Does everyone know about wikitravel?
I’m sure everyone does, but I feel like it’s my own little secret. It’s basically wikipedia, but for traveling. I really love it and find it immensely useful, but the thing I don’t love is that there is not a specific section describing the gay community in its city descriptions. (Someone has to look out for my gay mafia. They didn’t elect me doyenne and head muse for nothing.)
Anyway, they have travel topics as well as guides, and an excellent example of the former is called Discount Airlines in Europe. There are just SO MANY WAYS to get around Europe these days, and this page is a huge help in sorting all of your options.
Sometimes it can be impossible to divine which airline can serve you, and you don’t want to miss out on a spectacular flight deal (as in, FREE – you just pay the taxes) (yes, really) just because you didn’t know a certain airline flies to your desired location.
I have a secret for this. Ready?
For whichever city I am interested in, I go to that city’s airport’s website. (If it’s in a different language that you can’t figure out at all, pop the page into a translator.) Smaller airports can actually have the day’s flight schedule on their sites, and you can see which airlines use the airport – or even find the exact flight you’re looking for! Large airports usually have a page on their website that simply list all the airlines they host, with links to their pages.
When you’re looking for flights, start checking on RETURN flights first – on almost all of the discount airlines’ websites, when you type in your departure city, the drop down menu changes to show ONLY the cities that you can get to from there. Seeing a list of exactly how you can get to your destination might reveal an alternate city you hadn’t thought of before.
Hypothetical example #1: Let’s say I wanted a getaway weekend, but I had no idea where I wanted to go. The first thing I’d do is go to my local airport’s web page and check out where I can get to. Once I saw a flight I liked, I’d go to that airline’s website to book it.
Hypothetical example #2: Let’s say I wanted to go to Venice. (I always want to go to Venice, but let’s say I actually was planning a trip.) I’d go to Venice’s airport’s website and see what flights are on schedule there, and check if any of the cities are near me.
Hypothetical example #3: I could also go to a discount airline’s website and find their route map, then slide my mouse over Venice and see what cities are connected to it.
Phew. I hope that was not too confusing!