Travel Blog

Pleasure tripping...

  • DESTINATION WEDDINGS & HONEYMOONS

    6/9/2016 12:19:50 PM Link |  | Add comment

    Although becoming very popular, people still ask – What is a Destination Wedding? OR they ask: how do we go about setting up a wedding in another country or, on a Tropical Paradise Island?  As a Travel Professional I started with weddings and honeymoons and this is a little information about it…

    A Destination Wedding is an extremely attractive option from a financial perspective. Many resorts will perform the service for free or for a nominal charge.

    Your invited guests will typically pay for their own airfare and accommodations. If you have enough guests who attend the ceremony, the bride and groom can often enjoy a complimentary room upgrade and additional amenities. If you add up all the advantages of a destination wedding, it makes it a very attractive alternative to a traditional ceremony.  The picture attached was a wedding in Belize; VIP clients of our agency.

    Additional options for a Destination Wedding:  A video streaming for those at home to enjoy as if they were in attendance (especially nice for those who physically can’t travel.)  

    ANOTHER option in sharing the wedding by using a Recorded Video: when the Bride and Groom return home, invite their guests to enjoy the recorded wedding at an informal reception.

     Check our Blog at end of June for HOW TO ARRANGE A DESTINATION WEDDING and HONEYMOON.

  • Escorted Trips

    6/9/2016 12:15:31 PM Link |  | Add comment

    Hello everyone: All of us are back working again. Apparently my planning was not good, everyone was responsible for a trip at the same time. Although we felt like we were on revolving doors, our phones transferred calls to each of us, as many of you may know. Anyhow, thanks to all our clients willing to wait until we returned. Lucky enough no emergency calls!

    George and I escorted the “New England Cruise.” We traveled with four ladies from Waco and boarded our Royal Caribbean Cruise after a night in Boston. George just told everyone he was from Utah and these were his five wives.“Later we discovered there were many on the ship who had actually believed him.

    Cindy went with “Cindy’s Fun Bunch” on Carnival from Galveston. They had a great time and ready to go again.

    Agaytha did the short Big City Trip to Buffalo, NY and “Niagara Falls.”

    Pat went to Scotland to research our 2016 Scots Irish Tour.  So, like I said my planning wasn't good with everyone out of town at the same time.

     

    Just a little about our ports on the New England cruise:

    Actually it was scheduled as a Fall Foliage cruise, but due to lack of rain the leaves were just in the beginning stages of changing and personally I went for the lighthouses. There are so many between Nova Scotia and Boston that it’s almost a parade of lighthouses. You might say I have a lighthouse fetish. Every place we have traveled if they had a lighthouse, we saw it.

    All of our ports had either a cold rain or mist when we arrived but cleared within the hour. Although windy and chilly, it wasn’t bad at all.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Nova Scotia, New Brunswick: We took a small boat to see the coast line of lighthouses, three to be exact. However, our guide was a marine biologist and also educated us on lobsters, too.

    Kellyann pulled up a lobster trap and passed a male lobster around for everyone to hold while explaining the difference in a male and female lobster and included their breeding habits.She called the male Larry and the female LaVerne.

    “The one to the right was Larry.” Males are just looking for a one night stand and never return to the same mate twice. They are much longer and narrower than the female. I may joke about this, but it was extremely interesting.

    Upon our return to Halifax she escorted us to Murphy’s where we enjoyed a “whole lobster” for lunch. It was about the size of Larry, 1.5 or 2 pounds. She also taught us the proper way to consume a lobster; one piece at a time.

    After spending a little time walking around their quaint town we boarded our ship in time for the next meal. We had located a little restaurant on board “Seaside Café,” where we usually went for our afternoon snacks. Royal Caribbean offers specialty restaurants on board where you make a reservation and pay a fee, but this one is complimentary and specializes in light snacks, sandwiches, fish and chips, soups and salads.

    Check next week for more information about our New England Cruise.

  • Travel Protection Plans

    12/19/2013 7:59:29 AM Link |  | Add comment

    Value of a Travel Agent

    We know everyone hates to purchase insurance – but when you need it, it’s great that you purchased it.

    Has anyone ever explained what a Travel Protection Plan really is?  It’s always offered on the internet, but I haven’t really found an explanation to purchase.

    Some plans offer: cancel for medical reasons or cancel for any reason etc.

    There are various types of policies you can purchase – but be sure you purchase something that covers medical and evacuation.  Due to unforeseen demonstrations, uprising situations, natural disasters this can be very necessary. For medical our US Medicare does not pay should you become sick or injured in a foreign country.  You need something else before you leave home. Always check your own personal medical insurance before traveling.

    Most tour companies and cruise lines offer insurance but I recommend you purchase a different policy – one not operated by the supplier. If the one by the supplier is a good policy, offering what you need and I know the Insurance Company, then I will recommend it.

    Example:

    A family ready for their vacation, they have spent well over $4,500 for the trip.  Little Johnny get’s sick and they can’t take the trip.  No one explained that most of the trip and sometimes all of it is non-refundable.  Not even if a person gets sick or possibly an immediate member of the family passes away.  If you can’t take the trip then kiss that $4,500 goodbye.

    If your Travel Professional explained all of this to you and you purchased the TPP, you can call her/him, or the supplier and cancel the trip.  File a claim form for your refund.

    OR what if you were on your vacation and a member of the family with you got sick and needs medical treatment – that is included, or if a member of family at home got sick and you need to fly back home – the insurance company has an 800 number to call for emergencies.  They will help arrange to get you home ASAP.  You keep any receipts concerning the return home and they will reimburse you for expenses up to a specified amount. 

    Example:

    Yes, we have had people use this – one family a few days into their cruise; received a call that the gentlemen’s mother had unexpectedly passed away. Their air from the next port was arranged and they were taken to the airport for their flight home. Later they received a reimbursement check for the portion of the cruise they had not used. They continued to purchase insurance after that. Wouldn’t you?

    Other option:

    If you don’t care about the refund before traveling but would like a less expensive medical insurance – we offer that too.  Example: A woman was in Italy and had a stroke, she was hospitalized until ready to be transported home. Her companion, covered on the policy stayed with her. A nurse and the companion accompanied her home to the hospital of her choice. That was covered on her medical insurance purchased with her trip. 

     

    I’ve always told my family if I pass away while on vacation – just put me in cold storage and enjoy the remainder of the trip. 

    “I’ll keep until we get home and the insurance will cover the cost.”

  • Why using a professional travel agent is better than booking online

    11/16/2013 10:11:51 AM Link |  | Add comment

    Value of a Travel Agent

    Recently a client ask how does a travel agency work and how do they get paid?  Also, why should I use a Travel Consultant when I’m good on the Internet and know what I want?

    My response was: “You receive my services: knowledge, education, experience and you can reach out and touch me! Will Mr. Bing or Mrs. Google be available to talk to when you are stranded or your flight was cancelled and you don’t know what to do?"

    How are we paid?  Suppliers build a commission in their prices to cover a travel agent, the internet agency or extra profit for the supplier. (If you should book direct with the supplier.)  Once you travel they cut a check and send to the booking agency or keep for their company as extra profit. We work closely with many of our preferred suppliers, and they keep us up to date with their destinations, specials and many will help make changes to their particular packages to fit our clients needs. Our suppliers can be Cruise Lines, Tour Companies, Hotels and even Adventure and Activities Companies. 

    Yes, we have preferred suppliers, but if they don’t meet the needs of a client then we do use others but only if they are reputable and bonded. 

    Travel consultants keep up our continuing education, and throughout the year we will personally experience destinations and attend seminars at sea. 

    A card was sent to us by Royal Caribbean International. It feels good they appreciate the help and knowledge of their travel agents. 

    It reads:

    THE VALUE OF A TRAVEL AGENT!

    “With so many travel options out there, it can be overwhelming; I work as your 'value interpreter.' Using my expertise, I find amazing experiences that exceed your every desire, but not your budget. With my services, you can be confident that your vacation will be perfectly planned, hassle-free, and filled with moments you’ll never forget.”

  • Avoid pitfalls of booking online

    10/10/2013 7:17:48 PM Link |  | Add comment

    Value of a Travel Agent

    If you have been following my monthly post and you still prefer using the Internet for bookings rather than just research, try to avoid the potential pitfalls of booking online.

    • Do your homework first, know the questions to ask and where to ask them.
    • Beware of the misleading promotions.
    • If you are eligible for special deals –for example, a senior, AAA member, Many sites do not allow for the extra discounts.
    • Look for sensitive information: using your Credit Card look for closed padlock at the bottom of your browser and a URL that begins with “https.”
    • Just because a site labels a price as discounted, it doesn’t mean it its. Your Travel Consultant can compare prices and book that Internet deal for you.
    • Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints against the company.

    If you called a travel agent to do your homework, just to be sure you have a good hotel and it’s safe where you want to go: please don’t tell your friends you did it all by yourself on the Internet. Some agent had to devote time to you and not a real client who appreciates his or her knowledge, education and experience.

  • Using a travel agent can avoid travel mishaps

    9/17/2013 8:37:59 AM Link |  | Add comment

    Value of a Travel Agent

    The difference in booking on the internet vs. a travel agency?

    Travel professionals will ask questions and then cover any obstacles they may foresee.

    They need to know what you want to experience, maybe zip lining, maybe tour museums, or just sightseeing in a particular area. Also, what do you expect to get out of your vacation – closer family relations, learn new things, or maybe just get away from it all and the relaxation you have been needing. 

    They want to assist you in having a dream vacation, great value and hassle-free. They offer quotes with you in mind, not the suppliers.They complete the quote with everything you are wanting. Air, Hotel, Activities, and Transportation to the final destination.  Including taxes, Fees, and sometimes even gratuities. This is their passion and what they are trained to do. Your agent will know the products, and reputation of the suppliers. They know their business as you probably know yours too. As for safety matters they receive up-dates on various travel destinations.

    Internet Sometimes good prices can cost you convenience (you might save a few bucks on your air, but your flight time could be more than twice as long.) Do you plan the air or the destination first?  How much of your time have you spent on the computer; is your time valuable? As they say “Time is worth money” what you saved in price you may have used up in your time. Oh dear what if you made a mistake or picked the wrong hotel; who is there to help you? Don’t leave out any of the vacation entities.

    •  Do you need transportation once you arrive at your destination?
    •  Shuttle or Rent Car (which one will you need?)
    •  Hotel, is it clean and convenient for your planned activities?
    •  Does the hotel have a restaurant, or do you need to leave the hotel to eat?

    Just a little tip: Know your destination and where it is located! A previous client decided to plan her family trip online to Disney. “Thinking it would save her money” she booked their hotel and purchased the Disney tickets. When they arrived on the East Coast in Orlando, at Disney World she discovered they should be on the West Coast in Anaheim, at Disneyland. Since Disney has various locations and booking companies Walt Disney World could not honor her Disneyland booking.   

    Did she enjoy telling me? No, her sister did!

  • Online booking may not be there for you when travel trouble arises

    7/1/2013 4:14:44 PM Link |  | Add comment

    Value of a Travel Agent

    Who are you booking with on the Internet? Are they reputable, reliable? Will they be there tomorrow? When you run into a problem, will they answer the (800) number? Who will you ask for?

    One reason online services can be chancey is because many websites don’t let you cancel, make changes or even make special requests for your trip. Be sure you are asking the right questions. They only respond to the questions you ask. If you don’t know what to ask, you won’t get the answers you need to make an informed decision.

    Always be aware of misleading promotions. Too-good-to-be-true deals often come with the conditions that you buy additional airfare or accommodations at inflated prices.

    This is not to say the Internet is bad. The Internet has helped consumers and travel agents become better educated about the gamut of travel products available to them and has simplified price shopping. Even a Travel Consultant can refer you to a website to look at a particular hotel or resort; or a specific room.

    The Travel Consultant has Education, Experience, Knowledge. This is their business. They personally inspect properties, destinations and even fly different airlines to see what they have to offer a traveler. The Travel Consultant is always looking for more ways to add Value to their clients vacation. 

  
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