Plane Ticket from Edmonton, Canada to Siem Reap, Cambodia

The quote I got from Ivy at the Unity Travel was a no brainer. Being able to fly all the way to Siem Reap, Cambodia from Edmonton, Canada for $1,250 return, all fees and taxes in was better than expected. I knew this was it and I had no doubt whatsoever that I was gonna call her up the following day and purchase the ticket. The only decision I still had upon me was whether I should put off my departure until September 10, 2009 to get this attractive price, or move it up to originally intended August 31, 2009 but pay an additional $200 on top of it.

While $1,250 was without doubt an attractive price, if I were to take it, I’d have to house myself in Edmonton for additional 10 days. I have already made arrangements with the on site manager of the apartment building in Edmonton’s Inglewoods where I was staying that I’d leave at the end of this month (August). In order to stay for additional 10 days, I’d have to make new arrangements and pay for extra time spent on the premises. This would cost more than $200 so what I would save on the plane ticket would be spent three fold on accommodation. Furthermore, cost of living in Canada is much higher than in Cambodia so food and all other provisions I’d need during the additional 10 days of my stay in Canada would vastly outgrow the $200 needed to depart before September 10. But most of all, there was my ever growing desire to get on the road as soon as possible.

Needless to say, I’ve purchases the plane ticket departing for Siem Reap from Edmonton on August 31. I was ready to leave and wanted to do it at first available chance. $1,450 was still an amazing price for a ticket from a city like Edmonton to a destination like Siem Reap. Plus unlike all others, Ivy has hinted that this would work as an “open return” plane ticket, which means that once you’re abroad, you’d be able to set the date of your return.

Having an option to return would give me great peace of mind. That’s why I was not looking for one way tickets. With return tickets, should there be a need to come back to Canada – whatever the reason, I’d have that return ticket in my pocket so it would be a matter of making arrangements to set up a date with Korean Air. However as Ivy had explained to me, in order for her to book the ticket, I’d need to give her a preferred day of return as it is mandatory to have it booked for some day, but I’d be able to change it should there be the need.

After a little bit of consideration, I have decided to book my return flight for mid January, 2010. As I have learned in January of this year, flights to the islands in the Caribbean are very cheap after at the beginning of a new year ending the period of extremely high priced tickets available for Christmas and New Year holiday seasons. So if I were able to return to Canada in the middle of January, I’d be able to take advantage of inexpensive flights to the tropical zones of Central America, moving me on at my quest to travel around the world.

And that’s precisely what I have booked. I am leaving for Siem Reap, Cambodia on August 31, 2009 from Edmonton and have the return flight booked for January 15, 2010 to take me back to Edmonton, with the possibility to change the date of return flight provided that the new flight of choice still has seats available at the time of rebooking. Sounded great to me. I paid the money, got my conformation email so now my flight was booked and my start up trip set in stone. It has ended the unceasing quest for cheap ticket to an exciting location to start off my round the world travel. I was able to start focusing on other things that still needed attention.

Car Rental Reservations – Advantage of Booking in Advance

When I checked the car rental prices for a decent automobile in the Dominican Republic when I started looking for cheap plane tickets to embark on my worldwide travel, the prices were more than reasonable. I just wanted to get a hint on what to expect as far as prices for different classes of vehicles are concerned, but made no reservations. I did not have the plane ticket purchased yet and deemed it important to have the plane ticket first so I know the exact day and time of arrival in my destination. Without the plane ticket I wouldn’t know which date to book my car rental for so I merely checked prices and left it to deal with it after I have had my flight arrangements taken care of – BAD IDEA!

I went to check the Avis website the following day since plane ticket prices increased significantly overnight and I could not believe my eyes. Car rental prices, even with Avis coupon grew almost twice fold. If I made a reservation today, instead of the day before, I would pay more for Kia Rio than I would have for Suzuki Grand Vitara yesterday. In other words, had I made a reservation yesterday, I would pay less money and have myself a nice SUV, whereas today I would have to pay more but would get a small passenger car which is three classes down from SUV. SUV rental prices grew way beyond reasonable and were out of question.

If I was frustrated with unprecedented growth of plane ticket prices overnight, unexpected growth of car rental prices made it even worse. And then I realized what kind of stupid idea it was not making a reservation in advance, even though I didn’t have the exact day and time or arrival. See, unlike with plane tickets, car rental companies are very flexible with their reservations and making any changes to it, including cancellations is easy and costs you nothing (at least when dealing with companies like Avis). That means that one should make a reservation on the spot when they see a good price, because even if your dates change, you will be able to easily modify it. And if you are unable to make the trip, you can cancel the reservation and the life will go on. There are no cancellation fees.

Don’t be like me. If you see a good price for car rentals, make a reservation. If you put it off till tomorrow to think about it overnight or to find out exact dates – by the time you have returned to their website, the price could be different and you will have missed the opportunity to have a car rented on the cheap. You have nothing to lose if you book well in advance. Not doing it may result in overpaying later.

The way it works with car rental companies (for the most part), is that you don’t pay your rental fees until you have returned the car. Your credit card will not be charged until after the rental period (this is also in case you cause damage to the rented unit so they can charge you full amount, including the amount to cover for damage you have caused). As such, if you make a reservation online, they will just take your credentials (Avis doesn’t even collect credit card number, just name, email and phone number) and the car is booked for you. You come, pick it up, drive it, and when you are returning it, the representative will inspect it and you sign the papers so they can charge you what you have agreed upon when you were making reservation.

There is really no reason to hesitate with reservations. The fact that you can easily modify or cancel your reservation for no extra fee makes for the biggest advantage of booking your car in advance. I’ve learned my lesson here so from this point on, each time I was planning a trip to a country where I might be interested in car rentals, I’d check for the best prices and if I saw one I liked, I’d make reservations on the spot. Because if I changed my mind or something changes in my plans, I could easily pull back from it or modify it as needed, including change of countries. Take advantage of early booking because there really is nothing to lose. But do verify the fine print. I know for sure it works this way with Avis, but I’m not familiar with terms of service of every car rental company out there.