I have a confession to make: I’ve never bought plane tickets before. Whenever I’ve flown anywhere, either by myself or with my family, I’ve let my parents handle the situation, which means they in turn have a travel agent find and buy the tickets. Well, I decided I didn’t want to do that this time. I have largely been handling everything having to do with moving to France on my own with only minimal advice from my parents (mostly because I want to do things MY WAY), so I knew I wanted to buy my own plane tickets online.
However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t use the resources available to me. I kept an eye on the Nice assistant Facebook page for information people posted about their plane tickets, and I also began doing some research online. I found quite a few forums offering advice for those buying international plane tickets: how far in advance to buy, what days of the week to buy and to fly on, where to fly into, etc. I decided I wanted to fly in and out of Paris because I’ve never been there before and Nice is SO far from Paris.
As I’ve mentioned before, my friend Courtney is doing the same program and is going to be living in Lille, which is in the northeast of France closer to Paris. We decided to fly together from Chicago to Paris and back, so one day a few weeks ago we met up with my friend Tyler (the same one who took the photo at the top of my page) to try to score the best deal we could. Tyler is super experienced with finding cheap international flights and Courtney has bought a few as well, so I was in good hands! We searched all the “normal” travel websites as well as some student websites and ended up using STA Travel. The fares we found there were several hundred dollars cheaper than anywhere else, due to it being a student website, so we went ahead and booked round-trip tickets for $806. Both flights are with Swiss Air and have a layover in Zurich. We leave on September 26 and will return on May 23, so it ended up being an almost exactly 8-month long trip. My family is happy I bought a round-trip, because that means I have to come back!
I know that some student airfare websites make you “prove” you’re a student by scanning your student ID or using a .edu email. Apparently they haven’t figured out that a lot of student IDs (*ahem* ISU *ahem*) don’t have expiration dates and there are ways to continue using a .edu address long after you graduate (if you want to know how, I’ll teach you), but whatever. STA Travel didn’t make us do any of that, so I guess it was just on the honor system? So definitely check out student travel websites the next time you fly anywhere.
(If you’d like more details on the information I learned about booking international flights, the websites I used, why I bought a round-trip ticket, etc., let me know in the comments. I’m trying to be concise and avoid boringness. Probably unsuccessfully.)