So you’ve been busy saving and now it’s time to book those flights! Do you head over to your local travel agent in town or do you browse the web and book the cheapest flight you see? Other travellers I’ve met seem to be in one camp or the other. You’re either Team Travel Agent or Team Online. I’ve booked flights with STA Travel and I’ve browsed Skyscanner to find the best deals. From hearing people’s horror stories, there’s definitely pros and cons to each.
Team Travel Agent
There’s a lot of travel agents out there and a lot aimed specifically at backpackers. The most common one is probably STA Travel. They’re an international company and you’re bound to be near one where ever you are in the world. Both times I’ve been to Australia, I’ve booked my flight with STA. Although I never had any issues I did hear of people who did.
The main benefit of using a travel agent is the support in store. It’s literally their job to help you. Hundreds of backpackers have booked the exact same trip that you’re planning on doing so the staff know the best time of year to fly, the best airlines and where to stopover. If you don’t have any time constraints then let them hunt around for the best deal. STA also give discount if you’re a student or under 26 which is a massive bonus. Another good deal that STA do is a little add-on which allows you to change your flights once your trip has started – ideal for the backpacker who has no idea how long they want to stay in each country for!
A downside to using an agent, is the agency fees. If you’ve got a discount then hopefully you’re still saving money in comparison to booking direct with the airline, but always check you’re getting the best deal! Some people also complain that agents aren’t very helpful if you need to make any changes to your booking. I’ve never experienced this but ask around friends to see what their experience was like with travel agents.
Doing It Yourself
When I say ‘doing it yourself’ I mean booking with the airline direct or using a comparison service such as Skyscanner. I cannot recommend using Skyscanner enough. It’s so easy to compare and book flights and will save you so much money. You can either do it on the website or there is an app to use on the go. If you want some inspiration for where you want to travel to next then you can just select your nearest airport and select ‘To Anywhere’ to see cheap flights to countries all over the world.
When booking directly, the responsibility is on you. You need to make sure that you read the fine print, check what your baggage allowance is and any visas you may need. Find out what the cancellation policy is and whether you have to have travel insurance to fly. Double and triple check all your details before booking. All relatively simple stuff but you would be amazed at the mistakes people make.
How do you book your flights? Ever had any issues with STA or Skyscanner? Comment below or tweet me @frankiegoesto__
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