Booking a flight for a move abroad is completely different from booking your flight for a vacation. There are many things you need to take in to consideration that you may not even think of. These tips are designed to help make you flight booking a little less stressful and a whole lot more successful.

Allowed Baggage?

luggage the wanderlanders

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When you move abroad you’re probably going to want to bring more than you would want for a typical vacation. When you book a flight it is important to first check what the check in and carry on baggage rules are for each airline you are considering. Sometimes it turns out that a flight that seems a little more expensive may actually cost less when you consider the extra baggage fees.

For example, when I moved to Germany, it was $20 cheaper to fly with Aer Lingus than Icelandair. I did my research and learned that Icelandair allows two free checked in bags weighing up to 50 pounds each in economy class.  Aer Lingus only allows one checked bag weighing 50 pounds in economy class. A second checked bag costs $60. I chose to fly with Icelandair and save myself a bit of money.

Round Trip or One Way?

round trip the wanderlanders

Sometimes it is cheaper to book a round trip flight than it is to book a one-way ticket. It’s strange, but true. I’ve booked one-way flights before only to realize later that I could have saved myself some money if I had booked round trip. Do some research and see.

Some countries require you to have an ongoing flight or bus ticket to prove you are leaving the country after the length of time you are allowed to be there. If you don’t already have a work visa/ residency permit for the country you are moving to, this is really important to consider.

For example, when I planned to move to Germany I bought a one-way ticket. I then started reading about Americans entering the EU without a visa and being required to show proof that they were leaving after the designated 90 days. I got really nervous that I wouldn’t be allowed entry into the EU so I purchased a cheap one-way flight to Morocco from Germany to show as proof if needed. Luckily nobody asked me anything and I went through customs in Iceland without any problems.

 In Flight Experience?

in flight

If you’re moving abroad you likely have a long flight ahead of you. If you’re anything like me (I hate flying) you like to be as comfortable, entertained, and well-fed as possible. I’ll do anything to take my mind off the fact that I’m in a metal machine thousands of feet above the ground with my life in the hands of other people. (Did I scare you?)

I used to just take whatever flight was cheapest, but recently I’ve started paying a lot more attention to the in-flight entertainment, food and drinks, and seat space when I book my flight.

You can’t always be sure, but as a general rule of thumb, usually the budget airlines are not going to provide you with much (if any) food and the entertainment systems will be rather limited.

I made this mistake when flying recently from Germany to Costa Rica. I flew on Condor (because it was cheap) and didn’t look in to what was offered on the flight ahead of time. The entertainment system was really nice but there were only two free movies. I ended up watching The Faults In Our Stars…twice (I was really bored) and basically just cried the whole flight.

Spoiler Alert! That movie is really sad!

I can’t speak for flying to the rest of the world, but when traveling between Europe and the US I try to always book Lufthansa first and if that is too expensive I usually go with British Airways. Both airlines have good in flight entertainment and decent food. Also they have free alcohol! Woot!

Best Price?

best prica

I usually shop around a lot before I book my flight. I like to compare different days and times. If you’re flexible on your moving date, I recommend you do the same. It’s amazing how much a flight price can fluctuate if you are willing to be flexible with dates.

I’m really nerdy and thoroughly enjoy finding the best flight deal. In fact, I’ve basically become my family’s travel agent because I’m so good at it.

I highly recommend checking out Skyscanner for booking your flight.  I find that their search features are usually the most extensive and I have the best luck finding cheap flights through the Skyscanner website. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Travel Insurance?

travel insurance

I used to never book travel insurance because I didn’t think I needed it. I was always traveling between the US and Europe, but I had health insurance in both countries and I thought that was enough. Then I had an unfortunate incident involving lost luggage (thanks US Airways!) and I vowed to never again travel without travel insurance.

I highly recommend World Nomads. They are fabulous for any problems that might occur on your travel days as well as just being a great company in general.

I recently experienced a really bad allergic reaction to mango trees (no joke) and I ended up with an extremely swollen, scary looking face. Sorry, I’m not sharing pics. Anyway, I was so thankful that I was able to get all my doctors appointments and medicine covered through World Nomads.

I’ve fortunately never had to use them for flight-related issues, but depending on which plan you go for they cover cancellation/ delay of your trip, medical problems while you are traveling, lost or stolen items; and several other things.

Check ’em out! 


I hope these tips helped you! If you have any questions about booking your flight please ask in the comment section below. I’m happy to help you out.

Also, good luck on your big move!