Buying Tickets

Last modified on September 12th, 2010

I’m getting close to the point where I’m thinking about buying my plane ticket. Unfortunately, I’m stuck trying to figure out what type of ticket to buy. It looks like most round trip tickets are only marginally more expensive than a one-way ticket, so it seems stupid to get a one-way ticket, even if I end up tossing the return ticket away. That said, it also seems strange booking a flight for a leg than I really have no idea if I’m going to use or even if I’ll want to come back at that point.

I also haven’t completely decided if I want to come back to BC briefly after the first trip, or simply carry on to the next place for a while (which is tentatively Paris at this point). So I’m debating buying that leg up front as well. While I’ve seen last minute specials for the odd vacation package, it’s not very often I’ve seen reduced prices at the last minute for international flights, so I’m hesitant to put off buying a ticket until the last minute for cost reasons.

Anyone have any suggestions or recommendations?

6 responses to “Buying Tickets”

  1. Tyler says:

    What about the round the world tickets? They offer like 5-6 major airports around the world (eventually ending back where you started). Also some places, like Australia, offer flights within their continent for cheaper prices too.

    Though if you pop over across the pond, a train ticket could be fun way to explore too. Though I’ve heard flights are cheap once you’re over there anyway.

    We were looking at a round-the-world ticket to hit up places for a few months journey after I’m done school.

  2. Duane Storey says:

    I thought about it, but I don’t think I really want to visit 5 or 6 places, and that’s what those tickets are geared for. I’d rather spend the majority of time in one or two, and simply branch off for long weekends or a week off here and there. But worth looking at again.

  3. Yeah, the flight thing is always annoying. Good deals on one-way international flights seem hard to come by. Often a one-way will be more expensive than a round trip too, which is just stupid.

    If I can’t find a good deal on a ticket I want I just start looking at tickets to major cities on the continent I want to be on. For example, check out prices for one-ways from Houston (or NYC) -> Buenos Aires (or Sao Paulo). Sometimes you can get good deals on one-ways for frequently travelled international destinations like that. Otherwise, to get from South America -> Paris you may just want to go back through the states anyway, so if you booked a semi-flexible round trip ticket from nyc -> ba then you can usually find cheap tickets to Paris from there.

    The RTW tickets don’t usually work if you want to fly both north-south AND east-west, usually the rtw tickets are only a good deal if you’re traveling in one direction and don’t plan on doing much zig-zagging. I also found that they’re quite expensive from north america. I was looking at RTW tickets from South Africa and they’re a significantly better deal than from here.

  4. Jason Fischl says:

    I think you should get one of the RTW tickets where you just have to keep going in one direction (east or west) and you can’t zigzag back. You can probably do a business class version for a reasonable amount of money. It is slightly constraining but not necessarily in a bad way. You can always by the occasional one-way if you need to make an exception.

  5. Jen says:

    One thing nobody’s mentioned yet – check your destination for entry/exit requirements. Some of them won’t let you in without a return ticket booked for a date before your visitor’s visa expires.

    I know I had that problem when I flew into Grand Cayman (they had to confirm with the airline employee whose buddy passes I was flying on that *yes* I was going to leave), and my Sister-in-Law mentioned when she started teaching overseas it was regular practice for ESL teachers in Korea to purchase and forefit a return ticket if their working visa wasn’t totally sorted out yet.

  6. Duane Storey says:

    That’s a good point, although I think in a lot of countries it’s enough to simply have a way out of the country booked, even a bus ticket. Right now I’m thinking of booking Houston to Buenos Aires return, and then doing a one way from Vancouver or Seattle to Houston to start the trip. It’s a bit cheaper, and then I can decide later on where to go from Houston, something like HOU -> NYC -> Paris.

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