It’s definitely GROUP season in the travel world! Small groups of a few family members traveling for the holidays, Spring Break, friends booking in larger groups that have a common interest (Reunions, Golfers, Foodies, Dance Groups - you name it and it can be a group!) and don’t forget about corporate group travel big and small. What can you do to make your group trip the best it can be?
1) Have each person that will be traveling in the group be responsible for his or her own booking with the travel agent.
2) The agent needs to ask specific questions about each person traveling - medical or dietary issues, special requests etc. These are best asked one-on-one traveler to travel agent and not through a third person.
3) Groups Leaders should direct all questions & concerns from the group directly to the travel agent, group leaders should not play “middle man”.
**If you want to know what the dress attire is for your trip, ask your agent. The person that put the group together may not be well traveled and may not be able to provide you with the best and most current information.
4) When traveling anywhere outside the country (including a Caribbean Cruise), make Passport’s MANDATORY for all passengers.
5) When cruising to the Caribbean round-trip from a U.S. port, a U.S. Citizen can technically get by with a valid Driver’s License and their original Birth Certificate (or certified true copy of it). However, if you run into any emergencies while on travel outside the U.S. you will not be able to fly back to the U.S. without that passport! Be safe, get the passport and know that all is good!
6) Make sure each person in the group purchases Travel Insurance!
** Travel Insurance covers the unexpected! It protects you prior to departure and it protects you while on travel! Most U.S. medical insurances do not cover you the minute you leave the U.S. this is a great reason to have travel insurance. A medical evacuation runs tens of thousands of dollars….get travel insurance to protect you should an issue like this come up.
7) If traveling with multiple rooms or cabins of family members, the travel agent should copy all parties involved on e-mail correspondence so that there is not information lost and everyone receives the same and correct information direct from the travel agent.
8) Read everything your travel agent sends you CAREFULLY and THOUROGHLY!
** Your agent should be providing you with everything you need to know prior to travel in regards to the arrangements they have made for you. PLEASE take the time to read over everything sent to you!
9) Ask questions! Anything you want to know about your trip – Ask the AGENT booking it!
**As you think of questions that you would like to discuss, write them down so that way the next time you talk to your agent or e-mail them you can go over your questions together.
10) Make PAYMENTS along the way….
** When you book group travel well in advance, your payment can be broken down in several payments. I always highly encourage all travelers to make payments each month if possible towards their trip. This way when the final payment due date comes around, it will not catch the group off guard and there won't be a chunk of change due at final payment date. If you are making payment installments along the way, the final won’t be nearly as large and you may even pay if off before it's due!
11) Ask your Travel Agent for advise on booking tours & excursions.
** If your trip is the type that allows you to add in extra tours or side trips, talk to your agent about which of these would be best for you and your traveling companions. Also, if the entire group wants to do the same tours, typically the travel agent can obtain a group discount!
I can tell you that the best travelers in the groups are the ones that READ the paperwork
I send them and call or e-mail me with their questions. If you don’t ask questions, we can’t help you.
If you have never been part of a group trip you should try it! It can be LOTS of FUN! As a group leader (the person that brings the group to the travel agent), you have the opportunity to earn free travel or money back after the group travel. Do you have a group of friends, family members or co-workers you would like to travel with? Make it happen, call your agent and get started on putting together a great group trip!
Happy Group Travels My Friends! Monica
See more at www.grand-escapestravel.com or contact Monica Hawk at 205-616-1625
You know where you want to go. You have some idea of what you want to do. And of course you want to do it as inexpensively as possible. So, you turn to the Internet and start researching flights and hotels. In today's online world, with a multitude of travel sites all promising the best deals, it may seem as if travel agents are destined to become a thing of the past.
But HOLD ON!
Even as an increasing number of travelers are booking their vacations themselves, many people realize it's simply not worth the risk or the time it takes to sort through all the information that is out there. There are the travelers that call after spending hours upon hours looking for the best vacation deal and are just overwhelmed by all that's out there. A quick search on Google for the popular destination "Riviera Maya" reveals slightly over 9 million results. Once you sort through all that, you'll definitely need a vacation! And Grand Escapes Travel is here to help plan your grand escape!
While a lot of people are booking online, keep in mind a lot of people are getting burned as well by not using a Travel Agent. As seasoned travelers themselves, agents can offer recommendations based on personal experience. They also can share feedback gathered from other clients, trade publications, supplier resources and other travel agents. A good travel agent is also good insurance for the traveler -- someone who will help smooth any unexpected bumps in the road and be available to the traveling client 24/7. If you have booked through the internet, you may reach someone who you have never spoken to before (refer to "getting burned" comment above). If you need assistance while traveling and you call Grand Escapes Travel, you will speak with one person -- the one person who helped you plan your vacation and who will be there for you. We work for the client and not anyone else! And it's that level of service, combined with the deals found and the personal care of each client that will keep the travel agent profession relevant.