Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog and website.
Just in case you missed it, you’re visiting Jack’s Travel Tips blog and website located at www.JacksTravelTips.com.
We don’t just blog about travel, but are outside travel agents, which means that we work with a travel agency, Goldrush Getaways, but work from home, rather than reporting in daily to the agency office. That being said, I want to admit up front that we are not full service travel agents. We can connect you directly with Goldrush Getaways for that type of service. We are travel agents who love to travel and love to share our adventures with our friends and to help them find great deals on travel too. In fact, most of the travel adventures that we have created for our friends have been based upon some of our trips that our friends want to duplicate. You can see more about some of them in our blog posts.
Since we enjoy food as much as travel, I also blog a little about the food we have enjoyed as well. I can still remember the first time in Paris where we had a croque monsieur, the classic French ham and cheese sandwich covered in cheesy béchamel. Yes, it is a ham and cheese sandwich, but what a wonderful ham and cheese sandwich.
This website was not built to be a portal for booking travel, although I do have several links that will allow you to book your own tours and excursions and car rentals. Help yourself if you wish, but know that we are here to answer your questions as we share our experiences.
You will notice on the Destinations page that I have provided info on some of our favorite destinations. Check them out. I am a visual person so I have scoured the internet to add links to videos which make it easier to better prepare yourself for travel. You will also notice that I love to use the “Street View” on Google Maps to get a feel for a place before visiting. This blog is being built to give you a window into travel ideas and to experience our travels. We believe that the best way to help our friends learn to enjoy travel as much as we do is to share what we have learned with them.
Once you are ready to plan your next trip, take what you are learning here and talk with the best travel agent you can find. You want someone you can trust. Someone who knows the business. Don’t be surprised if you call a travel agent and find that they just handle cruises, or some other specialty. You are better off having an expert working for you and that is why we will refer you to our office at Goldrush Getaways for trips for which we don’t have any expertise. Making sure that you have a great trim is much more important than us making a commission for booking your travel.
Yes, you can go online and book your own travel but who has your back when things don’t work out? Is some online website going to answer your phone call in the middle of the night if something goes wrong? Not likely. If you really want to enjoy a vacation, you don’t want to have to worry. It is your travel agent’s job to do the worrying. It is your job to have fun.
You are probably wondering what kind of trips we like to take. We love cruises, both ocean cruises and river cruises. We really especially love the Viking River Cruises. Check out the link at the bottom of the page for more info on Viking River Cruises.
Why cruises? Because for most travelers, you get more bang for your buck from a cruise than you do from almost any other type of travel. This is especially true when you understand where the cruise companies make their money and then chose to not part with your precious dollars on things that may be less expensive if you make different choices. Ocean going cruises really make their money on excursions, gambling and drinks. You start out believing that you know the cost of your trip, only to be surprised on how much you have racked up in other on-board expenses. With river cruises, there are very few add on costs to deal with so you know how much the trip will cost before you leave home. Sort of like an all-inclusive resort vacation.
Taking a cruise is generally more relaxing than rushing from one place to another on a bus tour or even a vacation that you may set up yourself. No hassle with rental cars, hotel reservations, etc… The cruise company will take care of everything from the time you get on the airplane until the time you arrive back home at your local airport.
Does it cost more money to use a travel agent? It depends.
If you are taking a cruise, then it does not cost you anything extra to use a travel agent. In fact, it will probably save you money. If you book direct with the cruise line, for example, they keep the commission and they won’t tell you if a different cruise line has a better option for you. They don’t discount the trip for you because you did not use a travel agent. Any discount you will see offered by the cruise line will also be available from your travel agent. Additionally, travel agents often set up trips, and book space a year in advance, so that you can enjoy the trip at cheaper rates because they have already locked in the price.
As for discounts on airfare, you need to know up front, that most travel agents cannot save you very much on air travel, unless it is being sold as part of a larger vacation package. So, if you just want to fly up to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, the rate the travel agent can get will be the same as you can get online, and it will probably me much more convenient for you to book it yourself, especially if you are using your miles to book rather than dollars to book it.
Tours and Activities
When it comes to tours and activities, I always log into Viator, type in the country and city, and go through their list of tours and activities and pick out the ones I want to do, unless I am on a cruise. Why, because if I use the tour provided through the cruise line and it is late getting back to the ship, the cruise line will either hold the ship or get me to the next port. If I use a private vendor for a tour and it gets back to the ship late, tough luck. I will have to figure out how to get to the next port on my own if I am late. Yes, it will cost a little more because the ship is making a profit off of the tour, but I don’t really want to get stranded in some foreign port, especially if I left my passport locked in the safe on the ship.
Since I hate to stand in line to get a ticket to stand in line to get into a museum or take a tour, I always pre-book them using Viator, If you want to see the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre or the Vatican, take my word for it and get your tickets ahead of time on Viator, You will save yourself hours of standing in lines in the hot sun. You did not go to Europe to stand in line, you went to see the sights. Spend a little extra to book “skip-the-line” tours and excursions so that you can spend your time seeing more sights.
So, when you are ready for that vacation, give us a call and we will be happy to help your or refer you to another agent or to our office so that you can get the best possible service.
Jack & Tracey Edwards, Jack’s Travel Tips
Outside Travel Agents