We know that many travelers prefer to book their own flights - this can have many advantages in terms of flying from your home airport, choosing your own seats, upgrading your seats, and using and collecting airline miles. You may even be able to find a better price. Please weigh your options carefully and choose the one that is best for you.
Booking your own flight:
There are many advantages to booking the smarTours Tour-Only package and arranging your own flight.
- Home Airport: First among the advantages of booking your own flight is flying from your home town airport, rather than needing to book a separate connecting flight to the group flight departure point. A connecting flight can often be a source of stress if there are any cancellations or delays in reaching the group flight departure point.
- Seat Selection and Upgrades: When you book your own flights, you may select your seats as part of the booking process, and even choose to upgrade if you prefer. With group flights, you are auto-assigned a seat within your group block and may have limited options for indicating seat preferences or selecting upgrade options until check-in time at the airport. You may also use or collect frequent flier credits.
- Using and Collecting Airline Miles: Booking your own flight allows you to use and/or collect frequent flier miles from your preferred airline or alliance. Group flights cannot be booked using miles, and, depending upon airline policy, may not allow you to collect miles either.
- Flexibility: Booking your own flights also allows you to spend more time in the destination if you wish, either before or after your tour. The group flight only goes on specific days and cannot be amended. If you need to make changes, you will have the flexibility to update your flights with the airline directly.
When you book your own flight, ground transfers are not included and you are responsible for making your own way to the tour starting point, usually the first hotel listed in the itinerary. You can find additional details about traveling Tour-Only and arrival day logistics on the "Before You Depart" page for your tour.
Booking the smarTours flight:
Traveling on a smarTours group flight is available on select tours. When you book the Air-Inclusive package, you can expect the following benefits:
- Ground Transfer: When you travel on the smarTours group flight, your arrival and departure transfers are included. You'll be picked up upon arrival at the airport in your destination and dropped off at the airport at the end of your tour.
- Price Lock: Booking the group flights means you lock in the price for your flight early, paying only a deposit on your trip at the time of booking. The remainder can be paid at the time of final payment.
The group flight can be added to your booking up until your final payment due date without incurring any additional fee. However, the flight price is not locked in until it is added to your reservation, and group seats are limited per departure and may sell out before this date.
A Note on Flight Prices:
smarTours often receives no pricing advantage over individual published ticket rates. In some cases, you may find a cheaper journey price by booking directly from your home airport, rather than purchasing both the group flight and a connecting flight. smarTours flight prices are inclusive of servicing fees and the airport transfer.