“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Happy 😃 Travel Tip Tuesday!  This quote is perfect for today..National “Shop for ✈️ Travel Day. “  

With that being said, it’s time to start planning your next trip 🗺, setting it up and start designing that dream holiday that you’ve been waiting for…we’re all desperate for time away! Right now is the perfect time to start arranging your holiday for late Summer/Fall 2021 & 2022.

Our travel tip for this Tuesday is to plan 📝 ahead, work with a travel professional,  start making those reservations and setting those funds aside now. Working with a professional will also help you navigate all the new Covid restrictions, quarantine’s etc.; every country has it’s own restrictions, rules and laws.  Now that Covid-19 vaccines are being administered worldwide; everyones is aching to go away on their dream vacation.  But here’s the thing…the way we use to travel is not safe enough anymore; our new normal is going to be different, it already is.   Our new way of travel is going to move forward with social distancing with Covid 😷 safety in mind.  What that looks like is reduced numbers at most attractions, venues and hotels ; meaning reservations, advance ticket 🎫 purchases and appointments for attractions similar to the ones that were already in place at the Vatican, Colosseum 🏟, and the Eiffel 🗼Tower prior to Covid.  Not to mention having to prove that you are vaccinated  💉 and/or Covid free. So planning ahead and booking early are going to be a must.

To assure a seamless trip for you and your traveling companions, working with a Travel Professional will be key 🔑; and just like every industry not all Travel Agents/Professionals are alike…so do your homework!  Ask you friends, family and colleagues if they work with someone.  There are also Travel Consortia’s  & Associations that will direct you to a trusted professional; Signature Travel Network, Virtuoso, ASTA, Ensemble Travel Network, etc…just to name a few. There are also people like us, Tour Operators who work with Travel Agents, and we can refer you to someone we have worked with, trust, has all the proper licenses, and is knowledgeable in the destinations they sell. One thing is for certain, you need to make sure that whoever you work with can provide you with some references/referrals; clients 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 that they’ve planned a vacation for and will recommend their services and expertise. 

Make sure that their Travel/Tour Agency has a well established social media presence – a website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter etc.; they’ve been up for awhile and have good content. Having thousand of followers is not a must, just make sure that they have original content,  photos 📸,  and it’s authentic.   Beware ☠️of those professionals that just post other travel companies articles, videos 📹and photos – they have a tendency to be order takers, not creative and usually are not experts in the destinations they are selling; resulting in a trip, not a travel experience. In addition, your dream holiday needs to be custom tailored and designed with your safety “comfort level” in mind – order takers cannot provide that…they will simply put you with all the other sheep 🐑 in scheduled tours that suits them and their relationships, not you.

In addition, you need to make sure that whoever you work with has the proper licenses to be a travel 👩🏽‍💻professional in your state.  In California, the state requires all sellers of travel to register with the Attorney General’s Office and to display the registration number on all advertising. While not assuring that a company is reputable, a valid registration signals that the seller of travel has at least followed the law to be registered.  This assures the customer that they have the proper insurance, bonds, and trust accounts to legally operate as a travel company in our state.  Other states have something similar in place; you can start with your states Attorney General and google. Also, make sure to ask if they have their IATAN; which identifies them as a travel professional worldwide 🌎.  Travel Agents, and Tour Operators that work without one are ALWAYS more expensive.  They cannot earn commissions directly from hotels, cruise lines, airlines etc..,they have to work with a company that does and it always results in an additional mark up.  The consumer just ends up paying more for something that should have not been marked up in the first place.

Lastly, if you are purchasing a complete vacation package, you should not be paying for it in it’s entirety unless your 60 days prior to departure; so be careful 😬of someone wanting it paid in full, in advance.  Final payments are usually made 30 to 60 days prior to departure. Full payment of your flights and a small confirmation deposit 💵 per person should be all that is required of you to hold your holiday.  Once you’re closer to your travel date, deposits for attractions to hold your space are sometimes required, so keep that in mind as well.  The exception to this is online companies like Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz or other reputable travel or airline brands. These companies operate by payment in full, and that is how they can provide you with such deep discounts.  But we are talking about two very different types of services and experiences.  These companies cannot tailor a vacation with your specific needs, travel style and safety in mind; they’re just merely a tool 🔧to make a reservation. 

Finally and most importantly, check their terms and conditions before you give them a deposit or make full payment💵; make sure you look 👀 at their cancellation and refund policy prior to purchasing your holiday.  You don’t want to be in a situation where your destination has been shut down and you cannot postpone your trip to a later date without penalty, or worse, lose your holiday all together.  Remember read the fine print! 

So once you’ve done your homework….Where are you headed for your much needed  and wanted vacation? 

Stay safe, and remember, if you leave your place, cover your face 😷.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram  @indulgentvacations👈🏼 for more motivational  & inspirational quotes, great photos 📸, hidden gems, and great holiday ideas and destinations.

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