Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Travel Costs

Next month I will be visiting New York for my fourteen year old granddaughter’s Confirmation.  I plan to stay long enough to celebrate my youngest granddaughter’s first birthday.
Many people remark that they don’t understand how I can fly to the East Coast so frequently.  Actually, I visit there about two to three times a year.  Since I have children and grandchildren on both the East and West Coasts, I make it my business to see them all as much as possible.
The website, Wikipedia, states, “San Diego has on average 146 sunny days and 117 partly cloudy days a year. “  To avail myself of this good weather (no ice, no snow), I live in San Diego, California.  Thus, I unfortunately forgo the children’s birthdays, concerts, moving up ceremonies, and this year, my eldest grandson’s graduation from high school....sounds heartless, doesn’t it?  But I believe it’s better to have a grandma in good health, than not.
So far, I have been able to visit at least twice a year.  In order to accomplish this, I comb the Internet for good airline prices.  This year I joined Airfarewatchdog (http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/).  There was no fee to join.  However, this website is usually for someone who can pounce on the opportunity and buy immediately, or someone who has very fluid travel plans.  Since I plan my visits around an event in the family, it hasn’t proved useful to me.  I usually check out:
Cheapoair ( http://www.cheapoair.com/),
Orbitz ( http://www.orbitz.com ),
Travelocity ( http://www.travelocity.com ), and
Expedia ( http://www.expedia.com ), as well as the airlines’ websites.
Over the years, I’ve used them all.  And, I select flights with the most reasonable cost; that is, the most reasonable cost in my estimation.  I have never, so far, encountered any problems using these services. Though sometimes I have to fly into JFK, Albany, or North White Plains to get the lowest price.  My quest is to keep my ticket cost under $300.  My daughter in Queens, NY would love it if I flew into LaGuardia Airport (near her home), but flights into that airport are usually much more expensive.   Earlier this year, I used Southwest.  For an extra $10, you can get a “priority” number for boarding.  On Southwest, this is important since this airline doesn’t assign seats.  It was worth the $10.
Also, it pays to enlist help from people who are adept at finding good fares.  My daughters always notify their Queens NY sister when they are looking for flights because she is very good at it.  She has helped me a number of times.  Though in all fairness, my other daughters are getting much more adept at it. 
This time I picked Expedia because it advertised a $266 fare from San Diego to Newburgh, NY (an airport usually out of my price range).   After taxes, the complete cost is $328.80.  I’ll let you know how I make out.

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