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30 HOURS! The average person spends 30 hours researching a family holiday. And more crazy facts around planning your holidays

By Lyndsey Thomas – 16th June 2020
travel planning

According to research, it takes the equivalent of four working days to plan a jolly.

Travel Planning can be intimidating. Over 30 hours lost to trying to find the right holiday at the right price, at the right place.

Over 30 hours of talking to our friends, reading reviews, perusing travel articles, searching for flights, looking for hotel deals and prices, exploring attractions and activities and working out all the logistics… and this is all before the ‘essentials’ shopping trip for a whole new wardrobe.

30 hours is A LOT of time to spend glued to screens trawling through hotels, taking virtual tours around the grounds and scrutinizing the facilities.  And  I expect  30 hours is in respect to your average ‘fly-and-flop’ – flight + hotel + transfers / car hire.

Jump off your flight, transfer to your hotel and flop on your sunbed for a fortnight. Personally, this type of holiday is my idea of hell.

Travel Planning

I don’t want a cookie-cutter jolly…

I don’t want to book a one-size-fits-all holiday straight off a website or out of a brochure.

I don’t want expensive for expensive sake. I certainly don’t want to pay the earth for a big-brand five-star hotel just to defeat the worry that comes with booking a small independent three-star hotel online.

And I don’t want to be hurled up in an all-inclusive resort for a fortnight.

For me and my family, holidays are so much more than flying and flopping.


Travel Planning – As a family, we want to get off the beaten track

We want to experience the local culture. We want to stay in authentic accommodation, in the best possible location, with plenty to do on our doorstep. It’s more than just time out in the sun.

And these types of holidays take even more of my precious time to research.  So it’s highly likely that the holidays I go on to book take more than 30 hours. In fact, I’m losing the bloody will to live just thinking about planning the next one.

In any normal year, we take, on average, at least two if not three trips a year. Over 90 hours of holiday planning – good grief. Give me strength!


Faceless websites are not the answer to incredible holidays

The internet plays a huge part in how we plan holidays. Research suggests that we search an average of eight websites (more like 28, if you’re anything like me) when planning a holiday.

Hours are spent scouring the web for feedback and recommendations from social media and review platforms such as Tripadvisor.

We don’t need a study to confirm the obvious, of course, the internet is most people’s go-to when it comes to researching trips, but where do you start? Who do you trust? Who do you believe?

I have over 20 years of global travel industry experience working alongside major tour operators, airlines and global tourism boards. But I struggle to easily find the holiday that I want for my family when I book independently. I choose not to book through big tour operators because I know how they work and the can be restricted to what hotels they can sell.

Don’t expect to find that cute little five-room hotel which is off the beaten track if you book via a big UK tour operator.


The trials and tribulations of Tripadvisor

This is one of my all-time favourite quotes from a young travel influencer that I came across online.  My eyes have never rolled quite so much as they do when I read this:

       “Trip advisor – if you’re a traveller, you’ve definitely heard of this before! Personal reviews from MILLIONS of users which help you in making those difficult decisions a little easier”

Oh, the irony…


Wasting hours trawling through faceless travel websites such as booking.com and Tripadvisor drives me to f-ing despair!

My precious time wasted online comparing dozens of contradictory reviews from people across the globe.

Do we have anything in common?

Are our standards the same?

The answer is NO!


Holidays letdowns

According to a report compiled by ClubMed, Brit’s top 10 letdowns when it comes to a holiday are;

    1. Cleanliness of rooms
    2. Quality of facilities
    3. Quality of food
    4. Comfort of beds
    5. The quietness of the area
    6. Friendliness of staff
    7. Distance from the centre of town
    8. Price of basic things – a pint, meal etc.
    9. Proximity to beach
    10. Distance from airport


I think we can all relate to these letdowns.  It doesn’t help that the numerous rating systems (they all differ depending on where you are travelling to) for hotels across the globe vary enormously and have not been invented with families in mind, so this can add to the uncertainty too.

(Read my article on understanding the hotel rating system HERE)


So how do we cut down on the time spent researching holidays and remove the anxiety of not knowing what we are in for until we get to where we are going?

One route is, of course, recommendations from people you know who have similar interests, values and expectations.  For me, a recommendation from a trusted source holds a lot of weight.

And the option is to find a good independent travel agent and put your faith in them. For the most part, they are totally unbiased and can pretty much book anything and everything and will often advise you on their own personal experiences.

A really good personal travel agent has been at it for years, will have a little black book of amazing hotel contacts and local ground-handlers and a small circle of devoted customers.

For peace of mind, they are fully bonded, meaning your money is safe if you make a booking and the company goes bust (this is not the case for 3rd party websites such as SkyScanner and Expedia).

A good independent travel agent will also ensure you have the right insurance cover for your trip. Post Covid-19, these safety nets are more important than ever before.

(Read my article on what bonding means to you and how it projects you HERE)

If you’ve read this article and are nodding away like Churchill on the parcel shelf of a car driving down a road full of potholes then you might be excited at the prospect of our solution for all the above.
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I’m on a mission to remove the hours spent trawling the internet, to remove the overwhelm, and to remove the anxiety from the holiday planning process.

I want you to be 100% confident that your holiday will result in the most amazing memories without losing the will to live when the time comes to start planning.

We are beavering away behind the Girl About Travel scenes to bring you our own network of trusted female independent travel agents as part of our Girl About Travel Club. Combined with the recommendations from our growing network of over 35 Girl About Ambassadors across the country, many of whom are mums and all of whom love to travel the Girl About way – holidays off the beaten path, experiencing local culture, authentic and experiential over lavish and luxurious. Holidays created for them.

Sounds like a Godsend doesn’t it? Not least because we are creating this club to help ourselves, as well as every over travel-loving women out there.


Want in? Get on the list. Learn the magic of Travel Planning

The best way to ensure that you don’t miss anything relating to the launch of Girl About Travel Club in July, especially the introductory founding member offer, is to sign up to receive our DMs via Messenger here: https://bit.ly/girl-a-bot

Lyndsey Thomas
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