And also: what is the biggest advantage families have with booking tickets online?
The first step of planning a trip correctly is boking flight tickets. It’s best to buy them well in advance, because usually prices go up the closer to the departure date it gets.
This is especially true for families, because the more people you are the harder it gets to find tickets “last moment”, because you need more seats on the plane that might already be booked.
From my experience, the more you wait, the more you pay. To me it happens 100% of the time, I always tend to wait and wait (because surely in a moment the price will drop) and I always end up paying the price for my hesitation. I heard about opposite cases, but it always happens to other people. Never to me.
So as a family, booking tickets is a complicated process requiring a cunning plan.
But its actually when you search for flights online that families have a major advantage.
And on that I want to expand:
How to book tickets online, as a family, in the best way?
Looking for flight for the family is like making pancakes- the first one is always a throwaway.
To find the best and cheapest flight you have to do research. You can’t simply buy the first tickets you’re offered. Because you don’t know, are they really the cheapest tickets, or not. And maybe there are shorter or more comfortable filghts?
The longer the distance the more research becomes important, because the number of routes you can take grows. A flight from London to Paris is pretty straightforward. But from London to the Philippines? There’s a million ways to do that.
In general, flights, especially the cheaper ones, have a lot of stops all over the place before you reach your destination.
A word on search engines: the use ‘cookies’ and they will remember every search you’ve done. So, after a few searches, they’ll start increasing the prices. And so it happens that if you search for a flight today- you’ll get a certain price, and maybe you’ll get it tomorrow or the day after too. But after a few days prices start to rise.
True. You could go ‘incognito’, but I’m not convinced that works. And you can delete cookies after every search. But a few more things might get deleted that you don’t want deleted, and you’ll have to log in everywhere again, and its just a huge headache.
So to search in the best most effective way- use the only advantage you have as a family :-).
So what do you do?
I start searching on my phone. I do it first because it’s the most comfortable ad accessible, and can search from everywhere, whenever I have a moment. That way it’s easy for me to learn the different routes, the prices and costs, where are the shortest layovers, etc… I do that for a few days, learn the routes well.
Another reason I start with my phone is because obviously I won’t book through my phone, because it’s really uncomfortable (you need to fill passport numbers, look for seats on the plane, fill in payment details, etc. and it’s really not comfortable to do on your phone).
After learning the route, I send the kids to look on their phones, focusing on certain airlines and routes. We compare the prices they got to the prices I got, and so we get an idea on whether my phone is still showing accurate results or if I need to stop searching there (because I get more expensive results).
Using the kids’ phones we narrow our options down and focus only on the best flights for cost, route, and total time (including layovers).
And only after we’re totally decided on which flight to tale, then we open the laptop.
Until then- I never, under any circumstances, don’t touch my laptop, because the final booking will be done through that. I want it to be as clean as possible. Like only this moment I decided to fly to India.
When I open my laptop I already know exactly which flight I’m booking and exactly how much it costs and can do the booking straightaway. I’m confident with this decision, all the considerations have been made and I know I made the best booking.
And here, the short way to book family flight tickets:
First step: research
choose one phone, download flight searching apps, and start playing.
- there are a lot of websites that do flight search. After checking many of them I decided to focus on just the two:
- those are for me the simplest and most reliable and most importantly- consistently give the cheapest results. But it doesn’t really matter, you can use whichever engine you want.
If you’re flexible- check different dates. Most applications will immediately suggest the month’s cheapest dates.
Check the airlines you’re offered. If needed- check reviews on that company. Check if the flight has a number of companies doing it or just the one that’ll carry you the entire way. Notice the company that takes you to your destination (the last flight on the journey). Sometimes it’s a local company that partners the bigger ones. Go the websites of those companies and see what they have to offer. Sometimes you can save a lot of money booking through small, local airlines.
Information and ranking of every airline company in the world you’ll get in this link.
Is it a place I can transit through without visa?
Is there one point where many flights transit? (there are a lot of airports considered more central, from which many connection flight depart) for example- Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong.
Splitting the flight up:
What’s cheaper– if you split the flight up yourself, and check separate flights for example: from London the Hong Kong and from Hog Kong to the Philippines, or to buy the flight ready made in advance?
Check about flights to a central airport and from there about local airlines to take you to your final destination. For example a flight from London to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)- first check about flights from London to Bangkok, and from there a flight with Vietjet (local Vietnamese company) to Ho Chi Minh City.
And vice versa- check first a short flight to somewhere in Europe, and from there a long flight with a major European company to your destination. Sometimes the flight from Europe are much shorter and cheaper.
When we wanted to get from Nepal to Vietnam, we checked direct flights. The cheapest flight we found (through Bangkok, keep in mind we can’t transit through Malaysia because of our Israeli passport) was 450$ per person. So we checked split flights. We found a flight to Bangkok for 185$ per person. And from Bangkok a low-cost flight that cost, with luggage (an additional 17$ per person for 25kg) 65$ per person. We saved 200$ per person. Meaning 800$. We gained 3 days in Bangkok, with this whole journey costing us less than what the direct ticket would have.
Check with the airlines themselves:
Are the prices for direct flights in their websites cheaper?
Return flight or one way?
Check both options.
And another tip: check what is the cheapest flight to your destination, one way, and where does it land. And then check what is the cheapest way back and where does it take off, for your return date. And you already have the beginning of a route :-).
What does the ticket include? How many bags can you take, weighing how much? Are there meals or an entertainment system?
A little ‘checklist’ of items you should check:
- Flight route
- total time of the flight
Total waiting time, and in which airports
- how good is the flight company and which plane are they using.
- what’s included in the tickets
- payment options
Step 2: the decision
Take your time. Play with the results and learn the routes and airlines for a few days. After finding a few options that seem good, open another phone (family advantage, didn’t I already say?).
Check only the flights you liked and compare results.
Choose the option that covers everything you need.
Step 3: booking
Open a laptop, or any other device you’d be comfortable to book through properly. Tak under consideration you may have to fill a lot of details in a short amount of time (some sites limit how long you can take to make a booking).
Prepare your passports and payment method In advance.
And of course, if you have a credit card that converts purchases to miles- this is the time to use it :-).
Make sure you have fast, reliable internet.
Open tabs with other helpful sites. Like this site, that gives a lot of info on all types of airplanes, flight companies and good seats on the plane. And on this site you’ll find all sorts of tips and tricks to order the beast seats on the plane.
Now you just need to make the booking :-).
Don’t forget to order flight insurance right after purchasing the tickets, so you’ll be insured if they get canceled for whatever reason.
Qatar airways offer high quality service for very competitive prices. try them.