We are not extinct 

5 Times Travel Agents Saved the DayPublished February 9, 2017 by Emily Peters under MTravel Blog

By Emily Peters Contributing Writer

Montrose Travel ( my wonderful host company)

These days, more people are becoming aware of the value of the modern travel professional. Once thought to be relics of the past, travel agents have proven again and again that their skills extend beyond travel planning.
As part of the travel tribe, it’s always good to be reminded of why your services as a travel consultant are worth their weight in gold. Here are 5 times travel agents came to the rescue for their clients.
1. SoCal Gas Leak

In October 2015, a massive, months-long gas leak in Porter Ranch (an LA neighborhood) displaced thousands of people from their homes. Rather than being left to fend for themselves, it was the work of several dedicated travel professionals that secured hotel housing for the 8,000 families in need of temporary shelter. Montrose Travel played a significant role in the relocation efforts, and was recognized with ASTA’s (American Society of Travel Agents) Extra Mile Award in 2016.
2. Blizzard woes

Inclement weather in the US has left thousands stranded in airports and train stations. Travelers who book through online travel agencies or even direct with the airlines frequently find themselves at the mercy of bare-minimum customer service. However, those who booked with travel professionals during January 2014 fared much better. After snow storms downed or delayed over 12,000 flights, their travel agents were available 24/7 to rebook flights and secure hotels so their clients could sleep in a comfy hotel bed instead of an airport chair.
3. Costa Concordia disaster

When Costa Concordia-survivor Albert Beach escaped the tragic cruising accident in January 2012, he found himself stranded in Italy, unsure of how to get back to the US. Rather than working with the airlines, he contacted his travel agent Jackie for help. “She had two to four hours from the time she was notified that we would like to get out of Rome, and she had us out,” said Beach, who had been a loyal client for 20 years. He was safely home in New Mexico within 48 hours.
4. Client loyalty

Booking through a travel professional means built-in support, but sometimes travelers choose to buy elsewhere. For Terry Regan of Berkeley’s Northside Travel, his loyalty remained with his client when a longtime customer recently grew ill during a tour she didn’t book with Regan. Instead of declining to help, Regan cancelled the tour, booked her an immediate flight home, and worked directly with the tour operator to make sure her insurance would cover the ordeal.
5. Hurricane harbor

Hurricane Irene was no match for agent Rick Ardis of Ardis Travel’s foresight. When he booked two clients on a trip to Punta Cana, he urged them to purchase travel insurance. Sure enough, Irene bombarded the island twice, prompting Ardis to secure his clients an upgraded room to wait out the storm, re-route their flight out of the hurricane’s path and book a car so they could drive the rest of the way home. “Because they listened to my advice and bought insurance, they were reimbursed for everything, even the cost of the gas to drive home,” said Ardis. “They were very grateful, and they are still my clients.” 
From illness to accidents to inclement weather, travel professionals are always there to save the day. Be proud of your involvement in this great industry and never hesitate to go the extra mile for your client in their time of need!

Remember if the deal is to good to be true, it is.

You get what you pay for.


 

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How to Plan a Cruise

A cruise is truly a reasonable way to see the World. You always know where you are sleeping and you will not starve or go thirsty. My first suggestion is to go directly to the Cruise Company Web Site , here you will be able to enter information on where you want to go and find out where the Port is that you need to get to. After you choose your location you will be given only a few options for dates depending on what time of year it is. The farther away the date is, the less expensive the cost will be. Finally call me to get started booking that journey.Our first cruise was to Alaska and when I booked it the beginning of May was the most reasonably priced. I did shop around to other Cruise Lines but for our needs Carnival was the better price and we were able to get a balcony for the cost of an interior cabin at their competition. Some cruise lines are known for hosting mostly older passengers, some younger but there really are only a few companies that own many different brands. Nearly everything is included in your cost (except alcohol) some companies sell add on packages for that also. You will have to pay extra for whatever Excursions you choose. I wanted to have all of our expenses paid so we would not need a lot of cash or extra money so I pre paid for all of our excursions and gratuities (a daily charge per person per room) With Carnival they have a special price (Early Saver Rate) that allows you to make changes to your booking if you need to.  Lower floors can be near engine rooms and upper levels just below a night club so be sure to ask me for help. Check the Cruise Lines web site directly for details on baggage restrictions, port directions and transportation options. Also see if you will need a passport, we were able to just purchase a new passport card it is only good for LAND and SEA travel NO AIR but it is less expensive. Either way you need to start the process months in advance. If you plan your cruise with me I will be sure you have all the necessary details. 

It is a good idea to arrive to the Port’s City a day in advance in case you have flight delays so you will not miss your cruise. When you book your flight to leave be sure it is later afternoon if it is on the day you debark. Even though the ships usually dock very early in the morning there are some times delays getting off the ship and collecting luggage.

  • Get your Passport and start saving your pennies
  • Choose a Destination and Date / do the research and choose a Cruise Line
  • Select a Cabin and read all the FAQ the cruise lines own trip Insurance is usually a good idea to add
  • Select a Hotel and transportation for the Airport and Cruise port
  • Buy Airline tickets or alternate transportation
  • Pick your excursions and check the weather for the time of travel
  • Notify your bank and credit card company of your travel dates
  • Keep a well-organized binder and check prices often if something goes down you can probably get a credit (airlines, hotel or cruise)


    Aruba

    The locals call it The Happy Island , what’s not to be happy about ? The weather is amazing averaging 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Since it is really a desert there is very little rain, low humidity and it is south of the storm belt making Hurricanes unlikely.

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    The coastline is beautiful with many areas of rough terrain only accessible by Jeep or similar vehicle.

    There are several old shacks from the past where families would come to spend the weekend during festival times to fish and eat and spend time with family.

    Way out in the desert is an old Spanish Gold Mine called “Bushiribana Mine”

    it was made to look more like a fort to desguise it .

    If you are looking for a party there is always the ever popular Banana Bus that is just that a bus ( no windows ) it does a little sight seeing and a whole lot of drinking with music and fun.

    When you run out of steam and need to cool off there are also Thirteen Casinos.

    More to see , a lighthouse, the first church, and an Ostrich Farm and No they are not a native bird.

    Want to visit, get your passport and start packing there are plenty of Hotels if Cruising is not your cup of tea, Taxi’s are easy to come by and the fees are regulated by the Government .

     

    #Airtravel

    The best part of Air Travel is never knowing whom or what you may see. As we arrived at our tiny Airport at 4:00am a bus pulled up. Assuming they would all be unloading we hurried to get ahead of the line. The passengers on the bus turned out to be a Hockey Team #SouthCarolinaStingrays. These guys don’t look anything like southern boys. 

    Happy New Year 

    Did I mention that most of my wonderful adventures thus far are thanks to #Carnival cruise ships. Make travel part of your New Years Resolution life is short enjoy it. 

    Merry Christmas,Happy Kwanza,Happy Hanukkah 

    What ever your religion practice peace, forgive and forget and as the saying goes do unto others. We can change the world for our children one person at a time. 

    Mickey Treats 

    Once again forgive me for being a little side tracked. I posted the photos on Pintrest and promised the directions would be here. 


    All you need to make these cute treats are 

    • a box of Zebra Cakes
    • a box of swiss rolls
    • treat bags 
    • colored trwist ties or curling ribbon 
    • popsicle sticks 
    • melting chocolate 
    • smooth knife for spreading chocolate
    • sharp knife for cutting 
    • cookie sheet for assembling 

    using sharp knife cut two pieces of swiss roll the thickness of the Zebra cake and place the flat side against the cake to form ears ( no sticks yet they are last)

    asseble as many as you plan to make when completed we will glue together with chocolate 

    place a small amount of melting chocolate in bowl to microwave when smooth start gluing the ears on each cake

    once they are completed using more chocolate gently paint over just the front of the swiss roll then dip sticks one by one about an inch in chocolate and insert in cake for a handle

    once they cool or set up flip over and repeat painting the swiss roll 

    again after cool or set now pick up the cake on a stick and completely paint the Ear ( swiss roll) be careful the chocolate from the swiss roll will flake off so seal it completely 

    cool off your done just bag them up

    Bonaire 🇧🇶

    We continue with #Bonaire. As you can see from the photos it is beautiful. There are alot of hotel casino properties along the waterfront. The area is known for its salt flats and attracts flamingos.

    Did you know that flamingos are born white? The minerals in the salt give them the pink color. 

     These are slave huts. Since it took nearly a day to walk here to work, slaves lived here during the week. 

    There are continuous changes here on the island. New hotels and clearing of old , there are no hurricanes but they still receive damage from high tides during the rainy season.

    Bonaire is a popular dive spot , a boat is not required due to the way the shore is you can just walk into the water. 

    Dominican Republic 🇩🇴

    I love to visit new places and people and learn first hand about other cultures. Traveling by cruise ship is a simple way to do this. Many may choose the candy coated version but I like to venture out and see things for what they are.

    If you like jewelry Amber and Larimar are both very prevalent here. There are museums dedicated to them.


    With that in mind it surprises me how many people choose here to visit for long vacations. I found the majority of people we interacted with unfriendly and not wanting to bother with tourists.

    We still enjoyed our time, the first day at a resort being pampered on the beach. If you never left this little bit of paradise your golden.

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    The following day we visited La Romana this area exists because of shell oil and Paramount Pictures. Several movies have been filmed here along the river , Rambo , Predator , Anaconda and more.

     

     

    Also overlooking the Charon River is the Village of Altos de Chavon with many cobblestone pathways leading to the Archeological Museum , and The Famous School of Design. The Church of St. Stanislaus Consecrated in 1979 Pope John Paul II sent the ashes of Poland’s patron saint, St. Stanislaus , and a hand carved statue to commemorate the church’s inauguration .  

    Many famous movie stars have been married here as well as held there receptions in the courtyard.

     

     The Amphitheater, inaugurated in 1982 by Frank Sinatra has since hosted dozens of famous performers such as Sting, Elton John, Marc Anthony , Andrea Bocelli, Julio Iglesias and many more. Today this theatre is still a very important part December 30th, 2016 Enrique Iglesias performs.

    Next we continue on to Bonaire and the salt flats. This was a very beautiful view from the ship with clear blue waters and colorful surroundings. During our journey, especially when we find a location we may want to return to , we asked about the crime among other things. We were told the crime is relatively low (relative to what I wonder as all of the businesses had bars on their windows.) 

    BONAIRE

    Happy Thanksgiving 

    “Be Thankful “

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