I haven’t suddenly become rich. But if I did get rich, or at least become financially stable, this is something I would really like to do: spend a weekend — in the fall or spring — in Paris. It’s not going to happen any time soon… but I can still dream about it. And wouldn’t it be amazing if I got to spend my birthday weekend in Paris?
So that’s the trip I decided to plan to try out Amadeus.net.
My search: London to Paris, November 7 to November 9. My initial results:
On Amadeus.net, you trip starts with a flight. You don’t have to buy it, and in fact it’s a non-transactional site — you just have to save it. You can save several options. You can look up flights for friends and save options for them, too. I was tempted to look up flights for my best friend from Estonia, but thought that might be taking it a little too far for a little bit of purely-fantasy-to-me travel planning.
Like many booking sites, Amadeus also lets you see the price defaults and minimums for the days around the ones you’ve picked. If you go back to October, there are several stretches of time where you can get a return flight for under £60. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t actually going and I could stick to my guns and have it be my birthday weekend. Old habits die hard, y’all.
I did, however, think about my flight requirements. If I wanted to get the most out of the weekend, I’d have to get a late flight on Sunday and an early flight on Saturday or Friday. The thought of spending my actual birthday on a plane and around airports — with luggage and by myself; it’s only having to carry my luggage that brings out my reluctance to fly — makes me a bit queasy, so Friday it is. There’s no way I’m getting anything done before my flight, but I do have to get to the airport, so an ideal outbound time for me is neither too early in the morning nor too late in the afternoon. You can set a window of time, among other things, so I selected 9 AM – 1 PM:
And got new search results:
The new options aren’t much more expensive than the ones before, and they have me flying from and into Heathrow, which I’ve only been to once and ended up going to Gatwick because I missed my flight so I never actually flew from Heathrow, I don’t think, unless I flew into Heathrow that one time? I can’t remember. I don’t think I did. It’s a bit fuzzy. The days I arrived and left the UK when I spent three weeks in Oxford back in 2008 were both absolutely awful.
Anyway, new search results, and I picked based on time. When you ‘select a flight,’ you get links to various booking sites along with a price list. I never sought out these tools until I moved to London, and found that there really is a significant difference between booking sites when you’re getting a flight, or a hotel.
I’m not ready to buy yet, though, so I just click “Add to my plan.” Since I haven’t created a plan yet, it asks for a name for the plan (“Paris Birthday Weekend,” duh) and sets it up with the default variables. This (minus the picture, I picked a different one before I screencapped it) is what comes up:
It’s basically a whole planning board for your trip. You can save your searches, flight options, add notes, and add links. Hotel ideas, and all those museums and restaurants you want to try — you can add them to your trip dashboard. You can share the trip publicly, or keep it private. You can invite friends to create accounts at Amadeus and add their own ideas to the same dashboard. It’s a really straightforward way of making sure all your information is in one place, especially when you’re not flying solo.
The site is still in an intermediate stage, so I can only imagine how it’ll look when it’s fully developed! A hotel search would be excellent. They already have some handy tools to help you plan your trip — did you notice the weather note in the flight search results page? I love that.
Ready to go — or think about going — somewhere? Start your own plan here! Feel free to pop me a link to your project if you do. :)
* This post is a PR collaboration.