So many aspects of our life can be sorted online and there are plenty of opportunities to organize your travel arrangements that way too, but you do need to know how to navigate your way around if you are going to get the best deals.
Travel Booking Tips
Here are some tips and suggestions on how to use the internet to your advantage when booking things like flights, plus some insights on when other tactics might prove more cost-effective.
Working With a Travel Agent
It is always convenient to have a go-to travel agent who you can send an email to and leave them to do the organizing for you.
There are two aspects to that arrangement that need to be addressed. Firstly, it can be a challenge finding someone who you can trust implicitly to get the job done efficiently and for the right price every time.
The second issue is that no matter how good they are at the job they might not always have access to the best travel prices for everything.
A hotel like the College Park Marriott, for example, offers discounted deals for direct bookings, which means that booking your accommodation through an online agent could potentially be more costly.
No Hard and Fast Rules
On the subject of booking a hotel direct for the best rates or going through an online agent, there is no overriding rule that says one option is better than the other.
Price-comparison sites and other online resources might be able to find you the lowest hotel price on some occasions and other times, you could save money by getting a better deal through arranging the booking direct and cutting out the middleman.
The other salient point to remember is that when you are booking through an online site you are probably being offered the basic room. If you book directly with the hotel you have the option of requesting a specific type of room or preferred location, such as furthest away from any potential noise.
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Service and Price
If you decide to leave all your booking requirements to a travel agent make sure you clarify service expectations right at the beginning of the relationship.
Quality of service can often outweigh price if you are looking for someone you can work with and rely on to get you what you want. If the price is the main focus, it is often likely to be more of a no-frills approach in order to keep costs down.
You will have to decide what is most important to you when it comes to service and price.
It also pays to have realistic expectations as to what you can get done online and how far a travel agent can go to give you everything you want.
You can expect a good travel professional will have the experience and know-how to offer useful guidance on trip planning and organizing the booking arrangements but there are certain limits to the extent of their services.
There are very few online agents who offer assistance with your visa applications if you are organizing an international trip, for example, so it is a case of collaboration and sharing the tasks so that you use outside help where available and take care of some aspects yourself.