Planning a vacation? Make the internet your first destination

The internet has given Aussies entirely new ways to dream about, plan and book their holidays. 

The rise of the internet has changed many aspects of our lives. It helps us access information at the touch of a button, from the comfort of our couch and whenever we want.

Not only does it help with home-life and work, it has also had a significant impact on the way we choose, plan and experience our holidays.

Gone are the days when the start of your adventure was a visit to your local travel agent, where you had to rely on the expertise and advice of the assistant to plan the perfect holiday.

Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of sites and apps dedicated to helping travellers find the ideal personalised holiday.

With the ability to tailor every part of your trip, it’s easy to see why tech savvy travellers are choosing to organise their getaways online.

Researching made easy

The early years of online travel were filled with scare stories about people who booked hotels online, only to be shocked by a completely different experience when they arrived at their destination.

The arrival of review and planning websites like Trip AdvisorExpedia or Travellr have significantly altered that picture. These sites offer opinions and advice from fellow travellers. Reviews are mostly honest and can provide great insight into a destination, accommodation and food options as well as culture.

With numerous YouTube, social channels and blogs dedicated to travel, we have never had more information on the rest of the world.

Planning the perfect getaway

Often, the fun of travelling is the planning in the weeks leading up to the trip. While flights and accommodation are a staple for holidays, the smaller parts of a holiday are often overlooked.

With the internet making the world smaller, you can now plan your holiday down to the minutest  detail. Sites like Lonely Planet and Trippy specialise in reviews, tips and tricks for travelling. These can be a great resource for finding things to do while you are away.

Sites like Lonely Planet and Trippy come in handy during the planning stage.

Google Maps and public transport sites can also be great resources as they can help you find your way around while on holidays. With a number of car rental companies also online, you can book your vehicle online and have it ready to be picked up at your destinations.

You can also make use of the numerous online ticket sites to book tickets to local events, sporting events, concerts or theme parks. These can guarantee you aren’t at a loss for things to do on your holiday.

Sometimes travelling on your own can leave you with fewer options on your holiday. Sites like Wandermates or Travbuddy can help you find, communicate and even meet up with other people travelling on their own.

Sites like Wandermates are great for travellers looking for companions on their journey. Photo: wandermates.com

More options than ever for accommodation

Booking hotel accommodation online has become as easy as visiting sites like wotifhotels or hotelscombined and deciding which hotel is best for you, based on price, availability and rating.

The new shift in accommodation is towards a peer-to-peer model. Sites like AirbnbCouchsurfing and Stayz  allow users to offer their homes for use as accommodation by travellers.

You can organise anything from a couch all the way through to a whole house for your holiday.

These sites can also a great option if you are looking to save some money on your holiday. You can also put your own house up for someone to stay in while you travel on your holiday.

A shift in the way we travel

Travel agents and airlines have progressively moved online for booking flights. They offer online services for checking in, allowing you to check in a day before and even select your seat for the flight.

Not just flights, the internet has allowed travellers to book train journeys, cruise trips or bus journeys for their holidays to most destinations around the world.

Numerous sites and apps like SkySkannerMomondo and kayak offer the ability to search through available transport options and find the best possible price.

While these sites have been around for a while, the interesting development in travelling is the social interaction with people who you may be travelling with. KLM offer a “Meet and Seat service”, which allows travellers to view the social profiles of other people they're flying with.

Other airlines like Virgin have an inflight messaging system that allows passengers to message other travellers on the flight.

There are also airlines, trains and buses that offer their passengers free Wi-Fi, allowing passengers to surf the internet, browse social channels or send emails wherever they are in the world.

Where to next?

With the way we plan our holidays changing constantly, access to a fast and affordable internet connection for all Australians will allow us to be ready to move with wherever technology takes the travel industry.