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Southeast Asia forum

booking flights while travelling

Posted by nickolt on 16/11/2010 at 12:01

How cost effective is it to book flights while youre travelling? My bf and I will be in SE Asia for 4 months, and would rather book flights while we're travelling so that we dont have to have a set routine.

I know many budget airlines offer crazy deals, but often far in advance. What are you guys' experience with booking flights ?

Also, aside from Air Asia, what is a decent low budget airline that flies to many places in SE Asia ?

#1 nickolt has been a member since 25/10/2010. Posts: 21

Posted by christay2009 on 17/11/2010 at 05:18

Have you tried looking on 'sky scanner' and 'kayak' (google them) for flight comparison? I used this fairly often, even includes 'Lao Airlines' on there.

I booked a flight from Guilin to Kunming (not SE Asia...but still) the day before i flew for £50.00. For me, it was a great deal as the alternative was a 26 hour train journey.

Do you need to book that many flights anyway? last time i looked you could do the 4 month thing by land. I would just play it by ear, if you decide you would quite like to fly somewhere then have a look at the time.

#2 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: China. Posts: 415
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Posted by DLuek on 17/11/2010 at 06:11 TF writer


First off, when my girlfriend and I last travelled for 4 1/2 months in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Singapore, the two key budget airlines we used were Air Asia and Jetstar, and neither of these can be found on most search engine sites... I'd recommend going straight to their websites and booking there.  

To answer your question, I wouldn't book many (if any) domestic/regional SE Asia flights before you leave - we didn't.  However, don't wait until a few days before you want to fly and expect to get a cheap flight.  What we did was basically decide where we wanted to be about two or three weeks in advance, and were usually (but not always) able to find a cheap flight on either Air Asia or Jetstar.  

If we decided to go somewhere more spontaneously - or if flights were too expensive - we just took busses/trains, which given the amount of time you have is not the end of the world.  But it is nice to fly some legs...  We did Singapore to HCMC on Jetstar, Da Nang to Ha Noi on Jetstar (and back), Bangkok to HCMC on Air Asia, and then HCMC to Singapore on Jetstar again, and all of these we booked for cheap at least 10 days in advance.  In regard to major legs towards the end of our trip like BKK to HCMC, there were times when we just had to prioritize, make a decision a few weeks in advance and stick to it.  However the majority of our longer legs were done by bus or train, and we never had much of a problem with that, although the haul from Hoi An to Vientiane by bus was a little grueling.

Luckily for you, you've got a good amount of time, so I wouldn't stress the details too much...  On our trip we did start with a basic plan but ended up completely changing it as we went, and that ability to be spontaneous was really nice.

Have fun, 


#3 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,297
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Posted by nickolt on 18/11/2010 at 13:11

Thanks guys.

Nope, defs dont HAVE to book flights, and defs not planning to book any before hand. (except for maybe manila - vietnam) But I was just wondering how cost effective it is when doing it on shorter notice, just in case one more bus journey seems unbearable. haha.

Seems like its pretty easy, and I like the idea of doing it a few weeks ahead of time while planning out the next country etc. Still allows lots of room for spontanity. =)

#4 nickolt has been a member since 25/10/2010. Posts: 21

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