Three worst booking mistakes

You’ve decided to take a holiday. Good for you! Now it’s time to set your plans in stone, and to start booking. According to Skyscanner Australia, around 70 per cent of us are worried about making a bad booking choice. So, how do you make sure your plans go off without a hitch?

From double-checking correct name spellings to booking the hotel on the right dates, this simple three-step guide will help you make the right booking choices, every time.

Getting the flight dates or times wrong
Sometimes, the peskiest little timing detail can throw your whole travel plan into chaos. Yes, I’m talking about time zones. In fact, about 55 per cent of us actually get the times or dates wrong when booking flights online, according to the Skyscanner survey.

Crossing time zones can be confusing, especially if you’re doing a long-haul flight across multiple time zones. It’s easy to lose track of the days ‘lost’ or ‘gained’ when booking flights and hotels. Even the most conscientious traveller can be caught out by this one.

Tip: to avoid mistakes, make sure to double- and triple-check your dates and times against a calendar, or with another person. Most flight booking websites and travel agents work with the 24-hour system, so it pays to get your head around that format if you haven’t already.

Making mistakes with the fine details
Entering travel information incorrectly can cause problems when it comes to getting through customs or checking into a hotel. When you book a flight online you have to type in your name exactly how it appears on your passport. That means if you have a middle name, you need to write it.

In the instance where you make a name spelling error, you’ll have to submit a name correction form to the airline and pay a fee to change it. The cost of this varies, but starts at around $60. Things become more complicated (and more expensive) if your flight trip involves multiple carriers.

Tip: if you find you have made an error on your flight or hotel booking, give them a call before you panic. Some airlines and hotels will let you get away with minor name errors.

Getting your hotel dates wrong
Let’s say that after 24 hours of air time, you show up at your hotel on the other side of the world, only to discover that you booked the wrong dates – you actually don’t have a bed to sleep in tonight. Yikes!

When you’re facing a night on the streets, the last thing you’ll want to worry about are strict reservation policies and tourist-hardened front desk staff. If you fail to turn up or cancel a hotel booking (especially within a 24-hour window), you can risk being out of pocket.

Thankfully, being kind and undemanding can get you many places, and most hotels are going to have an understanding policy, since flight delays, cancellations and other mistakes are commonplace situations.

Tip: to avoid any drama at the other end, make sure to get a calendar, whether in your phone or in a travel diary, to have in front of you when you book accommodation. If you must change your dates within 24 hours, do so directly through the hotel, rather than the third-party website you booked through. The hotel is less likely to charge a fee if you only move your dates one or two days in the future.

Have you ever made a booking mistake? How did you go about correcting it?

Related articles:
What if you miss a connection?
When should I buy insurance?
Common solo travel dilemmas

Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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