One of the main questions we get about our travel is regarding how we plan travel while on the continent, and we realize that we haven’t really answered this. Please see the many tips and answers to our other frequently asked travel questions and we hope it’s helpful! So, how do we plan our travel?
Clark Howard always said that you should go where the price is low and then figure out what to do, and where to stay, later. We totally agree with this. However, such advice may work for some locations more efficiently than others. From where we are in Liberia, there is a main airport and a smaller airport. Together, the only direct flights are to several countries – Ghana, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, The Netherlands, Morocco, Kenya, and The Gambia. The airlines are Kenya Airways (Delta SkyTeam), ASKY Airlines, KLM (Delta SkyTeam), Brussels Airlines, Arik, and Royal Air Maroc.
So, if we’d like to travel somewhere else (i.e., our trip to Senegal), we had to/would have to stop through one of these countries to switch planes. Of course, we already discussed how researching and reassessing one’s lifestyle can assist with budgetting for travel. While some of ours is being covered by employer-covered travel allowance(s), the majority is self-funded – hence why we minimize on other things in our life so that we can balance our family’s interest with our love for travel and aims at worldschooling our children. We’ve also shared some of the deals we use. So to book travel from where we are now in Africa, we:
- Research what direct flights depart from those countries (because with two toddlers, we prefer to only have that one layover if possible).
- From those lists, we research which of our countries of interest do not require a visa for U.S. citizens, allow visa on-arrival, or have an embassy or consulate where we live so that we can get our visas in-person, in-advance of the trip.
- Research airport amenities (i.e., baby changing stations, food/clean drinks, ample seating, etc. – this is so very important!)…for example, the Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Port-a-Prince (Haiti) airports have no place to change a baby (note: two years ago they didn’t…hopefully things have changed now), the bathrooms were not clean, it’s often really hot and muggy with limited clean food/drink options, and usually run out of seating so many people have to sit on the floor (which also was not clean). Thus, one may want to reconsider that layover if they have a family, or make sure that the layover is short…
- Use sites like Vayama, Trip.com, and Skyscanner to stalk flights (signing up for alerts on price changes). We also recommend a few other helpful deals to save money.
- Review any safety updates and precautions from the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisory country list.
- Confirm that the ticket prices and schedule are feasible, and proceed in booking (note: we don’t over think and we don’t over obsess with #4 – sometimes the flights’ prices shift and sometimes not by much…it just depends).
- We proceed in obtaining our visas (if applicable, and depending on the outcome of #2).
- We often take note of lessons learned and so each trip we plan goes more and more smoothly.
Don’t forget to check out our travel page for more info and answers to the main questions we get. If you are planning while in Africa (or from a country outside of your home), we do hope this is helpful.