Being that we live in the Middle East and one of our trips has been unceremoniously upstaged by the ever-so-popular civil uprising, I've picked up a few travel tricks for a couple of globe trotters just looking to get around.
1. When traveling to or from the Middle East, book directly through the airline. We've probably ended up paying a little extra by doing this, but it's saved us in the end. We booked directly through Egypt Air for our cancelled trip to Cairo in February, and as I've previously mentioned, we were able to get a full refund because of it. It also probably didn't hurt that we were in the cheaper fare class because we weren't flying transatlantic...but let's not dwell on the details.
This weekend, I had the delight of contacting KLM to redirect our flight to Berlin in April. We booked this travel with Bahrain as our point of origin way back in January--long before any of this mess in Bahrain had started up. BUT, now that Bahrain has declared 3 months of martial law, we thought it best to look for an alternative beginning and ending point.
I called KLM, explained my situation, and was able to change our plans FREE OF CHARGE! I'm certain this was only so easy because we'd booked directly through the airline instead of through a discount website. As long as we're living in the Middle East, this will be the only way we go.
2. Use the travel sites for everything else. Thanks to my sister who is in the industry, I've found out about fantastic "members-only" travel sites like Jetsetter, Voyage Prive, and Snique Away. While these sites usually provide me with some fantastic daydreams of Kenyan safaris and rain forest get-aways, we've been able to book some really affordable travel through them now and then. Our trip to Berlin is a direct result of a killer sale on Voyage Prive.
The links above are invitations, so click away and register. They're totally free to sign up--absolutely no commitment except for the occasional email in your inbox tempting you with fabulous all-inclusive vacations.