Booking a flight for the first time can be intimidating. There are so many travel search engines (only 508mil Google results), which can make the experience both easier and more difficult. The last time I flew internationally I was six years old. I didn’t book my flights at that age, did you? Honestly, it didn’t matter if I was six years old trying to navigate how to book a flight or 19 years old. It can be confusing just the same.
I used Kayak.com to search for and book my flight. I found the site easy to use. All I had to input were my travel dates (May 20-June 10) the departure and arrival airports (JFK > DUB), and that just one passenger was flying. This is the routine for most travel sites. Once the data was entered, a list of applicable flights were listed, which I could then filter to accommodate more of my preferences. Kayak‘s search results also displayed that their advice was to “Buy” the ticket when I did, based on their data analysis. This can be a helpful tool for someone who does not travel much or is unsure of how to choose a flight.
After not much deliberation at all, I chose to fly with Aer Lingus, again out of familiarity. I had flown with them when I was younger. I knew the airline was safe (major concern!) and that I would be comfortable (as comfy as possible on an airplane). I also chose this particular flight because it was non-stop because, seriously, who wants to deal with a layover? I feel like I scored a great deal, too! I love deals. Total flight for the cost being around $600 USD for 2 non-stop, round-trip flights… Basically, I got my flight for a steal.
A key thing to do when searching for ticket prices (of any sort), clear the cookies from your internet browser. Websites are able to see if you are continuously searching and make the prices increase. It’s a totally sneaky way to make you pay more for a ticket, so do yourself a favor and delete the cookies and browser history. Save that money!
Now, drum roll, please…
*insert drum roll noise*
The MOST important lesson I learned!
The flight times are ALWAYS in local time!
Listen to me, I learned the hard way. The days before I left I talked with my parents about my departure time and thought I knew what time my flight was. Keyword: thought. In my mind, I created some wacky timeline subtracting 6 hours (the length of the flight) from my arrival time in Ireland. Long story short, I missed my flight BUT learned a valuable lesson. I ended up getting on the next flight and sat next to a nice man from Boston, who actually had missed the same flight I did. Small world.
Sometimes it’s better to learn the hard way aka $200 poorer but one grain of intelligence smarter.
Did you have a similar experience to me when flying solo the first time? Have any tips for first-time travelers? Comment them below!