Author Archives: mrphillipyoung

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Finding the Price Range

Category : Uncategorized

Many experienced travelers have that list of places they must go. You know what that list is, sometimes its written down, often its not. When a work or school vacation is on the horizon you often start planning for one of those destinations. But how do you set a budget and know how much you should expect to pay?

Two tools to help me get an initial price range of a flight route are:

  1. Flight Matrix
  2. Momondo
  3. Kayak

Lets say I live in Jakarta, Indonesia and I have always wanted to see the ancient city of Petra, Jordan. I am looking to fly from Jakarta to Amman, Jordan for Spring break; March 16-25, 2018.

Flight Matrix:
Matrix is usually where I start if I want to get a good idea of the price ranges on a certain flight.

Matrix uses Google Flight technology in their search of airlines. I like that you can put in a list of airports, or airports nearby. You can also search for +/- a few days after your projected departure or return date to browse fares on different days.

Tip: Make sure if you are picking a city outside the USA to name your currency at the bottom of the search screen.

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After Searching I get a good idea on price, stops, and duration. Duration is something I usually look at first. If it is a good deal but 35 hours to get there I need to adjust with the Duration button. For this flight route I would adjust to each way no more than 18 hours.

When adjusting I can see from matrix that Qatar Airways and Saudia Airways are the best options for getting me there efficiently and the price is probably going to be anywhere from $900-$1500 USD for a good fare.

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Also if you did select a +/- days on your search be aware of the dates that are stated under each bolded time in the Matrix Search.

2. Momondo:

The Momondo interface is easy and straight-forward to use. One draw-back is that it does not include the +/- date search that Matrix and Kayak has. Nevertheless, I can enter my flight information from Jakarta to Amman.

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Upon searching, one of the best features of Momondo is that it sorts flights for you based off of price/”cheapest”. duration/ “quickest”, and what it calls “best“.  Best usually is its own calculation of duration for the price.

I usually like glancing at Quickest first to see what the travel haul is like. In this case just under 13 hours there and just under 14 hours back.

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If you don’t have a preferred alliance I would check out and consider going with one of the top “Best” options or browsing by airline preference at this point.

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3. Kayak

Kayak, like Matrix allows you to do +/- days if you are more flexible with when you leave and return and are looking for a great deal. The thing I like best about Kayak, both with domestic and international fares is that they can combine one way or tickets for what they call “Hacker Fares”. This is also very helpful for muti-city itineraries.

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You can see Hacker Fare listed under the price

Kayak also has an easy to use tool-bar on the left side that allows you to adjust what time of day to arrive or depart, sort by price, and has Airline Alliances that you can select. I found the Alliance button handy when I head American Airlines / One World Elite status for two and a half years.

So each of these are different and can be helpful to start your research on a certain area or flight route. Check them out and leave a comment if you have a favorite function or choice out of these three sites.


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10 Ways to Save on Bookings

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Category : Blog

1.  Search and book on Tuesdays or Wednesdays: Did you know that airlines change their airfares mid-week? Some know that most people get around to booking on weekends so they change their fares to higher at the end of the week and they advertise cheaper airfare sometimes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

2.  Travel on Tuesday or Wednesday if possible. Obviously, most family travel happens on weekends. If you have an extended break think about traveling on a Sunday instead of a Friday or Saturday. If you can travel Tuesdays or Thursdays. For example, my family is going to the Hawaiian Island of Kauai this Christmas. I found roundtrip airfare from San Diego for $378 on a Wednesday to Wednesday which increased to $538 in it was Thursday-Sunday.

3. Book about 10 weeks in advance. Especially international airfare hits its bottom point about 10 weeks before the flight takes off. This is why I would book summer tickets home to the USA from abroad around late to early April.

4. Know airfares are posted 330 days in advance. If you are going to a highly sought after area during a high holiday time it most likely is best to book as soon as airfare comes open. As mentioned before I got a round-trip ticket from San Diego to Kauai in February for a Mele-Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas in Hawaiian) for $378. However, when my mother went to book in June to meet us there, the airfare from multiple airports in Northern California was over $1300.

5. Know your local airport options and airline hubs. If you are in a large metropolitan airline it might be worth knowing what airlines fly in and out of airports near you. Then go to their sites to double check deals. For example, Alaskan flys through San Deigo airport often. If I want to go a little further I can drive 90 minutes to LAX Los Angles that might open up better one-way deals for me. Also, Tijuana airport just opened a terminal for check-in on the USA side of the border. This could open up cheaper “domestic” tickets within Mexico if I wanted to vacation there. I know all this because I’ve researched the airports around me.

6. Don’t be afraid to book multiple tickets to save. This is sometimes called a Hacker Fare on Kayak where it searches and finds a match to your search but is literally two different reservations. For example, if you are flying from San Diego to Washington DC it might find that flying Frontier Airlines there to DCA and then United Airlines back through IAD would be the best deal.

7. Know local airlines to book with them. This trick is particularly helpful if you are willing to incorporate stop-overs into your itinerary. For example, in March 2015 we flew from Saudi Arabia to South Africa Johannesburg on Saudia Airlines. Spent two days with friends then took a local carrier to Cape Town. By booking two roundtrips: Dammam-Jo-berg and Jo-berg to Cape Town, we were able to save.

8. Sign-Up for Frequent Flier Programs: I know many travelers have an opinion on this. Sometimes it’s worth being tied to an airline and alliance and sometimes it’s not. However, no matter how you accumulate your miles, you can get good deals emailed directly from airlines.

9. Start at flight matrix: This is where I start browsing for airfares 9 out of every 10 searches I make. Even though Google Flights has bought them out, for some reason I like the interface of Flight Matrix. It is easy to navigate and if you search with a flexible month then you can really see the soft spots and deals within a certain route.

10. Use multiple searching sites. Shop around and know that different booking sites will give you different options. I would suggest at least Matrix, Google Flights, Momondo, and Kayak. This is another reason why when I make a personalized itinerary for you, I provide you with three options.


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