I was a travel agent for a few months before reality hit. Planning other people's vacations was no where near as fine as planning my own. And so I quit. I don't recommend them, I do all my own planning and love Lucy's take on this.
Once upon a time there was only one way to book a holiday, and that involved visiting a travel agent, picking up arm fulls of brochures, pouring over them for a few days, before finally deciding on a destination, and then re-visiting the travel agents to book. These days, it’s all very different, and we have many other options available to us, which also offer money saving ideas!
I haven’t visited a travel agent for anything other than currency for the last three years, and I always book my holidays via the Internet. Package holidays are also not quite as popular as they used to be, but do offer comfort and a safety net for those who aren’t quite so confident with arranging travel plans separately. Package holidays can often be found on the Internet cheaper than if you head into a travel agent’s office, however many will price match if you insist.
Despite all this, I am a firm believer in booking travel plans separately. By this, I mean I book my flight, accommodation and transfer with no relation to each other, and by doing this, I often save money. It sounds daunting if this is your first time, however websites such as Travel Republic and Sunshine, amongst others, will offer help and will bring together your separate facets into a kind of package, meaning you have someone to call if you run into problems. Think of them as your online travel agent!
Your holiday begins when you leave your home and head to the airport, and if you’ve ever gone down the route of the airport taxi, you’ll know how expensive this can be. Similarly, if you’ve ever used trains and coaches to the airport you’ll probably agree with me that they’re one thing – stressful! It’s for this reason that I now insist on driving myself to the airport and parking up. The convenience is second to none, and I often save money too. I regularly book airport parking with BCP, it’s a godsend having a good, reliable service. Regional airports also offer this service, I’ve used Manchester Airport parking in the past and would certainly recommend it. It really is as easy as a simple booking, parking at the airport and having extra money for your holiday!
So next comes the flight, and if you know exactly when you want to fly, it’s equally as simple. I’d recommend booking direct through the airline, as this will give you peace of mind. Online prices are again the cheapest, but there’s always a customer services agent on the other end of the phone if you have any questions or problems.
Next up – accommodation. I often find this the most stressful part, mainly because there’s so much choice! Basically pick something that suits your needs the best, and isn’t too far away from the main facilities in your resort. Self-catering, bed and breakfast, half board, full board, or all inclusive – you’re spoilt for choice.
Then finally you need a transfer. If there’s a large group of you, it might be worth considering a private shuttle transfer, which means you get straight to your hotel without stopping elsewhere, and the cost split will probably be just as cheap as if you’re on a shared shuttle. If the distance isn’t too far to resort, consider a taxi, but otherwise I always use a shared shuttle because it’s cheap and does exactly what it says on the tin.
Then all that’s left to do is count down the days, and enjoy your upcoming holiday!
I am a 27 year old creative writer. I love words and the power they can have. I thrive on knowing my work is being read and enjoyed. After working for years in a job I didn't enjoy, I decided to travel, which in turn lead to a major career change. Upon returning I enrolled at Westminster University to study Creative Writing and so my new found love began. If you don't find me writing, I'll be in a yoga studio.