Monthly Archives: July 2016
The other day I overheard a conversation between two women discussing their summer holiday plans. One was telling the other that she had gone to her local travel agent and asked for a cheap package holiday in Spain. The agent had quickly managed to find a holiday that suited and the lady booked it immediately.
The other woman said that she wished she could do the same but had been unable to find a travel agent who could help. Apparently, someone she knew recommended Northern Cyprus to her. The description of its climate, fabulous beaches, beautiful scenery and welcoming local people deeply appealed to her but she had been unable to find any travel agent offering package holidays there. The person who recommended Northern Cyprus to her explained how it was possible to book flights and accommodation online but she felt apprehensive about not going through a travel agent.
I was quite taken aback at hearing this admission of total dependency on travel agents and ignorance of Internet travel sites. After all, this was 2008 in the U.K. where traditional travel agents have long since been marginalised by online travel sites. Yet, as the conversation developed it became apparent that neither woman knew anything about what resources the Internet offers in this respect.
It got me thinking about how many other people there were around who need tips on organizing travel online and when I got home I decided to write down the following seven steps for them.
- Step 1: Finding out about the travel destination – Open Google and type into the search box, the name of whatever country or general area you want to holiday in, followed by the words “travel information” or “travel guide”. For example; “Spain travel information”. Browse several of the sites your search throws up and then decide which ones give you the best travel tips relevant to your holiday needs.
- Step 2: Deciding on the actual resort – Use the best sites you find from step 1 to decide which resort or locality offers you most of what you want for your vacation. For example, localities with secluded beaches or beaches with lots of facilities, resorts that have plenty to keep the children occupied or quiet villages in scenic locations, etc. Having familiarised yourself with all that you want to know about the resort or locality, ascertain the nearest airports (or other relevant transportation centres).
- Step 3: Finding suitable accommodation – When you have found some resorts that satisfy your criteria, look for suitable accommodation in them. This may require typing a new search term into Google because the sites you have looked at so far may not have sufficient detailed information about specific accommodation in a given locality. They may however have some links to other sites that do. If so, check the links out before starting a new search. If you do need to do a new search, the best search term to use would be something like; Name of resort or locality followed by the word “accommodation”. For example if after researching southern Spain, you had decided you liked what you had read about Mojacar as a holiday resort, you would type; “Mojacar accommodation”. Here’s a tip worth remembering: you may need to refer back to the other website pages that you have already opened so keep them open by doing your accommodation search in a new tab. In case you don’t know about using tabs, take a look at your browser tools options and learn how to set your browser up so that you can open new pages in new tabs.
- Step 4: Checking cheapest flight availability – When you have ascertained that accommodation exists in your chosen locality, the next step is check out what flights (or other transportation) is available to get you to the resort. Open another tab on your browser and this time type in the search term, “cheapest flights” followed by the name of nearest airport. If there are other, more distant airports that you would be prepared to consider, you might want to run separate searches for each airport. Spend time on checking for flights because quite considerable variations in ticket prices exits, not only from flight operator to flight operator but also from one airport to another even when they are more or less the same distance from your departure airport and operated by the same company. Very significant price variations will also be found by trying different departure and arrival dates.
- Step 5: Provisionally book accommodation – Assuming that you establish the availability of flights (or other transportation) at the time you want and within your budget, you will be in a position to provisionally book accommodation. Return to the browser tab you left open with the websites providing accommodation details and follow the instructions for contacting the person or organisation offering the accommodation. Sometimes this will be an automatic online process and sometimes you will need to send an email. Submit the dates you have decided upon from the flight availability research. You will not normally be asked for a deposit at this stage but if you are, inform the accommodation owner that you want them to provisionally hold the dates until after you have booked your flight.
- Step 6: Booking your flight – Having received confirmation that the accommodation is available for you between the selected dates, return to the website where you found the cheapest flight deal and book your outgoing and return flights. Very occasionally you might be unlucky and the flights on the selected dates are no longer available. If so you will need to select new dates and redo step 5.
- Step 7: Confirm Accommodation – Once you have your flight has been booked you are in a safe position to confirm your accommodation booking. Usually, this will require that a deposit is paid, either online or by bank transfer. Either way, the balance is usually paid upon arrival at the accommodation.
Oman is an Arab country located south and west of Saudi Arabia, directly south of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Though Oman hasn’t been considered a tourist destination until recently, it is working to grow its appeal as a holiday spot. The capital of Oman is Muscat, and here is the best place to begin your Oman holidays.
Before You Go: Before leaving, it’s important to know that Oman is very hot, especially during the summer. So, if you’re visiting this off-the-beaten path travel destination, consider going for a winter visit, between the end October and early March to fully enjoy your Oman travel experience.
It is a Muslim nation, so pack clothes that are respectful of the people, their beliefs and their traditions. In other words, avoid tank tops and short shorts.
Languages: In Muscat, Oman, many people speak English. There’s also a British radio station. Once you’re out of the capital, very few people speak English, so knowing basic Arabic will be useful.
Some things you should see and places you should go include:
Nizwa- located in the highest mountain ranges, this is a historic city about two hours from Muscat
Darcy’s Kitchen- Muscat-based European restaurant
Before You Buy: While there, barter for the best prices on goods. They’ll notice you’re visiting.
Luxury Oman family holidays are different than anywhere else. Oman travel is relatively new to the world of tourism. However, they have beautiful hotels and outstanding tourist options. Shopping is ultra modern in gorgeous complexes.
If you love to take trips then you really need to investigate Travel auctions. This is a great way to find an inexpensive, yet exotic last minute vacation.
Bid for the Best Vacation Price
A Travel auction works just like any other type of auction. You simply find a web site that features vacations up for bidding. You then place a bid on the vacation package that you are interested in. You will usually have to keep monitoring the bid (easily done through email from most sites) so you will know if you have to rebid to keep yourself in the game. Keep in mind that if you do win then you are generally obligated to pay.
Look for Distressed Holiday Packages
You might wonder how it is that so many resort packages, cruises, five star Travel destination and exotic adventures end up on the online auction block. In essence vacation companies use auction to sell holidays that might be difficult to sell at the full price because of the destination is off-season, has suffered a disaster or has political turmoil or is just simply overbooked! The people in the industry call these vacation packages “distressed stock” and try to get rid of it the same way any other business would put “damaged” goods on sale. Except in this case, what is being sold is an experience and not something that is usually in need of repair!
Find Promotions and Deals Online
However not all vacation packages are inferior in some way. More than half of them that are presented online are put there with the intention of promoting a new amusement park, five star hotel or resort. It is a really good way to generate good word of mouth about a place that has yet to receive a lot of visitors.
There are four big websites that run Travel auctions online. Do an online search to locate these.
Vegans and vegetarians frequently struggle when it comes to describing their dietary restrictions to the waitstaff at any local restaurant. This situation becomes even more out of hand when traveling abroad! Many travelers do not speak the language of their intended destination country. Vegans may find it extremely frustrating to attempt to describe to their international waiter, that they not only do not eat meat, but also can not eat eggs, cheese, or other animal byproducts in their vegetable plate. As a vegan myself, I have come across several, wonderful resources to alleviate this issue.
One option is to take a foreign language class at an adult education center prior to your trip. I frequently sign up for these classes before embarking on an international journey. These classes are typically about 10 weeks in length. Many of these programs are focused on the traveler in mind. They even may throw in a few local, culture lessons regarding communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal. An Arabic course, for example, includes learning to read and write the script. That is useful while looking at menu items. Common words taught in a language class for travelers include: words for common vegetables, beverages, and the phrases “I eat..” or “I would like to order…”. Class handouts and textbooks should be taken along on your vacation! It is a great befit that these classes are usually offered by native speakers. This helps the students with both listening to the native accent and feedback on their pronunciation skills.
Another option is to study a foreign language using a CD or DVD, home study course. This method allows you to study at your own pace. The courses provide exams or quizzes for each lesson. Some of these programs include recording capabilities so that the students may practice their pronunciation and hear their voice played back with the proper accent. These course studies are easy to find. Even your local mall sometimes has the vendor selling these products through a kiosk. Special attention can be focused on learning the words and phrases of importance to vegan travelers such as names of vegetables, “I do not eat..”, and “I am vegan..”.
A couple of books in print also exist for help in foreign language translation. “Vegan Passport” translates phrases such as “I am vegan”, “I do not eat chicken, dairy products,..”, and more in approximately 120 of the worlds’ languages. “PointIt” is a photo guide. It contains many travel-related items. The most relevant pages for vegans would be the pages which consist of vegetable and grains photos. A veggie-friendly traveler need only to point to the vegetables they enjoy and their international waiter will know what the customer would like to eat for their meal. No foreign language skills are required.
My final suggestion is to search online for software language translation tools. Yahoo Babelfish is one of them. You simply enter a phrase such as ” I would like to order vegetable soup”. Select the language you wish to translate from and translate to. The selected translated phrase appears.
As you can now see, there are many options for vegans to communicate their dining needs during travel, without fear of being misunderstood