I started planning for the 14 days trip for visiting two countries. I looked at round trip flights from Chennai to Frankfurt and Zurich. There’s no direct flight for Zurich from Chennai. So, I checked for Amsterdam and Paris. Round trip tickets for Paris via Air France was way cheaper. But, Paris was not part of our trip itinerary.
I have seen Paris. My wife have been to Paris. My uncle have been to Paris as well. Do we include Paris for remaining 4 members in the group?
When you are working out the details, there’s going to lot of back and forth about the landing and departing destinations. You would end up working in parallel:
- preferred flight tickets
- preferred cities to visit
- where to land and where to depart
- should both arrival and departure be the same city
This the fun part of trip planning. Working out the details and I love doing such things.
If you are to this site, start planning you Europe trip from here.
Remember: I would give more importance to choice of cities you want to visit and be flexible to spend the last day of trip getting back to your departure city if you purchased round trip fares to the same city (like To/From Paris).
Also, you have an option of booking an open jaw ticket. Here’s two sample Europe itinerary to book flight tickets.
1. Open Jaw Flight Tickets
I booked round trip ticket from Raleigh, North Carolina to Marseille, France. I flew from the RDU (North Carolina, USA) to Marseille via Amsterdam. Return flight is via Paris on a Sunday.
Here’s where things got interesting. My wife had one extra day off from her school, the Friday before I was due to fly back to the USA. So, we decided to squeeze in an another city. Vueling Airlines had sale for Belgium. 20 Euro one way ticket from Marseille to Brussels South Airport (Friday to Sunday).
Our plan was to get on 6 AM flight from Brussels on Sunday. Arrive in Marseille 7:40 AM. Then take the bus to my wife’s home in Aix-En-Provence. It took 45 minutes bus ride and 15 minutes walk to reach her home. Then spend couple of hours to pack, and get on the bus back to Marseille for 1 PM flight to Paris.
Everything went well on Sunday morning. We boarded the flight on from Brussels South Airport on time. But, due to bad weather, fight did not depart until around 8 AM. I still made it to the 1 PM flight. Instead of spending 2 hours to pack, I spent just 10 minutes to pack at her place.
If I had booked an open jaw ticket (RDU to Marseilles, France and Brussels to RDU), I wouldn’t had this problem. I could have spent few more hours in Belgium. In our case, the trip to Belgium was planned after I had booked the tickets to France.
What is Open Jaw Flight Tickets?
An open-jaw ticket is an airline return ticket where the destination and/or the origin are not the same in both directions. (Source Wikipedia)
2. Round Trip Tickets to Paris
In our recent trip to France, Switzerland and Germany, I had two airport that was connected via direct flights from Chennai – Paris and Frankfurt.
I had a choice of booking an open jaw ticket – Arrive in Paris and depart from Frankfurt or book round trip ticket to Paris or Frankfurt from Chennai.
The ideal option would be to book an open jaw ticket, but it was expensive and with two stopovers (Paris and Mumbai or Amsterdam and Mumbai). So, we decided to book the round trip flight tickets from Chennai to Paris.
We started our trip in Paris and finished in Frankfurt. Then took a train back to Paris, stayed the night near the airport at Ibis Hotel and then flew back to India via Jet Airways the next morning.
I’m sure these two examples shows how to figure out your options for booking flight tickets and choice of cities to include in in Europe itinerary.
- Bottomline: Avoid traveling back if you can to save time.
In our case with a group of 7, it was $250 more per ticket to fly back from Frankfurt per person. If it was just two of us, I would have taken the open jaw ticket to save time and spend extra night in the city in Germany. But, we did manage to spend 2 hours in Frankfurt city with quick Rick Steves Frankfurt city walk from the train station to Romerburg.
For instance, if we have competed the trip in Rome, then traveling back to Paris is not an option. It’s just too far to Paris. Whereas, Frankfurt was just 4 hours train ride away (train was traveling at the 317 kms/hr at one point)!
Other articles in the Europe trip planning series