Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Avid Travelers Should Join Luxevo!

As a newly minted travel agent, I wanted to take a few minutes to sing the praises of an incredible program called Luxevo. Luxevo is a rewards program with a one-time membership fee and a small monthly fee, and in exchange the member gets amazing vacation deals (an example would be a trip to Las Vegas for three nights in a 4 star hotel with roundtrip airport transfers for only $282) along with a personal 24/7 concierge service, exclusive coupon deals (similar to BigCrumbs or CouponBug), daily hot deals (similar to Groupon or LivingSocial), and they earn LuxPoints which can go toward their next vacation! PLUS, every member that refers someone else who joins gets a $100 referral bonus, so just referring one friend who signs up covers the membership fee for the Club membership! Your cash rewards are unlimited, so there's never a cap as to how many referrals you earn!

If you are someone who vacations regularly, or who wants to travel more, this is definitely the program for you. You are going to find deals that are unbeatable in value and find dream vacations for far less than what you would normally pay (and a whole lot less hassle, too!). There are two levels of membership: Club and Elite. Club memberships include: LuxCursion vacation packages; flexible vacation LuxScapes; your own Certified Luxevo Travel Agent (that's me!); 24/7 access to your personal concierge; LuxPoints reward program where you earn 1 LuxPoint for every $10-20 spent on trips which you can redeem for future travel; Last minute deals (similar to Groupon or LivingSocial Deals); Advantage Rewards program discounts; refer a friend reward program; a 30 day money back guarantee; and no contracts or commitments. The Elite package offers everything that the Club does along with: exclusive elite-only LuxCursions; access to hotel elite resorts and spas; access to culinary collection sailings; and access to vacation vignettes.

Pricing is very simple: Club memberships are a one-time enrollment fee of $99 plus a low monthly membership fee of $19.95; Elite memberships are a one-time enrollment fee of $149 and a low monthly fee of $29.95.

To learn more, or to join, just go to www.myluxevoclub.com and use the agent referral number 20028220 (aka member referral number).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Car vs. Plane Travel for Long Trips

For the last week, I spent a considerable amount of time on a road trip with my husband's family - his parents and his brother's wife and three children. His grandfather had passed away, and we all wanted to attend the funeral to mourn and to show our support for his grandmother as she transitions to widowhood.

We had two options - we could fly down to Florida from Nebraska, which would have taken about half a day but cost twice as much upfront, or we could drive down there which would take 24 hours (two 12-hour days of driving plus food/fuel breaks) but would cost half as much upfront.

Since we hadn't planned on a trip any time soon and thus didn't have any extra money saved up, and since his parents really wanted everyone to carpool to save costs, we went with driving.

Now that I am back home, I have a recommendation - fly, especially if you have small children traveling with you!! Flying, while more expensive in the short term, would have saved us a lot of other costs (fuel, food, hotels) and a whole pile of stress in the long term. The children had a terrible time being cooped up in the car, despite our filling their time with various games and distractions. There were plenty of short fuses and arguments, and the hotels had to be cheap to avoid racking up costs so they weren't great (in fact, the one we had to spend the most time in was another point of argument and hassle). Additionally, the youngest child wasn't feeling very well, and had we been able to only spend half a day traveling, he would have had some time to get to feeling better in the hotel room rather than spending two days cooped up in a car only to have to turn around two days later and spend another two days in the car. So we had to deal with a very cranky child, who then caused most of the rest of us to feel sick as well.

Plus, my husband and I ended up having to get a rental car just to make sure we had something reliable in which half of us fit, and that cost us just as much as it would have cost us just to pick up a couple of plane tickets and staying in a hotel for an extra night! That caused further arguments due to the fact that it wasn't our car so we had to be extra careful about allowing the children to do anything messy in the car.

You always want to look at every angle when you travel - it may be that the option you think would be more costly will save you more money (and sanity) later on!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why use a travel agent? Let me tell you!

In this age of digitized everything, you might find yourself wondering why you should even bother going through a travel agency like mine. That's a totally valid question!!

Let's get one thing straight- we aren't out to steal your money. In fact, most times using a travel agent doesn't end up costing you anything extra! My job is to find you the best bang for your buck, and that's what I'm dedicated to do.

I can also give you expert guidance and advice, helping you to find the best places to visit. You don't have to spend hours researching and wading through a million ad-strewn sites to figure out your vacation itinerary. You can sit back and let me do the work! This will save you time, which these days can be a much-valued commodity.

Your trip will be personalized. You don't need to wonder about if your reservation is just floating out there in the web-o-sphere or if it actually went through. You'll get your reservation details and regular communication so you stay in the loop, and you get to know you are dealing with a real person, not a bot.

It's not all about booking, it's also about the things that can happen while on vacation. Though it doesn't happen often, occasionally you may find yourself in a situation where you want someone to be your advocate. At that time, you'll be happy you have a travel agent like me in your corner! Before I was an agent, I actually ran into a circumstance where an online booking that I made through a jumbo discount site was misrepresented, and I showed up to a smoking room on the top floor despite my booking of a non-smoking, main floor room. I fought for hours, and finally was able to get to a resolution, but it really disrupted the whole beginning of our vacation (and led to a situation where my Border collie ripped apart my sister's guest room, but that's a story for another time!).

Our loyalties lie with YOU, not the suppliers. If you're looking for a Holiday Inn, I'm not going to sell you a Hilton. You want Italy, I'm going to get you there, not France.

Finally, I offer something that most agents don't - a social focus. Every time you book through me, you are allowing me to put money aside to help send low income families and couples on vacations and honeymoons! Everyone deserves a dream vacation, and your travel can help make that a possibility for someone else. :)

Don't forget - you don't even have to talk to me if you don't want to! You can always book travel through my site if you prefer online booking. Just head to www.operationrelax.com .

If you'd like more tips on why you should use a travel agent, you should check out this amazing list on Tripology. To show I'm not biased, I'd also recommend this article on the four times when you shouldn't use a travel agent.

Happy travels!

Monday, April 9, 2012


I personally just love to dive right in when it comes to work - and I couldn't think of a better way to dive right in than to host a giveaway right away!

This giveaway ties in to my other blog, where I am currently nominated for an Independent Book Blogger Award. In order to complete the first entry for the giveaway you must vote for me (Author Jess) on Goodreads. After that, it's "smooth sailing" and you can pick and choose what you would like to do!

The prize? A travel prize pack that includes a $50 gas gift card!!

The giveaway runs April 10-23, and is for U.S. residents only. Good luck!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Welcome to Operation Relax!

It's been a whirlwind of activity since I finally took the leap and moved forward with my travel agent training and opened my own agency, Operation Relax!!

I've always wanted to do something that mattered, and after much soul-searching (and web-searching), inspiration hit while on vacation - I knew how much a vacation benefited my life, and I wanted to make sure that everyone had the opportunity for a similar chance to relax! So I did my homework, and decided to open a travel agency dedicated to just that. :)

Operation Relax is a small travel agency with a dedication to donating 10% of our earnings directly into a fund that will be used to send low income families and couples on vacations and honeymoons. It's as simple as that!

I launched the website yesterday - www.operationrelax.com - and today worked on some more certifications and paperwork, including ordering some business cards!

What will you find here on the blog? Details on everything travel related, from what to pack to where to go! I will also share deals that I am running, and personal stories from my travels and experiences.

If you want to know more about me outside of my job as a travel agent, feel free to check out my other blog - AuthorJess - where I share book reviews, book previews, Booksy, and other things related to my extreme obsession with reading and writing books!

Thank you for taking the time to check me out!