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 Helpful Resources for Planning Your Honeymoon
 02-11-11
Hiring the services of a good travel agent will take a lot of unnecessary pressure off of you. In the past, you may have felt that you did not need the assistance of a travel agent when planning a vacation. Planning a honeymoon, however, can often be far more involved and stressful than a "regular" vacation, due to the simple fact that you are also deeply enmeshed in the planning of your wedding!

Therefore, you should take advantage of the professional resources available to you when working out the small details and finding the best values. Keep in mind, though, that you will still probably want to do some research on your own, ask for second opinions, and, most of all, read the fine print.

Since a travel agent can become one of your most valuable resources, you will want to consider a few important things when trying to select one. Ask family, friends, and coworkers for personal recommendations (especially from former honeymooners). If you are unable to find an agent through a personal referral, then select a few agencies that are established nearby (from newspapers, phone books, etc.)

Next, you will want to make an appointment with an agent or speak to one over the phone. Pay close attention to the following and then make your decision.

Find out if they are a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). Additionally, find out if they are also a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC), or possibly a Destination Specialist (DS).

ASTA: Members of this organization are required to have at least 5 years travel agent experience. They also agree to adhere to strict codes and standards of integrity in travel issues as established by the national society. In most states, there are no formal regulations requiring certain qualifications for being a travel agent. In other words, any person can decide to call him/herself, and thus advertise as, a travel agent.

CTC: Certified Travel Counselors have successfully completed a 2 year program in travel management.

DS: Destination Specialists have successfully completed studies focusing on a particular region.

For a list of ASTA agencies in your area, call or write:
For a list of Destination Specialists and Certified Travel Agents in your area, call or write: Questions to Ask to Qualify Your Travel Agent:

How long has the Travel Agency been in business?

How long has the Travel Agent been with the agency?

How much experience does the Travel Agent have? Any special studies or travels?

Do they have a good resource library?

Does the agent/agency have a variety of brochures to offer?

Do they have video tapes to lend?

Do they have a recommended reading list of travel aid books?

Does the agent seem to understand your responses on your wish list and budget?

Does he/she seem excited to help you?

Does the agent listen carefully to your ideas? Take notes on your conversations? Ask you questions to ensure a full understanding?

Is the agent able to offer a variety of different possibilities that suit your interests based on your wish list? Do the suggestions fall within your budget?

Can the agent relay back to you (in his/her own words) what your wish list priorities are? What your budget priorities are?

Is the agent prompt in getting back in touch with you?

Is the agent reasonably quick in coming up with suggestions and alternatives? Are the suggestions exciting and within reason?

Does the agent take notes on your interests (degree of sports, leisure, food, etc.)?

Does the travel agency provide a 24 hour emergency help line?

Are you documenting your conversations and getting all of your travel plans and reservations confirmed in writing?

Aside from just offering information and arrangements about locations and discounts, a good travel agent should also provide you with information about passports, customs, travel and health insurance, travelers' checks, and any other information important to a traveler.

OTHER SOURCES

National bridal magazines and general travel magazines are a great place to search for honeymoon ideas. But remember, you cannot always believe every word in paid advertising.

In addition to the information your travel agent provides, you can also obtain maps, brochures, and other useful items on your own. At the end of this section, you will find many useful phone numbers to help you in contacting tourist bureaus and travel agencies worldwide. These offices are extremely helpful in acquiring both general information (information about the weather, tourist attractions, landmarks, and even coupons or promotional brochures "selling" the area) and more specific information about reputable hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, etc.

Also provided in this section are phone numbers for sources specializing in information about traveling by train (in the United States as well as abroad) and for camping and hiking throughout the country.

If you have Internet access you can acquire volumes and volumes of information and titillating pictures about your possible destinations. You can even "chat" with other fellow soon-to-be honeymooners or recent honeymooners about their experiences.

If you don't currently have access, local libraries often provide limited free time and user-assistance for their members.

Your local library, the travel section of book stores, and travel stores are also excellent sources for finding information and tips relevant to your travel needs. You will find books on traveling in general as well as books specific to the region or destination you will be visiting. There are numerous tour books, maps, language books and tapes, as well as books about a location's culture, traditions, customs, climate, and geography.

These books are a great source of information since they are independent from the locations they describe and are therefore impartial, objective, and usually contain correct, unbiased information. You can also find books and other resources describing (and sometimes rating) restaurants, hotels, shows, and tours. Books on bargain hunting and finding the best deals are common as well.

SOURCES TO READ

The Traveler's Reading Guide: Ready-Made Reading Lists for the Armchair Traveler

by Maggy Simone: A comprehensive listing of travel resources for almost every place in the world.

The Stephen Birnbaum Travel Guides

Frommer's Guides

Michelin's Green Guides; Michelin's Red Guides

Insight Guides

Let's Go! guides

Fodor's Guides

Fielding Travel Books

AYH Handbook and Hosteler's Manual: Europe and United States

The New York Times Practical Traveler

Mobil Travel Guide

Background Notes

U.S. Government notes containing information about the culture, people, geography, history, government, economy, and maps of most countries worldwide.
The U.S. Government Printing Office Cost: $1.00
(1-202-512-1800)
or download at: www.access.gpo.gov

101 Tips For Adventure Travelers
Overseas Adventure Travel
1-800-221-0814)


National Park Service publications: (1-202-208-4747)
www.nps.gov
{ National Park System Map and Guide
{ The National Parks: Index


National Forest Service publications:
(1-202-205-1760)
A Guide to Your National Forests
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