Travel is a worthy investment in yourself, helping you disconnect from the stresses and 24/7 connectivity of daily life and reconnect with what’s important. Maybe 2024 is the year you decide to embark on a romantic getaway with your spouse, plan a multi-generational trip with the whole family, or relax at an all-inclusive retreat? Whatever experience you choose, another reality is that travel is a financial investment. You’ve worked hard to carve out this time, so protect it! Here are some essential tips to consider that dispel myths and scams and highlight the importance of a travel advisor.
AI-assisted marketing. In the last year, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a household name and is expected to play a much larger role in marketing in the coming years. Unfortunately this also means disingenuous and sophisticated attempts to separate you from your money. Be cautious when receiving emails, phone calls, or text messages from companies claiming to be a travel agency, airline, or hotel. If anything seems off, verify the authenticity of the message by contacting the company they claim to be directly by using official contact methods. Never give out bank or other personal information to unsolicited sources and be aware of any suspicious links, stories intended to pull at your heartstrings, or too-good-to-be-true claims.
Price versus value. Avoid the mistake of chasing the best “deal” when looking to travel. Rock-bottom pricing will usually result in disappointments. Instead, use a travel advisor who has experience balancing price and value. They can help you get the most out of any hard-earned vacation and may be able to offer free upgrades, late check-outs, exclusive access to sites, and other amenities that a “cheap” vacation won’t have. Come back refreshed and satisfied you’ve received the best overall experience possible.
Book in advance. The days of last-minute deals are largely in the past. Don’t be left picking up the scraps when it comes to cruise cabins, flight times, and hotel rooms. We recommend booking as far in advance as you’re able, usually 6-8 months is a good target to make sure we can curate the perfect getaway with a wide selection of options.
Avoid ultra-low cost carriers (ULCCs). We never use ULCCs such as Spirit and Frontier when booking flights. The advertised price is usually not close to what you ultimately pay after being charged to select a seat, bring a carry-on, print a boarding pass, enjoy an in-flight refreshment, or utilize a human customer service representative. The largest headache occurs when flights get cancelled. To be sure, they’ll issue you a refund, but there is no guarantee they’ll help find alternate travel arrangements which may leave you scrambling to find your own way home. Talk about the opposite of stress-free travel!
Don’t believe everything you see. There are a lot of inaccurate portrayals of travel experiences on social media and blogs. Just remember, any image can be altered or manipulated to make something seem better than it is. A travel advisors’ job is to guide you toward real, authentic experiences, not just to a photo opportunity to gain clicks.
Secure your bookings. When booking online, always look for “https://” in the URL. Without the “s” you’re risking giving personal information to an unsecured website. Also consider opting for credit cards when booking, rather than debit cards. If you were to experience a case of fraud, it’s easier to dispute it before the money has left your bank account. Since a debit card is tied directly to your checking account, the funds are already gone before you can report it.
Make travel insurance a priority. Travel insurance should be part of any booking. It adds peace-of-mind for small issues such as cancelled flights and lost luggage and can be critical in the case of medical emergencies or evacuations. Don’t overlook this part of your investment. When booking through Sunset Vacations & Travel Planning, we will recommend an insurance policy that meets your individual needs.
Take advantage of travel advisors. A travel advisor provides individualized customer service and guidance that online sources simply cannot compete with. With connections built over many years with travel partners, we are able to curate the perfect experience based on your specific desires that maximizes overall value. Plus if anything goes wrong, a travel advisor will help every step of the way making your vacation as stress-free as possible.
Protect your time and finances when considering your next getaway. If you have other tips or suggestions, we’d love to hear them! Leave us a comment on our Facebook page.