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BerndtCanada Travels
Travel smart...Travel frugally...Travel often!

This is the personal website of Erich and Carol Berndt, two avid travelers from Calgary, Canada. We have created this travel information site to offer our insights and ideas to fellow travelers who wish to travel frequently; exploring, learning, and appreciating the geography, culture and history of the places being visited.  We hope you will find this website useful in imagining and planning your travels.

 

Home Page

Learn about some of our Travel Destinations

by clicking on any picture or label found below:

North America

Asia Pacific

Scotland & Ireland

Mexico

Austro-Hungary

Mediterranean

Hawaii

Spain & Portugal

Baltic Cruise

Caribbean Collection

Panama & Costa Rica

European Excursions

Australia & New Zealand

Asia Collection

 


Disclaimer
 

 

 

Accommodations

Preparation

Gadgets and Apps

Travel Information

About Us


Flights

The cost of flights is often the most expensive part of a trip. There are ways to minimize these costs by  taking advantage of flight search engines, shopping around with different providers, using budget airlines and employing strategic timing. 

 

How to Book the Cheapest Flight Possible to Anywhere

14 Easy Tips to Always Finding Cheap Flights

 

                  

             

 

Using Travel Aggregators and Flight Search Engines

Flight prices fluctuate a lot as airlines strategize how to fill seats. Use a good search engine to get a visual of price patterns over time.  In our experience, our best prices were achieved by watching for a while within a 3 to 9 month time period and booking when the prices were reduced (usually around 6 months before travel for international flights, and 4 months before travel for domestic flights). Generally speaking, the best fares or seat sales are offered on weekends. The cheapest flights are on Tuesdays. The best fares are off peak times and seasons, i.e. early mornings and evenings; non-holiday periods. Airlines’ websites often post a calendar that allows you to view all prices for different departure and return dates. Travel sites allow you to enter “flexible” dates, and post a calendar showing the range of prices for different dates. The aggregators have become increasingly sophisticated at finding the lowest fares, incorporating various search filters, suggesting alternative itineraries and offering "price alerts."

The 10 Best (and Worst) Airfare Search Sites for 2024  ranks airfare search engines, aggregators and booking sites for their ability to find the lowest prices.

       

           There are many specialized regional carriers.

 

 Sky Scanner

 Kiwi

 Fare Compare


Google Flights

Flight Network

 

Using Discount Airlines

There are many more flights around the world than what can be viewed on the major travel websites. Smaller regional carriers abound in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. They provide connections to some of the most interesting locations and realize significant savings. They are often cheaper for travelling within a country than using trains, buses or rental cars.

A Guide to Budget Airlines Around the World

Cheaper fares are often accomplished by flying into smaller, more distant airports. Most of these airports have convenient shuttle buses or transportation into the city center. Use Google Maps, the airline’s website, or the airport’s website to pinpoint the airport location and find out about transportation. We often have planned our travel itineraries by plotting a route based on the destinations of the discount airlines. An internet search “fly from X to Y” often yields the results you need. The following websites illustrate the many possible connections and the airlines that serve them, rank their quality, and provide tips for booking and travelling.

Which Budget: Flight Search Engine and Destination Finder

One-Stop Guide to Budget Flying in Europe

The Complete Guide to Budget Airlines in Asia

Low Cost Airlines in Canada

Cheapest Airlines in the US

Complete Guide to Budget Airlines in South America

Air Asia has a number of hub cities from which to travel


Experimenting with Booking Combinations

Book with various providers – The large travel aggregators purchase large numbers of seats in bulk and are often able to offer the best prices on flights and vacation packages to popular destinations. However, we have  found that navigating directly to an airline’s webpage could give us lower fares, especially for the small local carriers on less common routes.

Search multiple types of tickets - With the ease of internet searches, it is possible to experiment with different booking combinations to save some serious cash. Test different dates and mix and match airlines. Consider booking multiple legs of a journey as individual one way fares. Consider buying flights in bulk as return or multi-journey flights. Consider booking through affiliated flight partners. Consider using round the world tickets or regional passes offered by some airlines. Consider searching for one seat at a time, instead of in multiples for the whole family.  Airlines show the highest price in a group of tickets. Sometimes there are simply errors in pricing that can be taken advantage of.

 Create your own connections – Direct flights are generally preferred but are more expensive and often not even possible, especially for long hauls. The flight search engines often show particular flight combinations based on airlines’ code sharing arrangements. In our experience, while there is some risk regarding flight connections, we have realized significant savings by booking with a large airline to get to a main hub in a particular country and booking separate connecting flights on budget airlines from there. For example, to go to Europe, we find a cheap flight to London Gatwick and then a connection from there. Likewise,  to go to Asia, we fly to Hong Kong or Singapore first. We prefer an overnight or longer stay there before taking the next leg of the journey to break up lengthy travel days.  Increasingly, airlines are offering free stop-over programs which allow time in an extra destination at no extra cost.
 

     

 We recently booked flights with SATA and  TAP airlines between Canada and Portugal with stop-overs in the Azores, Madeira and Lisbon. 

How to Plan a Free Stopover on your Next Trip Abroad

 

21 Airlines with Free Stopover Programs in 2023

 

 


Considering Ease and Comfort

There are many important considerations when preparing to fly with regards to checked and carry-on luggage, security, immigration and customs clearances, connecting flights, additional fees, delays and cancellations, and considerations when travelling with children or pets. It is important to have some strategies to make airline travel comfortable and efficient. Airlines are able to offer lower fares by providing bare-bones service, beyond which there are additional fees. For some types of travel this is sufficient. If you travel with a carry-on bag and bring your own food on board there are no additional charges. In other cases it is worth the extra fees to get the services you need. Increasingly, airlines offer a package of extras that can be purchased at a discounted rate at the time of booking. These include baggage allowance, seat selection and meals. In a competitive market, you may not pay much more for a higher quality airline and a higher quality airport experience.

 15 Tips to Make Airline Connections Smoother

30 Airport Hacks Every Traveler Should Know offers suggestions for making time at the airport more comfortable and efficient.                  

World Airport and Airline Quality Rating has an alphabetical list of the world's airports with ratings of the quality of their passenger services, facilities, and procedures.
 

         Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali                                                  Vancouver International Airport, Canada

Airports have become destinations in themselves with upscale restaurants and shops, recreational and relaxation services and decor and artwork reflective of the host nation.
 


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