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Frequently Asked Questions


1.

 

Why are fees charged for planning trips or booking airline tickets?

2.

 

What are consolidator air tickets, and should I buy them?

3.

 

Does it cost more to book through a travel agent/consultant?

4.

 

Is it better to book a tour package of air, hotel, rental car, and transfers or should they be booked separately?

5.

 

Are sales of tours, cruises, air, hotels, etc. really sales?

6.

 

Do travel agents have preferred suppliers of tour operators, cruise lines, etc. that pay higher commissions to entice travel agents to use them instead of other travel suppliers?

7.

 

How do I choose a travel agent/consultant, and is it important to have a personal travel consultant?

8.

 

Why do I need trip cancellation insurance?

9.

 

Is it possible to keep from getting traveler's diarrhea?

10.

 

Is there any way to lessen the chance of getting seasick on a cruise.

11.

 

How do you find out if you need a passport or visa when traveling to foreign countries?

12.

 

Is it a good idea to buy timeshares and hotel/resort vacation clubs?

13.

 

Should I get a digital camera or use an iPhone or other smart phone to shoot pictures when I travel?





1.

 

Planning fee: We will sometimes charge a planning fee. Like medical doctors, CPAs, and financial advisors we have expertise in our field and reserve the right to charge a nonrefundable planning fee for our time spent and services rendered, especially for complicated itineraries. The amount of the fee depends upon the amount of work required to plan a trip. A completely independent and customized tour can include hotels at a number of places, transfers or rental car, flights, and other travel items. These type of tours can take a lot of planning time. By comparison escorted and some hosted tours take less time to plan. Any planning fee will be established when discussing travel plans with a client.

Airline tickets: The airlines stopped paying commissions to travel agents sometime ago. In order for a travel agency to be able to book airline tickets it is necessary to use a booking engine which is costly. Therefore, the only way that a travel agency can afford to provide this service is to charge a fee. Despite the fee, a travel agent that books airline tickets can search for the best fare and can often save clients money.

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2.

 

Consolidator tickets are discounted or wholesale air tickets sold by consolidators, a type of tour operator. The consolidator enters into an agreement with one or more of the major airlines to sell blocks of air tickets at reduced prices. These tickets are generally only available to foreign destinations from the USA. Many travel agents do not sell consolidator tickets because they can be more work than booking through the typical reservation system. Also, many consolidators are not reputable, so you have to be very careful which ones you use. As a result, we research consolidators and only book through those that have established good reputations. In the process we have saved many of our clients money. Consolidator tickets usually come with a large financial penalty if someone wants to make a change to a ticket. This requirement is due to the airlines, and is usually not a problem for leisure travelers who plan to fly on a specific schedule. To get good deals on consolidator tickets it is best to book early, especially if you plan to go during high season. Booking three to six months in advance is not too early. In recent years consolidator tickets have provided a good discount only when booking the more expensive classes of service like business class.

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3.

 

The price quoted by a travel agent/consultant is usually the same as that quoted by tour operators, cruise lines, and other travel providers such as hotel and rental car companies. This is because tour operators, cruise lines and other travel providers want everyone to pay the same price. In addition to this price the travel agent/consultant may charge a fee for planning a trip or for booking airline tickets. See Question 2. There are other advantages in using a travel agent/consultant beyond having a travel professional plan your trip. Some of the best tour operators only sell through travel agents. If you book on your own you cannot take advantage of these tour operators. One more important reason for using a travel agent/consultant is that sometimes things go wrong. If you book through a travel agent the travel agent helps you with the problem. Otherwise you are on your own.

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4.

 

The tour package will usually cost less, sometime a lot less than booking everything separately. Another reason for booking a tour package is that the tour operator has checked everything out including inspections of the hotels they offer. Tour operators only use hotels and other travel products that meet their standards.

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5.

 

Some times there really are sales, but not always. An objective of marketing is to convince someone that they are getting a good deal. There have been examples where an ad from an airline says the companion flies free. But by the time you buy the first ticket that price might be higher than if you just bought two tickets at the lowest price for published air. In marketing cruises you often see ads of big discounts with 50% off or 2 for the price of 1. It sounds like a great deal. But the 50% is usually taken off of the brochure price. Does anyone ever pay the price in a cruise brochure? There are sales that are legitimate. The best way to save money on tours and cruises is to book early, such as a year in advance. Prices are also lower in the off season.

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6.

 

Yes, most definitely. The higher commissions are often based on the volume of sales meaning the more you sell of a given travel provider's products the more commission you earn. However, the higher commission does not raise the price of the tour, cruise, etc. for the client. Nevertheless, it is the policy of World Class Travel & Tours to choose the very best travel products for our clients independent of the amount of commission earned.

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7.

 

Most people are very careful in choosing their medical doctor, lawyer, or a CPA. They want professionals that are competent, that get to know them, and that offer great service at a reasonable price. It is therefore surprising that so many people give so little thought to choosing a travel consultant. This is especially the case when you consider that many people spend thousands of dollars on tours and cruises. In choosing a travel consultant the issue is really not price since for a given tour, cruise, etc. the price is set by the travel provider and not the travel consultant. It is important to distinguish between a travel consultant and a travel agent. A travel agent can be thought of as someone that basically takes orders and does the bookings. A travel consultant is a travel agent that is knowledgeable enough to properly advise you on planning your travels. The best travel consultants: (1) travel a lot to experience different places and to check out tour and cruise operators, (2) are willing to take the time to research your travel plans, (3) know which are the best tour operators to use, (4) attend professional travel conferences, (5) read the trade journals, (6) network with other travel consultants, and (7) offer great service. You can learn a lot about a travel consultant by viewing his/her web site. Interview a travel consultant by phone or in person. If you have any questions ask for references.

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8.

 

Once you pay for a tour or cruise you are expected to go, and if you do not go the tour operator or cruise line has penalties that get higher as you get closer to your travel dates. If on the date of travel you are unable to travel there is not likely to be any refund of your trip expense. The tour or cruise operator has already paid off the services of any airlines, transfers or rental cars, hotels, guides, and other travel providers. The tour or cruise operator cannot get any of that money back, so they do not have it to refund to you. To protect your investment you can buy trip cancellation insurance. Not all insurance plans are equal. But typically you are protected for a covered sickness, injury, or the death of you, your traveling companion, family members, and possibly others. The insurance under certain restrictions may also cover tour operator or cruise line bankruptcy. Other things covered may include the weather, lost baggage, and baggage delay. In most cases the travel insurance should be purchased through a provider independent of the tour operator or cruise line from which your vacation was purchased. Discuss these details with your travel consultant.

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9.

 

When people from countries like the United States travel to third world countries they sometimes come down with traveler's diarrhea. It is not possible to promise that you will not get traveler's diarrhea. However, many people go to third world countries and never have any problems with diarrhea. There are things that you can do to lessen your chances of becoming ill. Only drink bottled water or other bottled drinks and make sure that ice cubes are made from bottled water. Do not eat anything at stands on the street, because they may not be clean. Eat only at quality restaurants where you know a lot of tourists frequent or in homes where you know that care is taken in the preparation of food. Finally, before you go check with your physician or druggist about medicine to take with you in case you become ill due to traveler's diarrhea.

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10.

 

Many people go on cruises and never get seasick. Modern ships have well designed stabilizers that dampen out the motion due to ocean waves leading to smoother rides. If you are concerned about motion sickness you can improve your chances of not getting seasick by sailing on large ships. Also, choose a cabin that is located near the center of motion of the ship since these cabins experience the least amount of wave induced motion. The center of motion of the ship is near the middle from stern to bow and near the middle from top to bottom. Before you go on the cruise buy some wrist bands at a drug store. You can usually buy these bands onboard the vessel, but they might cost a lot more there. Some destinations are free of ocean waves, and therefore seasickness is not likely to occur. Such is the case for a cruise in the Inside Passage of Alaska or the river cruises in Europe, even for small ships.

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11.

 

Choose "Links" listed under Travel Info in the Menu. Then choose "Travel Related" from the list and finally "Foreign Embassies in Washington, D.C. It is then easy to select the countries of interest.

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12.

 

Only you can answer this question. However, we have had so many complaints from our clients about their timeshares that it is necessary to add these remarks. Owning them can be very restrictive as to when you can take vacations or where you can go. Although you are supposed to be able to trade for timeshares in other locations it can be difficult to accomplish this. If someone does not want to use a timeshare in a given year it can be difficult to find a renter of the timeshare to obtain financial relief. Getting to timeshare locations like Cancun, Mexico can be expensive. It is often better to book a hotel/resort package or tour. You can book the tour package at the time of your choosing and you do not always have to go to the same location or the same hotel/resort. There are many vacations where timeshares simply will not work. For example, if you want to visit places like Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, and many other places it is best to move around throughout the country, possibly being in a different city each night. Further, timeshares and vacation clubs are expensive. They tend to be sold through high pressure tactics where you must commit to spending a lot of money at the conclusion of the sales pitch. If you are not allowed to think overnight about such a large expenditure of money before signing a contract then something might be wrong. It is also important to realize that if the timeshare or vacation club package is in a foreign country, then you will not have the protection of the laws of your own country with regards to the purchase.

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13.

 

For taking pictures the iPhone and other smart phones do a good job under most normal conditions. They also offer great convenience and are fairly small and easy to carry. But they cannot compete with a quality digital camera for all around picture taking. You can choose between a point and shoot digital camera or a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera. The latter choice is more advanced and offers you the ability to change lens and to use a more powerful flash unit. Compared with an iPhone the digital camera will get better pictures in situations of poor lighting, motion of the target, or shots at a distance. With a digital camera you upload the images to your computer and you carry out any necessary editing (processing) of the images. If you do not like doing this you will be unhappy with a digital camera. However, with a digital camera, the proper use of image software, and a computer the digital camera offers much greater potential for taking pictures under a greater variety of conditions than is possible with an iPhone. If you are serious about photography and want the best possible pictures you will use a DSLR camera and shoot all images in the RAW format. Be sure and take a lot of memory cards.

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Travel Shows

Do you need a speaker? We do travel shows for groups.. Brilliant slides and videos are presented of Great Destinations. The Destinations are described by J. Ernest (Sunny) Breeding, Jr, Ph.D., Travel Consultant, Travel Photographer, and former Associate Professor. For more information about our qualifications see About Us. Contact us to schedule a presentation before your group.


Email Alerts/Travel Information

Do you want to receive information on Travel Nights, Travel Specials, or other Travel Information? If so, please Contact Us. Be sure to provide your email address and mailing address. All addresses are maintained in strict privacy for the sole use of World Class Travel & Tours and no other persons or entities. We will gladly remove anyone from our email and mailing lists upon request.


What do you want to do on your next trip?

What do you want to do on your next trip? Where do you want to go? There are many wonderful things to see and do in our world. We will be happy to offer you professional advice. The following is a sample of things to consider:

  • Fun Cruises in the World Oceans, Seas, and Great Rivers
  • Incredible Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World
  • World Class Cities, Parks, Gardens, Museums, Music, and Fine Dining
  • Exciting New York, New Orleans, London, Paris, Rome, and Athens
  • Dazzling Temples, Palaces, Shrines, Historic Homes, and Statues
  • Fascinating Castles, Medieval Cities, Pyramids, and Ruins
  • Interesting Native Peoples, Folklore, Festivals, and Markets
  • Impressive Jungle, Rain Forests, Volcanoes, and Wildlife
  • Beautiful Mountains, Beaches, Lakes, Water Falls, and Nature Trails
  • Enjoyable Skiing, SCUBA Diving, Snorkeling, and Boating

Do you need some ideas for honeymoons? Select Honeymoons.

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