Booking Your First International Flight Forget about getting a travel agent-just open your internet and do it yourself. I know it can be overwhelming but trust me it can be fun and in many instances will save you money. It is in the travel agent's interest to sell the most expensive tickets when your goal is to get the cheapest. You also expose yourself to a lot of unnecessary up-selling when you go through an agency. They offer you their partners' hotel rooms which most of the time are low quality or overpriced and their tourist activities which I personally find boring. So here's what you can do: 1. figure out where you want to go (asia, europe, us, russia, etc. you can be more specific and choose a city) 2. make sure you have a visa to enter this country (check visa free countries list) 3. decide when you want to leave and return (make sure it's within your visa validity. if you are employed make sure to check with your employer, too. You want to come back to your job) 4. set a budget for your flight (trips from Manila to other Asian countries normally do not cost a fortune especially if flight is booked 2 months in advance. check online promo sites like ensogo and deal grocer for discounted tickets) 5. have your credit card and passport beside you as you will need to input your details (some airlines such as Cebu Pacific allow over the counter bank deposit within 24-48 hours for the tickets but most of the time credit cards are needed) 6. make sure you have a reliable internet connection as you would not want to waste time re-inputting data when the connection fails as is the case with PLDT 7. beware of the baggage allowance (if you are traveling light, it would save you a lot of money. if you need to bring things make sure to bring only the important ones to avoid paying over weight baggage fees. something to look forward to when you become a frequent flyer is the generous baggage allowance they give to elite flyers) 8. wait for the emailed itinerary and save it on your iPhone instead of printing You can go directly to the airline's website or you can check flights via online travel booking websites which offer not only cheap flights but also hotel deals. For best deals, I compare the direct airlines' cost with Kayak's and Expedia's offers. Here are some of the airlines I have taken: -United/Continental Airlines -Cathay Pacific -KLM -Lufthansa -Austrian Airlines -Asiana Airlines -Air China -China Southern -Cebu Pacific -Zest Air -Air Phil Express -Philippine Airlines I'll do more comprehensive airline reviews in separate posts. If you're thinking of taking one of these airlines in your trip, let me know so I can share with you my tips and experiences. Good luck on booking your flight!
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