Kayaking, Hopping, and Purchasing Airline Tickets
The second largest investment for our around the world trip is our airline tickets. I did so much research into purchasing an around the world ticket vs. individual segments before my purchases began, that I feel it's time to share my results!
1. Around the world tickets can be purchased from several companies, however, One World and the Star Alliance are the most popular. Their salespeople are very helpful and responsive.
2. Around the world tickets are limiting. You can only purchase 16 segments at most, and you need to continue traveling in one direction around the world. Segments not only include airline travel, but also land travel, even if not booked through them.
3. Once we had our full quote for our tickets, it was much higher in cost than our individual cost estimates by about 35%. That was worth the researching price hunting that I outline below.
Once I decided individual tickets were the way to go, I began a spreadsheet with cost estimates for each flight segment. I based these prices using Kayak.com at the time I created the spreadsheet. I figured this was the best way to create a "worst case scenario" price-wise. At the time, I also created price alerts for each segment.
Kayak allows you to set alerts once a week, daily, even text messages. I set my Kayak alerts for every Monday, even though I check it periodically. Keep in mind that Kayak doesn't show some airline prices in their search, such as Southwest or Virgin airlines.
I also came across this fantastic app, Hopper, when reading The Sunday Times Travel magazine. Hopper is an app for you phone that not only allows you to compare airline prices across airlines, it recommends when you should purchase each segment, and how much it predicts for the price to change. This pricing algorithm is my new best friend!
I also found this fantastic article online about predicting when to purchase airline tickets in advance around the world. Needless to say, my calendar is now full of marks like "Buy Australia" and so on. I will keep checking my tools and watching the pricing as we have only purchased about 40% of our airlines tickets at this time. Although many around the world travelers buy their tickets as they go, Benjamin and I will take off with all of our flights booked. I can't help it, I love to plan!