Save Time, Save Money: Use a Travel Agent
There’s no end to the choices people have today, whether it’s where to shop, what to buy and especially where to travel, but one of the most important choices a person can make is the decision to use a travel agent when planning their next vacation.
“Gone are the days when a travel agent just got you from Point A to Point B. Today’s agent is a travel counselor skilled at not only providing their clients with their dream vacations but at giving them great value for their money. They are experts at navigating the Internet, and act as advocates on their clients’ behalf in the event something goes wrong, such as a natural disaster or political unrest,” ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo said. “Travel agents understand that travel planning isn’t just about places, it’s about people.”
Here are just a few reasons to use a professional travel agent:
- Customer advocacy: If you have a problem with a particular part of your travel experience, the agent is there to act on your behalf to see that restitution is made. ASTA, for example, is the only travel industry association aggressively fighting to improve the travel experience, and air transportation in particular, for all consumers, not just those with access to the Internet.
- Expert guidance: Travel agents, unlike instructions on a Web page, are experts in understanding and deciphering the myriad travel information and codes out there. It’s what they’ve been trained to do and they do it every day.
- Personalized service: Instead of an impersonal voice thousands of miles away, travel agents are your neighbors. They know what you want and what you value in your travel experience.
- Professional advice: Travel agents are there to make sure you get where you want to go, when you want to go and for the lowest price.
- Time: Instead of checking a long list of travel Web pages, which only provide rates and fares for the companies that have contracted with them, why not go straight to the source? A travel agent has all the information at their fingertips, saving you a few hours in front of a computer screen or on hold.
- Unbiased information: Agents work for their clients, not for a travel supplier. It makes sense that a happy customer will be a repeat customer.
The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.
Tips on Getting a U.S. Passport
Whether you’re taking a vacation or traveling for business, if you’re traveling outside the U.S. you will need a passport. The best time to renew a passport is at least nine months prior to the expiration of your old one. New passports are taking about four weeks for processing, so heed these tips and enjoy carefree international travel!
► Applying for a new passport can be started online at www.travel.state.gov/passport, but then the applicant must appear in person at a U.S. Passport Office. Offices are located in the U.S. Post Office of these local cities:
ELKHART – GRANGER – MISHAWAKA – GOSHEN – NOTRE DAME – SOUTH BEND – NILES – VANDALIA – WHITE PIGEON – SYRACUSE
► Certified copies of birth certificates are required and must include the following:
• Full name of the applicant
• Full names of the applicant’s parent(s)
• Date of birth
• Place of birth
• Raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal of issuing authority
• Registrar’s signature
• The date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office (must be within one year)
►U.S. passport applications for children under the age of 16 require both parents’ or legal guardians’ consent.
► Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip.
► If you have international travel in less than 2 weeks you are eligible to schedule an appointment at a regional passport agency. The closest one to our office is Chicago.
► You can renew by mail if your most recent U.S. passport has all of these:
• Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application
• Was issued when you were age 16 or older
• Was issued within the last 15 years
• Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change
Passport applications and photos available in our office!
Most American Express cards are eligible to earn Membership Rewards points which can be redeemed for travel at Menno Travel Service! Simply book your travel the way you always do with Menno Travel and we will redeem your points for payment. Companies can save money by using their rewards points for their corporate travelers and individuals can save on their vacation expenses.
If you are not an American Express cardmember, contact Geof to learn how you or your company can begin earning and using Membership Reward points.