The Internet has permeated virtually every aspect of our lives. We shop, learn, work, communicate, make friends, meet spouses and even bank online. There's nothing that we can't do over the Internet, from planning our wedding to planning a holiday, all the tools you need are available at the touch of a button, or click of a mouse.

Think of the last couple of holidays that you have planned. If you flew, you probably looked for your tickets online. You may have researched several airlines or service providers to find flights that suited your schedule as well as your pocket, before booking and purchasing them online. You may have Googled your destination to find out more about its climate and culture. Your search will have shown you tourist hotspots to see as well as tourist traps to avoid. If you're into shopping, you may have hunted down the best places to secure a bargain, and learnt if you were expected to haggle over prices or not. Accommodation posed no problem because it's easy to track down hotels, inns and guest houses by price, district or luxury status.

These days it's possible to plan your entire holiday online, which has had a significant impact on the travel industry. When planning your holiday online, you can choose to do it yourself, which can be both fun and frustrating, or you can enlist the help of the army of professional holiday planners and travel agents that have sprung up all over the Net.

There are many advantages to choosing the professional route. They're infinitely convenient, as all you have to do is let them know what you're looking for and they do their best to find good package deals for you. If no package deals are available, they put a package together for you. They often have contacts all over the world so they know exactly where to look to bring your dream holiday to life while still considering your budget.

Another advantage is that many online travel sites offer niche services, which means that instead of visiting a generic travel agent to plan your African safari, you can hire a company that specialises in safari holiday packages. If safaris are not your thing but adrenalin packed adventure is, there are plenty of sites that deal exclusively with action holiday packages. So within a short space of time, you could be snowboarding, ski-diving or riding dune buggies anywhere in the world.

To be competitive in the travel industry, it's become essential for travel agents and holiday planners to market themselves online. In fact, many holiday companies exist solely online, and don't bother with renting office space any more, as it's an unnecessary expense. To capture more of the market, and to cater to the people who are still somewhat dubious of the Internet, it's best to exist in the real world as well as the virtual one.

What are you waiting for? Hop online and take that safari that you've been dreaming of all your life.