Sunday, 26 May 2013
THE NEED TO KNOW - BOOKING TRAVEL
Photo credit: Flickr - Paul D'Ambra
Back in the day if you wanted to go on a trip you made a visit to your favourite Travel Agency. It was your one-stop shop for everything travel - airline tickets, travel insurance, cruise bookings, package vacations, rail tickets, bus tours, car rentals, hotel bookings...even RTW tickets. They did it all! They did it all without an extra fee to you. Travel Agents received their pay through commissions earned on almost everything they booked. Add to the fact that they could access hundreds of options plus their immeasurable expertise and you could rarely go wrong. If something did go wrong with the travel provider, your travel agent was there to help you out. Those days of one-stop travel shopping are now gone. Immense changes have occurred in the travel biz and the world. Airlines and other operators stopped or reduced paying commissions to travel agents, forcing them to charge a service fee in many cases. The Internet gave us online travel agencies in the form of Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz. Discount air booking sites surfaced (Cheap-O Air, Kayak) and the airlines websites became a breeze to navigate. Hotel and other travel related pages are at the top of search engine hits. This sheer magnitude of information available at your keyboard (or phone) can make anyone be their own travel agent.
So how do you go about making your travel reservations? Now, of course there still are Travel Agencies, however, it would be a safe bet to say they are not utilized to the extent that they once were. That is one option and one that I think people should not be too quick to dismiss. Despite the changes over the years, many Travel Agencies still provide a valued service and expertise. They can also ease the headache of searching innumerable travel webpages. Just expect that in some cases a booking fee may be required.
But what if you are not using a Travel Agent? Well then the easiest route is, as many of you have guessed, the Internet. It's all there. Which is why many of you may not find this post as helpful as you might have guessed. There is just so much out there and what one person likes about a travel website another may not. The end result is based on personal choice. If you are like me, perusing sites and garnering information is part of the thrill of the "hunt". If not, then perhaps a travel agent (online or otherwise) may the route for you. A site like Trip Advisor, where travelers rate and review much of the travel world, can be a valued resource. Don't forget travel blogs either!
Although this may not have been the most helpful post, I am listing some of my favourite sites and tools for gathering information. Please note that the majority of these sites I have used ONLY to get information.
Bootsnall Travel Indie Travel Guide - I find the majority of this site helpful overall.
Air Canada - I subscribe to their email list and have their mobile app
Westjet - I subscribe to their email list
Air Asia - A discount airline servicing a large region of SE Asia
Air Baltic - A discount airline servicing much of Eastern Europe
Hostelling International - A huge hosteling association worldwide.
EuropeBy - An online listing and booking program for hotels in many European cities.
One World - An airline alliance encompassing 12 member airlines.
Star Alliance - An airline alliance encompassing 28 member airlines.
Thrifty Car Rental - A car rental company.
Avis Canada - A car rental company.
One final note. I, personally, use online sites moreover than using a travel agent. Having worked in a travel agency myself in the past, I recognize their value and benefit. Yet for me, at this time, I find the ease of making simple bookings online my preferred avenue of booking travel. I am certain that the time will arrive when I will take advantage of the services of a travel agent that just can not be matched. However you book your travel, may all of your journeys be amazing.
Disclaimer: The information provided on "Eeva's Wanderings" is meant only as tips and suggestions. I, the author, am not responsible for any harm, injury, loss of life or property or any other misfortune that may occur should anyone act on, re-use or their interpretation of the information provided. I will try to provide up-to-date information but I am not responsible for any information that is out-of-date or incorrect. All opinions are my own and in no way are meant to mislead, defame, harm, humiliate or injure anyone.