There is currently so much information available on the internet about travel. There are online travel sites for cruises, hotels, air, trains and any other type of trip. But what is the right product for you? Is the location of the hotel where you want to be? Is the type of room or cabin just right for you? Is that cruise line the one you should book? Not all products are made equal and the products are not suitable for everyone. How do you tell me? Contact a travel professional.
Are there travel agencies?
There have been several articles and even the president of the United States has said that travel agencies do not exist or disappear. In a way they are right. Travel agents in the past were just someone who booked a trip for someone who called or came to the travel agency's storefront office. Storefront travel agencies are few and far from most travel agents who have gone home to work. Even the term & travel agent & # 39; disappears because what they do now is different from what they did before.
Travel professionals / travel lawyers
Travel agencies are now more of a consultant and a consultant, so they are now called travel professionals or travel lawyers. Even the travel industry is trying to get away from using the term "travel agent". They no longer just book a trip for someone, they know more than what is available to the traveling customer. The travel professionals are now constantly learning, are constantly traveling, receive input from other travel professionals about where they have traveled and are a source for what is needed today to travel.
When you use an online travel agency such as Expedia, Travelocity, etc., you can not protect someone who protects your back. They book the journey for you and then you are almost alone. Suppose your flight is canceled, who is going to book a replacement flight? It is you, not she. If you use a travel professional, the professional travel provider will do it. If something goes wrong during your trip, if the room you booked is not like what would you think it would be, who is going to make it up? A travel professional will also regularly check for price reductions before the final payment and if a new promotion is more favorable than what was booked with a down payment. All these things can be handled before the final payment.
A travel professional works with you from the moment you talk to him for the first time until you are safely at home and all problems have been solved or resolved.
It costs more to use a travel professional
This is not always true. Admittedly, some travel professionals charge costs, but not all. This is because some suppliers, such as airlines and some hotels, do not pay a commission or some of the suppliers have reduced the amount of claims paid to the travel specialist. To make ends meet, some travel professionals charge a fee. I ask $ 50 per person for domestic flights and $ 100 for international airline reservations. I will also ask for compensation for hotels for the same reason or when I compile the different parts of the trip myself. When I book a cruise or a tour, I do not charge a fee because the seller pays me a commission. Remember, whether you use a travel professional or not, the commission is still paid because it is automatically included in the seller's price. So why not use a travel professional and avoid the hassle and save your time?
The rules for travel are constantly changing and it is the travel professional who is able to keep their customers on the right track.
Did you know, for example, that you will need a passport from January 2016 to travel by plane? This is due to a law called the REAL ID Act. This requires that all travelers have an IDE identification that includes all these fields: full legal name, signature, date of birth, gender, unique identification number, a main place of residence address and a photograph at the front of the country concerned. Unfortunately, there are still a handful of conditions that are non-compliant. Do you know which states are compliant and which are not? Your travel professional does that. By the way, outright non-conforming states / territories are American Samoa, Louisiana and New Hampshire. The states of Minnesota and New York offer an optional Enhanced ID for a fee, so because it is optional, a large percentage of the residents have none. Some states have requested additional extensions, but it is unclear whether they are granted. Currently only four states (Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York) and American Samoa are technically non-compliant.
Also, we still do not know whether 1 January 2016 will be the date of the requirement or will be later? Because of this law, the processing time for the passport is influenced for everyone. All passports issued in 2006 to comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that came into force in 2007 are now expiring, causing a whole series of innovations. So because of these extensions in combination with the possible REAL ID enforcement, it is expected that the passport tides will increase further. From 11 October, the current wait has already increased for a week to four to six weeks for standard passports and three weeks before accelerated. Accelerated in person can be up to eight days based on travel needs.
The ULTIMATE REAL ID Act requires all government-issued drivers & # 39; s & # 39; licenses to include "machine-readable technology" or chips to keep us safe and protected while traveling. For more information about the REAL ID Act, go to http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.
Passports are also recommended for cruises, just as they are required to fly outside the United States. The reason for this is that if you have to fly back from a foreign port to the United States, you have a passport to do this. Just because you are on a cruise leaving a port in the United States, technically you travel internationally as soon as you board the ship, as most ships are registered outside the United States!
A travel professional can help you determine if a visa is required to travel to your destination. If they are not sure, they know where to send you for that information and they get confirmation that you do or do not need one for the type of journey you take. For most cruises, for example, you probably do not need a visa to visit the ports if you leave a US port and return to the same US port. This is called a "closed loop" trip. But again, most cruises. Always check to see if one is needed.
Example: Travel insurance
Again, not all travel insurance policies are made equal. Should you take out travel insurance? Absolutely !!! I advise my customers not to purchase travel insurance, for the most part, from the supplier of the cruise or the product. The reason for this is that the coverage is not as complete as the policy of third parties. Travel insurance is not only purchased for travel delays, baggage lost / damage or cancellation protection. Some health insurance companies do not cover you when you travel outside the United States. Medicare does not. Travel insurance will act as your primary health insurance during your journey, from the moment you leave to the moment you return to your home. It also provides emergency evacuation for health reasons and protects you for other items. Always read the policy and the information provided by the issuer of the travel insurance to see what is covered. Your travel professional knows what a good travel insurer is.