Travel Agents And Others by:Alan Hawkins
In Ireland they used to have a currency called a punt, there was a joke floating around that the reason it was changed was because it rhymed with financial advisor. With my deepest apologies, this is meant merely as a joke, there are many financial advisors and others who sell and earn an absolutely honest living from commissions and incentives by conducting business in an honourable way. Yes, there are also unfortunately those who are not as honest.
Travellers beware, whether your holiday or travel plans include, South Africa, England or Egypt, the onus is on you to check and re-check all your plans, your air tickets, the dates and agreed rates, the whole lot.
During a recent trip to Egypt we booked a Nile Cruise, advertised as luxury, a five day cruise, what nobody bothered to mention was that two if the days were at the side of the quay at the departure point and one full day and night queued at the Nile locks, in reality it was actually a two day Nile cruise and very far from luxurious that I can tell you, the Egyptians idea of luxury is way, repeat way off the description commonly accepted on the travel world. It is actually hard to believe the people of Egypt as you see it today are descendants of those who built the pyramids, we'll leave that debate to the Egyptologists. On the other hand completely, are the standards of accommodation in South Africa. A fairly recent grading system and structure has been adopted by all or most accommodation establishments whereby they must abide by certain standards in the first instance and then maintain them in the second instance, being subject to inspection usually twice in each year. The standards set do conform at the very least to world standards and I am always pleasantly surprised when I out them in comparison to the many places I have had the privilege to visit in my travels.
Back for the moment to the punt and the unscrupulous agents. Travel is about fun, holidays, Cape Town, Paris and sunny and sandy shores, about beaches and beautiful attractions. The reality however is that it is also about utilising the few weeks a year you have available for holiday, cost, travel time, travel black holes these being the modern airport, passport control, the rude welcome by London underground staff; the pick pockets at Rome airport and the vendors in Bangkok who seem unable to sell you anything without touching you and a one hour negotiation.
The greatest advice I ever had from one client who sends us travel tips regularly is to use you calculatorno, not to add up costs but to work out exactly what percentage of your time is going to be spend in getting to and from your destination. By example, Vernazza in Italy, a beautiful sea side village on the Cinque Terre, comparable to Simonstown in South Africa, near Cape Town. Now from South Africa, there is no direct link to Genoa, the nearest Italian international airport so it's via Emirates (what a great airline) to Rome via Dubai, call that (from East London, in South Africa) 1,5 days there, 1,5 days back and a half day recovery either way, that's now 4 days. Never mind the three different flights there and again back, the stress, the carting and fetching (whew!). Another half day each way by train to Monterosso (nearby) and a short hop to Vernazza on the local, effectively a total of say five days of struggle and stress to get there and back, in our case for 5 days of holiday, spend say one third of the five days asleep and we end up with three days holiday out of the ten and a cost of say 2000 US each for the experience and the privilege of this great place. Who's to blame, you or the agent.
No, sorry all, life is too short, I personally work hard to enjoy my leave and we are privileged to live in a place that can be labelled the worlds best kept travel secret, South Africa.
From Cape Town to Knysna, the Kruger Park and Durban, I challenge anyone to a debate on this one, a world one country. Please click here for travel information and accommodation on South Africa.
YOUR INPUT IS CRITICAL.. Please send any travel tip or travel idea to firstname.lastname@example.org help fellow travellers to enjoy safe and happy travelling.
Alan Hawkins - CEO
About the author
Alan Hawkins is the CEO of StaySA. StaySA is a leading South African Accommodationportal.Visit StaySA the next time you are looking for a kind of Accommodation in South African