Many people these days are booking travel online and it’s been made fairly easy to do. Having the option to browse and compare the best deals is a great addition to the way we book our holidays. Here is my comprehensive guide on how to book flights online, a step by step process for those that are new to this sort of transaction.

  1. As with most things in life, preparation is most important when booking flights online. It’s the same with booking hotels or car hire online also. You must have worked out your travel destination/s and dates of travel. Having a little flexibility around your dates will be advantageous also as you may be able to find cheaper flights a day or two later or earlier.
    Keep in mind also that you may be given an option to pay more for your flights to be able to change the dates of travel down the track. The cheapest option may not have this flexibility and you will have to travel on the dates initially booked.
  2. Now it’s time to compare various airfares and airlines. With, flights are searched through the following websites: Flight-Centre/ Flights/ Travel/Edreams and lastly, Expedia.
  3. Enter your Departure and Arrival cities into the required fields and click ‘Find Flights’. There is no need to enter your email address at this stage. You can now enter the dates that you desire to travel into the ‘Leaving’ & ‘Returning’ fields and click ‘Search Flights’.
  4. You will now be given a 2 step process. Step 1 is to build your trip. You can choose various options for flights, hotels & car hire. Flying one-way or return, travel class and how many travellers. Step 2 is to compare the leading travel sites for the best deal for you. Click ‘Search’ next to each travel site to open their deals in new separate browser windows.
  5. Now you can browse each of these sites for the best deal you can find. All these websites will have a filter for choosing a particular airline for having stopovers. Once you’ve found the flights you want, click the radio button (circle) or tickbox and proceed to the next step.
  6. As each website is different you will need to follow their process to add hotels and car hire if required. This is usually fairly simple but can still take a little time to navigate. If you’re looking to do a package deal, Expedia is an ideal website for including hotel & car hire.
  7. Once you’ve chosen you itinerary, you will be prompted to enter your personal details including all flying passengers. You may also be able to choose your airline seat here.
  8. Lastly, and unfortunately, you’ll have to pay for your trip! Click on ‘Proceed to Checkout’ or ‘Continue’ depending on the website your booking through. You will be taken to a secure checkout page where you can pay via credit card or possibly PayPal.

how to book flights online

If you’ve booked a return long haul flight for a number of weeks you can always return to the website that you booked through and add internal flights.
Here’s a number of tips & warnings to keep in mind.

  • Carefully read the fine print so that you understand the cancellation policy before you go ahead and book your ticket/s. In many cases you can get a full or part refund if you decide to cancel within 24 hours. This is not always the case however so check the fine print with the airline that you’ve booked through whether this is the case or not.
  • Make sure you have pricing correct for things like room rates. It could be cost per room or cost per person.
  • Subscription services can possibly be ticked as a default, so as you’re going through the booking process, check around the website that this is un-ticked, unless you’d like to join their mailing list.
  • If booking a hotel, make sure it’s in a great location. You don’t want to be stuck outside of your main destination area with no transport.
  • You may find that some countries will not let people in if there passport is due to expire within 6 months. Check the VISA regulations for the countries that you area visiting before booking.
  • Be aware or time zone changes if you’re booking a hotel to match your flights. Having another person check your itinerary before booking is a great idea.
  • Make sure you have the departure & arrival cities correct and not back to front. This is a common mistake so make sure you double check all details before proceeding.
  • Myth. Booking online is cheaper than booking with an agent! The travel agents will generally get better early bird deals than what you will find online.
  • If travelling to the USA, make sure you have all relevant documentation. As of writing this, an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is required to enter the United States.

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