So you want to get away, but where and how? Where would you like to go on your next trip? Do you want to stay in a hotel, in an apartment, at a commune or even stay on someone’s sofa? What health precautions would you need? What is the hotel really like? Will the weather be bad?

Traditionally looking for a holiday meant going to the local travel agent or looking at ads in newspapers. However, travel advertising is obviously designed to attract your interest while steering you toward taking some action that will lead to a sale.

On the whole, these ads are not structured to provide all the information you need to ensure that you make an informed decision. An independent travel researcher or advisor can help, but so can the Internet. If you know where to look, that is.

There are thousands of easy-to-use booking websites, but how do you choose the best destination, transport, accommodation, etc. for booking travel?

Cheap holiday or expensive mistake? 

It is just as easy to make an expensive mistake as it is to get a cheap holiday. With a bit of time and some know-how, the Internet will open up a world of information, from brochures and booking websites and other travellers using forums and message boards. Travel is no longer only available from travel agents or tour operators. Even complex trips can now be planned and booked online.

If you are not comfortable booking your hotels and flights, there are hundreds of agents who will do it for you after you have completed your research. And as you have given the agent the entire itinerary, you will be able to get massive discounts on the booking.

Finding a holiday is easy, finding the right one however….

Just because the Internet is easy to access, it does not mean that finding the solution to your travel plans will be a quick process. The information you find will only be as good as the questions that you ask. Is it really worth spending three hours searching to find a $25 saving?

So each search should only be carried out once you have decided what you are looking for.

To paraphrase Stephen Covey ‘begin with the destination in mind’. Write down all your questions before you start, but be prepared to go off at a tangent as answers give you more questions. As long as you make notes you will end up with your ideal trip or maybe proof that it’s really not feasible. Booking a travel product online can be as easy as filling in your name and payment card details, but you may be missing out on better flights, deals or maybe you may be booking the wrong holiday altogether.

Number of days or nights?

Please beware that when comparing holidays confusion can sometimes come from the specific number of days of a cruise or tour. Some ads describing the same basic length of a tour might say seven days, while others say six nights. Just to help, some websites might have a headline of seven days but the body-copy says six nights. Always ensure that the duration of all the holidays you are comparing are written in the same format. I like to use the number of nights in the hotel as my standard. A nine day holiday may include two nights flying and only seven nights in the hotel.

Don’t Rush

A great holiday needs good preparation. Taking a few simple steps before you book your trip can save you heartache, time and money. This Travel Researcher Guide will show you how to get the most from your next trip and how to prevent the mistakes that many people make when booking online. It also contains information on frequent flyer clubs, lost luggage, compensation for cancelled flights and much more.

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