MORE people are turning to the internet to book their holidays instead of making the traditional trip to the high street travel agent.
But trying to piece together flights, accommodation, transfers, insurance etc., can be a daunting task for someone sitting at home with their laptop, and one click of the wrong button could throw travel plans into chaos.
Now, though, there’s a growing number of personal travel advisors who can arrange those personal, tailor-made itineraries and take the stress out of planning your holiday.
Laura O’Neill, based in Dunfermline, works with Travel Counsellors, a home-based travel company, and is one of many self-employed agents.
She said: “Instead of trawling through hundreds of offers on the internet, my customers call me and I plan their holidays for them.
“I’m their contact for all aspects of their holiday and I can deal with any issues, such re-arranging transfers to hotels if flights are delayed.
“Because I work from home, I can speak to customers when it suits, in the evenings and weekends, And everything you book with Travel Counsellors is financially protected.”
Laura has worked in the travel industry for more than 10 years, starting at Thomas Cook after leaving school. Attracted by the idea of working independently, she joined Travel Counsellors in August 2009.
Laura said: “My first year was difficult as there were a few challenges I had to face.
“I had 60 plus passengers on group bookings for stag and hen parties who were booked with Globespan when the airline went bust in November 2009, so I had to make alternative arrangements for all of them.
“A few months later, we were hit with the ‘Ash Cloud’ from the volcano in Iceland. I had customers who were stranded and I had to make arrangements to bring them home, and I had others who were due to go out, but fortunately they were all re-arranged and they all got away within the next couple of months.”
With money being tight, Laura has noticed fewer people booking breaks at the start of the year.
She said: “They’ve been leaving it later to see what their finances are like, but I’ve had a lot of inquiries both last month and this month.”
>> Laura can be contacted by calling 0845 058 7062 or email email@example.com.