If you tuned in to Tru-T on Sunday December 15, 2020 there was a segment featuring Daniel Milks from My XO Adventures. The topic was some of the recent fallout from Travelers booked with a local Sarasota Agency, as well as large Tour Operators like Thomas Cook when both companies took a tumble, leaving passengers holding their bags, quite literally. The situation was unfortunate all the way around, for the employees as well as the passengers, some of which were stranded an no way to get home.
We'd like to give you a few tips before booking your vacation with any Tour Operator, and we're included! The first thing that we feel is a major mistake is purchasing any travel using check or cash. Some operators will offer a discount to get customers to pay this way. It can save you a few dollars, but it's NOT worth it. There is no recourse if the company goes into default. Always use your credit card, and preferably one that has extra travel benefits associated with it. You'll find many cards offer certain protections just for using it to purchase the vacation.
Secondly, please wherever you travel always buy travel insurance. This not only can protect you from default, but is just plain wise to do should anything go wrong with your vacation. If you travel, you know the chances are eventually something will happen and you want that reassurance that it's all going to be ok.
Third might be obvious, but its important. Check out the ratings through companies like Trip Advisor, Facebook Ratings, and Google the Company to see comments and ratings there. Balance this however, as someone who has had a bad experience is 10x more likely to go out of their way to post it than someone who had a perfectly good experience on the same vacation. So don't stop at the first review. Asses multiple reviews and make your own determination.
Lastly, and I'll just say this. The bigger they are the harder they fall. Check out and verify the credentials of the Agent/Agency and it's always best to go with someone you know. Ask a friend or acquaintance who is in the business that runs a small operation. (We) They take less risk, but offer some of the most exciting and detailed oriented trips you'll ever go on. Remember it's about the experience of travel and the boutiques and niche travel operators are likely going to offer more interesting vacations, and at reasonable rate. We believe in supporting small business and many of us offer group sizes of 8-12 people in size. Should some unfortunate circumstance arise, a smaller group is much easier to remedy than thousands of passengers all demanding their money back.
Travel Agents are experiencing a come back In recent years, and for good reason. A good, educated agent can help create the experience of a lifetime, and if you like to book it on your own just know that you will be booking with a massive company that in the travel world is called an OTA, or online travel agent. So really what's happening here is they are utilizing you as the travel agent, unqualified and not paying you a penny. Cruise A booked with an agent costs $100 dollars. Cruise B booked with the client Costs $100. Congrats to the cruise line, they don't pay anyone in that transaction.
In most cases the Travel Agent if certified and familiar with the area of the world you will be adventuring, already knows way better than the online booking systems how to get you a better deal. In the end, you save a lot of time with an agent in the form of a professional that you pay absolutely nothing to have as an advocate for you, doing their best job in the hopes you will return.
That's all I have today for travel tips, but please email me at [email protected] for any questions as it relates to travel or our company information.