Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some Basics - Part 1

There are some very important basics to traveling that can potentially turn any trip into a disaster without preparation. In this series I'll be doing my best to elaborate on just about every aspect of travel from booking, to check in, to security, to finally planting your bottom in the comfy seat on the way to your destination. Between posts I'll answers questions about any segment of the travel process. Lets start with booking.

Booking a flight is pretty simple nowadays. With multiple options available from booking in person, over the phone, or online you can rest assured that you'll get that boarding pass. I have personally used all three methods and I would be happy to share the pros and cons. Although most people will end up booking online, I feel it never hurts to give a little depth.

Getting things together in person presents a significant hassle and is the least recommended way of obtaining your reservation. You are presented with a unique opportunity though. Booking in person allows you the potential of haggling your ticket price. Most likely you're going to have to get a supervisor involved, but saving some cash is not outside of the realm of possibility. Just remember to stay firm yet polite when asking them to drop a couple of bucks off your ticket price. Most ticket agents appreciate kindness more than anyone could imagine, considering the stress they have to endure when re-booking a canceled flight, and are more apt to assist a passenger with a glowing smile and attitude to match. You'll receive extra attention as far as booking and explanations for questions as most ticket agents are willing to spend the time it takes to get you all set. So this is definitely a preferred method for anyone that has any doubts about their flight booking abilities. Just don't forget that you'll likely have to pay for parking while you're there and comparing prices between airlines can be a time consuming process.

Going through the process by phone can provide a similar experience as booking in person without having to pay for parking. You can expect the ticket agent on the other end of the line to be just as helpful as these call centers are set up specifically for people who want to book by phone. This means you won't have an employee that is worrying about other tasks or wanting to rush your check in experience. Chances are, you won't run into any discounts, but comparing prices will be much easier. This method has it's uses mostly when you need to reserve a seat but don't have access to a computer or time to run into the airport. Any phone, any where, any time really has it's conveniences.

Clicking through the reservation process online has become faster than ever. Just about every airline has a website these days with a quick and simple booking process. Click your starting city, click the destination, set the date and number of passengers and voila, you're set. Most of them even have the ability to pair you up with a hotel and a rental car if the need arises. If the airline's website doesn't, sites like Orbitz and Travelocity always have great rates and even package deals from time to time. It's also possible to have multiple web pages open at the same time making price comparison the easiest through this method. If you don't have many questions, and prefer a speed and easy customization, online is the way to go.

When it comes down to it, all three methods can yield the same result, you getting where you want to go at a decent price.

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