Case in point:
Travel in West Africa is fraught with difficulties at every turn. Flights are a rip-off. Every country has a border and requires a visa. Routes and schedules are not well thought out. I decided to get out of Ivory Coast for a little bit and started looking at flights with no particular destination in mind.
Immediately a couple issues sprang up:
- Since I am not from a West African country, I need a visa to go to every country that borders Ivory Coast. These visas cost quite a bit of money, and it may not be worth it, especially if you're just heading out for a long weekend.
- Flights are ridiculously expensive. So much so, that I have friends who take the bus to Lomé and Accra on a regular basis.
- Interior flights are expensive. That means you are going to pay quite a bit of money to fly Air Ivoire to San Pedro, or Yamoussoukro
Getting the best deal possible:
As I was looking for tickets, I noticed that there was a huge disparity in ticket pricing. Because many people still go to travel agencies, there are some incredible deals to be had online -- provided you know where to look. My top travel sites for flights out of Abidjan are:
- Kayak: Decent fares, with one major caveat: Air France isn't advertising many of its flights in and out of Abidjan
- Google flights: Incredible way to know who flies where, when, and for approximately how much. I haven't bought from them, but it did help me figure out where to buy a ticket.
- Fareboom: Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's awful. But this site is a gem with some incredible deals (remember that 411 dollar flight to Paris I mentioned? It came from there). You can also book stopovers longer than 24 hours, which Kayak hasn't figured out how to do in an affordable way. ( Casablanca with Royal Air Maroc, Nairobi with Kenya airways, etc)...
- The airlines themselves: Brussels Air had cheaper fares on their site than on any of the other sites. So it never hurts to double-check.