Whether you are a seasoned international explorer or if you are planning your first backpacking trip across the globe, booking flights will be an incredibly important aspect of planning your travels. Unfortunately, when faced with so many options, organizing multiple flights for an extensive round-the-world trip can seem like a daunting task; charter or low-cost airlines? Direct or connecting flights? Aisle seat or window seat? Fortunately, by researching all your available options and heeding the advice of fellow jet-setters, you can save yourself a significant amount of time, money and hassle!
As matters stand, there are currently a wide range of airline comparison tools, budget vacation websites and travel agencies which backpackers can utilize to plan their international travels. However, in addition to researching the cost of flights via these major travel outlets, you can also take advantage of niche services for frequent flyers. For instance Audrey, a That Backpacker travel blogger, advocates the benefits of signing up for airline newsletters. As Audrey explains;
“I have a few airlines that I regularly fly with, so I’ve signed up to receive monthly alerts about sales and upcoming deals. I know no one likes getting spam in their inbox, but if you travel often and want to keep up to date with promotions, it’s worth signing up for a few newsletters and perusing those every once in a while. You never know what you might find!”.
Moreover, in addition to researching the cheapest agencies through which to book your flights, investigating the different costs depending upon the actual date and time for which your flight is scheduled to depart can have a substantial impact on the overall price of your trip. As a rule, the cheapest days for flying are those upon which most people do not want to travel, such as Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Subsequently, the most expensive days for flying are often Fridays and Sundays because most people will have to arrange their flights on these days in order to return from their travels in time for work. Similarly, the cheapest times to fly are those which people regard as inconvenient; such as at dawn, around dinnertime or overnight flights. Therefore, if you endeavor to plan your backpacking trip’s flights around these cheaper flying dates and times you can conserve your funds for more exciting expenses such as souvenirs and sampling the local cuisine!
On the other hand, although it is often enticing to book the cheapest flights, sometimes it can prove beneficial to review your options in greater detail before committing to these low-cost bookings. As flight attendant Betty advises;
“Airline tickets used to be booked by professionals. Today consumers do it themselves online, with price being the only factor they consider. Big mistake! When booking online, you need to consider another important factor: the time you have between connecting flights. If you only have 45 minutes or less to connect to another flight, you’re basically flirting with a very stressful running-through-the-airport situation”.
Consequently, although it is completely natural to search for cheaper flights, you should review your travel itinerary before purchasing these flights in order to ensure that you have left yourself sufficient time to reach your next destination in a calm and composed manner. For these same reasons, you may also wish to consider upgrading your seats to grant yourself a more comfortable flight. This is due to the fact that, as the following travel insurance guide highlights; “Sitting on a plane for 8 hours and lack of movement can also mean there’s a higher risk of deep vein thrombosis”.
Therefore, by segmenting your travels into shorter, albeit more expensive, flights you can reduce your chances of suffering from jet lag and other flight-related health conditions upon arrival at your chosen destination. After all, as travel blogger Flying Dutchgirl stresses;
“this trip should make you happy, and if some levels of comfort/luxury make you happy.. go for it”.
Ultimately, if you take some time before departing to plan your flight route then you can facilitate a calm and composed travel itinerary throughout your entire backpacking trip. Rather than solely fixating upon saving money or reaching your final destination as soon as possible, your flights can serve as an enjoyable aspect of your trip wherein you can feel free to stop and spend a few days in various locations around the globe. By doing so, you will be able to savor the most rewarding aspects of international travel; exploring foreign regions, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures!
Claire Bolden McGill is a British expat who lived in Maryland for three years and moved back to the UK in August 2015. Claire wrote about her life as a British expat on the East Coast and now works in travel and hospitality PR in the UK. She still finds time to blog about her repatriation and the reverse culture shock that ensued – and she still hasn’t finished that novel, but she’s working on it. You can contact Claire via twitter on @clairebmcgill or via her blog From America to England.