Monday, May 02, 2005

Travel Arrangements

Travel Arrangements

It's difficult for me to make travel arrangements when my client can never give me a definite confirmation for the date of our meeting. It's alright if I'm travelling to Indonesia or Thailand as there are many daily flights available to those countries, not to mention a choice of budget airlines too. But tickets to less popular business destinations such as Sri Lanka can be quite difficult to get if you do not book early. Hotel choices are also very limited and expensive. Travel agents also make life difficult for you by insisting on early confirmation for hotel bookings with full prepayment for the entire stay.

I make a lot of my travel arrangements online. I wish there are more hotels like the Millennium Sirih Hotel in Tanah Abang, Jakarta--I can always get a room there through the Internet, even at the very last minute. Their rates are also quite reasonable--I especially like the "no breakfast" option, as I usually don't take any and don't like it bundled into the room price. More importantly, I don't have to prepay for an x number of nights. You see, when you go on business trips, you are never quite sure how many nights you are going to stay. So if you are to cut short your trip due to whatever reason, you lose out because you have already paid the full amount to the travel agent.

The good thing however about some prepaid packages is that they can be very good deals. The rate that you get if you book directly with the hotel are undiscounted list prices. Travel agents--both online and brick-and-mortar ones--usually give you a better deal but you have to commit yourself to the package and the inflexibility that comes with it. The general rule is that, if you choose to book last minute and still want complete flexibility, then be ready to pay premium price for it.

I'm glad that the world is going back to work tomorrow. All these public holidays are no good for me as I cannot get things done. I've been sitting in KL for far too long already and I'm getting stale, lazy and restless. I need to start travelling again. I've already got my flight tickets, now I need to decide on the hotel...

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