Travel Planning – What Did We Do Before The Web?
Some people reading this post may barely remember what it was like to plan a trip in the good old, bad old days. They were the good old days because check-in times were shorter and security restrictions less onerous, but for some they were the bad old days because you had to call in the professionals if you wanted to book a trip and hope that they were steering you in the right direction. In small towns, such as the one where I grew up, things were relatively simple. There were only a few flights to choose from for each destination and picking the one that suited your timing was relatively straightforward.
But in bigger cities, planning a trip usually meant time thumbing travel agents’ brochures and even more time sitting at a desk in their office trying to create the perfect itinerary. Then you had the choice of booking your hotel in advance via the agent, phoning the hotel yourself or turning up at your destination and hoping you would find something suitable (this worked well for vacations, which all had an air of adventure).
DIY Trip Planning
Even though some of us complain about the hassle of travel planning these days (though there are plenty who love the process), that’s probably because we are doing it ourselves and have access to all the options travel agents used to handle for us. Instead of having them login to SABRE or another travel itinerary planner, we can comparison shop on flight aggregation sites, then go to individual airlines’ sites to book our trip and arrange our seating. We can book insurance separately via other sites and then try to get the best deals on hotel accommodation, airport parking and rental cars via different websites. It can take hours.
Nostalgia about Travel
The more I think about it, the more I think there was something to be said for handing over the fine details to a professional while you got on with the rest of your life. It was blissfully simple and a good travel agent was a great find. That said, now when I travel I feel more in control of deciding how the trip will play out. There’s also so much info on travel forums to help with itinerary planning when you reach your destination that it’s a bit like crowdsourcing your travel plans – and that has quite a ring to it, don’t you think?
What travel experience from the past are you most nostalgic for? Which one don’t you miss at all?