All About Travel Agencies

Congratulations if you have recently started a travel agency. But wait, your work has just begun. You require unleashing important tactics, to enable sustained and relentless business growth. Following are few easiest, fastest and quickest strategies to increase the sales of your newly started travel agency. Follow every enquiry with five steps of professional communication. One of the biggest mistakes that most of the new travel businesses commit is not constantly following every enquiry. The best way to begin with this is to have a sales team where every consultant without fear professionally communicates with the enquirer. Following are few simple steps of communication:

A courtesy call to find what the inquirer feels about the information supplied to him
E-mail extra information or tip rapidly about the prospect’s trip.
Further send them a letter thanking them for enquiring.
Follow up call to find out their future plans and offer them further assistance. By this time, you successfully establish rapport with them; it is a right time to ask them about the booking details and a final commitment.

All these steps are interchangeable and the key is that they happen over the different mediums like phone calls, direct mail and e-mail.

Types of Travel Agencies

One of the main functions of these agencies is to act as an agent. This includes reservations, selling travel products and tickets and so on, on behalf of one or many suppliers. Usually, travel agents charge a small commission from the overall cost. Check out some different type of agencies:

Commercial and Business Travel Agencies

Most of these agencies have a department of business and leisure travel. The need and requirements of one traveler and the other tends to vary in few ways, and therefore, dividing the duties in different departments helps either department to specialize, finding deals for the leisure travelers on one hand and better deals for business travelers on the other hand. However, there are few agencies specializing in business and commercial travel only. Incidentally, there are not a lot of agencies restricting themselves exclusively to leisure travel.

Cargo Travel Agencies

There are few travel agencies specializing in shipping cargo. Certainly, and that is not completely relevant if you are planning to fly for personal or business reasons. Still, this shows in how many different areas an agency can specialize.

Niche and Multi- Destination Agencies

If you want to divide it in just two types of agencies, you have niche and multi – destination agencies. Multi-Destination are out- bound travel agencies that are large offering flights to any place in the world. Niche agencies are independent focusing on a specific part of the world. Most of the niche agencies cater to the individuals who have families in that country or who go for business regularly. Consider individual preferences, trip objectives and needs while selecting a travel agent. Different types of agencies offer different type and level of services. If you are a regular traveler then you may want to use the services of large corporate travel agency having branches all over the world.

The Main Reasons Why People Travel

There are two levels of answers to the question of why people travel. The first is the obvious one, and probably the reason we give ourselves and quote to others. We travel so that we can see sights, experience other cultures, attend events and learn more about the world.

These are exciting reasons. But there are deeper reasons for traveling that have less to do with what we do when we travel, and more to do with what traveling does to us. These five sets of changes to ourselves are at the heart of what makes travel so compelling.

Travel Enriches You, Before, During & After

The anticipation of a trip is almost as stimulating as the trip itself and the memories afterwards. Knowing what you have ahead, and imagining it in detail, lends excitement to life, and relieves the tendency to fall into a workaday rut. The more detailed the image of the trip, the more a future trip will excite you in advance.

During the trip itself, daily life can be intense. Living in these moments fully, and noting everything around you, makes for heightened living. Clearly, this kind of intensified experience is a quality of a style of travel that takes you beyond the bus and out into the streets and squares, landscapes and waterways, of the places you are visiting. Independent travel is a world apart from “contained” travel.

Travel Broadens Your View of the World

Through travel you gain a framework for the history and significant touchstones that brought you to your current life and point in time. Now you are standing in the evil Borgia pope’s office, surrounded by the very walls that contained the man with sufficient power to write a Papal Bull-a mandate-that claimed all the wealth of the Western Hemisphere for Spain and Portugal, and secured it for the next 200 years. As you pause in the spot where that happened, the events and significance come alive with new meaning.

Now you are looking down at the stairs that lead to a tunnel connecting the home of Leonardo da Vinci with the royal palace across street. It was through this tunnel that King Fran├žoise traveled to sit and talk with his genius friend. And now you are in Bayeux, where the French William the Conqueror built his naval vessels to cross the English Channel and claim the throne of England.

Each of these experiences broadens your view of the world and your firsthand sense of time and place.

Travel Makes You More Vibrant and Interesting

Travel gives you something to look forward to… to prepare for… to study for… and later to share. You will bring home stories. Life can get somewhat monotonous if you let it, particularly after you retire and your work life ends. Anticipation is worth at least as much as the trip itself and the memories that follow the trip.

How much better to have travel stories and observations to share then to have your conversation limited to your latest doctor visits and your frustrations with the weeds in your lawn.

Travel Re-Energizes You

Travel, and the anticipation of travel, recaptures your enthusiasm. You look ahead with excitement instead of experiencing the dulled-over feeling that comes from repetition and routine.

Travel challenges you to be at your most effective and focused level. Comfort zones may be comfortable. But it is good for you to be taken out of your comfort zones regularly. Otherwise, your social skills can begin to atrophy, and your ability to think on your feet and solve problems may decrease due to disuse.

Travel Improves Your Health and Well-Being

Travel gives you a reason to stay healthy. And it keeps you sharp longer! The challenges of travel test your acuity on a daily basis. Travel can be demanding, especially if you are not being “led around by the nose” on a group trip. You know you will need to be on your toes – to be situationally aware – to pay close attention. You will need to walk extensively, including up and down hills and stairs.

Generally by the time you return home from a trip, you will be in better shape than you have been for months, or even years. And if you begin immediately to anticipate another trip ahead, you will have a genuine incentive to keep up these improvements and be ready for the next time.

Changes and Benefits

These changes and benefits to you from travel can become permanent ones. Your life will become punctuated with enrichment, you will think more broadly. You will find yourself incorporating deliberate lifestyle changes learned during travel. You will be more vibrant and interesting as you are periodically re-energized. And you will experience enhanced health and well-being.

Choosing a Travel Agency – Step by Step

If you’ve never worked with a travel agency before, you might find yourself a little overwhelmed by the options. No matter where you live, there are likely a number of travel agencies in your area, and most will be able to plan a vacation to the destination that interests you most. So how do you choose the very best company for you? Here’s how to pick a travel agency, step by step:

Step 1: Ask about your destination.

Most travel agencies are willing to plan a trip no matter where you want to go. However, some specialize in certain areas of the world or certain types of trips (like cruises). It is especially important to ask about your destination if you want to go somewhere off the beaten path. The vast majority of travel agencies can plan a trip to Hawaii, but not everyone plans vacations to remote locations.

Step 2: Compare prices.

Vacations can change in price drastically from agency to agency. You can’t just think about price in black and white terms, though. With a smaller company, you can pay more, but at the same time, you’ll probably get a lot more individual attention. With a larger corporation, you could get less personal attention, but you’ll pay a much lower price. As with any industry, this is all about price versus quantity. Sometimes, the lowest amount is not the best option.

Step 3: Read the basic contract.

If you plan a trip with a travel agency, you might have to sign a contract that protects the travel agency in case you don’t pay, try to back out of the vacation, or get hurt while traveling. Before you choose a travel agency, ask to see a version of their basic contract. Some travel agencies have very strict rules, and if you need some flexibility, you may want to choose an agency that allows for changing dates, cancellations, and so forth. Avoid being locked into a contract unless you are sure about your travel plans, because you could lose a deposit or even have to pay the full price for the trip.

Step 4: Learn about extra benefits you get from the company.

Many companies have incentives to work with them. It depends on where you’re going, the time of year in which you plan on traveling, and how much money you’re spending, but some of the freebies you may get include flight upgrades, travel insurance, tickets to special events, and more. You may also be able to pay for these additions to your vacation, which is not as desirable but still better than a company that does not offer them at all.

Step 5: Read online reviews.

Large or small, most companies have been reviewed online. When you read online review, remember to take what they have to say with a grain of salt. People tend to leave longer and more detailed reviews when they are upset about something. Also take into consideration that companies can pay or offer incentives to people if those people agree to write good reviews, so not everything you read many be 100% accurate. This is just a place to get a general idea of the type of service you can get.

Step 6: Talk to your friends and family members.

A better way to get opinions about a company is to talk to your friends and family members. Often, people will have used travel agencies in the past and be able to describe to you their experiences. Ask specific questions about the agencies they used and whether or not they would use them again. If you end up working with their company, don’t forget to mention this to your travel agent. Some companies offer incentives on the next trip to the person who recommended them.

Step 7: Question availability.

Vacations vary in price depending on destinations and length of stay. Whether you are planning your trip at the last minute or well in advance, not every travel agency in your area will be able to accommodate you. Before you get your heart set on a specific company, talk to them about when you would like to travel to see if they have time to plan your trip.

Step 8: Review their package deals.

When you are looking at travel agencies, remember that “a la carte” will be more expensive than packages. In other words, although your agent is probably able to book the specific flight, hotel, and entertainment you want, you can probably save money if you choose one of their package deals. Once you have narrowed it down to just a few companies, look at the packages they offer to see if any of them work well for you.

Things You Need to Know Before You Book a Travel Holiday Online

Vacation deals are usually available and sold anywhere from a few hours to twelve hours prior to departure of your trip. If you thought that getting a travel deal at the tail end was foolish, you need to think again.

Some things you need to know prior to booking your travel deal at the last minute:

1) The more money you save, the better chance you have of having a nice surplus. When you make reservations for hotels, car rentals, airfare and other related items, make sure to look for the best discounts. That way, you will have more money to spend on other things.

2) Avoid mistakes that cost you money. Spend your money wisely. Get travel insurance in the event of an emergency. Read every part of any document that you have to provide your John Hancock for. Also, read the fine print. That is where you will find the stipulations and any fees. It is your responsibility to read everything before you sign.

3) Confirm all details. In regard to your trip, go over every detail to make sure it is correct. This includes the costs of the trip, additional fees, travel insurance and medical insurance. Again, read the fine print and ask questions if you don’t understand something.

4) Make sure that you are empowered and informed. There’s nothing worse than not knowing everything you need to know before you embark on this trip. With last minute travel, you need to make wise choices. It’s important that if you’re looking to save money, you must be frugal. Make sure that you are getting the best deal for your money

Useful Air Travel Holiday Tips

It is recommended to bring a lot of patience if you are going for a holiday trip. Patience is a must especially if you are flying to your destination. You also have to plan ahead in order to avoid delays and long security checkpoint lines.

These warnings are what you will hear from almost anyone who will know that you will be spending the holidays somewhere else than home. You should not ignore such things since they really can help you out in enjoying your entire vacation, from the planning, to the journey, to reaching to destination, to relaxing there and to your return trip back home.

1. Plan Ahead

The first thing that you should do is to plan ahead. Book your flight as early as you can; booking in a rush is never going to provide you with the cheapest airline tickets.

2. Be Security-ready

There is nothing more frustrating than being at the airport and having to go through your bag for your passport and plane tickets. It is highly recommended to have these documents handy at all time, especially when you are about to go through the security checkpoints. As soon as you are about to fall in line, be sure that your tickets, passport, boarding pass and picture IDs are in your hands.

3. Be ready for Inspection

Take off your jacket or coat and your bag should be ready for inspection. TSA checkpoint protocols necessitate flight passengers to take off outer clothing for X-ray before they can proceed to the metal detectors. In case you are only wearing a blazer with no inner shirt or blouse, you will not be obliged to remove that.

4. Get the Kids Ready for the Journey

If you are taking children with you, it would be best if you can talk to them before you start off, because they need to know how things go at the airport. This is very important especially if they will be flying for the first time. As much as possible, educated them on how to behave properly, especially during security checkpoints so that everything will go smoothly.

5. No Wrapping of Gifts

If you are bringing gifts for families and friends, keep them unwrapped. Wrapped items may have to be opened during security check, so you better just do the wrapping once you get to your destination.

6. Pack Lightly

As much as possible, check in baggage should be avoided and it would be best if you can fit all your essentials into your carry-on bag. That way you eliminate the risk of lost or delayed baggage.

7. Tag your Bag

If you really have to bring a lot of stuff and check in baggage cannot be avoided, you should make sure that your luggage is properly tagged with your address and phone number.

It will be to your best advantage if you can follow the tips mentioned above. It is better to come prepared than get stuck in the airport and have your holiday ruined.

How to Avoid Travel Holiday Stress

Going on a holiday vacation is very exciting, yet it can be very stressful as well. No matter how prepared you think you are, certain things or situations are surely going to happen to turn everything upside down. If you do not know how to effectively cope with frustration and stress, your whole holiday may be ruined.

If your previous vacations have always ended up in anxiety and tension, chances are you are in constant need for a follow up vacation. There are ways to ensure an almost stress-free holiday though if you can follow these simple tips:

-Do not over-plan. Though a good plan is an essential key factor in an enjoyable vacation, overdoing it might cause too much stress which will be hard to suppress once you reach your holiday destination. Your holiday getaway planning should be in general and not too specific. Sometimes, spontaneity is good especially if you want to have some totally new experiences with your loved ones. It is important to realize that if you are traveling with someone or your family, it is best if you plan with them. They may have their own ideas regarding the places they want to visit, the activities they want try or the attractions they want to explore. When it comes to must-see tourist spots, try to make two lists. The first list should include the special places that you and your family should really see. The second list can include other places that are not that important and may be overlooked if you do not have much time.

-Do not expect too much. There is simply no perfect destination and that is a fact. No matter how blissful, tranquil and wonderful a place may seem, it will have its own negative side that you will only discover once you are there. Let’s say you are in a heavenly island with white-sand beaches and crystal-blue waters, and then a rainstorm happens. There may not be much time to enjoy the beach, much less the waters. Natural disasters are not the only culprits in ruined holidays; grumpy hotel staff, lost baggage, travel sickness or kids getting bored can also be included in the list. There is no way that you could ever take completely charge of every situation, therefore you should never even try to.

-Research well. It is also essential that you know everything that you can learn about your target destination. It will be a lot more comfortable for all if you will be able to maneuver around the place like you have always been there. You can learn about the places to see and activities to enjoy by researching online, looking at maps and travel guides, and learning a few polite foreign sentences or phrases is also important

-Maintain a positive attitude as much as you. You must know that stress can be avoided if only you can stay positive and look at every negative circumstance as a challenge to be conquered and not just as a discouraging situation.

Travelling Tips for the Disabled

Unlike in the past, today people with disabilities have been recognized, and are less discriminated against. In many countries there are legislations that protect them and make their life a little easier. Also many public buildings have been designed or renovated in order to accommodate people with disabilities.

With all these improvements, people with disabilities are now able to travel for vacation or a business trip to places far away from their home. However, with all these improvements we have made, travelling for people with disabilities is still a challenge for them, especially when they are travelling alone or, they are travelling to an unknown destination. Below is a guide to help people with all forms of disabilities to travel safely.

1. Plan well in advance
Planning is key to any form of success. This is very important because it reduces chances of getting stranded and being inconvenienced. Booking flights and hotel rooms are the top priorities, however if you are going to stay at a friend’s or a relative’s house; notifying them in advance is very important. Then they can be prepared and even pick you up from the airport.

2. Book hotels that are disabled friendly
Hotels with disabled friendly structures are very convenient as they allow disabled individuals to move freely with minimal effort. Most of these hotels also have special emergency protocols that ensure disabled individuals are not left behind in case of an emergency, unlike some hotels where these issues are over looked.

3. Use a travel agent that offers travel packages for disabled travelers
Booking flights and hotel rooms with travel agents that offer travel solutions to disabled people is advantageous in a number of ways. They ensure they book for their disabled clients airlines and hotels that are disabled friendly. They strive to offer services and suggestions that will ensure their clients travel comfortably.

4. Understand and know your rights when at the airport
Travelling, for people with disabilities, is very hectic, especially when they arrive at the airport. They face the challenge of getting proper information and directions. This is further aggravated by the huge number of people traveling and long queues. In airports, there are attendants that are supposed to attend to the needs of those travelling with disabilities.

Disabled travelers should not, and are not, treated differently when they go through security measures. They are also protected from any form of discrimination from any airline. Disabled travelers are advised to be very conversant with their rights to avoid and report any form of discrimination when travelling.

5. Bring extra medication
There is no harm in carrying an extra dose of medication when travelling. People do lose their luggage as they travel so, having an extra dose will act as a backup when one dose gets lost. This also ensures that when travelling, a disabled person does not run out of their medicine forcing them to start looking for a drug store when travelling. These medications should be stored properly to ensure their safety.

6. Take a doctor’s note and contact information when travelling
A doctor’s note contains important information about a condition that a disabled person is facing and this will help doctors save a lot of time on tests in case of an emergency. Contact information for your doctor allows other doctors to get important information from your doctor should the need arise. This small, but vital, information can save lives.

7. Use direct flights
It is very hectic and tiresome for a disabled traveler to use connecting flights. Using connecting flights exposes them to loss of their luggage and even injury as they get in and out of a plane. Using a direct flight cuts all these risks down and saves a lot time and energy when travelling. Direct flights also ensure that those travelling with disabilities are not stranded in an airport as they wait for a connecting flight.

8. Disabled travelers are advised to have some knowledge about where they are travelling to
There is nothing more difficult than looking for directions to a place you do not know about. This is even harder for disabled travelers so, it is advisable to have at least some knowledge and understanding about their destination. This will give them an upper hand when moving around and the knowledge to know where to go and where not to go. This will be very helpful when they are stranded or experience an emergency situation and need urgent assistance.

9. Carry the appropriate luggage
Disabled travelers are advised to carry luggage that they can manage when they are travelling. Unless they have company, travelling with a huge amount of luggage is not easy. Traveling lightly enables disabled travelers to be more flexible to situations that arise besides, a large amount of luggage can also easily get lost.

10. Enjoy travelling
Many disabled people do not travel often because of a lot of limitations which discourages them. However modern technology ensures safe travel for all regardless of their condition. Travelling should be enjoyed by all since it is a chance to experience new things that are different than what they are used to.

Top 3 Kids Adventure Travel Holidays

This is a topic dear to my heart as I became a father two years ago now. Parenthood certainly changes your options for travelling but there is no need to “shelf” your sense of adventure – in fact I am very keen to instill that same passion in my daughter. She has notched up seven countries in her first two years and I hope there are many more to come. The looks of wonder and excitement on her face when faced with Alps or the great fjord in Montenegro are memories I will keep forever. She learned to run and took her first dip in the sea in Croatia and has even been to Bosnia! There are many options for kids adventure travel holidays but here are my top 3.

#1. The Alps. I have chosen this as number one because it offers so much for a family holiday, you can go in the winter for the winter activities or the summer for the alpine beauty and summer activities. Pick from France, Italy or Switzerland – you will find plenty of family friendly places to stay. Car rental and driving are easy (essential when with baby and all the luggage that comes with them!).

#2. Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. This has to be in my top 3 as I love Morocco. Save this one for when your kids are a little older to get the most out of your trip. Marrakech is the perfect starting point – the scenery, souks, spices stalls, snake charmers, story tellers, etc, etc – a real culture shock and great introduction to the cultural diversity of this planet. If you are feeling active you can take a trip to the village of Imlil at the base of the atlas mountains. From here you can explore the High Atlas and Berber villages. It is quite easy to organize yourself but with a family I would recommend pre-booking this with one of the many great tour operators that travel here.

#3. Ok, ready for the next level? India! The ultimate culture shock. I would recommend heading to Kerala in the south. It is warm, laid back and totally exotic giving your family a great introduction to India. Be sure to try a local dance – get your kids involved and do not come home without witnessing a sunset in.

Travel Pre And Post Internet

Travel Pre Internet:

I’ve been travelling for over 40 years – by thumb in my early days, by boots in the Scouts, a Lambretta came next and then my first old banger followed by newer old bangers to the beaches of the Costa Brava.

My thumb, boots, bikes and bangers took me all over Europe and the UK before finding that a charter flight to Spain on an old ‘Connie’ could get me to the beaches and bars a lot quicker and allow more time to enjoy the local travel opportunities by horse and cart and the occasional bus and train.

‘Go West and Prosper’ seemed to be a good idea so instead of taking an 8 hour flight I took an 8 day transatlantic crossing from Tilbury to Montreal on the Stephan Batory of Polish Ocean Lines ensuring that jet lag did not trouble my travel plans. Some years later I crossed the pond again on a ship but this time it was 5 times bigger and I travelled in style on the QE2 and dined in the Queen’s Grill somewhat removed from my earlier experience. I highly recommend ocean voyages but cannot see myself on one of the modern cruise ships going from port to port with constant line-ups to get on and off to buy t-shirts. However, I have done 10 Windjammers and a Star Clipper cruise in the Caribbean which were all memorable (let’s hope Windjammer Barefoot Cruises recover from their woes). But I digress.

I had read that Canada is a spectacular country, from sea to shining sea, and my entrance into the St. Lawrence River to Montreal and then heading west in an old Econoline van from the Great Lakes, across the Prairies to the Rocky Mountains before ending up whale watching off of the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island was a trip of wonder to a bloke from London. Today the scenery is still spectacular and the best way to go is still by road so rent or buy a car, motorhome or motorbike, take the train or tour bus but remember the maps, a fly rod, good boots and take your time.

My favorite part of Canada / USA for adventure travel has to be Northern BC / Alaska, to hike the Chilkoot Trail in the steps of the goldseekers of 1898. The Northwest Territories to canoe the Nahannie River and the Yukon to drive from Dawson City to Chicken, Alaska. If you like the outdoors and can put up with a few bugs, cast a fly and scale a few hills or drive on endless dirt roads sharing the space with moose, caribou, elk, bears and eagles, then these are the places to put on your list. The pleasures and experiences in driving to Inuvik on the Dempster Highway or to Prudhoe Bay on the Dalton Highway or even the Canol Road can only be felt by doing them. I would have mentioned the Alaska Highway but now it is an easy drive unlike the aforementioned.

Today the costs of driving these distances may mean that sharing the journey with others is required, but RVing or simply vanning and camping is a great way to see beyond the horizon. Some enroute adventures now need to be booked in advance whereas when I hiked Denali and the Chilkoot Pass it was just a case of turning up, registering with the local ranger office and heading on out. A little more forward planning is needed for today’s traveller and cost considerations of lengthy flights or drives have to somehow be countered with more careful planning. In the days of reasonable gas prices I would not even consider the driving or flying costs and have driven to Key West from the northwest coast, down the west coast to the Baja and to the west coast from New York. I once even flew my 1946 Fleet taildragger from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back using around 5 gallons an hour of avgas. Before the oil and credit crisis I drove from Rio de Janeiro to Lima, down to Tierra del Fuego and back to Rio covering over 15,000 miles of spectacular scenery and with no consideration about the cost of gas. South America should be on your itinerary too! Some other memorable drives that may now require a mortgage with the gas companies include London to The Nordkapp, Norway, Skippers Canyon in New Zealand and the loneliness of the far north of Australia and the amazing coast of Western Australia stopping by at Monkey Mia and Wave Rock.

We tend to forget that the real cost of travelling is often less today than over the 40 years of my travels. In 1977 my round-trip airfare from Canada to Australia cost over $1700 in 1977 dollars so today it is far cheaper to fly, even with the airlines gouging for fuel, extra baggage, no service and no pleasure. The ‘Big Mac’ method of price comparison as developed by The Economist newspaper gives us a good gauge for most expenditures of today compared to yesterday but my $1500 cost to get a private pilots licence in the 1970′s seems cheap by comparison to today, but obviously not when using this Big Mac principle. Other travel costs are also far cheaper today but this should not mean that travellers should disregard the many methods of saving costs that can then be put to extended or improved travel experiences

Travel Post-Internet:

In my 40 years of travel I have had to use travel agents to make even the simplest of reservations and buy tickets, not even thinking to ask them if they had “been there, done that?” It was just a case of there being no other options to buying travel. Now we have unlimited choices and can seek out better travel agents, better prices, better selections and information about anywhere in the world for our travels – without even leaving home.

The Internet now gives travellers ideas and options of Where to go, When to go, Why to go, What to do, Who to book with and How to save money and offset costs. We can search and find experts for every travel option. If we are comfortable with the Internet we no longer have to go to a travel agent to make reservations and buy tickets except to book with some of the larger travel companies that still produce glossy brochures and offer all inclusive packages or tours that only sell through the agency system. The Internet also allows those of us who are smart enough to know when to seek out a top travel agent with knowledge, experience and expertise (KEE skills) of destinations and activities about where to find them. There is no longer any need to only use our local agents when we can find one somewhere else in the world. When we do not need ‘the knowledge’ and can do it ourselves we simply surf the web so that we can book directly with tour and travel operators wherever we have decided to go.

Some travel agents operate their own tours, some are both wholesale and retail, some limit consumer selection by only selling their ‘preferred’ suppliers and some have professional consultants with years of experience invested in gaining knowledge, experience and expertise and are worth their weight in gold to the savvy traveller. Beware though, as some are also called destination specialists and some of these designations merely require the agent to take a rudimentary test offered by tourism offices, destination marketing groups or even tour operators and in my opinion can harm the reputation of the travel industry. A specialist is not necessarily an expert.

Travel is probably the most used commercial aspect of the Internet and if retail agents want to harness this exciting medium to offer ‘the knowledge’ and their ‘kee’ skills to a global audience, not just their local community, they must embrace the changes that are happening. Travellers now have the ability to seek answers to the 5 W’s of travel and the important ‘How to’ save money and offset costs by having information just a click away.

And then it occurred to me that even internet travel prices often include a commission element even when sold directly to the consumer. If we book directly with operators we should not have to pay full retail prices as we are doing for ourselves what a retail agent would normally do for us. A dilemma for the operator is that to show a both a retail and a cost price option could deter many agents from selling the services as travellers could use an agent for free advice and book directly with the operator to get a ‘net of commission’ price. Obviously this two tier pricing is not often available but travellers who do not need advice should also not be penalized by retail pricing. A new way had to be found and I think I have found it!

The need for fairer fare prices is why I developed the Top Travel Voucher program at The Top Travel Club and I even found a dot com for it. All travel selections on the site are at ‘net of commission’ prices for members who handle there own travel arrangements directly with the operators linked on the club website using our voucher program.

I am inviting travel operators from around the world to join this program, from B&B’s, Motels, Hotels, Luxury Lodges, Eco Resorts, Beach Resorts and Tour and Adventure Operators who want to promote their products and services to travellers who are comfortable with direct bookings and reservations.

I am also inviting Travel Agents with knowledge, experience and expertise of destinations and activities to showcase their skills to a global audience of travellers and to the members of this new travel club. I am leery of ‘specialist agents’ and only want experts to showcase their services.

This opportunity is available to the travel trade at no cost except for them to offer net, wholesale or outlet prices to club members and visitors to the website using top travel vouchers. I believe this program offers fairer fare prices to direct-booking travellers. The operator would normally be paying commission anyway but now travellers get the savings because they make their own arrangements.

The Top Travel Club opened in mid-April 2008 offering thousands of top travel vouchers for travel in over 70 countries with around 150 travel operators onboard. Every week we add more travel operators with more choices for members. Currently you can get savings on accommodations, adventure travel, boat charters, culinary tours, hike, bike and dive tours, auto and RV rentals fishing lodges and guides, safaris, vacation rentals, single travel, women only and dude ranches. Members get the vouchers free of charge by paying an annual membership fee and non-members can buy the vouchers on the internet at Top Travel Sites at deeply discounted prices to the face-value. The future growth will include restaurants, travel clothing, travel insurance and the opportunity to access air ticket consolidators who want to deal directly with consumers.

The way I have travelled and the way I see travel is that consumers should have unlimited access to every travel opportunity with the ability to do their own due diligence or to find a professional who can offer quality advice and services at fair prices, and to find all of this without needing endless hours of searching.

Planning The Perfect Travel Holiday

The first thing you must do before deciding on a location to go to on your holiday is the amount of money that you are willing to spend. It’s not just the travel expenses that have to be accounted for but also the food, accommodation, sightseeing, recreation and miscellaneous expenses have to be accounted for as well. The more money that you are willing to spend, the better your holiday will be. You must set yourself a budget otherwise you may end up having financial problems which will cause your travel holiday to become not as enjoyable as you hoped for. Always keep a little bit over your budget (around $100 to $200), just in case you need it.

Once you have set yourself a budget, the next thing you should do is decide on the type of activities that you are looking forward to doing. You may want to go cave exploring or you may want to go bungee jumping for example. This foundation decision will affect where you end up going for your travel holiday. If you are not going alone on a travel holiday, it is always a good idea to take the opinion of the people that are going with you so that they do not feel left out and end up not enjoying themselves. This way, you get more ideas on the activities that you may want to do.

Once you have decided on the first to decisions, it is time to actually decide where you want to go. When going for a holiday, always remember to go somewhere exotic so that you can get a taste of different cultures. Always keep in mind that your decision as to where to go for your holiday must depend on the budget that you have along with the type of activities that you wish to do.

By following this simple and straight-forward guide, you will be able to plan the perfect travel holiday in no time and with minimal expenses and waste of time.