Sunday, January 17, 2010

Airfare Frustration

Last year I finally got my passport with the intention on making it to France that same year. I had been searching cheap airfare sites and was encouraged- tickets ranged from about $500-600 (USD) and I figured I could save and make it work by fall.

If you've been following my blog for any period of time you would know that so didn't happen. I recieved a promotion in fall making it difficult to leave for a week as so much needed to be handled (my position was created when I recieved my promotion). At the same time I took over rent and payment on one bill as my roommate had reached a high level of frustration with keeping her account balanced as our landlord tends to deposit checks up to a month after we give him a rent check.

All of those added up to a delay of savings as I had to catch up with rent. It seems while all of that went on new fees, taxes, something were added onto airplane tickets. I've been checking out the airline prices- OMG!! Now tickets are over $800 dollars on average. I found a $710 dollar ticket on AirFrance's website, BUT, because I would be flying out of the US they had to charge me $119.00 in fees/taxes (mind you this is not near as high as US airline taxes, typically those are about twice the amount for the ticket which makes the total price over $800) so again a ticket for over $800 and that in the off-season folks!

Obviously I'm frustrated. If the price were just a couple hundred dollars less I could manage that. As of right now I am trying to figure out some creative budgeting to save up in expectation of seperating with that amount of mula. Frankly I don't know what else to do! I don't have a major credit card so that's out. And honestly, I don't want to have to rely on a credit card too much as I have a general adversion to being stuck in credit card debt. On the flip side I really want to go to Paris and see my friends who I haven't seen in so very long. I'm not too picky on when I go- Ideally I would like to go to Paris in the spring, preferably mid-March or early May as it won't be filled with so many tourists and one friend who's attending a university there won't be entangled in finals and those times agree pretty well with my schedule.

I just want to go! I would love, LOVE to travel more especially around Europe, but, I'll take a week long trip in Paris for now! Anyone have any ideas, advice, words of wisedom? Or am I just screwed?


The Pliers said...

You won't like my "idea" but WTF I'm used to it...

Do NOT, under any circumstances pay cold hard cash to go to France for less than three weeks, period. One week is only good for getting over jetlag.

Don't use a credit card for anything that you can't pay off, at the end of the month in full.

Work, save your money, add some creative modules to bring in more money, use every cheap cybertool to stay in touch with your friends and if they want to see you bad enough, they can pay for a trip to the USA. A trip to France is not worth debt on Tulsa time.

Open a savings account, save the entire wad, plan a two - three week trip for two years from now and keep practicing on your language skills. Build your friendship base, plan your itinerary, find places to stay with friends, and then take a trip from which you do not return in debt.

You might not consider these words of wisdom but if they cause you to reconsider the minimum length of your projected trip and keep you out of debt over it, I've done my civic duty and will sleep much better tonight;>D

Habebi said...

Pliers no worries at all! Thank you for your frankness, this is exactly what I need. A way to look at things to plan accordingly. Before when I've traveled my father's frequent flier miles paid for the airfare, so, I have no idea how to plan/what to think about for a trip abroad at all!

I would like to spend more than a week there, I just worry it'll cost more that way (airfare wise). But, you make a good point- get the maximum benefit in one trip! I will stew over your words of experience. Merci beacoup! Sleep well tonight! ;-)

Sarah said...

UGH, that sucks! Adam and I were contemplating going to London for our 10th anniversary this year and nixed the idea for the same reason - costs are insane! Hang in there, girl, and I know you'll make it someday!

The Pliers said...


The first time that I went to France I was 25 and a half years old. I had an invitation to stay alone for three weeks in the Paris apartment of a friend and his family who were going to leave Paris for the USA a couple of days after my arrival and, no doubt, although I had a job, my mother fronted money for the trip.

I got two things salient things out of my trip, a woeful recognition of the fact that I knew nothing whatsoever about traveling internationally and the experience of French as a living language. I also got years of mortification over poor choices that I made during the course of the trip and debt to my mother.

I swore that I would never go back unless it was in a family context and not as a "tourist." However, the trip did raise my level of confidence in my skill with, and enthusiasm for, the French language sufficiently to insure that I continued with it when I came back to the USA.

When I was 39, almost 40, in fall of 1991, I returned to France with my French husband and started meeting my French in-laws. I've been back and forth now for 18 years, never for fewer than 19 days. The first week is always jetlag hell. I've gotten sick more frequently than not, once so sick that I had to return to the USA early where I spent weeks on antibiotics. Very soon, as you know, I will be living in France permanently. It was a very long process to arrive at that state of affairs.

Thus, when I encourage you to wait to make a trip to France until such time as you not only have the money for the airfare, but also discretionary income to enjoy the country once you are there–food, wine, cafés, transportation, entertainment, art,
a clear idea of what "Your Private France" looks like, and friends/contacts on the ground to anchor your voyage, please believe that I know from hard, disappointing experience why I am urging you to save, read, continue your language studies, and plan, plan, plan for the soul-satisfying trip that you want to make.

Like W. H. Murray said, once you commit to the venture by opening that savings account, reading those travel books, corresponding with those friends abroad, studying that language, providence can get behind, in front of, over, under, around, and through your life to provide you with all the unexpected support that you cannot drum up with logic. Magic does happen, you just have to commit to your project to pave the way for its arrival.


sarah said...

try or you should be enter "flexible" travel dates, and they'll tell you what the cheapest fares are.

last minute fares might be offered, too.

i agree you should have the money before you spend it (a lesson my husband and i learned the hard way) and paris will still be there in autumn, too.

good luck!

Habebi said...

Sarah- Bummer! But, I hear ya those prices have gotten insane.

Pliers- you are such an excellent source for perspective. Thank again and again for sharing your thoughts! I am planning on taking the time to save up for a longer trip so I can really soak up being there. Merci!

Sarah-I haven't heard of, I will take a look at it. And thanks for the advice too, I totally agree it's not worth doing unless I can pay for it.