Trip Planning Challenges in 2023
I don’t know if anyone has noticed, BUT airfares are currently exorbitant. Staying within our budget requires us to do some creative trip planning to mitigate those prices. Our next trip is to visit Australia before heading to Asia. Initially, it looked like it would cost us a fortune to get home.
But with some creative travel planning, I saved enough money on reasonable flight routes to fund 16 days in Tunisia. Sure…we still have to spend that money. But I’d rather be enjoying a new country than giving the cash to the airlines.
If you want to know how read on:
TLTR (too long to read?) Here’s the summary of the costs involved with planning this trip.
Trip Planning Summary
- Flights from London to Adelaide with reasonable layovers in late September/October 2023 = around 5300 AUD (3430 USD) or more for two people.
- I ended up getting us there for 2324 AUD (1500 USD.)
- Hence, I saved almost 3000 AUD (1900 USD)
- Our budget for Tunisia is ~ 100 USD/day (Ex airfares.)
- I used WayAway to start the flight research. I love the way it presents flight options. (We have WayAway Plus. But you don’t need that to use the platform. And it makes no difference to the prices offered.)
- I booked:
- One flight on the full-service airline through WayAway, as it was cheaper than booking direct.
- Two flights directly through the budget airlines.
Below are details of how I planned our trip and saved enough on flights to pay for a 16-day trip to Tunisia.
Notes: Flight prices can change hourly, and flight comparators often present dozens, if not hundreds, of alternatives for a long-haul route on any day. In pursuit of keeping this post somewhat brief, I’ve only noted a few of the many options presented.
We don’t use points (even though I do collect them) because we rarely stick with one alliance, instead choosing to take the best options at the time.
We acknowledge not everyone has the same budget, flexibility, and lack of time constraints as we do. But this is how I plan a trip. If you don’t think it meets your needs or doesn’t take your fancy…no probs. Any constructive feedback or helpful tips are gratefully received.
My Trip Planning Process
London to Adelaide September/October 2023. We are entirely flexible on the following:
- How long we take to get there
- The route we take.
- In July, I started searching for flights from London to Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide in the WayAway Android app. (They have an IOS App, too.) I then added some alerts for suitable dates. (I also check Skyscanner for flights. But I like how WayAway presents the flight alternatives, and the prices are usually the same or better.)
- Adelaide is our preferred destination as it’s closest to our hometown, Broken Hill. But many airlines only fly to Sydney and Melbourne, requiring a domestic transfer. Perth is another transit point, but coming through there is rarely cheaper.
- The regular alerts I got indicated prices were going up rather than down. So, once we got to our latest housesit, I got the computer out and started to dig deeper. It’s about six weeks out, and that’s usually a good time to book.
- When planning trips, I start by looking at the cheapest flights on different dates. But, these options often (but don’t always) involve:
- Multiple airlines,
- Lengthy layovers. (Sorry – anything over 8 hours is not happening again unless completely necessary!)
- Short layovers where you have to pick up and recheck your luggage. (Anything under 3 to 4 hours is too risky, IMO, depending on the airport size, etc., especially if you have to clear immigration.)
- Spending time in expensive airports can quickly cancel out any savings you make on the airfares.
- Extra baggage fees and those costs can add up quickly. For this trip, we will have one check-in bag and two carry-ons between us.
We are looking to start the journey at the end of September. Depending on the dates I used, I could find:
- A 40-hour option with three stopovers in Athens (02 h 25m), Singapore (10h 45m), and Bali (04h 55m) for 2249 AUD/ without luggage. This included picking up luggage and rechecking twice.
- A 44-hour trip for two people from London – to Shanghai (18 hrs), Melbourne (2.5 hrs), and Adelaide for around 2750 AUD/1778 USD.
- Several slightly more expensive options went via central Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of Asia.
- There were any number of variations on the above, and none of them looked very pleasant.
But drilling into these combined flights often reveals stop-over opportunities with new or obscure budget airlines.
NOTE: WayAway also presents:
- Cheapest flights with convenient stopovers
- Cheapest flights with baggage
- Cheapest direct flights, if available
- Multiple other combinations to help you make a decision.
I look at the more direct flights. In this case, the shortest options were twice as expensive. (See table) But at least the layovers were OK (ish). At the time, London – Perth (2.5) – Adelaide was around 5200 to 5400 AUD/3400. (OMG, I just checked because I was going to do a screenshot, and it’s up to 7900 AUD/5100 USD!!!!)
- Once I find a few places we might like to visit, I check the individual legs and options to get there. Sometimes, I start by doing a ‘Multi-city’ route. Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi, Istanbul (already been), Qatar, UAE (never going again!), and Tunisia popped to the top for this trip.
- I then consider things like visas, accommodation costs, things to do and see, and potential itineraries. Tunisia rapidly rose to the top based on these criteria.
- I find the best options for each new leg. This usually ends up looking at flights with a single airline.
- I look at the prices on Wayaway first. Then, I go to the airline’s website to see if I can do better. Whichever gives the best price/convenience option gets our money.
See the following table for details of what I booked. Including the savings between each option:
|Route||Duration||Stopover(s)||Price – AUD/USD (2 pax)||Notes||Airline|
|London – Adelaide||Total 44 hrs||
18 hrs Shanghai
2.5 hrs Melbourne
|2750/1780||China Eastern (luggage included)|
|London Adelaide||Total 40 hrs||
|2249/1455||Easy Jet, Scott, Jetstar. Pick up and recheck luggage twice!)|
|London- Adelaide||Total 22 hrs||3 hrs Doha||5224/3380||Qatar (Luggage inc)|
|Total 22 hrs||2.5 hrs Perth||5396/3490||Qantas (Luggage inc.)/virgin (luggage not included)|
|London – Tunis||Total 2.5 hrs||NA||462/299||16-day break in Tunisia||Nouvelle – Luggage inc (1 check-in)|
|Tunis – KL||Total 21||7 hours Jeddah||992/642||Brand new airport||Saudia (Luggage inc)|
|KL – Adelaide||7||NA||870/563||Batik (formerly Malindo) (Luggage inc)|
Our budget for travel (ex-flights and travel insurance) is around 50 USD/day each. Initial research indicates that won’t be a problem in Tunisia.
So our total is 2324/1503 AUD/USD.
Compared with a reasonably direct long-haul flight from London to Adelaide (5224AUD/3380USD), we save ~ 2900//1877 AUD/USD.
So if we take a 16-day trip to Tunisia and stick to our budget, we’ll spend less than the price of the more expensive ticket.
I’ll take that as a win!
- We scored a sweet housesit in Singapore. So, we’ll spend a week there and a few days in KL before our direct flight to Adelaide. Malaysia is cheap. (Well under 100 USD/day) With minimal accommodation costs in Singapore, we’ll have an affordable and pleasant stopover between long-haul flights. (For more on housesitting, head to the Housesitting Resource Page.)
- The flight I booked through WayAway from Tunis to KL was about $100 cheaper than the Saudia website. AND we get ~12 AUD/8 USD cashback without WayAway Plus membership.
NOTE: You do NOT need the Plus option for WayAway to get great flight prices. You just won’t get the cashback. But with our 50% discount Code, you’ll get your money back pretty quickly, and they have a Free 7-day trial. You can see the details and access the code on our Great Deals page.
We get cashback for our accommodation in KL and on Car Hire through our WayAway Plus account. In another post, I’ll write a case study on the competitiveness of car hire options in WayAway.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions about my creative trip planning. (Or anything else regarding budget travel, for that matter.)
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