International Flight Booking requires more work than booking a domestic flight especially
if you want the most economical and or the fastest route to your foreign destination.
With multiple airlines serving your destination and different time zones, it does
make it more challenging to plan your trips. It assumes that you can get to your
destination using airline only. If this is not the case, then coordinating airline
schedules with trains and ferry adds another layer of complexity. There is typically
less competition in international travel. So getting a deal is not always possible
in your International Flight Booking.
Planning your route - Be Flexible
The first thing that you will notice is traveling from North American to Europe or
to Latin America involves flying late evening or overnight. This is for logistical
reasons. It allows airlines to make a return trip within a 24 hour period which
gives them more revenue. It may shock your system to have dinner at 9 pm only to
be wakened two hours later to have breakfast.
Nonstop or direct international flights carry a hefty premium. If you are willing
to connect to another flight, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars. You
will not likely going to find multiple daily flights to your international destination.
Many airlines only fly on certain days of the week to the international cities.
You'll need to factor this in your planning process.
Consider foreign airline operators as an option to your domestic airlines when traveling
abroad. Domestic airlines often force you to take the international flight through
a hub. Foreign airline may allow you to take a direct flight at a location more
convenient to you. Foreign airlines may also be more service oriented offering you
multiple meals and other perks while domestic airlines simply transfer their domestic
little or no service model to international flights.
Seasonality impacts the price of an international airline ticket. If you are planning
an Import from China trip, consider this. Asia's high travel season is from May
to October and its low season is from November to April. Flying during the low season
will undoubtedly save you money on your international business trip.
For international travelers flying during peak season, buying your tickets three
to six months in advance is advisable. Two to four months ahead is the recommended
timeframe for booking on an international flight during low season. Last minute
deals are almost nonexistent in international travel. For the business person traveling
abroad, this requires good planning practices if you want to fly economically.
Use an Online Travel Search
By using an Online Travel Search site, you can compare fares and schedules for multiple
airlines. It's great when you are unfamiliar with the destination and it saves you
time from having to check differently airlines separately. There are many Online
Travel Agencies to choose from.
One such site which has been around for almost 15 years is: http://www.airfarewatchdog.com.
Airfarewatchdog is part of the Smarter Travel Media Network. The site was created
by George Hobica, a travel journalist specializing in consumer issues. Entrepreneur
Magazine has name Airfarewatchdog.com "best site for travel deals" in 2009.
You should always check a couple of sites to make sure that you are indeed getting
the best deal. Another well respected Online Travel site is: http://www.kayak.com.
Kayak is a travel search site. Similar to Airfarewatchdog, Kayak allows you to
search multiple airlines.
Once you have identified a package that you like, you should always check the airline's
web site directly to see if the tickets are available by booking directly through
the airline's website. In many cases, cheaper tickets are available via the direct
channel because the middleman is eliminated. However, if you want a package that
includes hotel and a rental car, an airline's web site might be limiting. Check
out the vacation section to see what you can find.
You can also check the top sites of Travelocity, Orbitz, and Expedia to do some more
comparison shopping. These sites supported by glitzy advertising do not have the
lowest fares but their packages are much better. It is always good to do an audit
before you buy.
Travel Agents and Consolidators
The airline industry has cut commissions to the travel agents over the years. So
much so that many travel agents have a service fee of $50 as a way to generate profits
and stay in business. Although many people shy away from the Travel Agents for domestic
travel, they can be of great value for international travel.
American airlines tend to have their lowest prices for international travel on their
web sites. Foreign airlines do not have the same practices. The travel agent can
hunt for bargains for you. They also offer great professional advice or personal
advice on your foreign destinations. Many travel agents are seasoned foreign travelers
which makes them very qualified to give you advice. A ticket to a foreign country
can add up to $1000 to $2000+ dollars. Spending $50 for a travel agent's help can
be a great value.
Consolidators buy blocks of unsold tickets from the airlines and sell them through
the travel agents at rock bottom prices. Of course, their choices of airlines and
times are very limited. But if you are flexible, you can get quite a good deal through
Travel Internationally at Cheap, Cheap Prices
If you have lots of flexibility and you are looking for at the lowest prices, Hotwire
and Priceline might meet your needs Hotwire offers travel with a fixed price while
Priceline allows you to bid. Both offers have very stringent restrictions. Be sure
to read the fine print before you buy or bid.