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Questions to ask before booking your trip of a lifetime

Depending on your personality type, overseas travel can be exciting - or completely overwhelming. By asking the right questions of those in the know you can make the experience one to be remembered for its ease of travel rather than a comedy of rookie errors.
Questions to ask before booking your trip of a lifetime

Here is a checklist of things you should be asking:

What’s the weather like when you want to travel?

Always ask about the weather. You may think you know summer from winter but the world has a way of every so often introducing howling gales to Cape Town in January, tornados to Mauritius in October and snow to Lesotho in December. It’s better to at least know the risks before booking.

When is peak season and what does that mean?

Peak season is determined by the type of tourism that makes a destination popular. It could be for weather, shopping or a popular seasonal activity. If the reasons for your travel don’t include these, then travelling out of peak season may be much lighter on your pocket as travel and accommodation prices are often increased over this time. It’s worth enquiring about whether the destination is still worthy of a visit outside of its peak season.

What are the visa requirements?

Visa rules and requirements often change for several reasons and even if you think you know what your document requirements are, always double and then triple check with your travel agent that you have exactly what you need for each traveller, and for every destination.

How long is the journey end to end?

A week away in a foreign country sounds like bliss, but when you factor in check-in and boarding time, a 17-hour flight with stop-overs and then a couple of hours travel time from the airport to your hotel, you’ve shaved four days off your holiday just getting there and back. Find out exactly how long it takes from door to door and plan accordingly.

Should you book day tours or explore on your own?

If you are planning to do some sightseeing in a place you have never been to before, you might like to book a tour. But how do you know which ones are reputable and whether it is easy enough to save the money and explore off the beaten track. Although that could be unsafe. Doing plenty of research on this matter could save you money or even save your life!

What is the healthcare like?

Is there any likelihood that you may need medical care? Ask what sort of care you can expect if something goes wrong and you require medical treatment. Especially specialised care. Even if you have medical insurance is it worth the risk if the nearest hospital is a few hours away if there is any chance you will need help?

What’s the luggage weight limit?

Don’t make the mistake of booking a cheap holiday only to find you are paying the equivalent of the trip in baggage fees. Ask when you book the trip and then ask again a few days before you start packing. You might be familiar with baggage regulations for domestic flights South Africa, but airlines differ on this matter, so if you are travelling on international airlines makes sure you know what the baggage weight limit is.

What laws are important for me to know?

One way to endear yourself to the locals of your travel destination is to be fully respectful of their laws. No country looks kindly on foreigners breaking the law and assuming they can get away with it. Do you know that it is illegal to chew chewing gum in Singapore or that you may not wear high heels in certain areas of Greece? Do your research before you go and be respectful of the law to avoid having to negotiate bail costs in a foreign language.

Colleagues, friends and travel agents are a mine of information that help ensure that your trip of a lifetime leaves only the best memories – but only if you ask.


11 Apr 2018 15:13