Prayers going out to all those in Japan and neighboring countries affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami.  The pictures and videos are terrifying and I can't even imagine what everyone there is going through.  God bless.

Airfare: Price vs Convenience - how do you choose?

Are you watching the show 'Amazing Race'?  I love this show!  Well, last night the teams had to get from Australia to Tokyo, and had to decide whether to take a non-stop flight or a connecting flight.  The flight with the connection was scheduled to get into Tokyo 15 minutes sooner than the non-stop.  Hmmmm... what to do? 

Many travelers face this question all the time, but usually not in the context of a race, but rather in the context of price.  Though not always, non-stop flights tend to be a bit more expensive than connecting flights so many travelers find themselves trying to decide between price vs convenience.  "I'm trying to stay within a budget, so do I take the less expensive connecting flight? But I'm going to the Caribbean and I really want to hit the beach ASAP so maybe I take the more expensive non-stop which gets me there sooner."

It can be really tough sometimes to think it all through and make a good decision.  Using a Travel Agent or Specialist can certainly help you to weigh the options and make a good decision.  Of course it depends on different scenarios, where you are traveling, time of year, etc. but in general I always think it's best to fly non-stop whenever possible.... even if it's a bit more expensive.  Connecting flights = the unknown.  Even if your first flight gets off on-time, and things seem to be running on schedule, you never know what challenges may be awaiting you at your connecting airport - weather delays, equipment delays, staffing issues, etc... (Remember the snowstorm in Europe that shut down many airports this past winter?  Yes, I had clients affected by that mess!)  Not to mention your bags (if checked) have to make that connection as well.  It can make for a very stressful beginning to a vacation if all those factors don't align correctly, and you don't want to have your trip start off that way, right?

Of course, that's not to say that a non-stop flight is without issues, but again, that's where it's important to weigh your different options.  Some people don't like to be on a flight for longer than 4 hours if at all possible, so they prefer connections so that they can get off the plane, stretch their legs and move around, get some food besides peanuts, email, maybe do some shopping.  For some people, that alone is worth it to have a connecting flight.  And there are alot of really nice airports these days with some pretty amazing services, so it's getting much easier to kill time in the airports.  I was in Atlanta Hartsfield airport recently and it's beautiful!  You can get a massage and visit the spa right in the terminal! Wow! So you can certainly make the most of a connecting flight, but for me I always try to go non-stop whenever possible.  I once took a 17 hour flight from Johannesburg to New York, the longest flight of my life, but it was worth it not having to stop over.  My bag got lost on the way from NY to Chicago, but at least I knew it made it back to the States and wasn't stuck in Europe or Africa somewhere.  I like ease when traveling and I like to minimize things that are beyond my control so for me, I go for non-stop flights whenever possible.

Oh, and the Amazing Race teams that took the connecting flight actually got into Tokyo an hour and a half LATER than the teams with the non-stop flight, and I'm sure the team that ended up in last is wishing they had chosen differently!

Sending thoughts and prayers to the people in the beautiful Bahama Islands, and all those in the path of Hurricane  Dorian along the east...