Well, that didn’t take very long now did it? You’d almost think I’d planned it and you’d be right; I did.
On Monday, I organized my working holiday visa with the Australian government which was approved almost immediately. This was a significant improvement on the day spent hanging around the US Embassy in London last year. With my visa in hand, I gave myself a little time to look into flights before going ahead and committing to a date.
A year ago today I took my first solo long haul flight. I didn’t do much research and probably could have found a significantly better deal if I knew the things I know now. One of the best things I have learned so far about travelling is that you keep on learning.
Spending a couple of hours at the airport was fine and the flight itself was pretty reasonable and I actually don’t mind spending a prolonged amount of time in an enclosed space.
Since that first booking I’ve been introduced to the incredibly useful KAYAK. There must be hundreds of flight comparison sights out there and I’ve tried a few but KAYAK really has worked out best for me. It’s simple to use, doesn’t necessarily throw up thousands of pop ups and gives you exactly the information you’re looking for. All you have to do is tell it where you are, where you want to be and when you want to go there; it is that easy.
It’s also got a great Explore feature. With this, all you have to do is tell it where you are and how much you’ve got to spend and KAYAK will give you a map load of destinations. I’m not quite up to this standard of winging it, but I’m almost certain I’ll be taking advantage of this in the not too distant future.
So I’ve got a rough idea of how much it’s going to cost me to get to Melbourne with a cheap airline and a lengthy stay in a South East Asian airport. I could go ahead and book this, but from my first time booking to go to America I thought it’d be worth checking in with Flightcentre to see what they could do for me.
I’ve found it’s a good idea to know how much it is going to cost you to get to where you want to be; this is where KAYAK comes in handy. I’ve seen approximate flight values and I know how cheap it can be if I’m willing to keep my costs as low as possible. I’ve ended up paying slightly more than what I could have but the customer service I’ve received every time I’ve spoken to somebody at Flightcentre has been irresistible. The guys on the end of the phone are friendly, interested and happy to help.
Their recruitment application process implies that it is vital that you have had travel experience to at least two continents for long term trips and this really comes across. I must have spent most of my time on the phone talking about why I was going to Melbourne and how much fun I was likely to have when I got there. This is technically a sales job, I’m an easy target because I want to buy, but it certainly didn’t feel like I was being sold anything; I was chatting with a new friend. Based on my previous experience and this one, I would definitely recommend giving them a call before booking a flight.
Anyway, what’s important here for you is to know the answer to the big question; when?
I’m leaving London on the 4th September and arrive in Melbourne bright and early on the 6th September.