We've always wondered...

More than ever, people are becoming increasingly obsessed with travel – beach shots dominate Instagram feeds and millennial spending habits always seem to skew towards the next holiday. But, all the effort and money that goes into planning a big trip can get a little harrowing, so we chatted to a few travel bloggers via airport transfer provider Hoppa about their holiday planning and booking hacks

Book luxury trips through a travel agent

Mrs O Around the World says…

In the luxury world, travel agents are making a huge comeback and I find myself using them more and more. As I heard someone say ‘You can’t upgrade yourself’, or ‘Good luck calling the internet if something goes wrong’.

I have recently booked with a travel agent and saved £1,000 on a plane ticket. And the room rate I booked was £25 a night more than direct, but it included a category upgrade, free breakfast and a $100 spa credit. So it was a better deal. But we are talking about highly specialised travel agents – not the average package holiday to the Canary Islands.

What a difference a week makes! Can't believe we have been back a week already. #maldives

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Service is everything in the luxury sphere and I see people more and more wanting to have someone to talk to (whether things go wrong or not). I see travel companies understanding this – for example, I have someone at BA that I can reach out to, the same person, for any booking or change. That is worth a lot to me. And for example, I see St Regis hotels reach out to booked guests (like myself) a couple of weeks before arrival, so they can really really help you. I am going to Abu Dhabi tomorrow and they have been incredible, for example.

how do bloggers travel

If you want more control over your holiday, DIY your own bookings

The Travel Hack says…

A lot of people also enjoy doing all the research into their holidays – finding the best hotels, searching for good flight deals, looking for things to do. Doing all this research adds to the anticipation and excitement of a holiday! And if you’re doing the research, you might as well just book it all too.

It’s a sense of achievement when you’ve done all the research and managed to book it all for yourself. Sometimes it feels like solving a puzzle as you piece it all together and your holiday slots into place.

Emily Luxton says…

For me, it’s all about picking and choosing. I like that booking everything myself means I can find local hotels and independent places rather than big chains – so I can support local businesses and get a more authentic experience. I love that there’s room to completely tailor my trip.

With a package holiday, you’re usually stuck in one place for the whole holiday. I like to explore, and try to fit in a few different stops on the same trip, so sometimes I’ll stay in two or three different hotels in different areas. It’s great to mix things up with a few nights in a city and a few more in the countryside or by the coast, rather than basing yourself in just one place.

EnglishMum.com says…

Sadly, I think high street agents are on the decline and as we all have busy lives, it’s just easier to sort it yourself online during your lunch break, or with your feet up and a glass of wine on a Saturday evening.

It’s so much easier to book a [DIY] holiday that’s more tailored to your likes and dislikes, your preferred regional airport, your preferred style of accommodation, etc.

Girl About the Globe says…

If you are on a fixed itinerary, then you can’t alter your plans. If you get somewhere and love it you’re not able to stay longer. Being independent gives you more flexibility as well as meeting others and being able to change your plans at the last minute.

The Opportunistic Travellers say…

It’s easy to assemble your own agenda, having full control over exactly what activities you’re looking for, creating the experience that’s not only customized for you, but filled with trustworthy elements.

With a big package, the entire experience may have an overall rating, but not the specifics. Who wants to get stuck on rotten trip? No need today.

It’s easier than ever to have local experiences

Emily Luxton says…

I think the ‘go local’ travel trend has risen massively in the past few years. Sites like Airbnb and Couchsurfing have made it really easy to stay in a local’s home – either alone or as a guest – putting travellers in touch with locals and allowing for a more ‘authentic’ experience, away from the typical tourist strips. Then there are some great tour sites, like BonAppetour and Showaround, that do a similar thing with local tour guides.

It’s so easy now to meet locals and discover destinations outside of the usual tourist haunts, and I think more and more people want to travel like that and actually get a sense of life in the places they’re visiting.

Best travel sites

Taylor Hearts Travel says…

I love using Booking.com for my accommodation as it has such a wide range, but more importantly lots of the properties offer free cancellation.

Sometimes as you organise more of a trip you realise another neighbourhood might be better or that you actually need a two night stay rather than one night, so it’s good to have that flexibility.

Mrs O Around the World says…

I tend to book my airfare direct – because of upgrades, and it does pay to be loyal to an airline. Google Flights is probably the best invention since sliced bread… I go there every day and have not only learned a lot… I have saved thousands.

The Travel Hack says…

I like Skyscanner for booking flights and Doris and Dicky for hotels. Doris and Dicky is great because they feature boutique hotels for under £100 so it really is affordable luxury.

how do bloggers travel

Emily Luxton says…

I love Skyscanner for finding flights – they’re definitely one of the easiest sites to use and you can set up email alerts to let you know if the flights you’re looking at drop in price.

EnglishMum.com says…

If you’re looking for great independent accommodation, then Airbnb is always a great place to start. Skyscanner is fabulous for finding the best value flights. For hotels, try member-only flash sale sites like Secret Escapes and Voyage Privé – they often have really great deals and aren’t just for package holidays. For beautiful inspiration, I love beachtomato.com too.

The Opportunistic Travellers say…

Adioso is the most flexible flight software out there. TripAdvisor still reigns supreme for specific aspects, though it’s getting a little crowded.

Either a cutout from Planet of The Apes, or just another amazing cove on the Mediterranean see off #Mallorca.

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Must Have Travel Apps

Teacake Travels says…

Trip.com / Tourlina app / AirBNB are my favourites.

Taylor Hearts Travel says…

I’ve seen people making bookings purely through seeing a travel Instagram or FB pic. It seems a picture really does speak a thousand words and that trusted recommendations from people, rather than brands are really valued.

how do bloggers travel

Travel blogs are full of amazing advice

Girl About the Globe says…

Blogs such as Nomadic Matt gives tips on how to travel the world cheaply and bloggers who have been to the same places that people are looking to travel to who give an honest account of what a place is like.

Lonely Planet guides can help with creating your own itinerary but there is so much information out there that it is easy to plan your trip nowadays.

The Opportunistic Travellers say…

DMO sites can’t keep up. They still read like a directory or Chamber of Commerce membership roster. It’s expensive to run a website that doesn’t work well for the audience, yet that’s what most provide.

Travellers aren’t looking for a laundry list of things. They want help making their choices, with points of views and recommendations from people in the know. That’s a tough transition for DMOs who strive to stay neutral. But we have Wikipedia for that. They need to let their voice shine through and help guide travellers to the best experiences.

Podcasts and blogs are driving more interest than ever (and I’m biased towards podcasts, since it’s what we do on or comedy travel show This One Time and what I do on the Bangkok Podcast.

The Travel Hack says…

I usually look to travel blogs for itinerary ideas and things to do.

travel like a travel blogger

Be adventurous: travel solo, go somewhere different and don’t let age hold you back

Girl About the Globe says…

Travelling solo gives you the confidence that you don’t get booking a package holiday. It also helps keep the costs down as you can choose cheap accommodation.

EnglishMum.com says…

I think the lines continue to blur and we’re all becoming more confident and adventurous in our travel choices: cruisers are getting younger, backpackers are getting older, family holidays have gone from your standard fortnight in Gran Canaria to maybe a couple of weekend city breaks, plus a week exploring Costa Rica or crossing India by train! I’m excited to see where it will go from here.

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