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BerndtCanada Travels

Travel frugally...Travel smart...Travel often!!!

This travel information site is geared for travelers who wish to travel frequently; exploring, learning, and appreciating the geography, culture and history of the places being visited. We believe a balance of independent wandering and guided local wisdom ensures the richest experiences. We hope you will find this website useful in imagining and planning your travels.

 

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Learn about some of our Travel Destinations

by clicking on any picture or label found below:

Scotland & Ireland

Mexico

Austro-Hungary

Mediterranean

Hawaii

Spain & Portugal

Baltic Cruise

Costa Rica & Panama

Caribbean Collection
 

Florida


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Flights

The cost of flights is often the most expensive part of a trip. There are ways to minimize these costs by  taking advantage of flight search engines and shopping around with different providers.

Purchase 4 to 9 months in advance – The best airfares are made available in the 4 to 9 month time period prior to a flight. Prices rise closer to the departure date. Flights fill up and become unavailable closer to the departure date. As airlines attempt to fill seats, the prices fluctuate. In our experience, our best prices were achieved by watching for a while within the 4 to 9 month time period and booking when the prices were reduced. Generally speaking, the best fares or seat sales are offered on weekends. The cheapest flights are on Tuesdays. The best fares are off peak times and seasons, i.e. early mornings and evenings; non-holiday periods. Airlines’ websites often post a calendar that allows you to view all prices for different departure and return dates. Travel sites allow you to enter “flexible” dates, and post a calendar showing the range of prices for different dates. The following websites provide information about flight pricing trends:

 

       

              There are many specialized regional carriers.

 Flight Network

 Sky Scanner


 Fare Compare

Google Flights

 

 

Buy Direct – Although the large travel websites often offer flights and vacation packages, we have sometimes found that navigating directly to an airline’s webpage gave us lower fares. Many airlines guarantee the lowest airfare on their websites if you book online. Use Expedia or Travelocity to find the flight – then go to the airline’s website to find the best price. Enrol in the airlines’ loyalty plans for additional offers and bonuses.

 

The 14 Best Airline Frequent Flier Loyalty Programs

The Best Frequent Flyer Programs in 2018

What’s the Right Way to Compare Frequent Flier Programs?

 

Use the discount airlines – There are many more flights around the world than what can be viewed on the major travel websites. Smaller regional carriers abound in Europe, Asia and Africa. They provide connections to some of the most interesting locations and realize significant savings.  They are often cheaper for travelling within a country than using trains, buses or rental cars. Cheaper fares are often accomplished by flying into smaller, more distant airports. Most of these airports have convenient shuttle buses or transportation into the city center. Use Google Maps, the airline’s website, or the airport’s website to pinpoint the airport location and find out about transportation. We often have planned our travel itineraries by plotting a route based on the destinations of the discount airlines. An internet search “fly from X to Y” often yields the results you need. The following websites illustrate the many possible connections and the airlines that serve them, and rank their quality.

 

Which Budget: Flight Search Engine and Destination Finder

Kayak: Fight Comparison database

Skytrax: The World’s best Low-Cost Airlines

Your Guide to the Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Small is Still Beautiful in Asia

The Ten Best Budget Airlines in Asia


14 Cheapest Airlines in N and S America

 

Our TAP flight from Seville to Lisbon provided water, sandwiches and earplugs.

 

 Purchase seats individually – Buying one seat at a time can save you money. Our experience has shown that when we searched online for two, three or four seats for our family and then repeated the request for individual seats, we found lower fares. The explanation lies in the fact that airlines have a range of prices for seats on any given flight and their “inventory software” closes out the cheap seats based on demand and empty seats left. By asking for single seats, you can often get the cheapest ones. There is  some risk that seats will disappear during the booking process, but generally, the airlines indicate how many seats are left.

 Create your own connections – The easiest flights are direct ones. These are not usually the most inexpensive; nor are they even usually possible. The large travel websites often show particular flights that link between North America and overseas destinations. These are often based on airlines’ code sharing arrangements. In our experience, we have realized significant savings by booking with a large airline to get to a main hub in a particular country and booking separate connecting flights from there. For example, to go to Europe, we find a cheap flight to London Gatwick and then a connection from there. Likewise,  to go to Asia, we fly to Hong Kong or Singapore first. We prefer an overnight stay there before taking the next leg of the journey to break up lengthy travel days. An even longer lay-over allows some time to visit these places too. Increasingly, airlines are offering free stop-over programs.
 

The Best Airlines for a Free Stopover
 

 By doing this, we know we are responsible for transporting ourselves and transferring luggage.There is  some risk of the non-code sharing airlines not accommodating or re-booking late connections or missed flights due to weather or other issues. The article below discusses some of these considerations.
 

 Tips for Making a Connecting Flight      
  

Go for the comfort level you need – Airlines are able to offer lower fares by providing bare-bones service, beyond which there are additional fees. For some types of travel this is sufficient. If you travel with a carry-on bag and bring your own food on board there are no additional charges. In other cases it is worth the extra fees to get the services you need. Increasingly, airlines offer a package of extras that can be purchased at a discounted rate at the time of booking. These include baggage allowance, seat selection and meals. In a competitive market, you may not pay much more for a higher quality airline and a higher quality airport experience. It may be worth it to you. See:                      

 

The World Airport and Airline Quality Rating Program

 

 For more suggestions about how to optimize travel on low cost airlines, see:

 

The Ultimate Guide to Low Cost Airlines in Europe

How to Use Google Flights to Find Cheap Flights, Discover Destinations and More

 

 

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