When most people think about layaway payment plans, they usually think about toys under a Christmas tree. However; the secret that most don't know about is that vacation layaway payment options can also be a solution for trying to figure out how to pay for that badly needed vacation.
So I guess you want to know, how does it work? I'll tell you!!
Plan Ahead. Depending where you are traveling, you can plan your trip out as far as a 12 to 18 months in advance. Hotels and airlines post their rates about 300 days in advance. Technically, cruise lines and theme parks post their availability and rates 12 months to 15 month in advance. The point here is that in order to create affordable monthly payments, you need to give yourself plenty of time. Here are some quick guidelines as to WHEN to start planning your travel adventures in order to give yourself the best vacation payment options...
Valentines Day: Start shopping for next Thanksgiving and December holiday travel.
School's Out for Summer: Spring Break Holidays for the next school year. Or if you want to travel during the summer, plan at least 6-12 months out to get the best availability on flights and accommodations.
Back to School: Book next year's summer vacation.
Caribbean Travel: 6-8 Months In Advance
European Travel: 6-12 months, even 18 months if it's a big bucket list trip.
I hear you! It's hard to plan that far in advance with everyone's school, activities, sports and work schedules. Many of us don't know our schedules for next week, let alone next year. It's a shocker, but if want the best rates, choice of rooms and airline seats and the ability to make layaway payments on your vacation, time is your friend! Planning ahead will also afford you the best rates and availability choices contrary to everyone's dream of finding that elusive last minute deal.
Make a Deposit: Most hotels, cruise ships and even Disney only require a small deposit to put your vacation on hold and confirm your trip. This normally can range from as little as $50 per person to a percentage of the total cost of your vacation. It all depends on the specifics of your trip.
Set up a Monthly Payment Schedule. Most hotels, cruise lines and theme parks require your vacation to be paid in full about 45-60 days prior to your arrival. The balance of your trip can be divided into installment payments so that you are fully paid by this deadline. This can be done automatically via a credit card that you authorize for these payments.
Can I set up my own Vacation Layaway Online? Some travelers prefer to book their own travel on-line; however, most large major online travel websites that allow the public to book their own trips require payment in full at the time you confirm your vacation and do not offer vacation layaway payment plans. This is one of the perks of working with your trusted Travel Agent.
Your travel agent can also offer other creative ways to help you finance your vacation dreams and turn them into reality. You may even qualify for discounts simply by inviting friends and family members to join in on all the fun.
So what's holding you back, give us a call or shoot us an email to explore options for your Putting Your Vacation on Layaway TODAY!!!
Are you wanting to travel with a group but don't know how to get started?
Here are some Group Travel Tips to help you get started:
1.You will need someone to be the decision maker for the group.
2. You can have others in charge of different aspects of the group trip so it is not so stressful for the leader.
3. You want to decide on accomodations, activities, and things to do up front so you can decide what the group wants to do so you are not wasting your time on your vacation deciding on what to do.
4. Agree on a budget and adhere to it. You want to make sure to be realistic about the cost.
5. Decide how long you want the trip to be.
6. You want to book your trip, flights and transportation early in order to get the best pricing and selection for the group.
7. Hotels are not always the easiest for groups. You have more options with all inclusive resorts for groups. Villas can work for groups as well. Cruises work well, too.
8. As your travel advisor for your group I will help you with all the payments, arrangements and travel documents for the trip. Everyone needs to be on board to make the group a success. Communication is key. I am available before, during and after your trip for any questions.
9. Be sure to consider excursions in your destination in the planning stage but don't plan something for every second of your trip. You need some down time.
10. Split up during your trip. Not everyone is going to want to do the same thing. Half may want to do one activity and the other half something else. If there is something you really want to do and no one else wants to go then go do it on your own. Don't go home from vacation regretting you didn't get to see something.
We can help with student groups, adult groups, social groups, niche groups, destination weddings, seminars at sea, etc. If you need help or know of anyone that would like help with their group near Austin, TX please share our information with them. Let's start planing your next group trip.
Cabin-Make sure you request a cabin that is away from the elevators so you don't have to deal with the foot traffic if you are wanting to get some sleep. Your travel advisor can help with your location.
Mediciations-Make sure you bring your meds if you need stuff for motion, allergies, colds or meds for the kids. Options on the ship are limited and not cheap.
Shoes-Make sure you pack comfortable shoes. Everyone likes to dress up for dinner and shows but climbing stairs or walking on some surfaces are not real comfortable with high heels. You don't want to lose your balance on a moving ship.
Suscreen-It is always better to have TOO much than not enough. Consider some aloe vera as well in case you get sun burned.
Put phone in airplane mode-It is a MUST! If you don't put your phone on airplane mode once you are at sea you will have a nice big phone bill when you return.
Ship newsletters-These are in your cabin each evening. Please review them so you know what is going for the next day. This way you can plan your day out easier and not miss some activities or shows you want to participate in.
Excursions-Most cruisers believe they will "Miss the boat" if they don't book excursions with the cruise line. This is actually not true. Many times the cruise line use the same vendors. The advantage the tour operator has is that their groups are smaller, more personalized, better service and can be cheaper. Their business focuses on excursions so they comply with the cruise ships's schedule. I always offer other vendors as I use them myself.
Carry on-Make sure you have your important documents(passport and boarding pass), change of clothes, medications, sunscreen and anything else you ABSOLUTELY need once you are on the ship.
Luggage Survival Tips
Many travelers at one point or another may encounter dealing with lost luggage. Your luggage didn't make it to your arrive airport with you, it got routed on a different plane, it got left behind at the hotel, etc. Here are some tips to help you with luggage that are MIA.
1. Take a picture of your luggage. This allows you to show a picture of your luggage instead of trying to describe it to an agent.
2. Split clothes 50-50. If you are traveling with someone else consider splitting your clothes amongst each others bags. This way if your luggage gets lost you have some clothes. It is unlikely the airline will lose both but it is better to be prepared.
3. When reporting the MIA luggage to the service desk you want to describe items that stand out and that will be recognizeable. (ex: red hat, yellow tennis shoes, floral shorts)
4. Provide your phone number and address of your hotel if your luggage is lost while traveling. If it is on your way home then a phone number should be good. Ask for a copy of the report and a number where you can follow-up.
5. Ask for a reimbursement if this occurs while traveling. Most airlines will cover the necessities like clothing and toiletries while you wait for your luggage. If you are arriving home after a trip it is not as likely. Consider purchasing travel insurance which will cover situations like this.
6. Inform your hotel about your situation if you are just arriving in your destination. Let the front desk know as they may be able to get your bag back faster if they contact the airline especially if you are not fluent in the language.
Many times you travel by plane to get to the destination desired. As summer gets underway many will take to the skies to enjoy their vacations from Austin, TX. Here are some tips for your flights.
Reclining Your Seat-Most want to be comfortable in their seats. Since the seats are getting closer and closer together it is suggested by many experts not to recline your seats since it only goes back about 2 inches or so. If you do it means the person behind you will have to recline theirs, and so on. If you must recline your seat be careful to go slow as you don't know if the person behind you has something on the tray that could spill or if they have long legs, etc. If there is meal time pull your seat up so they can use their tray for their food. Be kind and respectful.
Get Out of the Aisle Quickly-Before boarding the plane make sure you have the things you want in the bag that will go under the seat such as your tablet, phone, kindle, etc.. When you get on the plane find your seat and put your main bag in the overhead bin and sit down promptly so everyone else can get to their seats in a timely fashion. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a person to rummage through their bag before they put it in the overhead bin. This delays things for everyone and for the plane to leave on time.
Armrests Dilemma-The person in the aisle and window seat each have an armrest so technically the middle seat gets both center armrest. It is only fair. If you don't want to fuss over the armrest then consider booking the window or aisle seat.
Place Your Bag Over Your Seat- Many times when you board the plane you find that most of the bins are already full. Try to place your bag in an overhead bin in front of you instead of behind you. This is important for long international flights. There have been some situations where folks in the back watch where bags are placed. If you fall a sleep they can rummage through your things. Keep an eye on your bags.
Leaving Your Seat-Don't climb over the person that is sleeping next to you. Kindly nudge them and say, " I am sorry to bother you" and wait for them to get up to let you out.
Summer is a busy time to travel. Be kind to one another and following these basic flight etiquette guidelines to ensure you don't have any problems on your next flight. Safe Travels!
Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe when traveling:
1. Airplanes-You know they are dirty. Did you know that patterns of infectious disease tranmission has been shown in the friendly skies? Think about it. The table trays are not always wiped down. The seat pockets are never cleaned so keep your stuff out of there. The armrests and headrest aren't either so consider packing wipes with you when you travel.
2. Traveling with a baby? - It is always recommended that you "wear your infant"- using a baby carrier through the airport. This allows you to manage your luggage while keeping your infant close in front of you so you don't have to sit them down in a dirty areas. Using the baby carrier is also a natural barrier from strangers wanting to come in contact with them and pass germs.
3. Zika-is still out there- Zika may not be in the news but pregnant women and women wanting to become pregnant need to take precautions when traveling to the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, Mexico, Africa, South America, or Asia. It is recommended to talk with your doctor about potential risks and precautions.
4. Wear your Seat Belts- Insist everyone where their seat belt when in a vehicle. If you have young kids please use the proper car seat or booster seat for them. When in a destination make sure you wear your seat belt as well. If you are on an excursion and riding in a vehicle that has seat belts make sure you wear them for your safety. Never ride or drive when under the influence.
5. Shots-When traveling internationally make sure you and everyone in your family have the necessary shots for anyone 6 months and older. Always check with your child's doctor.
6. Food Safety-It is always best to drink bottled water when you travel. Make sure your food is cooked completely. Be careful with the raw fish. Be careful with your blended smoothies and cocktails. You are saying what??? Just be mindful as the drinks with ice, etc. can be contaminated. If you are a cheese lover eat it in small amounts. Other countries don't process their cheese like we do so be careful or you will have an upset stomach.
7. Wash hands before you eat and after you use the bathroom-Take your time to wash your hands with soap. The hand sanitizer doesn't kill all the germs. Do this reguarly and thoroughly when you travel.
8. Toilet paper-Always take a roll of toilet paper with your when you travel. There are many countries that charge you to use the restroom. Europe is known for this. Many may only offer a few sheets which may not be enough or flat out don't have any. Put the roll of toilet paper in a quart bag and keep in your purse or backpack. You will be glad you did.
9. Stay Hydrated-This is very important when you are traveling espeically when flying. Always take an empty bottle with you so you can fill it up in the airport so you can have a larger amount of water on the plane. When you are traveling you can refill it as well so you have water with you at all times. A good goal is to consider what you weigh in pounds and consume half that number in ounces of water per day.
10. Medicine kit-Always take it with you. You never know when you will need it. Take some Ibuprofen or acetaminophen, bandaids, pedialyte, and antacids. If you use essential oils a few drops of Digize in some tea or water. It is great for heart burn.
When I have clients traveling I provide them with their final itineraries. I do my best to make sure I have included all the details and cover things on what to expect, even if things do not go exactly as planned.
I have had a few different situations happen since I started my career in the travel industry. I know not everything will always go as planned like we would hope they would. It is life, things happen.
One incident was where the client had to cancel the complete trip. Part of it was due to a hurricane and the other was due to a medical condition that kept them from traveling. They had travel protection as recommended. I was my clients advocate to help make sure all the documents were submitted in order to request a refund. Their trip was fully refunded.
The second incident was a destination wedding. The wedding had to be relocated from one part of Mexico to a different location in Mexico due to a hurricane. Some guests of the wedding party had travel protection and some didn't. I was the advocate for the wedding group to get the wedding relocated where there was availability for their wedding date, new flights, rooms and transfers so the wedding could go on as planned. Everyone was lucky and fortunate that we were able to make the necessary changes without any additional cost due to the situation. The wedding was still a success for the couple.
When you cancel a trip and you don't have travel insurance, more often than not you will either lose your funds or receive a credit(with change fees), even with medical issues and weather issues. Refunds after certain dates are rare especially with airlines.
I do my best to get the best resolution possible. I can't guarantee this type of success when things happen, but the moral of the story is that I am your advocate, fighting on your behalf when things go wrong that were not your fault.
(PS--Get travel protection insurance.)
I hope you are having a great day! I have always enjoyed working in positions that allow me to be able to assist people whether it be helping with fundraisers, office work, helping sports teams, helping students, helping the elderly simply with basic things or just being there for someone to talk to. I love being in the people business and helping those that allow me to help them. A smile says it all.
Being in the travel industry provides me that same satisfaction while building friendships with you, your family, friends and co-workers. Collaborating with you on your ideal trip is what I enjoy doing. I get to learn more about you, what you want to experience and so much more. Many don't know where to start or where they want to go. As a travel advisor I will ask many questions so I know what I have to work with in order to meet your needs.
First, figure out what you (or your group) want to experience based on the things you (or your group) like to do. Based on this we can help narrow down a destination.
Second, Plan your trip at least 6 to 8 months in advance if not more for better pricing and selection.
Third, Be realistic with what you would like. You can't have champagne taste on a beer budget.
Fourth, If you have a group (destination wedding, family reunion, club, etc.) planning 15 months in advance is best.
Fifth, For cruises schedules are out 15 months in advance and that is when you get the best pricing.
Sixth, Travel does involve some planning but don't let it stress you out. That is why you work with a travel advisor so you don't have to spend hours researching.
When you are ready to start planning your next trip think about what you would like to experience.Here are pictures of me when I was with learning how to make homemade pasta from a Italian grandmother "Nonna" in Umbria, Italy. I found this much simpler to do than the way my German grandmother made them. The Italian Nonna grated black truffle for our pasta that we got to enjoy. Being able to learn and experience this was fabulous because I like to cook and be able to come back home and duplicate what I learned. I have since made some and they turned out great. If you like to get emmersed in the destination you travel to let me know and I will be gald to help you. One example is learning how wines are made in Italy and seeing them stored in historic cellars at cool temperatures. You could also learn how olive oil is processed. This process is really fascinating. The process in Italy is different then the way it is processed here in Texas. You could learn how cheese and many meats are processed in the destination. There are many cathedrals to learn about as well. Traveling is about exploring, experimenting, and having fun. It is great to connect with the locals. There are so many different things you can do. If you like this type of travel let me know. I am here to help you with your next travel adventure.
As you know the travel experience isn’t always perfect. With the right attitude and these tips you can simplify your trip and avoid any hang-ups at the airport.
I love to travel and explore the world. My goal is to help others actually experience their desired destination(s) whether they are traveling solo or as a group. The world has so much to offer.