Is online booking your best option when traveling?
By: Annette Morejon, Owner Daiquiri Tours
BOOKING ONLINE IS OVERWHELMING
Getting ready to plan a trip? Many people these days have resorted to booking everything online when traveling somewhere. But it takes time, sometimes a lot of time, to research the destination, find the right place to stay in, figure out the routing, and then fill in the blanks of what to do and see when you get there. The amount of time spent putting such a trip together can well surpass a 40-hour work week, and often much, much more. There is so much information out there online these days, so many online travel agencies that you can book with, and so many opinions from bloggers, reviews, and advertisements, that it is honestly overwhelming!
But why do people choose to go this route when planning their vacations? Well, usually they believe they are going to save money and get the best value for their vacation. As an avid traveler and owner of a tour operator, I’m here to tell you that you’re better off leaving the planning and booking to someone else. Using a travel company, travel planner, travel advisor (or whatever you want to call that expert) that knows the destination and can do all the work for you is the way to go. What you may not know is that this does not equate to paying more money for that vacation. That company or person you work with is going to know about the best deals, when it is best to travel, and will help plan out exactly what to do when you get there. Not only will you often save time (which alone is a huge money saver as you can do lots of other things with your time) but you will usually end up with a better deal if the travel is packaged (meaning multiple services are purchased together and bundled as one).
It is important to do your homework when selecting that company or expert. Get recommendations from family or friends or check out online reviews for that company or advisor/planner before using their services. Additionally, when booking your travel with a company, you will also want to make sure that they offer 24/7 assistance while you’re traveling. What if something happens when you’re traveling, and you need to make changes or solve an issue? That company should be available to make things right at all times!
If you are wondering what the difference is between the various companies or people that can help you, here is a quick cheat sheet:
- Travel Agency: a company that can sell single services (such as just hotel or just flights) or multiple services and often creates customized programs based on the destination. Often have access to selling the entire world but may not always be familiar with all destinations.
- Travel Advisor/Consultant: Typically works within the travel agency and formerly known as travel agents.
- Tour Operator: a company, both big and small, that packages travel and can either provide standard group tours with pre-set departures to various destinations or can create customized tours or travel packages for either groups or individuals. They may also sell the entire world if larger or may focus on just a few countries.
- Travel Planner/Travel Concierge: a person that normally specializes in a specific destination or multiple destinations that is an expert and knows the ins and outs of the destination. They often don’t work for a company (though they can) and may charge a fee for planning your trip.
If you don’t want just a cookie cutter type of trip that comes out of a brochure, consider using smaller boutique tour operators or travel planners that specialize in the destination you’re visiting. Going with larger companies is not always the best solution, as they will often have sales agents that have never traveled to the destination and may not allow for customization. Though sometimes the pricing is right with them and doing a standard tour is not always a bad thing.
USE AN EXPERT
My advice, save yourself the hassle and stress associated with online searches and find yourself a good travel company or expert to work with for your next trip. You should receive a nice itinerary with everything you’ll need for your trip, including recommendations and other helpful tips. When you leave the planning to others, you’ll have more peace of mind. And enjoy yourself that much more when you get there. And my last piece of advice: if you’re thinking of heading somewhere this summer, don’t wait any longer to start booking that trip! The more you wait the higher those prices will become!
Call us today and we can do the planning, the booking, and the provide the support services for you!