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
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.