Your honeymoon can be one of the most memorable vacations you’ll ever take, or it can be a series of unfortunate surprises and little trip ruining hassles. We want you to to have the best honeymoon experience possible.
THE North Central Ohio Bride met with travel agent Leigh Ann Arnholt from Carson Travel and asked her some tough questions. After all, if our brides can save a bunch of cash by clicking and booking their honeymoon trip without a travel agent, we’d like to show them how.
Well the truth is you can… sort of… kinda… maybe… ummm… probably not… NOT!
Yes in the world Internet and DIY weddings, just about anything is “possible” but like believing “You Tube Science Experiment” videos, or expecting your wedding to be beautiful, just because you created a Pinterest board of pretty pictures….. possible doesn’t seem probable, let alone certain.
The last thing you need on your honeymoon is to find out that the proverbial weak link in your travel chain just cost you an extra hundred dollars, or worse… ruined your trip altogether.
TNCOB: We know people who have planned a weekend away, on their own, and things went well. What’s the point of adding the extra cost of a travel agent to the fun of planning a honeymoon?
Leigh Ann: Thanks for talking with us. You’ve just asked what every bride or groom or couple should be thinking about when planning a honeymoon. How can we have the most enjoyable trip, with the least stress, and the most value for our dollar?
The first thing you mentioned was added cost, so let’s talk about that first; then we can get to the fun stuff! What most people don’t realize, is that the price for any one particular flight, or cruise, or trip is the same for everyone. A travel agent can get the same price for a cruise, that the cruise line offers on it’s own website. Yes, there is a commission built in to the price. The only question is: Who earns the commission? Does a local travel agent, who you meet and know in person earn it, or does the cruse line just keep it for themselves when you book on their website?
TNCOB: So you’re saying you can get a honeymoon package for our brides for the same price they can book it online?
Leigh Ann: Yes…. and no. Sometimes we can get it for less. When air lines and cruise lines have under booked flights and cruises, they often tell travel agents about specials that they don’t put on their own websites.
TNCOB: That’s good to know, but isn’t it fun to plan your own honeymoon?
Leigh Ann: Of course it is! And that’s where we come in. We don’t plan a honeymoon for you and then stuff you into it. A good travel agent will ask you dozens of questions. He or she will get to know you – will to get to know your likes and dislikes – will get to know your goals for your honeymoon and dozens of other important things. [Are you looking for a quite secluded beach that you have all to yourself, or are you looking for a party cruise? Do you what a whirlwind tour of as many thing as you can get to, or do you want to spend an entire day visiting a major attraction or wandering the back streets of your destination? Are you pregnant or planning to be? It DOES make a difference! Be sure to tell your travel agent and ask why.]
Then your personal travel agent (not the different person you talk to every time you call that 800 number) will take what they learn from you and create several options that fit your style. Then YOU choose/plan your honeymoon from them.
TNCOB: That sounds like it could still be fun.
Leigh Ann: Fun is more than just planning the honeymoon, or even enjoying it while you’re on it.
Fun is the elimination of uncertainty, and stress, It’s knowing there won’t be any surprise (not a good kind of surprise) answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask about.
TNCOB: What sorts of things do wedding couples sometimes not think to ask about?
Leigh Ann: One common one is passage – getting from an airport, to the dock where your cruise leaves from. Do you know how far it is from the airport to the dock? How long does it take to make the trip? Can you rent a car? (Some married couples are too young – the companies WON’T rent to you.) Is it safe to take a taxi? Does the cruise company have it’s own shuttle – is there an extra cost for it?
Another is proper identification. Do you need a passport if your cruise starts and ends in the U.S? It depends.
Then there is the question of what “all-inclusive” means. The definition actually varies from company to company and resort to resort.
TNCOB: So it seems that travel agents know more than most of us about avoiding the little things that can cause stress on a honeymoon. Are there any more or bigger things they do to earn their commission?
Leigh Ann: Yes, but I want to say that in addition to commissions, most travel agents do charge a small fee for everything else they do for you. Once you choose an agency, you will be assigned a personal travel agent. That person is dedicated to your honeymoon and is your contact – even when you are overseas.
One of the cool things they can do for you is make sure you are checked in for your return flight – they can do it for you even while you are on the beach with no Internet service.
No one likes to cut their beach time short, to get back to somewhere to check in 24 hours before their flight home.
Of course no one likes to think of emergencies, but they do happen, the person answering at the 800 number doesn’t know you and isn’t going to contact family back home for you, or coordinate with the folks at your travel insurance company to get you home quicker in an emergency.
TNCOB: How can our brides be sure they are working with the right travel agent.
Leigh Ann: Ask the agent for referrals. The travel agent’s previous clients can give you insight into the agent’s style and helpfulness. Oh, and the same or other former clients are a great source of information about what to do and what to avoid on and at different cruises and locations.
THE North Central Ohio Bride has leaned enough while talking with Leigh Ann to recommend that our brides seriously consider eliminating surprises and stress form their honeymoon planning and experience, by working with a local travel agent.