Travel

Cheapest Airline Tickets – How to Find Best Travel Deals

So you are in the market for cheap airline tickets, but not sure where to start and how to find the best travel deals. The reality is that in order to find the cheapest flight fares and schedules you need to know when and where to look and how to search. Yes, it is that easy, and all you need to know is several tricks. First of all, do you need a domestic or an international travel ticket?

Domestic Air Travel

These can be US domestic flight or flights within Europe, or within any country or other continent. If you are looking great flight deals, you need to know WHERE to look for low airfares. If you are looking for flights within the US, you may contact local US airlines or travel agencies or look up flights on the online travel search engine.

Airlines compete among each other and they can give great flight deals (just know WHEN to look). Travel agencies might also find you great deals. Here is the truth… lately several airlines and several large and well known travel agencies started having some issues and several airline banned those huge agencies from selling their airline tickets. Therefore, small and specialized agencies still do have very good contracts with major airlines of the world. So, my advise is to look who has the best flight deal, not at the size of the agency or the popularity. At the end of the day, it matters how much you pay for the ticket and that you have a confirmed seat.

Most smaller travel agencies have online only booking so they can save YOU money by eliminating staff salaries. Most of the time travel agencies use the same fares as airlines offer (unless negotiated better rates), but usually with 0 commission. Since agencies need to survive, they are forced to add a small service fee on the top of the ticket price. If you do not mind that, call your travel agent or best of all go online and check flights yourself. If you are traveling within Europe, you might want to contact a travel agent or search online travel agents’ websites first. In Europe local travel agencies and agencies outside Europe that specialize in international travel will have low fares because they use very low so called consolidator fares. This is nothing else, but negotiated contracts with airlines to sell special very low priced airline tickets.

International Travel

Whether you live in the US or other country, you travel internationally if you leave your country of residence.

What concerns transatlantic, transpacific or other between countries international travel, your best bet is a travel agency. The consolidators will offer you the best fare deals and will find you the best schedules. Depending on personal preferences, some might prefer talking to a travel agent, while others would want to do their own fare search online at their own pace. There is no right or wrong choice here. As long as you find a flight and a fare that works for you, you succeed. HOW to find a travel agency or a good travel website Always work with the travel agent or travel website that specializes in your travel destination or region. For example, if you need to fly from the US to Europe, search for ‘flights to Europe’ or so. Usually online search will give you best results. Check several websites or call several travel agents and compare the deals.

NOTE, you might know lots of huge agencies like Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. They might seem attractive to you because they are big and well known. But they will not always give you the best flight, hotel or cruise deals. They might be good for US domestic travel, but not always for international travel.

HOW and WHEN to search for best fares

Where you need a flight, hotel or a cruise, you need to know how to find the best fares and when to look for those. Let’s say that you found a travel agent or travel website that specialized in your travel destination.

5 tips on How to Find your Best Travel Deal:

Be Flexible. In order to find lowest price, you might need to be flexible on travel dates, arrival/departure times, airlines, and sometimes destinations. In short, there are different price levels for every flight and the only difference is the price and number of seats an airline assigns to that price level. Therefore, all depends on when you buy a ticket, how popular is the destination, travel season (peak or low), and how full the flight gets.
Book domestic travel tickets as early as you can (this applied to some international travel as well). Most domestic airlines have best fares with 21, 14, and 7 day advance purchase. This means that you may find lower fares when booking (= purchasing) a flight this many days before the flight.
‘Play’ with the search. This means that you need to be creative when searching for flights. Check flights couple days or weeks (if possible) earlier and later, check various airlines, different connections (an airline might have several hubs or fly with 1 or several connections), search based on price and try searching based on schedule (you’ll see different results).
Check travel package deals. If the purpose of your travel is vacation, instead of booking flights, hotel, and car rental separately, check on travel package rates. Sometimes your total package rate is lower that if you book everything separately.
Use miles or points when possible. Apply for airline/ hotel/ car rental, etc. frequent traveler programs. They are FREE, and you can get lots of benefits. For example, I cannot remember the last time I paid for a hotel room when Hilton Hotel is in my destination. Check out hiltonhhonors.com website. Go to the airline, car rental, or hotel websites and sign up. The only disadvantage of using miles and points is that you need to book your travel early as there is limited number of seats for miles or points on the plane and they go fast.
If you cannot decide whether to use an airline or a travel agent, here are some suggestions.

AIRLINE vs. TRAVEL AGENT/AGENCY WEBSITE

Advantages of booking a ticket with an airline:

you are talking directly to the carrier, the entity responsible for a flight
it may take much less time to deal with the airline directly (if an agent knows his/her job)
airline customers representatives are usually open 24/7
Advantages of using travel agents or travel websites:

lower negotiated (consolidator) fares
more flight options; travel agents/travel websites search all possible airlines, not just one
low fares available 24/7 given that an agency has a online booking system
Please send in your comments on how you find your best deals, and I shall be happy to share them with the rest of the world. Good luck!

Where Can You Find the Best Banff Travel Deals?

As someone who has spent a significant amount of time in Banff, Alberta, I know that Banff travel deals are not always the easiest to come across. The same goes if you are planning to find deals at Lake Louise hotels. Typically you will find Banff packages and Banff deals in the off season which is fall, October and November, and spring, April and May. Below are a few of my opinions and comments to get you the best Banff deals possible.

There are three ski resorts in the area that attract travelers from all over the world to experience famous Banff holiday, Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. Each offers a completely different travel experience that should be enjoyed by everyone. Personally, my favorite ski resort is Sunshine Village because it has the best views and biggest variety of trails for all levels of skiing and snowboarding.

Every year I get calls from that last minute traveler who is looking to find the best travel deal or last minute Banff packages. Unfortunately it does not always work like that. If you want to get the best deal even it is critical to always book in advance. The best holiday is booked at least three months in advance to take advantage cheap accommodation in the Banff park area. My favorite Banff hotel is the Rimrock Hotel because it offers amazing accommodation specials year round. It is comparably as nice as the Fairmont Banff Springs and is two thirds the price. It is also located across the street from the natural hot springs. Who wouldn’t enjoy a vacation in a natural hot spring in the middle of winter. You can even rent your own bathing suit there if you forget yours. This experience will for sure complete the ideal travel xperience. As long as you have your ski rentals, lift tickets and transportation then you have a wide variety of places to choose from. The main Banff park hotels on the main drag are Mount Royal, Banff Aspen Lodge, Brewsters and then further up is the Fox Hotel, Delta, Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa and the Ptarmigan Inn. When you get about a fifteen minute walk outside downtown you can find great spots at great prices for Banff accommodations like Inns of Banff, Tunnel Mountain and Hidden Ridge.

 

3 P’s to Relieve Parent Stress While Travelling With Kids, Toddlers, and Young Children

Travelling with “little ones” can be one of the most joyous events of all-it can also be one of the most stressful. Parent stress is usually high when travelling with small children or toddlers as children in this age bracket have multiple needs, short attention spans and are easily bored or agitated when cooped up for a long time. Travelling with children can be stressful, but with enough preparation and forethought you can ensure a relatively tears-free trip, for both you and your child.

Here are the 3 P’s to prepare you before travelling and alleviate parent stress:

Plan:
Planning… Planning… Planning, there is no escape from this. If adventurous, unplanned holidays gave you a high in the past remember one thing – they have to be forgotten when you have kids – else you will only create more parent stress. There are ways to reduce anxiety when travelling with little children, though it takes meticulous planning in advance and flexibility during the trip. Planning involves:
o deciding where to go to,
o how to go,
o what to do and know about the place you are visiting and
o how to be prepared for the travel.

For deciding where to go, ask your travel agent for family-friendly suggestions. See your doctor about vaccinations beforehand. The most important step is to decide how to travel. Take all the pros and cons of different modes of travel before deciding the mode of travel. Depending on the mode of travel, plan for stuff like breaks, overnight stays, availability of airport transit facilities etc so that you and your child are comfortable.

An important tip to relieve parent stress while travelling is to ensure that you have enough rest breaks. Do not jam-pack the trip with lots of activities; have days of relaxing so that your children do not feel very tired. Keeping your trip as simple as you can and it will reduce the number of problems.

Prepare:
Once you are through with planning a trip the next step is to prepare for the trip. This step involves actually mentally, physically and emotionally preparing you for the trip. Once you have decided on the place to travel and the mode of transport you will need to prepare for the following:

o How do you prepare for the place you are visiting?
o What sort of accommodation you want?
o What to bear in mind and prepare depending on the mode of travel?
o What do you need to carry with you?

Preparing for the place you are travelling requires you to know about the facilities that the place provides like supermarkets, availability of key food and hygiene brands required for your child, availability of medical care, what to avoid eating and drinking, where to avoid visiting etc. This research will help you to be better prepared for the trip and you would know what to expect.

The most important preparation is for the mode of transport. If you are travelling by air or train remember to:
o Purchase an extra ticket if you can afford, else request an aisle seat, which can give you more mobility and quicker access to your seat when boarding and de-boarding. Also, in case of air travel ask for bulkhead seats or seats near an exit to give your child a safe spot to play on the floor.
o Schedule the flight during night so that your baby sleeps most of the time.
o Allow more time for security checks, getting to the gates or your platform at the station, and unexpected events.
o Bring nutritious snacks for your kids and for yourself; you don’t want to be caught hungry with no food options in sight.

When travelling by car:
o Use appropriate restraints, such as seatbelts or car seats.
o Don’t stack items in a way that they fall all over if you have to brake suddenly.
o Use shade cloth to keep the sun from shining in your child’s face or wear sunscreen.
o Be prepared for plenty of toilet and rest stops are taken to reduce motion sickness. This needs to be planned in the travel. Also check with your doctor on the drugs you can give to your child to reduce motion sickness.

The last step in preparation is to decide what you should carry with you when you travel. Here the key tips are:
o First aid box containing items such as baby paracetamol, thermometer, anti-itching lotion, oral rehydration preparation and band-aids. Also pack sunscreen, hats and insect repellent.
o Take sterilising equipment if your child is bottle-fed.
o Pack, lots of toys that keep your child busy and not bored. Also avoid too much of sharing between kids, which can lead to quarrels.
o Prepare to carry loads of nutritious snacks and food when going out for sight seeing.
o Take your own stroller or pram, even though it is bulky.
o Take some familiar items from home – blanket, stuffed toy – this will keep your child occupied and give them some comfort.

Pursue:
The final step to relieving Parent Stress, while travelling is to pursue your plan and execute on it when you are on vacation. Before you even embark on your travel, if the baby is sick, postpone the travel – if they get sick during the travel try and cut the travel short. Actually visit the doctor and get all vaccinations and clear all doubts regarding the place you are visiting.

Before travelling, to help pack for the trip and to keep your child’s various supplies organized, it might be a good idea to make a personalized travel box for each child. If travelling by air, feed your baby or child when starting and towards end of the trip, as the frequent swallowing can help prevent the build-up of pressure inside the ears. Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids to reduce the risk of dehydration. During the flight, stick to smaller and more frequent feedings. Also supervise flight attendants when they heat your meals for the child.

If travelling by car, make sure your child eats something before travelling, but avoid heavy or greasy foods. Entice your child to look out the window by pointing to several things along the way. Also try and have a few surprises up your sleeve, like a travel toy or game that can be opened only after you begin your travel. This will avoid boredom in travel for kids especially when doing long haul flights or long road/train journeys.

Once on holidays, take all precautions when visiting new places – like not leaving the child unattended, being vigilant about the potential dangers of unfamiliar places, such as unfenced swimming pools or balconies. Try to keep a little bit of familiar mealtime routine so that the kids do not get cranky. Ring ahead and check out for availability of children’s menu to avoid surprises and for younger kids prepare them to eat “jarred” or “tinned” baby food as fresh food might not always be available. Wherever possible, use disposable items and use any babysitting facilities at your hotel so you can have a break.

The most important thing, however, is to be flexible! Your baby won’t be able to have the same sleeps, so if you think the baby is tired, take a day off. Use the extra days you have planned to relax and don’t pack them with more travel.

For kids above five years, you can allow them to choose some items to pack or provide them with a choice of seat or allow them to move around the platform or terminal while waiting for next train or flight. This will help them gain a sense of control in the experience and they will be lot better behaved and less bored. Finally maintain a cool head during the trip. Remember to focus your attention on the trip itself and all the fun that comes with it, rather than on the hassles of travel as these hassles are short lived. This way you can have a wonderful time with your family.