Honeymoon: Travel Agent for Honeymoon?
Q: My fiance and I know we want to honeymoon in the South of France, but that's about the extent of our honeymoon plans -- we're both so busy that neither of us has had time to really research the honeymoon trip. We've been working with a wedding coordinator, and she's made all of that wedding planning pretty painless. Should we look to a pro for our honeymoon too? What are the advantages to booking our trip through a travel agent?
A: It sounds like in your case, working with an agent would be a huge plus, and there are benefits for even the most travel-savvy. Whether you've had time to draw up elaborate plans or just know where you want to go, like working with a bridal consultant, a travel agent can offer you many perks. In addition to doing all of your booking (for accommodations, transportation, and anything else you'll need in advance), you will also benefit from the agent's globetrotting expertise and access to insider discounts. In many cases, agents can obtain better deals for you than even the most discounted travel websites, and in some cases, your agent will be able to get you package deals. Your biggest task (besides packing)? Making sure you have chosen a travel agent who is right for you. If you have no idea where to start, check out The American Society of Travel Agents at (800-965-2782 or ASTAnet.com) for listings of member agencies in good standing near you. Another organization to check out is The Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA.com) for agents who are Certified Travel Consultants (CTC), which means they've completed a certification course and been in business at least five years; or agents who are a Destination Specialists (DS), a credential earned by agents with expertise in a certain part of the world. Once you've made it into an office, don't be afraid to ask lots of questions -- you'll need someone who will work with you, not against you. They should be able to offer you immediate advice about your destination and present you with options that will make for a smooth-sailing trip.