A very common question many people have is whether or not to consult a travel agent when planning a trip or vacation. There are many opinions on this subject and some people are more comfortable than others when it comes to logistics and planning ahead.
For me, I enjoy planning and researching before a trip and feel comfortable booking airline tickets when its within the U.S. WIth a number of air fair and hotel websites, its easy to compare prices and shop around. Pricing is not the only thing you should consider though when deciding to plan solo or with an agent.
When I was preparing for my first international trip, I immediately began to have many questions and began to have some anxiety about the unknown. Anxiety is not something you want a lot of when you are planning something that is supposed to be a fun experience. So I decided I would seek the help of a professional, a travel consultant.
This is how I met Sedana Beusch of Claremore Travel Services. Not only did Sedana help me get the best pricing and my logistics squared away, but she answered all my questions on traveling internationally.
Having visited these particular countries as well, Sedana had a wealth of knowledge that was most helpful for planning activities that suited my interests. I was able to capitalize on the time I had there and get the most out of my money. Sedana herself had experienced many of the activities she was suggesting and had first hand knowledge.
Having time for spontaneity is nice when experiencing a new place but you also need to have some things planned and booked to insure you don't waste time and money. Do not expect everything to fall into place by only showing up to a destination. A travel consultant is there to make sure you get what you want out of your trip. This can be invaluable and can very well, make or break your vacation.
I have used Sedana's services for a trip within the U.S. as well. She assisted with my land and cruise tour of Alaska and the Yukon. There were many planes, trains, boats and automobiles involved and she was extremely helpful in making sure I was prepared for all the logistics and activities of my two weeks in Alaska and the Yukon territory.
My advice is, if you are uncomfortable or feel any anxiety about the planning or logistics of a trip, or even just have questions you want answered from a professional, always choose to contact a travel agent. Not only do they hunt down the best deals and work with vendors, but they come with a wealth of knowledge.
This edition of 20 questions is with my travel agent, Sedana Beusch. I hope some of these questions help you when deciding if a travel consultant can assist you on your upcoming adventure. Enjoy!
C: First, how did you get your start as a travel agent?
Sedana: I went to the International Travel Institute when I was 19 years old. My life was a series of adventures and I wanted to continue exploring the world.
C:. Name three of your personal favorite places you've traveled to:
Sedana: Choosing favorite places is almost impossible, but I'll try. A. Indonesia B. Tahiti C. Ireland
C: What is on your personal bucket list? Where would you like to go next?
Sedana: Argentina is a country I'd love to visit, but am planning a great trip this Spring to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. I've been to all of them but it will be a homecoming of sorts with my high school anniversary.
C: What are the benefits of using the services of a travel agent?
Sedana: People overlook many of the benefits of using a travel agency like mine. I've had many clients call me when they get stranded and I help them through the red tape of airport protocol to get them out on the soonest flight. I'm also a wealth of knowledge when it comes to helping inexperienced travellers. I know cost basis, concerns, dangers, joys etc. that can only be learned if you are well versed in travelling. You can not substitute experience with online information or a YouTube video.
C: To someone planning their first vacation, what advice can you give them to get started?
Sedana: Call me! First time travelers definitely need a good travel agent for advice. It's far too easy to get sucked into "too-good-to-be-true" scams.
C: What do you feel the biggest misconception is about travel agents?
Sedana: The biggest mistake that most all make is that we charge for our services. In reality, we get paid from all the vendors.
C: Is there an instance in which you'd recommend people do their own booking or planning?
Sedana: If it's only a domestic airline ticket, most folks can handle their own booking.
C: How far in advance do you recommend starting to book trips?
Sedana: The sooner, the better for the most part. Better deals are usually found in advance. It can depend on what kind of trip you're talking about. Again, this is where experience pays off.
C:What should people have prepared when they come to you for your services?
Sedana: People should prepare to have a definite, realistic budget and time frame set.
C: What's a mistake people commonly make when planning their trips?
Sedana: Not using a travel agent! :-) Seriously though, many people fall for terrific online deals only to find out that they are not all that they promise. Many things are left out of the deal and provide nasty surprises to the person.
C: What suggestions do you have for people wanting to plan a trip on a low budget?
Sedana: There are many options for low budget travel, but you need to know them. One more reason to go to an experienced travel agent.
C: During a time where safety is very important, what are some important things we should remember while traveling to new places?
Sedana: Don't be stupid. Take travel warnings seriously, make photocopies of your drivers liscense and passport and keep in a seperate space. It's also good to leave a copy with someone at home. Don't wander off the beaten path, especially at night and/or alone. Common sense will keep you safe.
C: Do you have a recommendation on the best way to travel with money?
Sedana: It depends on the country the person travels to when deciding the best way to carry money. It is definitely a case by case basis.
C: When traveling internationally or on very long flights, do you recommend anything for dealing with the time difference?
Sedana: Don't have cocktails on the airplane. It will dehydrate you and interupt sleep patterns. Stay hydrated as much as you can and it will help tremendously. Also, on the first day, don't go to bed until their normal bedtime!
C: Cruises are a popular vacation option, is there a good time to book these to get the best deals? How can clients get the most for their money?
Sedana: When crusing, there are often good last minute deals if you are willing to stay in an inside cabin. They are also a great way to see a few countries at one time with a set budget. If you have an experienced agent, who knows the cruise industry well, they will have a ton of expertise to share with you and will know the tricks to getting good packages. If you do it on your own, shop around!
C: What do you expect pricing for airlines to look like this year? Could this be a good year to finally book that big ticket trip?
Sedana: If gas prices stay down, it might be good to book this year. It all depends on the economy and how robust the airline industry stays. Many factors go into finding good deals. I know I sound like a broken record, but having the use of an agent who knows all the ins and outs will save you a lot of money in the long run.
C: Do you have a favorite destination for couples/honeymooners or for someone wanting to travel solo?
Sedana: Far too many to list. The world is a great big beautiful place and it's there waiting to be explored. It helps if you have someone who is well travelled guiding you in your choices of what you are specifically looking for with your time and money.
C: Are there any great deals or trip opportunities to look out for in 2016?
Sedana: Call your travel agent to find out what's being offered when you want to go! There's always a deal to be found!
C: What is one of the most unique trips you've planned?
Sedana: Wow- so many to choose from! I think one of my favorites was an African safari to Zimbabwe! How cool is that?!?
C: What is your favorite thing about your profession?
Sedana: I have the ability to help people change their lives and enrich and broaden their thinking. It's a wonderful profession. It's my passion.
C: Why is travel so important to you?
Sedana: It's imporatant because it's an education you'll never find in a textbook. The world is full of adventure, interesting cultures and people just waiting for you to discover. Perhaps the better question would be, "Why isn't it imporatant to some?" Travel has been the backbone of my life and I wouldn't want it any other way. It opens peoples eyes to so many things- we are all the richer for making the journey.
A big Thank you to Sedana for taking the time to answer my questions!
If you would like to contact Sedana for an adventure you are considering, below is her contact info.
Sedana Beusch - Travel Consultant Claremore Travel Services
918-342-2301 P.O. Box 45
Travel@cts-travel.net Talala, OK 74080
I hope you enjoyed this edition of 20 Questions! Feel free to comment or suggest someone else you'd like to see featured on 20 Questions!
Pictured below from left to right:
Sedana's recent trip to Tahiti aboard a Paul Gauguin Cruise Ship!
Sedana and her husband, Pete enjoying traveling together
A water pearl farm in Tahiti