For those of us who enjoy traveling to far away and interesting places, to get out and away from our daily monotonous routines, this post is for you! Some of us have a bucket list of places to go before the big final trip. How about a trip to Kathmandu, Nepal (with or without Everest) for $825? Some don’t really care where, as long as there is a relaxing beach, some fruity/slushie cocktail, and an island breeze. How about a Caribbean long weekend in Martinique for $214? Still others, mixing in with the locals, music, food, and sites. How about some of Mexico City’s Tacos Al Pastor, a sip of Tepache or Michelada, joining the locals in the weekly Muevete en Bici (every Sunday Mexico City blocks major roads to let the bicycles, roller bladers, and joggers take over the city), with a stop in Ghirabaldi Square for real Mariachi! Or all of the above.
The World Is Your Pizza
I know, there is a litany of search engines out there, but none answer my question as simply, quickly, completely and intuitively than http://www.kayak.com/explore.
A lot of you have tried Kayak.com before, but add the /explore, and the world will be your oyster (or pizza, if you don’t like oysters. Who doesn’t like pizza?). I used this exhaustively a few years back when we wondered around Europe for a few weeks. It saved us thousands (over even rail and bus) and got us to our destination in a few hours, instead of overnight in a stuffy rail car or bus.
Well, it doesn’t matter what your travel motivations are, if you are like me, I want to spend as little time and money getting there, to enjoy as much of the “there” as possible. So, http://www.kayak.com/explore answers the question of “Where can I go without spending a lot?”. It is a simple statement but a complex idea. Sure, I can fly to Philadelphia for $52, but how about Milan, Italy for $652? I’d go in a minute.
Where in the World? Anywhere…
I don’t know about you, but I have a nagging question of “How far away can I go for $xx?”. Well, enter your preferred departure airport (we use WAS or PHL), the season or month (Summer), and your budget limit, say $1000, and you’ll quickly find you could go to:
Asia – Tokyo – $907, Bangkok – $768, Shanghai – $862, Beijing – $749
Europe – Milan, Italy – $652, Paris – $804, Rome – $837. Cheapest – Ireland – $530
USA – Miami- $138, New Orleans – $108, San Francisco $262
Caribbean / Latin America – Mexico City – $296, Cancun – $295, San Juan – $395
How far away can I go? Winner here is Moscow – $556, for this search anyway.
What can about $200 buy you?
So what can $200 buy you for fall flights?
New Orleans – $170, Fort Lauderdale $110, Chicago – $194, Mexico City – $266
High Season, Low Season. Go Whenever the Price Strikes You
Some of us are nearing, or have an empty nest, so no longer bound by school schedules, the question of “when” comes into play, especially relative to a season. So, when is the lowest cost (I’ll not say best in this case, as in the Caribbean, the low season can also be the high season for bad weather) time to go to the Caribbean?
Summer/Caribbean-Latin America – Mexico City, $296; Cancun,$295; San Juan – $395
Fall/Caribbean-Latin America – Mexico City, $300; Cancun,$299; San Juan – $252
Winter/Caribbean-Latin America – Mexico City, $399; Cancun,$341; San Juan – $332
Get Jiggy With It
Play around with the controls. If you don’t want long flights, select “non-stop” only, or lower the duration to your comfort zone. No, don’t set it to something that isn’t physically possible, such as a 3 hour flight to Europe, 8-10 hour flights are possible. Or narrow it down to a month, May, or June to see your best options. As I travel with my family, I usually check out 1-2 close by airports, such as WAS (which includes DCA, Dulles, and BWI). I even throw in Philadelphia, as a two hour drive to save $250/head is worth it to me.
When you click on one of the flags (let’s say Cancun, Summer, WAS departure), you may or may not get the same exact deal. All airlines use dynamic pricing, lowering prices on low demand, and raising prices on high demand. The winning flight may not be on dates you prefer. So, click on the deal, as is, without changing anything, and see if you can get the same deal, now that time has passed (e.g. the deal may have been won two weeks ago).
So you can’t get the exact deal currently, it went up $14. Well, I’d go ahead and take this one. One or two less Pina Coladas, but I’ll survive.
Let me know if you have used /explore before. For what ever reason, Kayak doesn’t promote it heavily, but to me it is the one tool out there that gets the answers quickly without punching in date after date, location after location. Let me know if I’ve helped unlock your bucket list procrastination too.