My friends and colleagues alike always ask, “how do you choose your next destination?”

There isn’t one answer, a lot of different factors come into play when I sit down to plan the next country to visit.

Planning

Step one is to coordinate the dates available from my employer, as I work a regular 9-5 job I’m at the mercy of dates available on the holiday charts. Once I’ve identified the dates, I move onto the next stage.

Spinning The Globe

With the dates in hand I look at the map and see which countries I haven’t visited yet. Having previously visited North America to death I’m focusing on the East. Shortlist the countries and then it’s time to search for flights.

ITA Matrix/ Google Flights Search

To those who aren’t familiar with the term ITA Matrix, its an online search engine for airfares within set parameters.

When I come to search on ITA Matrix I will enter my personal preferences to travel in Premium Classes within the Oneworld Alliance.

ITA Matrix Booking Screen

I’ve recently booked Seoul for September 2018 by inputting the above criteria into ITA Matrix.

Under “Departing from” I have entered AMS and then clicked on nearby to choose all airports within 2000 miles of Amsterdam. A wider search will bring back better results for cheap premium fares.

Under “Destination” I have entered ICN for Seoul and then to ensure that no better deals exist to other destinations I have repeated the above to expand my search.

The “BA+” code tells ITA Matrix to only bring back British Airways in my search list. I will cover ITA Matrix in more detail in a future post.

Booking The Flights

The good thing about ITA Matrix is that it will bring up the search with the fare components clearly identified.

Matrix search results

Feeling satisfied with the above Club World fare from Brussels to London to Seoul at £1402.34, it’s time to visit BA.com to price it up on the actual website.

Sadly ITA Matrix will not let you book the itinerary directly from its website.

Occassionally the British Airways website will refuse to bring the same price up and this is when you have to ring the British Airways contact centre and provide the “Fare Construction” codes from the blue box above. This will, 90% of the time, bring back the exact fare and price.

After booking the flights I will then book the positioning flights if the departure if outside of the UK. As an Executive Club member I will do an avios reward search and book using my avios points.

Booking the Hotels

I tend to book the flights and hotel under different booking itineraries to take advantage of sales. Select the hotel you like the look of and proceed to book. That is my personal preference but it can be more beneficial to book both the hotel and flight together. However the downside to this is the involvment of 3rd party travel agents which, from my past experience, is a stressful factor.

Enjoy

Once I have the trip planned and finally booked, sit back on the plane and enjoy the ride.

Hopefully running through my thought process will help those who find it hard to book holidays without panic.

If you have any questions please do leave a comment below and share your own helpful tips when it comes to planning trips.

Travel With H