What I Learned Traveling Overseas for the First Time

Note: This guest post is not an endorsement of any travel or airfare websites or services.

I’m a simple guy, not really on social media or things like that much, but I wanted to share what I learned. I’m from the midwest, a small town in Ohio actually. I didn’t travel much before coming to Korea. I graduated from Kent State and worked a decent job right out of school, but decided to try something different and came to Busan with my girlfriend for a month in 2018. I know that everyone can’t afford to take time off from their jobs easily and knew nothing about teaching in the country really, so I just want to talk about flying out of the country.

There are many different airlines in many different countries, so it isn’t always easy to choose who to fly. As far as here in the United States, there is an abundance of American airlines that fly all around the world as well as most all points domestically. For us here in the United States the major US airlines are all well known. Names like American, Delta, and Southwest are well known both here in the U.S. and abroad. And since these US airlines cover the bases of most travel plans both here and abroad you should have no trouble finding a flight that can accommodate just about any travel plans. For some, flying on a budget is necessary. I didn’t want to plunk down thousands of dollars if I could save some money, so I did some research.

A lot of people told me about websites like Skyscanner, Momondo and Cheap Tickets, and I really did look at them a lot. I found most helpful advice about how to get the best deal.

First, it’s smart to travel in the low season. That’s the time of year when a place doesn’t have a lot of vacationers coming in. Traveling out of season or when it’s not a major holiday can help with savings. Some people told me that booking my flight for leaving America on a Tuesday or Wednesday would help in savings. I’m not really sure if it was true, but I did leave for Busan March 20th and got into South Korea on the 21st?

Whatever that might be about, what I did learn for sure is the farther out you schedule your flight the better off you’ll be. We made up our minds before Thanksgiving the year before that we would give this trip a shot. Now that I’m looking at traveling somewhere else, I see how important it was that we bought the tickets more than a few days or weeks out.

We went with a website called Hipmunk in the end but now that I have more experience with this, I know to look at several websites and create alerts. It’s helping to compare the prices for me and narrow down how much more the money can stretch.

I checked exchange rates with Travelex (the happy hour feature actually) and changed when I made it to the airport. But I learned while in Busan that I could’ve saved a little more on currency exchange once I got into the country. Pay attention to where other foreigners mention where and how they changed their money and maybe you can save more too.

I didn’t know about traveler insurance until it was offered while booking either. This could really be a good thing for people who don’t have enough insurance coverage or just want to be extra careful when so far from home.

Maybe you’re reading this and feel like I didn’t say much but there has to be someone who was or is like me and doesn’t go very far often. I can drive everywhere I’ve always wanted or needed to go in my state and this was a really big experience for me.

Seth C. lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio and wants to visit Ireland as his next major trip to learn more about his family’s history. Some parts copied with permission.

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