Renee loves to travel to new places and have fun doing it. In the last few years, she has visited 20 different destinations, with more trips planned for the future. What makes her story so special? She planned each trip by herself on the Internet.
Like myself, Renee is a “F.I.T.” – a fully independent traveler. She plans and books all her travel arrangements without using an agent. We’re part of a growing trend among tourists to use online resources to customize our travel plans. With lots of free time and the money to indulge her love of travel, Renee is making memories to last a lifetime.
While the F.I.T. lifestyle works well for me, it’s not for everyone. I spend a lot of time on research and investigation. Sniffing out which posts are scammers and which websites are run by legitimate companies can be tricky. I cross-check sites, read reviews and scour descriptions for red flags. Every connection has worked out great; no frauds!
But where does a F.I.T. beginner start? The sheer amount of information available on the internet is intimidating. With so many websites for airlines, hotels, resorts, travel blogs, and destination pages, I wasn’t sure where to start. Sites like Trip Advisor, Frommer’s and others, helped narrow down my options. Once I knew where I wanted to go, it was easy to find the best activities.
If you want the independence of F.I.T. travel without all the work, using a specialized travel agent may be the answer. When I booked my visit to the Sistine Chapel, I wasn’t aware of a special inside passage that led to St. Peter’s, but every tour guide there knew about it. Working with professionals who have the knowledge to plan the unique experiences you want, especially in exotic or remote locations, just makes sense.
City guides help with transportation and scheduling, places to eat and tourist-friendly neighborhoods. I even used some sites that have branches in countries I want to visit in the future. Keep a travel folder so you can refer back to what worked best; it’s a lot of fun putting all the pieces together.
Being a F.I.T. gives me the flexibility to choose the activities I like, unlike a fixed itinerary group tour. I can travel alone or with friends that share the same passions. Whether focusing on culture or adventure, there is something for everyone. With so many options, I can enjoy whatever comes my way.
On a trip to Antigua with my husband, our local tour guide took us off the “tourist” route, ending up at an outdoor BBQ overlooking the entire island. The food was tasty, the people welcoming and the music was popping. We would never have had such a wonderful experience on a group tour; definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Even a F.I.T. can benefit from working with a specialized agency to plan a trip. Whether you’re looking for a treehouse hotel or a private tour of the Sydney Opera House, using the services of an agent is the only way to plan travel. The travel agent can help you navigate the numerous options, gain VIP access to tourist sites and events and identify reputable tour operators and accommodations.
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Diane Worley is a freelance copywriter, storyteller, pet lover, amateur chef and avid traveler. Check out her profile on LinkedIn to see how she can help your business grow or contact her directly at email@example.com.