Thursday, February 7, 2013

How To Book A Vacation With A Travel Agent

When you book a vacation online, either through a large online agency or through the supplier directly, did you know you are paying a travel agents' commission to the supplier without the advantages of booking with a travel agent?

Travel agents get paid by the supplier your vacation is booked through, not you. Yet you pay the same amount booking with an agent that you would pay booking your vacation directly through a supplier. The commission portion of your fare that we would be paid is kept by the supplier when you book your vacation directly. So why wouldn't you use a travel agent, who is there to assist you through the booking and final payment process until you return home and doesn't cost you anything?

If you book your vacation directly with a hotel, then get to the hotel and find out there is a problem with your room - who is going to get it fixed for you?  While most resorts want you to be happy, if you happen to get a front desk manager who is in less than a sunny mood, who are you going to call if you don't receive satisfaction?

When you book with us, if there is a problem, call us WHILE you are at the resort or on the cruise.  If we can't get you satisfaction with the hotel or cruise line, we will call the supplier we booked your vacation through and have them try to resolve the issue.  Our suppliers, who send thousands of people to the same resort, has much more influence to fix an issue than you would have on your own.

So what is the best way to work with a travel agent? Here are a few hints to make the process as smooth as possible:

1. Give us definite travel dates.  Since prices are based on the exact travel dates and number of days you want to be away, calling and saying you would like to go someplace for a few days at the end of June won't allow us to work as quickly as we can - it will require us to e-mail or call you back asking the same question. Have your dates when you call us.

2. Figure out your true budget for the vacation before you contact us.  The words "inexpensive", "cheap" or  "moderate" mean different things to you and to an agent. Tell us "our budget is XXXX". We are not trying to spend your entire budget for your trip, but we don't want to price a five star exclusive resort if the budget you are giving us is a three star budget. It wastes your time and ours and may end up in disappointment for you if you get excited about one of the resorts that is out of your budget. And if your budget is unreasonable, we can tell you right then and there. The days of the $700 trip to Mexico is over.  That $700 may only cover your airfare now!

3. Have some type of idea  where you would like to go. "Someplace warm" could be Georgia or St. Lucia. "Someplace different" could be Pennsylvania for some clients or Antarctica for another.

4. What do you want to do on your vacation? Do you want to be hiking, ziplining, kayaking? Do you want to take a tour in Europe and if you do, what are you interested in -  museums, churches, animals, food and wine?  Or are you looking for a resort with a beach and pool to simply chill out or use the spa?

5. Let us know if you have passports or visas. We can't quote you Europe if you don't have a passport, we can't send you to China unless you have enough time to procure a visa.

6. Last minute vacations will cost you the most, thanks to the cost of airfare.  We recommend booking your vacation a minimum of three to six months before you want to travel. Airfare goes higher the closer to your travel date as seats and flights sell out.  Book early for the best deals.

7. We are trained to book the most convenient flights for you. We make sure if your flight is a connecting flight  you have enough time to get from one flight to the next. We don't want you to have a 12 hour layover in an airport coming home.   We know how long it will take you to get through Immigration and Customs at the first airport you arrive in the U.S. from overseas and we'll make sure your connecting flight time allows enough time for both.  The cheapest flight you may book yourself online can show a 45 minute time frame between connecting flights - we know you'll never make it and can advise you accordingly.

8. Once you are booked - relax. We'll let you know what you need to travel, give you information on doing online check in (and in many cases we can do it for you).  We'll remind you to do your airline check in, pack your documents in a carry on and bring your prescriptions in a carry on as well.

9. When you arrive at your destination, if there are problems your hotel can't fix, contact us. We will work to fix the problem before you come home so you don't suffer in silence and come home to find out nothing can be done.

10. Travel insurance is your friend.  I can't tell you how many times clients have thanked us because we advised them to purchase insurance that they ended up needing for one reason or another.

Have we convinced you of the value of an agent, what we can do for you and  how you will have an advocate if something goes wrong?  Try us, you'll see how much value we provide! 516-608-0568 or check our website -

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