or contact your local travel agent

 View Cart (0)
  • About Us
    About Us
    Responsible Traveller
    Meet our Team
    Career Opportunities
  • Find an Adventure
    Browse by Region
    Browse by Activity
    Luxury Tours
    Custom Itineraries
  • Specials
    Current Promotions
  • E-Brochure
    Worldwide Brochures
    Area-Specific Brochures
    Special Interest Brochure
    Request a Brochure
  • Blog
  • News
    Latest News




Regular SearchAdvanced Search

Top Selling Trips

Adventure Blog

How Do You Plan a Trip?

Buzz Poole
08/23/2011 - 00:00

How do people make decisions about where and how they travel? Obviously, personal preferences are the main factor, but it’s a big world and there’re plenty of things to see and do no matter your tastes. So how do you whittle it down? Friends? Travel agents? Websites? A little from here, a little from there?

Last week during a speech about jobs and the economy, President Obama asked a crowd in Illinois when last they had consulted a travel agent. According to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Obama was misrepresenting “how the Internet has replaced many jobs, among them travel agents.” But the ASTA set the record straight, stating that the US travel industry “is comprised of nearly 10,000 U.S.-based travel agency firms operating in 15,000 locations. We have an annual payroll of $6.3 billion. Most importantly, our businesses produce full-time employment for more than 120,000 U.S. taxpayers.”

Clearly, travel and tourism are big industries and the aforementioned numbers prove that as does the presence of new social media sites designed, in theory, to help people make decisions about their next trip based on the advice of online experts and friends. Michelle Higgins, writing for The New York Times, decided to test-drive three of these sights as she prepared for a trip to Ecuador. She writes: “It’s no surprise that travelers tend to trust the advice of people they know. Now, several new travel sites are trying to put those inclinations to use by allowing travelers to use social media sites for targeted trip advice.”

The real takeaway from the review is that all of the sites feature useful qualities but they also have drawbacks, from lack of details to having to rely too much on your Facebook friends. What happens when no one in your network has a good answer to your question? You’re out of luck at that point. And on the real pessimistic side of things, one commenter said that she never discusses where she is traveling via social media because it’s the same as announcing when your house will be empty, and presumably ripe for robbery.

Of course, plenty of online forums have been in place for travelers getting ready to hit the road seeking advice from other travelers. To this day I still always consult Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum; I’m also mildly addicted to TripAdvisor (though at times it doesn’t feel helpful, but more like trying not to look at a car crash).

How do you begin to prepare for a trip?

Sign up for the Guidebook
Purchase travel insurance
Your Adventure Pass
Join us on Facebook
Tweet your Travels
Veiw pics on Pinterest
Read our Blog