Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Reasons to Utilize a Travel Agent when Planning a Vacation

Utilizing the services of a travel agent to plan your next vacation is something that you might want to consider. It is usually a good idea to proceed with caution when dealing with money. However, when planning out a vacation, which has many different variables which can impact the amount you spend, you do not want to leave anything to chance. Here are some reasons why working with a travel agent to plan your vacation is a good idea.

Reason #1: Your travel agent has extensive knowledge about trip planning

When you’re planning a vacation, the process can become pretty stressful. In many cases, you are not sure what the weather conditions will be like when you arrive at your destination, and it can be difficult to find your way around if you are not familiar with your surroundings. Also, in many cases, once you have finally settled, you are not sure which activities and sights to experience! A travel agent can help you navigate through all of these obstacles.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys simply choosing a destination, getting there, and letting the rest take care of itself, then planning your trip isn’t necessarily difficult. But if you prefer to have your itinerary carefully laid out before you head off, then a good travel agent can really save you some time and unnecessary frustration.

Your travel agent can help you choose when to fly, find a comfortable hotel within your budget, plan your itinerary for you, and provide you with up-to-date information about travel documents, vaccinations, and anything else you might need to travel to your chosen destination. With the help of your travel agent, planning your trip should be much easier and less stressful, leaving you free to enjoy yourself that much more.

Reason #2: Your travel agent can help you save money

Typically, working with a travel agent won’t cost you any more than if you had planned the trip yourself. In fact, you are more likely to save money than to spend more money. Typically, travel agents have access to cheaper flights, lower hotel prices, and more, because they deal in bulk, rather than just booking one trip (as you would do if you booked the trip yourself). They have access to bulk discounts, which means that even with their commission added on you will rarely pay any more than if you had booked the trip yourself. You will also save yourself the hassle of planning and booking the trip alone.

A good travel agent can help you save money. They know when the cheapest times to fly are, when hotel off-peak seasons start, how to get bulk flight deals, and other tricks of the trade that can help you get more for your money.

Reason #3: Your travel agent is familiar with your destination

If you are traveling to an exotic or obscure location which you have never visited before, then working with a knowledgeable and experienced travel agent is a must. Your travel agent can help you find accommodations, events and activities, and provide you with tips on traveling safely. If you manage to hit the jackpot and find a travel agent who has actually visited your destination, they might also be able to tell you about those little bonuses that most people won’t know about. Places such as the weekend markets, where to find authentic souvenirs, and the best restaurants, all the things that will make your trip even more enjoyable.

Reason #4: Your travel agent can help you get the vacation you really want

From rock-climbing in the Swiss Alps to a relaxing beach vacation in Spain, there are vacations to suit every requirement and personality type. With so many choices available in terms of destinations and activities, it’s not always easy to know what you want.

What do you want out of your vacation, and do you know how to achieve it? Your travel agent definitely does, and can use his or her experience and knowledge to make sure you get the trip you really want. A good travel agent will quickly find out exactly what you want out of your trip, and will go the extra mile to make sure everything, from flights, hotels, and activities, meets your needs.

Reason #5: It just makes sense

Working with a travel agent won’t cost you any more than booking the trip yourself, and you may even save money. Also, a travel agent can save you a lot of time and headaches, and you may even find that a knowledgeable agent will be able to help you access some of the best and most exclusive events and activities at your destination, which you might not have known about without the help of your travel agent.

Really, it just makes good sense to plan your vacation with the help of a travel agent. With all of these important factors coming into play when you book your next trip, there’s definitely no good reason not to use a travel agent!

Ryan Anderson is a blogger and freelance writer who focuses on the travel industry and vacation tips, often discussing a particular aspect of the travel industry such as working with travel agents.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 17, 2010 at 3:17 am

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Cape Girardeau travel agent gets calls on travel to Mexico

Cape Girardeau travel agent gets calls on travel to Mexico
Most travel agencies in the Heartland and across the country are getting plenty of calls lately about Mexico.

Read more on KFVS 12 Cape Girardeau

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 16, 2010 at 3:18 am

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Travel Agent Says Mexico Safe For Spring Break

Travel Agent Says Mexico Safe For Spring Break
A local travel agent says Mexico is safe for spring break travelers.

Read more on KCTV 5 Kansas City

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 3:17 am

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Become a Travel Agent – Why the Timing is Right

The travel industry is a seven trillion dollar industry expected to double to fourteen trillion dollars within the next decade. This lucrative industry is currently growing 23% faster than the global economy.

A key factor in this growth phenomenon is the steady stream of baby boomers who are retiring, or getting ready to retire. In fact, baby boomers are retiring at a rate of one every eight seconds. Travel was rated the number one thing these baby boomers intend to do when they do retire.

There is now an increased demand for qualified travel agents, due to the explosive growth of the industry as a whole. To become a certified travel agent, your options are not limited to the traditional brick and mortar setting.

Many reputable travel agencies are now offering attractive options for the individual looking for a legitimate home based business.

If your goal is to work as an independent travel agent from the comfort of your own home, you may want to consider working as an online travel agent.

Here are some companies that you can research, that offer excellent income opportunities and complete training. Please note, that many travel companies that actively recruit agents to work from home, will hire their agents as employees.

There are also travel companies that recruit independent agents. This option will offer the agent the freedom of being self-employed, and the ability to set their own hours.

To take advantage of this option, be aware that there will be an investment required. The ability to make money will be solely at the discretion of the agent who chooses to invest in this business model.

On a positive note, many agents who have invested in this business model are making a very nice income, so be sure to research this option before ruling it out.

Travel companies that currently offer the independent agent business model include TraVerus Travel Network, Global Resorts Network, and Your Travel Business, also known as YTB.

Make sure to do your due diligence! Be sure to research each company carefully, and make it a priority to fully understand the compensation plan. You will also need to know what training is available, and whether the company will offer you the opportunity to become certified.

Don’t be afraid to ask important questions, such as whether the company has IATA(International Air Transport Association), IATAN (International Airlines Travel Agent Network), and CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) Credentials. This is important information to know, especially if you intend to take advantage of the travel perks and benefits available to those in the travel industry.

Here are some questions to ask – What is the initial investment, if any? Are there any additional costs or fees associated with obtaining licensing, or becoming certified? And finally, if you are considering a work at home position, what kind of support and training is offered?

Next, determine whether you a right fit for the travel industry. Lets break down the qualifications that will determine whether you are suited for this challenging, but rewarding career.

Travel agents should have a minimum of a high school diploma. Agents should have a true love for travel,as well as a sincere enthusiasm and love for working with people, because these traits are crucial elements for success in this industry.

Travel agents should also possess excellent multi-tasking and organization skills. Attention to detail and accuracy are very important, along with great communication skills. In addition, good computer skills will be needed.

Travel agents should possess a professional, courteous demeanor when working with suppliers, and the general public. Sales ability and great interpersonal skills are an added plus.

The benefits of becoming a travel agent are many. I have listed the top three.

Travel agents save up to 80% on travel to many of the worlds exclusive resorts and destinations. These discounts include, but are not limited to:

a. Complimentary upgrades
b. Hotel room upgrades and discounts
c. Car rental discounts and upgrades
d. Cruises
e. Theme park discounts
f. Vacation Packages

FAM trips, also known as familiarization trips. Suppliers will offer access to their facilities at substantial discounts so that travel agents will have first hand knowledge of their facilities. The travel agent will then be able to make recommendations and book travel for their clients based on their personal knowledge and first hand experience.

The supplier will roll out the red carpet for the travel agent to ensure the travel professional has an outstanding time.

There are also tax benefits for individuals who chose to do this profession as an independent travel agent. You should consult with your CPA or tax professional for more information regarding this benefit.

So, how do I become a travel agent? In summary, becoming a travel agent can be a lucrative and rewarding career. Should you decide that you possess the skills and abilities needed for success, you can look forward to a promising career.

In addition to the companies named in this article, you can do further research online at Google or Yahoo using the following keywords – become a travel agent, how do I become a travel agent, travel agent careers, or online travel agent.

Learn more about travel agent careers Alecia Barnes is a successful Internet Entrepreneur and Network Marketing Professional who assists other MLM and Network Marketing professionals to build their home based businesses on and off line. Free Tips and Strategies For Online Success Traverus Travel Information

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 3:17 am

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How to Find the Right Travel Agent..?

In today’s Hi- Tech world, we have easy access to all kinds of information. We’re able to research, compare, and book travel right in the comfort of our own home. But the question arises – Who needs a travel agent anymore?

Fewer of us do, apparently. In last one decade the travel agents statistics had fallen by about 30%.

“They are an outdated remnant of past practices that add virtually no value to any transaction today,” says one of the employee working for Michigan airlines. After my recent recommendations of travel agent in various columns, I’ve been on the receiving end of the feedback – How could i..?.

So, here let me discuss about this common query. I believe that travel agents today still offer services and information that we can’t get on Internet. Granted, some things such as booking a simple flights, most people can successfully manage on their own. A travel agent however, can recommend smaller, alternative airports that the discount carriers use. This alone can save you quite a bit of money. However, the key thing that travel agents today offer is their first hand knowledge and right information. In planning a trip or vacation, one wants to find information about the places and regions suitable to them. Here the role of a travel agent comes into act considering the fact that they have traveled to many different places, they can provide much more insight than a brochure or web page can. Thus, finding the right travel agent is inevitable. The same thing goes for tours and specialty travel such as luxury, adventure, villa rentals, etc. A competent travel adviser can be your greatest asset when you’re planning a trip. The key word here is “competent.” And let me also define what I mean by agent: I’m not necessarily talking about an offshore call center worker reading from a script or a hobbyist who paid a few hundred bucks for bogus agency credentials. I mean a bona fide, certified travel professional. Once you decide to book a trip through an agent you must go through few quality check of an agent. These few measures include:

Understanding An Agent And Using Your Intuition – It’s important to feel out a prospective travel agent to see if you can build a rapport with them. This can be done even when you’re dealing with an Internet agency, through phone calls or e-mails. Face-to-face meetings are not necessary. The choice of right travel agent comes from knowledge, not words. The correct answers to your direct questions are what count. Before you even ask for a price quote, probe the knowledge and personality of the agent you may be putting in charge of your hard-earned vacation. If you get the right feel about this person, you then ask for a price quote. If a travel agent quotes you a price that is not the same as, or lower than the cost of booking directly, or doesn’t offer incentives like free insurance, or even a pre-cruise hotel room, they are choosing not to compete — a choice some agents do make. They hope to attract uneducated consumers. This not the kind of agent we recommend, unless the service is so fantastic you don’t mind missing out on a few perks. But price alone may not always be the best factor to find the right travel agent. We want the best price, but we also want assistance and service when we need it. Hence, when your skull asks this “ How to find the right travel agent”, the above mention criteria should strike you first.

Look For Certification – A right travel agent must be certified from some travel body or institution of his nation. This proves to be more promising or as the elderly travelers say “a certified travel agent is the right travel agent”.

Stay Local And Interview The Agent – There’s no substitute for the personal touch. My best experiences with agents have been one-on-one. The ability to meet — to look the agent in the eye, to shake his or her hand — is something online agencies can’t match. (Note: not all agents work in an office, but home-based agents can and do make personal visits.) The only exception to this rule is if you’re out to find an agent with a sought-after specialty. But even then, a trusted voice on the phone is preferable to the often unintelligible, script-reading customer service associate you’re connected to when dealing with a large agency. Mind this- a professional travel agent makes personal visits. Don’t pick the first agent you find. Talk to the travel pro. Pay close attention not only to the way your prospective agent responds, but also at what’s going on in the office around you.

Pressure Check – The only way to know for certain if your travel agent is a keeper is to see what happens when you run into trouble. A right travel agent would run through your foot steps in trouble. You must conform the services provided by the agent under such circumstances.

 

Good travel agents have an edge over almost any other seller of travel. They know what you want. They speak your language. And they’re there for you when you run into trouble.

In other words, travel agents aren’t obsolete. Only the bad ones are.

Traveling is something I have always cherished. An expedition offers a blend of countless itineraries ranging from Heritage, culture, tribes, adventure, wildlife and much more.


Please Visit India Tour Guide

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 15, 2010 at 3:17 am

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Common Questions to ask your Travel Agent

Your travel agent can be an integral part of planning your vacation, especially when used wisely. A travel agent is an invaluable resource when you have decided to plan a trip. They can help prevent travel complications while at the same time getting you the best value. However, it is important to remember that each travel agent is different. So, to ensure that your travel agent is a good match for your needs, here are some common questions to ask.

Question 1 – What is your specialty?

It is important to know what your travel agent’s specialty is. He or she may specialize in certain destinations or products, such as cruises or adventure tours. You will also want to ask what types of travel your agent specializes in. For example, you would not want to book a trip for a large group with an agent who is not experienced in such services.

Question 2 – What are your fees?

Obviously, you know that you will be compensating your travel agent for his or her time, planning expertise, work, and advice, but knowing the fees upfront is always a good idea. Some travel agents work on commission, some charge a flat rate, and some charge per service. It is also best to be upfront about your travel budget and be clear that your total budget includes travel agent fees.

Question 3 – What are your hours of operation?

You will need to know when your travel agency or agent operates. Be sure to get the toll-free number in case of an emergency as well as an alternate number for after-hours necessities. If your travel agent has email or a website, you will also want to note that information as well.

Question 4 – What happens if something goes wrong?

Sometimes, it is impossible to avoid inconveniences while traveling. Such inconveniences may include a delayed or cancelled flight because of poor weather. Discuss with your travel agent what happens in such circumstances and how he or she responds to these problems. Always be clear on your travel agent’s policies.

Question 5 – Are tickets refundable?

If you’re working with a travel agent, it is likely that you are planning this trip well in advance. In addition to last minute inconveniences that may occur, such as poor weather cancelling a flight, things in your life may change as well. Find out if your trip is refundable, partially refundable, or if a cancellation fee applies. It is also a good idea to check if reservations can be exchanged.

Question 6 – Do you have special relationships with travel suppliers?

Many times, your travel agent will be able to get you a great deal, which may not be available to the general public. Cruise lines, tour companies, and hotels often offer perks such as upgrades, free parking, and other deals to travel agents who have worked with them before. If your agent has this type of influence, take advantage of it!

Question 7 – Have you traveled to my destination?

There is nothing like first-hand knowledge. If your travel agent has traveled to your destination, he or she will be able to speak from experience. A well-traveled agent will be able to make informed recommendations and provide sound advice as opposed to one who has not visited the areas you are considering.

Question 8 – Can I get a better deal if I travel on a different day?

This question is integral to establishing a better deal if your travel dates are somewhat flexible. Remember, even when working with a travel agent, peak travel times and seasons still apply. Let your travel agent know that while your original itinerary is ideal, if there is a better deal to be had, you may consider traveling at a later date.

Question 9 – Where can I learn more about my destination?

In many cases, travel agents will provide customers with information, such as brochures, about your destination. If the brochures are not sufficient enough for you, ask your travel agent where you could do a little more research. He or she should be able to easily point you in the right direction.

Question 10 – Will I need a passport or visa?

If you are not sure if you will need a passport or special visa to travel to your destination, ask your travel agent. If you do need a passport or visa, he or she will also be able to instruct you on how to obtain one.

Question 11 – What questions do you have for me?

Always ask your travel agent if he or she has any questions for you. Travel agents should always ask you a few questions about what you are looking for in a vacation. This is necessary so that they will be able to come up with the best itinerary for your interests and budget.
The best travel agent for the job is one who is willing to work with you, has extensive knowledge, and is receptive to your priorities as a traveler. However, you will need to ask the questions outlined above to get started. Remember, your agent should be more than willing to answer any of these questions, or any others that you may have.

Ryan Anderson is a blogger and freelance writer who focuses on the travel industry and vacation tips, often discussing a particular aspect of the travel industry such as working with a travel agent.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 14, 2010 at 3:17 am

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How a Travel Agent can Save you Money on your Next Trip

These days, many families have their put their vacation plans toward the bottom of their list of priorities. During tougher times, a vacation can seem to simply cost too much money. However, if you are thinking about going on a vacation, you might want to look into working with a travel agent to save money on vacation expenses. Working with a travel agent to plan your vacation means you might be able to afford the trip you thought you would have to put off until next year. For this reason alone it is definitely worth exploring the possibility. So how can working with a travel agent save you money?

Your travel agent will help you get the most out of your budget

Whether your travel budget is $500 or $5,000, working with a travel agent is probably the best way to make the most of your money. Especially if you’re traveling on a tight budget, the skills, knowledge, and experience of a travel agent can be invaluable.

Just make sure when you’re discussing travel plans with your agent, you are absolutely clear about how much money you have to spend. If you want to travel as cheaply as possible, make sure your travel agent understands this so that they have a good idea of the types of travel and accommodation they should be finding for you.

Your travel agent can quickly access a number of providers

Travel agents typically have access to a large network of travel, accommodation, and activity providers. With computer systems that provide access to travel agents all over the world, they can quickly locate details of discount travel providers in many countries. This is one of the main reasons why working with a travel agent is a good idea when you’re on a strict budget. They have access to a large number of different resources, software, and industry contacts, all of which they can use when hunting down the best bargains.

Your travel agent knows the cheapest times to travel

Some days are less expensive to travel on than other days. Red-eye flights and stand-by flights can be less expensive, but direct flights can cost more than taking a circuitous route that involves several different connections. Your travel agent should be very knowledgeable on the process of all this and knows that flights booked on Friday, Sunday, and Monday are generally more expensive. You stand a better chance of saving money on flights if you’re flexible about your travel dates.

In addition, your travel agent can quickly tell you if your vacation plans fall within a peak season during which flights to your destination are significantly more expensive. This means that you can modify your travel plans if you wish. Changing plans may include a cheaper destination or traveling during the offseason to save money on your flight.

Advanced booking is another factor that your travel agent can use to help you get cheaper flights. You should be booking at least six months ahead to get the most affordable tickets. Your agent should tell you that the holiday season is always a relatively expensive time to travel, no matter how far in advance you book.

Your travel agent has access to bulk discounts and consolidated tickets

If you’re willing to travel as part of an organized tour, your travel agent can help you access travel and accommodation. There are also specials for activities that are significantly cheaper than what you would spend if you did the same activities alone. This is because as part of a tour you can take advantage of bulk discounts. You can even organize your own tour through your travel agent, and the organizer might get to travel for free!

Consolidated tickets provide you with the chance to save on your air travel costs. A consolidated ticket is simply a ticket which was purchased by the agent as part of a large group of tickets sold by the same airline. The agent gets a bulk discount on the tickets and can pass that discount on to their clients.

Your travel agent has industry contacts and experience

This translates into money being put back into your pocket. Your travel agent may be in regular contact with many industry professionals, and might be able to get you a great deal on a tour being planned by another agent. If you’re flexible with travel times, your agent may advise you to adjust your trip dates to travel during a cheaper part of the week, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in travel costs. An experienced agent should have expert knowledge of your travel destination and can provide advice on budget accommodation and activities. The agent may often be able to provide discount coupons, free passes, and other incentives.

Best of all, none of these advantages come at a price! You can take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience that your travel agent provides, and can potentially save a great deal of money in the process.

Ryan Anderson is a blogger and freelance writer who focuses on the travel industry and vacation tips, often discussing a particular aspect of the travel industry such as working with travel agents.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 13, 2010 at 3:17 am

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Dubai Turns The Tables In War On Terror

If the travel & tourism industry has zero tolerance for terrorists and terrorism, there is no excuse for it turning a blind eye to state-sponsored assassinations and executions, especially when carried out in hotel rooms by killers carrying fraudulent passports.

The alleged involvement of the Israeli secret service Mossad and its dual passport-holding agents in the killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai last January 19 has converted the so-called “good guys” into “bad guys”. Described as an act of state terrorism, the assassination has flipped all the conventional arguments about “safety and security” on its head.

Many such Israeli dual passport-holders are working in the travel & tourism industry and travel visa-free through countries which in theory bar Israeli citizens, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. This makes a mockery of the entire visa process.

The fact that many commentators in the West are trying to justify the killing puts them in the same category as terrorist-sympathisers. Indeed, a substantial body of commentary amongst the apologists is trying to smear the Dubai authorities for doing their job in seeking to track down these killers. There are clear suggestions that the Dubai police should just forget about the whole thing, and let the Israelis continue to kill at will.

At the same time, the travel & tourism industry is being forced to spend billions of dollars on security equipment, much of which is made and sold by companies with significant Israeli involvement. Is this equipment really designed to protect the travelling public? Or to provide clandestine information to Mossad?

The travel & tourism has long become a pawn in this deadly game. It has paid both the price and the costs, with millions of global travellers having to put up with insulting and offensive security checks, racial profiling, intrusive visa application processes and violation of privacy. There is no transparency, no checks and balances in the system. Anybody who protests is said to be “soft on terrorism.”

If travel & tourism industry leaders issue any more one-sided denunciations and condemnations of terrorism, without condemning state terrorism at the same time, they will stand accused of double standards and hypocrisy and deserve the unequivocal condemnation of the travelling public, whose safety and security they are supposed to be protecting, regardless of caste, colour, creed or political affiliation.

By attempting to level the playing field, Dubai is doing the travel & tourism industry a big favour. Accountability is a two-way street.

The time to say “Basta” is long overdue.

Commentary by Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire Travel Impact Newswire

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 4, 2010 at 11:04 am

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Etihad Airways Launches New Destination Management Company – Hala Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, March 3rd, 2010 Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is expanding the range of services it offers business and leisure travellers with the launch today of its new destination management company – Hala Abu Dhabi.

Hala Abu Dhabi will be based in the nation’s capital but offer travel products, services and activities throughout all seven Emirates of the UAE.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways chief commercial officer, said: “Etihad Airways already plays a crucial role in bringing visitors to Abu Dhabi, and the introduction of Hala Abu Dhabi will enable us to take that role a step further at what is a very exciting time for tourism in the region. Through Hala Abu Dhabi, we will offer a range of unique ground services and travel solutions to visitors to the UAE, further supporting Abu Dhabi’s goal of becoming one of the world’s most attractive business and leisure destinations.

“We look forward to working closely with our destination partners and tourism services in Abu Dhabi and across all seven Emirates to provide a one-stop inbound tourism shop delivering integrated travel solutions and unique experiences of consistently high quality”, he added.

Etihad Airways has brought together an experienced team of specialists to work on the Hala Abu Dhabi portfolio.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 12:58 am

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