Helpful questions to ask in planning your next trip

Traveling to and staying in unfamiliar places is often confusing. This is especially true when going to a foreign country for the first time. This is why it is not uncommon for people to learn about the foreign country as much as possible prior to traveling. Researching in library or on internet and asking familiar people questions is very helpful in helping you understand the desired destination and its culture.

When you travel to a foreign country, some of the questions you may include: can I legally drive a car? If yes, on what side of the road? Is it left or right? In this post, I am not giving you answers to such questions because there is no universal answer to any question for all the all places in the world. I will rather give you a checklist of number of important questions you should seek answer to when making air travel arrangements, when renting a car, or making a hotel a reservation. If you feel some questions are not important to you, simply ignore them-other readers may find them important to their travel planning needs. Use this checklist to guide your research or questioning your foreign friends.

Questions to ask when making an airline travel reservation

  • Is the air fare the lowest?
  • Are you booking online? If not, try searching for fares on internet on travel websites such as,, and
  • Is the fare cheaper if you choose another fly dates (or time) or if you choose alternate seating arrangement? Is it cheaper if you fly into or out of an adjacent airport?
  • Is there any applicable discount such as frequent flyers, students, children, retired persons, or group reservations?
  • When should you purchase your ticket to get the quoted fare?
  • Is there a penalty if you cancel your flight? If yes, how much?
  • Is this a direct or connecting flight? Where are the stops, if any? Will you have enough time to make a connection flight?
  • What is your flight number and airline name?
  • Will a meal be served? If yes, make sure you specify if you need vegetable food.
  • What are the carry-on or checked-in-luggage restrictions for your airline? Are there any other restrictions?
  • Can you use a credit card (as opposed to paying upfront with cash or check) to purchase your ticket? Check if there any applicable fees for credit card purchase? If you use a credit card, you will have more time (up to 30 days depending on when you have to pay the credit card company) to pay the fare.

If you are renting a car, here is question checklist

  • Do you really need a rental vehicle? Have you considered other modes of transportation such as going by taxi, train/rail, boat, or bus - especially if you will be in a traffic heavy city or won’t need to traveling great distance?
  • Can you get a better deal if you book in advance (online or by phone)?
  • Are there any specials during your renting period? Check if a weekend special is applicable to your renting deal. You may also get a different rate if you choose a lower class or grade car?
  • What is the rental model and size? Is it a luxury, compact/standard, jeep, van, etc.?
  • Is the car satisfactory to your (and to other travelers with you) need(s)?
  • Is there any mileage charge, if yes, how much?
  • Is the car to be picked at the airport? Is there a shuttle service to the car rental place?
  • Can you drop the car in another city? If yes, is there any charge? Do you know the closet place to your final destination where you can drop-off the car? Check with the rental place, if you need help.
  • Do you need rental insurance or does your own auto insurance policy cover your rental car? If you purchase rental insurance, consider purchasing a rental insurance plan that minimizes your liability in case of any accidents.
  • Are there any age restrictions for renting a car in the state or country you are traveling to? Any other restrictions on rental cars applicable to you? Do you need an international driving license?
  • Are you aware of common safety tips? Are you familiar with local driving laws? Can you read and speak the local language to navigate to the final place?
  • Does the rental vehicle have any needed entertainment or navigation system?

If you will be staying at a hotel, here are some questions worth asking

  • If you will be driving to the hotel, do you know the way?
  • Did you make an advance booking, perhaps online?
  • What is the daily or weekly rate?
  • Have you shopped around for the best rate? If this is a business travel, are you getting a corporate discount? Do you qualify for any discount such as for retired persons, family, or advanced booking? Consider checking with competitors (you may be able to do this online with just a few clicks) to get a better price.
  • Is the hotel location conveniently within walking or cab distance of your desired places, on or near the beach, in a quiet town?
  • Is public transportation accessible from (or near) the hotel? Does public transportation serve the hotel guests?
  • What are the parking arrangements? Are you charged – if yes, what is the rate?
  • Is there a restaurant in the hotel?
  • Does the hotel have recreational facilities such as pool, fitness, tennis court, etc.?
  • Does the hotel serve a complimentary breakfast?
  • What entertainment arrangements does the hotel name?
  • What are the fire safety precautions? On what floor will your room be?
  • What is the latest check-in time to get your rate and ensure the availability of your room?
  • What is the expected check-out time?
Posted on 11/24/2007
by Raj Singh