A big thanks to Charlotte from Mosaicca for suggesting this topic! It’s one of those things that people don’t always consider when they are booking a flight- when should I book my flights in the day? Do I leave early in the morning arrive with part of a day left but potentially no energy left to do anything, or leave later in the day in time to go to bed? The rush of grabbing a flight on sale supersedes everything for most people, but there are more things to consider. So, here are my tips on picking the optimal time for a flight!
Canadian flight prices are atrocious. A typical flight from Winnipeg to Toronto bought a normal amount of time ahead can run anywhere from $475 (if you are really lucky) to $650 CAD. Longer flights in North America are typically $800-$1000, while leaving to Europe is generally $1000-$1500+. All this is to say, I more than understand needing to save money and be careful when booking a flight! However, do not let your flight cost be your only deciding factor. There is no “right” answer here, these tips will help you decide what is best for you specifically
Yes, leaving before the crack of dawn will allow you more time when you arrive at your destination earlier. However, are you willing to wake up at 2 or 3am and get to the airport for 4, and potentially be tired whenever you do arrive at your destination? I personally am- walking up early isn’t really an issue for me! I just keep going over everything I need to do in my head before I get to the airport, so I’m half occupied anyhow. I also still enjoy my initial explorations even if I’m a little tired. Look at yourself and decide if you are functional and happy when you are tired!
When To Head Home
This aspect can take more planning and forethought. Firstly, make sure you take into account any time that may be needed to get from where you are to the airport for your return flight, and if there is somewhere convenient to keep your luggage in the meantime. If you leave later in the day, you might be able to fit in something small before leaving- one last brunch spot you wanted to try? One last view to take in? Plan your trip to leave something convenient and close to either where you are staying or the airport to maximise your time! However, do remember that if you don’t have a vehicle, you will need somewhere safe to keep your luggage in the meantime.
However, you also need to remember the inverse of the first question that started your journey: if you arrive home in the middle of the night, and need to get up and go to work the next day, will you be functional? Sometimes you can ease back into work, sometimes you will have to jump in head first and get caught up and need to be on top of your game. Be honest with yourself, are you realistically capable of working on a few hours of sleep?
Maximise Odd Flight Times
If you do get stuck with an odd flight time and get stuck with a long layover, try to get creative- see if you maybe squeeze something in in your layover city. Or take advantage of an airport hotel spa; you would be surprised at all of the decent amenities that you can find in an airport (including duty free shopping). If nothing else, take the time to get a decent meal in your system to counteract the damage that flying does!
I am a big advocate of comfort when flying- don’t lug your life with you just to save a few dollars, budget in checking a bag for longer flights. Book a time for your flight that suits you and will lead to the best trip. Unless you travel all of the time and a less than wonderful trip is erased by the next trip a week later, I recommend really embracing it and treating yourself!
What is your best travel story?