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Is it easier to buy round trip tickets? I'm going on a 5-day trip to Freetown [Sierra Leone] from Cincinnati, Ohio in the US.

The online system is confusing. I'm 46 years old, and my family used to deal with these arrangements.

How do I get the cheapest flight? And is there only one connection on flights there?

  • I took the liberty of editing your question, to make it easier to understand and get a response. Is it correct that you want to travel to Sierra Leone? I interpreted this from what you wrote. If not, please say. – Giorgio Jan 2 '18 at 15:53
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    Personally I would recommend you visit a travel agent if you're worried, especially for an international flight with a connection – nkjt Jan 2 '18 at 19:18
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    It's worth keeping in mind that this trip will take you on the order of a day's travel in each direction. A 5 day trip will leave you with only a couple of days actually in Sierra Leone. – Zach Lipton Jan 2 '18 at 19:44
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That depends a bit on how much time and effort you want to put in to optimize the cost. Going going to Freetown in Sierra Leone is a non trivial trip.

Especially if you are not a very experienced traveler: buy a single round trip ticket that covers your whole trip. You may be able to get a cheaper option booking two separate tickets, but it's most likely not worth the risk.

Google flights is a very good search engine for beginners. https://www.google.com/flights/. Put both airports into the search fields and select dates that you are targeting. Click on any of the dates and select "Calendar". Wait for a bit and it will show you the calendar with the lowest available fairs for a lot of different departure dates with the same trip length. You can also click on "Flexible Dates" so see fares that are around the same dates but with different length. Just click on the date & price that you like and it will give options for these dates. Check the flight duration. Some of these may be cheaper but very convoluted or long.

In this case should be paying somewhere between US $1800-$2000 on an airline combination that's going to be Delta, KLM and Air France. It's easiest if you book directly on the airlines' websites. These airlines have partnerships and will often offer the same flights at more or less the same price. If that's the case, chose the airline that operates the flight to/from Freetown (Air France most likely), since this probably the trickiest part.

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It is a bit easier, but most importantly usually cheaper, to buy a round-trip ticket rather than the two legs separately.

There are many sites available that will allow you to shop around for the best prices and schedules, though in the end it's often a better choice to book directly with the airline.

As there are no direct flights from the US to Freetown, you'll have at least one connection. If you're a first time traveller, it's probably a good idea to avoid additional connections, but less direct routes tend to be cheaper, so it's really your choice.

As an indication, airlines flying from Europe to Freetown include Air France, Brussels Airlines, KLM and Turkish Airlines.

Since you have at least two flights in each direction, it's probably a good idea to book the flights on the same airline or on airlines part of the same alliance.

Remember to check: - the airline change and cancellation policies, if that's relevant for you. At the very least, you need to be aware of them. Cheaper tickets are usually non-modifiable and non-refundable, or only with significant penalties.

  • take into account time zones and date changes. If you see a flight arriving at 10:00+1 for instance, that means 10:00 the following day.

  • avoid short connections, especially if the airport will require you to go through immigration, pick-up and re-check your bags. Usually not the case in Europe if you stay within the same airport.

  • more generally, make sure you don't book a connection with flights landing and departing from different airports in the same city (shouldn't be an issue if you fly through Paris (CDG), Amsterdam, Brussels or Istanbul).

  • check for any passport/visa requirements, both at your destination and in transit cities (shouldn't be an issue for EU airports, not so sure for Istanbul).

Remember to sort out any passport/visa requirements before booking your flight!

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