Buying the one way ticket to Paris where I start my trip has been the most nervous moment in preparation yet. The sick feeling in my stomach that grew and grew as I filled out the online booking form was seriously making me wonder if I was doing the right thing. Perhaps it was my subconscious trying to pull me back to my safety net, all I knew was that paying for the ticket was a defining moment.
By hitting the book now and pay button for my plane ticket I was changed. I went from a yeah I’ll travel guy talking the talk, into the guy that’s already passed immigration and is sitting in the departure lounge bopping away to his iPod waiting to board. While I longed to be that guy, I always found a reason to hold off on laying out the cash. I’d like to say I was holding out for the best priced ticket but honestly it scared the crap out of me.
I’d spent hours researching just which airline has the cheapest flight as well as the least likelihood of falling out of the sky. Which is a big thing when you live in Australia as the shortest flight I could find from Melbourne to Paris was approximately 24 hours long.
My search was then further hampered because of my location. While the majority of the world can search sites like Kayak, Expedia and so forth with no problems as they cater to your local currency, Australia has just the local version of Expedia and a hodge podge of other offerings. All which seem to say the same thing and not offer any great unique feature to get me to come back. The last option you have is to individually check with each airline to see what their best price is for that day, and that’s always a little time consuming.
Starting with the travel booking sites gave an idea on who flies the route from Melbourne to Paris. This allowed me to narrow my choice to 3-4 airlines that I could follow and monitor the pricing, waiting to pounce on the first deal I saw. I also checked that my top 3-4 chosen airlines had frequent flyer programs, ensuring I could get any bonus possible out of the ticket.
From there I monitored the sites until I could muster up the will to buy the ticket. It took me two weeks to finally go through the booking process, then another 15-30min staring at the final confirmation page before I became the owner of a one way plane ticket to Paris.
If anybody else is planning their travel and don’t have access to a friendly travel agent the best advice I can offer (especially if your from Australia) is to search everywhere to find who fly’s to your destination. Then check the airlines own website before looking at sites like Expedia. I noticed the price go up and down on their site while the airline site always reported the same price and at the cheapest rate.
Now that it’s all said and done, come the 24th of April 2010 I will be departing Melbourne Airport aboard a Singapore Airlines A380 bound for Paris. Looking back I can’t help but feel a little silly for being scared but hey, were all human and the unfamiliar is always daunting.