Booking a trip online is nothing alien to people who know how to navigate the internet, but for people who tremble at the thought of entering their credit card numbers to pay for it, this might pose a problem. If you belong to this category, don’t turn your back just yet. The truth of the matter is that booking a trip online is safe and secure. Just ask the thousands who do just that everyday. Oh wait…It’s tiring to ask thousands of people. Besides, do you know thousands of people personally? Anyway, just give it a try. Others have.
To get you on your way to it, here are suggestions on how to prepare for booking a trip online.
- Prepare the hardware that you need to go online. You’ll need a computer, internet connection, internet surfing savvy, and a credit card to pay for the trip.
- Don’t fall for econo-fare promotions. It’s a bidding war out there with airlines and luxury ships competing for your attention so they offer econo-fares that are very cheap. When it comes to your safety, it is a big deal to go with trusted names in the travel industry. Book your trip with a trusted and well-known airline or luxury liner. If you are aiming for frequent flyer miles, place a phone call to the airline to clear this up before booking your flight online. Still not sure which airline to go for? Well, Ellen Degeneres pitches American Airlines which supposedly knows why you fly. Check their website out for an ongoing promo on great European deals at aa.com.
- Figure out if you’re really saving some money when you book online. For this you have to do some legwork to compare price points to determine if you want to book your trip online or if you’d be saving more when you book it face-to-face at the travel agency or the airline office. Read the fine print on the website because there will be deals that scream rock-bottom prices only to exclude the information that the passenger will have to take care of all travel taxes and must only hand-carry luggage onboard the plane. If you happen to stumble upon the same promo in the newspapers, cut these out for reference.
- Never compromise anything. In your quest to book your trip online, you might be forced to comply with restrictions like the type of airplane, overbooking, refund arrangements, lock-in-schedule flights (which means you cannot re-schedule or move your flight to another date for unforeseen circumstances), and the most dreaded series of connecting flights. All these will take a toll on you so do not compromise anything if you don’t feel like it.
- Test the contact numbers you see on the website. Most, if not all of these numbers are toll-free anyway so do your homework by calling these numbers to check for legitimacy and professional, courteous customer service. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself stuck in some strange airport facing an airline mix-up with no number to call and no person to seek help from.
- Read the forums. Forums are online communities that talk about their experiences with each other. If you want to book your trip online with your chosen airline or luxury cruise liner, look it up online to check what people have to say about the service, promotion, and everything else. Nothing beats word-of-mouth for honest-to-goodness feedback and reviews.
Lastly, make sure your service provider is a legitimate member of the American Travel Association, the American Society of Travel Agents, and the U.S. Tour Operators Association.