A little About Alot Saratoga

Book Your Own Travel or Reach Out to an Expert, Saratoga!

Travel has become less and less fun over the past dozen or so years. Ever since 9/11 and the recession, a lot of the excitement has been drained out of what was once an enjoyable journey, whether it be to your mother-in-laws across the country or a cruise to a caribbean island.

The resurgence of the expert travel agent who make it their priority to find great deals as well as a memorable trip for their clients has rekindled. 

The travel business went through a shakedown and for those who learned all the techniques of booking your own travel, it has been well worth it. 

Now, though, there could be well worth it arrangements you're missing out on. Here is where an experienced travel expert comes in real handy. They know the deals and steals, so take advantage of your local, friendly travel agent. The time you save with a professional booking an intricate trip with special considerations is well worth the money. Now with the Euro going through so much turmoil, a trip to Europe can be a great bargain. The travel agent knows those deals and will share them with you.

This past weekend I read two intriguing articles about travel as we plan some family trips. And, usually my husband spends hours upon hours booking everything. He has become quite good at the planning but there is no way he knows all aspects of a trip and could use some help on the agenda. Adding side trips and finding the best prices. This time, especially after reading the New York Times story and a piece in the Financial Times, I convinced my husband it was time to reconnect with a travel agent. It has been years but we're ready to work with a travel authority.

We both recall times when all we did was pick up the phone and talk directly to a well informed and well travelled travel agent. The days of doing it all yourself exist and will not go away, especially on those short trips, but you can get excellent guidance through a reputable agent.

The time it takes to go through all the options online could be an exercise in wasted energy if you do not have the inside knowledge on where to look. The experts do, especially for the more extensive, overseas travel.

Reviewing all the material online will educate you but can be tedious. Every site has beautiful pictures and wonderfully written advertisements to persuade you to book but the expertise knowledge from a pro may make all the difference in the world as you plan out your trip.

Get to know the travel agent so you can rely on him or her as you go through the process, even while you are on your trip.

Nearly one in three leisure agencies is currently hiring. PhoCusWright, a travel research firm, in 2011, states that travel agencies have experienced a second consecutive year of growth. Bookings account for a third of the $284 billion US travel market, now, according to the New York Times.

An improving economy, more corporate travel and the extra travel by a companion that goes with it, is converging with travelers for whom booking travel online has become increasingly onerous, time-consuming and a major headache. 

When I say time-consuming, I mean it. I am currently working on two, maybe three, trips and finally decided to pick up the phone today to talk to a travel expert. In a recent survey commissioned by IBM, of more than 2,000 travelers worldwide, 20 percent said it took them more than five hours to search and book travel online. Nearly half said it required more than two hours.

So, at least two and up to five hours of your time could be saved by reaching out to a travel agent.

Don't expect a rebound in the number of travel agents as in  the pre-internet days. The stronger leisure travel industry agencies survived and there is now a growing travel market. 

If you are planning a cruise or travel through Europe, since it is less expensive experience, to do so, finally, it would be well worth the time to contact a travel agent. Think of all the time and money you will save. A smart breed of tech savvy and collaborative agent has developed. Think one stop shopping for a great trip.

Do you homework before you talk to the travel agent. The better educated you about the trip you want, the more helpful your travel agent will be as you continue to research the journey together.

Agents set themselves apart from the Web by offering special experiences that consumers can't easily get on their own. Like private tours of the Mont St. Michel Chapel in Normandy, a tour of the Cathars Castles of Languedoc in Toulouse, France or a tee time on a P.G.A. golf course normally closed to the public or their long term connections help clients into a specific boutique sold-out hotel or they are there to help the flustered traveler or travelers make it onto the next flight when bad weather hits an area you're visiting. 

Visiting an island never visited and you want to know about safety as well as the local flavor. Where are the best spots are to check out a sunset, sip a great wine or enjoy an authentic local meal.

A travel expert is your best bet. Saratoga has several. Check your local listings online, in the paper or in the Yellow Pages. You will be happy you took the time to chat with a travel agent. They will help you develop a great journey through your discussion and they will help you figure out a great travel budget, as well.

The internet has tremendous value for those short trips or the travel you've taken in the past. And the web will always be an excellent resource for information about the longer travel you are planning. But nothing beats a real person on the other end of the line when you want to make sure you get the best deal and hear about the best places to go. But, if you want more information about a certain location or a particular cruise ship or a way to travel multiple destinations and still enjoy accommodations you require, an actual human being on the other end of the line can be your answer.

So, book your own travel or reach out to a reputable agent, Saratoga? Up to you!

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Elaine Hume Peake

Elaine Hume Peake has vast experience covering news, lifestyle and entertainment since 1976. As an award-winning media executive, senior producer and show runner for a variety of multimedia, Elaine has a deep sense of curiosity and enjoys digging deep to find not only the serious side of life but also the immense joys. Elaine's proven expertise on the national and the local level while working in Washington, DC for Post Newsweek stations, WPLG in Miami, WABC in New York City, WCBS in New York City and WTEN in the Capitol region, she has found a wonderful home in Saratoga. Elaine has extensive experience on the editorial and the creative production side. She has developed several news and talk shows, documentaries, non-fiction television series, major live events and specials has taken her on a fantastic journey she will share with her audience of A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT. Elaine's perspective after covering riots, Princess Di's death, Pope John Paul II funeral and others such as the search and recovery of the body of John F. Kennedy, Jr, numerous political campaigns, major crime stories to the amazingly life changing days of 9/11 created her level of news gravitas. Elaine has been the driver of numerous newsrooms in the nonstop 24/7 news cycle of New York City, Miami, Washington, DC and now this region. She is well as traveled and enjoyed her globe trotting in search of great tales to share. Elaine loves to communicate the story in an interesting, compelling and enjoyable way. She is a passionate idea generator and program innovator with a news metabolism for innovation, change and a focus on the future while a perspective from over the past 35 years of news. Elaine maintains a keen awareness on delivering enjoyment to her readers whether it be a major news happening or a compelling, memorable moment in time. Elaine is on board with Saratoga.com for a fun ride deeper into the world of this region and wants her readers of A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT to be a part of the journey but also a major participate in the ongoing conversation. Readers can e-mail me with comments, suggestions, ideas, stories at