Flying and The Mistakes We Made.

By Posted in - Big Trip & Featured Post & Travel Resources on March 22nd, 2011


I have a love and hate relationship with booking flights for our international travels. On one hand, itโ€™s really exciting to sit down and plan it out, while on the other, it can be a little overwhelming. Especially, when you add in multiple stops like we did when we flew to Reykjavik and then London in an attempt to try to squeeze in Iceland at a discounted rate.

A young couple near Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland

Now that we are actively searching again, this time for flights to Bangkok, I started thinking about some of the mistakes we made, and thought now would be a good time to share them.

Mistake #1: We spent more money than we should of on our ticket from Iceland to London because we waited to buy the ticket. After we bought our ticket from the states to Iceland, Beth and I decided to wait on our tickets out of Iceland, because we wanted to find the cheapest route that would allow us to see the most. Italy was the only place we had to be, so Beth and I had some flexibility about where and how to get there. Unfortunately, we went back and forth on the alternatives for about a week, and by the time we went to book our flight to London, it had increased by about $100 per ticket.

Solution: We should have powered through the alternatives and made a decision that day, or even better, immediately after we booked the first ticket. Our indecisiveness cost us.

Mistake #2: Our mostly costly mistake, though, was not buying a round trip ticket to Italy. If we were not on a budget, this probably would not have been a big of deal, especially because we got to see Iceland, London and Paris in addition to Italy. However, between our flights and train tickets, we ended up paying more than a round trip ticket from Boston to Rome would have cost us.

Solution: Because we are still on a tight budget, I would just buy a round trip fare and work in train trips or cheap European flights once we reach our destination. Itโ€™s easy to get sucked into a good one way fare, especially if you want to see a couple of other places. Though, it can be a real drag when your only option back to the U.S. is a one way ticket that cost almost as much as a round trip ticket.

We both like spontaneous travel and adventures; however, when it comes to booking our flights, Beth and I (and our wallet) now realize, at least for the major flights anyway, that we need to be a bit more Type A.

Do you have any advice or tips for planning air travel? Or, have you changed your traveling style over the years? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of BeersandBeans.com, NarikosNest.com & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(24) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Alouise -

    March 22, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I am so type B when I book flight too…. or rather don’t book flights. I was going to book a trip to New Orleans, the flight was $485 round trip. But I thought ‘oh ‘ll just wait cause it’ll probably go down again.” Yeah it went up to about $800. I’ve learned that I need to be much more quick to decide when it comes to things like this.

    • Bethany -

      March 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

      I am the same way. The problem is that it has worked in my favor enough times so I keep doing it. Really bit us in the butt coming out of Italy though. ouch!@Alouise,

  • Scott – Quirky Travel Guy -

    March 22, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Trying to find affordable flights drives me nuts… I always seem to be too indecisive.

    • Bethany -

      March 22, 2011 at 10:58 am

      That’s definitely my issue too. Plus you can spend hours or days comparing good deals on flights – I hate it! @Scott – Quirky Travel Guy,

  • Zablon Mukuba -

    March 22, 2011 at 8:05 am

    do you guys use travel agents or just do it independently, i have a great agent who sorts out all those issues and is not too expensive

    • Bethany -

      March 22, 2011 at 10:09 am

      We do it independently. Although to be honest, if I had the money I wouldn’t hesitate in letting someone else take care of these details!
      @Zablon Mukuba,

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler -

    March 22, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I know the feeling all too well of realizing you paid too much for a flight because of your indecisiveness. I think it’s even tougher to make a quick decision when it’s more than one person traveling. If I’m going on a trip by myself, I can make a quick decision pretty easily.

    • Bethany -

      March 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

      Yeah, it’s definitely my fault. Unless it’s a really good deal I always want to wait it out. I’ve scored such great deals that I keep trying it but man when it doesn’t work out – it hurts bad! @Christy @ Ordinary Traveler,

  • Carla -

    March 22, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I was a lover of low-cost airlines in Europe. But my relationship with them started cooling down when I realized that with all their extra charges (airport check in fees, food, luggage), I could have been flying a good ol’ “regular airline” instead. Now I’m extra careful: not only do I look for the cheapest fare possible, but I shop for them with already an idea of what my luggage will look life, and I carefully read all the small writing (so I don’t get charged with airport check in fees, for example!).

    • Bethany -

      March 22, 2011 at 11:11 am

      I know, it seems like things have definitely gotten worse. One time I scored a $14 flight from Scotland to Ireland r/t – no other charges. Another time I scored a RT from L.A. to Guatemala for only $102 total – it seems like those days are long, long gone. @Carla,

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures -

    March 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Gosh each trip I take is so different, but I highly recommend always trying to use the same airline so that you can accrue points for free flights/upgrades in the future.

    • Bethany -

      March 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      I agree. Sometimes I wish though i didn’t start accruing w/ United because some of their flights are much more expensive than other carriers. @Andi of My Beautiful Adventures,

  • Andrea -

    March 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I can share in your pain over wasted money due to hesitation or mistakes in planning. We bought a round-the-world ticket for our travels this year and have since booked a few flights that we could have had included in the fare. Since they are in South America our lack of advance planning is costing us a small fortune. Unfortunately that’s just sometimes the way with travel, especially if you don’t want to be locked into plans (as flights so often do to you).

    • Bethany -

      March 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      I was against the RTW ticket just for that reason but after paying a small fortune to get back to the US, I started realizing for just a few hundred more we could’ve had a couple flights across the world. I am def. starting to reconsider them! @Andrea,

  • Kirsten -

    March 22, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    It’s definitely cost me to not be loyal to one airline, in terms of mileage and points – yet the most cost saving tip I can offer is go with the cheapest fare … every time. No matter what airline. And yes, always do RT if you can.

    • Bethany -

      March 24, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Yeah, that’s a great tip Kirsten. @Kirsten,

  • Mica -

    March 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I’m usually the type to book spontaneously, then if I need to change, I just pay up whatever the airline is asking. I have also fallen victim to the waiting game-you swear its going to be cheaper, then it ends up more expensive…ugh!
    You are looking for tickets to Bangkok? So am I! I am looking for 2 tickets as well, probably leaving out of LA in August. When are you guys looking to go?

    • Bethany -

      March 24, 2011 at 10:53 am

      Hi Mica – thanks for commenting! We’re looking to leave in the next couple of months. Not 100% sure it’s going to be bangkok (looking for tefl opportunities) but my hearts been set on Thailand for a while now! If we’re there at the same time we’ll have to meet up! @Mica,

  • Sheila -

    March 22, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I feel your pain. Too many regrets of overspending because of waiting for last minute prices. Mark and I are still learning which strategy to use. I bought our Iceland tickets a a few weeks ago. It was in the 500’s in October went up to 800s to from Dec-Feb, and finally dipped back to 500s in March. I already made my mind up before that to buy the tickets at 500 without hesitation once it dipped back down. Today it’s $50 cheaper than what I paid for. I still don’t regret buying the tickets earlier.

    I’ve also discovered that the airlines itself may still have budget prices even though sites such as priceline and kayak increased their prices that day.

    • Bethany -

      March 24, 2011 at 10:55 am

      I know, that is definitely true. When I am scanning for tickets I always go and check their airlines site as well just to see (of course this is what adds the lengthy searches!).
      I think it’s key though to just pick a price you’re comfortable with and then pull the trigger when you see the price pop up. @Sheila,

  • jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World -

    March 24, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I hate buying airline tickets. I always end up feeling like I overpay. I like to do it early just to get it out of the way though so I don’t stress too much. I also don’t torture myself by checking the prices after I buy my ticket. I’m afraid the disappointment and the anger will be too much ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Bethany -

      March 24, 2011 at 10:56 am

      You’re very smart Jill! I am def. guilty of getting mad at myself after the fact but just doing it and getting it over with is much easier. Then you don’t have to think about it anymore! @jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World,

  • Erika -

    April 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I always leave Boston in the evening, so that I arrive in Europe early in the morning. That first day is pretty much a waste if you don’t sleep well on planes, but you get forced to start your internal clock-change pretty quickly! We drop our bags at our hotel (of course, can’t check in till later) and then take a hop on/hop off tourist bus if there is one around the city to get the lay of the land and just be able to relax and see the sights. Staying busy that first day makes you sleep like a baby at night when everyone else is sleeping, and you adjust quicker.

    • Bethany -

      April 11, 2011 at 8:04 am

      That’s a great tip Erika! Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚ @Erika,