I always want my clients to get the best value for money. If there is a marginal difference in price between a 3 and a 4 star, or a 4 and a 5 star hotel, I always suggest my clients upgrade themselves to the higher class. A small difference in price could mean the difference between a good holiday and a fantastic holiday.
Jason Sarracini, President, Target Vacations
It’s important to understand local customs and traditions in foreign countries. For instance, if you’re travelling to Italy and plan on touring ancient churches and cathedrals you should prepare to dress for it. People in shorts, short skirts or sleeveless blouses are not admitted.
Ida De Sciscio, Senior Vacation Expert, CIT Tours
Life Is A Beach
Quite often my clients will agonize over which Caribbean island they want to spend their winter vacation on – and then spend the entire vacation secluded on the all-inclusive property! So, if what you really want is a beach and sun and surf, then book the best darn possible beach you can find and don’t worry about which country it’s in. If, on the other hand, you have a hankering to experience the culture, get off the compound! Go into the city, eat in a local restaurant, take a tour. Better yet, take advantage of the “Meet The People” program in that destination.
David Biltek, V The Vacation Store, Grande Prairie, AB
Don’t Leave Home Without It
Most people don’t like to think of travel insurance because they feel it is a negative in what is supposed to be an upbeat event – your vacation. But believe me, when you have just broken your leg in Bali and don’t speak the local language; or are hospitalized in Houston and someone is insisting you demonstrate your ability to pay extensive hospital bills — it is such a relief to pick up a telephone and let someone else worry for you. A travel insurance company will take over and handle all the details, including assuming the billing directly, and in some cases, directing you to the right medical facility.
David H. Pierce, Collacutt Travel American Express, Toronto, ON
Cruising Without A Bruising
When planning your dream cruise, try to organize your arrival one day prior to your sailing. This will help ensure a stress free vacation, especially during the winter months. Remember the ship won’t wait for you if your flight is delayed!
Renata Grant, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Rosedale, ON
Price Isn’t Everything
You definitely need to have a budget in mind when planning a vacation, but you also want to think in terms of what makes you happy. After all, this is your vacation and you won’t return relaxed and refreshed if you spend the whole week hating the hotel or the people or the food. Give some thought to your likes and dislikes before booking. Are you a social type or a loner? Are you an active person, or do you love to veg? If you’re over 40, then the bowels of a cruise ship will not be much fun, no matter how cheap!
Kimberly Walsh, President, KWalsh Travel, Toronto, ON
There’s No Place Like Home
And if that’s what you’re expecting, then you should stay home. Going out into the world is exciting but it can also be a little confronting. I always tell my clients that what seems so different to us is normal in the country they are visiting. Keeping an open mind is invaluable to maximizing your experience.
Marsha Matheson, Eastside Travel, Saskatoon, SK
Reach Out & Touch Your Hotel
As an agent, I can add specific requests onto your hotel booking such as an allergy alert or special occasion request. But life being what it is, these are not 100% fool proof. So I highly recommend emailing the hotel and introducing yourself to establish a contact prior to your arrival. It can go a long way to getting a little extra attention.
Amber Howard-Hughes, Travel Discounters, Bridgewater, NS
Hello, My Name Is…
Make sure your Canadian passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your return date. As an extra caution, make 2 copies of your passport – carry one with you & leave one at home. And most importantly, make certain someone knows where you are and when you’re expected back!
Teressa Przybysz, Tripcentral.ca, Burlington, ON
It’s Our Job
My advice to consumers is fairly short and sweet! “Find yourself a GREAT Travel Agent” — one that inspires confidence and you feel you can talk to, whether you’re concerned about the budget for your vacation or you have doubts about the destination. Your travel agent is an endless source of travel knowledge and their aim is to ensure you have the best holiday experience.
Tricia Duvell, Marlin Travel, City Place, Winnipeg, MB