Navigating the booking process
Updated: Jan 17, 2021
So you’ve been placed at camp - fantastic! Now you need to figure out how to actually get there. With the internet, you are bombarded with sales, taxes, layovers. There is a sea of information at your fingertips, and trust me it gets overwhelming! Here are a few tips to help you through the booking process.
Use Skyscanner as a good research tool
Researching the different travel options can be a lengthy process. Diving into the unknown can be daunting as you don’t know where to start. I discovered Skyscanner through an online advert on a different travel website, and I haven’t looked back since.
I use Skyscanner at the start of my flight research. It compiles every airline ticket out there; with multiple routes, nearby airport options, number of layovers, price, by the month etc. The possibilities are endless. It really breaks down how you want to travel and shows you the comparisons. It is such a time saver! Yes, you still have to do some research into what they are actually offering, but as an overview it is great.
First time traveling alone?
If it is your first time traveling alone, I would suggest booking a direct flight - if you can. It will more than likely be more expensive but it will be a less stressful journey overall. With a direct flight you only have to check in once, go through the security once, board a flight once, wait for baggage once. You do not need to worry about delays, connections, baggage, immigration etc. Traveling directly can make the journey more enjoyable.
If you can’t travel directly, I would suggest that if you are making a connection make it outside your of your final destination country. When you first enter the destination country you will have to go through immigration, which can be timely. Unfortunately, you may miss your connecting flight, which can create a chain reaction of problems. When you are traveling alone for the first time, this is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone!
When I booked my first trip to Canada, I just graduated and I didn’t have a job to come back to, so I was as free as a bird. Because of these circumstances someone suggested adding a flexi option to my return flight.
Flexi option means that you pay a little more than the basic economy but it gives you the ability to change your return flight without a charge at a later date. When you are traveling, things are unexpected and you might not want to be confined by your original plan. Your travels could take you to a different city/country, you could stay longer than you expected, you could even extend your employment, and so much more.
This option was great for me, it gave me the flexibility I needed. I actually extended my employment my first Canadian summer, and having this option saved so much money in the long run. Another plus was that it cut out any stress about changing my travel plans and was only one phone call to organize.
When booking your flights, you want to be safe and protect yourself during this transaction. This starts from where you are booking to begin with. I would advise you to do your searches and bookings on a separate incognito window. By doing this, it protects your browsing history, cookies, site data and any information that you enter into any form or booking system. By being incognito, you can book in confidence that your personal information is not being shared.
Another tip is that I would book my flights using a credit card. (No worries if you don’t have one!) The reason I bring this one up is because in recent years, travelers have been stung with airlines going out of business and been left stranded. If you book your flight on your debit card, it could be more difficult to get your money back if something like this happens.
Even if the airline goes out of business, I have peace of mind knowing that I will get the money back easily when booking via a credit card. This is because my money is protected via my card’s insurance. The only hassle I will have is to find another flight, but that’s better than the alternative in the long run.
When to actually book
Contrary to popular belief, there is no magic time to book your flight. Most travel websites say the cheapest time to book your international flight is at least 3 months before you are traveling. They say that after this time the ticket price will slowly increase week after week. So if you are looking to save some pennies definitely keep this in mind.
My top tip is to sign up for airline emails. These emails will let you know of any sales that they are having. Another helpful thing is to sign up for flight alerts, this will inform you when the prices increase or decrease, and help you keep track of pricing trends.
Skyscanner - www.skyscanner.net