A complete guide to booking travel online including what to look for and how to get the most from your holiday.
A guide to help those looking to book their travel and accommodation online.
The traditional way to book a holiday involved browsing through directories, phonebooks and brochures, compiling a list of suppliers and contacting each supplier individually to compare prices, view availability dates and confirm your bookings. The birth of travel agents made this process a whole lot easier by providing a single point of contact for your accommodation and flights. With information on a large range of suppliers, those travel agents could quickly compare prices for you and help you to book and pay through their own systems.
With more and more people using the Internet for research and a greater level of trust in making payments online, booking travel online has greatly increased in popularity and has taken a good share of the travel agent’s target market. As well as the ability to visit an individual supplier’s website to confirm a booking for car hire (for example), today’s Internet user can visit a single website to book all of their transportation, accommodation and sight-seeing needs and may even find deals on hotels such as Melbourne Hotels and various discounts on attractions and accommodation that might not have been available through other channels.
This one-stop-shop method can save a great deal of time spent on leaving the office or home and physically travelling to a travel agency and waiting in line to speak to a representative, particularly when booking your holiday during your coffee break! Through a good online travel agent, you should be able to book every aspect of your holiday package from the moment you leave your house to the minute you return with your sun-tan and souvenir t-shirts.
The flights that an online travel agent can provide you information for and book you on will depend on their own relationships with airline companies. It’s worth making sure that the website presents a range of information and available flights from the majority of airlines that travel that route rather than just one airline. However, if the website has a good relationship with one particular airline, they may present and feature more options from that airline than they do from other airlines. This isn’t always a bad thing as a good relationship with an airline could mean better discounts on flights and better savings for you. Cheap flights and hotel deals often go hand-in-hand and may presented to you as part of a featured package so it’s a good idea to browse the website for any available deals and promotions.
When booking your flights online, you should be able to choose your preferred departure date and return date as well as the number of passengers in your party. This is obviously a good place to start when planning your holiday as the availability of flights will be the biggest factor that determines your travel dates.
Once your flight has landed and you have arrived at your destination, you’ll obviously need somewhere to stay. Searching for the websites of individual hotels in a particular area can be very time consuming and you can easily become distracted by impressive hotel website animations, videos and photographs. Your online travel agent should be able to present you with a number of accommodation options for the particular area that you wish to stay in, be it overseas or one of the fine Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin or Queenstown Hotels here in New Zealand. These should be presented to you in a format that allows you to easily compare the options, prices and star ratings of each particular provider with available rooms for your chosen travel period, and then give you the facility to click that option and find out more information.
You may also be able to view current promotions at a particular hotel so that you can find the most cost effective option for you and your group. If you’re not limited by the area that you wish to stay in and you are more interested in other factors such as price, rating or room facilities, you should be able to sort the available options so that only the most relevant hotels are presented to you.
After settling into your hotel, you’ll need a way to get around the area so that you can see more of what the region has to offer. Public transport is great and can be a cheap way to visit some quality attractions, but for maximum freedom you’ll probably be keen to hire yourself a car.
Finding car hire for your trip can be as much of a hassle as booking your flights and hotel. By visiting the individual suppliers’ websites, you would have to re-enter your travel dates each time to check availability and pricing. If you were to book online through a single online travel agent, you should only need to enter your travel details once. The website should then only return options for flights, accommodation and car hire that meet your specific needs.
If possible, find a car hire option that allows you to pick up and drop off your ride at the airport. This will save you having to find an alternative transport option to transfer you and your luggage from the airport to your hotel.
This is where the fun starts! Holiday attractions can be as unique as your tastes. While many activities may not require any form of booking, such as visiting the beach or going for a stroll around the local botanic gardens, others, such as theme parks, aquariums and theatres, may require you to book in advance.
With a good online travel booking website, you can book all your favourite activities and attractions at the same time as you book your flights and accommodation. Just select your destination and you will be provided with a plethora of options to suit a wide range of tastes. Some online travel agents may also provide discounts and deals on attractions at specific dates so keep an eye out for any promotions as you navigate through the site.
If you’re looking for inspiration, easy booking and big discounts, you might find what you’re looking for with a holiday package. A good online booking website will offer you a number of holiday packages that could provide big savings for flights, accommodation and attractions when booked together as a single package.
If you have a destination in mind but have no idea about the hotels and attractions in that region, just view the available packages in that part of the world and the chances are that you’ll find a great package to suit your tastes at a more cost effective price than if you were to book each aspect of the holiday individually.
For the more daring, you could come up with a budget for your holiday and then simply find a holiday package to fit your price. You may find yourself living it up in the casinos of Las Vegas, sunning yourself on the beaches of Hawaii or discovering the ancient ruins of Rome in no time!