These handy hints on how to be your own travel agent will have you saving money and looking like an absolute pro.
Do yourself a favour and walk away from the big shiny travel agent's desk and knuckle down and be your own destination expert for your next holiday. Welcome to 2016 where everything your need to know is a Google search away. We know your bank account will not only thank you but you'll leave room to experience a city or country for what it's truly worth.
With these handy hints you can construct the holiday of your dreams while saving time and money and avoiding the top travel mistakes!
Do your research
The other day I was talking to a friend about how she booked a hotel in Croatia online and when she arrived in the middle of the night, it was to only find that the hotel did not even exist. Of course she pointed fingers at the booking site (as would anyone) but at the end of the day they are just an aggregation website to assist in making your choice... it's always a good idea to look a little deeper.
Read reviews, open up the individual websites of each hotel, service or experience to be confident with your choice.
Shop around for the best deal
Again, this involves searching for the nitty gritty. Most trusted accommodation sights can guarantee you the best deals, but for flights head to SkyScanner or Expedia. Once you get a good idea of which airline to go with, head to their direct website and see how prices vary. Remember, Wednesday is almost always the cheapest day to fly.
Location is everything
The first thing I look at when I search for accommodation is location, not only which suburbs would be the best to stay in but also the location of the accommodation within those chosen suburbs. There's no point fan girling over a cute boutique hotel if it's a 950m trek from the closest trainstation.
If you're hiring a car in a place like LA this might not matter as much, but location is still important in reducing your uber fees for nights out.
To find the nearest hotel to your location, check out HotelsCombined.
Show me the money!
If you want to get more bang for your buck, the first thing you need to do is research which travel money cards give the best exchange rates. Then, instead of just transferring money willy-nilly... keep an eye on currency forecasts and see how they're changing and pick your prime time. This doesn't always work out but if you can manage to save money this way it's a huge bonus.
Another great way to save money is book long haul legs of the trip overnight, so you can sleep on the train, plane or barge instead of renting another hostel or hotel for the night. Sure... you're probably not going to get the best sleep of your life but who cares because you'll be waking up in a whole new destination with more time and money at your disposal!
Other handy hints
Browsing destinations on Pinterest and Instagram will get the inspiration juices flowing and give you awesome ideas on things to see and do.
If you're heading to number of destinations, it's definitely worth while picking up a lonely planet book to find the best restaurants and cafes. Photocopy the pages or take photos of them on your phone so you don't have to cart around a heavy book!
Words: Alex Scoffell