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By Kimberly Milnes

10 Myths about Travel Agents

1.  It Costs More to Use a Travel Agent

You don’t pay more when I book your travel. But you do receive quality, value and the added bonus of my expertise and service. I have access to preferred and reputable travel wholesalers who provide competitive pricing and/or upgraded value.

 

2.  Travel Agents charge a Fee For Their Services

Yes, I do charge a fee for some services. But, for most travel,  I am compensated from the travel wholesaler through which I purchase your travel. This fee is already incorporated in to the pricing and is NOT an additional charge. The fee is there whether you purchase the product or I do it for you.  When you book online the company provides little service and you do all the work. However, when I book your travel the research is done to make sure you have the vacation you desire.    Read more

By Kimberly Milnes

Need Help Packing?

I usually start packing the day before a trip.  I am doing laundry, getting the luggage out, printing boarding passes, etc.  But, with 2 young children I am packing for at least 3 people.  I let my husband pack his own bag.  But, invariably, I forget something.   Well, I just found a great tool that I wanted to share. The personalized packing list on TravelSense.org.

This great tool helps anyone create a packing list based on the number of travelers, destination, accommodations, weather and tour activities. All you have to do is fill in a few boxes and ta-da packing list.

I created a list for my May trip to the Bahamas. It is very comprehensive.  A few odd items like a Swiss Army Knife, which I will leave at home. But, I will certainly use it to jog my Mommy brain and make sure I have everything we will need.

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By Kimberly Milnes

On The Fly – Another Great Airline Search Engine

I just found this great new airfare search engine, ITA Software’s Matrix Airfare Search. In the past I have always started my search with Kayak and Orbitz.  I tend to us Kayak more as i feel it has more airline options and seems to really get to the best price.

Well, now you can also check ITA Software’s Matrix.  ITA is the software company that created the software that drives Kayak, Orbitz and many other major airline search engines. They wrote the book.   The only drawback of the ITA system is that you can not book directly from their site. However, the great advantage of their  system is that it allows travelers to view a massive amount of potential flight options, flight combinations and generally at a lowest possible fare.

Some other cool options are:

  • Geo Search – search by airport code, city, or nearby airport selector
  • Event Finder – plan your trip with a listing of events and things to do
  • Interactive Calendar – explore date ranges and find the lowest fares
  • Real-time Filters – focus on flights that suit your preferences
  • Color-coded Time Bars – compare flights at a glance

Also for the Smartphone folk, there is ITA’s OnTheFly iPhone and Android App which gives users the option to search multiple airports around a chosen airport, search by number of potential stops, arrival time, departure time, change airports during a layover as well as other potential customizable search options.  I am more of a simple gal, but it is really nice to have all these options.  However, in doing a recent search, I did not get as many return flight options as I did on the online version.

Once you have selected your flights, ITA Software’s OnTheFly can e-mail you the full details of the flight you’ve selected so you can book your flight with the airline.  OnTheFly even gives you a phone number for the airline, just push the button on your phone.

I did a test search Newark to Orlando 6/6 to 6/10.  I checked Kayak, Orbitz and ITA.  I was able to find the same low fare using each site. However, I did find that Orbitz and ITA are easier in picking your exact departure and return flight times. But, I had more choices of airlines with ITA and Kayak.

Overall, I really like all that ITA and OnTheFly have to offer.  I love having a new tool to use in my search for low airfares. Just thought I would share.

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10 Myths about Travel Agents
Airline Tickets – Buy sooner than later