Why Should I book with you instead of an online booking?
First, on the average it takes 4-5 hours for individuals to book their own vacations and can be confusing. I can do all of the footwork for you. Next, when you book on line there is no support if something should go wrong during your trip. I offer 24/7 support. Additionally, I am a human! You can actually ask questions, discuss plans and concerns, call me and I will be there for you. I can tailor your trip to meet your needs and add some “special touches” you won’t get on line. As an experienced traveler myself I am armed with available resources offering advice and suggestions. I can also tell you about required documents necessary for travel and even places to avoid. I provide caring, excellent service and devote time to making your trip special.
How Do Travel Agents Get Paid? Will I be charged an extra service fee?
The travel gets paid from the supplier whose fee is built into their pricing. For instance, if you book a Viking tour yourself, you will pay the same price as if you would book through the travel agent. In fact, the travel agent may even be able to get you more perks or better pricing because they receive specials that the general public does not always see and in some cases can negotiate with the supplier on your behalf. The travel agents build a relationship with the supplier that goes a long way. Unlike most travel agencies no service or handling fee is charged. An exception to that rule, however, is if a very large group is traveling. In that case each traveler is booked separately which requires a lot of time. In those cases a reasonable service fee will be discussed up front before booking. There will be no “surprise” charges.
How and when do you, the customer, make payments?
The amount of the deposit and due dates for payment varies from supplier to supplier. To use Viking River Cruises as an example, a deposit has to be made within 48 hours of the quote. The deposit consists of the total amount of the flight cost, the trip insurance premium and a small cabin deposit. The balance is due 31 days later. For some ocean cruises without air, you may need as little as a $50 deposit and are required to pay the balance 145 days out from your sailing date. You can make payments until the due date. I only accept credit card payments – no checks or cash are accepted.
If something happens to That Special Touch Travel, will I lose my trip?
Absolutely not! I work with one of the largest host companies in America who has the availability to step in and take over for me if an unforeseeable event should occur.
What is the booking process like?
First, we talk. I gather information from you and get a sense of your travel style, desires and budget. Then I provide a few quotes for you to look at. Please know that Quotes ARE NOT BINDING. To secure a quote you need to leave a deposit in order to hold the quoted price. After you agree to a quote when the deposit is made you will be given the final payment due date. Until the final payment is made you can make changes on your trip. It is very difficult and in most cases impossible to make changes to your trip after the final payment is made unless it is to add an excursion. When the final payment is made you will get acknowledgement of that. Your final documents will not be available until 30 days before your departure. We will maintain contact throughout the planning process until your departure and after. We love to hear about your trip.
Do I need trip or travel insurance?
While I am not licensed to sell travel insurance I can add it to a package, recommend companies and contact them for your insurance needs. I will provide the number of the carrier so you can talk to them directly or provide the policy via a PDF. If you do not wish to purchase trip insurance you are required to sign a waiver. Travel is an investment. Like all investments it is wise to purchase trip insurance to not only protect your investment but to protect yourself in the event of unforeseeable occurrences - health issues, loss of luggage, missed connection, hospitalization, evacuation etc. There are many coverages and policies to choose from to protect against loss of money if you need to cancel.
Note: If you are only purchasing air check with your credit card company as some offer automatic flight insurance under certain circumstances.
I am traveling with my family. Are the children permitted to accompany us on an escorted tour?
There are many suppliers that allow and cater to young families. The obvious one is Disney. However there are companies, such as Trafalgar and CIE that offer wonderful family excursions. A young family is not usually welcome on most river cruises. On most escorted tours the children have to be over the age of 8. Ocean cruises are always a great option for families. Each supplier has different requirements. Renting a villa, a resort stay and an all-inclusive location are also good options.
Do you need a passport to travel to the Caribbean and Canada? Do I need an enhanced license?
I would strongly advise it as a means of covering all the bases. If you are sailing on a closed loop trip to and from the USA to the Caribbean and you are a USA citizen you need either a passport or your birth certificate and proof of name change as well as a state ID such as a driver’s license. Enhanced driver's licenses are presently available to U.S. citizens who reside in the states of Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington. The enhanced license is accepted in place of a passport to travel to Mexico and Canada either from land or sea and some countries in the Caribbean. By October 1, 2020 either a Real or Enhanced license will be required to board domestic flights. My advice to travelers- get both a passport and an enhanced license if it is available in your state.
Remember to renew your passport prior to a scheduled trip if it will expire 6 months after your travel date.
Does my child or baby need a passport? What are passport cards?
Every U.S. citizen — including infants — needs a valid passport to enter and leave most foreign countries. The U.S. Department of State issues passports. ... As a parent or legal guardian, you must apply in person on your baby's behalf and you must bring your child with you when you apply. If you're traveling to Canada, minors 15 and younger may cross land or sea borders without a passport, but a certified copy of a birth certificate is necessary.
A passport card is a wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings or ports-of-entry by sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The card provides a smaller, less expensive alternative to the passport book for those who travel frequently to these destinations by land or sea. The card has the same validity period as a passport book: 10 years for an adult, 5 years for children age 16 and younger. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air.
Do I book stand-alone flights?
No. However, if you are a regular traveler with That Special Touch Travel or under certain circumstances I will do so. Booking flights is a difficult task because we have no control over the pricing or schedule. You are given a quote and have to make an immediate decision because seconds later the price or availability may, and frequently does change. That is a decision the traveler should make. When flights are booked as part of a package they are usually cheaper because the supplier has arrangements with the airlines and the flights freeze when you put a deposit down in those cases. I book flights as part of packages.
How Can I trust the quality of tours I purchase from That Special Touch Travel?
I only deal with reputable suppliers that have been vetted by my host company KHM and have an affiliation with United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) - a professional, voluntary ... voice to protect the traveling public. I have either toured with many of the companies myself, have read reports and used my hundreds of contacts to evaluate the companies. In fact, I am not permitted to book travel with tour operators who are not vetted by my host company.