You cannot believe how long this post has been sitting in my drafts for. After waiting, and waiting, and waiting, everything seemed to suddenly fall into place. We found a caretaker (and multiple backups) for my dog Teddy Bear, we have a couple lined up to rent our furnished apartment for the exact time we’d be away, and, we also BOOKED OUR FIRST FLIGHT FOR OUR ROUND-THE-WORLD TRIP!! We leave Vancouver at the end of January, and our first one-way flight is to Nicaragua.
Instead of buying a “round-the-world” ticket through an airlines agency, we decided to book our journey flight by flight. With so many online tools now available to help find (cheap) flights and alternative forms of transportation, we didn’t want to commit to a round-the-world ticket, and wanted to keep our travels flexible and spontaneous.
In my obsessive thinking about flights, I’ve realized that travel is always a trade-off between time and money. For example, as we depart on our 9-month “world tour”, my boyfriend and I won’t have a steady income (MONEY) from a full-time job, but we will have the flexibility (TIME) to shop around for flight deals and be flexible in our route.
As I was doing my extensive travel research, I came up with a list of flight-related advantages of taking a LONG travel trip, rather than just a short vacation.
1) You Can Fly at Non-Peak Times
When I was working a full-time 9-to-5 job and stuck with a measly 15 days of vacation each year, I took advantage of long weekends and statuary holidays to maximize my vacation trips. Unfortunately, I often had to pay a premium to fly on a Friday night, and return home on a Sunday evening…especially when it’s a long weekend or statuary holiday.
However, on an extended travel trip without the constraints of limited vacation dates, you have the flexibility to fly on non-peak flights. Take that Tuesday afternoon flight if you need to save a couple (hundred) of dollars. Or take that flight with an extra transfer or fly into the more remote airport – you’ve got time!
2) You Can Afford to Wait for a Better Deal (or Better Weather)
When we were in Argentina in 2014, we were supposed to cross over the Andes mountains into Chile via bus. However, the mountain pass was closed the day we had planned to travel, but because of the inflexibility of our schedule, we couldn’t afford to wait for better weather to take the bus, so we flew instead; a 45 minute flight for a very expensive $300USD each!
On a longer-term travel trip, when you have the time to wait for a better flight deal or wait out for better weather, you can save money. If the destination you want to go to is too costly, you can schedule it in at another point during the trip, go somewhere else first and fly from a different destination.
3) You Can Take Advantage of Spontaneous Flight Deals
For as long as I’ve worked full time, I’ve never had the opportunity to take advantage of a flight deal. Hot sales typically happen very spontaneously, and you have to book within a certain timeframe. Working a full-time 9-to-5 job, I knew I would never be able to get time off on such short notice.
When you don’t have a rigid travel schedule planned out, because you have more time, you can take advantage of spontaneous flight deals.
4) It’s More Attainable to Redeem Travel Points for One-Way Flights
Sometimes it seems like it takes forever to save up enough travel points to go on a vacation. But when you’re only booking a one-way flight, the number of points you need to redeem are slashed in half, and suddenly, using your points to fly for “free” becomes much more attainable.
For example, instead of 40,000 Aeroplan points (which I didn’t have) to fly a round-trip flight between Vancouver and Central America, it’s half the points for a one-way flight, which is way more feasible. We ended up booking our first flights with my boyfriend’s Alaska Miles points: 30,000 points and $150USD for two one-way flights from Vancouver, Canada to Managua, Nicaragua.
Photography Credit: Fancycrave c/o Pexels