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Articles

What to Look for When Considering a Spring Break Travel Company

There are many important things to consider when selecting with whom to book your spring break travel package with.1.) Industry accreditations & affiliations
2.) Misleading and/or false advertising
3.

) Why price isn't the only thing to consider
4.) The level playing field of the internet
5.) Other common sense issues.First of all, when selecting a spring break trip company, it's important to look for a few key accreditations.

First of all, the Company should have membership in The Better Business Bureau (you can check reports at www.bbb.org), the ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents, as well as any required State licensing.

It's amazing, but most students won't even check out if a Company has satisfactorily responded to complaints, and if there are any outstanding issues against this spring break travel Company. Ask how long they have been in business for, and if the trips they are selling are actually provided by that spring break travel Company, or they are simply wholesale resellers of the actually Tour Operators. Why is this important? Well, if you're onsite, and have problems, Tour Operators are much more receptive to offering assistance to direct bookings vs. those reservations "re-sold" through third party providers, since their margins (and profits) are so much higher on their spring break trips.

Secondly, it's important to really watch out for false advertising. Many spring break tour Companies advertise "low price" or "price match" or "price bust" policies that apparently guarantee you the "lowest possible price - no need to check around!" What I've found is, they actually hope you won't check around, and just take their word for it. This is actually very misleading advertising, as if you happen to "catch" them with a higher price, they'll "not only match the price, but beat it by as much as 150%!" --- of course. How can that Company lose? If you don't check around, they've just got you for a $30-$50 per person price premium on your spring break trip.

If you do, they STILL get your business. It's all rather shady, and something to shy away from.Use common sense -- if some Company is offering you "the lowest price" and for example, they are selling you a $300 condo package -- then give you "$250 in Free Stuff" like we've seen advertised.something is awfully fishy. Travel Companies need to make money, after all.

If it sounds too good to be true, it definately is. Get every last thing promised in writing (an email will do), and do not take someone's word for it. Without something in writing, things can change.Finally on this point, most of the spring break tour Companies that offer "lowest price" guarantees will also take your reservation, (and your money!) only for you to find out that in the fine print, there are many additional fees not discussed up front.

For example, many spring break trip Companies are assessing students "fuel & security surcharges" of up to 10% of the base trip cost -- as little as seven days prior to departure. If you booked a trip based on price, and then get hit with a $60-$70 fuel surcharge, you've been mislead. Get all pricing in writing, & if they state they will not have a fuel surcharge, get that in writing too. Even worse, many of these same companies also will hide fees such as refundable damage deposits, or hotel security wristband fees in the fine print that you'll have to dig into your pockets for once you arrive at your destination. It's easy to offer a "price buster" or "price guarantee" if they plan on adding $50-$75 to the package price per person upon arrival (watch this in particular at domestic spring break destinations such as South Padre Spring Break.

).Our next topic to consider is directly related to what we've just discussed for your spring break vacation - Why price is not the only thing to consider. There is an old adage that states "you get what you pay for," and that's certainly true. It's particularly amusing that people buy designer clothing, work out at the best Gym in town, and go to the most expensive/best hair salon, only to try to get the cheapest possible spring break trip at the lowest price. Why? Well, many of us consider travel (particularly college spring break trips) a commodity -- if the trip has the same inclusions, the trip must be the same, right? Wrong.

Remember, you are buying into an experience, not just airfare & hotel. The spring break tour Company that can provide you with the best onsite experience AND package inclusions is the obvious choice. Make sure you are looking for quality of inclusions over quantity of inclusions in travel.and when someone tells you 'it doesn't matter where you stay, you won't be in your room much anyway' they are not telling you the whole story.

Cheap properties & hotels are cheap for a reason - poor location, ugly grounds, dirty pool areas and the like, just to name a few. A good party scene and properties that you can walk to the spring break action are super important.The level playing field of the internet is both good & bad for the spring break travel industry.

First of all, anybody now can build a website that looks professional, throw it up, and look like a real spring break tour Company. Chances are, they're simply resellers or travel agents for actual tour operators that pay them a commission to sell their trips. Look beyond a glitzy website when considering with whom to book your spring break package. Consider if the website is actually that awesome looking, and you notice their advertising simply everywhere -- somehow all of that has to be paid for with higher overhead (i.e.higher Company costs & expenses), and usually a high trip cost for you.

Use traditional methods to at least check them out by asking around. What is nice about the internet is that you can now investigate in an instant most spring break trip inclusions. It's just important to call, and as stated previously, get all of what their website promises in writing before booking. (don't look for them to be all that helpful if you are booking at the last minute like late January or early February, as most spring break trips are sold out).Other common sense issues to consider;.

* Call the spring break travel Company you are considering. Do they have fast, finger tip answers to all of your questions, or are they somewhat stumbling? If they stumble, or seem like they are reading a website, look else where. Also, are they actually answering their phones, are does it always voice mail you? Constant voice mail usually equates to poor service.* Set aside 2 or 3 hours to carefully compare spring break trip packages. Check accreditations, prices, inclusions, and see if you can get it all in writing. Then book.

*Remember to not just consider price.you probably don't buy the cheapest thing in any of your other purchases, and your week long $1000 vacation is a big investment in fun. Choose wisely.*If a particular Company seems to only "push" or offer one or two hotel or condo properties, that's probably for them to earn more money, vs. it being the absolute best property for you & your friends.

Ask about the location, the pool, and last but not least.air conditioning!.In conclusion, there are several key points to consider for spring break when booking you choosing your Spring Break Tour Operator besides a low price & a nice website.

.Chad Hart is a Vice President for Austin-based Inertia Tours.com, and has been involved in the spring break travel industry for more than a decade. His website can be checked out at http://www.inertiatours.

com.

By: Chad Hart



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