Benefits of Working With a Certified Travel Agent

06/26/2015  |  By Colleen Gaier

Need a vacation from vacation planning — get a TRAVEL AGENT. No travel website is going to offer you all of the following travel options, plus give you that personal touch and peace of mind that comes from working with a travel agent. Here are a few really great reasons why you should consider, or re-consider, using a travel agent for your next vacation:

Personalized Service: Instead of an impersonal online travel site, travel agents are your neighbors. They are experts in understanding what you want and what you value in your travel experience. A good agent will get to know you and your travel wishes and customize a trip to your needs. Aside from the personal service you receive while in the planning stages of your trip, you will have customer service while you’re on your trip too. Your agent is there for you before, during, and after your trip to ensure that your experience is smooth and addresses any issues along the way.

Expert Advice: An agent has very likely traveled to the destination and will have expert, first hand advice. They are your destination, cruise, air and hotel experts. Travel agents constantly attend seminars and attain new certifications. Experienced agents, unlike instructions on a web page, are experts in understanding and deciphering the myriad of travel information that’s out there — fees, codes and other intricate, seemingly obscure details. Plus, they will have a variety of options to offer you, based on price, availability and preferences.

Convenient One-Stop Shopping: Travel agents can handle every aspect of your cruise vacation from airline tickets to lodging, ground transportation, activities, tours, travel insurance, parking and more. They will suggest enhancements to your vacation that you haven’t even dreamed of. Travel agents will let you know what documents you will need to travel outside the country (visa, passport). They are in the business of making awesome memories.

Less Stress: Planning a trip can be stressful and time-consuming. There are so many options and details to worry about. With a travel agent on your side, you can rest easy. It will be less stress on you.

Saves Time and Effort: Vacation planning can be complex. Instead of checking a long list of travel web pages, which generally provide rates and fares for the companies that have contracted with them, why not go straight to the source? Travel agents have all the information at their fingertips, saving you hours in front of a computer screen, making calls and research, so you don’t have to.

Insider Knowledge: Travel agents are communicating constantly with travel suppliers, so they know latest itineraries, policy updates, pricing changes and more. They have the inside track.

Consumer Advocate: If you should have a problem during your trip, travel agents can act on your behalf to see that proper resolutions are made.

Best Value for Your Money: Agents can help make your vacation dollars go farther. Travel agents will get you the biggest bang for your buck. They have access to finding all sorts of deals ranging from cruises to tours to flights and hotels. They “curate” all the options, finding you the best experiences, at the right price points for your budget. They have developed relationships with vendors to receive the best deals available.

Call Today: Travelers are fast realizing that taking advantage of a travel agent’s expertise can save them a ton of time with clearly happy results – both monetary and emotional. The bottom line is – your travel agent will get to know you personally and will make sure you have “choices” that fit YOU and your specific travel criteria. They have your best interest at heart!

Why Take a Cruise Vacation?

It is impossible to get bored on a cruise. There really is something for everyone. There are swimming pools, hot tubs, gyms, ice rinks, climbing walls, bumper cars, flow-rider wave machines, putting greens, basketball courts, dance classes, pool volleyball, table tennis, billiards and fitness classes for the sporty people. There are dazzling shows, a cappella groups, string quartets and cinemas for those who like to be entertained. There are spas, hair salons and luxury retail opportunities for those who like to be groomed. There are art classes and historic lectures for those who like to be educated. There are wine tastings, vodka tastings, cocktail bars, karaoke competitions, dance parties, casinos and nightclubs for those who like to be entertained into the early hours. It is of course entirely possible to do nothing at all, if that is what you prefer, and there is no pressure to take part in anything. It is like any community — you are welcome to take part in the things you enjoy, while steering well clear of the things you don’t.

You can’t beat the thrill of being transported to an exciting new world while you sleep. One day you might wake up and spend the day on the beach in Jamaica, and another day you will wake up to enjoy the second largest barrier reef off the Belize coast or wake up to see the ancient ruins near Cozumel, Mexico. It is incredible to think that you can visit so many places in such a short space of time, with such a minimum amount of effort.

Cruising offers an excellent way to introduce your children to a little bit of culture and history. You will be surprised how much children enjoy cultural experiences when they are offered in “bite size” chunks. If they get tired of looking at “ancient ruins,” you can always leave them onboard in the care of the children’s adventure club where they will be perfectly happy hanging out with their friends. Children of all ages will love it. There are so many activities for children and it is very easy for them to make friends in a safe and secure environment. Whilst some ships are vast, children soon learn to navigate their way around with their new best friends in tow.

The alcohol policies on cruise ships are very strict, which is great news if you are travelling with younger teens. The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on most ships is 21.

Cruising is a very social scene. You will have the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world. In a community of 3,000 people there will be a diverse mix, including those you can easily relate to and those you can’t. You are not under any obligation to make conversation with anyone unless you actually want to of course, but for those travelling alone, cruising is an ideal way to find companions. On a typical cruise you are likely to meet singles, couples, families with children of all ages, honeymooners, grandparents and groups of friends from every corner of the globe.

Cruising is a great way to celebrate a significant birthday, anniversary or return from military overseas duty.

Cruising represents excellent value for money in a safe environment, while offering incredible high standards of quality and service.

In a recent travel survey, they found that travelers rank Ocean Cruises as the Best Overall Vacation. Cruise vacations repeatedly get an approval rate of 98 percent. Many people who commented, say they will cruise again. Don’t miss the ship!

Do you have questions for about planning your first cruise or going on a theme cruise like the Military Appreciation Cruise? Are you unsure which ship to choose, what to pack or what to expect onboard on your first cruise? If you have any questions about this article or about travel in general, please email [email protected].

Colleen Gaier is Owner/Military Travel Specialist at EXCELLENCE IN TRAVEL. She has been in the event planning/travel industry assisting military families since 1985. Her husband served 30 years in the Army.
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