Sure, you can head to the shops. The busy, bustling, hot, and stuffy stores. You can stand in a queue and wait to be served. Then you can carry your heavy bags to the car or home on public transport. This happens in travel agents too. The line of people who are booking and paying. Or the desks are taken up by people who are still browsing. The alternative? Being comfortable at home and taking the time to book the perfect vacation. But how do you make sure that you have the best online travel shopping experience?
Tips for the Best Online Travel Shopping Experience Ever:
List What You Want
Make a list of everything that you want out of your next travel experience. Are you looking to rent an apartment for a while? Need something close to the city or the beach? Final budget? Write down everything that you are looking for during the holiday. This will help you stay on track.
Avoid Fake Sites
Several fake and fraudulent companies are ‘selling’ holidays online. So if a deal is really too good to be true, then there are a few tips that you can use to make sure the site you are using is legitimate.
- Look for the logos of recognized trading bodies on the website, and then verify directly
- Check all of the paperwork, and if in doubt get it checked by a solicitor
- Research is essential, and it doesn’t take long for fake sites to gather negative reviews online, you can check Trustpilot
- Pay attention to the website, when you click does anything change? Is there a ‘.net’ where you usually see a ‘.com’?
- If you do get scammed then report it as soon as possible, many people get embarrassed and don’t. But that leave others open to being victims of fraud
- Whenever possible pay via a credit card, because this gives you added protection from the credit card company
Do Independent Travel
When you opt to go for independent travel, you will be booking your flights, accommodation, transfers and extra separately through a range of websites. If you need help to get the best deals, you can use comparison websites or use a voucher code website as they both pull information from various sources. Independent travel booking is often the only way to get really low priced flights from budget airlines. When you do it this way, you have total control over when you travel, how you travel, and what you spend your money on.
Package Vacations Online
These might be some of the most stress-free holiday booking experiences for many. When you book a package holiday online, you will be cutting out some of the costs that get tacked on for the hours of a sales rep. And you can spend as long as you like looking for the package that fits with you. Not only that, but you can book a full package holiday and jet off with hours because there is a range of last-minute deals.
Remember that you can haggle over the price. There are usually some discounts that you can have simply by asking. As well as a discount, you can request to have things added on to your trip for free. Their systems tend to generate the highest price when putting a package together. Asking never hurt anyone either.
One of the most significant benefits is that you will pay one price and it will cover everything. And in most cases that will be food and transfers too.
Great Booking Tips
Most tour operators, more significant travel agents, and package holiday providers are members of governing bodies. And this gives you a level of protection if anything happens to your holiday. A great example is the number of people who were helped when a UK travel company went out of business. Some independents don’t have the same level of protection, but you will need to decide if that is worth it in terms of risk.
Get Travel Insurance
The sooner you take your travel insurance out, the better. Make sure that your policy covers everything that you need it to. Including medical and anything happening with your travel. There might be special insurance required for pre-existing health conditions, so talk to a provider if you aren’t sure.
Use Promo Codes
Before you book anything online, have a search for promo codes and offers. Often if you sign up to places like Netvouchercodes that have a vast range of promo codes and you’ll get the best deal on holidays, you really want.
Choose the Best Booking Day
There are some days that are known to be better for booking holidays than others. Cruise Critic reported that if you book a cruise on a Thursday, you are likely to get the best deal. Cruise prices tend to fluctuate throughout the whole year.
For flights, the prices don’t rise and fall as drastically as cruises. The best time to book a flight is around 56 days before departure, and a Tuesday evening is your best bet to get a good deal.
Do Private Browsing
This has been shown to impact the prices you get shown. As you are looking for a holiday, in say, Ibiza – you will get that promoted to you at a higher price. Holiday prices, including flights and hotel prices, change based on the demand. So making the same search several times will indicate to the company that there is a higher demand.
Use Credit Cards
Bank transfers and debit cards traditionally offer less protection when things go wrong than a credit card company might. A key example is that if you use a debit card on a fraudulent website, the money will be taken directly from your bank, and you will need to try to get it back.
Using a credit card and paying it off straight away gives you more protection and is the safest way to pay for your holiday online.
Just make sure that you aren’t tempted to spend more than you can afford and get into credit card debt.
Remember the Details by Spreadsheet
If you had a travel agent book everything for you, then you might forget a few things like car rentals or public transport tickets.
It is an excellent idea for you to create a spreadsheet or a calendar view of your week before, during, and after your travel. And write down when you need to do on which days. This way, you are going to do a mental walkthrough of everything that is going on. You will see any gaps or particularly long layovers that you can make use of.
Find out about Secret Hotels
If you like adventure and being surprised, then using a travel booking site that offers secret hotels can be a lot of fun. They are typically 5-star hotels that have a few rooms free, and they become available at a 3-star price. The surprise comes from the fact that you won’t know where you are going until you have booked.
Booking your travel online means you can take advantage of the competitive pricing, take more time to find the holiday that you really want. And often you might get shown a destination you hadn’t even considered.