Whether it’s a business trip, family vacation or a backpacking mission around the world, booking airline carriers and stay options are as important as destination and dates of travel. These two important aspects of travel make or break our most-awaited trips. In today’s time, there are too many choices but making reservations is not always the most exciting part. Not everyone loves comparing the flights, hotels almost as much as they love to relax, rejoice and rejuvenate. I know people who want everything pre-planned to the T as well as they want the best of all the options. On the other hand there are travelers like me who get an adrenaline rush simply by looking into every microscopic detail, planning the itinerary, shortlisting the travel meccas and searching the best flight and hotel deals. In this article, let us discuss the factors that influence our search and selection of hotels and airlines. In the last 5 years that I have traveled extensively, I have curiously questioned people about their style of travel and their ways of selecting hotels and airlines.
Let us discuss the not-so-flexible travel packages first. They do not give many choices. The agents have fixed collaborations with a list of airlines and hotels and they ask the customers to stick with them only. If you voice your opinion for customized plans and seek help, you do save enough time and stress initially but you must be ready to pay the extra bucks for the legwork and research that the travel agent does. However, if you do not have a price bracket, why worry about anything except the quality that must come at the price paid. So when you only and only want the best airlines and hotels, you just got to tell your tour operator. Even though other luxury hotels might cost lesser, you are not bothered. I recently discovered in Bhutan that there are some customers who are absolutely loyal to certain hospitality groups. Aman Hotels is one of the most expensive brands there but there are some visitors who only prefer to stay there even though it costs a bomb to spend a night there. At the same time, I was absolutely fine in staying in three star hotels and enjoying my lunch and dinners in five stars. Now, that’s my style of travel because I like varied experiences. I keep searching and looking for more options.
Some travelers prefer to do backpacking and therefore they keep away from indulgences. Budget may not be the word for you but sometimes it definitely makes a lot of difference and lends a unique experience. A few years ago when I was fascinated with saving money during my travels, I remember taking my first budget carrier from Paris to Switzerland and back. As things work, budget airlines stick to the absolute basics. Honestly, it was not very comfortable and I was not even allowed to take more than 10 kgs of baggage but it was a new experience. At the same time, I did miss out on my chance to exploring and experiencing the luxuries and comforts of Air France. On my return flight, I was not feeling very well and I realized that budget travel can never take good care of you as expensive travel. Sometimes, it is good to save but not always. Searching for competitive prices is important but one must be equally sensitive to comfort and safety aspects too.
Sometimes I also prefer customized plans as they ensure that one gets enough preparation time. Once your flight tickets, itinerary, activities, trip locations, cost estimations, trip logistics, guides is well taken care in advance; you can easily flaunt and make your friends jealous months before the real trip takes off. When you land at your destination, there isn’t anything that can take away the fun from your trip. But at the same time, if you are too dependent on your tour planner and if something goes wrong, you find it really difficult to come up with a back-up plan. My only advice is that you must check through all the bookings prior leaving for the trip. My friends had flown to Singapore and when they reached there, they realized that the hotel bookings were not made for the same dates as asked by them. At the last moment, the travel agent backed out and they had to go for a not so good hotel.
Now, a lot depends on last minute travels as well as whether it personal of official. This weekend I visited Hyderabad. Since it was work related travel and it was meant for a hectic schedule, I did not have a choice but going with budget airlines and Novotel Airport Hotel. Also, when hotels are to be selected, you might look for a swimming pool or spa facility but for me the vicinity of the hotel, flight timings, amenities, food and accessibility are some of the important factors. So there you see, apart from the price, there are a lot of things that go in selection of hotels and airlines.
I might say I love planning my trip but when I actually sit down to plan a trip all by myself; it involves a lot of hard work. With overwhelming choices, it really becomes tedious to crack the best deal. Too much of comparison of prices leads to fatigue and exhaustion even before the trip begins. Sometimes, it gets difficult to choose the right hotel. With so many biased reviews floating all over the internet, I feel lost and confused. Even the budget airlines or the festive offers are not for real. They might advertise a flight for $30, but then it wouldn’t talk about the added tax, baggage costs and food costs. So what does one do? How do we decide? Honestly, I have made some of the best decisions by taking suggestions from travelers who had first hand experiences to share. Second, I read reviews and analyze them against one another. In fact, here I would also like to add that we must share our real stories and experiences on review portals if we give feed backs. A number of people have been using it as a blackmailing tool and others are using it to get freebies and free stays. Let us share our real search stories. Let us call a spade a spade but we must appreciate the one who is making all the efforts to set it right.
Do tell me how do you search for hotels and airlines and give me one helpful tip in the comment below.