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International Travel for Your Group Could Be Easier
By: Denis Agafonov

What should you know about international travel and how to book right and save money?

First of all, booking a group travel experience can be very frustrating or pleasant; everything is dependent how you book it and what are you trying to accomplish.

Although it is common to check online pricing, when it comes to groups, it is much better to contact a travel professional that specializes in group travel.

Let`s face it, you cannot see full inventory when you trying to book online and suddenly your price for the next traveler can be significantly more…and now you're paying a much higher price for the rest of the tickets than what you expected. Most of online tickets are non-refundable, and some even no-changeable, as well.   

 When it comes to a group booking, a professional travel agent can be your best source to make that group booking experience a positive one.

Make sure to ask your agent if he/she can book your church or ministry groups using missionary or wholesale fares and if someone in the office has group booking experience. When it comes to complex itineraries and long haul international travel to Africa, Asia, Middle East or Eastern and Western Europe, those fares come quite handy. 

For the most part, group travel is considered a group of 10 people or more traveling together on same flights and same dates from same gateways.

One of the great advantages when you book a group space in advance is that you do not need to pay it in full and provide names of travelers right away and only need a deposit to secure a space.   In some cases, the deposit can be fully refunded if you cancel a space ahead of specific deadlines.

Final payments and full list of names are normally due 30-45 days before departure, which gives you extra time to finalize names and final payments with ease.

Missionary fares usually are very flexible and do permit cancelling reservation close to the day of departure or change a return date for a fee.

Please try to plan your group travel well in advance; it is a lot easier to get better deals and better availability for your group if you book 8-11 months in advance. It also gives you more time to set up your travel and promote it to your church or ministry.

Make sure to ask about children and infants discounts; they are satill available on some of the destinations.

Although most airlines had done away with the policy of providing a TC ticket (free ticket, where client is only responsible to pay taxes and fees), but it is still possible to get one with some of the airlines, depending on the season and number of people. Still, it is more common for the airlines to just offer best discounted fare without giving away one ticket for free.

Another advantage on group bookings is that some airlines can blocks seats together in the same area of aircraft for the group experience.

It is a good idea to ask your travel agent to provide you with group contract upon confirming a group fare and reservation that ensures that both parties have a clear understanding of important information; this will illuminate any future misunderstanding.

One of the last things to remember is to always inquire about travel insurance for your group. You want to have a peace of mind that your travelers are taken care of in case of any unforeseen emergency circumstances. That is a very important to step to protect you or your other group members.

Plan your group travel ahead, contact a professional travel agent, book the best option that works for you, and travel with ease.

Denis Agafonov is president of Mission Valley Travel Inc, www.mvti.net





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