Monthly Archives: March 2016

How to Be a Travel Agent

If you plan to become a travel agent or want to learn how to start a travel agency from home, you’d be glad to know that there are plenty of agencies that offer certifications, trainings, and the chance to own your very own travel agency.

A travel agent’s job functions may vary from assisting with booking/selling reservations to referring people to travel booking sites, where an agent receives commission.

Here are some tips to help you become a successful travel agent.

Research Travel Institutions and Education

The minimum educational requirement for individuals who want to become a travel agent is a high school diploma. Computerization and technology have increased training needs and most employers prefer applicants with a higher level of education such as a post-secondary vocational award.

There are vocational schools that offer full time travel agent programs as well as weekend and evening programs. These programs are also offered in community colleges and universities.

There are colleges that also offer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in tourism and travel. Although there are only a few courses that directly relate to travel and tourism, college degrees with background in world history, foreign language, communication and geography are often preferred by employers.

The American Society of Travel Agents features a correspondence course that teaches the basics of travel industry. While most travel agencies offer on the job training programs for their employees, there are also many reputable websites that give free detailed information and offer travel agent study course on how to start a travel agency business from home.

Be a Certified Travel Agent

Certifications will enhance your reputation as an agent and will show clients that you have met the professional standards set by an institution in the industry. The travel industry features several certifying organizations that are widely recognized today.

Experienced travel agents can take advantage of study courses from the Travel Institute that leads to a Certified Travel Counselor professional designation. The Travel Institute also features sales/marketing enhancement programs and destination specialist programs that provide a detailed knowledge of regions like:

•Western Europe

•The Caribbean

•North America

•The Pacific Rim

Cruise Lines International Association or CLIA offers various certification programs that are recognized and respected in the travel industry.

Get a Travel Agent Job

Find a job with an agency or partner with an agency to help you run your own travel counseling business. Try to work with an established agency.

There are also travel agencies that allow you to work from home. Find a host agency that will help you in establishing your own travel agency. A host agency will show you how to start a travel agency from home, provide services, back office support, travel suppliers, marketing support and access to reservation portals.

Become a Registered Travel Seller in Your State

There are states that require registration. This type of regulatory requirement helps protect consumers and ensures that agencies are legal. Don’t forget to check with government offices for local regulations.

Become a Part of Organizations

Joining organizations is a great way to stay up-to-date on trends and news in the travel industry. These societies also offer continuing education and updates to their members. If you expect to be booking online airline tickets, become a member of the International Air Transport Association or IATA.

Are You Really A Luxury Traveler?

While most people love to travel, what type of people are considered luxury travelers? What is this type of traveling all about?

Luxury traveling means you seek out good deals and aren’t looking to spend all of your money on an expensive trip. You will spend the time planning the right trip for you because you know your own needs. You will plan a trip in a place that isn’t crowded. You are a luxury traveler if you are flexible, choose the right seat on the airplane for the most comfort, and choose hotels that will make the stay better rather than the brand name hotels.

While most people might think of this type of traveler as someone spending the most money they can, has an attitude that everyone should accommodate them, and that plans their trip to be full of activities in the best-known brand hotels, this is actually not the case. These travelers prefer relaxation, peace and quiet, and a comfortable experience.

What do Luxury Travelers Prefer?

When it’s time to plan the trip, luxury travelers will opt for the easier travel experience. They know their wants and needs better than anyone else, so they will take the time to plan the trip out in advance. They will not plan too many activities because they know that relaxing is much more enjoyable than a busy trip. They plan the trip to ensure it’s as enjoyable as possible.

If they work with a travel agent, they are picky on which agent they use. Luxury travelers want someone that understands their needs and will make their trip more personalized. They don’t want a common travel package offered to all clients; they want their own customized package.

While sometimes they’ll choose first class, other times they just want a good window seat or aisle seat to stretch out. They buy their tickets in advance to reserve their seat.

Destination, Deals & Attitude

Luxury travelers will make sure they get the best discounts. They want to stretch their dollar as far as possible so they will seek discounts. They also understand those who are serving them should be tipped well. They always tip their doorman, babysitters, waitresses, taxi drivers, and tour guides.

While some may think a this type of traveler is one with a bad attitude or one expecting to be treated as royalty, in fact luxury travelers are very courteous and kind. They understand those serving them are equal to them and they deserve gratitude and flexibility.

Having a bad attitude is not what a luxury traveler is all about. They know that having a bad attitude is not the way to having a luxury experience or a pleasant one at that.

When choosing a destination, they know brand name hotels are not the way to go. They prefer the hotel with the deal or a great all-inclusive package. They know a small boutique can be the most luxurious option over an over-crowded brand name hotel.

They don’t choose a place where they may encounter spring breakers or they know is a highly sought out place during that time of year. Instead, they will choose a quieter, rare and exotic location to explore for a unique experience.

Vacations the Luxury Traveler May Choose

These travelers prefer rare and unfamiliar locations. Luxury travelers are typically:

  • Younger travels between 40-55 years old using a travel agent to book the best trip
  • Families in their early 30’s and 40s planning adventurous trips with kids
  • Choosing all-inclusive vacations to take the stress out of travel and pay all upfront while relaxing during the trip
  • Traveling in newer ways than ever before, by river cruising and space travel

While the average traveler makes plans for a typical beach vacation during spring break, the luxurious traveler chooses a private destination. The average traveler will choose a crowded hotel, while the luxurious traveler opts for a smaller and quieter hotel.

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15 Travelers That I Have Met

There are really as many type of travellers as there are people. Here we take a tongue in cheek look at some of the common types.

1. The Complete Budget Traveler

The complete budget traveler travels on a strict budget and does not vary from it, no matter how exciting the recently discovered opportunity is. No extra drinks for this traveller unless someone buys him/her one.

2. The Perennial Party Animal

The perennial party animal has one focus and that is to have fun usually at a bar. These travellers find places to party where others cannot. Perhaps they should be partnered with the complete budget traveler!

3. The Flexible Go-anywhere Traveler

The flexible go-anywhere traveler just chills out where-ever he/she is. There is no need for planning – everything is good. They go with the flow and to not need to know where they are going. Perhaps the traveller that enjoys any experience.

4. The Methodical Planner

The methodical planner does not do anything that is not pre-arranged. Every second is planned and when things go wrong as they inevitably do, they feel unloved. They will always be found where ever the plan tells them to be.

5. The Modern Techie

The modern techie can only travel if he/she has the latest travel accessories and gadgets. Stay close to the modern techie to learn what items works and what items are a waste of money for your next trip.

6. The Avid Souvenir Buyer

The avid souvenir buyer has money to spend and anything that he/she wants to remind them of the holiday. The head for the markets and shops and not interested in spending any time with the perennial party animal. Usually has trouble with baggage weight limits on the homeward journey.

7. The Know it All Traveler

The know it all traveler studies everything from the guidebooks and internet prior to travel. He/she finds great joy in asking the most in-depth questions of the guides or continually interrupts the guide with statements of “fact”. Not sure who the know it all traveller should travel with.

8. The Fancy Photographer

The fancy photography will probably have the most expensive camera (and don’t forget the lens) and take the longest to take any photograph. Other travellers are always waiting for him/her at any special sight. They also like to get out very early to “catch the light.”

9. The Constant Complainer

The constant complainer finds everything on the tour not to his/her usual standard. Usually claim to be frequent travellers and often want to “talk with a higher authority”. Probably should stay home and enjoy the things that are there!

10. The Helpless Traveler

The helpless traveler finds everything a little too much. He/she will ask the most unusual and often useless questions. Often there will be someone on the tour who takes the helpless traveller under their wings to protect them from the others.

11. The “I am looking for myself” Traveler

The “I am looking for myself” traveler is searching for something. It is something unique for each or the “I am looking for myself” travellers. Beat to let them find themselves but make sure that they get about safely.

12. The Incessant Talking Traveler

The incessant talking traveler does not leave anyone alone. They crave a discussion on almost any topic. Often they are quite interesting people but enough is enough.

13. The Travel Light Traveler

The travel light traveler needs only one cabin bag to see the world. They a proud of their achievement but their travelling companions struggle when there is no time for washing clothes. They tend to like to borrow things.

14. The Repeating Traveler

The repeating traveler goes to the same place or holiday each year. He/she can provide at least 101 reasons why you should join them. They take pride in telling you that they have seen three management changes at the hotel and the last manager was better than the current one.

15. The Exercising Traveler

Finally, the exercising traveler rises every morning to a vigorous physical workout. Only stay at hotels with gymnasium and swimming pool. Usually fussy with food and claim to eat “healthy” until the free wine is put on the table.

Whatever type of traveler you are or come into contact with – enjoy the experience and learn from them. Even the most tedious travelers will have something interesting to say.

Overseas Travel Insurance Plans Costs Less and Offers More

images (25)Everyone craves for vacations to enjoy some quality time with their loved ones and Indians are no exception. The outbound travel sector of India saw a robust growth this year because international travel destinations are highly sought-after among Indians in 2015. Obstacles like inflation, skyrocketing ticket price and depreciation of rupee couldn’t deter the wandering spirit of Indian travelers to travel around the world. Over 60% of Indians remain unmoved by the depreciating rupee and are raring to go to travel. However, the rate of availing travel insurance to safeguard the trip is still dismal among Indian travelers.

Young generations prefer to travel to international destinations once a year at least. According to a survey, 90% of these travelers make use of their own savings for overseas trips and don’t consider travel cover. Quite surprisingly, this is the mindset of young internet savvy generation as ICICI Lombard conducted the survey in the age group of 25-35 among 1049 people across six metro cities in India who had international trips in the previous year.

The survey further reveals that Singapore is the most preferred travel destination among young Indian travelers; the second and third places are held by US and UK.

Let’s take a look at the travel plans available and their prices for those who favor these destinations. Let’s start with Singapore.

Travel insurance plans available for Singapore trips

The following list of top 5 policy quotes in terms of lowest premium are for one 30 years old person looking for a single trip to Singapore. The trip duration is 10 days and the chosen sum insured is US$ 500000.

  1. Universal Sompo – Premium of Rs. 942
  2. HDFC Ergo – Premium of Rs. 1015
  3. Reliance – Premium of Rs. 1129
  4. TATA AIG – Premium of Rs. 1234
  5. Religare – Premium of Rs.1666

The lowest premium is Rs. 942 for a travel insurance plan for a 10 days trip to any Asian country such as Singapore, Thailand. This means one has to pay less than Rs. 100 per day to make his trip safe and secured. Indian travelers must know that travel plans are not only inexpensive but they also provide coverage for loss of baggage, passport, hijack and even emergency treatment.

Travel Insurance plans available for UK trips

The following list of top 5 policy quotes in terms of lowest premium are for 1 person looking for a single trip to UK. The trip duration is 10 days and the chosen sum insured is US$ 500000.

  1. Universal Sompo – Premium of Rs. 942
  2. Bajaj Allianz – Premium of Rs.991
  3. HDFC Ergo – Premium of Rs. 1015
  4. Reliance – Premium of Rs. 1129
  5. Bajaj Allianz ( Travel Elite Platinum) – Premium of Rs. 1139

Universal Sompo provides the lowest premium. The premium of travel insurance plan is also Rs. 942 for a 10 days trip To UK.

Travel insurance policies for US trips

The following list of top 7 policy quotes in terms of lowest premium are for 1 person looking for a single trip to US. The trip duration is 10 days and the chosen sum insured is US$ 500000.

  1. Universal Sompo – Premium of Rs. 1344
  2. HDFC Ergo – Premium of Rs. 1438
  3. Bajaj Allianz – Premium of Rs.1441
  4. IFFCO-TOKIO – Premium of Rs.1456
  5. Bajaj Allianz ( Travel Elite Platinum) – Premium of Rs. 1658
  6. TATA AIG – Premium of Rs. 1694
  7. Reliance – Premium of Rs. 1783

The lowest premium is Rs. 1344 for a travel insurance plan for a 10 days trip to US. Just imagine, you are getting all types of risks covered just by paying less than Rs. 140 for each day of your trip.

Best travel insurance plans in India in terms of baggage and medical coverage

The survey also made clear that 79% people buy travel plan to cover medical emergencies. Safety of baggage is the second most vital reason as 60% people behind purchasing travel insurance policy. So let’s find out best travel insurance plans in terms of medical emergency and luggage safety.

From the above list of travel policies for US, two plans by Reliance and Bajaj Allianz look best in terms of baggage cover.

Reliance Travel care platinum provides US$1500 for the loss of checked baggage for a premium of Rs.1783.

The Travel Elite Premium plan by Bajaj Allianz provides US$ 1000 for a premium of Rs. 1658 for the loss of checked baggage.

To get the best coverage for medical emergencies, the Titanium plan by HDFC ERGO is the best. It primarily covers:

  1. Emergency Medical Expenses
  2. Permanent Disablement/accidental death
  3. Hospital Cash
  4. Loss of Personal Documents
  5. Accidental Death
  6. Loss of Baggage
  7. Financial Emergency Assistance
  8. Personal Liability

What is the cost of international travel policy for a couple?

According to the survey, 52% of travelers prefer to have trips with spouses. So, if these people can avail a travel plan for visiting US or UK or Singapore, how much do they have to pay?

Let’s start with US trip for 10 days for a sum insured of US$ 100000 covering 2 people who are 30 and 28 years old.

Religare offers the best plan which comes at a premium of Rs. 2407.

If you compare travel plans available for couples who wish to visit UK, keeping the same criteria for trip duration, sum insured and age of the traveler, Religare provides the best plan. The premium of the plan is Rs. 1537.

For a trip in countries like Singapore, Thailand within Asia which has been the top travel destination of 2015, a couple has to spend even less for a travel insurance policy. If you compare travel insurance plans that cover Asia, you will get the lowest premium of Rs. 1218 from Explore Asia plan provided by Religare.

The positive part of the survey is the increased awareness among Indian travelers. More than 90% of young generation is aware of the travel insurance which is a significant rise from last year’s 80%. One of the major provider of travel insurance plans in India; ICICI Lombard underwritten a total travel insurance premium of Rs 100 previous year, one can expect the premium to increase by 5-10% in this year. The problem is not with the awareness; it is the lack of understanding about the benefits associated with these travel covers.

27% of the total respondents in the survey choose not to avail a travel insurance plan simply because they were under the wrong conception that such plans cover only accidents, loss of baggage and theft but don’t provide medical coverage. This is far from being the truth as the complete break-up of Titanium plan by HDFC ERGO shows extensive coverage for medical emergencies.

25% surveyed people didn’t buy any travel plan because they thought such plans are costly but it is not so. The price of all plans for person mentioned here are about less than Rs. 100 to less than Rs. 140 for each day of a 10 days trip. Travel insurance policies for couples are even cheaper as they cost in the range of less than Rs. 65 per day per person to less than Rs. 125 per day per person for destinations like US, UK and all countries in Asia including popular destinations like Singapore, Thailand.

Indians love to spend their holidays in international destinations. An international travel insurance plan doesn’t cost much and offers a lot in return. If you are also a travel freak, you should insure the total duration of the trip so that you can enjoy your holiday with complete peace of mind.