Hi, I'm Barbara!

I'm passionate about travel. Here I document my adventures, provide helpful tips for how to plan your dream vacation, and offer insights from my 30+ years as a professional travel agent.

Need to Know: Planning Your Holiday Vacation

Need to Know: Planning Your Holiday Vacation

It’s "the most wonderful time of the year!" The children are off from school, the older kids are home from college, and it seems a great time to take a family vacation. What do you need to know about traveling this time of year?

There are certainly ups and downs regarding holiday travel. Here are several things to consider when making your plans.

Need to Know: Transportation

If you are using your frequent flyer miles it will be nearly impossible unless you booked far enough in advance. If you're planning to use bonus miles of any kind, it's very important to plan as far ahead as possible. 

Getting a direct flight may be just as difficult, if not impossible. With the astronomical increase in travel around this time of year, airlines tend to offer fewer direct flights, especially if you're traveling internationally. If you know you'll be headed out of town or across the pond around the holidays, make sure you get the best flight by booking ahead. 

Need to Know: Lodging

If you’re traveling outside the United States as a family of more than four, you may encounter problems because some hotels cannot accommodate more than four people in a room. The expense of another room should be noted when planning.

Hotel rates will also be at their peak, so it's important to plan for this additional cost. Room availability may be an issue and you may have to settle for accommodations you may not be happy about. Again, as with booking your airfare, give yourself as much time as possible to book your lodging - this way you can make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck, and a "room with a view" to boot. Any good travel agent will be able to assist.

Need to Know: Documentation and Currency

When considering traveling to Europe or outside the United States, think about what documents you’ll need: passports, visas, etc. Make sure your passports are all up to date and will not expire within six months of the end of your trip. If so, renew it in advance of your vacation.

It's important to consider the rate of exchange for foreign currency. Rates may be higher around peak travel time, so calculating the cost to exchange currency before you land can save you from some nasty surprises. You can also check the Internet and use a currency convertor for daily rates. To avoid credit card fees, find a card that has no additional foreign transaction fees. Check with your bank or card company. Some that offer no transaction fees are Capital One, Chase Sapphire, and American Express. An important thing to know about American Express abroad- it is not always welcomed in all establishments. Ask before using this in some countries and have a back up card just in case. 

Need to Know: Planning

If you are planning a trip for the entire family, then it's essential to include the entire family in the planning process. Doing this will help ensure everyone will have something to look forward to on the trip.

Check for festivals and special events in each city to know what the crowd situation will be in any given location.

Use common sense when trying to plan a vacation near the holidays. Sometimes waiting until the last minute is beneficial for great deals, although I have never found that to be true. Sometimes last minute planning can take a turn for the worse, especially when it comes to purchasing airfare. Depending on your destination, a few weeks to a few months ahead of time is generally ideal. 

Being flexible with your holiday travel plans is a MUST. Remember to keep an open mind, try to go with the flow, and you'll be sure to have a fantastic time!

Before You Plan, Talk to Your Agent

Planning a trip around the holidays is stressful, but talking to a travel professional can help take some of the pain and frustration out of it. By booking your trip with someone who knows the ins and outs of the travel industry, you'll get the peace of mind you need to fully enjoy your vacation. I've worked with over 3000 clients in my decades of experience, and I look forward to working with you as well! Call me today at 770-740-9099 or email me at

Let's Talk Voltage

Let's Talk Voltage

What's The Best Time of Year to Travel?

What's The Best Time of Year to Travel?