10 Traveling tips
1. Pack everything of value in your carry on luggage. This includes your travel documents, important business papers, prescription medication, glasses and other expensive accessories. Though it may seem to be stating the obvious, if your luggage is lost, even temporarily, you could experience problems that could have easily been prevented. Also, Include one days
worth of clothing with you just in case.
2. Familiarize yourself with the current TSA (Transportation Security Administration) guidelines to get through security more quickly and with less hassle. Many items can only go in checked luggage, but you might be able to get a smaller version with you to take onboard. http://www.tsa.gov/
3. Check with your physician and the Center for Disease Control guidelines to see if you need any immunizations. http://wwwnc.dcdc.gov/travel/
4. Avoid short connection times when scheduling your flights. Travel today is unpredictable and it's best to plan for the worst case scenario. If you are catching a cruise, fly in the day before to be certain that you and your luggage are there on time.
5. Purchase Travel Insurance! This covers many scenarios from cancellation to delay, supplier default, baggage loss and more. Ask your health insurance company and automobile insurance agent what you are covered for when traveling so that you may make an informed decision as to which travel insurance policy to purchase.
6. Read all your travel documents, especially the fine print. If your airline tickets are non-refundable, ask your travel agent to explain the procedures should you have to make a change in your travel plans. Check whether any additional cost will be involved. If you are traveling abroad, check whether your passport is valid. It is best and sometimes required to have the validity extended for 6 months past your travel date. Apply for your passport and visa(s) as early as possible. Obtaining a passport during peak travel seasons can take several weeks.
7. Keep a duplicate copy of your passport and travelers checks in a safe place. Obtaining replacements of these documents when you travel abroad is much easier when you can provide copies of originals.
8. Take twice as much money and half as much clothes you think you'll need. These days airlines are enforcing the "one piece of carry-on luggage" rule, particularly on full flights, so travel as light as possible. Carry enough money to see you through any emergencies. Although credit cards are widely accepted and ATM machines are quite common, it still makes sense to carry cash, especially if you are traveling abroad.
9. Retain all of your receipts for purchased goods or services outside of the U.S. In many countries, a Value Added Tax is added to the purchase price of everything you buy. VAT is reimbursable when you return to the U.S. -this can be a substantial saving, as VAT can often be as high as 25 or 30 percent!
10. Relax and Enjoy! Create new memories to last a lifetime!
Why Use a Travel Agency?
Many consumers might not realize what they are missing out on when they travel and don't use a travel agent. Here are just a few things that your travel agent can do for you.
Travel agents know the market and, if they listen to what you want, will be able to match you with a better product than you can find on the Internet.
If something goes wrong on your trip, a good travel agent will go to bat for you — no matter who is at fault — and try to get your vacation back on track.
Travel agents have access to a variety of tools that the average consumer is not able to use or doesn't know about. They can sometimes get you added amenities at hotels, room upgrades and plan activities for you.
Your time is valuable and you shouldn't have to spend it searching for the right vacation. A travel agent can do that for you. They can match you with the vacation that you actually want, not the one that you saw on television. There is a difference between travel inspiration and actual travel desires. Destinations may look good on TV but not actually be ideal for you personally. Travel agents can help you define what it is you want to get out of a vacation.
As you develop a relationship with your travel agent, they are able to target the right trips for you without even having a conversation. Ideally, a simple phone call or email could result in your next vacation — already planned.
6. Save money
Often, travel agents can save you money based on their supplier relationships — or at least match the price you find — while saving you time and effort. There are also hidden savings built into trips. A travel agent will likely book transfers for you, included in the price. Sometimes a package that you book yourself won't include those, making the experience appear cheaper.
7. Added value
There are a lot of value-adds that consumers don't even know about that can be added by a travel agent. Ever wonder why the couple in the cabin next to yours got champagne and you didn't? They probably used a travel agent.
8. Better destinations
Travel agents have inside information on the best times to go to crowded destinations and they sometimes even know what the new "it" destinations are going to be before the masses. Want to get there first? Use a travel agent.
9. Exclusive access
Some tours and experiences are only available through a travel agent. Many companies offer a lot of components and simply want to make sure a customer is right for their experience.
10. Because they are awesome!
Travel agents are some of the most well-rounded, funny, personable and knowledgeable people you'll meet. They all have one thing in common: They are passionate about sharing the world with you. Take advantage of their services.