U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-30-2016, 11:00 AM
 
Location: NoVa
2,129 posts, read 2,915,904 times
Reputation: 2929

Advertisements

I use a combination of internet and guide books. Buying the plane tickets and reserving the hotel are probably the two easiest things on the research part. Putting an itinerary complete with stops, restaurants to visit, off the beaten path things I may want to do, etc, are harder for me since they require even more significant research. It's a lot of work but it's fun.

For a place I absolutely have no clue whatsoever, I start with a guidebook or two. It gives me a good starting frame regarding the destination and things that I may or may not want to see / do / visit. Then from there I go to the internet and scour it for further information related to my destination, reading travel blogs, you tube travel videos (this is usually related to food), then the usual websites such as TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, etc. I write down my (very flexible) itinerary as I go, and keep narrowing it down until I get a final one as we get closer to the travel date.

I also often find that booking airfare and hotels directly on the company's website is cheaper than booking through 3rd party sites such as Expedia, etc. I use 3rd party websites for price comparison but 90% of the time the company's website is cheaper.

I also have a habit of checking out my hotel and the surrounding I'll be staying via Google earth before I go. Just so I know what to expect ahead of time and how far things are from the hotel (such as supermarket, coffee shop, etc). I'm surprised that a lot of people don't know about Google Map's turn-by-turn direction for public transportation - which is darn handy when you're overseas or rely on public transport when traveling. It will give you door-to-door directions using public transport (which train to take, name of your stop and how many stops before you get there, etc). It will also automatically give you the most efficient transport to take, whether it's tram, bus, metro, walk, etc. I never bother downloading train routes when traveling anymore since Google Map is already doing a great job of it for me.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-30-2016, 01:33 PM
 
4,996 posts, read 7,329,501 times
Reputation: 7998
I honestly see travel agents coming back. I'm a millenial and I HATE to scour the internet for hours looking for hotels, trying to find the cheapest flights, playing these ridiculous games with coupons and IP addresses and all these different travel sites, each offering things within $5 of eachother.

I'd prefer someone I can talk to and tell them exactly what I'm looking for and here is my budget. Now, please... make it happen.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-30-2016, 02:26 PM
 
Location: NoVa
2,129 posts, read 2,915,904 times
Reputation: 2929
Quote:
Originally Posted by OptimusPrime69 View Post
I honestly see travel agents coming back.
As long as the hospitality industry in general still continues to cut commissions for travel agents, I don't see this happening. They need to make a living too, you know.

There are travel agents who charge their customers a flat fee for taking care of their travel plans, but I don't think this is something that would become the norm since most of us are too cheap to pay for such services.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-30-2016, 03:13 PM
 
Location: NW Indiana
40,269 posts, read 15,212,820 times
Reputation: 102373
My boyfriend and I do all of our own research online and read hundreds of reviews before making any decisions. We even search for videos on YouTube. (Some people video their hotel rooms, etc. with narration about what they like and/or dislike about their rooms and the service.) Of course, word of mouth from friends and acquaintances is very helpful if they've been to the places we're considering. He had extensive travel experience before we met, so he's one up on me there. However, we've visited several countries in the past three years, all places which he'd never visited before, and everything worked out splendidly. We booked our own flights, trains, hotels and excursions.

I know a couple on a very limited budget who visited their daughter in Japan (daughter teaches there) last winter. They made all of their own arrangements and everything turned out fine. They had never traveled outside the U.S. before. I suspect, though, that prices for everything will be much higher in Japan during the Olympics. Retailers are going to gouge whenever they're able. The thing is, you can do it on your own as long as you do careful research and read lots of reviews by people who've been there, done that. (Keep in mind that there's always a handful of the type of people who can't be pleased and they love to write reviews. I always dismiss the worst reviews and ones that look as though they're veiled paid advertisements.)

In my experience, airline flights cannot be booked more than 11 months in advance. I don't know whether that's a law or what, but whenever I look for flights farther out than 11 months the info is not available. This happened to me again just yesterday.

I know one couple (mid-50s) which still uses a travel agent. They decide which country and general area they want to visit, and the dates they are able to travel, and they have the agent put everything together for them, even including the car that picks them up at home and delivers them to the airport, which is about 1.25 hours from their home. Their budget is greater than mine is, and I doubt I could afford to go the same route they do when planning a trip.
__________________
My posts as a Moderator will always be in red.
Be sure to review Terms of Service: TOS And check this out: FAQ
Moderator of Canada (and sub-fora), Illinois (and sub-fora), Indiana (and sub-fora), Automotive, Caregiving, Community Chat, Fashion & Beauty, Hair Care, Games/Trivia, History, Nature, Psychology, Travel, Work & Employment, Writing.
___________________________
~ Life's a gift. Don't waste it. ~
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-30-2016, 10:56 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,693 posts, read 40,062,283 times
Reputation: 23839
Japan would be worth enlisting some local guides, as cultural / traveling like a local is not so ez, but very possible.

By staying in private guest homes, I get a Personal guide / at least local advice at each home! Since these folks have a passion to host, rather than an Air B&B profit motive, the experience between the two is very different.

If you MUST use a hotel, ... in Asia, i use Agoda.com (unfortunate that they and booking.com got bought out, but so far they are still much better than thier parent has ever been.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-01-2016, 03:17 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,289,596 times
Reputation: 7587
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forever Blue View Post
The use of brick & mortar travel agents seem to be obsolete. How do you plan your BIGGER vacations, like 1-2 weeks somewhere like to another country in which you want a knowledgeable person who can give you the best for your money & know the in's & out's of various places, secret tips, etc.? (I'm not really talking about a little 2-day getaway.)

I'd like to go to the 2020 Olympics in Japan, but I'm wary about planning such a huge trip like that all by myself & how legit & reputable are the online travel planning companies? Please give me your go-to travel planning company that YOU use please. Thanks a lot!
I doubt anyone under the age of 75 is still doing the travel agents thing, or join a group tour. That's just laughable.

1-2 weeks are just a normal vacation, why is it huge? It is exactly the right time. I visited Japan for 9 days 3 years ago just by myself, and it was actually quite easy to plan. I think the key is to

1) determine a good general itinerary: how much cities/places do you want to explore. I would recommend 3 or 4 at most (day trips not included)
2) transportation between these places. Usually i avoid fly again between these places, or just fly once. Otherwise, it is too stressful......... Trains are always preferred. I love countries with high speed trains. Driving is fine as long as it is less than 5 hours each segment.
3) how many days you spend in each place. Normally a city is worth staying for no more than 5 days, more likely 2-3 nights. I know some advise staying in Rome for two weeks, but not everyone has the luxury of time. I would give it 4 days for example.
4) you also have to strategically decide hotels. I hate the idea of an upscale hotel so far away from everything you need to see. I choose location over stars every time. A 2 star is sufficient. I am also against the idea of "splurge" on one big trip: expensive hotels, expensive restaurants every day, and then you need to save for 3 years for the next trip.

5) planning companies? Don't be lazy. there is tons of information online. Tripadvisor, wikitravel. Why ask someone else to do that for you, and kill half of the fun?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-01-2016, 03:21 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,289,596 times
Reputation: 7587
Quote:
Originally Posted by OptimusPrime69 View Post
I honestly see travel agents coming back. I'm a millenial and I HATE to scour the internet for hours looking for hotels, trying to find the cheapest flights, playing these ridiculous games with coupons and IP addresses and all these different travel sites, each offering things within $5 of eachother.

I'd prefer someone I can talk to and tell them exactly what I'm looking for and here is my budget. Now, please... make it happen.
in the end, you still don't know if this person gives good advices or not, do you? Unless she is your mother. Plus her criteria may be different from yours.

travel agents? How lazy are people? You think if everything is planned by a stranger, you will have the most fun?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-01-2016, 07:18 AM
 
5,272 posts, read 5,192,830 times
Reputation: 6270
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forever Blue View Post
The use of brick & mortar travel agents seem to be obsolete. How do you plan your BIGGER vacations, like 1-2 weeks somewhere like to another country in which you want a knowledgeable person who can give you the best for your money & know the in's & out's of various places, secret tips, etc.? (I'm not really talking about a little 2-day getaway.)

I'd like to go to the 2020 Olympics in Japan, but I'm wary about planning such a huge trip like that all by myself & how legit & reputable are the online travel planning companies? Please give me your go-to travel planning company that YOU use please. Thanks a lot!

There are still brick and mortar travel agents available. There is more than one even in my own neighborhood. If you'd feel more comfortable going this route, why not? Have you searched around for ones that are near you?


My husband and I went to Europe last year for almost two weeks. I did A LOT of research. And there are some pretty good travel guides who provide you with the ins/outs, tips, etc. Nothing too catastrophic happened.

If you do end up planning the trip yourself, you can always use guided tours if that puts your mind at ease. You can research these heavily and find ones with good reviews.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-01-2016, 07:47 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,333 posts, read 19,603,768 times
Reputation: 13128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forever Blue View Post
The use of brick & mortar travel agents seem to be obsolete. How do you plan your BIGGER vacations, like 1-2 weeks somewhere like to another country in which you want a knowledgeable person who can give you the best for your money & know the in's & out's of various places, secret tips, etc.? (I'm not really talking about a little 2-day getaway.)
The information you will get from googling "top attractions in _______" or other similar searches is better than what just about anyone can give you. Then, once you get to your destination, a local tour guide can give you the low down on a lot of different things.

I have done several trips to Europe and Asia like that.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-01-2016, 08:56 AM
Status: "I work to ski" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: SE WI
514 posts, read 357,825 times
Reputation: 1360
Last year I planned a big (for me) 12 day vacation to the province of Newfoundland & Labrador, and the French island of Saint Pierre. The first thing I did was to buy a good map to study the areas that looked interesting. Then searched some travel websites (best was Flyer Talk) to get a better insight of areas to stay.

I then booked a flight on Air Canada, and picked 5 destinations where I would spend 2 nights each. Read a couple guidebooks. Booked a rental car, although negotiated a better rate at the airport and did not use the reservation.

In short, it was the best trip of my life. For my planning though, it is all about studying the maps.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top