Costa Rica Chronicles: Vol. II

Apropos to shopping for airfare:

There’s a scene in a movie I love a lot, Albert Brooks’ 1985 film Lost in America, that I relate to more than I care to.

Brooks’ character David and his wife Linda (Julie Hagerty) are at the front desk of a Las Vegas hotel. They don’t have a reservation for a room, but they want a fancy bridal suite, because in the morning they will be going to a Vegas wedding chapel to renew their vows, and then they plan to live out the rest of their lives together roaming the country in their new Winnebago.

The desk clerk informs David that the bridal suite is not available, but Linda, believing firmly that the room IS available, encourages David to offer the clerk money, because that’s how things work in Vegas.

David gives the clerk $50 and asks the clerk to check the availability again, the clerk does so, but still reports that the room is not available.

David then says:

Listen. I’m not good at this. I don’t get the good seats at the games, and I’ve never gotten a ringside table, and it’s just something that I really don’t know how to do.

So, just to save time, how much do you want?

I feel like this ALL the time. There are people who know all the tricks, who know how to game the system, and I either end up wasting huge amounts of my precious time floundering around, trying to work the system and failing or I just accept that I will not get the good seats, or more relevantly, the affordable airfare.

When I’m shopping for airfare, entering airport codes and dates and the number of passengers in every travel site I can find, the conspiracy theorist in me starts deciding the whole thing is rigged, set up to be so complicated that most people will not persist in digging deep enough for the good deals, if the deals even exist. Eventually I get so deflated I either give up on the idea of going on a trip or I bite the bullet and make a wild guess at the best deal I can find, never feeling like it was anywhere near the best deal.

Thing is, I REALLY want this trip to Costa Rica, so if anyone who happens to come across this post has any advice at all, any tips and/or tricks, any insider information, any connections in the travel industry, I’d be incredibly grateful for help.

Costa Rica Chronicles: Vol. I, Vol. II, Vol. III, Vol. IV, Vol. V, Vol. VI, Vol. VII, Vol. VIII, Vol. IX, Vol. X

2 thoughts on “Costa Rica Chronicles: Vol. II

  1. Howard, check out Kayak is a comparison site that will allow you to view different airlines, dates, even airports. It isn’t all inclusive so you’ll still have to check around but it will give you a good base to work from. Also, check out the airport web site to see what airlines fly there and then check the individual airlines web sites. They usually have the best available fares. Finally, check the airfares every day. Rates change daily and some days are cheaper than other days.

  2. Hi Scott! Thanks a lot for the tips. I’ve now signed up to receive daily email alerts from Kayak, so we’ll see how that goes.

    One of the things I find most infuriating is the fact that, with a destination like Costa Rica, there are a million ways to get there, considering all the combinations of airlines, airports, and layovers and red eye options. Most of the cheap fares involve crazy flight plans, like Seattle to Newark to Costa Rica, or Seattle to Denver to Costa Rica with a 7-hour layover in Denver. Ridiculous!

    The red eye thing is particularly relevant in this case since it’s common when flying to Costa Rica, but we’ve tried red eyes before and hated it. We never get enough sleep and end up losing precious vacation time sleeping off the trip in a hotel room when we arrive.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice. Hope you and the family are doing well. (It was great to see Mike recently in Vancouver!)

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