Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cyber Monday Year-Round

Every year we wait for the infamous "Black Friday". It's supposed to be a day of discounted prices for all of our retail needs and wants. How does this translate into the travel industry?
I believe Travel Tuesday is the infinite Cyber Monday. Is this a Loaded statement? Not really, you just have to be aware of when the best time to purchase flights are and use the tips below. If you are interested in taking a vacation at any point during the year, chances are that you will not want to break the bank in the process. When shopping for airfare, there are not many factors we can really control. The airlines have a serious lock down on competitive pricing. But every week on Tuesdays is when we have that slight possibility of finding the best deals on flights 90 days out. Where? you ask. I know, there are so many sites and they all appear to do the same thing. I have taken the liberty of compiling my favorites for your personal use.
(At this point, I suggest that you take notes because these are my best kept secrets and potent weapon)

Skyscanner: Ahh skyscanner. It is my best friend. So, I actually have an app for this website. Skyscanner is a very user friendly, fast comprehensive flight comparison free site. It allows you to insert your home airport in the "From" field and to write in the word "Everywhere" in the "To" field. Once you write in the words "Everywhere" it will show you deals domestically and internationally.

Fly.com: I believe this site is affiliated with another honarable mention, Travelzoo. It has a clear and easy to navigate format. The fare calendars show you which dates will be cheaper based on your departure. Their search engine uses many of the lesser known discount sellers which gives you more options. It also saves your resent searches. So if you are the type that likes to think about it over night or over the next few weeks, your cache will help you out, as the search will be there next time to get on fly.com.

Momondo: It has by far the cheapest prices I've seen thus far. It is used mostly by backpackers to compare airfare prices from 700+ travel sites. If you are flexible on the dates, the monthly bar graphs help you visually see when the cheapest dates to travel will be.  It will then direct you to the travel site or airline.There is also an app for this one.

Kayak: It has one of my favorite features. If you are indecisive like me and have a budget in mind but are not sure where to go, this is the best website to narrow that down. It will show you where you can vacation for that particular price on a map and clicking on the price will reveal the dates in which you can go to your destination for that price.

After finally booking your flight, enter your information at Yapta. This website will track the price so you don’t miss out on savings if the price drops. If the difference in price is more than the re-booking fee (around $75-$100), Yapta will send you, free of charge, an email so that you can claim a credit from the airline.

  • Best time to purchase tickets- Tuesdays around 1am and at 3pm
  • Cheapest day to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday
  • Cheapest time of the day to fly: First flight of the morning (red eye)
  • Use your miles
Where will you fly to next?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

From Hi to Aloha

Maui. The hot sun, tropical flowers and surfing- lots of surfing. There would be clear turquoise waters that carefully build up the most tranquil chaos as it approached the shore causing the best waves. I envisioned myself sitting under an umbrella chair in a hot pink bikini, sipping on a perfectly made Mai Tai that has been beautifully decorated with a pineapple wedge before indulging in some surfing. No electronics needed as the sound of the brightly colored tropical birds and the graceful waves became the soundtrack to an amazing vacation. Admit it, you are grinning as you picture this.

I had no set expectations going in. I had hopes of meeting the friendliest of people and doing the funnest of things, but would be equally happy of becoming a beach bum for the next 8 days. The beaches themselves would be reason enough for all this excitement. I am a planner by nature but not this time. I had purchased my plane ticket 2 weeks before my trip and my hotel 2 days before take-off (I only booked my first 2 nights) I wanted to have no plans, no expectations and no disappointments. This trip called for full flexibility.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans...”- Lao Tzu

REI Flash 52 Women's Backpack
The Saturday before my trip, I made my way over to REI in Ridge Hill Mall. I wanted a backpack for this adventure, one in which I would be able to fit 8 happy and fulfilled days worth of my life. That in itself was a challenge. I had to narrow down the amount of things I would take. I took 5 outfits, 3 cover ups, 6 mix and match bikinis, 2 scarves, 2 pairs of sandals, 1 pair of sneakers, 2 pajama sets and some toiletries. They fit perfectly. I would wear the heaviest articles of clothing to prevent an overcrowded backpack. I felt accomplished as the scale read 28lbs. I had reduced my life to a mere 28lbs from the usual 50lbs airline standards.

The excitement over crowded my anxiety of being a planner. There I was, entering my stress free happy place (the airport) at 3:13 A.M.  showcasing a total of 8 top teeth in a big smile. I said my goodbyes to my dad who took me to JFK Airport with a long hug, as he had learned only 2 minutes ago that I would go on this adventure without a companion.  As I traveled camera and passport in hand, I couldn't believe I was headed to Hawaii alone yet extremely happy. 

I was going from Hi to Aloha in 12 hours =)