DIY Vacation vs. Using a Travel Agent

Planning a Vacation Using a Travel Agent_Air Doctor

If you don’t know whether you should use a travel agent to plan your next vacation or take things into your own hands, we’re here to help you decide.

Whether or not you should use a travel agent to assist you with your vacation planning is a debate that many people have.

Why use a travel agent when there are so many helpful websites and apps available?

Why spend days planning the perfect vacation when you could get someone else to do it for you?

There are a number of aspects that should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to hire a travel agent, your destination and budget being two of them.

We’ve outlined a few pros and cons of using a travel agent so that you can decide for yourself.

Good Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

  • They’re the first to find out about great deals. Finding exclusive deals is a big part of a travel agent’s job, something that customers can benefit from. Many of these deals come in the form of packages that include everything from flights and accommodation to meals and activities. There’s always a chance to save money when you use a travel agent.
  • They can help you out if you run into problems. If your hotel loses your booking or your luggage just never arrives, a travel agent will be there to sort the problem out for you.
  • They care about the details. In most instances, when you use a travel agent, they will go the extra mile to make your trip even more special. Arranging a room upgrade or making sure you arrive to a bottle of champagne in your room are all small touches that travel agents are known for.
  • They always have advice to give. Experienced travel agents are the best people to ask about travel trends and exciting destinations. You may end up seeing places you hadn’t even considered before by using a travel agent.

Good Reasons to Plan Your Own Vacation

  • You can find cheaper flights yourself. Most travel agents won’t focus on getting your discounted flights, mainly because there are already so many websites that customers can use to do this themselves.
  • Travel agents don’t understand your personal preferences. Even though you can give a travel agent a good idea of your likes and dislikes, you might find yourself spending a lot of time going back and forth trying to get the suggested accommodation and activities right. Very often, the amount of time spent conversing with a travel agent could be better spent doing your own research and booking everything yourself.
  • You’re in charge of your trip. If you end up choosing the wrong travel agent, you could end up having to deal with issues yourself because you can’t get hold of them. When you plan your own vacation, you’re in complete control of all your reservations and plans.

If you do want to go the route of a travel agent, ask family and friends for referrals – it’s always best to use someone that has a good reputation. It also helps to chat to more than one travel agent before you decide to go ahead with the planning process. You will quickly be able to tell which agent will provide you with the best experience.

How to Eat Like the Locals Do While You’re on Vacation

Eat Like a Local_Air Doctor

If you love eating out and exploring new cuisines, your upcoming vacation is the perfect opportunity to broaden your horizons. Here’s how to eat like a local.

Food is one of the main reasons why people travel. What’s the point of visiting another country if you’re not going to try a few local specialties? As a traveller, you’re always going to encounter tourist traps but with a few simple tips, you can make sure that you’re dining like a local for most of your upcoming vacation.

Insider Tips for Dining Like a Local

  • Do a little research before you leave

Discovering hidden gems while you travel is all a part of the fun but it never hurts to do a bit of research before you hop on a flight. There is a wealth of insider secrets and local tips available to anyone who performs a quick search on their destination, so make sure that you don’t miss out on a few of the best dining experiences. Doing a quick search will also tell you the best times to visit certain restaurants too.

  • Forgo the English menus

If you really want to eat like a local, try out restaurants that don’t have English menus. This is not to say that there aren’t any good local restaurants with English menus, they’re just tourist traps more often than not.

  • Don’t skip local food markets

Local food and farmer’s markets are often some of the best places to experience local cuisine. Almost every country in the world has these types of markets, so ask around and plan a fun day out. You may even stumble upon a market or two as you go about your day, so give them a try if you do.

  • Watch what the locals do

One of the best ways to find out about the best places to eat is to ask locals themselves. Whether this is the concierge at the hotel or the server at a restaurant, locals are generally more than happy to provide you with some of their personal recommendations.

  • Use your hands and eyes to order

Trying to make sense of a menu or asking your server to explain all of the dishes to you are not the only ways to decide on a meal. Take a walk around the restaurant and see if you can spot any dishes that look particularly appealing to you. You could also ask what the house specialty is and give that a try.

  • Learn the etiquette

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time at local restaurants, it helps to know the etiquette. Websites such as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet offer a lot of information on the right and wrong ways to dine out in foreign countries.

Over and above these tips, remember to relax and enjoy this experience. In most countries, locals are very used to foreign diners and are more than happy to help – they’re not going to judge you if you don’t know how to pronounce something. Locals want you to have an enjoyable experience so let them make recommendations and enjoy exploring these new dishes.  

How to Feel Less Anxious about Flying

Hate flying? There are ways that you can get to your destination with as little anxiety as possible.

Seeing a new place is always exciting but if the thought of getting there fills you with dread, it can take away from the overall experience.

Anxiety about air travel is not uncommon. In fact, the whole experience can be a bit stressful if you’re not prepared but when you already have anxiety about the flight, everything else feels worse too.

What many people don’t realise is that flying is far safer than getting into a car and driving to your destination. However, people hate flying for many different reasons, including a fear of heights, claustrophobia and terrorism.

Whatever your reasons, there are steps that you can take to improve your flying experience.

Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Flying

  • Do a little reading

Sometimes knowing exactly why flying is so safe can make you feel a lot better about your upcoming trip. For example, knowing how planes are equipped to deal with emergencies and how a plane continues to fly even if an engine fails can all keep your anxiety to a minimum. One thing you should avoid is any media about airplane disasters – don’t skew your impressions unnecessarily.

  • Stick to an aisle seat

If you can choose your seats when you book your flight, stick to an aisle seat if you’re prone to feeling anxious and claustrophobic. This way you can get up and move around with ease and you won’t need to catch a glimpse of sky-high views from the window.

  • Focus on the positive outcome

In the days leading up to your flight, do what you can to focus your mind on the positive outcome of your trip. Think about the things you will do once you get to your destination or the friends and family that you will get to spend quality time with.

  • Give yourself plenty of time

To ensure your stress levels are as low as possible, give yourself enough time to get to the airport, check in and get through the boarding gates. If you have the option to relax in an airport lounge prior to your flight, take full advantage. Airport lounges are geared towards relaxation, making them perfect for anxious flyers.

  • Have something to keep your mind busy

Give your mind something to focus on during the flight. Whether this is an eBook, a relaxing playlist or a few games, make sure that your phone battery is charged and that you’ve downloaded everything you need to keep your mind busy during your flight.

  • You’re in control

If a lack of control is making you feel anxious, turn this around in your mind. For one, you decided that you wanted to fly, which means you get to decide how positive you want this experience to be. You control your thoughts! Your breathing is something else you control, so breathe slowly and deeply to relax your body and mind. Know that any negative feelings and emotions you’re experiencing are temporary and will pass. Just keep riding the wave and flipping your mind back to the positive.

If you are really concerned about an upcoming trip, speak to your doctor about medication options. Sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication can both be options but you should always speak to a medical professional first.