Make Group Travel EASY!

It’s definitely GROUP season in the travel world!  Small groups of a few family members traveling for Spring Break, friends booking in larger groups that
have a common interest (Hair Groups, Music Groups, Foodies, Dance Groups, -you name it and it can be a group!) and don’t forget about corporate
group travel big & small.  What can you do to make your group trip the best it can be?

#1 – Have each person that will be traveling in the group be responsible for his or her own booking with the travel agent

** The agent needs to ask specific questions about each person traveling- medical or dietary issues, special requests etc.  These are best asked directly
to the traveler and not through a 3rd person.

#2- Groups Leaders should direct all questions & concerns from the group directly to the travel agent, group leaders should not play “middle man”.

**If you want to know what the dress attire is for your trip, ask your agent.  The person that put the group together may not be well traveled and may
not be able to provide you with the best and most current information.

#3- When traveling anywhere outside the county (including  a Caribbean Cruise), make Passport’s MANDATORY for all passengers

** When cruising to the Caribbean round-trip from a U.S. port, a U.S. Citizen can technically get by with a valid Driver’s License and their original Birth      Certificate (or certified true copy of it).  However, if you run into any emergencies while on travel outside the U.S. you will not be able to fly back to
the U.S. without that passport!  Be safe, get the passport and know that all is good!

#4- Make sure each person in the group purchases Travel Insurance!

** Travel Insurance covers the unexpected!  It protects you prior to departure and it protects you while on travel! Most U.S. medical insurances do not
cover you the minute you leave the U.S. this is a great reason to have travel insurance.  A medical evacuation runs tens of thousands of dollars….
get travel insurance to protect you issues like this.

#5- If traveling with multiple rooms or cabins of family members, ask the travel agent to copy all parties involved on e-mail correspondence

** I recently dealt with a family that had multiple cabins going and each person wanted to contact the agent and ask different questions then they would  “attempt” to pass along the information to the rest of the travelers in the other rooms.  How much information gets lost each time the story gets
repeated? A LOT!  SO, to help ensure everyone in the group was getting the SAME and CORRECT information directly from me, I started replying to
the entire group when 1 person would send me an e-mail asking a question.

#6- Read everything your travel agent sends you CAREFULLY and THOUROGHLY!

** Your agent should be providing you with everything you need to know prior to travel in regards to the arrangements he/she has made for you.
PLEASE take the time to read over everything they send you!  I recently had a large group travel and 7 days prior to the start of the trip, I had
members of the group calling asking questions about things that should have been taken care of 30 days prior. Example- I arranged group transfers
for the group to get  from the airport to a cruise ship.  Each person was supposed to contact me no later than 30 days prior to departure with their
air schedule so that I could provide the details to the transfer company.  7 days prior to the trip, people were calling me asking “where’s my transfer
voucher” and the only reply I could give was “did you call me with your flight details?”  So many of these guests openly admitted to me that they
had NOT read their paperwork I had sent them and just assumed I would take care of everything or would call them personally if I needed
anything further. Remember- your group is probably not the only group the agent is taking care of.  Your agent needs YOU to be responsible for your
booking.

#7- Ask questions!  Anthing you want to know about your trip – Ask the AGENT booking it!

**As you think of questions that you would like to discuss, write them down so that way the next time you talk to your agent or e-mail them you can go
over your questions together.  Think about sending your questions in an e-mail and copying the other members of your group in the e-mail.  You may
have thought of a question that they hadn’t thought of and it might be helpful to them as well. Ask the other members of your group to share their
questions with you as well.

#8- Make PAYMENTS along the way….

** When you book group travel well in advance, your payment are normally broken down into 2-3 payments.  I always highly encourage all our travelers
to make payments  once a month or every pay day towards their trip.  This way when the final payment due date rolls around, it will not catch 1/2 your
group off guard.  More people cancel out at time of final payment when booked in a group due to not having the funds to make the final payment.
If you are making payment installments along the way, the final won’t be nearly as large!

#9 – Ask your Travel Agent for advise on booking tours & Excursions

** If your trip is the type that allows you to add in extra tours or side trips, talk to your agent about which of these would be best for you and your
traveling companions.  Also, if the entire group wants to do the same tours, a group discount can normally be gotten!

#10- Work with a Travel Agent that is familiar with booking group travel and escorting group travel!

** Don’t you want an experienced group agent who is well traveled helping your group?  It only makes sense to me to have a true professional help you
plan your trip!  If I was getting the engine of my car worked on, I would not take it to the tire shop down the street for the work to be done…It’s gonna
go to the SPECIALIST!

I have booked and escorted many groups over the years and I can tell you that the best travelers in the groups are the ones that READ the paperwork
I send them and call or e-mail me with their questions.  If you don’t ask questions, we can’t help you.

If you have never been part of a group trip,you should try it, they can be LOTS of FUN! As a group leader (the person that brings the group to the travel
agent, you have the opportunity to earn free travel or money back after the group travel.  Do you have a group of friends, family members or co-workers
would you would like to travel with?  Make it happen, call your agent and get started on putting together a great group trip!

Happy Group Travels My Friends! Diane

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