Seriously though — when was the last time you sat in a travel agent’s office to book a vacation? Next question, when was the last time you sat in a travel agent’s office without parents, or someone of an older generation? Final question, have you ever even used a travel agent?
Fun fact of the day for you: according to a Skift survey from March 2015, only 10% of millennials booked their vacations through a travel agent in the prior year. A whopping 84% have never used a travel agent at all.
The world wide web is a glorious place — and one that gives you the freedom to book your own travel. You no longer need to go to a travel agency in person. You can book from the comfort of your own home, while at work, or even on the go. If you have any problems or hesitations, there’s almost always a travel rep’s contact information that you can use. However, for the most part, you can book with just a few clicks of a button, and credit card information of course.
I love vacations. I fully utilize my PTO and believe that everyone should. We all need to get away sometimes to come back fully refreshed and revitalized. Whether that vacation is a domestic one, an escape to a beach somewhere on the beautiful waters of the Caribbean, or to Europe — you deserve it. Go out, see the world and have fun.
Here are some vacation booking site recommendations for you to start with:
Don’t knock the name—this website has been my favorite and the reason why I’m able to frolic down to the Caribbean three times a year. Not only is it extremely easy to use, but you’ll find amazing deals that you won’t think twice to spend the money on. For instance, last summer I went to Punta Cana for a week and stayed at an all-inclusive hotel. With direct airfare (and remember all food and drinks and your hotel stay are included) I paid approximately $1,200. The website even lets you “budget search.” You can input the maximum amount you want to spend total for all travelers, and the number of travelers, and it’ll show you all of the deals at once. As if this wasn’t enough, Cheap Caribbean also has representatives at the airport and usually at the hotel as well, in case you need anything at all. I can go on and on about what an awesome resource this is, but I’ll stop myself.
I personally haven’t used Apple Vacations but when I was in Cancun last summer, I met a group that did, and had a great experience from booking on the website. Apple Vacations is known to share great deals and you can choose whether you’d like an entire vacation package, only a hotel, or only a flight. In addition to vacationing to the Caribbean, Apple Vacations also allows you to book travel to Hawaii, as well as any ski vacations.
Globus operates in six continents across the globe and hosts over 250 vacation packages. My BFF traveled to Italy last year and calls the trip one of the best experiences of her life, and credits that to Globus. Many of us don’t know where to even start when it comes to booking a larger, international vacation. Globus makes it easy for you to do just that. Their site helps you plan your own vacation, from hotels, to tours, and so much more.
Vacations by Kat
If you do still want to use a travel agent, why not use a fellow millennial who understands you? Katerina Johnson loves planning vacations—both for herself and others. Plus, she happens to be my best friend from when we were four years old, so I can wholeheartedly vouch for her, her passion and her dedication to ensuring that you will have the best vacation of your life thanks to her. She specializes in Caribbean vacations, as well as Disney. Seriously though, who wants a headache on a trip to Disney? Kat will take that away from you.
Extravagant Travel Corp.
If you still want a travel agent to fuel your vacation planning needs, Deborah Orgel-Gordon of Extravagant Travel is here for you! She specializes in customized concierge services for business or pleasure—if any of that fuels your interest she’s happy to work with you on a one-on-one basis, so please contact her!
These are five great places to start. Still a bit confused as to how to begin? I turned to someone who knows a bit more about travel than I do— Amanda Folk, founder of Chasing My Sunshine. She shared some of her go-to suggestions with me whether you’re in need of flights, a hotel stay, or a tour.
Here’s what Amanda had to say were her favorite sites, and why:
I love Google flights because you can find the cheapest flight to a general destination with a general range of dates. This is really good if you are flexible with your locations and time off, you can just follow the sales! I’ve searched “Europe” + “September” + “two weeks” more often than I care to admit.
Runner-up: Skyscanner used to be my go-to, and I still double-check it. I use this if I’m a little more specific with my destination. Let’s say I want to go to Stockholm, Sweden but the flights are outrageous. I can just look for the cheapest European destination listed on Skyscanner and check out connecting flights from there to Stockholm. You can save hundreds of dollars this way!
This is my FAVORITE way to look for places to stay, anywhere. You can find anything from hostel-type housing to an entire house for yourself. The prices are usually much more reasonable than a hotel and nine times out of ten you’ll get more of a “local” experience that everybody craves! If you haven’t used it before, that link gets you $30 off your first stay.
Runner-up: Hotwire is great if you’re looking for a hotel and aren’t too picky about where you’re going to stay. It gives you great rates and a general location, but you won’t find out the name until you book. This has saved me more than once as a wedding guest when booking destination hotel rooms! You can also get rental car deals on there too, which I find super effective.
Free Tours by Foot
Okay, but what are you actually supposed to do once you get there? I LOVE Free Tours by Foot. They’re great to give you the lay of the land and the tour guides are often full of information. Best part? As you might have guessed, the tours are free! You just pay for tip – but don’t skimp! They also have food tours which can be great for lunch. I’ve taken them in my home city, Philadelphia, and learned so much from them even though I’ve lived there for seven years. Highly recommend!
As you can see from above, Amanda definitely knows her stuff. If you love to travel, I highly recommend following her blog and connecting with her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.