The ultimate holiday planning guide

The ultimate holiday planning guide
The ultimate guide to planning a holiday on the internet

Unfortunately for the DIY traveller, in most cases, planning a holiday online is not as simple as choosing a book from Amazon.

They soon realise that a deal isn’t as great as the website promised. In a lot of cases, there are hidden costs that aren’t included in the advertised prices. Such as fuel surcharges, baggage fees, resorts fees, change fees, cancellation fees, the list goes on.

The holiday might not match the pictures on the website. Have you ever stayed at a hotel that didn’t match the promises on their website, maybe you’ve had a nightclub next door when you were looking for peace and quiet? This holiday planning guide can help you to make the most on travel websites.

Eight hours next to the toilet

Perhaps you found a bargain flight and ended up spending a 10 hour flight sitting next to the toilet.

Maybe you’ve spent hours planning your travel and have been overwhelmed by the seemingly unlimited choice.

You could even be thinking about booking online for the first time.

Whatever your experience, and wherever you’re planning to go, this is the guide for you.

The Ultimate Holiday Planning Guide

John Guinn, the Travel Researcher, has put together the ultimate guide to travel planning so you can find the perfect holiday, helping you to avoid the pitfalls.

These pages present practical advice (and insider secrets) on the most useful websites, how to find the best deals, and how to help you decide where, and when, to go. Everything the best way to use the internet for travel planning.

It also provides tips to ensure that your trip doesn’t frustrate, disappoint or break the bank, including

  • How to find the best available seat on your flight
  • How to keep up-to-date on your destination
  • How to find the best deals
  • How to avoid the common scams.

It doesn’t matter what type of trip you’re planning, it could be business or pleasure, budget or exotic getaway, family visit or a romantic celebration, The Travel Researcher’s Guide is an indispensable travel resource for your travel planning.

If you prefer to read a book you can purchase a printed version here.


The wrong name and other mishaps

Now it is very easy to book and pay for something online. Unfortunately, it is also very easy to make an expensive mistake. He made the following mistakes:

  1. He booked his girlfriend’s flight tickets in the wrong name. He used the name he called her, and not her name as recorded in her passport. This cost him £150 to correct at the airport. As Advance Passenger Information is now required by some countries, this may no longer be possible at the airport
  2. He knew that there was a coach service from the airport to the hotel. He didn’t check to see if it was running at the time of his arrival. It wasn’t, so he had to get a cab. So was an extra expense
  3. He had worked out that he was going to arrive at the hotel after midnight, so he booked the hotel for the day after he landed. When he got to the hotel, he either had to wait 14 hours to check-in or to book a room. More expense


Before you hand over any money to book travel, you really need to ensure that you know exactly what you are doing and what you are getting for your money.

These guides have been written to help you to get the most from your travel by explaining how to use the Internet to find the best travel matches to your requirements. It’ll also save you money.


Booking travel on the Internet

The basics of travel planning



In the old days, you just went to your local travel agent and booked their recommended trip. With the rise in Internet use, more and more people are now staying at home and booking their holidays on a website. Unfortunately, too many people get to their computers and just type in prices and dates. If you speak to these Internet bookers, they nearly all go on about the bargain that they have found, but the Internet offers much more than cut price holidays.

Chapter One – Plan your next holiday with the help of the internet

Find the right location

Find the right weather



This guide does assume that you know how to access the World-Wide-Web and can use email. The following is a brief introduction to Internet use.

Chapter Two – Using the Internet



Since travel companies moved onto the Internet, travellers have taken advantage of the savings that they have found by shopping around on these travel websites.

However, not all of them have used the Internet to research their chosen destinations or have taken advantage of the wealth of travel resources that are available online.

Although there is so much information out there, it can be time consuming to find what you need. The trick is taking the time to plan where and how to look. It is important to take time in doing this, after all, despite what some airlines might tell you, the destination, and not the journey, is the main part of the trip.

There’s no point being somewhere just because it’s cheap if it doesn’t meet your needs.

Chapter Three – The right destination

Government advisories

Travel guide books

Social media and travel

User travel reviews

Online encyclopaedias, podcasts, forums and blogs

Travel blogs and newsgroups

Chat with the locals

Tourist boards

Travel articles



There’s more to finding somewhere to sleep than hotels, camper vans and tents.

There are websites which can help you to find alternative places to lay your head, from swapping homes to sleeping on a spare bed, and from house sitting to a working holiday.

House swapping

Working holidays



Booking flights online can be as easy as filling in your name and payment card details, but you may be missing out on better flights, deals or maybe you may be booking the wrong airport altogether.

This part of the guide will show you how to get the most from your flight booking and how to prevent the mistakes that many people make when booking a flight online.

It also contains information of compensation for cancelled flights, frequent flyer clubs, lost luggage and more.

Chapter Five – Researching and booking flights

Searching for your flight

Flight websites

Airline reviews

Adult, child or infant?

Disabled flyers

Other important points when buying a flight online

Fare rules

Fare classes

Courier tickets


Luggage Allowances

Hand luggage

Checked baggage

Around the World

Frequent flyer programs

How to get the best seat on a plane

How to get an upgrade

While on-board

What happens if it all goes wrong?

Missed flight compensation

Airline strike

Lost luggage

Fear of flying

Flight planning websites

Who goes where?

Check the airline

Will you be late?

Price comparison websites

Booking and reservation websites

Miscellaneous flight websites



Cruises are now one of the most popular types of holiday. Once thought of as just holidays for pensioners, the average age of the passengers is dropping all the time.

Cruises can be researched just like other forms of holidays. You can find the best cruise for your plans; check all the itineraries to see what takes your fancy, check reviews on the ships, cabins and even the ports. And of course you can book your trip too.


This chapter describes websites that you may need to help you to research your trip. As well as the web address, I have also given a brief description of the functions of the website. I have grouped the websites according to their type or use.

Chapter Seven – Travel basics and tools

The weather

Time Difference Websites

Weights, Measures and Distances

Travel Money

Electricity Plug Adaptors and Telephone Sockets

Travel Gear




Travel Tips


Chapter Eight – Travel insurance

There’s no legal requirement for you to have insurance when you travel abroad, but for most tour operators, you having suitable travel insurance is part of the terms of the sale for the booking.

However, it really is essential to have travel insurance, as each year holidays are ruined by illness, robbery or natural disaster, and these can be expensive to resolve.

Chapter Eight – Travel Insurance

Medical expenses

Cancellation or flight delays

Theft or loss


Disasters and terrorism

Insurance tips


Chapter Nine – Car Hire

The traveller knows what type of car they want or how much that they want to spend and as long as they get it from the cheapest source, they don’t care who supplies it. Combined with price comparison websites, it couldn’t get any easier.

Chapter Nine – Car hire

Hire car insurance

Hidden charges

Collecting your hire car

Returning your hire car


Chapter 10 – Disabled Travel

Using the research techniques I have mentioned throughout this online guide, you can ensure that you get the right holiday for anyone, no matter what their specific needs.

Chapter Ten – Disabled travel


Chapter Eleven – Single Travellers

Single travellers can feel that they are being penalised just because they decide to travel on their own. The ‘single supplement’ is regarded as unfair as the price increases during the school holidays.


Chapter Twelve – Trains

Murder on the Orient Express might be a little too much excitement for you, but trains are an overlooked method of transport. Seen as slow and old fashioned by many, this mode of transport is making a comeback as more are concerned about the ecological impact of their travels.

Trains are also a great way to see the countryside, and to get immersed into local culture. It can be cheaper too.

Chapter Twelve – Trains

Train Websites

Chapter Thirteen – General Travel Tips

I have grouped together useful travel tips on one section.

Chapter Thirteen – General travel tips


Annex A – Travel Jargon Explained

This page is a list of common travel jargon used by the travel industry.

Annex A – Travel Jargon Explained


Annex B – Common IATA Airport Codes

This page is a list of airport codes for UK airports and the more popular destinations. As mentioned in the ‘First Things First’ chapter, correct use of these codes can ensure that you travel to and from your intended route.

Annex B – Common IATA airport codes


Annex C – 108 Travel Tips

I share 108 travel tips

Annex C – 108 travel tips


Annex D – Travel Checklist

How many times have you set off only to find that you have left something behind? Have you checked everything carefully before booking? This handy travel checklist will help you to remember what you need and what to check.

Annex D – Travel Checklist


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