I have been a travel agent for about 15 months now, and even though that is considered “new” to the industry, I have learned a lot working at Dreamers Travel. The owner, Mark, has owned the business for over five years, while other agents have over fifteen years of experience! Every time I research a trip for a client, I learn something new. I still feel like I have a lot to learn; however, I wanted to share some vacation planning, money saving tips I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Always, Always, Always, yes, I mean ALWAYS use a travel agent. Using a reputable travel agent does NOT cost you anything extra when you book your trip. In fact, travel agents can SAVE you money. Most online travel websites and resort websites offer a comparable price when it comes to booking a package. A travel agent has access to Tour Operator websites which will offer the same price as these internet sites; however, a travel agent can sometimes offer discounts, incentives, or extra amenities not available to the general public. Here are two examples:
- Dreamers Travel offers a honeymoon send off package where we give the honeymooners a one-night stay at a hotel near the airport the night before their honeymoon. This is a FREE service that includes one night in the hotel, parking during their honeymoon, and transfers to/from the airport. This service is not offered through internet travel websites.
- Another example of an incentive offer is our El Dorado honeymoon/anniversary package. When you book a 5-night stay or longer at an El Dorado resort (Mexico), you receive: a FREE room upgrade, a couple’s massage, candlelit dinner on the beach, bottle of champagne, breakfast in bed, and more. Because our agency has such a good relationship with this resort, they offered that package exclusively to our clients at no extra cost.Very often, we send clients to resorts, and they are treated like VIP’s with free room upgrades, free amenities, etc. just because they came from Dreamers Travel.
2. Book EARLY—There really are not very many “Last Minute” deals available anymore! If your vacation requires airfare, the earlier you can book the airfare, the cheaper it will be. Airlines seem to sell seats in “Levels”. When airfare is first released (about 6-8 months out), most seats are at their cheapest. As the travel date gets closer, and as more seats are purchased, the price rises. Also, airplanes do not suddenly get more available seats during peak travel times such as Spring Break and around the December Holidays. If you know you are traveling then, make your reservations early to ensure best prices and availability. We have had to turn clients away during the busy spring break time just because we couldn’t get them a seat on the plane! About six- nine months from travel is the best time to start planning your vacation. If you are planning to travel as a group or destination wedding, about nine to twelve months prior is best.
3. Be flexible—Most clients like to travel from Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday, but most of the time it is cheaper to fly Monday to Monday. Having flexible travel dates can save hundreds of dollars on a vacation package.
4. When you get a price you like, BOOK IT! In the travel industry, prices and availability change minute to minute. I have priced trips for clients in the morning, had them call back that afternoon to book, and the price of airfare has gone up. It is very disheartening to a travel agent to tell the client that the price you gave them is no longer valid. Unfortunately, we have no control over the prices of airfare or hotels.
5. Always, Always, Always, Did I mention that I mean ALWAYS use a Travel Agent! When booking on the internet, through a discount travel site there is no one available to discuss options, discover your interests, or “match” you with the right resort or destination. Travel agents have a wide array of knowledge about resorts and destinations. They make every effort to make the right “fit” for you. They know what types of activities are available at the resorts, the type of beach, the climate, and also the terrain of the resort. All of these factor into “matching” the client with the resort. If you book a package through the internet, and the resort is not a good “match”, you have spent a lot of money for a vacation you didn’t like.
What are your money saving tips for travel?
You can contact Denise by e-mail at Denise@DreamersTravel.com or give her a call at 410-239-9424.