Travel, Travel Tips

5 tips for how to quickly book a trip

With all those fare sales (WOW Air’s $49 one way to Iceland) and mistake fares (Cathay Pacific’s business class for $650 from Vietnam), don’t you wish that you can take advantage on some of those ultra cheap fares? Especially, for a surprise getaway with your other half! They’re the ones who bring us joy and make travel more meaningful to create those precious memories that only belong to both of you.

Most of us hesitant to book the fare without any planning first but by the time we are done with the perfect plan, those fares might have been gone! I had regretted a few times on why I didn’t book first? I learned from those regrets and since then I took advantage of those ultra low fares a few times like the $450 round trip to Singapore with Japan Airlines and $290 round trip to Barcelona with Level. Now that I am quite experienced on book then quickly put together a plan that I can share my tips with you.

Does the date work?

Most of the time, those ultra cheap fares only available to travel at certain dates and duration so make sure there’s a date that works with you. You might not have the opportunity to double check with your other half or even your boss so a long weekend usually the easiest since you don’t need to take many vacation days.

Tips: for flights departing or arriving the USA, you can book first and cancel for free within 24 hours if the flight is departing at least 7 days away. Make sure you don’t wait for the last minute to cancel though because not all airlines or 3rd party booking sites make it simple to cancel, some require a call so factor in the wait time! Thus, technically you have almost a day to confirm if the travel date really works with you.

Draft a quick plan

Create a table and list out each day you’ll have from the start to the end of the trip. Remember to discount the arrival and departing days because you probably might not be able to do much on those two days except when you have a very early arrival or late departure. Then, you’ll see from the table on exactly how many “full days” you have. This will help on determining if you should allocate all the days to the arrival city or you can visit more than one place. Or if it looks way too short to really explore the city then that’s when you should consider cancel the flight unless you just want to check off the city/country or have an intro to it and don’t mind on returning at a later time.

Tips: if I don’t know much about the city, a quick start is to Google “top 10 must see in xxxx (city)” to see how many of the top 10 are interested to you. A quick rule of thumb, if less than 3 sites that you are interested in then one full day is probably enough for you in that city.

Book with the right credit card or get travel insurance

Things happen in life so what if something bad/urgent like get sick that prevents you from traveling (hope that’ll never happen to us) or weather related condition that caused flight cancellation? Consider purchasing a travel insurance but make sure you read the fine prints on what are covered.

Tips: Premium credit cards mostly offer travel protection like the Chase Sapphire Reserved that covers non-refundable, prepaid travel expenses such as the cost of the flight ticket if you meet the criteria: sickness, financial issue, weather caused, etc.

Getting ready for the trip

If all the stars are aligned and you are committed to the trip, congratulations! What if the trip is in less than two weeks and you don’t know what to bring? Packing is usually the 2nd hardest part of trip readiness especially if your other half always waited till the last minute to pack (like Jason). How about pack their suitcase? Or better yet if you are planning a surprise getaway then you will need to pack their suitcase 😉 Don’t panic, if you don’t have a general packing list like I do, consult a packing guide, which will provide you with a clear and thorough list of what does and doesn’t need to be included in their suitcase.

As long as you have the essentials, you can always buy more items when you get to your destination. (Not sure where to take them? Check out Ben Groundwater’s blog at 1Cover for some inspiration.)

Tips: remember, some of those ultra-low fares have luggage restrictions such as limited to a 10 kg carry-on bag, otherwise, you’ll need to pay a hefty amount for a check-in bag or overweight fee. Choosing what to pack is important otherwise the total cost would not be that cheap after all.

Document your trip

What a better way to record your memories than documenting the trip, we all will get old one day and might not remember all the details. Don’t worry, you won’t have to hire a camera crew to follow you around throughout your trip.

The Indie Traveller provide a handful of options for anyone looking to document their holiday forever. They suggest options like:

  • Keeping a paper journal (you don’t need to be a professional photographer to do this)
  • Creating a video montage on something like a GoPro
  • Writing a blog like I do 🙂

Go and create those wonderful travel memories that’ll last forever (and don’t forget to share back with me)! Happy travels and good luck in grabbing those ultra-low fares!

Guess where I am heading next? Hint: the cover photo 🙂

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