This year many travelers will be flying or cruising to international destinations for the first time in their lives. If you do not know what you are doing, this can be very overwhelming, intimidating and downright scary without the assistance of a good travel agent. Here is some advice to get you off in the right direction:
Know your budget: One of the questions I will ask you is “how much are you planning to spend on this vacation?” This is a very important piece of the entire puzzle and whether you do your own research or want my expert advice, there are many components that go into planning your vacation and it is not just the airfare, and hotel. You will need to know the cost of food, transportation, tours, etc in the destination that you have chosen. One of the most important words I can give you is do not equate least expensive with value. An inexpensive hotel on the outskirts of a city may end up costing you more for the transportation to get to all the sights and events you are hoping to take in just as much as a cheap ticket to the Vatican may cost you a half day of waiting in line, while spending a little more allows you to skip the line, see the attraction and move on to the next attraction that afternoon. You must utilize and maximize your time well. This is where my knowledge and experience will come into play.
Do some research before contacting a travel agent: Many times people want to visit a destination because of something they have heard, but after many questions, I find that the reason they wish to visit this area has been misunderstood. There is a lot of information on various websites, but many are not updated or contain some wrong data. However, read and research as much as you are willing to do, but don’t get overwhelmed and don’t believe everything you read! It is my job to plow through all of this and put together the vacation that YOU want.
Ask questions and answer questions truthfully: This is your vacation so you need to feel very comfortable about what you are getting yourself into. Part of travel planning is also educating. If you do not totally understand what all is included in your travel plans you need to ask for more in depth descriptions. Will the tours be escorted, do you need to get yourself to the meeting place or will someone be picking you up. If a portion of travel is by motor coach, how long will these drives be from one destination to another. What is the pace you wish to participate in. So many questions needed to be asked and answered in order to plan the perfect and unique trip just for you.
What are you looking for in this get away: One component of a trip is the type of hotel chosen to stay at. Hotel ratings can be very confusing and even more confusing is that they can have a different star rating depending on what travel site you are looking at. Through our “get acquainted” session, together we can discuss what type of hotel you are looking for and chose the best one suited for the type of vacation you wish to have. You will need to decide what you want to do while you’re away, and if splurging on a hotel is something you feel is a justifiable expense. Some just want to spend money on meals, tourist attractions, and nightlife, and use the hotel only as a place to sleep. As such, a lower-class hotel in the heart of the destination will suit you just fine.
Others use hotels as part of the vacation experience, and expect extra features such as a lovely pool, acclaimed on premise restaurant, or on-site spa as a must. If you are wanting a higher-class hotel with lots of amenities, be sure you’re going to take advantage of them—otherwise you’re paying for nothing but a higher cost hotel. Once again, this is where my experience and relationships with hotel and tour operators becomes invaluable. I have reliable, updated information on many hotels and resorts and can make great suggestions once I know what type of vacation you are looking for.