘buy now’, and then I closed the window.  Why?  I’m thinking the answer is either ‘fear’ or ‘indecision’.

Something must be done.

Next year, I’m going to travel.  I’m taking an entire year off from work to travel.  I’m traveling next year, damn it.  And my main travel plan is ‘go places where I can afford to go’.  Clearly, a $117 round-trip flight to near the Grand Canyon fits into those parameters.  But there are other things to take into account–for example, how much is a rental car going to cost?  ($600 for two weeks)  How much will lodging cost?  (at least $700 for two weeks, if I’m very lucky and very cheap)  Total cost for said trip–$1417.

Is it worth $1417 to be in Phoenix and the surrounding area–namely Sedona and afore mentioned Grand Canyon–for two weeks?  Yes.  Yes it is.  Clearly I should have booked it.

Did I mention that something must be done?  Well, I’m going to do something.  I’m going to come up with my own travel cost guidelines.  Observe (and note that I’m coming up with this as I type it)…

A good airfare is…

1.  Less than $150 if in my own time zone.

2.  Less than $200 if at least two time zones away.

3.  Less than $250 if coast to coast.

4.  Less than $500 if international AND outside of my time zone.

5.  Less than $250 if international AND inside my time zone.

But, as I stated above, a good airfare does not a good decision make.  The trip also has to be worth the extra costs–lodging, car rental or other transportation…the list goes on.  Thus, I need to come up with some places that I need to go.  I made a ‘dream travel list‘ back in December, but those were dream trips.  I need to think about what I want to do that is within reach, that I’d be willing to do alone, and that are examples of great family destinations–as my main goal is writing about how to make said destinations educational.

I will travel to the following places if they fall within the airfare cost guidelines…

-anywhere in Europe, particularly England and Iceland.  And…Paris.  Because I need to go back.

-Cancun

-Hawaii

-Anywhere drive-ably close to a national park

-Orlando

-San Francisco

-Seattle

-Chicago

-Costa Rica

-Peru

-Vancouver

-Anywhere with a major cruise port

-Vegas (because I’ll need a break from making things educational)

I’m open to other suggestions–though I feel as though number four really allows for lots of destinations…like, oh, I don’t know…Phoenix!

Sky High

I’m glad we went to Europe last summer.  That’s right, I wrote it.  I’m glad.  Even given the often-awful experience we had.  Why?  Because we can never afford to go there again.

As today is Tuesday, I dutifully checked Kayak for flights, right at 3:00–supposedly the cheapest time to purchase a flight (at least according to the Wall Street Journal.)  A July/August flight from JFK to anywhere in Europe–I checked Munich, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and London–is cha-ching-ing in at $1200 per person or more.  Shortly after searching, internet Big Brother found me and emailed me a fare alert–PHL to LON for ‘only’ $1495!

Holy  crap.

Well, we sure are going to have one fun road trip this year!  I’m kind of excited, actually.  I’m sure Quebec is lovely in July.

What’s Up With Airfares?

Less than a month ago, I searched for flights from JFK to various European destinations.  The consensus on Kayak was that it would cost me a bit more than $800 to fly into either London, Amsterdam, or Munich.  We spent $714 last year, JFK to London.  A month ago, a flight on Air Berlin to Munich was $850.  I thought I’d wait a while for prices to come down.

In the last two weeks, that same flight–the EXACT same flight–has gone up to $1080.

I’m both sad and torn.  Do I continue to watch flights, hoping that they will come back down again–and then book the moment prices return to two-weeks-ago-rates?  Or do I resign myself to a summer road trip?  I do really want to check out Montreal.

For the record, flights to anywhere have gone up at least $200 per person since my last search.  I’m always keeping my options open, and as such I have a basis for comparison for many different destinations.  A flight to Vancouver that two weeks ago was under $500 is now over $700.  Philly to San Fran?  $600.  Seriously?

I am both very sad and very scared.  My ‘year ‘o travel’ may be very limited if this continues.

Closer is Not Always Cheaper

For the past week or so, I’ve been researching alternate summer vacation destinations in the interest of saving money.  I thought I’d post this, just in case anyone was wondering:  renting a house on Martha’s Vineyard for two weeks is more expensive than staying in, flying to, and traveling around in Europe…for three weeks.  So much more expensive.  Than travel in any European country.  I’m so flummoxed I’m using fragments.

Ah well–back to the drawing board.  Or, rather, back to Kayak to track airfare…

 

Time Travel Averted

My ever-wonderful husband spent a very long time on the phone with Orbitz and fixed our Vegas trip–we’re now leaving Philly at 2:30 instead of 6:30, getting us to Vegas at 7:30 instead of 10:30.  Which, to be fair, is even better.  I can make 9:00 dinner reservations!

I do still feel like I’m neglecting the Vegas part of the trip planning, which I think is both good and bad.  Good because, really, there’s not that much to plan.  We’re going to go sit in the pool, drink, go out for dinner, and see cheesy shows.  And you can’t walk three feet in Vegas without hitting at least a drink and a pool, or a nice restaurant and a show.  So it really doesn’t require planning.  It is bad, however, because I specifically remember planning our trip last year, and I’m thinking that missing out on the experience of trip planning will be a mistake.  I feel like Vegas is getting the second-child treatment.

But now that I’ve decided that I can’t do any booking or real planning for our Europe trip for a few months, perhaps I can turn my attention to Vegas planning.  I wonder if there are any good advance purchase show deals going on right now.  Hmmm.  I may have some googling to do.  Maybe that will keep me from planning a last-minute trip to New York for President’s Day weekend (where there are NOT any last-minute show deals–trust me, I’ve checked!)

Leaving on a Jet Plane?

As I’ve started this blog to document the planning–and eventual execution–of this trip, I figured I might as well include some of the not-so-great parts.  Not-so-great part #1: worrying about airfare.  Right now we’ve booked the lodging part of our trip–the stay in the two apartments–but not the transportation.  And this is stressing me out, mainly because right now there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.  It is far too early to book flights; if we book right now, we’d be spending a fortune, and that’s not the point of this trip–the point of this trip is ‘do as much as possible for as little as possible for as long as possible’.  But the problem is this–booking flights inside of Europe–say from Paris to Florence and/or vice versa–is very cheap RIGHT NOW.  But I can’t book that part until I book the big part, which is HERE to either Paris or Florence.  And I’m really hoping I can get a good deal on flights into one city–Florence–and out of another–Paris–to avoid having to fly TO AND FROM Florence once we cross the Atlantic.  Wow–I thought writing about it would help me feel better, but alas, it did not!  And I’d love to take the train, but the trip from Florence to Paris is a LOOOONG overnight train, and more expensive than any flight I’ve found.  So we will be flying–I just don’t know when, to where, or how much it is going to cost.  Yep–I’m starting to worry.  If only I could shut this part of my brain off until March or April–the part of my brain that plans.  But I fear that is most of my brain and thus, should I shut it down, I’d stop breathing!