Booking a holiday

This year I will be going on an overseas holiday and I have decided to handle all the bookings myself in a bid to cut out any involvement from a travel agent.

I am going on a summer holiday!

Therefore I will have to book all flights, accommodation and rental cars and obviously online is the easiest way to go about this.  I think I should be able to research and book all of those in one day!

Yesterday I bought myself a nice picnic rug online. I purchased it here from a store called Bask and I am so happy with it. It forms part of today’s plan where I am currently sitting under an old oak tree at my local park, on my new picnic blanket, with a nice little lunch for later but for now I am ready to research and book my holiday.

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So, where am I going to go?  Well I have always wanted to go to Cape Town in South Africa.  I have a couple of friends who have gone there and they loved every single minute of their visit.

I am planning on going for two weeks, with one week in Cape Town itself and one week travelling up the Garden Route, which is from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay.  I have done a little research about this section of South Africa and it has some of the most beautiful coastlines in the country so of course I will be packing my camera and taking many pictures.

I want the best deals possible, so I will be checking out a few options online.

Something to carry my passport

Another important purchase for my holiday is a travel wallet.  They are so convenient and perfect for me to keep all my important trip documents, tickets, my passport and money. Having done some travel in the past, there have been numerous times that I have lost important documents such as tickets so I know this is a critical buy.

In the past I have used money belts when I have travelled but I have found them to be very uncomfortable and not practical at all. There are so many other options out there that are far more stylish and a friend recently put me on to a company called Drift whom he purchased from earlier in the year (I really like the look of these). Being able to keep everything in the one place and knowing that it is secure will help me to enjoy my trip!

Tickets booked

I found a very good price with South African Airways, but before jumping in I just need to double check a few things to ensure that I am on their official site.

I always check the following before putting in any credit card details:

  • There must be a secure “lock” symbol on the web page… check!
  • The web address must start with https:// not http://…check!
  • The website should contain a verification badge from either Verisign or Thwaite… check! The SAA website uses Thwaite.

A few clicks, entering of credit card details… as easy as that, I have flight tickets to South Africa. Reminds me of my other big purchases that have been surprisingly easy.

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The next thing I need to book is a rental car as I plan to drive myself around, especially up the Garden Route.  There are a number of car hire websites that I have been advised to use and I have chose the one my friends used while they were in South Africa.   They offer excellent rates, much cheaper than if I had used a travel agent.  Again, I am making sure that all of the security checks are in place exactly in the same way as I did when I booked my flight tickets…rental car booked!

Accomodation

Lastly, I need to book accommodation.  For my stay in Cape Town, I am staying in the city centre at the Cape Sun hotel.  I have popped off an email to them asking about rates and if they have a room available on the dates I am in Cape Town.

For my trip up the Garden Route I will be booking into guesthouses, backpackers and bed and breakfast establishments.  I am not too concerned about organising all of that now as I can do it in the week I am in Cape Town.

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Just received an email back from the Cape Sun, they have a room for me on the dates I requested.  Again I will pay online, using all the security checks as for the flight tickets and car rental.  Accommodation in Cape Town is now booked!

Well, that was not too bad!  It was easier than I expected but still took a good few hours!  I suppose reporting it real time on my blog slowed me down a little but I wanted to give you an idea of how I work through these purchases.