The Internet has become a popular place for people to browse for their perfect holiday. In fact, figures released by Greenlight show that UK consumers made a total of 3.2 million online searches for flights in May 2013 alone, with more than 17% of those searches made on mobiles.
The online travel market is booming and there are loads of deals to be had, but it’s vitally important that people ensure that they get the best deal and aren’t being conned because it’s ‘online’.
Read reviews and ask your friends
Online travel companies will do their best to sell a holiday because at the end of the day they are a business here to make money. When looking through the holiday photos, reading the description and facilities available, take a step back and evaluate what they are actually trying to sell. Are they showing too many pictures of the pool and only one of the bedrooms? Have they listed things like ‘plenty of sunbeds’ as a facility? It’s hard to sometimes read between the lines with these descriptions but after reading enough of them, you’ll start to get the gist of which ones are genuine and which ones aren’t.
Once you have narrowed your selection down, hop onto Trip Advisor and type in the name of the hotel. Here you will see all the reviews written by previous guests at the hotel. It is important to remember before you start reading that most people don’t go out of their way to make compliments but will take time out of their day to complain, so expect a few negative reviews, despite how nice you think the place is on the holiday website. It’s also important for you to skim the reviews and get a general gist as to the overall account of the reviews, rather than focusing on one bad review against ten positive. Weigh it up and see which features are the ones that are most important to you.
A great way to use Trip Advisor is to log-in with your Facebook account. This instantly connects you to all your friends on Facebook and all of the reviews they have written on Trip Advisor in the past. There’s no better opinion to trust than that of your family and friends and with this feature you can see where they visited and what they thought of the place.
Keep an eye out for hidden charges
You find a holiday online at a great rate and proceed to make the booking. All of a sudden the price starts to increase every time you visit a new page, with added extras of airport baggage, transfers, travel insurance, ATOL protection, and credit card charges. By the end, the holiday deal isn’t so much of a deal any more.
Make sure that you read all of the small print before you click book and check that what you are paying for is what you want. Sometimes, some companies will add extras on throughout the process that you didn’t ask for and can be removed by unticking a box, somewhere in the process of booking. Ensure that you save and print off all receipts as proof of booking and take with you when you travel.
Travel agents still play a good role in choosing a holiday
They may not have as good of a deal as you can get online, but travel agents tend to have a whole host of knowledge and experience of booking a holiday and the best places to go, so it doesn’t do any harm to pop into your local travel agent to see where they recommend.
You can visit a travel agent and pick up a whole host of brochures for you to browse through at your leisure and then visit your local agent to find out more about the deals on offer. From here, you will really be able to narrow down your selection based on your research and then use the online space to find the best deals and top reviews. Sometimes an expert opinion goes a long way and especially face to face when you can ask questions and advice rather than relying solely on strangers’ opinions to help you decide.
Oliver Harding has written numerous articles on behalf for The Best Discount Codes. Oliver provides useful insights for entrepreneurs, home owners and consumers. The Best Discount Codes contain the best voucher codes on the web, saving you money on the things you love the most.