Don’t fear Open Circuit travel planning

The uncertainty of open circuit travel planning gnaws at me until eventually I make final itinerary decisions and airline ticket purchases to create closed circuit travel. The secret I find to making good travel plans is not to rush the process to close the flight circuit. This morning I made two final airline ticket purchases that establish closed circuit travel for our spring vacation trip to Europe.

Closed circuit and open circuit travel are the main concepts of this post. I think the electrical principle of a closed circuit is a good analogy to travel planning, although I might be off-base. Physics classes were my worst academic grades in university in the 1980s.

Closed Circuit travel

Airline tickets establish a closed circuit for international travel. For uncomplicated travel, a closed circuit of flights is a simple round trip ticket from home to a destination and back home again. You fly somewhere, spend some time there and fly back home. Our spring vacation plans were not nearly that simple.

Closed Circuit Travel

Completing a circuit so that travel takes you from one end of the circle (your home town ) to the other (your destinations) and back home is an example of closed circuit travel.

– loyalty traveler

Don’t Fear Open Circuit Travel

I take many more calculated risks with my travel plans these days. Our spring vacation is a result of two months of Open Circuit Travel planning.

In short, as of today, our spring trip is now a closed circuit itinerary beginning with a flight from Oakland, California to Las Vegas (Southwest Airlines) to Amsterdam (American Airlines/British Airways), to Vilnius, Lithuania (Air Baltic) and back to Oakland via Stockholm (Norwegian Airlines).

Five different airlines and five separate airline tickets.

Open Circuit Travel Plans

My original plan was to get us to Europe twice in three months, one trip in February to Amsterdam and one trip in April 2016 to some other place in Europe.

Nearly two months ago, on January 6, I purchased American Airlines tickets from Amsterdam to Las Vegas round trip for $422 each. These prices were less than half the cost of flying from California to Amsterdam. That was the first airline ticket purchase in my open circuit travel planning. I needed to get to Amsterdam to start the AMS-LAS tickets and I needed to get home from Amsterdam at the end of the ticket. I was not even close to simple closed circuit travel.

I initially positioned myself in Amsterdam with Norwegian Airlines OAK-AMS $248 one way (with seat, checked bag and meal) in January to begin my first ticket AMS-LAS. From Las Vegas, I flew Allegiant Airlines ($133) back to Monterey, California in January.

American Airlines Amsterdam – Las Vegas $422 round trip

  • AMS – LAS February 2016 outbound flights
  • LAS – AMS April 2016 return flights

In February, I paid $74 to fly Monterey to Las Vegas for my return flight to Amsterdam. Kelley and I both went to Amsterdam in February. Kelley flew on a one-way Monterey-Amsterdam 20,000 mile AAdvantage award ticket for $5.60. I flew the return flights portion to Amsterdam from my first $422 Amsterdam to Las Vegas ticket I started in January. We met up in Philadelphia and I gave Kelley my upgraded business class seat to Amsterdam and I flew her economy award seat.

All-in I paid $877 to fly OAK-AMS-LAS-MRY-AMS for 1.5 trips to Europe.

Our flight from Amsterdam to Las Vegas ten days ago was the beginning of Kelley’s first American Airlines $422 revenue ticket AMS-LAS and the beginning of my second AMS-LAS revenue ticket. As an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member, I earn 100% bonus redeemable miles for around 25,000 redeemable miles for each $422 round trip ticket flown.

Don’t Fear Open Circuit Travel Plans or How do I get back to California at the end of this ticket?

Travel planning and ticket purchases always have an order of purchase when planning a complicated itinerary. I do not fear when there is a time lag between buying airline tickets to create a closed circuit travel itinerary when there are months to watch airfares and decide when to buy.

January 6:  Amsterdam – Las Vegas – Amsterdam $422 American Airlines tickets purchased for February to April trip.

January 25: Stockholm – Oakland $210 Norwegian Airlines one-way tickets purchased for return to USA in April.

January 25: Holiday Inn Express Ghent, Belgium and Crowne Plaza Vilnius, Lithuania are two separate PointBreaks reservations I made for extended stays in April.

February 24: Oakland – Las Vegas $79 Southwest Airlines one-way tickets purchased to catch April AA flight to Amsterdam.

March 2: Amsterdam – Vilnius $134 one-way Air Baltic (with one checked bag).

March 2: Vilnius – Stockholm ARN $71 one way Norwegian (with one checked bag).

April Oakland to Oakland Closed Circuit Travel

Our April travel itinerary is this routing:

Oakland – Las Vegas – Amsterdam – Vilnius, LT – Stockholm – Oakland.

We will stopover with hotel stays in Las Vegas, Amsterdam, Vilnius and Stockholm. About $730 per person for all air travel.

Plan your own Open-Circuit Travel to South Africa?

Dan at Points with a Crew posted an interesting open-circuit low fare deal with Qatar Airways today.

Qatar Airways $386 multi-city ticket Dallas DFW – Johannesburg JNB South Africa – Warsaw WAW Poland is a ticket sample Dan posted. I played with Qatar routings and prices from LAX ($580 to $680) for about an hour today with this USA to South Africa to Europe fare.

LAX-CPT-AMS Qatar $668 Nov 2-Nov 15

The deal is you can travel to many places in Europe besides Warsaw for around the same price. London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm were cities I played with and prices generally are $600 to $700 for LAX.

You can also start in Europe with an itinerary like Amsterdam – CPT Cape Town / Durban DUR South Africa – Los Angeles for $668 on Qatar. Amsterdam – Johannesburg – LAX is $597 on Etihad for November 2016 travel.

Don’t fear open circuit travel planning.

Loyalty Traveler curated Airfare Deals and Google Flights and Kayak Explore tutorials.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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  1. If you stay in this game long enough you will come to the exact conclusion of your post today………

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