First, my friend on a concert tour going to the UK said, hey in between gigs, and it would be around xmas, do you want to come visit, and we can check out the UK a bit. Check. Yes, the idea of leaving around xmas was a great idea for me. So there's the initial idea. I talk about the idea more in a previous post, so here's the mechanics of what I did, rather than the metaphysics which have already been addressed in a previous post.
Of course I needed to look up airfare. Being a non main stream American, I didn't want to go with mainstream products, but didn't exclude them as they might be of value. The products? Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity. Did I look there, yes, but my main engines were: Skyscanner, Cheapoair, Kayak, Ryanair, Flybe. I used Google, and Bing to find European airlines, and blogs on airlines that provided subsequent ideas. This last bunch (skyscanner, etc) aren't in the mainstream of American travel thought...at least I don't think so.
In using these, I found my cheapest airlines for all my flights. I want to add here that I used the Opera web browser with multiple windows and tabs to do some serious comparisons and contrasts with prices, times, and values. I was able to bounce between the windows and tabs to find my information the quickest way. I also did use Chrome when Opera had some challenges, and that takes care of the technology and products I used to package my own literal comings and goings.
Then I really utilized Google Earth. Godsend. It's a fantastic program that when I clicked on a hotel in the Alps that I wanted to look at, it opened up my browser of choice, and went to that hotel's web page where I was able to check costs and locations relative to where I thought that I wanted to go.
The final piece of the technological engine that I used and want to also give kudos to is SKYPE. After using email back and forth a couple of times in booking a reservation, I needed to just TALK with the person for greater clarity on what was needed. I used SKYPE. It worked. It didn't seem to work well with one hostel in Paris, but I'm not sure I can fault SKYPE on that as it worked fairly clearly with the person making the reservations in my hotel in the Alps.
So that's how I pragmatically and literally created my trip...the engine and mechanics of turning ideas into realities. It's your turn, use your power for good, use the technology that's available. Make your life happen. I'm out.