Travel arrangements can be tricky and frustrating, but if you follow some simple steps and keep some basic information in mind, you can take away those hair-pulling moments and make your vacation a memorable one. Planning, research and following a simple plan can reward you with travel arrangements that will result in a near-perfect trip.
Confirming the Details
When making your travel arrangements, the first thing you need to do is confirm the events of your trip. If you are traveling simply to get away, you may want to make sure that the weather and general conditions will work for your trip. Maybe you are going for a specific event, such as a wedding or conference. Call ahead to confirm everything is going on as scheduled to avoid possible travel conflicts before you go to avoid incurring cancellation fees.
Booking Your Flight
You next step is booking your flight. Flights are normally less expensive when booking at least three weeks in advance. Research the major airlines and charter flights to find the best deals. Although in some cases package deals can save money, it depends on the destinations. Mexico and tropical areas are usually the best candidates to look at package deals. One other tip is if you are renting a car, in some cases, a package including flight and car can save money. You can use a fare-searching website, such as Kayak or FareCompare, to search for the cheapest flight. Remember, after booking, if you use a major airline, you have 24 hours to change or cancel your flight.
When you get your flights arranged or if you use other transportation, your next step will be to get a reservation for your hotel or lodging accommodations. If you are interested in a hotel, you can use a travel website to find out the general rates and book there, but first you may want to check directly with hotel websites. Sometimes booking directly can save money on hotels, but travel websites also may offer coupons or discounts.
Other types of accommodations include campsites, bed-and-breakfasts or home trading. Camping and bed-and-breakfasts have specific websites, which may require calling in your reservations. Use Google to search for accommodations in the area you are traveling, and visit the website of the one you choose for booking information.
Home exchanging is a a new way to stay in a different city and can save money, as you swap your home with another person.
Whether you decide to rent a car or use public transportation, you will need to know your options and what you decide in advance. Some cities see a shortage of rental cars, so booking in advance is essential. You can reserve a car directly from a rental agency's website or through a travel website.
If you decide on public transportation, you will want to research taxicab rates versus shuttles in the area and make a decision on what is right for you. Keep in mind, shuttles generally take longer to reach their destinations, although they may provide less expensive transportation.
Some cities also offer public transportation, such as metro trains or buses, that are usually a fraction of the cost of shuttles or taxis.
Have a Game Plan
Finally, you will want to make sure that you have researched all of the things that you plan to do and the sites you plan to see. Be sure to schedule your plans so that you leave time to enjoy the attractions you visit.
If it all seems a bit overwhelming to you, travel agents are available to provide you with direction and assistance. Also don't be afraid to call in your reservations. For a small fee, reservation agents for airlines and hotel websites can assist you with your planning.