Summer in Montenegro is drawing to a close as we finalise our travel plans for the last part of the year. There won’t be any crazy long trips, but we do have some very interesting adventures coming up. That’s why we have decided to search for flights on JustFly for the best cheap flights deals we can find.
Why are we keeping our trips shorter in the future? This year has been a rather turbulent year of travel for us so far, involving some extreme changes and upheavals for ourselves and our two cats! It was only in February that we made the decision to sell our sailboat because we wanted to move back to Europe.
The sale process was challenging in itself because people in Puerto Rico are simply not buying old sailboats right now. After two months of almost zero interest, we finally found a young couple looking for their first boat. They bought Empress within the week and we were finally free to move back to Europe!
But we had to look for cheap flights to fly from one continent to another and thankfully with years of traveling around the world we’ve learned some tricks!
Here are a few tips for finding cheap flights for your travels!
- Always plan your trips as far in advance as possible. The earlier you can book the cheaper the deals you will find as airlines prefer to fill up their seats as early as they can. The fewer seats they have available, the more they can charge for them.
- Always use a comparison site. There are so many flight comparison sites these days that it can be hard to choose between them. Our advice is to check several different sites to find the best cheap flights, then if you want you can compare that price with the airline website directly.
- Compare one-way and return flights, because although you might only want to fly one-way, a return ticket can often be cheaper depending on the route and the demand for the return journey. Remember though, you cannot miss your outbound flight and keep the return ticket!
- Be flexible in your travel dates if possible, because just a day can make a huge difference! Weekends are not always the most expensive days, sometimes they can be great for cheap flights. This is especially true of primarily business destinations, which have the greatest demand for flights mid-week.
- Delete your cookies and search in “Incognito Mode,” because search engines track what you gave searched for already. Lower prices for cheap flights are often shown in the first search session, to tempt you in, because it’s in your first search that we need the most encouragement to buy!
- Collect Air Miles from wherever you can find them! This is most effective in the US and Canada because the reward schemes are far more favourable there than they are in the UK or Europe. Just by spending the same amount on the right credit card instead of using cash, you could accumulate a lot of points by the end of the year!
We chose Montenegro because we have both been here before to experience the people, the food and the culture. It’s a truly beautiful place to live with sea views from most angles, fresh seafood every day and Mediterranean weather most of the year!
It would still take a full two weeks to travel all the way from Puerto Rico to Montenegro, via New Jersey, London, Germany and Croatia. Not to mention all the paperwork it took for the cats to be able to fly with us into Europe. By the time we arrived, both of us were exhausted and in serious need of a break.
More recently, Kach was involved in a car accident in northern Pakistan and suffered a broken ankle. 6 weeks later and she is still recovering from surgery with some extra metal in her leg! It’s still going to take several months to truly recover because she needs physiotherapy to walk properly again.
We have now decided to keep our trips shorter so that we can return home to relax and work. It’s easy to try to do too much at the same time, but then nothing is done as well as it should be and the travel becomes rushed. The rest of this year is about finding the right balance for ourselves!
Now you know why we are keeping our trips short, here’s a look at our travel plans for this year!
Our travel plans
A weekend trip to Moldova!
We have not decided how long we want to stay in Montenegro, so we haven’t processed a residence visa yet. This means that we need to leave the country once a month in order to return for another month. This is all perfectly legal and for us, it’s a great reason to take regular short trips to neighbouring countries.
Moldova is a small East European country, sitting between Ukraine and Romania. It offers a long and complex history from the recent communist era back to medieval and even earlier. There is also a rich wine culture and tonnes of natural scenery everywhere!
One week in Bhutan!
Kach was originally supposed to travel to Bhutan on her own after Pakistan, but obviously her broken ankle put those plans on hold. Luckily we have been able to reorganise our plans with the tour operator so that both of us can go in October. This should also be just enough time for Kach to be able to walk on her ankle again.
Bhutan is a special destination, not only for its history, Buddhist culture and unique natural environment but also for the level of protection it has. Travel there requires a special permit and only approved travel companies can host guests there. The restrictive rules on entry and travel in Bhutan have protected its heritage, natural environment and culture for many years.
One week in Beijing!
Despite living in Vietnam for almost a year, we never made it across the border into China, so we have been planning to travel there ever since. While we would love to explore the whole country we simply won’t have time to this year, so we’re focusing on Beijing. On one hand, it’s a huge city and we usually prefer the countryside and immersing ourselves in nature. On the other hand, what better way to experience Chinese cultured life by jumping into one of the biggest and busiest cities in the country!
Beijing is also the nearest city to the Great Wall of China, at less than 2 hours away by car. So we’ll have the chance to visit one of the greatest feats of engineering and construction ever undertaken!
What are our future plans?
This is up-in-the-air because we still need to make a final decision about where to live. What we do know is that we want to get back to our travelling roots again. At some point next year we will be buying some kind of overland vehicle to drive to new countries. We first had our own car in Costa Rica and that’s when we first discovered how invaluable it can be. The ability to choose your own route and then jump in and go is the biggest freedom in travel. We have already rediscovered that here in Europe because we bought a car when we arrived in June. Since then we have driven across Europe three times! We can also see so much more of the local area whenever we feel like it.
The main reason we are thinking about overland travel is that we have so much of Africa left to discover. Jonathan grew up in east Africa, so he has wanted to return there to explore since he was a teenager. We plan to start with a trip to South Africa to explore some of the nearby countries and to research vehicles that we might be able to buy and then drive back through Africa until we reach Europe.
Of course, Kach is still on her mission to travel to every country in the world using her Philippines passport, so there will be lots of side trips whenever opportunities arise.