The flight tickets

Air fares are not all alike. This is one of your biggest outlays of cash and it happens before you start travelling. Understanding the differences and options can save you a lot of money. Take some time to shop around for the best deal and donít be afraid to ask questions regarding the stipulations on your flight. Travel agents are a good source of knowledge on which areas are popular, some basic doís and donítís and what is on sale the time of year you are planning to travel. Student airfares: Having an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) with the right flight agency will allow you to get on board at a student price or take advantage of a student package. The great deal with these fares, besides being cheaper, is that they are tailor-made for backpackers. They allow you to be flexible if you need to change your flight dates (sometimes you have to pay a small processing fee), purchase your seat in advance and have no minimum stay. Sometimes you are allowed to stay up to one year without paying additional money.

Published and negotiated fares: These are your regular flights between two established destinations that are serviced by a variety of airlines. You are able to shop around for the best ticket by comparing the different airlines. Check the restrictions on these tickets carefully. Sometimes you are limited to the length of your stay, your ability to change the flight dates, the number of days before you are able to cancel or even get a refund on your ticket, etc.

Seat sales: These are unpredictable and, in most cases, have blackout periods. A blackout period is a restriction on when you are able to fly. The price of the ticket is heavily discounted, but at awkward times. In most cases, you will have to book a ticket well in advance and donít have much of a chance at a refund or changing the dates.

Charter fares: These are seasonal fares to popular destinations. With more people travelling to one spot more often the fares are lower. The choice of destinations is a little limiting and usually has quite strict restrictions on baggage, cancellations, flight dates, and changes. These are first come, first served and the price will vary depending on demand and availability, meaning that each flight could sell out completely or not at all.

Stopovers are good to have when travelling as a backpacker. A stopover is where you have to disembark your plane, and wait for another one to continue on your journey. It adds time and the stress of being herded around a strange airport and waiting for your next plane to depart. Airlines try to give regular passengers the luxury of having the least amount of stopovers before they get to their destination.

And so, why are stopovers good? You can ask for a longer stopover at your destination. This means that when you fly to your ultimate destination, you have an opportunity to travel to another country (your stopover) for free! Sometimes you can have a stopover as long as one year before you have to continue on to your next destination.