Vacation Guide: Introduction

Vacation Of A Lifetime

The whole point of travel for most of us is to relax. Unfortunately, things can go wrong. Itineraries are at the mercy of breakdowns, public holidays and strikes. The hotel you book may look like the best in the world from the (selectively taken) photos you see on its website – but turn out to be an unhygienic hellhole. Independent travel can be the most rewarding and exciting pastime in the world, but relaxing it is not.

There’s a lot of sense, then, in letting someone else’s brain take the strain of organising your well-deserved break. Taking an all-inclusive package vacation can be a great option for a stress-free holiday.

Think about it: a vacation company wants you to keep coming back to them year on year to organise your vacation. So they’re going to do their best to treat you with kid gloves. Take the issue of hotels, for example. You can rest assured that a reputable vacation company has thoroughly researched the hotel you’ll be staying at – even to the extent of sending their representatives there on a regular basis to ensure that standards are maintained. Paying a fair price to an established company should ensure that never again do you wind up in half-built hotel with a dirty bathroom and a view of a building site.

And if something does go wrong, and the service you get isn’t what you would expect… there’s somebody to complain to! Book your hotel independently, and you can discover some gems at bargain prices. But if it all goes horribly wrong, you have little or no recourse. An established U.S.-based vacation provider will be keen to ensure that all your grievances are addressed and, if necessary, compensated.

Planning your vacation through a company has other advantages, too. Fixing up vacation insurance in case the unexpected happens can be complicated and problematic if you’re an independent traveler. Vacation providers usually offer an all-in-one insurance deal on their products, so everything is simpler and easy to manage in the event of an emergency.

Perhaps the major advantage of working with a company is the increased level of support. If you take a vacation in a foreign resort by yourself, you’re essentially on your own in the event of an emergency. Travel with a vacation provider, however, and more often than not support will be on hand 24 hours per day. This usually takes the form of a Vacation Representative – an employee of the company who is permanently stationed in your vacation resort and whose sole job it is to make sure that your stay in as happy, comfortable, safe and enjoyable as can reasonably be managed. These representatives are, more often than not, American themselves. If they’re not actually from the States they are likely to be Brits or Australians – someone, in other words, who has English as a first language and someone you can talk to easily who is being paid to be sympathetic to your needs and requests.

The other great advantage of a package vacation is that you travel as a group. The people you meet at the departure gate at the airport will probably be the people you are spending the duration of the break with. This is not only useful for forming friendships and teaming up your kids with others – it can be great if you find yourself with problems. Having friendly faces around always makes such a difference in a difficult situation.

When booking a package vacation, the best advice is to work with an established operator. Apple Vacations, for example, are celebrating their thirty-fifth year in business this year. Working with such an established company leaves you secure in the knowledge that you’re not in the hands of some amateur operation that might go into liquidation while you’re abroad, leaving you stranded with no easy and quick means of getting home.

So what price peace of mind? Are vacation companies going to charge you an arm and a leg for the trouble of taking the anxiety out of your travel arrangements? You may be surprised to hear that the answer is “probably not”. Although these guys have to make a margin somewhere, remember that they’re operating in a very competitive market, and they have the muscle to negotiate bulk discounts from hotel chains and airlines. Believe it or not, booking a package vacation can work out cheaper than organizing the whole trip yourself. You should, of course, be careful of deals that appear to be just too good to be true from providers you’ve never heard of. But don’t be surprised if you manage to wangle some very significant discounts out of established firms such as Apple.

So what are you waiting for? An organized vacation offers you peace of mind, comfort, and the support of a large business infrastructure. It’s definitely the way to travel if your main aim is to relax!

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