Planning on taking a holiday? Great! Now comes the tricky part: booking your trip. You can physically go out and make your arrangements, but we suggest you focus on booking the trip online to make the process easier. Here’s what you need to know:
Step #1: Make the choice
Aside from choosing your destination, you also have to decide where to book your holiday. You can go through several avenues:
- Airline: If you’re flying to your destination, you can go directly to any major airline’s website and book your flight there. Doing this usually earns you some bonus miles, but your options are limited to what the airline offers and you still have to prepare accommodations.
- Cruise line: If you plan to take a cruise, you can visit your preferred cruise line’s website and make your reservations. What’s great here is that you have control over your booking, but despite not having a middleman, prices aren’t cheaper. Lodging isn’t a problem since you already have your own room, but if you want other options during a stopover, you’ll have to book them separately.
- Travel agent: Approaching a travel agent removes the hassle of individually booking parts of your holiday tour. You also get more options when choosing the price and schedule.
- Travel packages: You can further save on costs and hassle by getting a travel package since it bundles everything in your trip. One good example is SportTravel.com.au, which throws together lodging, food, travel and tickets to the sporting event.
Step #2: Register online
Whether you’re visiting an airline, cruise line, travel package or travel agent website, you’ll need to register to book your trip. Websites normally ask for details like your e-mail, address, contact number, and number of companions.
Step #3: Pay for your trip
You’ll eventually make your way to payment. Websites usually provide two options: either you use a credit card or online money transfer service like PayPal. But before you hand over any sensitive financial information, make sure the website is legitimate and reputable. Here’s how:
- If the website is already trusted, check the URL to see if you really are in the right website. There are spoof sites that try to pass off as the real thing.
- Check if the website uses HTTPS, which is more secure than the regular HTTP.
- If the website uses HTTPS, your browser would show a green bar (or green text for Mozilla) on the left side of the location bar.
- If the website is unfamiliar to you, paste “http://google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=” in your location bar and then add the website you want to double-check. This would show you if the website hosted malware in the past 90 days.
If you’re sure about the authenticity of the website, then go ahead with your payment. Just make sure you enter the correct details, or your payment might not get through.
Step #4: Confirm your booking
If your payment goes through, you’ll receive an e-mail confirming your booking and listing details about your trip. Check if the details are correct; for any errors, call the website’s customer service numbers. If you need to make any changes after booking your trip, you have to contact the airline, cruise line or travel agent. Take note that there are hefty fees if you do this.
Step #5: Get your e-ticket
These days, travel tickets come in the form of e-tickets. You can still get the regular paper tickets, but you’ll have to pay extra for those. With an e-ticket, you can just show up at the airport and show valid identification to get your boarding pass. However, make sure you have a copy of your itinerary receipt—many immigration offices and airport terminals require them.
Step #6: How to cancel your trip
In case there’s a need to cancel your holiday, contact the tour operator (the company that arranges the travel packages), travel agent, or cruise line/airline. If your ticket is non-refundable, you can get credits for any future trips, although you have to deal with fees to cancel.