‘The World Travelist Tips’ Category

Tips: Finding the best flights

Tips: Finding the best flights

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Being a traveler, I have been fortunate to get great flight deals and have also been unfortunate to experience not so great flying experiences, so its safe to say I know the ins and outs of flying.  Accompanied with the fact that fuel prices keep fluctuating which impacts on the cost of a ticket and this year also being the year of people saving,  finding the right flight at the perfect cost is very important. So through my experiences I have put together some tips regarding the flight aspect of traveling, to help you when you plan your next trip.

Here goes!

Be flexible with your travel dates

Rather look at traveling during the week between Monday and Thursday as prices are cheaper during the week than over the weekend. And early morning or late flights are also cheaper as few people fly then.

Take advantage of Student flights

I’m on the database for STA Travel and use them to inquire about great deals as well as I get my insurance through STA Travel unless you don’t use your credit card to pay for your flight where you get free travel insurance. Using student flight centers guarantees you discounted rates.

Compare prices

Most people generally go for the airlines they are familiar with. With smart phones you have travel apps only just a click away. I have downloaded the following apps which helps to compare flights. I have the following apps downloaded, Kayak, Expedia, Easyjet and Travelocity to compare flights. Never just book a flight based on one site.

Take your time

I immerse myself in finding the right flight. Take about a week to search for flights. Flights fluctuate and you need to ensure that by the time you have booked, you have exhausted all possible options.

Go to travel agents

I generally start my search by calling or popping into different travel agents to compare prices. Once they have given me advice on what are the best options available, I go back and do the searches myself as travel agents charge a service fee. Travel agents take the stress out of finding a flight so if you do not have the energy to do the homework, they are your best bet.

Sign up for a Airline rewards programs

Most airlines have frequent flyer rewards programs. Even if you don’t use the same airline it doesn’t matter. Star Alliance has many airlines under their belt so you can sign up there and earn points when you fly which might come in handy the next time you are short.

You earn free miles if you signup when you are still on the flight and some airlines have a 3 month gap for free points after your flight.

Look for alternative routes

Some people generally book direct flights which are much more expensive than connecting flights. By changing your route you end bagging a good deal. This also gives you a chance to pop in for a day or two to see another country that isn’t part of your travels.

Connecting flights

After a stressful 6 hour flight delay from Joburg to Thailand, I learned to make sure that there is ample time between my connecting flights. Some of the people on our flight were unfortunately not using the same airline to connect and missed their flights.

 Travel insurance

This is not even a nice to have actually. You need this. Anything can happen, you could miss your flight because you were late for check in, your flight caught be delayed which affects all your connecting flights and not forgetting having your baggage lost. In peak season having to book another flight could be disastrous.

Be at the airport on time

I don’t know how many times I have had to run through the airport because I was late for check in, or I was too busy having a beer that I was late for the gate. It could also happen that you are not at fault, so make sure you have an hour contingency. The last thing you want is receiving a phone call saying they are off loading you because the gate is closed. That could be the most heartbreaking thing ever especially since you have been looking forward to that holiday.

Investigate the airline

This may seem dramatic, but it could be the thin line between a great flight and a pear shaped flight. Myself and Lera decided found the cheapest flight but it came with a price. There was NO ALCOHOL on the flight. Nothing, Zilch, nudda. After running through the airport all we were looking forward to was a glass of wine, and we were met with disappointment. Needless to say at the connecting airport looking for a bar was the first thing we did. So investigate what their dos and don’ts.

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Stick to the luggage weight requirements

Make sure that you pack lightly, because its not the going where it matters, its the coming back. So leave atleast 10kg extra for all the shopping you will do. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you don’t have money to pay the penalty fee and have to leave some luggage behind. This experience could scar you for life.

 Have the card you booked ticket with, with you at check in

On my last trip I had forgotten my card at the atm which the atm swallowed. I completely forgot that I needed this at check in. I wasted a good 45 minutes running to the bank and then back to ticket counter to get a letter from the bank. You may think its not necessary, but that one time you lose your card, is when they will ask for it.

Let your family know your flight details

Leave your flight details with a family member so that they can track your flight. You can track your flight using the Skyscanner app that shows all flights arriving and departing and status of the flights. This comes in handy particularly if you are not roaming for whoever is picking you up to know.

 Check your flight information the day before you leave

Some flights change their flights at the last minute. Its your responsibility to check that everything is running according to schedule. You can choose the email option for flight updates as it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you can get access to your personal email account.

Finally: BE EXCITED FOR YOUR FLIGHT

It usually only kicks in when you have checked in and boarding that flight that you are about to embark on the most epic trip of your life. Once you are on that flight, there is not turning back. Leave all your worries and stresses behind, because the ride is far more important. Your journey begins the minute you hop onto that flight. Give thanks that you are able to get the opportunity to go make memories, and pray for safe travels.

 

 

 

 

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Thinking about my experience here makes me smile soo much. I met an amzing Irish man and at the same time broke another man’s heart. My philosophy was that I am here to go through experiences and not regret anything.

Arriving in Nha Trang was a breath of fresh air. From the buzzing and busy city to just pure serenity never felt so calming. After trying to figure out where to stay we eventually found a backpackers spot called The Backpackers house in the Backpackers area. It was situated 5 minutes from the beach with restaurants and shops along the way to the beach. All I wanted was a hearty breakfast and yes I said it, a gin and tonic to quench my thirst. Found this stunning restaurant right on the beach called Nha Trang Sailing Club. It’s just perfect. They have an area for lazing around as well as the restaurant section. Prices are reasonable.  We lazed there for some time before going to look for a bikini for myself.

I was having so much fun negotiating prices for the bikini, I wasn’t really focused on why I was there. Poor Jono had to sit there and tell me which one looked better on me. All bikinied up, we hit the beach. You have to pay $1 or something like that for a beach bed. Did I mention that you can drink on the beach and that there are people who walk around selling beer, ah I was in heaven. That’s not the end of it, we never had to get up for anything. A lady came around selling, prawns and lobster. I had the two things that made me smile, beer and seafood, and to end it off, I was basking in the sun on such a beautiful beach.

I met a fellow South African, Janine with her boyfriend Paul from Zimbabwe. They were off to Hoi An later that evening, so we decided to go looking for some sushi. We found the best spot about a 4 minute walk from the beach called Surai Sushi. The sushi was the freshest i’ve ever had. They had soo much variety. We were all sushied out. We exchanged numbers as we were also heading to Hoi An in the evening the next day.

My fun times were only just  beginning. We started off at The Red Apple bar where we made some new friends. I a bucket which the call ‘The Bucket’, what a lethal drink. With our new friends, we headed off to the next place called The Jolly Leprechaun Irish Pub where I drank the biggest fish bowl ever with total strangers I met on my way to the bathroom. Gotta love travelling alone, everyone wants you to share an experience with them.

Mark (The Irish man) and I decided to leave the rest at the pub and head off to a beach party at The Sailing Club. I can safely say that it was my first proper beach party. Shoo did I dance or what. It was so much fun being the only black person there I had shots flowing for DAYSSSS. Needless to say this night was the start of something exciting. What was lovely is that everything is in walking distance.

Word of advice, don’t pay to go scuba diving and drink the night before, because you and wake up late. Scuba Diving was the one reason I was excited to come to Nha Trang and I didn’t even make it. So my consolation was  to go on a booze boat and  just go snorkeling. And also don’t wake up with a hangover because the rocking of the boat will just shatter you and you which forces you to keep drinking.  Before we went snorkeling we stopped off at the Aquarium, which for me was a much needed stop over. Snorkeling was just bliss. The water was crystal clear and the weather just perfect. But what a lovely day on the boat eating fresh sea food, drinking beer and meeting amazing people.

The highlight though was swimming in the middle of the ocean with nothing in sight but water and boats passing by. Wait for it, we had a floating bar to continue the madness. The smartest idea ever, you don’t have to start and stop, there is a bar swimming with you. Ah, the sheer joy that was in my heart.

After soo much swimming, eating and drinking I wanted to have a calm rest of the day. So I headed back to the beach to nap and read a book and yes of course have a young beer. Had to freshen up for a quick dinner at the Green Apple restaurant before hoping onto the sleeper bus to make my way to Hoi An.  Thank goodness for smart Asians and their sleeper buses, otherwise I would have been a broken soul. We had one shot at the backpackers bar to say cheers to a lovely time in NhaTrang.

Nha Trang has the best beaches in Vietnam, is the best place for scuba diving, has the coolest nightlife, but of all, it was here where I met the most amazing people who made my stay unforgettable and memorable beyond words. I am definitely coming back here for memorable experiences.

 

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When the Night Was Mad Real…

When the Night Was Mad Real…

After the major night we had club-hopping in the city, only a few things could make us feel somewhat human again. So before heading back to our apartment, the few of us who could still keep our eyes open for a bit longer headed off to a 24 hour diner near our apartment in the Lower East Side. With pleasant 6am smiles and fresh coffee, the waiters fed us a fascinating array of eggs, omelettes and pancakes that immediately made us feel functional again, and we got to send Vie off happy, fulfilled, and with the itis.

No we have no idea what that thing on the right is