You’ve heard the old quote..."There is strength in numbers”. Well, there is also a lot of fun in numbers, especially when you travel with like-minded and fun-seeking friends and family members. But even if you're not ready to run away with your whole family, you can join a planned group tour and experience all the same benefits.There are so many types of group tours, and very few of them are the bus groups you imagine of yesteryear. You can take a group tour with a focus on kids and families, golf, yoga, wellness, hiking, exploration, and more. Whether you are a social butterfly or a reserved, private person you will find there are many rewards to traveling with a group.Here are just a few:
When you travel with a group, you will have an expert on hand at all times to help you order food, tell you history and local stories, and even take pictures of you in all the amazing destinations. Not only is having a tour guide beneficial because you have an expert with you, but it will make your travel hassle free. A great guide can really make your vacation!
From airfare to lodging and activities, groups usually get better rates than individual travelers. A private tour with the same access as a group tour can cost three times as much, so heading out with a group is a great way to save money.
Safety in Numbers
Traveling alone is not usually dangerous; but if you have any concerns about traveling by yourself, especially internationally, then joining a group is absolutely something to consider. Sizable groups are intimidating to predators!
Traveling with friends is fun, and making lifelong new friends is one of the top benefits of traveling with a group. You will meet people from all over the world, and many will become great friends and travel companions. I often hear from my clients that they stay in touch with people they met on their trip, and plan to travel together in the future.
Many times groups are given opportunities to visit sites that an individual would not have access to, or given exclusive after hours tour times. This is usually due to the relationship the tour guides or tour company have with various businesses, and it's an amazing benefit for the people on the tours.
There is nothing more rewarding than having new encounters and discovering new cultures with a group of people. Traveling with a group allows you to experience these places from your perspective, and from their perspective as well. As a result, you discover things at much deeper levels than you would have if you had traveled alone.
Trip Quest Travel Services offers many group trips or we can customize one just for you. Let us know where you'd love to go and we'll help you have an amazing experience!
I certainly understand how important it is to stick to a budget on vacation. However, did you know that there are several not-so-expensive upgrades you can purchase that will make a huge impact on the quality of your trip?
Here are a few to consider:
Private Airport Transfers
Somehow there is nothing more relieving than passing through customs after a long flight and seeing a driver standing there with a sign bearing your last name...and a smile! Your driver can help you to a nice, clean sedan and be on the road to your accommodations with a cold bottle of water in the time it takes to wait in the taxi line and try to communicate where you need to go. In the Caribbean & Mexico, private transfers can be the difference between a 30 minute direct ride to your resort and a 1 1⁄2 hour trip that stops at 4 other hotels along the way. Why not splurge a little and start your vacation off on the right foot?
Have you ever arrived at a site to see a mile-long line of people waiting to purchase tickets? Or a group of 30-40 being herded around with a tour guide holding an umbrella up in the air? If that looks like your worst nightmare, consider upgrading to a private tour guide. The cost can be quite reasonable and the value you receive can be huge! You can move faster, learn more, and focus on the sites and information you are really interested in.
Premium Economy Upgrade On Your Flight
If Business or First Class is a bit out of your financial comfort zone, why not consider upgrading to Premium Economy on your flights? The cost can be very reasonable and those few inches of extra room, and sometimes added amenities, can make the difference between a comfortable journey and a cramped nightmare.
Does your flight have a long layover? Consider purchasing a day-pass for your airline’s Airport Club Lounge. It can be a great way to spend a few hours and most lounges include complimentary wifi, snacks, beverages (sometimes alcoholic as well) and comfortable seats in a quieter location. Check to see if your frequent flier program or credit card company offers you any discounts or perks for admission.
Travel Insurance can be a lifesaver. Even if you think you are going on your vacation no matter what, you can’t predict weather, illness, injury, cancellations or any of those other nasty surprises that can come up when life happens. It should always be budgeted into the cost of every vacation.
Upgrade Your View
You may not spend a lot of time in the room at a resort, or in your cabin on a cruise ship. But one of the most common complaints I get about a resort is the view. At least check to see how much the difference is to upgrade. You might find that it is a small price to pay for waking up to an ocean view instead of the parking lot.
Cruises usually start boarding around noon on embarkation day, and require that you be on board at least 2 hours before the ship departs. That actually leaves a very short window of time to arrive and get checked in to your cabin. I always recommend that my clients arrive at the port city the night before departure just to eliminate stress from all of the “what ifs” of delayed or cancelled flights, major traffic jams on the interstate, etc. Most cruises leave from very interesting cities Why not arrive a day or two early and see what they have to offer?
Adding any or all of these small upgrades to your vacation is a HUGE part of why using a travel advisor is the way-to-go when travel planning. We know how much each one of these suggestions can enhance your experience....and isn’t that what you really want when you take that much-deserved vacation? Trip Quest Travel Services can help you choose the upgrades that bring the most bang-for-your-buck to your next travel experience. You are totally worth it!
I've been asked lots of questions about passports. Personally, I think that every US Citizen should be required to have one. I've seen too many people miss out on amazing last-minute travel opportunities because they weren't prepared. If you are over 16, your passport is good for 10 years. That is certainly a great value! Here are some of the most common questions I receive:
What is a passport?
A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies your identity and your citizenship. Only the US Department of State and US Embassies and Consulates have the authority to issue or verify US passports. Most foreign countries require a valid passport to enter and leave. All US citizens traveling internationally by air must present a valid passport to reenter the US. To cross by land only into Canada or Mexico, you may use a less- expensive passport card, but in my opinion, if you are going to go to the trouble to get a passport card, why not go ahead and get the real thing?
Do I need a passport if I’m taking a Caribbean cruise from a US port?
Having a passport is strongly recommended, but is not a requirement in most situations. When you depart and return to the same US port you must have proof of citizenship, (a passport or your official birth certificate), government-issued ID (driver’s license), plus a copy of your marriage license for women whose last name has changed since birth. However, if an issue should arise while you are abroad without a passport and you need to fly home, you’re in trouble! Also, if you become injured or ill and need to fly home, having a passport will greatly minimize the hassle.
Do my children need passports?
Yes, every person, even an infant, must have his/her own passport to fly to a foreign destination. Make sure you check the expiration date on your children’s passports because they expire in five years if the child was 15 or under when his passport was issued.
This trip is our honeymoon. Can we travel as Mr. and Mrs.? I understand how romantic it sounds to use your brand new last name on your honeymoon. However, your experience at airport check-in will definitely not be romantic. You must travel under the name on your passport. Usually that is your maiden name, so use that for your airline ticket. Your name on your airline ticket must match the name on your passport exactly. Once you arrive at your honeymoon destination, people will be happy to address you both as Mr. and Mrs. When you return and have the time, you can apply to have your name changed on your passport.
What can I do if my passport is stolen?
Although this rarely occurs, it can happen. Make three copies of your passport before leaving home. Give one to a friend or relative to keep handy, send one to your travel professional to keep in your file, and carry the other copy with you, stored separately from the original. This makes it much easier to have a replacement issued, if necessary. If your passport is stolen, contact the local US Embassy or Consulate for assistance. Let them know when you are scheduled to travel home, and they will do their best to help you. It is also a good idea to take an extra set of passport photos with you to simplify the transaction. Keep your original passport in a safe place (like a room safe) when possible, to minimize the risk of theft. You don’t need to carry it around with you at all times while overseas.
Having a passport is worth the time, energy, and financial investment. If you need any assistance with the application process, or have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Happy Travels!
Ann Jones, CTC, MCC