Cruise Agent, Travel Agent, etc. What’s In A Name?

Travel professionals go by many names. cruise agent, travel agent, trip advisor, travel consultant, cruise planner, trip planner, travel planner and travel advisor are a few such designations. Of course, including the word professional (such as professional travel planner) adds to an already long list.

A key question is whether these descriptions are important to the traveling public. A secondary question is whether the travel professional thinks they are important.

How about you, do you care about the title of the travel professional you use?

Regardless of how you answer, (yes, no, it depends, or it doesn’t matter), the bottom line is whether the services offered met your needs. Are you a “happy camper” at the end of the day? Are you encountering many hassles in planning your trip or vacation?

Did you use a travel consultant?

Or…

…did you use a travel planner? Is there a difference?

Clearly, some titles suggest more of a specialized service, such as cruise agent. Undoubtedly, a travel professional uses a label to show his/her area of specialization. However, no one would suggest that only a cruise agent provides the required services in a superlative way.

A travel professional referred to as a travel agent (or any other designation) may have the capability of doing a superb job, even though that job deals with cruising.

What about the reverse? Can a cruise agent perform the over-all functions of a travel agent, and do so equally well? That depends of course on the background and experience of the agent.

Many travel professionals use multiple designations. Simply because you find a travel professional through the designation of, say, travel consultant does not mean that the same person cannot also be located through the designation of travel agent. You may want to contact a cruise planner, but you may get a great travel agent.

Therefore, it seems the most important question is whether you can identify a travel professional, which is right for you regardless of label.

For information on identifying the right travel professional for you, see the author’s article at EzineArticles.com titled “How to Identify Your Perfect Cruise Agent”.

Note: You have permission to reproduce this article if the entire article is reproduced, the article remains unchanged, the author’s resource box at the bottom is included and all links remain intact.

Travel Insurance: For Worry Free Luxury Travel

Top travel advisors do everything in their power to help you plan and book a luxury vacation that is as problem-free as possible. Unfortunately, unanticipated events may transpire that throw a wrench into the best laid plans. Unexpected difficulties can occur before you travel such as a family emergency or sudden illness. Other situations can include cancelled flights, lost luggage, and even medical emergencies or injuries that happen while you are on your trip. Eliminate the worry from your upcoming vacation by purchasing travel insurance to prepare for the unexpected.

Lost Luggage

How many people do you know whose luggage has been lost in transit? In the U. S., an estimated four to six out of every 1,000 travelers files a complaint about their luggage but odds are that temporarily lost luggage primarily goes unreported. Three thousand, three hundred dollars in compensation per passenger is available on U.S. based airlines, although exclusions apply for such items as furs and jewelry. The compensation for lost luggage by airlines, however, varies by country when using non-domestic flights and may not even exist.

When temporarily lost bags, travelers are often without their wardrobe and other items for the first part of their vacation. In some cases, luggage is never located. Compensation amounts do not come close to covering the loss in some cases, especially if the contents include designer clothing and other lost items such as cameras, computers and other treasured valuables.

Skimping on travel insurance for lost baggage can result in hundreds to thousands of dollars spent on replacement items (including new luggage) as well as the loss of valuable time required for shopping for needed items. Now, shopping is a fun activity if it is part of your travel plans but if you are in a remote destination or are on a limited budget, enforced shopping is,well, not so enjoyable. And just think about having to shop for a wardrobe in a non-English speaking country or in the middle of a jungle safari!

Last Minute Trip Cancellations or Trip Interruptions

Whether you have a family emergency, become ill and need emergency surgery, or there is a terrorist incident in your destination city and you no longer want to go, events that are out of your control may mean that you have to cancel your trip. Without travel insurance, trip cancellations can result in the loss of cash you invested in airline reservations, destination deposits, cruises, and more.

Another reason to consider travel insurance is for flight cancellations and missed connections. Imagine a scenario where a couple is flying from Colorado to New York. Their itinerary has them arriving with several hours to spare before their luxury cruise departs the next morning for the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, Denver is hit with a monster snowstorm cancelling all flights for 24 hours which means they will miss their cruise. Travel insurance will jump in to reimburse them so they can schedule another cruise with their trip advisor.

A luxury vacation is expensive, especially if it is a once-in-a-lifetime-trip that you have always wanted to take. When you compare the cost of insurance with the cost of the trip, travel insurance is definitely worth the investment.

Medical Emergencies during Vacation

A medical emergency can take place at any time during your vacation, whether because of an injury other medical condition. While your current health insurance will likely cover illness within the United States, many have exclusions for foreign travel and even for cruises flying under a non-U.S. flag.

Serious medical conditions may require emergency helicopter or jet evacuation back to the states. This type of medical insurance is important for any trip but is essential when traveling to an underdeveloped country where it can mean the difference between life and death. Medical travel insurance also covers issues such as lost medications and treatment for more minor ailments.

Lost or Stolen Wallets and Passports

The sudden loss of important travel papers or credit cards can put a real damper on your vacation. Fortunately, emergency cash is available through travel insurance while you make arrangements with your bank and credit card holders to remedy the problem. Passport and credit card coverage reimburses you for unauthorized credit card purchases, as well as card and passport replacement fees. Your coverage even includes help with the emergency transfer of funds from home, family or friends.

The Bottom Line on Travel Insurance

The amount and type of travel insurance you obtain is a great topic to discuss with your travel advisor. She will know what the best insurance options are for your particular journey. One word of caution: seasoned travelers and travel agencies alike do not recommend purchasing insurance directly from an airline or cruise line as their insurance products will inevitably include language that favors them when there is a problem. Insurance obtained independently from an airline or cruise is the best option for your travel needs.

Whatever insurance products you decide meet your individual needs, have an extraordinarily wonderful and peaceful trip.

What to Look For When Booking Travel Online

When using a website to book a holiday or vacation, you should consider online travel research to price the individual components, e.g. flights, car rental, hotel etc separately to make sure you are getting a good deal. Prices can vary significantly, so comparison shopping on several sites could be a distinct advantage.

If you favor a particular hotel or airline, you may be better off going directly to the hotel and/or airline of your choice to get the best deal. Also, some travel websites are unclear about their cancellations and refunds policy; therefore if you book directly with a hotel or car rental company online, you could cancel a reservation without penalty up to 24 hours in advance.

So, when it comes to searching online consider using a travel site as opposed to a search engine like Google. Google may find the best fares but a travel website offers better searching flexibility for holidays and vacation packages and in some cases they also negotiate their own deals with real travel opportunities and packaged offers.

Generally, many service providers including travel companies are guaranteeing ‘lowest prices online’ so it is a good idea to check and compare travel websites pricing with the hotel or airline website. In addition you may found incentives to book directly with a hotel or airline, e.g. air miles or popular retail vouchers.

Also, consider reading the clauses about cancellation when booking. These will vary from site to site. Rates will vary and may come with penalties and deadlines and some cases non refundable deposits. In addition to cancellation fees be aware of potential booking fees. Travel website may charge you a booking fee, where booking directly with an hotel or airline usually does not incur a fee. But be careful here, as some sites may charge you if you use a credit card.

Finally, it is worth checking individual country sites of particular internationally based online companies to compare local prices to the company’s global website. This may prove beneficial depend on your International travel plans.

Google’s Impact on the Travel Industry

When a pair of students created and initially ran Google from their dorm room while studying at Stanford University, California little do they know the vast impact the search engine would have on the development of the Internet, and in particular in the fundamental change it would cause in the travel industry over the last 10 years.

Google went a step further than other search engines and company directories back in 2000. They introduced a keyword advertising programme. By the beginning of 2001 Google were processing 100 million search queries a day and this provided a huge new avenue for companies to advertise their goods and services. Therefore, travel companies used this new popular competitive channel to reach the top of the organic listings and dominate the sponsored pay-per-click links. This has lead to some really exciting travel opportunities. In fact, this new online advertising initiative has created companies specifically to help businesses succeed at this new venture.

The huge renaissance in online advertising has been attributed to Google’s advertising model that helped pave the way for the demise of the thick, colour printed travel brochure and provided a platform that helps everyone find anything almost anywhere.

As Google moves forward they have step up their Internet travel presence with the introduction of MyTravelGoogle.com, a new way to search online for travel related articles. The site is promoted to targeted budget travellers and their needs. Also, Google Maps can now help you plan, and enjoy, the best possible travel experience with careful research of holiday locations.