Weekend trips have saved my life. Literally. I live in Abu Dhabi, and getting out of here for long weekends with my husband save my sanity, especially during the long and very hot summers. We take these trips once every four to five weeks, and while we can feel a bit rushed, it’s always worth it.
People always ask how we do it. It’s really not that difficult, and I’ll tell you how.
First of all, we are on the mailing lists of all the major airlines that fly from Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Most of these airlines have 24 or 48 hour sales at least once a month and those fares are only available to customers by email. Sometimes the fares are advertised on the website, so I make sure to check every day, just in case I’ve missed an email notification.
We fly direct whenever possible. This cuts down on travel time and ensures that we have more time at our destination. If a direct flight is not possible, we make sure to seek out the flight with the shortest connection time. I am definitely no stranger to sprinting through airports. Bringing only hand-carry luggage helps tremendously in the case we do have to make a short connection.
In some cases, we have a destination in mind, and grab those on-sale fares when they become available. In other cases, we choose a destination based on a great price. This is how we ended up taking a long weekend trip to Kiev, Ukraine. What was initially a city I had never thought about visiting became one of my top ten favorites. We went on a guided tour of Chernobyl! Yes, Chernobyl! That never would have happened had it not been for a great price on a direct flight out of Dubai.
Occasionally, cheap flights happen at weird times and on strange airlines. I would not normally jump at the chance to take a 3:30am flight, but when it is attached to a low fare to somewhere exotic like Sri Lanka, I can’t say no. Lesser known carriers can’t compete with the big boys for prime runway times, or even gate access, so they get pushed back to the wee hours. Despite all of this, they need to fill those seats, and they try to do it any way they can. For the customer, that often means great prices.
Lastly, we have learned how to creatively finagle our time off. We make certain to take full advantage of holidays that fall right before or right after a weekend, and we supplement that with a day off from work, if necessary. Sometimes this can add up to a full four or five days that we can spend away from home.
On that note, I must go pack my bags. This weekend we’ve taken advantage of a great price on a flight to Amman, Jordan and we’re spending three days at Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, and Petra.
And that’s how we do it.