Helpful Advice for Consumers Making Last-Minute Holiday Travel Plans

WELLESLEY, Mass., a study by the Travel Industry
Association (TIA) predicts a record-number of Americans, over 45 million total, will travel via roads, skyways and rails during this December holiday season.
And, among them are the millions of inevitable procrastinators who
will make last-minute travel bookings.
Jack E. Mannix, CTC, president of the Institute of Certified Travel Agents
(ICTA), says travel professionals are encouraging last-minute consumers to
follow the standard “two-week bare minimum” rule of thumb when making their
travel arrangements during this year`s peak holiday travel season. This
year`s Christmas two-week deadline falls on Sunday, Dec. 10.
“It just makes sense that the earlier one books, the greater the number of
options they`ll have on dates, times and rates.  If you`re a gambler, you can
take a chance, but I wouldn`t advise that this holiday season.  There`s too
much demand,” said Mannix.
As airlines and hotels are already reporting near-capacity holiday
reservations, consumers should understand that while their travel options are
dwindling fast, there are still ways to arrive at their ultimate destination
in time for the holidays.  For confidence and convenience, ICTA encourages
travelers to utilize Certified Travel Counselors (CTCs) when making travel
arrangements.
“When planning travel via the Internet or directly with airlines, hotels
or car rental companies, sometimes consumers don`t understand all the rules
and restrictions, or are unable to get the advertised fare or quoted price,”
said Mannix.  “It`s also a time-consuming process, and with most people`s
limited time during the holiday season, it`s best to contact an expert to plan
the entire trip with one call. CTCs have the contacts and resources to help
consumers plan and book the best holiday trip possible, even within a tight
timeframe,” he added.
Mannix believes the Internet is a good tool to use when researching travel, if you have the time.  However, not all Web sites receive information and availability by all airlines, hotels and car rental companies, nor are
they able to provide the personal service before, during and after a trip that
a CTC can.  And, there are some pitfalls that consumers may be generally
unaware of.  For example, occasionally during online transactions consumers
might not be notified that their credit card has been denied, and they could
end up losing their reservation.
“People are so busy preparing for the holidays that they don`t have the time required to search the Internet for their travel needs. CTCs are
experienced professionals with all of this information at their fingertips.
They are a one-stop-shop for travelers who may have procrastinated in making
their plans, or wish to safeguard their trips by consulting someone they can
trust,” Mannix said.
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