Q. Is a legal name required for travel?
A. Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel. A general rule of thumb for international travel is that your passport is your primary source of identification. Many times, U.S. citizens forget this, as your driver’s license is often all you need for domestic travel. It’s imperative to remember that the name on your airline ticket must match your passport name for International travel. The name on your Driver’s license or other state photo identity card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) is fine for domestic travel within the U.S. If you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S., make sure it is REAL ID compliant. If you are not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your State Department of Motor Vehicles.
Q. What identification is required for children?
A. TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling within the United States. Contact the airline for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18.
Q. How far in advance should I book my vacation?
A. We recommend booking your vacation between 30 days to 11 months in advance. Travelers who book earlier have the best choices of rooms and staterooms on river cruises and ocean cruises. As the inventory of hotel rooms, flights, and staterooms is depleted, prices tend to increase.
Q. Why are costs not always itemized?
A. Itemized cost breakdowns are not always available on packages. We often bundle air and accommodations to take advantage of airline bulk rates. Bulk rates are not accessible directly to customers but, when bundled with accommodations, they allow us to offer better value and lower deposits.
Q. Do I need travel insurance?
A. We highly recommend that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical, Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay, and more. The travel landscape has changed significantly. Protect yourself by always purchasing travel insurance. Although we are not licensed insurance agents, we can certainly connect you with travel insurance providers.
Q. Is travel assistance available while I am traveling?
A. Before your departure, all in-country and emergency contact numbers will be listed clearly on your final travel documents. We are available should you experience any emergencies during travel and will do the utmost to provide assistance in such cases.
Q. Do I need vaccinations?
A. It depends on where you are traveling and your vaccination history. We will provide you with up-to-date information regarding vaccination requirements for your destination. For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov for all current required and recommended vaccinations.
Q. Do I need a visa?
A. It depends on your destination. For US citizens, tourist visas are required for entry into Australia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Bali to name a few. Tourist visas will also be required for Europe beginning in 2023. For all visa details please visit the state department.
Q. What is the cancellation policy?
A. Cancellation fees vary with tour providers and airlines. It often depends on how much notice is given prior to your departure date and whether or not you purchased a travel insurance policy that covers cancellations. Cancellation penalties tend to increase as you get closer to the departure date. Airlines, tour operators, resorts, and hotels may have cancellation policies that carry penalties, especially during holiday and peak travel periods. We will do our utmost to advise of all cancellation policies that pertain to your vacation plans. Airline tickets cannot be transferred to another traveler once booked. Cancellations within a group trip incur a 100% penalty as these trip types are based on contracted rates.
Q. Are there luggage restrictions?
A. Yes. Most airlines charge additional fees for luggage. Unless otherwise noted, if flights are included in your reservation, luggage is not included for domestic flights. Most international flights will include 1 checked bag. Baggage fees vary from airline to airline as do restriction policies. Always check the airline’s website for their specific baggage policy and restrictions prior to travel so there are no surprises.
Q. How are travel advisors compensated?
A. Most travel suppliers pay the booking agent a small commission, generally around 7-10% of the reservation total minus any taxes. Airlines do not pay a commission. Mass cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Holland America, Celebrity, etc. will pay a small commission to the booking agent based on the reservation total minus taxes and NCF (non-commissionable fare), which generally means that on cruises, the booking agent often ends up earning 5% or less of the reservation total.
Q. If travel advisors don’t earn that much on bookings, are they not then going to recommend the most expensive options for me so they can earn more?
A. Many advisors will only offer the options that result in the highest compensation for themselves. While it makes sense that the advisor would want to maximize his or her income (after all, when you work, you want to get paid as well), this practice does not lead to the best client experience. That is why we charge an upfront fee for custom itineraries and planning the logistics. We do not charge planning fees for simple itineraries and cruises. You can be assured that when we present your itinerary, you are receiving the best options for you at the best possible value.
Q. Do travel agents need to be certified?
A. Travel agents do not need to be certified. True professional travel agents are certified. Our founder has earned a VTA certification (Verified Travel Advisor – American Society of Travel Advisors), CTA (Certified Travel Advisor – Travel Institute), and ACC (Accredited Cruise Counsellor – Cruise Lines International Association).
Q. Do travel agents travel for free?
A. Travel agents do not travel for free. The days of travel agents traveling for free are long gone. Sometimes suppliers offer Familiarization trips at a discount to learn more about a destination or a product. Agents have to pay full price for airfare and take time out of their schedules to attend these events.