Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on January 8, 2001. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Travel Agents Ease Honeymoon Planning
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Honeymoons can be as simple as putting gas in the car and renting a hotel room, but when the trip is more elaborate, travel agents can become a couple's best friend.
Beverly Howell, extension family economics and management specialist at Mississippi State University, said professionals can help choose honeymoons that fit personal tastes and budgets.
"For a wedding trip to be meaningful and enjoyable, it doesn't have to be to an exciting place," Howell said. "There are other options people can use depending on their interests."
Do a little homework before approaching a travel agent.
"Know your total budget, have flexibility in your travel time if possible, and know the type of places you want to go and the things you want to see," Howell said.
Lucy Jones is the owner of American International, a travel agency in Vicksburg. She said in 26 years of business, they've never sent anyone on a bad honeymoon.
"A honeymoon is a magical thing, and it should be full of memories and fulfilled desires," Jones said. "It should be the most memorable thing in their lives, and if there's anything we can do to enrich that occasion, we're going to strive to do it."
Travel agents do their best to match the couple with the perfect honeymoon.
"We talk to the couple and determine their likes and dislikes," Jones said. "We determine from the man his budget, and we don't do anything out of budget."
Once the agent has an idea of the couple's interests and budget, they present them a variety of options to consider. Agencies investigate each option before offering it to any travelers.
"Travel agents stay in the hotels, go to the beaches, visit the restaurants, observe the rooms and see what kind of activities are available," Jones said. "That's our job."
The Internet offers numerous travel opportunities and packages to users, but Jones said rather than compete for her customers, this resource has actually strengthened her business.
"The Internet has opened the doors to our clients and showed them what is out there," Jones said. "They come to us to unravel it and help them find the vacation they want."
Howell said couples on tight budgets can still have great wedding trips.
"There are some fabulous deals of a lifetime available if you plan in advance and are flexible," Howell said.
While super deals are not guaranteed, some things make them more likely. Allow plenty of time to look for deals. If possible, schedule a wedding trip in the off-season. Keep travel times flexible, possibly even a short time after the wedding.
Travel agents do not represent any individual company, so are able to shop around for the best package to fit individual needs. Travel agents do not charge for services, and usually can find better deals than individuals can find for themselves.
One call to a travel agent can arrange many services, such as airline tickets, hotel and rental car reservations. They even advise travelers on what clothing is appropriate and what paperwork is needed.
"Select a travel agent the way you would select any other professional," Howell said. "Check their certification, learn their reputation and know what you're getting into."
Travel agents should be Certified Travel Counselors. Some subscribe to a code of ethics, such as the American Society of Travel Agents or the Association of Retail Travel Agents.
Howell cautioned about direct mail or phone calls promising wonderful trips at fabulous prices. While some are legitimate, others are not and consumers should be very cautious. Do not give credit card information before thoroughly investigating.
"When you work with a reputable travel agent, you are confident the trip will be what it says it is," Howell said.
If would-be travelers do have problems with an agency or individual, there is action they can take. The Consumer Complaints of the American Society of Travel Agents, state attorney general's office, Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation all offer various help.