I always get a little nervous before clicking the “confirm purchase” button. After taking as many trips as I have, I know it seems silly. Yet, when there is so much money on the line, I often don’t trust I’ve entered the correct dates, the correct airport codes, or have really truly selected the correct flights.
Once I click that little red button – in the “non-refundable, non-transferable, you’re-totally-screwed-if-you-mess-this-up” world of travel we live in – whatever I’ve purchased is a done deal.
Today, I clicked the button to start off the first leg of Gone John – confirming a three month trip to Japan this September.
I am price conscious (shocker!) when it comes to booking my flights. And while Nomadic Matt talks a lot about the process of using points-based credit cards to acquire travel rewards, unfortunately my travel credit card hasn’t really racked up that many points over time (although I consider the fact that I can book with pretty much any airline a bonus when I do have points to use.)
What I have acquired in the last year is an eCredit from Delta Airlines after agreeing to take a bump in November which which more-than-paid for the trip I was taking to Minneapolis. Since then, I used part of that credit to pay for roundtrip airfare to Chicago for the Memorial Day weekend, and used what remained to help offset the cost of this trip to Japan.
In my search for low-cost airfare, I try many different options.
I’ve always sworn by Kayak and its ability to help you monitor prices with e-mail and push notification alerts. In the last month, I’ve fallen in love with ITA Software (owned by Google) and their Matrix site. If you haven’t been there, it’s really worth checking out. Matrix scours all the different airlines, and once you select your route it spits out the codes you can pass a travel agent for them to make the booking. I can see it being a huge help when I’m on the road next year looking for cheap flights.
I punch around to try and find better deals out of other airports. For this trip, I’ll be saving about $200-300 by flying and out of Saskatoon versus Regina (it’ll be an extra 2.5 hour road trip to get to the airport from where I’ll be living over the summer, but in the end savings are savings.)
I am not as airline loyal as I should be – although I’ve always found it a bit tough to be since I’ve often booked flights because of the convenience of the schedule and the price. I’ve been building up both Aeroplan and Delta Skymiles miles over the last few years, but hopefully I’ll be able to pick one airline and roll with it in the future.
But for now – eyes on the prize. Tokyo is in view – just under three months away. I have a feeling the time is going to fly by…