I’ll be doing some travelling in the coming months and have come to a conclusion.  There is no best way to make arrangements.  So much relies on individual personality, the relationship between you and the person or people you’ll be travelling with, and whether there are budgetary or time limitations.

Let me say right out of the gate that I love travel agents.  My mother used to be one so I know how hard they work to give that personal touch and ensure that trips go off without a hitch.  And when hitches are encountered, they can be so much better at resolving issues than the online booking systems.

But I also see the value of using the internet.   Reading other peoples’ reviews of hotels can be very helpful.  It’s easy to get answers to questions about neighborhood safety, nightlife, and kids’ activities with just a few clicks of a mouse.  We can figure out prices easier thanks to online currency converters.  And when you’re in a much different time zone from where you want to travel, it’s great to be able to send an e-mail rather than call long distance at an odd hour.

My recent booking to California was done quickly and easily by comparing just a few airline websites.  I found a schedule that worked and a price that was fair.  Done!

But for the winter trip I’ve planned, I got what they call “analysis paralysis.”  Or maybe “information overload” is more accurate.  With so much information out there, and so many subjective opionions, I finally had to close all my computer windows and tell my sister to just book the place that she expressed interest in.   I thought I was being helpful getting price comparisons and weighing the pros and cons of staying in the city in the heart of everything at a higher hotel cost, or staying in the suburbs and paying for a taxi to get us to and from the city.   I think of all the time I spent (wasted?) reading stuff online.  Perhaps in this case I would have been better off going to a travel agent.

When it’s time for you to plan a trip, what’s your strategy?  What sites do you visit?  Who are the  travel agents you like to work with in Ocean County?