Tourism is at an all-time high considering the exposure to unlimited information one has on the internet. Reading about all those places and knowing how beautiful our planet is, one cannot refrain from packing their bags and going for an adventure. Adding to this is the improvement in standard of living for many, which opens up opportunities on the travel front. But then, there is more to just conceiving a thought. Traveling domestic or international, it is always good to plan ahead. Detailed research on flights, other modes of commutation, accommodation, places to visit, activities to do, local cuisine, where and what to shop, weather, clothes to pack and so much more. This part deserves attention as one missing link can lead to disappointments. To do such detailed research, plan your international travel at least 8 months before and local travel at least 4 months before. If you lack time or will to do your homework, an experienced travel agent is your best bet. More on that later.
We have a few pointers for you to start planning a complete hassle-free vacation:
Mode of travel - Due to limited number of off-days from work, most people prefer traveling by flights. Short distances can easily be covered by train or bus. The most important thing is to have tentative dates in hand at least months before so that you can scroll through various flight options, deals on offer, intercity bus or train availability. There are websites like Skyscanner, Goibibo and local rail websites which help you compare rates and make a sound decision.
Accommodation - This is what can easily make or mar your trip. So take out time to do your hotel research well. Decide on what kind of stay you are looking at. Backpackers can opt for hostels, others can choose from hostels to budget accommodation and homestays to luxury resorts. It all boils down to how much time you devote to an elaborate search.
Places to visit - Yet another important aspect of your travel. Once you have decided on your destination, read about that place, various sights to visit, their timings, entry fees, clothes and shoes to wear, restaurants around those places. Also, check on various cheap and convenient ways to commute from one place to another. Read about offbeat places if you are an explorer. Many countries have an amazing public transport system so use them to save yourself from burning a hole in your pocket.
Food and Shopping - An integral part of your travel is food and of course who doesn't want to bring back souvenirs. Start reading about cuisines, make a list of restaurants in all locations, check their reviews and how affordable it will be on your travel. Find shops where shopping is easy and where you are not caught in a tourist trap. Travel Insurance - Travel Insurance is a must for international travel to protect yourself from expensive emergency medical care and loss of luggage. You never know when you will need it. So connect with insurance companies and see what kind of insurance they have to offer.
If all this seems like too much work or you do not have the time and will to devote to planning your most important vacation, hire a travel agent. Check their reviews, compare quotes, see what they have to offer and most importantly compare itineraries and see what value can they add to your trip. One can generally find major flaws in itineraries and accommodation. Not only will you find agents skipping major sites, you will either end up clicking pictures from a bus or you will be left to explore the location on your own. If your agent is as good as he says, trust me, he/she will make sure your tour is a memorable one and is value for your hard earned money.