September 8, 2008

Plan in Advance to Get Best Deals

ONLINE travel booking sites are fast gaining popularity among travellers. Many cited convenience and the attractive deals offered by Web site hosts as the main drawing factors.

For Universiti Putra Malaysia lecturer, Zainor Izat Zainal, the best thing about online travel booking is that there is no need to go through the hassle of booking through the phone.

"I like the idea that I can browse through the variety of available flights and range of prices at my convenience and later choose the best one," she says.

Zainor does not really set a time to log in for buying airline tickets online. "Whenever I feel like travelling, I'll log in and see what the Net has in store for me. So far, I haven't had problems with online bookings. The only problem is the slow uploading/ processing, but I guess that's normal during peak hours."

To get the best deal, she advises people to book a couple of months in advance because the chances of getting cheaper prices are higher. "Other than that, always compare the range of prices offered by different airlines," she adds.

Accommodation-wise, resource manager Jasmine Chong Kwai Fun says one has to shop around first to get better room rates online. For her, reading the reviews provided by online Web sites is a must.

She adds that there are not many Web sites which offer cheap deals when making last-minute bookings.

Hotel Web sites are the main choice for trainee lecturer Dr Ezura Madiana Md Monoto when it comes to hotel bookings. She would select the destination and look at the respective hotels' facilities and current offers - particularly the "Internet hot deals" that are cheaper than the standard room rates.

"I usually book at least a month earlier. But even just one week before (your travels), you can find irresistible Internet hot deals," says Ezura, adding that she has used such service to book rooms in Damai Laut Swiss Garden, Colmar Tropicale, Kapas Island Resort and Guoman Resort Port Dickson.

She highlights that these Internet deals are only valid online.

"The thing is, you will definitely need a credit card. But it's a much easier way. Just watch out for those credit card bills!" Ezura cautions.

Airline and accommodation portals

1) Malaysia Airlines ( The site offers visitors everything travellers need from the airline, from destinations, online bookings/payment and baggage information, to customer care and shopping.

2) AirAsia ( Easy to navigate site. Users can make flight bookings, view flight info, check and change booking details, view products and shop, and ask for travel services.

3) Fire Fly ( Malaysia's first community airline flying from Penang and Subang to exclusive destinations in Malaysia and Thailand from as low as 99 sen. Compared to MAS and AirAsia, the Firefly portal is much simpler.

4) ( A global online travel reservation system designed to save on time and money. Visitors can shop 24x7 for the best deals on airline tickets, hotel rooms, vacation packages, car rentals, cruises and travel activities instantly and securely.

5) Asia Web Direct ( Provides visitors with comprehensive and updated travel information, tour packages and instant hotel room availability checks to make their reservations in advance. Clients are serviced by teams in call centres in Phuket, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, offering a helpful and swift service to facilitate confirmations, queries, itinerary changes and troubleshooting.

6) ( A one-stop Internet travel reservation and information reference gateway for Malaysia. It offers a full range of travel services online, including ticketing, hotel and tour reservation, facilitating traveller research and planning before they reach the destination. Users need to register as members for transactions.

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