Tag Archive for Planning

Tip of the Week – Dining Out

Clients often look to their travel agent to be a Concierge of sorts and provide recommendations on fun things to see and great places to eat. The Ireland dining scene continues to garner rave reviews and we’ve provided some suggestions on both hot spots and off-the-beaten path winners to recommend.

When a client is making their first visit to Ireland, oftentimes they wander around wondering where to eat. Here is a quick roundup of some award-winning as well as off-the-beaten path spots that are a “must visit” for travelers to these parts of the country.

Spotlight – There’s a Travel App for that!

Once you’ve finalized the booking, why not go above and beyond for your clients and recommend a few travel apps that could prove helpful during their vacation. There are countless apps available for the different operating systems (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.) and while some are free, others are available for a slight fee. And of course, some are more useful and reliable than others, so it’s always a good idea to look at ratings and reviews from those who’ve already tested particular apps.

Smartphone & Apps

There are a multitude of apps to help make your travel experience even better!

With apps available for everything from currency conversion and language translation to interactive museum and walking tours, and maps and schedules for various public transportation systems, traveling to and throughout unfamiliar destinations has never been easier. Curious?  Google best travel apps and you’ll be amazed at the sheer number of options. Overwhelmed? Narrow your search to specific countries, regions, cities; even narrower searches like “Dining in Tuscany app,”  “Museums of Rome app,” “Walking Tours London app,” will produce a variety of results to consider.

Here are just a few of our favorites. Take a look, try them yourself and share your favorites with clients.

  • Rail Europe: Allows users to research train schedules between most stations in Europe, buy tickets (at many); even select a seat!
  • SayHi: Accurate and easy to use language translation app
  • Measures: Puts a unit and currency conversion tool at your fingertips. Users can easily see what a potential purchase costs in US dollars or what the temperature is in Fahrenheit.
  • Museums Mobile – Contains information on thousands of the world’s largest museums and includes information on current and permanent collections. Using your phone’s GPS locator, it will even point you in the direction of museums in the area.
  • Tripit: Allows users to store all the details of their travel for easy, chronological viewing. It’s the perfect place to keep flight confirmations, hotel and rental car vouchers, phone numbers, schedules, etc. It can even alert users if something in their plans change.
  • Packing Pro – By simply plugging in where they’re going, for how long, and with who, this app will suggest what to pack in categories such as essentials (passport, currency), clothes, gadgets, and more. It can even suggest separate lists for traveling companions.

Tip of the Week – Cell Phone Smarts

big-wireless-billCountless travelers have returned home from their dream vacations only to be hit with wireless phone bills that rival the cost of the entire vacation. Make sure your clients don’t run the same risk by advising that they…

  • Check with their wireless provider prior to leaving the U.S. to find out how they can avoid incurring extra charges. Some carriers may even suggest leaving the phone at home and buying a disposable phone, renting one, or upgrading to an international plan for the duration of the trip.
  • Turn off the phone’s data features so they aren’t hit with data fees every time the phone downloads emails or connects to the Internet
  • Use WiFi, rather than a 3G network to check e-mail. WiFi, available in all, but the most remote locations today, is local and doesn’t incur roaming charges.
  • Purchase an international SIM card so that you will have access to local rates

How to

Spotlight on Insurance

Clients planning to rent a car while on vacation should be aware of several important factors. Of course, for those traveling to Britain or Ireland, it’s important to be aware that driving is done on the left side of the road from the right side of the car. Furthermore, most rentals throughout Europe are for manual shift, economy size cars, however upgrades to automatic and full size are available. In fact, clients can upgrade to a variety of sizes from 4-seaters to mini-vans or full size vans that seat up to 9 passengers. Bear in mind that Europe’s roads and in particular, its parking spots, are best suited for smaller vehicles, so clients may face a few challenges when driving larger vehicles.

Perhaps most important is that your client understands the auto insurance policies. First, car insurance is not an option. While your clients might believe that they have complete coverage through their credit cards, this is often not the case internationally. We strongly recommend they contact their credit card company to determine what is and isn’t covered while traveling abroad.  Furthermore, from a budget perspective, it’s less expensive to purchase insurance prior to departure because of the currency rates.

Sceptre Tours offers VIP CDW insurance to be booked prior to departure at a discounted rate; allowing complete walk away coverage, and strongly recommends purchasing at the time of booking.

For full list of legal declarations and insurance explanations for Sceptre Tours packages, click here.

Tip of the Week – Bed & Breakfasts

bed-and-breakfast-irelandClients hoping to immerse themselves in the local culture, may want to consider Bed & Breakfast stays throughout their vacation. B&B’s tend to be smaller, have fewer guests than hotels, and are managed by folks who enjoy conversing with their guests.  In fact, guests at a B&B are likely to come away with a genuine “insiders” perspective of the region.

One of the experts on B&B Travel, Rick Steves, has this to say on his site…

Staying at a European bed-and-breakfast is a bit like having your own temporary mother while you travel. In the morning, your hostess might help plan your day, tipping you off to the best places for lunch and about the live folk music in the village pub that evening. She then sends you out the door with a smile, handing you an umbrella — just in case it rains. The best B&Bs ooze warmth and local color, making these some of my favorite accommodations in Europe.

Read More

Sceptre Tours has a large and growing network of B&Bs in Ireland, Britain & Italy.  Contact our reservations call center at 800-221-0924 or your DSM for more details.

Tip of the Week – Trip Protection Plan

Travel-InsuranceWithout question every vacation is an investment and every investor knows how important it is to protect their investments. Unfortunately, not every travel operator understands that it’s sometimes necessary to cancel a vacation. It might be due to illness or conflicts at work. It might even be due to a child’s rescheduled basketball game or any number of incidents that come up after the vacation is booked and paid for. Think that’s a problem? Think Sceptre!

With Sceptre’s Independent Trip Protection plan, your investment is safe. For only 8% of the total cost of the trip your customers can relax with the knowledge that they can change or cancel their vacation once for ANY reason. The plan must be purchased within 7 days of the original booking date and notification must be made up to 72 hours prior to departure to receive a full refund on payments made (less the protection plan costs and fees).

Complete details about Sceptre’s Trip Protection Plan can be found on the last page of our current brochure or by calling 800-221-0924 and speaking with one of our sales agents. Note this plan does not apply to Sceptre’s Groups or Escorted tours which are covered under a separate plan.