The world at your fingertips
Not so long ago, to book a holiday you had to wander down to the high street, pick up a bundle of brochures and spend hours drooling over photos of destinations that you probably couldn’t really afford. It was fun, and a pleasant way to spend a grey and dreary winter’s afternoon, although unless you could afford one of the specialist holiday companies you were usually limited in your choice to sun and sand or city breaks. The internet changed all that, and these days there is an almost unlimited choice of destinations, accommodation, adventure or relaxation, gastronomy or art, family-centred or wild partying at the tickle of a keyboard.
Booking holidays has never been easier or so exciting, and while some people still value the face-to-face contact provided by high street travel agents, more and more are booking with the help of the internet and a simple one-stop phone call to travel agents such as Directline Holidays.
Your holiday magic carpet
Surfing the net to find your ideal holiday is like having your own magic carpet, but booking holidays independently can be a time-consuming and frustrating business. Once you’ve found exactly the right hotel in exactly the right destination will you necessarily be able to find exactly the right flight to get you there? And arranging a holiday independently in countries like China, Africa, Cuba, and India is fraught with problems and uncertainties, which is why most travellers find the expertise and knowledge of a good travel agent can make booking a holiday a smooth, enjoyable, trouble-free experience and offer greater peace of mind – and is often the cheapest and most convenient option.
An established travel agent can offer a huge amount of useful information, and reputable agents will also ensure legal guarantees and assistance in the unlikely event that things go wrong.
It’s not just the being there
Before booking a holiday it’s worth doing some research on your destination, (it’s also half the fun), particularly tropical and long-haul destinations, where you should make yourself aware of health precautions and the local weather conditions. For example, Marrakech might seem like an exotic place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to be taking young children there during the summer holidays, when temperatures can rise to 50º in August and it’s like trying to breathe through hot cotton wool.
You should also carefully consider the style of holiday you are looking for; is it a relaxed family or a lively singles holiday, one full of activity and adventure or a chill-out to recharge the batteries, a self-catering apartment or an all-inclusive luxury hotel? If you know what you are looking for from the beginning it will save a lot of time and effort – but it’s worth keeping an open mind and listening to the suggestions an experienced travel agent can offer.
Leaving your booking until the last minute might well net you a pretty good deal, but on the other hand you might find that the early birds have caught all the best hotels, particularly in peak summer season in the Mediterranean. Far better, especially if you have children, is to book well in advance and know that your holiday is fixed, while you can anticipate the warmth of the sun on your skin and the trickle of sand between your toes as you look out your window and contemplate yet another soggy UK day.