The travel urge is in my DNA. Luckily, I enjoy the anticipation and planning, as well as the adventure.

This time Germany calls! I’ve previously dipped my toes into captivating Berlin and spent a rainy, but oh so fun, festival day in Kiel.  My appetite for more of this country has been whetted so the planning begins.

I’m often asked by friends who are new to planning their own travel, what resources I use. Join me as I craft our latest travel adventure.  Germany not your destination of choice?  No problem, the process works for the location of your dreams.

Let’s begin with getting there…

I’m a bit of a bargain seeker.  Capturing a good fare is my first task. I’ve tried so many different resources to find a reasonable airfare.  I now have a few reliable go-to sites:

FareCompare Fare Get-Away Map – This site shows you the lowest price from your home to spots all over the world. Take note that the lowest price may not fit your needs so begin there but do your research.  How early do you want to head to the airport?  With a need to check in a couple of hours ahead of your flight, you must be sure you’ve thought about your commute time.  When does the flight arrive?  Will you have enough time in your day to start your trip in the way you desire?  Jet lag is a real issue for many traveling overseas.  Watch out for much too long layovers (unless you can take advantage of that time to jet out of the airport for a quick tour of the layover city!) or overnight layovers.  Cheap airfares can be too inconvenient if you are not careful.

Google Flights – The information provided at this site is so rich. One can find specific information on airlines you can’t easily find in one spot anywhere else. It’s up to you where you book your flight after researching, in order to gain points on your travel site accounts.  A get-away map is located at this site too.

Hopper – This is a free app to download to your phone or tablet.  It wants you to know where and when you are going but provides you some idea of how typical this fare is and if you should wait for a better deal.

Kayak and Skyscanner also have come in handy, sending me updated airfare alerts when I plug in my desired travel destination and dates so I can I compare and contemplate.

It’s good to know what airlines you have available to you and be sure they are listed on any travel site you decide to search.  Sometimes airlines do not include their flights on some of the well-known booking sites.

Join the frequent flyer clubs!  There is no telling if or when this membership will come in handy, provide you with additional perks or insider information for the flight.

I’ve yet to become a last minute traveler, most often planning several months ahead of schedule.  Decide on your length of stay and how flexible your travel dates are before you begin the search.  Airfares change daily (or even within a day!) and you want to be ready to capture the sweet spot of a fare immediately.

It matters what days you travel if you want the best price.  Look for a flexible dates option or a fare calendar to help you take note of the differences.

I’m a fan of a fantastic fare so I will find a starting out point in Germany that is budget-friendly from my hometown. For this trip, I’m heading into Frankfurt.

Over the years, Icelandair as been a good option for our European travel, not only for their prices but an easy, quiet layover in Reykjavik. They offer an ability to visit this enchanting country during the layover but I’ve yet to make it happen.

I live in a location where most all flights include a layover. If you don’t, lucky you! For the rest of us, you may wish to find the location that might provide time to zip to see something fantastic while you are there or an easy place to navigate. One trip, our layover was in Amsterdam. The flight was postponed to the next day and we spent the evening wandering the canals!

New travel resources pop up all the time.  What have you found to capture that sweet spot of an airfare?

Next travel post:  Too much to see and do:  Choosing an itinerary.