How to plan your travels online

Whether you are going on a holiday in the tropical Bahamas or on a business trip to Italy, the planning and preparations for such a trip have been made so much easier by the availability of the Internet.

There are a number of websites that have been developed to assist travellers plan their itineraries – travel, accommodation and activities.

Trip Advisor

TripAdvisor.com is a travel website that assists customers in gathering travel information, posting reviews and opinions of travel-related content and engaging in interactive travel forums. The website services are free to users, who provide most of the content.

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site, enabling travellers to plan and have the perfect trip.

TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travellers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor-branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 60 million unique monthly visitors and over 75 million reviews and opinions.
TripAdvisor’s mission is to help people worldwide to plan their perfect trips using whatever budget or resources they may have. Its branded sites make up the largest online travel community. Other sites include www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com and www.cruisecritic.com and many others.

TripAdvisor features include:

  • More than 75 million travel reviews and opinions from travellers around the world,
  • 1 600 000+ businesses,
  • 110 000+ destinations,
  • 610 000+ hotels,
  • 200 000+ attractions,
  • 880 000+ restaurants,
  • 11 000 000+ candid traveller photos.

The following is a more detailed feature list of what a traveller will find on TripAdvisor:

Listings: The list of destinations from around the globe (hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts and restaurants).
Forums: Message boards where travellers ask and answer travel-related questions. Their main purpose is to educate their visitors on possible destinations.
Reviews: Hotel and destination rankings on TripAdvisor.com are based largely on guest reviews.

These reviews are meant to keep inns honest and to raise their level of service.

GoLists: Lists of places and activities compiled by users that they recommend: travel themes, must-see attractions, stops on a walking tour or ideas for a rainy day.

Maps: TripAdvisor.com combines its popularity index with Google Maps. This feature will make it easier for guests to find destinations according to amenities.

Pictures: How does that old adage go… a picture is worth a thousand words? Very little is as important as a good picture. Both business and travellers post pictures of premises, activities, food and whatever else will help tell the full story.

Imagine this – more than 50 new contributions are posted every minute and more than 90% of topics posted in the TripAdvisor forums are replied to within 24 hours. This demonstrates just how popular the website has become over the years.

Search for Zimbabwe and you will find a lot of information on our top destinations, the most popular being Victoria Falls. Tourists have taken the time to rate and provide reviews on destinations, the hotels and other accommodation options available, restaurants and activities that can be carried out here.

According to the site, the highest rated accommodation in Zimbabwe is as follows:
Harare – Bronte and Meikles;
Victoria Falls – Elephant Hills and A’Zambezi River Lodge;
Bulawayo – Garda Lodge and Bulawayo Club;
Hwange – The Hide.
Other travel websites
There are other travel websites which one can visit, though they may not be as comprehensive as Tripadvisor. These include:
Tripit.com – Tripit organises travel plans into an itinerary that has all of your trip details in one place.

Fodors.com – Fodors’ aim is to help travellers unleash the possibilities of travel by providing the insights and tools needed to experience the trips one wants.

Hellotravel.com – This unique platform connects discerning travellers to genuine travel agents, with the objective of cutting down the effort of the travellers and offering those services that they could relish.

Online planning is definitely on the increase as more and more people are now using it for scheduling their vacation. It makes life so much easier and helps the travel to be done in an organised manner.