06 May How To Book Flights For A Surf Trip
How To Book Flights For A Surf Trip
By James Fisher
So you’ve made the awesome decision to have a bit of ‘you’ time. In the sunshine, catching waves in paradise. The countdown to sun-kissed faces and salty hair starts now. There’s just one more important (and hopefully straight-forward) thing to do. Book your flights.
You may be totally au-fait with independently organising your solo travel, which is great. But for anybody who may approach this part of travel on the side of caution, fear not, we’ve got you covered. In this blog we will highlight everything you need to know when it comes to booking flights for our surf trips. From the very first step to the last, and everything in-between.
Hopefully at this point you’ve decided which of our epic surf spots you’ll be jetting off to. If you navigate to your chosen destination page on this website, the first things to find are the holiday dates. We encourage you to land in the country on the first day, and depart on the final day.
It’s as straightforward as it sounds and saves time and money on extra hotels and taxis. The specific airport you need to fly into is listed under the travel section at the bottom of each destination page.
Be aware of the total flight time from your home country to the holiday destination, and apply that to your departure date.
For example: If you were to fly from London to El Salvador for a holiday that starts on 5th December, you would have to depart London on the 4th December – as it’s a 20-hour flight. If you’re using SkyScanner to book flights, look for the ‘+1’ next to the landing time as this indicates you will land the following day.
Choosing a flight
So you have your dates and you know when you’re departing and returning. Awesome. Now you need to pick a suitable time to fly. This will vary depending on your destination and the services that are on offer. The main things to consider are airport pick-up and check-in times.
For example: If you’re flying to Morocco, we advise that you arrive at Agadir airport between 6am and 8am to make use of our inclusive airport transfer (this can change from trip to trip so please check the up to date info on the Morocco page). So focusing on the landing time of your inbound flight is what’s most important here.
Check out the travel section of your chosen destination for notable times to consider when booking your flights. Also, bare in mind your return flight and any transfer times between the accommodation and the airport that could affect it. Having a later flight is generally a good rule of thumb as this gives you plenty of time to check-in and chill out before boarding.
Comparison sites such as SkyScanner and Kayak are both great tools when it comes to searching for flights. They’re easy to use and hassle-free. Though surprisingly, not always the cheapest. Travel agencies often have the power to negotiate
prices and put you in a better position when it comes to spending your hard-earned money.
Booking online can also throw up lots of additional extras that might seem confusing during the booking process. Sometimes something as simple as choosing a seat could end up adding money onto each flight. Look for the (often very small) print that allows you to skip these kinds of extras to avoid paying more than you need to.
We have a great relationship with Lee Coughtry at Dial-a-Flight and have found on many occasions that he can provide cheaper prices for our long-haul destinations. If you’re UK based and would like to see if Lee can save you money on your flights, you can reach him on 020 7295 1556. Lee is an expert in what he does, having worked for Dial-a-Flight over the past 20 years, and will happily accommodate any time stipulations you may have.
Getting to the airport
Travel days have a tendency to be stressful. And, speaking from experience, getting to the airport in time is way up on that list. Thankfully though this can be minimised by thinking ahead and planning accordingly. What is the best way to reach your departing airport? Taxi? Driving yourself? Train? A well-prepared journey can make all the difference. Making sure you worry less about whether you’ll make your flight, and more about the location of your passport.
I always find it easiest to start with my flight time and work backwards. Aiming to be at the airport roughly 4 hours before departure, and allowing an extra hour on the road for any potential traffic, just to be safe. Google Maps is great for checking journey durations as it works on real-time updates, giving you a clearer idea of any extra time you may need. Taking the weather into account is always a good idea too, if you’re travelling during times of heavy rain or snow, try to combat this by giving yourself plenty more journey time.
If you’re going to be getting a train or a bus to the airport instead, the same rules apply. Always err on the side of caution and arrive much earlier than you need to. It’s so much better to be enjoying a coffee and a book waiting for your flight than it is to be pushing people out of the way at security because you’re running late. Your fellow passengers will also thank you for it.
Booking tips and tricks
Would you rather pay over the odds for a flight, or have that bit of extra spending money on holiday? No brainer right? There are various other ways in which you can keep your airfare prices down and I will go through these in this section. Booking hacks that could see little changes make big savings.
If, like me, you instinctively hit ‘OK’ on the cookies notification that pops up on every website you visit, now is the time to change that habit. Cookies download and store your data to help with more personal user experience. For the most part this is fairly harmless. But when it comes to repeatedly searching for flights, for example, you can often see a price increase each time you check. The cookies have created a demand (from you) and have increased the price accordingly. Using a private or incognito browser will eliminate any chance of this and see the price fall back down – saving you money on unnecessary increases.
If you’re at home in an airport lounge or feel like you could get some much-needed work done plugged into the power socket of a departure terminal, this hack might be for you. Direct flights will cost directly more than their multi-stop counterparts. Time is money and airlines charge for the convenience. Looking for flight options that have one or two stops, or long layover times could really make a difference. If you’re flexible with your travel, you could see a significant drop in the price of your ticket.
Off-peak times are the cheapest to fly. That’s a fact. Taking off anywhere between 5am and 7am, and after 8pm will save you money. Most people prefer the convenience of flying during the day where they can avoid either waking up super early or landing in the middle of the night. The airlines know this and don’t want to send empty seats off into the sky. I’ve never personally had to buy jet fuel, but I can imagine it isn’t cheap.
As well as certain times of the day, there are also certain days of the week that are cheaper to fly on. Midweek days offer the most availability for the lowest price as they are in less demand. We’ve taken advantage of this on our Morocco trip, with the holiday beginning and ending during the week. This passes on the savings to you. Allowing your holiday to be even more relaxing, safe in the knowledge you’ve got a great deal on flight prices.
Our next tip is all about timing. *When* you buy your tickets could have a big impact on the price you pay. Unfortunately, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ theory of getting a discount. Depending on the time of year and what country you’re flying from, anything from 47 to 120 days in advance could be beneficial. It will pay to do some local research for your country at the best time to buy. What is generally best avoided though, is leaving it too late. The two weeks leading up to your departure date will see the prices replicate the plane. Going up and up and up. As soon as you have booked your place on our trip, get your flight booked early and it will avoid any nasty surprises.
If you’re someone who likes to have everything planned and ready to go, or simply would prefer some peace of mind when it comes to flight seats, then leaving your seat position in the arms of fate might not be for you. If you would like to choose where you sit before you fly, check out seatguru.com and it will explain why and where the best seats are for your specific flight.
Luggage and equipment
Some airlines can be sneaky and entice you with a good base price, only to then add on baggage and see the price hike skywards. This is why it’s always good practice to shop around and get the best deal for your money. Generally speaking, you will need one checked bag (limited to around 20kg) and a carry-on. It’s always tempting to pack way more than you need but this should be plenty. Check out our handy kit-list on the destination page for what you need to bring with you.
If you’re planning on bringing your own surfboard, definitely check with the airline beforehand for size and weight restrictions and any extra costs. The guys over at Wave Tribe have compiled this super handy list of different airline fees, and the best and worst companies to look out for if you’re a travelling surfer. You need to ask the airline directly what their terms are (or read it on their website). A lot of our guests contact us to ask what particular airlines terms are, but we have to direct you to contact them directly. Airlines occasionally change their baggage policies so it’s important that you get it straight from the horses mouth.
Lastly, the most important piece of equipment is the boarding pass itself. Many airlines provide QR codes in confirmation emails these days. This makes it super easy to have them readily available on your phone when it comes to boarding. But make sure that you have plenty of battery and if your phone battery is a bit dodgy you can fall foul. So a print out back up is a great idea.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are joining us on our Morocco trip, you will need to print your return flight boarding pass off and have a physical copy for airline staff to scan.