For someone that hates flying as much as I do, I talk about travel a lot. To be fair, it’s mainly local travel. South Africa is just exquisite. It has so much to offer. Forests, mountains, deserts, beaches, rivers, dams, cities…check! And, because I work for myself, I get to pack up and head out of Knysna with very little preparation. Of course, I need to finish jobs and communicate with clients, but there’s no boss to approve my leave, no desk left standing vacant while I frolic in the waves. One of my clients, SA-Venues.com, is a major South African travel site. They’re a one-stop-shop for all things travel, and I’ve learnt so much about using online travel tools to make your travel planning easier, better and less time-consuming. Here’s how:
Booking Accommodation Online
I think that, years ago, there were some reservations about booking online and then getting to an empty plot while some guy with pasta sauce on his t-shirt laughs behind his computer at duping you out of your cash. But, today, there are a few factors that combine to make online accommodation booking the best way. These include time constraints, convenience, online deals, and the amount of information you can get online. You can see photo galleries of the place, read reviews, chat with the owner, and even pay online to secure your booking. I can get a great idea of my little B&B in Stellenbosch, all from the comfort of my own porch. What a pleasure.
Getting Info on the Area
Before the world of the web, how did we know what we were going to see and do in a place? Pamphlets? Reports from friends? How quaint! Today, we can check up on the weather, culture, food, major tourist attractions, museums, galleries, beaches, etc…while sipping on our morning coffee under the harsh reality of office aircon (why can we never agree that 18 degrees is ideal for any office? It is.) On some sites, you can even read about the experiences of other travellers – what they expected, what they did and saw, how they felt, their travel tips. I know this isn’t surprising information to most internet users, but just take a minute to think about how valuable that information is, and how recently we acquired this access to it. It’s been about 20 years and, back then, the internet only really offered the basics. Wowzers. What a time to be alive.
Planning Your Itinerary
Because you have all this information at your fingertips, you can plan just about everything that you’d definitely like to see and do at a destination through online travel tools. Of course, I love a bit of spontaneity too. What’s more, you can probably book most of the experiences online too. Score.
When I was heading to Iran, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Palaces? In a desert? Who knew? Well, apparently, lots of people online. Reading these reviews and forums also helped me to pack my luggage. I’m tall and I get super hot. Apparently, none of that matters in Iran. Cover everything. Even your wanton wrists. And, if I hadn’t got some wardrobe ideas from internet users, I wouldn’t have known just how seriously to take this advice. I could have been stoned. And then you would have to be working right now instead of reading my blog. #ExaggerateMuch.
It’s Easy and Free
All of this glorious information is just so available. And free – or cheap, if you factor in paying for data. There are no special requirements, no criteria, no roadblocks to using online travel tools. What a pleasure.
Travel is something special. It’s one of those things that you’ll never regret – even when it takes months of eating Salticrax to afford. But, going without certain luxuries should be the hardest part of planning your trip, thanks to the online travel tools at our fingertips.