International travel is an expensive and time-consuming exercise. Many of us go on international trips either for business or work related trips, to visit families, for studies in foreign countries or just for a vacation. Here are some tips to make this travel pleasant and easy on you and your pockets.
Planning your trip:
Plan your trip well in advance, if possible. This presents you an opportunity to get better air ticket deals. Airfares for international travels are seasonal. There are three main seasons: Low, Shoulder and Peak. Traveling in peak season is always the most expensive. If your trip is not time bound, plan to travel in the low season to get cheapest and low airfares. For travel in peak season, shop for deals well in advance. This assures you good price, your choice of airlines and your choice of dates. If possible, keep the travel dates flexible, as that would help you in getting lower fares. There is a notion that you can get cheap air tickets if you wait till the last minute. This is not necessarily true and during the peak season, you may run the risk of not getting a seat on any airlines at all.
There are many ways on how you can save money. Many airlines have different fares for weekday and weekend travel. If you are planning to break your journey midway, some airlines offer free stopovers while others charge a fee. Sometimes, direct / non-stop flights are expensive than the ones with one or more stops. Less known airlines can offer hard to resist deals. You can either call individual airlines to get their air fares and then compare or search on travel websites, which offer online booking facilities. While calling individual airlines can be a time consuming and tedious process, online booking sites may not be the right option if you have a few twists in your trip. And both these options may not give you access to the promotional and discount fares. The best bet will be to call a travel agent and let them do the job for you.
Travel agents are a good source to get great deals. They can help you in finding deals with more than one airline and can offer tickets for discounted prices. They have access to almost all airlines and have the expertise to search for the cheapest tickets in the market. Travel agents are a great source of information. Do not hesitate to ask them questions. They can provide valuable tips on how you can save money. Travel agents deal with more than one traveler at a time and hence may not be able to give you the details in the first call. Give them your trip details and give them some time and they can come up with really good deals for you. Travel agents are easy to spot as many of them have websites. A travel agency with excellent customer service is an asset. Some travel sites like [http://www.TravelWorldServices], [http://www.LowfareAlways.com], etc. offer personalized over-the-phone services on travel to various destinations across the world.
There are several travel agencies around the world. However, it is important that you choose the right travel agency, which offers the best customer service at the cost of a few additional dollars. This is better than booking the ticket online or offline through a travel agency who may offer really cheap deal but may end up not delivering you the ticket or not confirming your seats.
So the first step to planning your next international trip is to get yourself a really good travel agent.
Hopping on a plane to go anywhere seems to grow more complex every day. New security procedures and safety considerations trigger a never-ending parade of rules and regulations. This article, the final in a series of six, can help you through the maze. Be sure to collect the entire series.
- Do you have trouble sleeping on an aircraft? Are you a nervous passenger? Pack some chamomile teabags in your carryon! Once the plane is in the air, ask a flight attendant for some hot water and steep a soothing cup of chamomile tea. It may help to lull you into a relaxed sleep.
- If you have connecting flights, make sure that your luggage is tagged to your final destination. This will save you the hassle of collecting luggage, getting through security, and catching your connecting flight.
- Rather than pay the steep fee for headphones, be sure to pack your own.
- Avoid that lethargic feeling – take a brisk walk or work out in the gym before heading to the airport. You will arrive feeling refreshed and ready to face the jostling crowds at your destination.
- Familiarize yourself with all the airport terminals you will be passing through during your trip. You can use the Internet to locate maps of airports. Study them a bit, and carry printouts with you while you travel. If you anticipate a time crunch between connecting flights, study the map carefully before you land so that you will know exactly where you need to go to catch the next plane.
- Airport restaurant food is far superior to what is served on the aircraft. Eat in the terminal before you board and during delays between connecting flights.
- Be conscious of where the emergency doors are located. Count the number of seats to the nearest exit so that you can find your way out in a smoke-filled cabin. Read the onboard information about safety procedures. Then relax! The chances of serious problems are very slim.
- Try to get an advance seat assignment when you book your tickets. This will lower the likelihood of being bumped.
- If possible, see if you can pack everything you need into one carryon. You will save time and bother, because you will be able to circumvent the checked baggage system (and the possibility of lost luggage).
- If you take anti-nausea medication, do so the minute you buckle into your seat. The drug needs time to get into your system before it can be of any benefit to you. Waiting until you start to vomit is too late!
- The most dangerous parts of any flight are take-off and landing. Try to book non-stop flights when possible. You save time and increase safety. Remember, though, compared to all other forms of travel, air is statistically the safest way to go.
- If you wear contact lenses, dry air in the cabin can irritate sensitive eyes. You may want to switch to glasses while you fly. If you do opt to stick with your contacts, ensure that they are scrupulously clean and that you keep them lubricated.
- Do not carry your tickets with you while you are out sightseeing and dining. They are important documents that should be treated with the same care you give your passport. If you do lose a ticket, report it immediately. It may take some time to replace, requiring you to pay for a second ticket up front (while you wait up to several months for a refund).
- To help very young children with pressure changes during descent, encourage them to chew gum or suck on a soother (or thumb).
(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.