Step 1 is accomplished. The tickets are purchased. I’m flying from NYC to Rio, Salvador, Panama City, and Costa Rica. Luckily I was purchasing the tickets far enough in advance that there were plenty of seats available. Still, everything seemed to be more complicated than it should have been due to financial limitations, flight restrictions, and various website glitches on the sites I attempted to purchase from.
Here are the sites I ended up using:
This is actually a pretty simple site to use. Everything is straightforward and clear. The prices were especially good on trips to Brazil – under $700 to fly NYC->Rio->Salvador->NYC. Adding on Costa Rica and Panama City made the flight exorbitantly expensive and it didn’t really allow me to choose times. Unfortunately, I discovered in my searches that transportation from Brazil to Costa Rica is pretty limited and hence quite expensive.
I ended up purchasing the first two legs of my trip on this site for under $450(plus booking fee). NYC->Rio->Salvador.
Warnings on abstravel.com:
- They have a $100 booking fee (after taxes, etc), which is not made clear at any point in the searching process.
- They do not answer their phone (even if you can manage to find their number on the site).
- They do not respond to emails.
- They do not respond to voice messages.
- The site breaks down when you try to search for too many legs.
So if you can’t find what you are looking for on abstravel.com on your first couple tries, just push them out of your mind and move on.
Even though this site has a pretty sketchy name, it does actually have some pretty good prices. I purchased the last 3 legs of my trip with a bunch of personal travel restrictions for $950(plus booking fees). Salvador->Panama City->San Jose, Costa Rica->NYC
One really nice thing about cheapoair.com is that it gives a ton of options based on your itinerary. Took me a long time to search through all the options, but I ended up finding exactly what I wanted. Other sites, tend to show you what they think are the best options for you, or they just limit the options because they don’t want to give you what you want for too cheap.
Warnings about cheapoair.com:
- They have a booking fee, which isn’t clearly explained how its calculated.
- I had trouble entering my credit card information for a valid card that I use on a daily basis. They didn’t recognize it as valid for some reason.
- After I had completed what seemed like the final step, the site gave me a new notice saying that they need to charge me an additional charge of $12. Even though I had chosen all e-tickets, they claim that some of these smaller airlines do not offer e-tickets and they need to ship the tickets to me. And $12 was the cheapest price they could offer me for a Fedex delivery – no USPS even though there is two months till the flights. I guess this guarantees that I receive the tickets – wouldn’t want them getting “lost in the mail”.
I tried this. They claim to search many travel sites. The prices didn’t seem to be anything special, but I think its definitely worth a look due to the ease of use.
A quick note of advice on searching these travel sites…
Always try searching for your itinerary with “anytime” for every flight time. It may give you what you want and the prices are usually less expensive the less specific your requests are. If that doesn’t work, you can always try it with more specific times, but the price will probably go up significantly due to the pricing algorithms, etc.