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The Today Show on travel scams

Gruezi, Hola, Aloha, Bonjour, Ciao, Ni hao, Yia sou, Guten Tag, Hey!

 

We have been saying it for years:

Don’t trust the hotel websites.

Don’t trust the brochures.

Don’t trust the reviews.

NBC’s TODAY Show confirms why you should use caution and that the travel agent is truly your best sourse of UNBIASED information.

 

And for something truly special:

Please join us tomorrow night when we give away 6 more Royal Caribbean cruises to well deserving cancer crusaders.

Click here for more info

 

Book Direct To Save Money

We know you are receiving mailings and seeing ads that often urge you to book directly with a travel supplier online.

I realize you are being told that it is easy to book your vacation online. Just trust the supplier to take care of everything and have your credit card within easy reach. Most telephone reservation agents who work for cruise lines, tour companies and hotels are commissioned salespeople with little knowledge of the industry. Their goal is simple: Try to get a direct booking, and let the company pocket the commission built into the price.

Since you can’t save any money this way, why gamble?
By all means: play around, surf the web, but why not email or call us for a second opinion – AT NO COST?

By booking direct, you are making a sucker bet that the person on the other end of the line has your best interests at heart (and would tell you if their competitor offers a better price or product), will look out for further discounts, apply them to your record and will be there for you in an emergency.

By the way, Excel Travel was open during the recent snow blizzard on 12/26-12/27/10. Continental Airlines and many other companies played recordings until 1/2/11 that they were “too busy” to answer the phones.  That much for customer service!

If a tour operator or cruise line did not give us pricing that was equal to or better than what they offer on their site, no reputable travel consultant would ever again sell their product. You can always count on the fact that our pricing will be as good or better than any tour or cruise prices you see on direct booking sites.

IF not (as we state so boldly on our homepage) we will pay for your vacation!
Time is our most precious commodity.  With every vacation it is our goal, to make sure that you will have great memories to last a lifetime!

Happy Traveling!

Legit or Scam?

Last month Budget Travel published a 10-question quiz called: “Can You Spot The Travel Rip-Off?”
Click here to make sure you won’t be taken to the cleaners.

And talking about cleaners….

Sign found in a Bangkok Dry Cleaners:
Bangkok Cleaners

Travel and Bad Weather

Gruezi, Hola, Aloha, Ciao, Bonjour, Ni Hao, Yia Sou, Guten Tag, Hey!

Travel and bad weather don’t mix together.

This hasn’t been a kind time for travelers, with winter weather wreaking havoc on travel plans in Europe and the United States. But passengers can take steps to prepare for the worst.

Here’s how:

BOOK THE “RIGHT” FLIGHTS
Long haul flights and larger planes are less likely to get canceled, than smaller, half empty flights (it’s all about the money).

CONSIDER TRAVEL INSURANCE
BUT be sure you are familiar and understand all the fine print.  There is a lot of it!!!  Whenever possible, we recommend insurance that allows you to cancel out for ANY reason (NO fineprint, whatsoever!)

ASK FOR WAIVERS
Airlines have become a lot more proactive and if bad weather is predicted might allow you to change your travel plans for free (one less potential problem they have to deal with).

CHECK THE ARRIVAL OF THE INCOMING FLIGHT Rather than checking your flight departure, find out where the flight is coming from and check the arrival time. IF the flight is coming in late, it probably will depart late!

KNOW WHO’S RESPONSIBLE
Thanks to consumer-friendly “passenger’s rights” initiatives in the United States and Europe, airlines and airports do have some responsibilities to inconvenienced passengers. But weather-related disruptions almost always let carriers off the hook. And there’s a good reason for that: Government regulators never want to encourage airlines to operate unsafely in dicey weather. Besides, the ultimate responsibility for your travel plans and your on-the-road comfort is yours. After all, who’s got your best interests at heart? Only you.

GO EARLY, GO NONSTOP
Generally speaking, there’s also a best time to fly: early in the day Statistics repeatedly show that airlines and airports operate most efficiently in the morning hours, and there’s another benefit of early-morning flying: There are more chances to rebook during the day if there is a disruption.

HAVE A PLAN B – AND PLANS C AND D
Airlines have cut their support staffs to the bone in an effort to shore up profitability, so their ability to assist passengers during a weather-related crisis has been severely reduced. Airport-based agents are quickly overwhelmed and, when you can make your way through the lines, the service you get is naturally stressed and curtailed. Lightly staffed telephone reservation centers can no longer cope with regular call volumes, let alone the spikes that occur when weather intervenes. And airline and airport websites have been know to crash under the volume during “flight irregularities.”

The solution?  Research your alternatives before you fly. Print out (or forward to your smartphone) all of your logical flight options so you know what can be done. It’s better than hoping a frazzled and overworked airline employee can help you efficiently in a crisis situation.

GET TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE

Most of the madding crowds will be waiting in lines for airlines to find them alternate flights for free or complimentary accommodations.  Stay in the line, but also call the airline (good luck with that!), or better yet…
CALL US (24/7).

As dramatic as your situation might seem – we probably have seen worse and will do everything we can to bail you out – while you go relax and have a cup of coffee!

And most importantly:  DON’T THINK ABOUT THE PROBLEM YOU ARE HAVING (everybody else has problems too!) – THINK AHEAD TO THE SOLUTION and then CHARM THE RESERVATIONS AGENT (OR US!)  WITH YOUR WIT, KNOWLEDGE AND PATIENCE!

How To Get A Free Vacation

FORM A CRUISE GROUP AND SAIL FOR FREE

By rounding up a bunch of your friends to cruise together, you can earn a free cabin for yourself.

Cruising for free is easier that you might think – just ask Cindy Meyer of Oceanport, NJ.  After Cindy talked with us about her traveling preferences, we reserved a block of cabins on her favorite ship and emailed fliers with her group’s information to her family and friends. The goal was to entice enough friends and family to earn a free vacation for Cindy.
The result? Not only did she earn a free cruise but her husband did too, when when 26 other people joined the group.

Some groups start as a single booking, like the cruise we planned for an engaged couple. The bride chatted about her upcoming honeymoon cruise to friends and neighbors and within weeks, 34 other people signed on to set sail, and the newlyweds cruised for free!

All you need is a few friends or a family wanting to travel together on the same sailing, and an excuse to do it – be it for a family reunion, birthday, graduation, club outing, to celebrate a divorce (yes, that happens too!) or just for fun.

Defining a Cruise Group – The Magic of Numbers

Most of the major lines, generally define a “cruise group” as 16 people occupying 8 cabins (3rd and 4th passengers in a cabin don’t count toward the total). The 16th person earns the free fare – although port charges and taxes must still be paid.  With some companies, off-peak sailings or larger groups earn a free cruise for every 8th to 12th person.

Perks Galore For Group Travelers

Not only are cruise group rates sometimes lower (many times, substantially lower) than individual rates, but often, the free cruise can be applied to the group leader or be divided evenly among the group, saving everyone money.
Additionally, many of the major cruise lines frequently offer amenities available only to group cruisers. Examples include cabin upgrades, complimentary wine and chocolates in each stateroom, a cocktail party, free bathrobes, etc.

Other advantages are:
– The freedom to choose the cabin class (inside, oceanview, balcony) you can afford.
– Indulging in hassle-free family meals (minus the dishwashing duty that comes with a house rental), avoiding waits for the big table at a restaurant, and eliminating those squabbles over the check.
– Participating in many group activities.
– Enjoying the camaraderie of traveling with loved ones.
– Taking advantage of children’s programs, which enable adults to have a worry-free evening together.

Imagine: No planning, No cooking, No cleaning, No entertaining,
It’s all done for you!

Group cruises are great for:
– Family Reunions
– Weddings and Anniversaries
– Church Groups and any kind of clubs
– How about playing golf on five different islands in one week?
The possibilities are endless!

Please feel free to call/email us for further information. We’ll do all the work for you.  All you need to do is get the word out. We’ll even pay for your postage, design the fliers, make the bookings, etc.

So, as the cruise ads say, get out there and set sail with friends.

Ship Ahoy!

Copyright © 2009 Excel Travel, Inc. All rights reserved. _________45 Atlantic Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740 __________ (800-EXCEL-88)

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