In the article 5 pluses of independent travel , we outlined the main points, thanks to which, in our opinion, it is worth abandoning the services of travel agencies in favor of independently planning your vacation.
If you are interested in this topic and, at the same time, you realize that you do not have enough experience and, therefore, confidence that you can independently plan your dream travels, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will try to reflect the key points of this seemingly complex process. We will share our personal experience and tell you the main secrets and tips for planning independent travel abroad.
1. Where to start? – Determine the dates of the trip
First, you need to clearly define the dates for which you plan your trip. The overall budget for your trip will largely depend on this. It often happens that the cost of air tickets for neighboring dates (+/- 3 days) differs by several thousand per ticket.
The situation is the same with housing. Hotels or apartments (apartment) that you have looked after can be booked, but similar options are more expensive.
Before you start planning your trip, you need to be sure that it is for these dates that you can safely leave (take a vacation). Inexpensive tickets from low-cost airlines are usually non-refundable, and hotels or apartments that offer free reservations and cancellations set the price per day higher than you would pay for your stay or make an advance payment.
If you are not tied to certain dates, that is, you are a freelancer, you work for yourself, or you are completely unemployed (but where did you get the money for the trip ?! :)), then you are a happy person! 🙂 You can start plan your vacation from the opposite, that is, first calmly decide on the desired direction, and only then decide which dates will be most favorable.
Advice: if your trip is planned for the so-called hot season, then it is better to start preparing for it no later than three months in order to catch adequate prices. In any case, you must keep in mind that your trip will cost more at this time. The rule “the sooner, the cheaper” is always valid.
2. Looking for and buying tickets
The final determination with dates must end with the successful purchase of tickets.
In 90% of cases, the sooner you do it, the cheaper they will cost you. Especially when it comes to the high season, which we talked about above.
You can and should view all possible options and buy tickets directly on the Internet. Do not be afraid and think that it is unreliable or unsafe.
Any, even the smallest, airline today necessarily has an official website where it sells tickets for its flights. But how do you know which airlines fly to a particular city? In the same Europe there are hundreds of them. For this, about 10-15 years ago, a very convenient thing was invented – metasearch engines, or air ticket search aggregators. Without going into details, we can say that such systems work in the same way as Yandex or Google, only the search occurs among the offers of airlines and agencies that sell tickets. You choose the city of departure and the city of arrival, the date, and the service gives you all possible options, and not only direct flights, but also with all possible transfers. You can buy a ticket right here, the service automatically redirects you to the website of the airline or agency that offers tickets at the lowest price.
Why can air tickets be cheap at all?
is the first question asked by those who don’t really believe that air tickets can be so cheap. The whole secret lies in low-cost airlines, or in other words – low-cost airlines. These airlines sell their tickets at multiple fares. The lowest of these fares includes only the cost of the ticket, while all other services such as meals on board, seat selection, luggage, return options are all for a fee. You can only take hand luggage with you on board the aircraft for free. Many low-cost airlines also use secondary airports as their hubs, not the main airports of the city, and this is another reason to reduce the cost of the ticket.
How to find cheap flights?
Of course, do not think that since you are going to use the services of a low-cost airline, you can find cheap tickets at any time convenient for you. The prices for these tickets are very flexible and depend on many factors. There are some tricks you can use when looking for tickets.
3. Looking for and booking accommodation
Once the tickets are on hand, it’s time to start looking for a suitable accommodation.
The situation here is similar to air tickets. It’s the 21st century, and on the Internet there are many opportunities to find a home anywhere and for every taste. Of course, if human minds invented metasearch engines for air tickets, then they thought of search engines for hotels and apartments. One of these is Hotellook , which searches several of the largest sites offering hotel bookings, including the most popular of these – Booking.com