Five Reasons Not To Book Your Holiday via the Internet
Booking your holiday online might seem like a great way to bag a bargain. But is using the Internet to book a trip really all it’s cracked up to be?
It’s hard to remember a time before the Internet existed in the way it does today. From ordering your weekly food shop, to buying birthday presents, catching up with friends or even running a business, the Internet has made it possible to carry out daily tasks from the comfort of your own living room.
Of course, there are lots of benefits to buying online, with the ability to compare prices and a much wider choice being two of the top reasons people turn to their PC for shopping needs. But the Internet isn’t necessarily the best option when it comes to buying online, especially with a big buy such as a holiday, you need to weigh up the pros and cons.
There’s Too Much Choice
Can we ever have too much choice? It would appear that the answer is yes. If we are presented with too many choices, we are more likely to be overwhelmed and actually choose nothing at all.
How many times have you spent hours on the Internet looking for that perfect pair of shoes, clicking through pages upon pages of fancy footwear, fifty percent off sales, and this season’s must-have, before you decide that it’s all too much and you’d rather switch off the computer and make a cup of tea instead?
The vast amount of holidays on the Internet means that we could spend countless evenings comparing and contrasting holiday deals, before we actually commit to booking anything. Sometimes, being presented with limited choice, such as in a high street travel agent, makes us more likely to actually choose a holiday.
The Price Isn’t Always Right
Online travel agents boost their revenue by adding on unexpected extras once you get to the final booking stages. Extra costs incurred might include airport transfers, baggage allowance, travel insurance or specific flight times.
The price that lured you in is often not the final price you will pay. This can leave you feeling frustrated and hard done by, before your holiday has even begun!
Often, if the price looks too good to be true, it normally is. Make sure you double check the small print and read a range of reviews about the provider, and potential hidden costs, before you proceed with payment.
You Might Not Be Covered
Be aware that terms and conditions will vary depending on which booking site you choose. This might mean that should you have to alter your holiday dates, you may have to pay multiple cancellation fees. One for the booking site and one (or more) for the airline and hotel. Look for holidays that are bonded by ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) or ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents).
ATOL will protect you if the supplier goes bust, even if you’ve already started your holiday. ABTA works in much the same way. Holiday firms that are members of ABTA sign up to a code of conduct which lays out how disputes are handled and ABTA will also provide financial protection and legal assistance to holiday goers if there is a problem with their trip. However, ABTA does not offer financial help for holidays that include air travel.
Choosing the right travel insurer is an area many people slip up on. Using a UK-based, trusted insurance provider, such as award-winning Avanti Travelcare, can alleviate some of the worry that travelling aboard can bring.
Insurers can provide you with up to date advice on specific travel needs, such as business travel, or travelling with a medical condition. You will be able to rest easy knowing your best interests are being taken care of should the worst happen.
You Could Be Open to Fraud
There are hundreds of online travel agents promising you hot locations for even hotter deals. Some websites will quite happily take a deposit for hotels and villas that don’t even exist, whilst others may even sell your details to criminals who want to know when your home is empty. It’s a worrying thought, but every time you input your personal details, you are putting yourself at risk.
Booking your holiday via credit card goes someway towards protecting yourself, but you should complete thorough research on any holiday provider you plan on using before booking your holiday with them. Make sure you are familiar with online security procedures so you don’t get stung.
No Personal Touch
Never underestimate the power of the personal touch. Building a relationship with a travel agent, in a bricks and mortar shop, may take several years, but over time they will get to know you and your needs and will be able to advise you of suitable holidays. They might also be able to provide you with perks, such as a free room upgrade or treatment at your hotel.
Having someone in front of you explaining your holiday terms and conditions can also give you peace of mind that you’re not missing any vital pieces of information in the small print. Any questions you might have can be answered straight away as well, saving you time from scouring TripAdvisor and forums looking for answers.
Booking a holiday should be exciting. Write down the factors you are not willing to negotiate on, such as budget or destination and give yourself a deadline to book your holiday by. This will help keep your stress levels down so you can enjoy planning without the panic.