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Top 12 International Travel Tips (Trans-Atlantic Focus)

November 13, 2007 | Posted in: Airline News,Destinations,Europe,Travel Tips
Here’s some of my best international air travel purchasing tips, in Top-12 List form, for those of you who are thinking about, or actively planning a vacation abroad. Look out for #9 (WARNING: Sticker Shock Ahead!)



Top 12 INTERNATIONAL Travel Tips (Trans-Atlantic Focus)


1. Know Your International Seasons: There are 4-5 date ranges in a year (depending on the city pair) with big price differences, swings of over $1000 in coach

  • Summer is generally most expensive, winter is typically cheapest, buy your tickets just before the higher price seasons to get the best deal
  • Use the FareCompre Research Airfares Mode (from the homepage query box) which shows the cheapest prices for departure for the next 11 months; this will indicate the cheapest season of the year for your destination country

2. Anticipate High Ticket Taxes

  • Trans-oceanic taxes are averaging $100-$150; fuel surcharges run $120-$180, so your looking at high $200s before you start buying
  • Transiting through a different country can add $50-70 to your ticket
  • Transiting through Dublin, instead of London can save up to half on transit taxes

3. Fly Big-City to Big-City: Generally, this is cheaper

  • Live in Milwaukee or Madison WI? Save big and drive to Chicago
  • Competition in bigger cities drives down prices for international travel, so weigh convenience over cost of the commuter flight add-on through the larger metro international gateway city

4. Check Out New Routes and Promotions

  • U.S. airlines are adding more international capacity moving wide-body jets from domestic routes (and some narrow body jets) to international routes — golden rule of cheap prices (more seats = cheaper prices)
  • When an airline adds a new route like Delta from Salt Lake to Paris, you’ll see some very good promotional pricing for a short introductory period
  • Airbus and Dreamliner jets will add capacity, more fuel efficiency and longer non-stops in the coming years — remember the golden rule of cheap prices stated above
  • New routes continue to open deeper into Eastern Europe and Asia (the Olympics in 2008 will be an excellent test of capacity to China)
  • Use FareCompare’s Email Alerts to learn about great international airfares first from your departure city (cities)

5. Look at Low-Cost Transatlantic Airlines

  • Condor, Eurofly and others fly to between some major cities in the U.S. and Europe
  • March 2008: “Open Skies” kicks in; allowing lower cost airlines to more easily establish transatlantic routes — more competition = cheaper prices

6. In Europe, Check Out European Domestic Airlines

  • Dublin-based Ryanair is a popular one; there are over 30 at last count …
  • Not all these low-cost carriers fly out of major cities; be prepared for some inconvenience (possibly including having to check your bags for every segment of your flight)
  • Pack light and pre-pay baggage costs: baggage fees are high (and may even cost more than your ticket!)

7. Don’t Rule Out International Carriers (like British Airways)

  • Short hauls on British Airways are averaging only 10 pounds a leg more than low-cost carriers
  • An added benefit: they check your bags all the way through
  • IMPORTANT: avoid Heathrow if checking bags; the London airport is notorious for losing luggage (though BA will unveil a new luggage system in March 2008 in their terminal only)

8. Fly All-Business Class Jets: Luxury has a price, but now it is discounted

  • New airlines Maxjet, Silverjet and Eos offer all-business class seats; Virgin has said they may join in
  • Full prices on legacy airlines for business class can cost $4,000 to $6,000, save 20-60% using one of the all biz class airlines
  • Use FareCompare.com to look for cheapest rates on business-class jets; when shopping, be sure to click on the “cabin” pulldown for first or business class prices so you can compare them to coach

9. Warning: Currency Sticker Shock Ahead

  • The weak dollar means a $30 hamburger is not unusual (well i like mine with extra pickles …)
  • Anticipate that everything will be expensive, and budget accordingly
  • The good news is the gasoline (petrol) was already expensive so it won’t matter :)

10. Know Your Passport Requirements

  • Check with passport officials to make sure yours is up-to-date and that you have proper visas
  • Check with your destination country’s embassy or consulate: make sure you understand their passport and visa requirements (some countries won’t allow you in if your passport will expire in 6-months)
  • Earlier this year there were monumental delays getting folks new or renewed passports so plan ahead

11. Use Frequent Flyer Miles for Your European “Dream” Trip

  • Start your search early for dates and times available, be flexible and you can usually find what you are looking for
  • Look for places off-the-beaten path for best success
  • Redeeming miles for expensive summer trips gives you the best value for your hard earned mileage

12. Let Technology Do the Work for You

  • FareCompare‘s sophisticated software finds the best deals first before they are posted on the airline sites, which is even more important when planes are packed, know what a good price is, and make the best airline ticket buying decision
  • Don’t sit in front of the computer all day hunting and pecking: use FareCompare’s Airfare Email Alerts– our computers never sleep, let them do the work for you





10 Responses to “Top 12 International Travel Tips (Trans-Atlantic Focus)”

  1. Chris says:

    Is this the Top 12-INTERNATIONAL Travel Tips, or the Top 12-EUROPE Travel Tips?

  2. Rick Seaney says:

    Good point Chris, I did slight our Trans-Pacific and Southern Neighbors, i’ll add that note in the title and provide tips later for both of those

  3. Lixy says:

    Fare compare research mode does not return any thing.
    For Lax to lagos, Nigeria RT

  4. Rick Seaney says:

    I sent a note to our development team to see why/if there are airfares and why they might have been filtered.

  5. Mike C. says:

    In the article titled “Top 12 International Travel Tips (Trans-Atlantic Focus)”, you say “Use FareCompare.com to look for cheapest rates on business-class jets; when shopping, be sure to click on the cabin pulldown for first or business class prices so you can compare them to coach”.

    I am having trouble finding this search. I only see Y-Up or Q-Up fares and that’s for domestic flights. What am I doing wrong?

  6. Andy says:

    Please correct the link for Eurofly. It’s a http://www.euroflyusa.com/ . The obvious name is just an ad linker

  7. Rick Seaney says:

    Eurofly link corrected

  8. Rick Seaney says:

    Hi Mike C., comment #5

    If you go into research mode on your favorite city pair like this example from from Boston to Rome, at the bottom right hand corner of the grid are 2 drop downs and an add row button. You can select your favorite airline or “cheapest” in one and the cabin in the other, just hit add row after your selection and then you can compare.

  9. andrea says:

    how do I use your site if we are flying into one city and leaving from another? thanks

  10. Rick Seaney says:

    Just use this link, and this tool will give you what you need: http://booking.farecompare.com/

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