How to book your individual roundtrip

As we have recently posted about a good route to explore the southern west coast area in the USA, we now want to give you some tips for how to book your own round trip in future.

For sure there are different ways of booking a roundtrip. One is to book flights or ground transportation and book anything on site, but today we want to show you how you can make most of your trip by booking things most cheap in advance.

First about how to get to your starting point:

Booking cheap flights is sometimes quite tricky but there’s no magic in finding some good offers. Fastest way is to use a meta searcher such as http://www.skyscanner.com (international) or http://www.billigflieger.de (German). You choose your desired dates, departure and destination and browse hundreds of vendors and airlines at the same time.

But how to really get the cheapest flights?

Depending on from where and whereto you want to go there are different options to find a cheap flight. One is to play with the dates. Try +- a few days for your flights, that might change the price a lot. Also flying on a weekend is more expensive in most cases, so you should also consider choosing a flight between Monday and Thursday.

Another way is to try an open jaw flight or one ways. A roundtrip is not always the cheapest, sometimes an open jaw flight (such as starting from Frankfurt to Los Angeles but returning from San Francisco to Frankfurt) or even two one way flights on different airlines can be cheaper. Unfortunately the latter is only rarely the cheapest possibility but worth a try before booking. If there is more than one airport on your route, try flights to all those airports to find out which is the cheapest one to start your journey from.

You should also check the baggage allowance on any airline you are considering as sometimes booking a cheap fare plus luggage on a low cost carrier is more expensive than booking a ticket already including the baggage you need to carry.

Now about the transportation on site:

You want to go hiking? Perfect so you don’t need to worry about this point.

Whoever chooses a rental car should also compare all available companies to find the best rate. There are also a lot of different meta searchers such as http://www.ebookers.com (international), http://www.m-broker.de (German) or BlackBerry Travel (international app). But keep in mind; most of those meta searchers are not covering all available companies, so it can be helpful to compare the result of two or three searching engines. You should also pay attention to the included insurances and fees as this is one of the most expensive things about a car rental. Same as on the flights you should also check if a package with all fees and insurances included might be cheaper than paying anything separately when collecting the car. A navigational system should also be considered, but it’s mostly more expensive to rent one at the rental car company than downloading a good app to your smartphone with either free or paid maps. Also most rates are cheaper if you pay them in advance when booking in comparison with paying them upon return of the car. Remember that there is a need of a credit card with almost all major rental car companies.

Another way to travel around is by train. To do this, you should check the local train schedule in advance. Most country’s local railway companies offer schedule checks and ticket booking online through their homepage. You don’t know anything about the local railway companies at your destination? No problem, either the tourism department of most countries, or a good travel agency can help you by finding and booking the perfect connections for your trip.

Now where to stay?

As soon as you have decided about your routing you should consider to book your hotels, motels, hostels or whatever. There are also searching engines that can help you with that, for example: http://www.trivago.com (international), http://www.discavo.de (German), http://www.kayak.com (international) just to name a few. Those so called meta searchers compare hundreds of homepages to book your accommodation with to help you find the cheapest price. Besides booking on the internet, it’s never wrong to contact your local travel agency to send you some tentative offers for hotels at your point of destination. Sometimes their rates can even be lower than those offered on the internet (and if not you still have the option to book somewhere else). But never forget: booking your stay is an act of trust and there is a lot of scam on the web, so consider booking through a well-known booking portal or your travel agency before booking something just for the cheapest price on a homepage you can’t trust. Getting some information about the company you are booking with is no disadvantage even if a few minutes need to be invested for this.

And what to do?

What is going on in the region where you want to go and what to see? Normally that’s the point why you decide to go somewhere and decide for the destination, but who knows everything about everywhere? As I don’t think anybody does, it’s a good thing to either check on the internet (most cities, regions or countries have own websites for tourists to help them find the places to visit) or to read a guidebook before travelling. If you are already there and are bored, why not go to the reception or concierge desk of your hotel or to the local tourism bureau to collect some tips for activities? All of them will be happy to help you find the best local things to do.

We hope our tips are making the booking of your future trips easier and faster. If you have any questions or suggestions, or if we forgot something important, drop us an E-Mail to thealterlookout@freenet.de, we are happy about anyone we can help and anyone who helps us to make our blog better. To see where we are going on our trips before we post our travel reports here, follow our Instagram @thealterlookout.

Thanks for reading and happy travelling!

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