You have just decided to go somewhere exciting and it’s time to hit the “book now” button and buy your tickets. Hang on, before you do so, there are a few questions you should ask. Answering these questions will help you determine whether it’s a good idea to proceed with the flight booking. Don’t wait too long to answer them so you don’t miss out on a great flight deal.
The top five questions to ask before booking a ticket include:
AM I FLYING INTO THE RIGHT AIRPORT?
Most cities have more than one airport and they are usually not built close to one other. Often, you may get an affordable ticket for one airport but the cost and hassles to get to the city centre from that airport ends up not being worth the cheaper rate. Before you book the flight, make sure you are flying into the right airport and you are getting real value for your money. Google Maps is a great app to calculate the distance of the airport you are flying into from the hotel you are staying at.
AM I GETTING THE VERY BEST DEAL?
Many times, people hastily book their flight tickets without seeing if they are truly getting the best deal. While the best bang for your buck is relative (that is, some people consider a cheaper priced ticket the best deal and others consider a direct flight the best deal), it is important to compare with other websites online to make sure you are getting the very best deal for your time and dates. You can compare prices using websites like Skyscanner, kayak, Expedia and google flights.
ARE THERE ANY HIDDEN FEES?
One way a lot of airlines lure people in is by advertising an affordable fare and not disclosing the hidden fees right away… until you are sucked in. Hidden fees could range from baggage fees not included in the final price, seats not included and sometimes food not included. Be sure to look at the fine prints and make sure the fees make sense to you. You often find that after adding all the hidden fees, the flight ticket becomes even more expensive than what you had bargained for. Again, always read the fine print.
ARE THE LAYOVER AND FLIGHT TIMES FAVORABLE?
Some flights come with layover times (periods where you get off the aeroplane and wait at the airport for some time before your connecting flight). It is always advisable to check out the layover times before booking your flight. For international flights, you want to give enough time to get to your gate and board the next flight – I will avoid a layover that is less than 2 hours in the case. For longer layovers, check to see if your airline provides accommodation (if at night) or you might go out to the city in the day and do some sight-seeing.
IS MY PASSPORT AND VISA VALID?
Check if you need a visa to the location before booking. It is also advisable to check the validity of said visa if you already have it. Some airlines will not let you fly if you are travelling at a time that is too close to your visa expiration date. The same goes for passport validity. Most countries will refuse entry if your passport is expiring within at least, three months. My advice with passport and visa validities is to create a calendar with the expiry dates and set a reminder to renew every six months.
Other questions to ask include: Is this website safe? What is the cancellation policy? Do I have travel insurance?
Travel is becoming more and more, a smart game – the more you know, the better your overall travel experience. These five questions, although simple, are often overlooked by travellers, leading to a less-than-ideal experience. Answer these questions and fix any outstanding red flags for greater peace of mind knowing you are all set to book your flight ticket and enjoy a new exciting destination.