Worldwide Wednesday: The Travel Agent

Here’s an introduction to Mary Allan’s travel journals we have been featuring. Some of you have asked where these journals and memories come from. 

When you’ve been a professional travel agent, you are often invited on “fam” trips and cruises to familiarize you with a tour/cruise operator’s product.  They show you what travel is designed for groups, families or individuals.  Many of these promotions are learning voyages.  As a travel agent visits a prime destination such as China, the promotion includes inspections of hotels catering to groups, honeymooners, families and individuals.

Travel agents tour hotels, resorts and are made aware of group facilities, places where large/small meetings can be held and eating facilities.  We sightsee, visit areas where the best shops can be found and take day trips.  When we take a cruise we tour the ship, check out all types of cabins and their facilities, sample menus in the restaurants and check out the sightseeing tours offered to clients.

Agents are “on the go” from morning through the evening, and meetings are held where we can ask questions about passports, if visas are required, if a tour or a cruise can be extended, can a couple be married on a cruise and do clients on tours have free time to plan something on their own, or just go off and shop or sightsee on their own?  Often, due to a political situation, it may be suggested that clients stay with the group or arrange a private tour with a guide.

Travel agents learn to operate several airline computer programs and many, like myself become CTC’s (Certified Travel Counselors) and continue their education every year so that they can give you the best service at the best price.