Research & Travel Planning Tools
Important Considerations When Starting To Plan A Trip
Where To? - Do you know where you want to go? Will it work for your budget? Did you research the destination?
Health & Safety? - Is your chosen destination considered reasonably safe? Are there any health concerns?
Flexibility - How flexible are you? Will you need to change plans based on budget considerations?
Budget - How much are you allowing for your vacation on a per person basis? Once you've determined how flexible you are with destination choices and your overall budget, you can start keeping track of your budget—unless of course, you are one of those people who do not have to concern yourself with that. Lucky you!
Responsible Travels - If you are unfamiliar with exactly what responsible travel is, check out our page. When you work with us, we do our very best to help you travel better and we arm you with as much information as we can.
Our travel resources and links page (link below) is a great place to start researching a destination. You'll find a number of excellent resources from reputable sites. If you don't have the time, this is a part of our service. We provide you with destination information that is both practical and goes beyond your traditional guide books.
How To Get The Best Flight Deals
Soul Free Travels makes it easier for you...
Start your research right here. Finding the best fares for airline tickets doesn't have to be time consuming. When booking our own travels we compare airfares too.
We first look at 3 Sites;
(1) Sky Scanner
- Make sure you are comparing apples to apples; using the same dates is a good start.
- Often, our travel partners (cruises, tours, packages, etc) have already negotiated flights at much better prices when you are including a flight in their offer. You will not find these online, (This is one area we can help you save).
- Of the tools above, ours allows you to book directly. We include the other tools because they both give you information that may not be available in all booking sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. For example, Skyscanner will look at far more carriers than any other tool. The Matrix software might find a routing that other booking tools do not have. If you find a flight and want to purchase it, get in touch or see if it is available on our site.
- We do not typically bother with the other sites because they are guess what—TRAVEL AGENTS, and they have fees on their tickets. When you go to compare them, you will find that it is generally a waste of time because they are all roughly the same and by the way, if you are traveling and something happens, you'll want a real travel agent by your side.
- We are providing this information to you to make it easier for you. You can feel confident that we look at all of the ways we can provide you with the best value and the best service.
- You can always book your own air tickets and we encourage you to do so if you can get a better deal. The reasons you would want to use a travel agent is for convenience, we might be able to save you money, the peace of mind of having someone who is accustomed to thinking of everything, and when things go awry, an agent is right there for you.
- Both Matrix and Skyscanner will offer a fare calendar that might give you better options if your dates are flexible. See something you like, make note and let us know. Get in touch.
- Don't have the time for all of this? This is part of our services. We save you time and we also work with consolidators that might have a better offer and this is not available online to anyone other than travel agents.
How To Find The Best Places To Stay
Soul Free Travels makes it easier for you...
Well, the easiest way is to contact us and tell us what you are looking for in a place to stay. We have more insight into destinations than you'll likely have the time to learn. But... If you need to do it all yourself, consider these things;
Tripadvisor is a great place to start and reading the reviews. Quite often they will have direct links to a hotel, unless of course they are acting as the agent and taking a commission.
Search - Booking.com has the largest collection of places to stay. While they don't have everything, this is a good place to start and see what you like. Generally, their prices are the most competitive but, not always. Do you need to book there? Can you book direct?
Villas & Vacation Homes - We have access to these too. The travel companies we work with have vetted these properties and their owners and in many cases we have also vetted them. There are many guesthouses and independent owners throughout the world and quite often these offer the best experiences. Booking.com also has listings for these accommodations but they are not always vetted as just about anyone can list with them.
You are taking your chances (and paying more) with Airbnb.
VRBO and Homeaway are the same company and have a great selection too, but again, they say their vetted, but are they? There are numerous other sites to search too.
Responsible Travel - We believe that the best way to help the world economy is to support local entrepreneurs. By this we mean eating at restaurants that are locally owned and staying at locally owned hotels that employ locals or with businesses who support the local community with initiatives. This isn't always possible, but when you book a reservation through any online travel agent just for convenience purposes, consider that the property is having to pay a commission to this third party. That cuts deeply into the bottom line of these businesses. They could certainly use these funds for upgrading their rooms, providing better services to their guests and so on. Would it be better to book direct?