Choosing the best flights

One of the first things to consider when deciding to walk the Camino de Santiago is of course, the best way to get to Europe and your starting point. There are many options when deciding how to get to your starting point. You can fly from just about anywhere to just about anywhere in Europe to get a connection to be as close to your starting point as possible. As the possibilities are endless we will discuss the major destination points here and how to best choose your route.

If you are not familiar with it, the concept of Open Jaws on an airline ticket could be helpful.  Open Jaws simply means that from a single departure point, you travel to one destination and return to that single departure point from another.  For instance, say you decided to fly into Paris from the United States but wanted to return to your departure point from Madrid or even Santiago de Compostela.  To do this you would use a choice on our flight search engine called multi-city.  Typically you will see the choices, Round trip, One way, and Multi-City.

The first starting point after deciding to go to the Camino is Google Flights. Before there were Internet flight search engines most travel agents used a system called Matrix-ITA which provided them the ability to search many different airlines with one screen. Google purchased the company a few years ago and has now made the technology available to all of us. It is very simple to use. You simply put in the airport that you want to depart from and the airport that you want to fly to along with your dates of travel and it gives you all of the different flights for those dates. There are, however, some great additional tools that you can use.

  • First, there is the calendar view. When you select the departure date it pulls up a calendar. Below each date on the calendar is the lowest fare found for that specific date. This is useful if you are a bit flexible in your travel dates.
  • Second when you open the calendar view, right about the calendar there are additional choices of flexible dates. This brings up a graph showing the least expensive day to depart and return.
  • Third, there is a price graph showing how the costs of the tickets ebb and flow during the month or year.
  • Lastly on the page to the right of the basic input information is a map. This map is really useful as it allows you to see graphically the different airports that you can fly to from your departure airport and the costs for your specific dates. This is a great feature since it allows you to figure out the best route for you.

There are also two more bits of information just above the flight prices. The first is a tip on how to save money by changing your departure or return date or flying out of a different airport that may be close to you. For instance, you can use Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose as search airports. Lastly, there is a track prices box. If you toggle the switch to Google Flights will track the cost of the flights and notify you of changes.

There are many other tools available on the internet to find flights such as Kayak, Orbitz, Expedia, and even direct airline carrier websites. It is a personal choice we just prefer to use Google Flights as it allows us to deal directly with our airline of choice once we figure out which flights we want to take.  Our goal is always to get the best flights at the lowest price.  We are always looking for as few stops as possible and the best departure and arrival schedule as possible.