Top Travel Agent Myths
No One Uses Travel Agents Anymore
This could not be further from the truth. More than half of all travel bookings are booked by a travel agent still to this day. when it comes to Cruises and actual tour vacations that number increases even more. There is something to be said for personalized service, attention to detail and someone who knows something about the destination you are going to.
Travel Agents are out to make more money and don’t quote the cheapest prices
While it is possible that you might be able to find the same vacation booking at a cheaper price there is a reason that the travel agent gave you the quote that they did. Sometimes they know more about the destination than you can tell from looking online. A travel agent will be looking to get you the best value for your money spent which should include the most direct and time friendly itinerary they can find. Sure you can get the same deal cheaper but you may also lose an entire day of that vacation to long waits and headaches in airports. If you want to have the absolute cheapest deal possible make sure you specify that upfront and the agent will take the value out of the equation when producing the quote for you.
I can book the same trip on my own without using a travel agent
Theoretically, yes you can book the same trip without the use of a travel agent. However, most of the time a travel agent has access to exclusive prices that the public does not have access to because of the amount of business they do. In addition to this, the price you pay by booking on the internet already includes a fee for a travel agent so even if you don’t use one you are paying for one anyway. Why not at least get some of the expertise that you are paying for anyway. Lastly, sometimes travel agents have contacts at the specific resorts you are looking to travel to and they can get added extras or get you booked into a sold out category by picking up the phone and the internet can’t do that.
It is quicker and easier to book online
In today’s fast paced world, time is of the essence and with the instantaneous nature of online booking it is commonly thought that it’s much quicker and easier to book online. While the online booking process itself may only take a few minutes before a confirmation arrives in your inbox it is the research leading up to the booking that takes time. How much time did you spend researching that last vacation you took? How long did you spend proving the place you were going was reputable? How did you know that the company you were using for booking was legit? How long did it take you to come up with all the things you were going to do while on vacation and book all those?
A 10 minute conversation with your travel agent can avoid hours of research hunched over your computer, phone or tablet that often leads to yet more unanswered questions and even more research and precious time wasted. Travel agents often have instantaneous answers to your complex questions and when they don’t, they have access to the most reliable, up to date information direct from local authorities, hotels, airlines, tour operators and a network of other travel agents.
Travel agents only book with reputable, well vouched for suppliers. Travel agencies are regulated and licensed by a central authority and are bound by several consumer protection laws. What that means for you is if things unfortunately do go wrong you can be assured your travel agent will get right on to sorting out the problem and dealing with the suppliers on your behalf saving you time and reducing your stress and burden!
Online booking websites are not regulated or bound by the same consumer protection laws that travel agents are. Additionally and in most cases they are not even registered or licensed travel agents. What this means is they waiver all responsibility when things go wrong. Do you really want to take that risk when you are that far from home?
Easy and quick ways to earn a free vacation or at least save a bundle towards one
Referral Programs- All Aboard Vacations has a referral program that we are happy to allow anyone to be a part of. It is really a very easy program, you bring us business and we reward you. When your referral books a vacation with us, when they return from their vacation you will have a credit on your account that can be used towards your next 7 day or longer vacation or for surprise on your next vacation.
Swagbucks- If you happen to have about 10 minutes every day that you are sitting in front of a computer or a smartphone with a wifi connection (otherwise you will run out of data) you can earn real money about 50.00 a month to turn in for gift cards. All you have to do is allow your computer to run some videos in the background click on some links and if you so choose try to complete some surveys. When you make a purchase online if you go to this site first and link to the site you are making a purchase on you can get money back as well. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PUT IN ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION if you do not choose to. If you get other friends and family to join you can earn money every time they earn money as well.
We actually have an account as well and we use the money to buy all our clients gifts so if you are thinking about signing up or you want to get more information we would really appreciate it if you click on the below link to sign up. You will benefit on your next vacation by helping to ensure a surprise gift on your trip.http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/poof35
Ebates – Do you need to buy something and lowes maybe home depot? Maybe you just like to do online shopping. Then this is the site for you. This site allows you to earn a percentage back on your purchases made. Even better on top of this it will also tell you the promotion code that you can use to save a few more dollars on your purchase. Each month they will send you a statement with how much money you have earned and they will send you a check equal to that amount. If you would like more information on this site or you think this is a good site for you please click here https://www.ebates.com/r/POOF35
Receipt Pal and Receipt Hog - These are apps for your smart phone. I love these for 2 reasons, the first being that I can trade in the money for Amazon gift cards or Paypal money and secondly it allows me to no longer have to keep a pile of receipts just in case I need to make a return. The jist of these apps is the in turn for you sharing your shopping habits by taking a picture of all your shopping receipts they will give you money. If you want to earn even faster you can link it to your amazon account and your email accounts as well so that whenever you order anything online you get credit for those as well. These 2 apps alone allowed me to pay for all of my holiday gifts last holiday season which meant that when it came time to planning our vacation I had plenty of extra money to put in all the little extra things that I always wished I could do on a vacation but could never justify spending money on. Since I did not have to pay for the holiday gifts I was able to reallocate that budget and enjoy our family vacation so much more this year.
I could probably go on and on about these types of programs but in all honesty there are the good old traditional ways of saving for vacation as well. When you come home every day just take all the change out of your pockets and put it in a jar. On a given date you count up all that change and you would be amazed at how much you have saved to use on your vacation. It normally covers most of my clients spending money. Many banks today will also round up your bill payments to the nearest dollar and put it in a savings account for you.
We challenge you to try out one of these ideas or share one of your own with us and when you have enough come back to us and we will help you plan a vacation of a life time. Happy saving!
Plan Early and Check Often!
Anyone that knows anything about me, knows that I am a planner. I plan for everything but I go all out when it comes to vacations. Since airfare normally opens up for sale 331 days prior to the return date of a trip you will usually find me starting the research process on that day if it has not already been started prior. Why do I do this you ask? The reasons are many. First, In many cases the earlier you book the better availability you tend to have especially if you are planning on a very popular destination like Disney world or if you are travelling at a popular time like a holiday week. Second, just because you book early does not mean you are locked into the price that you pay. In most cases, you are only putting down a deposit and you are free to apply promotions and change the booking up until the time of final payment. Lastly, check your plans often. For instance if your airline flight that you booked has a schedule change and it has changed significantly enough to alter you plans or at least upset them you have the ability to have those flights changed often times for free. This means that if you book a year out and you take a flight that had a layover because the price was decent and that flight schedule was changed you can often change that flight to a direct flight that was well out of your price range and not pay anymore. Had I not been planning at the beginning I would not have been able to book that flight that the airline had just released before they had the employee schedules released and thus no changes would have been made and I would be not be on a direct flight for a fraction of the cost. I also would not be staying in a prime location in Disney during Thanksgiving vacation and still getting a great promotion because I already had the reservation and just had the price adjusted the day a promotion came out. So, the next time you decide to book a vacation think about it way ahead of time and save yourself money and keep checking back until you pay your final payment to make sure you are not missing out on a nice promotion that can be applied. Better yet call All Aboard Vacations and we will do all of this for you. We make it our policy to always apply any promotions that we are made aware of to all of our clients’ reservations.
What is wrong with traveling to Mexico?
Recently, there have been a number of people asking about all inclusive vacations. As many of you know, Riviera Maya in Mexico is a prime all inclusive destination. All too often, the reaction to the idea is “I don’t want to do Mexico, It’s not safe.” This is something I would like to address. Mexico is safe. Are there areas that are not safe? Have we seen or heard terrible things on the news. The simple answer is yes there are areas that are not safe. My simple answer, are there sections of the United States that are not safe? Yes of course. So why do people still travel all over the U.S. but not Mexico? People understand that crime in one city has nothing to do with crime in another. Yet when we hear Mexico, we act like it’s a tiny place. The reality is that most of the crime is taking place in places like Mexico City and along the Texas Mexico border. These areas are many miles away. It’s like saying I’m not going to Disney world because of the Boston bombings. Absurd, yes, but we do it every day.
The truth is that if you book a vacation with a reputable travel agent and make sure things like transfers are taken care of before you leave, you can have the vacation of your lives and be totally safe. Are there going to be tons of people trying to “help” you at the airport, yes. Are there going to be tons of people trying to sell you every piece of “high quality merchandise” imaginable, yes. Is this different than any other Caribbean country? No.
Go to the Mexican Riviera. Enjoy the amazing resorts. Your transportation will take you directly to your gated resort. Have fun, eat, drink, and be Merry. If you leave the resort, be smart and go on a tour booked from one of the tour operators in your hotel. They are there to make money, but they want you to stay safe and be happy. Use common sense and you could have the vacation of your lives.
All Aboard Vacations Announces Disney College of Knowledge graduate
Don't be surprised if you see pixie dust twinkling around Shari Hough. Hough, who is the owner of All Aboard vacations, joins an elite group of travel industry professionals who have attained a special knowledge of the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, and Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa. As a recent graduate of the college of Disney Knowledge, Hough have now become part of this elite group.
"The College of Disney Knowledge was extremely beneficial to me; it was a fun and informative way to learn more about the Disney vacation portfolio. I also feel more confident about selling Disney destinations."
Anyone who plans to visit Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, and Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa will benefit from Hough's added expertise. "The college of Disney knowledge has taught me how to add more value to each Disney itinerary so that I can help make every client's magical dreams come true."
Is Customer Service Dead?
I’ve heard many times that customer service is dead. We all make jokes about having to call customer no service in some strange foreign land multiple times before giving up and never resolving whatever issue we might have. It doesn’t matter if its travel related like an airline, or if it’s the cable company or anyone else. No one wants to accept the responsibility to help the consumer. Recently, I had a problem with the cable company. It took no less than 7 phone calls to customer service and a letter to the utilities commission before my simple request, a new cable box, could be arranged.
The same can be said for the airlines. Try to talk to a person, and good luck. Heaven forbid you have an emergency and need to change plans, you are going to pay. The price of a booked flight goes down and they will charge you to lower your fare. Fees, fees, and more fees, and its perfectly clear that the fees are not going to hire helpful well trained staff to assist the customer.
I had a customer that recently had a problem at Disney World, the place that was once known for customer service and a true believer in the customer is always right slogan. Well it appears that times have changed. These people were a little upset about the time it took for their transfers to the hotel. Let’s just say that the Disney all but called my clients liars. I had a friend that ran into a very disrespectful employee that was complaining about tourists to other guests. Hello, this is Disney World, they make their money by charging TOURISTS ridiculous amounts of money to visit. In any rate, after filing a complaint, Disney World didn’t even make an attempt to respond.
So what can we do? First, document everything. This includes times, places, and names of everyone you speak to. Details are important. Second, be persistent. Third, and most importantly, use small businesses that care.
All Aboard Vacations is one such place. We want your business, and no request is too small. One of the reasons to use a travel agent is to help fight on your behalf. Book with one of those mega websites and see how long it may take to even talk to a human let alone one who can help. Sure, you can book a cruise right through the cruise line, but try to complain about the cruise line to someone who works for a cruise line and see where you get. Book through an agency like this one and you will get a person who will do everything to help. We know who to talk to and will go out of our way to help so that you come back. We survive on personalized service.
Customer service isn’t dead, you just need to know where to find it!
Vacations without the annoyance of flying!
Lately, the airlines have been doing some crazy things. In the last few weeks several of them have gone out of business. Others are canceling direct flights making it much harder to get anywhere. We won’t even get into the prices and new luggage rules. I have a solution to all this. DON’T FLY. There are numerous cruises on several different lines that go all over the world year round from New York. I will only talk about New York since that is where I live. Recently, we went on the Norwegian Spirit. It is a beautiful ship that was offering six day trips. We had a great time on board and while its not the best cruise ever, it was a chance to get away. Best part was that we didn’t have to fly or pay for parking. I say save yourself the money get a friend to drive you to the pier. New York is an easy facility to navigate. Buy your friend dinner and save the $20+ for parking or hundreds of dollars for flying where you also have to pay to park. Princess, Carnival, RCCL, and Holland America also offer cruises out of the New York metro area going anywhere from Bermuda, the Caribbean, Canada, and even Europe. Spend the Money on your vacation and not getting to your vacation. If you need some assistance with the planning give us a call. 203-592-2372
Agent Receives CLIA's ACC Designation
Shari Hough of All Aboard Vacations has been designated as a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Cruise Counselor after recently completing the organization’s certification requirements. Shari Hough is now recognized within the cruise industry as an Accredited Cruise Counselor. Shari Hough has achieved Cruise Counselor Certification through the competition of a comprehensive program of cruise sales training and the product instruction, delivered through a combination of extensive classroom training and personal cruise experience. CLIA’s Certification program graduates are widely recognized as the foremost cruise vacation experts among American travel agents. All Aboard Vacations is one of more than 16,000 North American travel agency members of CLIA. According to CLIA statistics, the overwhelming majority of travelers – about 90% - book their cruise through a travel agency, and for good reason – travel agents understand the products they recommend and excel in the finding the perfect cruise to match their clients’ needs, lifestyle and budget. CLIA’s Certified Cruise Counselors are the cruise industry’s premiere travel agents and can arrange all of you vacation needs while providing the greatest service and value for your vacation dollar. To contact Shari Hough for your next cruise vacation or and other vacation needs please call 203-592-2372 or visit our webpage at www.allaboard-vacations.com.
Is Las Vegas still the cheap vacation?
It used to be that Vegas was a place that you could go for a cheap vacation. Because the casinos wanted you to spend money on gambling, you could get cheap food, cheap rooms, and cheap shows. For the most part, this is no longer true. Hotels are fancier, the food is fancier, and the shows are bigger. Is there still a way to do Vegas on the cheap? The short answer is yes, the longer answer is still yes, but you have to look for the deals. For one, go during the week. Your room on Monday to Thursday nights might be a third of what it can be on the weekend. Not to mention, Vegas is not as crowded during the week. Next, do your homework, read up online at www.vegas.com. There is a wealth of information about restaurants entertainment etc… Make sure you look at the free attractions guides and don’t forget that the casinos themselves, the shops, the lobbies themselves are free attractions. Next, unless you are going at a popular time or you are dying to see a certain show, make no dinner reservations and buy no show tickets. There are places on the strip, at coca-cola world and fashion square mall where you can get half price shows and half price dinners. The best part of the dinners is that you pay like $3 a person for the half price coupon and then the dinner entrees or buffets, etc… are half off. On a recent trip we saved over $20 alone on dinner. Now for show tickets, you can get reduced prices on many shows at these places. The problem is that the discounts are often off of the highest price tickets. Most of us don’t really need to sit in the front row for $90 which is a deal compared to the actual front row price. My solution, go to the box office and ask for the cheapest seats. So what if you are sitting in the back. Most of the theaters do not have a bad seat. Not to mention these theaters are not the cramped Broadway spaces those of us from NY are used to. Your seat will be roomy and comfortable in almost any show. Its nice not having to sit on your neighbor’s lap. Finally, walk around and read signs and read menus. Almost every restaurant has a posted menu. Reading them not only provides entertainment you can make a list of places that sound good that are not super expensive. We saw prices for food as high as $385 per person for a tasting menu of food I would not eat on a bet to 7.95 Prime rib diners. There is also a range of everything in between. In general, avoid those fancy celebrity chef restaurants or the ones with signs with diamond awards on them. Over rated and over priced. Most of us do not even know what some of the courses are. I love to eat and even I needed a dictionary to figure out what some of the food choices are. I’ll give you a hint, if food involves a dictionary, most of us don’t want to eat it. In many cases, there are other restaurants in the same hotels that do not have fancy chefs that offer good food at reasonable prices. We saw cheap Italian at the Venetian, cheap steak at NY NY, and other great specials. If you do want to eat at those famous restaurants, either go for lunch or eat at the café version of the restaurants. Wolfgang puck, Mario Batali, Emeril, and others have small café style restaurants attached to their big fancy expensive restaurants. These places offer the same great service, amazing food that normal people would eat, and reasonable prices. In closing, Vegas may not be the same cheap getaway you used to hear about, but you can have a great time on a reasonable budget if you do your homework.
Ship Within a Ship
Many people think that travel agents are able to jet set around the world going from vacation to vacation for little or no money. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although we do get some benefit, it usually does not amount to a free vacation by any means. Once is a while we do get to enjoy something unique to people in the travel industry. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to tour the NCL Gem. This ship is beautiful, with numerous restaurants, Nintendo Wii, and four lanes of real life bowling. Those things are all great, but that is not what I want to talk about today. NCL created something called ship within a ship. Basically it is ultimate luxury about a large cruise ship for those who can afford it. Let’s start with the fact that if you book an upper level suite known as garden villas or courtyard villas, the cruise line will send a limo to pick you up. You are then escorted past all the other people waiting to get on board. Your butler takes you on board with your own elevator and takes you up the 14th floor. If you haven’t spent the big bucks, don’t even bother trying to get up here. You walk off the elevator and are instantly transported to ultimate luxury, where you walk into a courtyard with a pool, nice tables, butlers, and entrances to your own suite. Want to go for a dip, no problem, there is your own pool which at most may see 50 people use it. Want to go for a sauna, that’s there too, or an exercise bike. I suggest asking your butler to do the exercise for you; you’re on vacation for goodness sake. Oh did I mention that the courtyard is covered by a retractable roof. Rain and cold will not spoil your fun. Want to spend some time in the sun, go up the stairs to the private sun deck where you will find lounge chairs with large cushions or lay in one of the huge hammocks. The rooms are just as nice. There are a couple of different villas at this level. Some hold as many as 5 people others just 2. Each one is at least 500 square feet and the largest at 5000 square feet, yes 5 thousand square feet. That’s like my house, my parent’s house and my in-law’s house all in a couple of huge rooms, complete with couches, a grand piano, a fully stocked bar with a cappuccino machine. Sit on your huge private balcony or swim in your own Jacuzzi in case 50 people in the courtyard is way too crowded for your taste. You also have your concierge that can make dinner reservations for you or anything else you may be able to dream up. This is all fine and good if you like that sort of ultimate luxury. It only costs a little over $4000 a person, which some may say is a bargain. As for me, I think it’s a little fancy for my tastes. I’ll stick to my lovely 150 square foot inside cabin where the only sign of daylight is the picture on the TV! Check out http://www.nclsuitesandvillas.com/ to see crazy video and pictures, although they don’t really do it justice.