Travelers, here’s what to expect in 2018

Fellow travelers, it’s not too soon to start thinking about your 2018 itineraries. Read more “Travelers, here’s what to expect in 2018”

How to tell if you have a qualified travel agent

Yarisa Smith knows she has a good travel agent.

“He’s made cruises and European trips special,” says Smith, a manufacturer’s representative from Dallas. “His itineraries and attention to detail have made every trip flawless. He’s even managed to successfully intervene when acts of God have waylaid my plans.”

Yet you might not know by looking at Clark Mitchell, who works for Dallas-based Strong Travel, whether he’s the real deal. Yes, his agency is cited as a source for its travel expertise by mainstream news outlets. It also prominently lists its membership in Virtuoso, an exclusive travel agency consortium.

But until now, there’s been no instantly recognized certification that says an agent is legit. That may be about to change. Read more “How to tell if you have a qualified travel agent”

Aspire to travel the world? Read this before you go

Nothing changes you like travel does.

I know, because after 26 years of suburban stability, I recently sold my house, pulled up my stakes and hit the road. I’m a different person because of it. Read more “Aspire to travel the world? Read this before you go”

Why you should use a travel agent

Next time you travel somewhere, consider talking to a professional first. Read more “Why you should use a travel agent”

A problem with your reservation? Maybe your travel agency should pay

Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock.com
Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock.com
When Jennifer Forbes and her husband checked in for a recent flight from Richmond to Freeport, Bahamas, they discovered that there are worse ways to start a vacation than having an invalid ticket.

Much worse. The airline on which they had reservations, Bahamasair, didn’t even serve Richmond.

“We had non-refundable hotel reservations,” says Forbes, a homemaker who lives in McKenney, Va. “But we had no way to get there.”

Forbes had booked her vacation through an online travel agency called Hotwire, which offers customers steep discounts in exchange for not telling them the exact airline or hotel they’re booking until they’ve made their reservations. And all reservations are final and non-refundable.
Read more “A problem with your reservation? Maybe your travel agency should pay”

“Apparently with Carnival, the passenger does not always come first”

carnival destinyKristen Hernandez thought she’d found a bargain on the Carnival Breeze next month. Or, to be more precise, she thought her travel agent had found one.

She booked two separate balcony cabins for her 8-night Eastern Caribbean cruise for $3,440 each.

Turns out she and her travel agent were wrong.

“After researching the Internet, we found out that Carnival Cruise Lines had slashed the prices due to the fact of the many mishaps,” she says. “Yesterday I went online on the Carnival website and found out that the balcony cabins are now selling for $2,319. That is a difference of over $1,100 per cabin.”
Read more ““Apparently with Carnival, the passenger does not always come first””

Her plans changed, but now her travel agent wants her to pay up

Any day now, I’m expecting a call from Heather Barksdale’s travel agent. That’s because she owes the agency for a plane ticket to Europe — or at least, that’s what they claim.
Read more “Her plans changed, but now her travel agent wants her to pay up”

I paid for tickets on the wrong airline

Question: I planned an once-in-a-lifetime trip for my two children and me to South Africa a few months ago. I used a travel agency to book my airline tickets.
Read more “I paid for tickets on the wrong airline”

Can this trip be saved? “We just had the worst vacation ever!”

Craig and Jamie Talley just had the worst vacation ever. Their words, not mine. I’ve seen a lot of bad trips, and as far as “worst vacations” go, this one’s right up there with the worst of ’em.

Among the highlights: Crossed wires with their online travel agent, surly service (if you can even call it that), substandard facilities, extra expenses and ultimately, and early departure. Like, four days early.

Do they deserve a full refund?

The Talleys think they do. I think they deserve something.

What do you think? Can this trip be saved?
Read more “Can this trip be saved? “We just had the worst vacation ever!””