Planning and Booking the Best Vacation: Tips from AAA Travel Upcoming AAA Travel Marketplace Ideal Venue to Leverage This Advice and Get Great Deals

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AAA Travel Marketplace offers consumers great travel resources from over 150 travel vendors. New England's largest travel show takes place March 2-4, 2012 at Gillette Stadium's Putnam Club East Clubhouse.

With the 9th Annual AAA Travel Marketplace quickly approaching on March 2-4, 2012 at Gillette Stadium’s Putnam Club East Clubhouse, AAA Travel today issued several tips designed to provide consumers with useful advice for planning and booking vacation travel at Marketplace or anytime.

“With all the vacation options available the task of planning and booking a vacation can be a daunting task,” said Rick Del Nero, Vice President, Branch Operations, AAA Southern New England. “We’re finding consumers who use a travel agent to assist them during the planning and booking process are more satisfied with the planning process and with the vacations they take.”

                                     Seven Tips for Planning the Best Vacation
1. Consult a Travel Agent. – Many consumers shy away from working with a qualified travel agent, afraid that doing so will cost extra. This is not always the case. Agents can save people time and money, especially when traveling for the first time, or taking an important, once-in-a lifetime trip. These experts have a keen sense of the competitive landscape and can quickly pinpoint, tailor and package a vacation based on a traveler’s interests and budget. Agents can also help make the most of your vacation by arranging pre-and –post vacation stay options. They can suggest must-see attractions and must-do activities by destination too. Agents will be able to find the best flights as they have access to more options than travelers can find on their own through an airline or an online travel agency.

2. Look for a Package Deal. – While consumers can put together all of the pieces of a trip online, the best vacation packages are typically developed by experienced travel counselors who know where to look. These experts leverage their knowledge and connections in the business to create vacation packages that meet an individual’s unique needs.    

3. Look for Travel Extras. – Today’s consumers are not necessarily seeking the least expensive trip, but want the most for their travel dollar. To accommodate those needs, some travel providers are offering extras with trips, such as shipboard credits, gas cards, extra nights at a hotel, upgrades, etc. Consumers should be on the
lookout – and ask for – those extras when working with a travel agent.

4. Be Opportunistic and Flexible. – Many times, the best travel opportunities are discovered at the last minute. For consumers to take full advantage of those offers, they need to be flexible with vacation planning in terms of dates and times. By being flexible, consumers can also take advantage of “shoulder seasons” – just before and just after peak travel times – to save money at many desired destinations. Consider booking your flight for travel during off-peak-hours, flying standby, or even staying at a hotel near the beach rather than overlooking it. They must also be fully prepared to travel. Passports can take up to six weeks to secure so it’s a good idea to plan well ahead of time. That way, when a good offer comes along you’ll be ready and able to take full advantage.                                                                                

5. Protect your INVESTMENT. Purchase Third Party Trip Insurance – Know what your insurance includes. Be certain default insurance is part of the plan — unfortunately, many consumers purchase travel insurance through the vacation provider and aren’t covered if that provider goes out of business.

6. Travel with Reputable Brands – Another form of insurance is to purchase a vacation from a reputable company, as dependability, consistency and experience are the hallmarks of great brands. A travel agent won’t steer you wrong. Their goal is to help you plan and book a vacation that you will thoroughly enjoy and come away with great memories that will last a lifetime. Travel agents will stand behind the recommendations they make and be there for you before, during and after your vacation.

7. Purchase your vacation with a Credit Card – Paying with a credit card makes it easier to avoid losses from fraud. Also, many credit cards allow you to earn reward points, sometimes double and triple points, when they are used for various purchases, including travel. Cruises and Land Vacations can be higher priced purchases so the opportunity exists to earn a great deal of points on your credit card when you use one for your vacation purchase. The AAA Member Rewards Visa® Credit Card is a terrific option. Learn more and apply at AAA.com/CreditCard.

About AAA Travel Marketplace
The 9th Annual AAA Travel Marketplace, New England’s biggest and most comprehensive travel show, takes place at Gillette Stadium’s Putnam Club East Clubhouse on March 2-4, 2012. The Marketplace brings ‘all things travel’ under one roof, with expert travel advice from over 150 top travel vendors and AAA’s experienced, certified travel counselors, a wide variety of destination based travel presentations, and full AAA branch services including passport photos. AAA Travel Marketplace is open Friday, March 2: 2pm to 9pm, Saturday, March 3: 10am to 6pm, Sunday, March 4: 10am to 4pm. Admission is $5 Members , $10 for Non-Members. A $2 off coupon and advance tickets are available at AAA branches or online at AAA.com. Tickets are also available at the door. More information is available by calling 1-800-222-7448, by visiting one of AAA Southern New England’s local branches in Massachusetts, Rhode Island or Connecticut, or by logging onto http://www.AAA.com/travelmarketplace.

About AAA Southern New England
AAA Southern New England serves more than 3 million members in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts including Greater Boston, Worcester, Berkshire County and Cape Cod. In addition to its roadside assistance programs, AAA also provides its members an array of products and services in travel, insurance and financial services. The Club also offers exclusive products and services with special member discounts and value-added programs. For more information about AAA Southern New England, visit AAA.com.                                                    

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