So many people are worried when booking their own travel, with the potential of making a mistake. Booking your own trip can be a little tricky at first. Here is the pitfalls to be avoided so you to can save more on travel.
Remember that travel agents need to be paid and are profiting from your purchase. This makes the travel price barrier for travel even higher., but also take the joy you can have from reading and building a trip for you. Yes a travel agent can throw in a free dancing festival for midgets but are you really that interested in the value add. Don’t waist time traveling someone else’s itinerary and be part of your trip from start to finish.
Here are the things you need to make sure you get right when leaving the travel agent behind.
Spell names incorrectly
This mistake I have personally made, and it was not the best, but it was correctable. A simple letter mistake made my travel partner no longer the same person on their passport. I contacted travelstart.com support and paid a small fee, less then losing the ticket. Of course, spelling your own name is easy enough, focusing on spelling is more important when booking for friends or family, watch out for those tricky middle names. Read it once, twice and get someone to check you before you purchase.
Selecting the wrong date
Take time when making a booking to ensure that the days and months are what you think they are. 10/06 and 06/10 looks similar but are very different when it comes to flights. I like to not only know the date month but also the day as it is seldom the 7th is on a Monday in the month you may confuse a date with. If you make this mistake there is an additional fee to correct it. The cheaper the ticket the more focused you need to be in the booking process, it is a money war out there so get a friend to double check your info before pressing purchase.
Not reading or understanding the fine print
I like to use online booking sites that have credibility. If I have not used the site before then I google them and read real peoples comments. In general remember everyone knows someone who loves to complain, one complaint is not the end of a website. Look at what the majority are saying. Unless you are the person who loves complaining, then use a travel agent, you will get far more happiness having a person to complain to.
Things to look out for when booking are
- additional taxes, extra fees or charges on bookings or changes
- the extra charges for extra legroom, extra checked bags, airport transfer or car hire
- cancellation charges etc. etc.
- For hotels check is taxes are included or excluded and what percentage
You don’t have to study the T’s & C’s or fine print but, a simple read through or skimming over of the fine print and highlighting the important information will be fine.
Using a debit card and not your credit card
I have booked, cancelled and re-booked because I had used the wrong bank card. The benefits are very different with different cards.
Some benefits could include:
- Travel insurance
- Travel miles
- Fraud protection
I don’t pay for travel with credit, that is not financially savvy. In reality I use the trip as a saving goal. Cut out the work lunches, coffees, expensive gym membership and make sure you save to travel.
Not checking reviews
You need to commit to be your own travel agent, saving is hard work. Don’t read the propaganda on the hotel’s website. Their business is selling that hotel, the photos will be professionally taken. Any issue will be left off the disclaimer. No one says, ‘Stay with us and our bed bugs in Thailand’ Don’t rely on comments from one travel site. I like to look at both booking.com and trip adviser, for example, before paying. Be careful if there are only a few reviews. The hotel probably wrote all the reviews themselves. I like to have some discretion when reading reviews for personal preferences but if any single review saying bed bugs or rats then the place is removed off the list. Not taking a chance with bed bugs.
Add the luxuries agents can give you
When landing at 1am in Sri-Lanka I arranged the hotel transfer. Yes, it may cost more but the spend was worth it. Agents would have done it for you so do it for yourself. Sometimes I book the first night at a place based on their free transfer policy, especially in countries that have less travel infrastructure.
Look for https:
Look at the website address before you put in your credit card details. The S stands for secure. https: means this is a secure site.
Personally half the joy is researching, planning and booking my holiday before I even take off. Yes, I have left a hotel on arrival and found another one from the sidewalk but that is very rare. Also remember travel is a community and if you are reading reviews from others, get involved and be sure to also write about your experience.
Good luck and be brave, relying on your gut instincts and trusting your ability. Have fun and eventually the money you have saved will be enough to pay for your next trip.