Some months ago an unfortunate incident was the reason to flip upside down my attitude towards early in advance airplane ticket bookings and the motivation to write this post too.
Let me introduce you to the emotional and environmental background of our story. We are in Amsterdam and outside of my window the wind is raging violently and the torrential rain dances its rhythm. I am on the lucky side of the window though and while I lean on it I am convinced that I wouldn't want to be outside by any means. From the smallest tree twig to the most poor cyclist, everything and everyone seems to suffer as he tries to survive in this cataclysm. I fill my cup with hazelnut and vanilla and right then it falls to my attention that my friend Vanessa, a true Mexican, sends me a storm of messages: "Despoina! There is a discount in air tickets to Mexico and they cost only 250 there and back. We have to go! Where are you; Are you in?".
Wait, hold on one second, what the heck? Everyone with the slightest bit of wanderlust in them knows that tickets to America from Europe cost at least 700 euros, maybe 600 if you win the big jackpot of luck. "Let's go", she continues "we will escape to Mexico for 10 days in February and while everyone else will try to survive the Amsterdam cataclysms -like now- we will drink mojitos under the sweet sun and live the summer like there is no tomorrow." Long story short she sent me the tickets link, I checked my agenda for obligations that period -nothing that can't wait me to come back tanned from Mexico-, I have some saved money aside, let's go girl! Vida loca!
And suddenly I an unfounded concern strikes me. Maybe I have obligations for that time which are not written down in my agenda and when I will remember them it will be too late. Also is it safe there in Mexico City (to which concern, Vanessa reassured me that her house is far away from the various drug cartels of my mind)? Two hours and dozens of back and forth messages later, you could find me in the same stuck mental state and you could also see that the tickets were sold out. Obviously, only a moron (a.k.a. me) would let such a gift to fly away. I was inconsolable; I regretted that I wasn't more decisive, faster or more efficient in making my mind. I would go Mexico with my Mexican friend, best travel experience that could happen to me. Well I might lost a battle, but not the war. Since I love trips so much I had to develop a better protocol, so I would not lose another travel opportunity in the future.
So the following tips are more for me to absorb, but if they seem of any help to you too then this is a definite win-win in my book:
- Add in your agenda all the obligations of your near future (work/study/pleasure). That way nothing will be forgotten and you will be able to make plans early in advance. Any obligations that will arise after you book the tickets will be rescheduled for when you come back from your vacation.
- Have a "jar" of savings dedicated to future voyages. If your budget allows you to save a small amount of money each month that's a huge thing. Even the cheapest tickets you will find from time to time cost money and spending more than your already existing -and sometimes tight too- monthly budget can be a pain in the ass. So be prepared.
- Subscribe to the newsletters of the airline company you use the most or to newsletters from sites that collect and showcase cheap flight around the web. The trick in these discounts is to be quick and if you don't want to stay out of the airplane you should learn things first. First-come, first-served, right? In the cheap flight booking trick is speed Yan Verily stay off the airplane and so will learn everything first.
- The best trips I have ever done were the ones in countries /places where I had friends that they were locals. You feel safe, they show you the way around, they save you from touristic traps and in general you have a glimpse on how locals have fun. Ask your friends around the world if you can visit them and if yes start organizing from today. If they can provide you free accommodation too, well my friend you won the first prize of the lottery.
- Don't be stupidly rational and annoyingly indecisive (that's a general one I guess). Will it be dangerous? Will we make it? I am not in the mood for vacation (the day of the flight is in 3 months, ugh relax). If you afford this trip book now any flights (and hotels maybe) and when the time comes you will arrange everything like a pro. And yes, believe me, you will appreciate these few days away from your everyday routine.
The new year seems to be really stressful in this side of the hill. Also, it's not of a huge secret that I tend to carry more watermelons than I can carry. This is why I decided to take it easy with blogging and blog on weird things that cross my mind (like this?). I hope you enjoy them too. But, hey how do YOU arrange affordable trips early in advance? Please spill your beans in the comments below. xo