One of the most frequently asked questions when travelling is “How far in advance should I purchase my airline tickets?”
Most experts agree that as long as you purchase your tickets within two to three weeks of travel, you are most likely getting the best price. Contrary to popular belief, buying the tickets extremely early is also a bad practice, as companies tend to charge more for flights when they first come out. Another guideline is to not purchase your tickets within 24 hours of the flight, as airlines often increase the price or charge more for a walk-up counter purchase.
Another question often asked when booking travel is “What day is the best day to book a flight?” This is another case where popular myth comes into play. While the price does change on certain days of the week, the price usually only varies from around $10 to $20 at most depending on the season and the transition from off-peak timeframes to peak travel times.
Travelers also often ask about the best time to take a cruise. Due to supply and demand, cruises are usually cheaper in the spring or the fall. The length of the “cruise season” for certain locations can also have an impact on those dates. For example, a cruise to Alaska is only available from May to September and the prices remain relatively static and unchanging.
Another question often asked by travelers is whether or not to purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance is a good idea every time you travel, but especially critical for those travel arrangements that cost in excess of $4000 or $5000. The bottom line is, travel insurance can help ease the anxiety and prevent significant losses due to any unforeseen issues that may arise that may affect or force you to cancel your travel plans.
Questions about passports or visas are another frequent item that travelers need to be concerned with. Some countries require a visa no matter the planned length of stay, while others only require a visa if you trip duration is greater than 90 days. The U.S. Department of State provides information on most countries for American travelers, to include entry and exit requirements, travel alerts and warnings, and visa requirements. Travelers should also contact the countries consulate to obtain information on visa requirements as different countries will have different requirements, costs, and even length of time required to secure the visa prior to travel.
Finally, for novice travelers, “What do I do if I miss my flight?” is a huge concern. There is nothing more stressful than missing a flight. No matter the reason for missing your flight or connection, the first step is to contact the airline. If you miss a connecting flight, usually the airline will book you through to your destination, especially if the missed connection is due to delays in the previous leg of the flight. Additionally, if the circumstances that prevented you from getting on your flight were outside your control (known as the “flat tire rule”) and you arrive within two hours of the flight, they will place you on standby for the next available flight.