Travel is a gift they will never outgrow, and never forget- ask me about your next family vacation!
Blog and Tips
As a travel agent of 29 years, I get to give my kids and grandkids the world- literally! Those experiences create memories that last a lifetime for us all. My children were often given a choice between travel and trinkets when they were young; they chose travel every single time, and so do their kids! While Mexico and Punta Cana are some of our favorite family destinations, I've travelled with my grandchildren on both coasts and 3 continents, as well as vacations much closer to home! They're riding the cable cars through the streets of San Francisco, feeding monkeys in the Dominican Republic, hiking through the mountains close to home, and taking in the architecture of old Europe. Like my daughters before them, my 7 grandchildren have fallen as much in love with the variety the world has to offer as their grandma!
Travel is a gift they will never outgrow, and never forget- ask me about your next family vacation!
As a travel agent, I know this is an incredibly beautiful world we live in and America tops the list! We know that many of you want to see what our country has to offer so please join us as we start highlighting some special places that require no passport.
Have you ever though of a Dude Ranch? Did you know that we can book you an all inclusive ranch package (minus the alcohol) that allows you to enjoy things like horseback riding, hiking, swimming, tennis, fishing, etc. as well as being fed gourmet food? Of course we know for some people it's not really a vacation without a spa and this place delivers with a beautiful modern spa set inside a rustic western building.
Set beside the mountains, the views are spectacular as you relax after a day of adventure at this ranch. Typical rates are about $450 per night per couple with all activities and 3 great meals per day. Child rates are also available and of course there are always specials to be found. They also offer just B&B stays as well. Call us at Elliott Excursions for more information or to book one of these ranch stays!
Brenda Elliott, 717-732-5749
What sets us apart? Why use a Travel Agent? I get asked those questions all the time. One thing that I hope you can tell by some of my posts is that the training we receive and continue to receive over time is priceless. We don't just learn about the places we send you to, we go to them ourselves and get to know the Managers and Sales Reps for as many places as we can. We strive to find the perfect destination that is right for you and your vacation is important to us. This week Elliott Excursions went to cool trainings for very different types of travel.
At the beginning of the week, training was with Club Med, one of the ultra All Inclusive companies that offers so much more than just drinks and meals. You get skiing included in the alps, diving on private islands, golf on world class courses, and exotic destinations that don't usually offer all inclusive resorts. Take the Maldives for instance, those coveted over the water villas include everything! They cost so much less than one of the newer all inclusive over water bungalow options and give a very different experience than the "no meals included" over water bungalows you find in Bora Bora. Just ask us about it!
Yesterday, Elliott Excursions spent a few hours with some amazing people from Carnival Cruise Lines. It's always exciting for us to hear about the changes that are happening in the industry and so many of them are good ones! This time was even more rewarding because we were able to hear first hand about the new Fathom sailings, or Impact Cruises. These are sailings for people who want to get involved and closer to typically destination communities by stepping outside of their comfort zones. I wanted to sign up already!!! From harvesting, sorting and processing cocoa beans with the women to pouring concrete floors or forming water filters and delivering them, it all sounded like something I wanted to do. If you are feeling particularly blessed, or maybe even not so much, this cruise will bring reality and satisfaction to your lives. Children aged 8 and over are also permitted to participate and this would make a great family trip to teach them the differences in our world. The cruises sail from Miami on Sundays for 7 nights and alternate between the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Dominican sailings are selling at an amazing rate right now and even Cuba is pricing better than the land vacations. Call us now to get more information or to reserve your spot!
A question that comes up a lot for vacation seekers is "international or domestic?" While trips to the Caribbean Islands or fjords of Norway are certainly fantastic, there are benefits to staying in the U.S. for your holiday, and Elliott Excursions can help you with those getaways, too!
We already know about passport-free Alaskan cruises and all-inclusive Club Med in Florida, but if you're looking for more flexibility, why not make your getaway with something familiar, but with a lot less work. Myrtle Beach, anyone???
For our Central PA clients, you can now fly direct from Harrisburg to Myrtle Beach, exchanging gas, traffic, and travel time with a brief relaxing flight. With this new route we can book long-weekend packages for as little as $319 per person* with the flights, oceanfront hotel, and car rental for 3 nights. (Based on double occupancy.) Plan your own days at the beach, family adventures, and nights out on the town on your own schedule, and minimize down-time spent traveling while you should be soaking in sun.
Call us at 717-732-5749 if you want to get in on the low airfare rates of just $45 per person each way!
*Allegiant does charge for checked and carry on bags.
Check out these 20 awesome packing ideas from Cosmopolitan! Even veteran travelers could find some helpful new ways to keep everything fresh and secure while being mindful of space! We love the contact case tip for packing ointment, creams, and makeup products!
To ask questions about your your upcoming trip or to plan the perfect getaway, call Elliott Excursions at 717-732-5749. You can also contact us directly by clicking the button below!
As a Travel Agent of over 17 years it’s no mystery to me why some people get great deals and others do not when, but to the public it seems elusive. Take for instance this fall when rates were at an all time low for Mexico on certain charter flights. As a travel agent I see those specials immediately and can pass them on to my clients. As a result, my clients were/are travelling to Mexico and staying in 4 star all-inclusive resorts for under $700 for the week including the airfare and taxes. As a consumer you can search the web all day long but unless you know who is selling those special discounted charter seats, you will not see that they are out there. Travel agents use dozens of vendors who all sell the same packages. We take the time to check all of those vendors to see which ones are offering the best deals and specials. Many of those vendors you have never heard of and won’t find online with one of those big web agencies, but we know them well and know which ones are reputable and good to work with. They know us well too and make sure we get the best value and training so that we can pass it on to you. Tour companies like Sandals, Couples,Apple Vacations, and cruise lines like Viking River Cruises, Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Holland America along with others all make sure agents know how to find the best deals with their companies. It’s their job to keep Travel Agents educated, it’s not their job to keep the consumer educated.
Many agencies like Elliott Excursions have an email base that they make sure receive the great deals as soon as they come out. Some of them are very limited and time restricted but that’s what makes a great deal. I often have people who are skeptical of a trip because the rates just seem too low to include everything. As long as you have a Travel Agent you can trust to give you the bottom line you can feel safe in taking that deal! If you see a “too good to be true” deal online it’s probably a good idea to check it out with your Travel Agent as more often than not you are not seeing the total package price with taxes and transfers. A word to the wise…if you get a postcard in the mail offering a free cruise, several nights stay, etc. etc. throw it away! That really is a scam and too good to be true.
It’s the same story with cruises. Travel Agents can see every cruise line and every special code and offer with the touch of a few keys. We do it every single day so we know exactly where to look for them when you call. Again, you can search the web all day long but if you don’t know which codes to put in or which dates to look at, you may not stumble upon the best rates. We as agents have access to special promo codes, on board credit, and group rates that the regular consumer does not. That’s not to say that if you are booking on a huge online travel site you will not be offered some sort of credit or discount, you very well may. What you won’ be getting is someone to call and ask if you really found the best rate available or if there are additional expenses once on your trip. You also won’t have anyone to call personally to help you if that trip has a few bumps along the way. Believe me, if you were one of thousands of people stuck on an island this week due to a hurricane you definitely would be wishing you had a Travel Agent to text or call to spend hours on the phone looking for a replacement flight and extra nights at a resort. If you booked your trip online you would be on your own and frustrated beyond belief.
The bottom line is, find a Travel Agent that you trust to keep you informed of the great deals and stick with them. Make sure they know who you are and that you are a loyal customer. In the end you will be rewarded with those great rates that your friends are envious of when you travel. Most travel agencies either do not charge fee or they charge a small fee making it a no brainer to use them. A Travel Agent commission is built into every package or cruise price, regardless if you book it online yourself or not, so why not get the benefit of actually having the Travel Agent service.
Please feel free to call us for questions at 717-732-5749, or by direct email using the contact button below!
Did you ever wonder what happens to those passengers who, for whatever reason, just don’t get back to a cruise ship before it sails on to the next port? For those of us who are avid cruisers we’ve seen the scenario play out in many ways, from a couple of girls with foot long Senior Frog glasses in hand running down the dock as we waive goodbye, to the passengers crazy enough to rent a moped just to end up in a medical facility.
As a Travel Agent I’ve gotten the calls from those who missed the ship before the first day and had to get flights for them to catch up with the ship on the first island. I’ve also gotten the call from an island hospital for clients in need of transportation home. Recently though, I got to learn first hand what they do with those who enjoy Senior Frogs just a little longer than they should and forget that ship time and island time are not always the same thing.
We were just back onboard a Carnival Cruise ship after a lovely day in Cozumel. I spent my time touring a resort, my husband spent his diving, and my grown children spent theirs sampling tequila in town and enjoying local food and shops. It was time to sail and we got our first red flag that someone was missing as my daughter and her fiance’s name were piped over the ship speakers to all cabins. Are you kidding me? No sooner did I walk into the hall to see if they were in their cabin, that security was racing to their room. They quickly pulled us into the room and opened the safe, all the while explaining that the kids were not onboard and the ship couldn’t wait much longer. Their immediate goal was to see if the passports and credit cards were in the safe because if they were stuck on the island they would need them and they could take them down to the dock to security there to give them when they arrived. No passports in the safe, now what? Communication was flowing between the security with us and the security on the dock when we heard the dreaded 2 long blasts of the ships horn. We were leaving without them. This is a parent’s nightmare. Our child has cruised at least 15 times, she knows the drill and is now old enough to get herself back on time. She’s 22 and too responsible to miss a ship, isn’t she? Do we have them call hospitals, do we try to get off ourselves in case they need help?
What happened in the next hour and remaining days was truly amazing to me as both a parent and a Travel Agent. Carnival did sail without them, they had to. What they didn’t have to do was keep looking for them and when they finally arrived an hour late they made sure we knew immediately. Lucky for them, Carnival had another ship in port that hadn’t left yet. They took the kids onboard, gave them a survival bag with t shirts, toothbrushes, etc. and a cabin similar to what they had on our ship at no extra charge. They also gave them, and us, unlimited calling for the remainder of the trip after they connected us for the first time. We only had 2 days at sea left on our cruise but during those 2 days security, cabin staff, the front desk, and crew members from the other ship, called constantly to see if we needed help with anything and to assure us the kids were in good hands. They set up an account for them on the new ship and made sure that they got them transfers to the airport on their new arrival port. We were now sailing for Miami and they were headed to New Orleans. We were able to have someone from home work on airline tickets but if we hadn’t , Carnival would have helped with that as well. During this whole fiasco, which was clearly the kid’s fault, Carnival never once made them feel like they were anything less than respected guests. Even going to dinner in the same swim suit with a coverup and flip flops each night wasn’t frowned upon, just sympathized with.
What could have been a disaster was an adventure to retell and tease about many times in the years to come, all thanks to Carnival Cruise Lines and the experienced staff. I know this happens more often than we think and it may have been routine to them in some ways. To us it was anything but and we say “Kudos Carnival”, you’ll be seeing us again (probably without the grown kids next time!).
P.S. My daughter is still wondering if 2 boarding passes in one week means she is one cruise closer to that Platinum status.
Brenda Elliott is a cruise specialist. If you have questions or need help booking a cruise please feel free to contact her at 717-732-5749, or submit an email request using the button below!
Free Expert Guidance– Agents are experts at getting people where they need to go at the best price and the most pleasant way possible. They have been there themselves or have extensive knowledge in destinations and do not charge the customers for their professional services.
Best Value and Price-Agents can provide you with the best choices and know what promotions exist between the hundreds of vendors asking for your business. They can get you the best value and price (yes, better than the online sites) and speak for the quality of the vacation offered. Did you know that most online and direct prices already have the commission for a Travel Agent built in? Most people who book themselves are actually paying for the services of a Travel Agent but not getting the benefit.
Customer Advocate– Travel Agents are with you from the beginning of the planning stages of your trip until after you return. In the event that you have a problem an agent will act on your behalf to make it right (just try getting an online vendor to help!).
Personal Service– Your local Travel Agent is not a voice or a mouse click thousands of miles away. They are your neighbors and try to know you and what you want out of your travel experience.
You know where to reach them and they are available for the many questions you may have.
Unbiased Information– Agents work for you, not the suppliers. They want you to have a great travel experience and come back to them again so it stands to reason that they will try to get you the best information and value for your money.
Choice-Travel agents can give you a host of different choices from a variety of travel suppliers. They know who has the best product for what you are wanting and can offer you so much more than you could find on your own.
Time– Agents have all the information at their finger tips, a huge advantage for today’s time strapped consumers. They can compare dozens of vendors in a fraction of the time it would take you to try to contact all of them, if you even knew who to contact. Let your travel agent take the time to find you the best deal , it’s their job and they are good at it!
Please fell free to contact Brenda Elliott with any Travel Questions at 717-732-5749, or by submitting your questions via email with the button below!