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Lennney

Travel advice/ airfare guide

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Hello,

I write this in hopes of helping you the reader. I plan to help by showing you how I save money when I travel. If you have a question, I will try to answer as best I can. 

All prices round trip unless stated.

 

Thesis: Sometimes certain airports are cheaper than others. 

Background: I'll try to keep this brief but concise, feel free to ask if you don't understand.

I needed to fly to India for my HT. My surgery was on the 8th/9th, but I wanted to give myself time to visit Taj Mahal. I started looking for tickets early June and ultimately booked in September 6th.

What I learned: Tuesdays are typically the best days to book. New fares get released for Tuesdays (9pm Monday to about 9pm Tuesday PST), and are substantially cheaper/less expensive (there is a difference) than the rest of the week's fares.

Skip past "**" to avoid long story

***********Story you may ignore******************

(LAX - Los Angeles Airport - - - SAN - San Diego Airport - - - DEL - Delhi Airport - - - IXC - Chandigarth Airport ) 

In June I checked tickets. I needed tickets from my location (San Diego, CA) to Chandigarth India. Of course I looked up these tickets first - $2,680. Too much. I checked from LAX to IXC (chandigarth) and it was $1,800. I then looked at SAN to Delhi, $1300, not horrible, but definitely cheaper than the other alternatives. I then looked up LAX to DEL, $780!! I nearly booked this trip. My SO wanted to go, but didn't know if work would accommodate time off (they did). By the time I was ready to book 2 weeks later, the price rose to $940, and I decided to wait. I kept checking, and found that price rose in next two weeks to $1,040. I was upset that I missed out on the cheap fare. I kept checking, but the fares fluctuated only ~$100 at most. In mid June, prices started coming down. I found fares for $850, which are tempting, but I decided to keep waiting. I saw that fares fell to $720, but I held off for a better deal, fares rose the next day to $850. I then noticed that the following Tuesday (one week later) fares went back to $740 or so. I my suspicions were confirmed by Kayak's price over time tool. It showed a consistent drop of ~20% or so 4 times a month, all on a Tuesday. I used this tool to check what the historic low price was, and found that it was ~$550, which became my goal. I watched the prices sink on Tuesday to a low of $600, I nearly pulled the trigger, but held off. I then waited a week or two, and found that prices for the other days fell to $600/580. I was then excited to check the following Tuesday. I checked Tuesday and booked my tickets for $458.31. Patience paid off, and I still had several more months to plan the other aspects of the trip. The down side to these tickets: they were cheap for a reason. I had a 15 hour layover in Beijing (which was awesome - I did a Great Wall and forbidden city tour during this time for $120 per person. BTW, you don't need a visa if you are transiting through China. You can get a transit visa, good for exploring and getting hotels in the China for up to 96 hours with proof of a departure flight.). On the way back, I had a 9.5 hour layover in Beijing which sucked. I didn't leave, but I wasn't in a good condition to leave (less than 96 hours post op).

***********************************************************************************************************

 

So after buying the sick tickets for $460, I had to figure out how to get to the LAX airport. I did a cost analysis. I had options of driving there and paying parking (too expensive for 9 days), flying (couldn't find tickets for less than $80 per person at best one way), and taking the coaster ($39 + $8 fly-a-way shuttle) one way per person. I then looked up rental cars. I found a rental car there and back for $49 one way (+ $12 gas) and $55 back (+ $12 gas). I ended up taking the rental car, since it was the lowest cost option, and got me and my SO to LAX.

I then had to figure out a way to Chandigarth. Dr. Bhatti said his taxi could get me for ~$120 each way. It would be a 3 hour drive minimum so I looked at alternatives. I found tickets, which didn't change in price at all from DEL to Chandigarth for $75 per person round trip. Not only was it less expensive, but it was faster and Dr. Bhatti's taxi picked me up and dropped me off for free! 

So, by changing airports and hopping on a local flight (on a separate itinerary) I got a great deal. I had to do additional planning though. It was definitely worth it for me due to having two travelers. Doubling the travel means that any savings per ticket is doubled as well. 

I paid: $460 + $75 + $31(49+12 split in two) + $37= $603 to get to Chandigarth for my procedure. No joke, this is less than 4% of the cost for a USA performed procedure. Just think about that for a second.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 So, what I've done so far is compile an excel file with some data to get you to understand that not only does the location of your airport (and the recipient airport) matter, but time of year matter too! This is a write up I did earlier to help with planning the trip. When you read this, take note that it was for a member who wasn't sure where to go for a HT, but price was a large concern.

 

 

Before you jump in: Timing could cost you $X,xxx more or less depending on when you travel. Also know the additional travel costs involved. So be smart with your time to get the most value for your $:

1. Create a list of doctors. (You should) Prioritize the doctors who you see yourself using, and then add them to the list. Usually their websites will list a range. I don't recommend "shopping" docs at this point - asking what they will charge. Build your list first, I'll come back to this point.

2. If you're looking for value, look up the Countries you find the surgeons you wish to hire. Use google flights to explore destinations from your Country's airports (plural) to those country airports. Find the cheapest airport for that country, then find the cheapest time to fly - the month or time of year. You're not booking yet, you're only assembling a cost database for the 2-5 countries abroad you've found reputable doctors for. I can help if you don't understand this.

3. Now that you know what you should pay for the travel, find out what lodging and transport looks like in that country. How long do you plan on staying there? Estimate a per-day rate for each country.

*Personally, I am passionate about this, but I recommend traveling while you're there. Feel free to ignore this, because it is purely an opinion.

4. Now that you know when the best rates for travel are, plan to book a procedure during that time Next year. It will do four things: A. Allow you to save and ensure you can get that travel rate in the future (I can explain on the booking a travel plan theory later). B. Allow you to establish dialog and communication with a clinic where you feel confident in your doc, and set expectations on the procedure, talk about hairlines etc. C. It will Ensure that your doc is available when you want your procedure done and D. Allow you to save up some money/clear off some credit card balance etc. to afford the procedure/ pay off the airfare after you book it.

5. Now that you have the costs for travel, the narrowed list of surgeons, the open communication with those surgeons, ask the price. Build it into your budget. Travel + expenses while there + HT + Qualitatives (things to do if you travel, idk, but these are "what it's worth to you if all else is equal" among surgeons/total price). Then do your own cost analysis and get the best value. Value = benefits/costs. 

Know that there exist good surgeons who perform FUE at a cost which is less than other surgeon's FUT. Geography changes costs.

 

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To help you all, I've started an excel list. I picked what I thought were the best airports to fly FROM and TO. I picked 3 random months, Jul, Sep, Mar2020 and selected the best time during those months with the criteria of at least 7 days. I also looked at Christmas, and the best time to travel using "free" days off most of us get from work/school. When I found the days that were lowest cost, I then checked those days at a later date (on left side) *using the same date* (perhaps alternate days could be lower cost, but I wanted to show some consistency). This is just a couple data points, it is far too time consuming for me to do this unpaid (haha). I used a combination of Google Flights and Kayak. 

 

Again, if there's a small description, use the description above for dates/ airport.


 

 

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^New York^

Edited by Lennney
*added ^New York^
  • Thanks 3

If you're thinking of traveling abroad, consider this read: 
Airfare guide

 

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Oh and, sometimes you have to break the itinerary you need into two+ separate (roundtrip/one way) bookings. I did it for my Chandigarth trip, and the Chicago one required a lot of work because of this.... Which would have been almost nullified by just flying into New York or LAX to get the same benefits.

  • Thanks 1

If you're thinking of traveling abroad, consider this read: 
Airfare guide

 

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You must have a job sitting on your ass in front of a computer doing fuck all and somebody paying you for doing something else  to come up with that concoction. 😃😃😃

Id say you would mind mice on cross roads.😅😅😅

Talking about splitting hairs 😃😃😃

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