When I was growing up, my family went on vacation to South Carolina every year. At first, I loved it, but as I got older, I began to realize how much work it was. My mother was always in a bad mood for the entire week before we left, and my father had to work extra hours and stay up late making last-minute hotel reservations and searching the house for lost luggage.
The Stress of Vacations
As a travel agent, I’ve come to realize that my family wasn’t the only one that often found vacations to be more trouble than they’re worth. Traveling is supposed to be fun, but it can be a major source of stress if you’re not careful.
What to Plan For
When I was working as a travel agent, the first advice I gave to most of my clients had to do with figuring out where they wanted to go. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people would walk in to an appointment with me having absolutely no idea where they wanted to end up. A travel agent, to be sure, is a valuable resource for helping you narrow down your list of possible destinations, but we can’t be expected to plan the ideal vacation with absolutely nothing to go on.
That’s one area where it helps to have a plan in mind, but in other areas, a tendency to micromanage isn’t so beneficial. If you want to go on an amazing vacation without breaking the bank, it’s best to be flexible about travel times. This isn’t possible for everyone, but even moving your departure forward or backward by a day can make costs plummet.
Another way to save money is to avoid paying travel insurance if at all possible. I’m not recommending that you take unnecessary risks with life and limb, but the fact is that a lot of what travel insurance covers is already covered by the standard health insurance policy. Check first.
Saving money, however, isn’t all travel agents are good for-most of us have fairly extensive knowledge regarding overseas travel, which can be helpful for those leaving the country for the first time. We can tell you, for example, that it’s important to avoid booking your hotel online if you’re traveling abroad. Pick up the phone instead, and it will be harder to mislead you.
All in all, the purpose of a travel agent is to make sure there are no unpleasant, stressful surprises on your dream vacation. That isn’t always easy, but the smiles on people’s faces are worth it!