Are Travel Agents Really Obsolete in 2016?

The digital world has revolutionised travel booking over the years and turned it into something that anyone with access to the Internet can do. This has led to many people predicting the demise of the traditional travel agent.

This demise has not really happened though. It’s true that the number of travel agents has reduced, due to the number of people booking their own accommodation. It is not true that this demise has been anywhere near complete. Traditional travel agents are still very much in existence and it does not seem as though they are going anywhere.

We are going to take a look at the rise of online travel booking. We are also going to examine why this has not led to all travel agents becoming obsolete.

The digital world and travel

There is no doubt that if you want to find that really cheap holiday one of the best ways to do it is go online. You do not have to visit a high street travel agent, or even pick up a phone to call one. All you have to do is search sites like Expedia for all the best deals and savings. You can book your travel, accommodation and other holiday requirements without leaving your home. It’s something that more and more people have done over the years. After all, being your own travel agent is not that difficult, right?

Why travel agents are here to stay

The answer to that question is one reason that there will always be a need for travel agents. Although it may seem very simple to become your own travel agent this is often not the case. The first thing you will notice is that you have hundreds of potential holiday deals to choose from and you have to go through them all, checking out the fine print. This takes time and you can soon start to lose the enthusiasm for your trip.

Once you have booked you also have to deal with any issues around the holiday, by yourself. You do not have the privilege of being able to pick up a phone and get a travel agent to sort everything out for you. The thing with travel agents is that they are trained to know how best to deal with all eventualities. You can click here to see what sort of training they receive. They may be able to sort out a problem in minutes that it takes you hours, or even days, to deal with.

The number of travel agents in existence has decreased since the emergence of online booking. Many people are prepared to deal with all the hassle themselves in return for booking holidays at a really great price. The interesting thing is that this is not the case for everyone. Although people now have the ability to book their own travel and accommodation many prefer to pay extra and have a travel agent do all the searching for them, and deal with all the problems. This is why travel agents are likely to always be around.

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5 Effective Ways to Maximize Your Time When Traveling

Traveling is one of the most exciting things almost everyone looks forward to. When you finally have the time off from work or school, you will definitely want to spend it somewhere with your loved ones. It is a much-awaited event, which you can fully relax and have the time of your life.

Planning your vacation can be both tough and stressful. However, all you need to do is to maximize your vacation and simply enjoy it. Since you will only have a limited time to spend, it is important that you carefully plan for it.

Here are some ways on how you can make the most out of your time traveling:

Plan ahead

When you know you only have a short period to travel, then you have to plan all the things you want to do beforehand. You may list down all the tourist attractions you want to visit, restaurants you want to try, or activities you want to experience. Even if your stay would only be for a few days, at least you are able to maximize your visit.

Research about your destination

It is very important to know things about the place you are going to visit. In order to save time, you have to research everything, from getting to your hotel to the train system schedule to the closing time of the must-visit attractions in your destination.

Pack light

Every traveler should learn how to travel light. You have to keep in mind that you don’t have to bring your whole closet whenever you are going on a trip. Hauling around luggage is not a good idea, especially when you are just out for a short travel. If you can pack your things in a carry-on bag or a hiking bag. Remember, traveling lightly lets you explore comfortably.

Choose attractions close to one another

Knowing that you only have a limited time, you will surely want to spend your vacation wisely. Instead of wasting your time in waiting for public transportation to arrive and traveling from one place to another, you can opt to select attractions which are near each other. With this, you are able to save more time. It is also wise to take a car hire in London, Sydney, New York and other major cities than take the bus or train. The traffic and the number of commuters can be overwhelming and you won’t maximize your travel time if you are left waiting for vehicles. Car rentals are very convenient whether you decide to visit attractions near each other or a popular tourist destination on the outskirts.

Relax

It is called “vacation” with a purpose, so you need to unwind and enjoy every moment of it. There is no reason to get stressed when you are on a holiday break. Take advantage of this time to loosen up because you deserve it. It’s not all the time that you get this chance, so grab the opportunity.

To maximize your travel period is such a challenge. You really have to plan it all properly, to enjoy every minute of your vacation. Nevertheless, these tips mentioned above will assist you in making your trip worthwhile and stress-free. Though you only have a few days of time off, you will still be able to make your vacation one for the books.

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Stay Safe: How You’re Vulnerable to Identity Theft When Traveling

travelThere are many risks that travelers face when packing up and jetting off. The nature of the pursuit leaves people unprotected and very vulnerable. Over the years, the type of crime that travelers are a risk of falling victim to has changed. Now, more than ever before, identity theft is on the rise, and many unwittingly adventurers are finding their journeys cut short due to an unsuspected attack.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s time to put away the hiking boots and backpack for good! Although the risk is there, it should never stop you from doing what you love and getting out to see the world. By taking a few simple steps to help understand the threats and do what you can to minimize them, travelers can protect themselves and continue their journey without having to constantly worry about the chance of disaster.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft comes in many different forms, but they’re usually the means to a similar end. When criminals intercept your details, they do so in order to use that information for their own monetary gain. In the simplest form, they could merely aim to collect enough information to be able to access your bank account and drain the money from it; however, more complex variations on the scheme include fraudulently applying for loans or credit using another person’s identity and then leaving the victim to deal with the fall out.

Although most good banks and organizations will resolve with the situation accordingly and make sure you’re not out of pocket, the immediate repercussions when on the road and traveling could be disastrous. You could easily face your funds being frozen, bank accounts locked and even police enquiries, so avoiding the situation at all cost is a necessary practice.

Physical Theft

Physical theft is a common and, unfortunately, likely problem that all travelers are potential victims to. Due to the fact they carry so many personal and sensitive documents around with them, tourists regularly become targets for pickpockets and thieves. Similarly, the lack of secure storage when backpacking and staying in hostels leaves valuables at significant risk.

Fortunately, this is a problem that has been acknowledged by many, and steps have been taken to reduce the threat. Many hostels offer lockable safes to all their customers, and many money belts are designed to keep your cash and documents safe and close to your body while traveling around. However, it’s still important to be aware and stringent with these practices. Avoid leaving your bag lying around unattended when on the road, and make sure you hide valuables in hidden pockets so no sticky fingers can reach in and grab them.

Public WiFi Networks

Identity theft is not just a problem in terms of physical crime; one of the most vulnerable points for travelers’ information to be stolen is when connecting to the internet. This is because, often, people on the road have to rely on public WiFi networks to be able to connect. These networks are notoriously unsecure as they leave your data flying around unprotected and completely visible to prying eyes. As you input passwords and credit card details into websites, then malicious hackers can intercept and gather that information before using it for their own benefit.

Unfortunately, public WiFi is a necessary evil for life as a traveler; however, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid becoming victim to online identity theft. First, try to ensure you only use dependable WiFi spots. There are many rogue hotspots set up specifically for data collection, so sticking to named and trusted brands—such as Starbucks and McDonalds—or using traceable sources—such as your hostel WiFi—ensures that you won’t stumble into one of these digital traps. To protect yourself further, it’s worth installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This handy piece of software acts as a middleman and encrypts your data before you access the public network. This means you can input information without worrying about onlookers and can surf the internet safely and securely.

Credit Card Interceptions

Unsurprisingly, credit card information is some of the most sensitive, and most coveted, data out there. This is because, although other information allows criminals to commit fraud, having direct access to someone’s bank account is a much quicker and straightforward payout. There are numerous techniques all over the world that criminals use to try to intercept card details, so any traveler could be exposed to many scams and tricks during their journey.

Some simple steps to take to improve your security include being stringent with cash point usage. ATM’s are a hotspot for credit card fraud. Criminals tamper with the machines to prevent cards coming back out, and watch over your shoulder as you repeatedly input you pin number, or even use heat-sensing technology to pick up which buttons you pressed. To avoid this, aim to use trusted cash points that have long queues and report any thing suspicious immediately. Also ensure you always cover your pin and even press a few extra buttons for good measure to avoid heat tracking! If you are worried about a certain transaction, make sure you ring your bank as soon as you can, as reporting it early can make a big difference in ensuring a refund.

While worrying about the risks should never be enough to prevent you from traveling, it is always worth being cautious! These few steps are a great place to start to optimize your security and stay safe on the road. If you have any more tips that you feel should be added to this list, then be sure to leave a comment below.

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How to Save on International Holiday Travel

There are loads of people who love to travel on the holidays, but most of them pay a premium to do so. If you want to travel for the holidays 2016, your window of time is well open. There are many techniques that you can employ to score some awesome deals, whether you want to go someplace in particular or if you have no particular destination in mind. With more than a year before you leave, this is when the best deals will still be available.

If you just need to get out of town, and want to go somewhere that’s outside of your home nation, you will do best if you pick a place that has different holiday traditions than your own. If you’re like many of our readers, you live in a nation where most citizens celebrate holidays that happen in November, December, and January.

This is typical of so-called “first-world nations” for many reasons. Marketing and national economy realities make it efficient for all people groups in a nation to get their celebrating out of the way within a period of a few weeks. This enables the larger economy to move along with minimal interruption and infrastructure strain.

Much of this strain comes in the form of travel burden. In the United States, there is more travel on the road and airways during November and December than in most other months of the year combined. This results in higher costs for all. Airlines have to pay more fuel and operating costs as more people move through their facilities. More personnel demands, more delays, more things to repair: it’s all part of the holiday season. These costs get passed down to consumers, who are already paying more to get seats on crowded airplanes.

While this aspect of late-year airline travel cost can not be completely avoided, it’s possible to fly for less simply by traveling to a nation which doesn’t have widespread December holiday culture. It may seem hard to believe, but more than half of the world is a good destination contender for this kind of holiday. If you want to get out of town while the rest of your nation is celebrating Christmas or some other Judeo-Christian holiday (or another holiday that happens around this time), just go someplace where people don’t celebrate those as much.

The only other way to save on holiday travel is to make plans for times when so many people aren’t moving around the planet by air. The other savings alternative is to buy your tickets well in advance. We’re talking a year or more in advance. It may be outside of your nature to plan a trip that far in advance, but this is how the pro savers do it.

You could also make a habit of practicing travel savings strategies using credit cards. There are many top finance blogs which will give you better tips than I could fit in a short post like this. But suffice to say, this is one of the main ways that people make their international holiday travels a lot more affordable. Whichever of the above methods you choose, I hope you find a way to get a great deal on your holiday travel.

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Travelling to Vanuatu? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Vanuatu is arguably one of the best destinations in the Pacific. With its pristine beaches and serene environment, Vanuatu can be the perfect place to spend your holiday this year. For those planning to visit Vanuatu, here’s what you need to know:

Best Time to Travel to Vanuatu

The busiest season in Vanuatu is from April to October because of the pleasant weather. Airfares during this time of the year are also the most expensive. They are cheapest from November to March because weather is humid and water temperatures are not so ideal for swimming. February and earlier are a little slow, which means that there may be some fantastic deals available. However, there may be fewer people to meet or locals to make friends with during this time of the year. Depending on the season, you can take advantage of travel deals and discounts when you booking online. ­

While the changes in climate are not so drastic in Vanuatu and you can actually travel there any time of the year, choosing the date of travel will really depend on what you want to do during your trip.

What to See and Do

In Vanuatu, you can go scuba diving, go on a village tour, roam around Port Vila, go hiking to the Mele Cascade, visit Chief Roi Mata and the National Museum and Cultural Center, fly to the “Mystery Island” where you can hike and swim in the beaches, go boating, soak in the hot spring or go fishing. Vanuatu offers landscapes, rainforests, diving/fishing spots, and stunning island views you will truly enjoy.

Shop for a Holiday Package

Vacation packages are not difficult to find if you know where and how to look for excellent travel deals. It is possible to find all-inclusive vacation packages with discounted prices on hotels, car rentals and even flights. Save yourself some money by taking advantage of holiday packages to Vanuatu.

One thing you need to realize is that not every holiday package is the same. Some may look like a great deal when it actually doubles the actual price. Ultimately, you can save tons of money by choosing among great holiday packages to Vanuatu than booking everything one by one starting from your hotel room to your airfare. It can save you time and money—guaranteed. The trick is that travel companies are aware of the best airfares and hotel rates better than you do. Also, they buy in bulk so their offered rates that are much lower than the rates offered to you when booking everything individually.

Money Saving Tips

For those exchanging money, Port Vila (capital of Vanuatu) offers the best rates. If riding the bus, save huge amounts by getting one heading to the Cascades for only 500 VUV and 2,500 VUV for entry price. For those on a budget, avoid the resorts if at all possible. Resorts tend to overcharge for everything from services to food. Opt for a local hotel and pay for a fraction of the price. While prices in Vanuatu are relatively lower than in other more well-known destinations in the Pacific, saving even more money from a vacation is always good.

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