Booking a holiday is exciting and you can feel rushed into locking it in to avoid missing out on a good deal. But many Australian travellers are making rookie errors.
Two in five Australians admit to making mistakes when booking holidays online and, in many cases, this can mean forfeiting the entire cost of an airfare.
The most common error is booking a flight with the incorrect date or time, according to travel search website Skyscanner where 70 million people book flights each month worldwide.
“A holiday is often one of the biggest items we’ll purchase in the year, and a simple slip-up can put a downer on the experience or mean incurring additional costs that we didn’t plan for,” Skyscanner travel expert Michael Grierson said.
The New Daily asked travel experts for tips on how to avoid making the same mistakes.
1. Booking the wrong date or time
More than half of Australians have booked a flight for the wrong date or time.
Skyscanner advised travellers to remember that all flight dates and times will be in accordance with respective cities’ local time.
Flight Centre’s Jason Wolff said Australians often get confused when travelling across the international date line. For example, leaving Australia at 10am on a Saturday and arriving in the US at 6am on a Saturday.
He said the same goes for vice versa, when you lose a day returning to Australia – you could leave on a Saturday night and arrive on the Monday morning.
Former travel agent of 12 years Karen Hofman said flights just after midnight often confuse passengers.
“And unfortunately, they usually arrive 24 hours late and miss their flight,” Ms Hofman said.
She added that if you use a travel agent and they make an error, they will usually be required to wear the associated cost.
2. Getting personal details wrong
Almost 20 per cent have entered in the wrong personal details such as spelling their name wrong.
If your middle name is included on your passport, you need to include it in your international flight booking so that they match exactly.
If you use an online autofill feature that remembers your details, be wary as this probably won’t include your middle name.
3. Forgetting to book check-in baggage allowance
About 12 per cent of people reported having turned up at the airport only to realise that they hadn’t booked a check-in baggage allowance.
This lack of foresight could cost you $50 (on average) to ensure your baggage gets checked in, according to Skyscanner.
Budget airlines rarely include baggage allowance in their basic fares, and this generally needs to be selected as an add-on feature.
4. Booking the wrong destination
One in 10 people accidentally books the wrong city. In some rare cases people have actually travelled to the wrong country – for example, if Australia’s Sydney is confused with the Sydney in Canada.
Check that you book in the correct airport code, not just the airport name, as some destinations have multiple airports – such as Melbourne (Avalon and Tullamarine).
Other common mistakes
- Not allowing enough travel time for a connecting flight that will be taking off from another airport or distant terminal
- The Australian Federation of Travel Agents said another common error was not having six months validity on their passport or having the wrong visa
- Booking connecting flights too close together with two different airlines, where you will likely be left out of pocket if you miss your second flight
- Not leaving enough time to return a hire car which may be off-site