How to be your own travel agent and book your own flights


With the holiday season approaching, you might be one of those interested in booking a vacation with the family.

There are several ways of going about this.

Method 1: Once you have decided where you want to go, you can find a travel agent preferably based on a recommendation, then you visit their office, give them your requirements, receive a quote, reject it because the agent didn’t stick strictly to your budget and wait for a requite with your budget in mind and repeat the cycle for each trip.

Method 2: Or you could do it all yourself.

I always choose method 2. In fact, I haven’t visited a travel agent since 2005, and that was because I was a student and wanted to pay in installments (travel agents still have their uses). However, since I “came of age”, I have always booked holidays for myself, my family, and friends (with a little commission) online. I make practically 99% of my travel arrangements online, especially when I go to countries where things actually work. Contrary to popular belief, the world is not designed to make life tougher – it’s unfortunate that that’s just the way things are in Nigeria. In saner climes, it is actually possible to plan one’s whole day before even stepping out of the house, down to what bus to take, when to arrive at the destination and where to sit. Because things work. Obviously, sometimes unexpected events occur but in all my years of travel, I’ve been lucky enough to only encounter one adverse incident and it involved lightening (ask nicely in the comments section if you want to hear the story). So when planning a trip, here are the tools I use.

Booking flights from Nigeria

You will need:

-Device with Internet access

-Printer (If the airline doesn’t offer mobile check-ins)

-Mastercard or Visa card

I use a price comparison tool which allows for bookings from Nigeria. My favourite is Skyscanner because they have access to a wider range of flights, and if you have a particular airline oyu don’t want to touch with a bargepole, you just deselect the box to omit it from your results. Also, Skyscanner lets you book flights from Abuja, Kano, Asaba, Benin, Calabar, Enugu, Jos, Kaduna, Lagos, Owerri, Port-Harcourt and Warri. Other flight comparison sites are Kayak.com, Opodo.co.uk, and Farecompare.com. I haven’t used these other sites, and I cannot tell whether they accept bookings from Nigeria, so I am not in a position to review them. I have only used Skyscanner, and thus will only be citing them. If you have used any other flight comparison sites that work in Nigeria/Africa, please feel free to share in the comments section

It’s very easy to compare flights. You just need to  enter your location and destination in the “From” and “To” fields, fill in your date and the number of people travelling as shown below:

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 22.07.20

The site then does a small juju that brings up all the flights serving that route on the day, and lists their prices and times so you can just select which one you want. No need to “call for price”.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 22.10.38

You can see immediately that prices are listed in order of magnitude, and that there are no direct flights but I have a choice of whether to go via one stop or 2+ stops. You can select each option to look at the timings and the stops.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 22.15.27

And then go on to fill out all the passengers names and pay if you decide to go on.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 22.16.59

Once you’re done, you get tickets e-mailed to you. You will then need to print them or if the airline supports mobile ticketing, take your mobile phone with you on the day (make sure you have network and airtime!). Personally I would say print it out, due to the unpredictability of mobile networks.

I hope this has been helpful to you, and I’ll try and cover hotels and car hires in subsequent posts.

All the best, and let me know if you find this useful.


I'm an grammar-obsessed writer with a passion for finance, innovation, lifestyle design, tech, healthy eating and who knows what else. Nothing makes my day like a nice, chunky comment on one of my posts to sink my teeth into. So go on, make my day :-)

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