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Ethos Travel

Travel Tips

Why you should call us before booking those flights!

By in Ethos Travel News, Travel Tips Comments Off on Why you should call us before booking those flights!

We have lots of people that contact us after booking their flights to arrange the ‘ground’ part of their trip – often it’s because they have seen an ‘amazing deal’ or booked as ‘there were only 2 seats left’, well at least that’s what they were told.

But, it should be noted…

– 95% of the time we can book the same flights for the same price or cheaper (we work with 95% of the world’s airlines, but are keen to avoid the 5% – mainly as they involve transfers in China or India which can cause transit issues)
– We have access to Tour Operator (IT) fares that you don’t – these are flights that are normally cheaper when booked in conjunction with accommodation, and do not require us to issue the tickets at the same time (so we can build together an itinerary)

However, cost aside these are the most important points:

–  Booking cheap return flights to a ‘hub’ (i.e. Bangkok when you want to goto Koh Samui) can cause unnecessary costs & reduce your holiday time as you have to build in an unnecessary stopover. We will only put you on ‘connecting flights’ that ensure your baggage gets checked through, and you are protected in the event of delays. Otherwise you may end up with unwanted stopovers at the beginning and end of your holidays.
– We can recommend airlines that may fly into smaller airports, avoid stopovers, and reducing flying time at no additional cost (and often cheaper)
– If you book flight inclusive holidays you are automatically ATOL protected. That’s got to be a good thing right?
– We have vast airline knowledge – we’ve probably flown on your chosen airline, aircraft and route and can tell you why we don’t personally fly on 10 across 777-300’s!

The main exception tends to be ‘reward flight’ bookings using your airmiles. We can’t book those for you. But we do book them for ourselves, so at least let us recommend routings before you book to ensure you’re flying to the right airports! However, do note that long haul availability on Avios (the airmiles currency of British Airways) to South East Asia is very scarce – so do look to book almost a year in advance!

Now you’ve booked, now what?

By in Ethos Travel News, Travel Tips Comments Off on Now you’ve booked, now what?

Congratulations! Now you can sit back and start dreaming! But, whilst you’re doing that do take into account you may need to do a bit more planning.

Do you have your travel insurance in place?

– Cancellation cover is one of the most important aspects of travel insurance, protecting you in the event you have to cancel due to unforeseen issues. Our typical example is a honeymooning client who broke his leg playing 5 a-side a week before his wedding. He still got married, but had to delay his honeymoon. His travel insurance cover meant he was covered for all costs in re-arranging his honeymoon.

Is your passport valid?

– For most South East Asian destinations you need 6 months validity left from your date of return to the UK. And at least 2 clear pages should you need stamps. Some countries can be very strict and deny you boarding, so double check as soon as possible

Did the names you give us match your passport?

Your flight tickets MUST match your name as per passport. Are you going to change your name after you get married? In which case you can update your passport prior to getting married, but most people do not as it’s something else to add to your already overrunning wedding list.

Do you need a visa?

U.K Passport Holders don’t for most countries in South East Asia. But for some countries (we’re looking at your Vietnam!) this changes on a regular basis, or you may need passport photos and some US$ cash for a Visa on Arrival (for example, in Laos). Do check with your consultant if you are unsure, as it’s your responsibility to ensure you have correct documentation.

Oh, and for those travelling to Christmas Island, YES you do need an Australian Visa in advance. But you can do it online, for free here:

What about jabs?

Going to Kalimantan? Papua New Guinea? Well, you probably will need to have that discussion about anti-malarials. But for most South East Asian Destinations, you simply need to check your vaccinations for living in the UK is up to date (yes really).

This NHS site offers useful guidance, but if in doubt, speak to your GP. We’re well travelled, but we’re not qualified medical professionals!

What are the terms & conditions?

Well, you can read them all here (Full Terms and Conditions). It’s worth paying attention to things like cancellation and amendment charges, but these are all very standard.  However, we do like to re-iterate you should check over your Confirmation Invoice once you receive it (with your ATOL certificate if you book an ATOL bonded holiday) and let us know if anything is incorrect. Also pay attention to your payment deadlines – and make sure any balances are paid on time!

When will I receive my final documentation?

Our lovely departure pack with final itinerary, any vouchers (which are very rare these days) and copies of your e-tickets in our lovely ticket wallet get sent out 14 days prior to departure.

What about booking specific seats and meals on flights?

Sadly, many airlines now charge for specific seat requests. Good schedule airlines will ALWAYS try and seat you together, but if you want specific seat numbers in advance, please let us know and we will try and assist. We can never book emergency exit seats. If you do not wish to pay in advance, then we would recommend you check-in online as close as possible to it opening (normally 48 hours before departure) as you will have the widest range of seats to pick from. You’ll need a printer handy for your boarding pass, and your passport in case you need to enter APIS information! The Locator you need to access Online Check-In is under your flight line on your final documentation. Please let us know if you’d like it earlier!