"Preparing to travel"
By: Jeff Lakie
The world has changed a lot in the past century. Thanks to the invention of airplanes and high-speed trains,
today's world is wide open to travel. In a day's time, we can travel to the other side of the world without using
our entire life's savings. We also have a number of options open to us to help us plan our travels, and choosing
wisely can help save time and money.
1. Travel Agents. Many people have the misconception that using a travel agent
entails paying a fee. Nonsense. In actuality, most travel agents receive commissions from the vendors (airlines,
hotels, tour agencies); they are the ones paying the fee, not you. A travel agent has access to deals that often
are not available anywhere else. He or she can help take the headache out of planning, allowing you to sit back and
relax while the logistics are plotted out. Another bonus is that travel agents often include travel insurance in
their packages, to ensure that you are getting what you paid for.
2. Internet. With the widespread use of the world wide web, travel prices have gone
down considerably. Using travel sites like Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity, buyers can find lower rates than ever
before for airfares, hotels, and package deals. The downside? Truly finding the best travel deals often requires a
lot of time and patience as you compare rates with other sites and with direct booking. Another downfall is that
you can't always find availability at these lower rates, but it is nice to plan right at home.
3. Guidebooks. Tried and true, travel guidebooks are a traveler's best friend.
Seasoned travel writers research and compile guidebooks based on their own experiences, and who better to give
advice than someone who's been there, done that? Depending on your preferred level of luxury, you are sure to find
a guidebook to meet your needs. Best of all, travel guidebooks are often available at your local library-for
4. Booking Direct. Sometimes travel companies will offer special deals to customers
who book directly. This is especially true with tour and cruise companies who advertise travel deals to repeat
customers. You can often find rates as low as half-price (or lower) if you book at the last minute. If you have the
flexibility and the determination, this may be the way to go.
In any case, travel opens up our eyes to worlds our forefathers never could have
dreamed of visiting. Whether you travel around the globe or just a city away, a little careful planning and an open
mind can allow for an experience of a lifetime. Happy travels!
Jeff Lakie is the founder of Travel Information a website providing information on
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