Mom had to rely on the agent’s info and a handful of brochures. Once in a while we would get a hotel based on a friend’s recommendation. But most of my hotel visits were sight unseen. Dad also relied on AAA auto club to get the most current maps which had some hotel and restaurant recommendations.
As I got older, I traveled while in the Army. Most of those flights were military aircraft or the on-base travel agent booked everything. We had little or no say in the matter. Once we arrived, we were either placed in on-post billeting or housed in an approved hotel.
Now, when I plan a business trip or a vacation, I do it all myself and never talk to anyone. It is all done online, safely and securely.
I can compare airfares with the airline, a travel company or my local travel agent’s web site. I can look at different prices based on different arrival and departure times. I can see the layovers, how long I will be stuck at the connecting airport, and see airport layouts.
Seat selection is easy with many sites have diagrams and showing the good, bad and ugly seats. I can even order a special meal just by clicking my mouse.
My flight can booked and confirmed instantaneously. Once I make my purchase, my E-ticket is emailed to me immediately. All I need to do is print it out and bring it with me to the airport to get my boarding pass.
I can also book my hotel online. Before I book, I make sure that I check the hotel’s web site and check the price and compare it to a site that offers many hotels. Most of the time, the multi-hotel site can beat the direct booking price. I can also see pictures, read reviews, and find exactly what I am looking for.
I can even book a domestic flight in a foreign country online. All of this is done online with no human contact at all.
Just yesterday, I booked a flight from Honolulu to Bangkok and found the best price at China Airlines web site. They had a better price than my travel agent or the big name travel sites.
I then went to a multi-hotel site that specializes in Thai hotels and booked a room for one night in Bangkok. This was confirmed in a flash.
My next step was to book a flight from Bangkok to Khon Kaen. I went to the Thai Air web site and got the flight I wanted. I booked my return flight at the same time.
It still amazes me at how much has changed in the travel industry to make the booking experience easy and money saving at the same time. A couple of mouse clicks and my Asian vacation is completely arranged.