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Helping Your Parents Ditch Their Travel Agent

Help your parents plan stylish and comfortable trips. stylish hotel

Most people under 50 wouldn’t dream of using a travel agent to book travel. We’d just do it online.

Parents are often afraid to do this or simply don’t know where to start. Here are some tips for helping your parents learn how to use the internet to book travel.

1. Teach them about unchecking auto-checked boxes.

Budget airline booking sites often auto-check boxes that you need to uncheck to avoid paying for optional extras. Make sure your parents know about unchecking these boxes. Ideally sit down with them and take them through this process so they don’t end up paying for extras they don’t want.

Wikpedia has a great list of budget carriers organized by country.

2. Help them take care of their insurance.

If your parents only take short trips (under 90 days) let them know about alternatives to taking out travel insurance on a per trip basis. For example, getting a credit card that provides free travel insurance or getting an annual travel insurance policy.

Make sure they understand the terms and conditions. For example, when using a credit card for insurance, you typically need to purchase a certain percentage of your prepaid travel costs using the card in order to get coverage.

If they’re buying a policy online, make sure they check if they can use a discount code (you can usually easily find a 10% off code with a 10 second Google search).

If they’re over 70 they may need specialist insurance.

3. Let them know about specialty sites.

For example, educate them about sites for booking vacation apartments as alternatives to hotels (e.g., AirBnb). If they’re booking a cruise, suggest that look at cruise aggregator sites e.g. This will allow them to access cheap prices and also give them more time to compare and consider their options vs. making a decision about a large purchase in a few minutes at a travel agency.

4. Help them take advantage of their credit score for free milage earning and upgrade opportunities.

Parents who have always traveling in economy class may need to make the switch to business class as they get older and start to have issues with their joints etc.

The best way to book business class travel is by using frequent flyer miles. The value you get from frequent flyer miles is far greater when used for business class travel compared to using them for economy travel.

Show them how they can use credit card signup bonuses to get enough points to upgrade their travel.

5. Give them a Google maps lesson.

Teach them about using Google maps, including the street view feature, and the feature for finding public transportation which can be found at http://www.google.com/transit“>.

Make sure they’re able to use Google maps on their phone as well as on their computer. It sounds basically but you always want to make sure they know how to connect to a new wifi network. My parents don’t know how to do this! I recently found out my Mum has been paying for data use on her smart phone even in her own house because she didn’t know how to connect to her home wifi network!

More useful Google tools for travel.

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