Is it planning travel that's half the fun, or is it getting there that's half the fun? Maybe it's some of each.
We're not surprised by a Dutch study that indicates travelers are happier when anticipating travel, and happier when they're actually traveling. However, they're ordinarily no happier when their trip has concluded. We've reached similar conclusions based on our own experience. That's why we're always planning at least one future trip (and usually several trips). We also spend a fair (inordinate?) amount of time looking for travel bargains. We've been doing just that during the past couple of weeks since returning from Europe.
A lost and confused tourist supposedly asked a New Yorker, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The one-word reply was "Practice!" When others ask us "Where do you find your travel bargains?", our one-word reply is "Research!" We've found no single magic source, but we check a variety of sources regularly.
As we've previously mentioned, our bodies tell us to settle for nothing less than Business Class on foreign flights longer than five hours, so FlyerTalk's Mileage Run Forum isn't as useful to us as it once was. We just signed up for Jack's Flight Club with a three-month trial membership. While they're flagging some great bargains in economy class to a variety of destinations, they don't offer much in the way of premium cabins, so it's doubtful we'll maintain our membership.
We do monitor FlyerTalk's Premium Fare Deals Forum regularly. We also utilize Google Flights Search, using a variety of originating airports, always including Seattle and Vancouver. We have absolutely no hesitation in adding repositioning flights to an itinerary if it's worthwhile. If we see a great deal that starts or ends in, say, New York, we'll fly there with points or cash.
For example, in 2019 a bargain one-way Business Class fare became available on Singapore Airlines for what was then the world's longest flight, SIN-EWR (Singapore to Newark). The catch was that to use the bargain fare (somewhere around $1,200 in our recollection) it was necessary to start in Ahmedabad, India, AMD-SIN.
We flew from Bangkok to Jaipur, where we enjoyed a most enjoyable cooking class, before flying to Ahmedabad and boarding our flight to SIN. After a short stay in a Changi Airport transit hotel, we flew 17 pleasant hours on SQ 22 We repositioned on both ends, enjoyed a great time in India, experienced the world's longest flight, earned a lot of miles in the process, and found our way home from EWR. Well worth it!
Using the same strategy, if we were planning to catch a cruise in Lisbon (LIS), we'd look for a cheap Business Class flight to just about anywhere in Europe, knowing we can find a cheap flight or train trip from there to Lisbon. As it happens, we'll be looking for one of those in Fall 2024.
airline websites occasionally reveal bargains. We look at
especially Alaska, from time to time.
Our travel plans for the first several months of 2024 look like this:
Early January: Larnaca Cyprus
Mid-January: Fort Myers Florida
Late January: Quito Ecuador
Mid-February: Cancun Mexico
Late February: Budapest Hungary
Late March: Grandson’s Europe Tour
Late May: Cairns Australia for Oz Fest
Our March trip with
grandson Jace and our May trip to Australia are currently
booked on points (Alaska Airlines miles). In the unlikely
event a cash price becomes competitive, we'll snap it up. Our
paid round trip Business Class flights to Cyprus, Ecuador, and
Hungary cost us about $2,200 each. It's an investment from
which we receive a lot of benefits.
We're delighted with our
upcoming itinerary. It will include our first visits to
Ecuador and Cyprus (we just booked the Cyprus trip last night
after spotting it out of YVR on Google flights), a return to
Budapest after quite a few years, a traditional "grand tour"
of Europe with our eighth grandchild, and our 18th trip to
Australia to attend our 16th Oz Fest.