Penny's Travels

How to Research Your Travel Destination

It always pays to be a well informed traveler. This “how to” will help you research your travel destination.

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Our desire to travel to a destination is often accompanied by a visual image; snow- capped mountain lodges or the bright lights of Las Vegas. Images all tell a story and awaken a longing to experience this for ourselves. A glossy travel brochure or National Geographic Magazine both provide me with a “fix”  I can only describe as Swiss chocolate to a chocoholic!

Travel is costly and we all want a good deal, so make sure you do some homework when it comes to researching your next travel destination.

THINK THREE IMPORTANT WORDS: SHARE, RESEARCH,COMPARE.
SHARE. Consult your family, friends and colleagues about their travel experiences and recommendations.
RESEARCH. Technology has advanced so much in recent years and now many of us use it as a first step in researching vacation ideas.

There are great resources available, so make sure you include some of the following:
Airline sites where the cheapest fares are often available

All-purpose travel sites for flights, accommodation and a car rental:  TripAdvisor, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity

Travel aggregation sites – Bing Travel and Booking Buddy

Discount air fare sites – AirGorilla and BestFares

Rail information for itineraries and booking

Online maps – Google Maps for street views and images of your accommodation.

Official Government websites (both national and inter- national)

Social Media – Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp

Blogs, forums and review sites

Travel brochures – available from both travel agents and online

Magazines – world-newspapers.com/travel.html

Newspapers – nytimes.com/pages/travel

Guide booksLonely Planet, Bradt and Rough Guides for foreign travel

•  Television travel shows

Travel agents – If you don’t have the time to research and get confused by the enormous amount of options available, give your business to a trusted travel agent. Yes, they are nearly extinct within the United States, but still account for one-third of the travel market!

Using a knowledgeable travel agent will save you time and the hassle of searching for the best deal and often this will not cost you any more. Travel agents are invaluable when it comes to complex overseas leisure travel and also to first time travelers who are testing the waters. Make sure the travel agent is a member of ASTA.

I have an extensive “bucket list” and usually start my research 6 to 12 months in advance, as I am on the lookout for great deals. Travel agents email notifications are  invaluable when it comes to early bird bookings and last minute deals, but also general information about travel destinations.

I do an enormous amount of research on the internet, but then use a travel agent to book my overseas flights and expensive tours. I have seen enough situations in foreign countries where tourists have been left stranded when tour companies or air- lines go bust, or there is unsatisfactory internet connection to book flights to get home in a hurry. A good travel agent has “manned” phones 24/7 and you are able to ring toll free.

COMPARE. Now more than ever, consumers expect more for their hard earned cash. I would always suggest you cross- check the information you have found, compare prices and quotes and read the fine print. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Take the time to do your homework and check out the travel agents – a good travel agent is someone who had traveled extensively, knows their product and can get you home in a hurry, especially when the internet drops out!

Happy Travels!

Penny Frederiksen

About Penny Frederiksen

Penny enjoys writing for a variety of blogs and magazines where she hopes to inspire readers to travel and explore the world. She is a regular contributor to publications in Russia, The United Kingdom, and South East Asia. Penny lives in rural Australia and her love affair with travel and photography started at a very young age..the National Geographic Magazines at her local dentist! ” I loved the wonderful stories and photographs – they brought history and culture alive.” Penny’s independent, solo travel started about 10 years ago when she realized all her friends had no interest in photography and getting into the backstreets and villages of Asia. She enjoys traveling to exotic locations each year both on photography tours and by herself, showing other women that with planning and confidence, they too can visit worldly destinations on their own. Some of her most recent destinations include Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, UAE, Turkey, India, Nepal, and Myanmar. “Travel makes me step outside my comfort zone and get a better perspective of the world around me”

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