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Self Drive Vacations On the Rise

Ambika Verma| Fri, 06 Jan 2023

The way we travel is constantly changing and one of the biggest trends in the last few years is the rise of self-drive vacations. According to some experts, the number of people opting for such holidays is seeing a steady growth particularly within the age group of 25 to 45 years. The last decade has seen more Omanis now opting to explore domestic destinations by renting a car. In contrast to a decade ago where one would mostly see families making trips with their children, there is a steep increase in younger crowds heading out for road trips now. With trips to places like Salalah, and Sur leading the boards as the top destinations domestically, Britain, Ireland, USA, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Thailand are some of the many international destinations that make for a great self-drive holiday options among Omanis. The increasing popularity of road trips in Oman can be attributed to great road connectivity, increasing good navigation systems and the wide variety of options for car and bike rentals among others. Infact the self-drive holiday segment itself has grown among people travelling both within Oman and abroad with many believing that movies and the increasing influence of social media is giving rise to the trend, resulting in road trips being on the bucket list of many travellers these days. Particularly in these hectic times with the concept of long-weekend holidays serving as a mini-escape, popular drive-down locations are seeing a surge of interest. But what exactly is involved in a self-drive vacation? A self-drive vacation is a package that at a minimum entails a rental car, accommodation, and transportation. This can involve flying down to the destination of your choice and picking up your car from the regional airport. There, you will be able to venture out into the open roads and explore the area at your own pace while having a pre-suggested itinerary by your side.Drive from city to city while enjoying the stress-free comfort of convenient pre-planned routes and accommodations in every place that you visit. Many may wonder what are the benefits of self-drive vacations over traditional holiday packages? The answer to that is plenty of freedom and flexibility wherein one can explore a destination at one's own pace and interest. While you will have a pre-suggested itinerary developed by travel experts who know the area well and can suggest sites to visit and routes to explore according to your interest; You can choose what interests you from the suggested itinerary, follow it exactly or completely ignore this list and go with the flow. Just make sure you make it to the cities where your accommodations will be booked. While you will have the freedom and flexibility you desire, you are also afforded the comfort and convenience that comes with having your accommodations pre-planned and booked for you, in the best hotels our expert partners could find at the best possible price. You can cut out the stresses involved with searching for places to stay and ensuring they suit the dates and location you’re travelling on by not having to do any of the planning yourself. So you can just focus on enjoying your vacation! So if you don’t enjoy waiting in line or following the crowd, then self-drive tours might be for you. Among the best ways to discover places at your own pace is through self-drive itineraries, where you can choose the sites you want to check out, how many breaks you wish to take, or which route interests you. The shorter or the scenic route, it's all up to you, depending on what your interests are and what pace you want to set out and explore at. Are you in the mood to book a rental vehicle and set off for a trip? Whether you're searching for answers about the workings of self-drive vacations, or are just searching for recommendations or advice from our travel experts, reach out to our team of highly knowledgeable and experienced travel experts at (+968) 24400811 or and they will be happy to help you!

How to Plan the Perfect Holiday When Travelling With Your Kids

Zahara Travel Team| Fri, 04 Nov 2022

Travelling with your whole family can be overwhelming. Even though it can be an enlightening and eye-opening experience for children of all ages and that it gets easier the more you do it, you’ll run into challenges any time you travel with kids. With changing schedules, frustrating packing needs and cranky children being only a few of the challenges you will probably come across on the way. While we at Zahara Travel are always there to help make travelling with your kids easier, there are a number of things that you can do to make the travel experience a fun one. Taking some small steps before the trip can ensure you have a much smoother experience and there are so many little things that can help you enjoy your time and save time, money, and stress on your trip. So what are some things that can be both useful and easy to implement during a family travel experience wherein you and your kids can enjoy seeing the world and enjoy creating memories along the way- with lots of new foods, experiences and sights, not to mention quality family time awaiting you. The particular strategies you can use to help children enjoy a fun time on their trip will change according to how old they are with babies and toddler having very different requirements from tweens or teens.Regardless of how old your kids are, some pre-trip research on child-friendly travel options and activities in your destination that you and your family can take part in together. Just a little bit of preparation will take you the distance. Another thing that is important to prioritise on your trip is convenience and not just the cost, for while cheap flight with a layover looks a lot easier on your web browser than it does when you’re at the airport with a screaming toddler and unless you for an especially long daytime flight, it may be better to opt for a non stop flight. On the other hand with journeys spanning to longer durations, it may benefit you to break up the trip into two shorter flights, especially if you have younger kids whom you may wish to give an opportunity to get off the plane, stretch and run around. Something to always remember is that when you’re travelling with your family, everything takes longer than usual. From checking in at the airport, getting through security, picking up snacks and drinks, to boarding a plane, and just about everything else. So be sure to get to the airport early and leave plenty of time for things to go wrong. It's a nightmare rushing to reach the plane because of one of the things where all of you get held up with something- So take it easy and keep plenty of additional time to enjoy a relaxed airport experience. Keeping extra time is something that you should apply to all parts of your trip. This is because when you are travelling with children, it will be difficult to enjoy jam packed itineraries with multiple things on your agenda. You just have to remind yourself that it’s ok to do less and appreciate a slow travel experience. One thing that applies to kids of all ages is that less is more. Meaning try to ensure that you schedule in no more than half a day of structured activity and sightseeing while taking the rest of the day easy. You can enjoy some downtime and just unwind for the rest of the day. Do remain wary of focusing too much on educational experiences for your kids and taking the fun away from their trip. As while some museums and historical sites can be exciting but too many will bore younger audiences sucking all the fun out of travel. Try to find a balance so the trip is a good experience for everyone. Try to preplan, schedule and book as much as you can in advance so that when you arrive, you can go straight to your lodging, drop off bags, and give your children some time to rest. This holds particular importance for long travel days. If you need assistance in booking, talk to one of our travel advisors at Zahara Travel for lodging, activities and transport options. Don’t stress and pack thousands of things on possibility and try to narrow down the essentials of what you will definitely need to ensure a smooth trip and things that can’t be bought at the destination. Travel is difficult enough without lugging around giant bags everywhere and the less you start with, the easier it is to pack up after stops, with lesser stuff you need to carry everywhere, and the more room for souvenirs that you can bring back from your trip. On the other hand don’t forget essentials like a first-aid kit, and anything that will make your trip smoother. If you’re travelling to a foreign country, while the Zahara Travel team will be there with you every step of the way, memorize the emergency helpline numbers and save the embassy contact numbers. If you’re headed to a country where the quality of the local medical care may be questionable, talk to our travel advisors at Zahara Travel to buy a travel insurance policy that will evacuate you and your family members back to a country of your choice should a medical emergency strike. Every parent knows the frustration of those times when your kids are being overly picky, don’t want to try any new foods, and just eat snacks and junk food. Sometimes it is best to relax a little and take it as an opportunity for both you and your kids to unwind and indulge yourselves a little while on vacation. We are not saying let them binge on sugary stuff and snacks all day, every day, but allow them a little more leeway than you normally would, and and easy way to guard against too much junk food is by ensuring that there are lots of healthy snacks available. On the topic of food, we’ve all faced the situation when you visit a new country excited to sample some of the local cuisines, and your kids may refuse to try anything new. Instead of trying to force the issue, try dining at restaurants that offer at least one dish that your children will eat so as to not aggravate both yourself and the children. While travelling alone with school-age and teenaged children, consider a group tour because it will take the stress of planning an itinerary off your plate for even though older kids may not need to be managed as much but travelling with kids is always stressful and you should keep things as easy as possible so you can focus on your trip and the family instead of worrying about logistics. Besides with the right family-friendly tour options, both you and your children can enjoy being part of a built-in social structure. If you’re travelling with another parent or adult, you should share duties. For example while one person buys the tickets the other can watch the children. Make sure that if you’re travelling alone with the kids, have them sit in your line of sight while you take care of business because it is common for children to wander off if bored. To safeguard against worst case scenarios give your children your contact information so if they get lost despite your best efforts, you can get back together. Your contact information should include everything important you can think of such as your name, phone number, email address, and local address. For young kids it may be simper to put a note in one of their pockets or tie a little card somewhere on their person as long as they know where to find it. Help older kids memorise your phone number and email address. Write down the local addresses you plan to stay for them or have them save the information on their mobile phones. At the end of the day you mustang remember that your going on vacation and regardless of how carefully you plan, things may still go sideways at times. But keep in mind that these stumbles are all part of the adventure of travelling so embrace them, relish the journey, and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

Why Zahara Travel Is the Perfect Partner for All Your Corporate Travel Needs

Zahara Travel Team| Fri, 02 Sep 2022

Whether you are a small business with infrequent travel demands or a larger company with lots of travel related business choosing a preferred corporate travel partner is something that everyone should do. When you start looking for a corporate travel agency for the very first time or start hunting for a replacement corporate travel agency there are a lot of questions and criteria that come to mind and we’re here to help you figure out what to find the most suitable options for you. Many companies and heads ask themselves whether they really need a corporate travel company, and the answer is almost inevitably yes. So what exactly is it that corporate travel companies offer and why do corporates require it? Corporate travel companies arrange for managed travel where they are engaged as third-party expertise and services to solve any challenges related to business travel. However the question arises that with the availability of a variety of online booking platforms, does a company actually require external assistance for a travel company? Why can’t whoever is travelling simply look for the best prices themselves, book their flights and hotels, and then claim their travel expenses on their own? Or just hire an in house travel team? The answer to this is that while there is nothing per say wrong with self-guided trips if they happen occasionally, but for any businesses requiring more than a once in a blue moon travel, or dealing with complex itineraries, this approach often leads to lack of cost control, inefficiency, and wasting of time. Managed travel allows companies and their employees to focus on their core business and boost cost-efficiency by providing the most convenient itineraries and fast booking via global distribution systems (GDSs); specially negotiated airfares and hotel rates, perks, and extras — unavailable on metasearch engines, online travel agencies (OTAs) and airline websites; visibility of spending upfront as bookings are made after approval of billables; on-trip assistance; and at the end of it all post-trip reporting. However to achieve these results while staying on budget, you need to select the right partner. At Zahara Travel we cater to all your travel needs and can offer you options within your budget with no hassle and guarantee of a smooth trip. So what exactly is a corporate travel agency or company? A corporate travel agency like Zahara Travel is a service provider that books and manages any and all travel and MICE(Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) related things for a business. Also referred to as a travel management company, Zahara Travel offers most businesses one or a few main contacts depending on the requirements of the work who will be the point of contact at the agency to help them keep all trips within company policy and to offer all the travellers on-the-go support. Efficient and organised business travel management can help reduce travel expenses, streamline expense reports, optimise booking processes, and make managing the corporate travel experience way easier for all stakeholders involved. There are so many different types of corporate travel agencies that it’s a struggle to choose between them all or summarise their service offerings. Some companies may be able to offer round the clock support in dozens of languages but charge exorbitant fees for every small interaction while others might be hard to reach during non-office hours and may not cover as many languages, but might charge a premium monthly fee that covers all needs. Here at Zahara Travel, being the foremost travel company in Oman, after more than half a century of being in the travel business we know what our clients need and offer cost effective round the clock service at competitive rates and put our clients needs first. The benefits of a corporate travel agency There are a whole host of reasons why you should engage with a corporate travel agency, so let us take a look at some of the major benefits for managed travel and getting help with your corporate travel program. It is a good option to supplement a lack of in-house resources or expertise. Perhaps your company doesn't require a full-time travel manager, and employees are swamped with other critical work within their expertise. Working with a corporate travel agency like Zahara Travel can provide you with the travel experts and services you require to take care of all your travel arrangements without you having to hire any additional staff and that too at competitive rates. For most group travel or any regular travel, agents can negotiate better rates for their clients and offer the company competitive group rates and corporate rates. When office managers have to support travellers on the go, things can get quite stressful. Travellers may find it difficult to get help on nights and weekends, meanwhile office managers may start feeling the strain of having to work overtime. An agency can alleviate this burden, without substantially increasing the cost. In order to optimise their budgets, businesses need to know which departments are spending what on travel. Corporate travel agencies can help you accurately track all your travel expenses by reporting on spend for all stakeholders by team, department, or project, giving you a clear picture of your travel spends. Every company has some guidelines and rules regarding their travel policy. An agency can enforce these guidelines when booking and maintain compliance with the same while looking at travel options. Business travel requires the growing need for smoother, easier travel policy compliance with the need for paying out of pocket with personal credit cards being slowly done away with. Booking through an agency like Zahara Travel offers your business access to all of the flight, hotel, train, and car rental options available around the world along with great user experience, and real-time travel support as you need it. In 2022 and beyond, a company needs to offer both excellent human and technological support to manage the corporate travellers needs. To give your travellers trip support and your CFO financial control, you need not a mix of human service and technology as well as these critical factors. Here’s how Zahara Travel offer a wholesome solution to your travel needs Easy booking experience Zahara Travel makes it easy and convenient for administrators or individuals to book for business travel and events. Huge travel inventory and options We don’t limit ourselves and your business to booking with just one of two brands, we offer travellers access to a vast range of flight options with different carriers and whatever hotel and transport brands you want. You can choose to lower your travel spend on airfare by using low-cost carriers, some of whom we are the GSA for in the region. All of the world’s inventory is available to you as a business without having to use a consumer tool. No hidden costs Our travel experts will help you understand the fee structure before signing on so you have a clear idea of what we offer and the charges and costs related to the different offerings. Excellent trip support This aspect of the work is where the human element comes in. During travel there’s no amount of new age technology or hotel and travel brand that can ensure comfort for you when you are travelling and an emergency comes up in your stay or your flight has been cancelled or you are stuck midway to an event. Only an actual person available 24/7 can quickly find you an alternate option and offer you travel support that addresses all your travel needs, in the language you require. The reason we have so many fabulous reviews from travellers across the globe is due to our massive presence in the travel sector and network not just in Oman but all over the world. Built in travel policies and approvals There is really only one way to ensure travel policy compliance and that is by ensuring the policy is being applied during the booking process which is what we’ll do for you, as any bookings will be made only after the relevant approvals come through. Travel spend reporting Getting clarity about travel spend is a major issue. Without a preferred corporate travel partner, business travel can be booked on so many different platforms and vendors that it is hard to get and keep track of all the data with 46% of business travellers booking on consumer sites when left to their own devices. With the data difficult to access being spread across multiple platforms until it’s expensed. At Zahara Travel we can offer real-time reports for your finance team and that can help with reimbursement processes. Innovative and easily scalable Global business travel is still evolving. In fact, it’s really just getting started. So while choosing your travel management companies it is good to figure out if the company is innovative, future-ready and that the solutions they offer can be scaled up as your business grows. At Zahara Travel we have more than five decades of working in the travel sector and know that to stay relevant one has to stay updated with the latest developments and constantly evolve. At the end of the day your corporate travel partner is not just a provider like the dozens of the partners a corporation has. It is a different case altogether with it being a partner that can provide you with cost savings both directly and indirectly, and can radically influence the travel experience of your employees providing excellent travellers’ experience, which is what you want.

Economy, Premium Economy, and Business , And First Class: What is The Real Difference in Flying in These Different Classes

Zahara Travel Team| Thu, 28 Jul 2022

Nowadays flights offer a variety of seating and services depending on what you are looking for and to better understand the different cabin options, we will briefly run through what the typical economy, premium economy, business and first class seats offer. However, one should keep in mind that all seat specifications and perks, depend on the airline and plane model you’re flying, and whether you are on a short or long-haul flight. We’ll break down the main differences between flying economy, premium economy, business and first class seats so you can see what you get in each of them.

Why Choose a Planned Holiday Package

Ambika Verma| Tue, 18 Feb 2020

Weighing up the pros and cons of booking a holiday package or a pre planned itinerary versus just planning your trip from scratch can lead to a lot of confusion as there is a constant struggle between just booking a tour packages and doing it all by yourself. While the former saves you time and energy the latter does give you complete freedom to plan out every detail of the trip. We’re here today to guide you on the advantages of booking tour packages which allows you to travel carefree, without the hassle of arrangements, at the drop of the hat. While there are pros and cons of each however pre-planned customizable trips win hands down. You save on research and planning time While planning your own itinerary does give you complete freedom to explore all the options you will probably spend hundreds of hours planning a simple weeklong vacation so that you cover all the destinations and activities you don’t want to miss out on. and at the end of the day probably land up confused about which of these places or things to include and end up regretting some of the things missing You get to cover more area in planned tours How often could you think about covering five countries in ten days, or visiting two countries over a weekend? Sounds exciting right, but a nightmare to plan or execute on your own. You’ll rarely plan a trip to cover the sheer number of activities and destinations that a holiday tour would due to the nightmarish logistics involved and lack of experience about what exactly can be covered easily at a new destination. However there are plenty of tour packages that offer intense itineraries that cover a lot of ground. Hassle Free Travel You don't need to worry about nitpicking details and figuring out the how, when, where of the trip and the thousands of arrangements that have to be made as someone else is taking care to ensure that you have a hassle-free travel experience. You Don't Have to Worry About Hidden Costs With pre planned holiday packages, what you pay is already declared in the beginning with all inclusions and exclusions announced before payment so you don’t end up having to pay for additional taxes, charges and add ons from different vendors as your travel company would have already covered these charges in your package. You Get Great Value For Money With the travel industry being as competitive as it is these days, the service providers believe in offering the best deals to clients to lure in prospective customers ensuring that you can rest assured that you are getting the best service at great rates. Experts Plan When you know that the experts are planning your trip you can rest assured that worries about where a destination is safe for tourists or if it is the correct time of the year to visit this particular place is already taken care of by someone who has much more experience on trip planning for the destination. You Don't Have to Manage the Details All those annoying little things like figuring out pick-ups and drops to and from your stops is someone else’s responsibility and you’re unlikely to get stranded because you forgot to inform the operator for the fifth time again that you’re landing today. Your Food Preferences Are Accounted For With a planned tour you can just inform your operator about your food preferences whether you require Halal or vegetarian meals or if you have any dietary restriction and they take of the rest. So coordinating and informing all the people involved in the whole tour about food preferences is already taken care and you needn't do it at every food stop or risk get stuck without any options. A Variety Of Payment Option Is Available First of all you can make a single payment for the entire holiday and secondly you have the option of paying in your local currency with a host of options of how to pay for your tour package. This is quiet unlike when you are planning your own trip and are required to pay for all the different bookings, activities, meals, tours, and items separately often having to get Forex and then deal with how to pay in the only acceptable mode of payment that the particular agent accepts. Booking Far In Advance Is Possible You can plan your vacation in its entirely far in advance and don’t need to set reminders for booking particular legs as and when bookings open to the general public as your travel operator will make the reservations. Visa Assistance is Available Getting visas for your trip can be a excruciating task filled with complications and details that are not immediately clear. When you book a holiday package, you tour operator will generally offer visa assistance to make your trip booking a smoother experience.


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