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10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Many consumers might not realize what they are missing out on when they travel and don’t use a travel agent. Here are just a few things that your travel agent can do for you. 01of 10

Experience

Woman Watching Hot Air Balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey
Melissa Tse / Getty Images

Travel agents know the market and, if they listen to what you want, will be able to match you with a better product than you can find on the Internet.02of 10

Advocate

All Flights Cancelled
narvikk / Getty Images

If something goes wrong on your trip, a good travel agent will go to bat for you — no matter who is at fault — and try to get your vacation back on track.03of 10

Resources

Costa Rica, Alajuela, La Fortuna. A lady looks out at the Arenal Volcano from a suite in the The Springs Resort and Spa. .
Nick Ledger / Getty Images

Travel agents have access to a variety of tools that the average consumer is not able to use or doesn’t know about. They can sometimes get you a better seat on an airplane, added amenities at hotels, room upgrades, event tickets, and plan activities for you.04of 10

Convenience

Friends walking at sunset at Sete Cidades lakes, Sao Miguel island, Azores, Atlantic ocean, Portugal
Maya Karkalicheva / Getty Images

Your time is valuable and you shouldn’t have to spend it searching for the right vacation. A travel agent can do that for you. They can match you with the vacation that you actually want, not the one that you saw on television. There is a difference between travel inspiration and actual travel desires. Destinations may look good on TV but not actually be ideal for you personally. Travel agents can help you define what it is you want to get out of a vacation.Continue to 5 of 10 below.05of 10

Relationships

Solo Traveller in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Petri Oeschger / Getty Images

As you develop a relationship with your travel agent, they are able to target the right trips for you without even having a conversation. Ideally, a simple phone call or email could result in your next vacation — already planned. 06of 10

Save Money

Dublin Airport. Ireland
mikroman6 / Getty Images

Often, travel agents can save you money based on their supplier relationships — or at least match the price you find — while saving you time and effort. There are also hidden savings built into trips. A travel agent will likely book transfers for you, included in the price. Sometimes a package that you book yourself won’t include those, making the experience appear cheaper. 07of 10

Added Value

Interiors of a hotel room
Glowimages / Getty Images

There are a lot of value-adds that consumers don’t even know about that can be added by a travel agent. Ever wonder why the couple in the cabin next to yours got champagne and you didn’t? They probably used a travel agent.08of 10

Better Destinations

Outlook over Caldera of Santorini Greece
© Allard Schager / Getty Images

Travel agents have inside information on the best times to go to crowded destinations and they sometimes even know what the new “it” destinations are going to be before the masses. Want to get there first? Use a travel agent.Continue to 9 of 10 below.09of 10

Exclusive Access

Three rocks in Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park at Suratthani,Thailand
Thatree Thitivongvaroon / Getty Images

Some tours and experiences are only available through
a travel agent. Many companies offer a lot of components and simply want to make sure a customer is right for their experience — exotic tours, treks, private jet products are often only available through an agent.10of 10

Because They Are Awesome

Travel agent giving little boy a toy airplane
Comstock Images / Getty Images

Travel agents are some of the most well-rounded, funny, personable and knowledgeable people you’ll meet. They come from more backgrounds than you can even count — they have been professors, hotel owners, tour guides, bus drivers. They all have one thing in common: They are passionate about sharing the world with you. Take advantage of their services.

BY JANEEN CHRISTOFF

Updated 06/26/19

FedEx Can Now Get You a Passport in as Little as 24 Hours

Summer travel is in full swing, which means many travelers are gathering their necessary items for an upcoming trip abroad. With all of the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to neglect the basics. To help travelers get prepared when time is short, FedEx and RushMyPassport have teamed up to offer expedited U.S. passport services nationwide.

“Many of us have experienced the distress of realizing our passport isn’t ready for an upcoming trip and, as a result, scramble to find a last-minute solution. This convenient service will help eliminate the confusion and common errors that often arise and help simplify the process.” said Kim Dixon, chief operating officer of FedEx Office.

The typical passport processing time for the U.S. State Department recently increased from four to six weeks, to six to eight weeks. Now, travelers short on time and in need of rushed passport processing, renewals, or updated government-compliant passport photos can stop by any of 2,000 FedEx Office locations or visit the FedEx website to complete travel tasks easily.

Convenience does come with a cost, though. The cost of the FedEx expedited service ranges from $99 for a 10-12 business day rush renewal to $449 for an overnight renewal or new passport. 

Travelers can secure their expedited or rushed passport renewals in any of six options: 24-hour service, next-day service, priority service, rush service, standard service, or rush renewal.

Travel Market Report

6 Must-Try Menu Items for Food Fans at Universal Studios Hollywood

Posted by KAYLA M. on JULY 21, 2019EDIT

Fans of fun and adventure know that food can be a total experience, a transport to a different time and place, a combination of flavors and sensations. If you’re a Universal Studios Hollywood™ fan, passholder, or even first-time visitor, you know this better than anyone! Here are six of our favorite delicious dishes that embody the stories, the scenes, and the Hollywood flourish we know and love.

1. Butterbeer™ Ice-Cream

We all scream for ice-cream, but fans of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ will scream in delight when they try this ice-cream with that iconic, unmistakable Butterbeer™ flavor.

2. Bangers and Mash at Three Broomsticks™

When visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, head to this snow-capped inn and enjoy a plate of Bangers and Mash, a traditional British dish with savory flavors that will have you feeling right at home.

3. Chicken Waffle Sandwich Cletus’ Chicken Shack

Savory meets sweet in this irresistible sandwich in Springfield, U.S.A. ™ Double battered, extra crispy fried chicken breast between two waffles with maple syrup mayo.

4. Meat Haters’ Pizza at Luigi’s Pizza

You’ll want a piece of this pie! The pizza is a big slice of crispy veggies, tangy sauce and melted cheese!

5. Tropical Twist Cone at Studio Scoop

The vacation vibes of these tropical flavors bring a true “twist” to your tastebuds. With options like Orange Berry and Tropical Sunset, this cone is so LA it might as well be wearing shades.

6. Mel’s Diner milkshake

Mel’s Diner is more than a Hollywood icon: it’s a trip back to the drive-in and diner days of 1950s Americana, where young up-and-coming stars and movie-makers chowed down. The classic diner milkshake will satisfy your sweet tooth while saying “Welcome to Hollywood, dahhling.”

https://www.vaxvacationaccess.com/the-compass/6-must-try-menu-items-for-food-fans-at-universal-studios-hollywood/

Road Trip

Road-tripping is the ultimate way to see America. You can drive up, down, across, around or straight through every state in the continental US. Revel in yesteryear along Route 66, marvel at spectacular sunsets on the Pacific Coast Hwy, or take in sublime scenery in the Appalachian Mountains or along rocky Massachusetts coastline.

Pacific Coast Highway – California, Oregon & Washington
A drive along America’s stunning western coastline is road-tripping at its finest. In California, Hwy 1 (also called the Pacific Coast Highway), Hwy 101 and I-5 pass dizzying sea cliffs, idiosyncratic beach towns and a few major cities: laid-back San Diego, rocker LA and beatnik San Francisco. North of the redwoods, Hwy 101 swoops into Oregon for windswept capes, rocky tide pools and, for Twilight fans, Ecola State Park, the stand-in for werewolf haven La Push, WA. Cross the Columbia River into Washington for wet-and-wild Olympic National Park.
Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia and North Carolina
There’s not one stoplight to spoil the ride on this 469-mile roadway traversing the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. Along its nearly 217 miles in Virginia, you can watch sublime sunsets, scan for wildlife and lose all sense of the present while gazing at the vast wilderness. Hikes take you deeper into nature, from easy lakeside trails to challenging scrambles to eagles’-nest heights. Camp or spend the night at forest lodges. Don’t miss the bluegrass and mountain music scenes of nearby towns such as Floyd and Galax.

Route 66
Known as the Mother Road, this fragile ribbon of concrete was the USA’s original road trip, launched in 1926. It begins in Chicago, at the iconic Route 66 Sign, from where the 300-mile stretch onward through Illinois offers classic, time-warped touring. Fork into thick slabs of pie in small-town diners; snap photos of roadside attractions like the Gemini Giant, a sky-high fiberglass spaceman; and motor on past neon signs, drive-in movie theaters and other Americana. From here it’s 2100 miles more to the end of the route in Los Angeles.
Natchez Trace Parkway – Tennessee and Mississippi
What began as a buffalo trail running roughly between modern-day Nashville, Tennessee, to the riverbanks at Natchez, Mississippi, this historic route was further trampled by Native Americans, who used it as a hunting and trading route. Later it saw the footsteps of fur traders, European settlers, slavers, confederate soldiers and presidents. With jade swamps, hiking trails, opulent mansions, riverside saloons and layer upon layer of American history, the Natchez Trace Pkwy is the richest drive in the South.

Coastal New England – Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts
From a pirate’s perspective, there was no better base in Colonial America than Newport, Rhode Island, given the easy access to trade routes and friendly local merchants. Until 1723, that is, when the new governor ceremoniously hanged 26 sea bandits at Gravelly Point. This classic trip follows the region’s intrinsic connection to the sea and American history, from upstart pirates to coastal forts, from Gloucester fisherfolk to New Haven abolitionists, from whaling ships to revolutionary frigates.

Gold Coast – Michigan
While Michigan‘s shore has been a holiday hot spot for over a century, it still surprises: the Caribbean-azure water, the West Coast surfing vibe, the French-style cider house that pops up by the road. Ernest Hemingway used to spend summers in the northern reaches, and he never forgot it. Even after traveling the world, he once wrote that the best sky is in ‘Northern Michigan in the fall.’



Black Hills Loop – South Dakota
In the early 1800s, 60 million buffalo roamed the plains. Rampant overhunting decimated their ranks and by 1889 fewer than 1000 remained. Today, their numbers have climbed to 500,000; several Black Hills parks manage healthy herds. On this road trip you’ll see the iconic buffalo and other legendary sights, including the Badlands, Mt Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, sprawling parks and the town made famous for having no law: Deadwood.

San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway – Colorado
The San Juan Skyway is a 236-mile loop which includes the so-called Million Dollar Highway, a handful of the region’s coolest mountain towns and Mesa Verde National Park. It’s undoubtedly the best way to experience the drama of the San Juan range without strapping on your hiking boots. Drive the Skyway and the tension of the daily grind gets lost somewhere among the towering peaks, picturesque towns and old mines around each bend, or evaporates in the bright sun of an intensely blue Colorado sky.

The Road to Hana – Hawaii
Hold on tight! Of all the jaw-droppingly dramatic drives in Hawaii, this one on Maui is the Big Kahuna. A roller coaster of a ride, the Hana Highway twists down into jungly valleys and back up towering cliffs, curling around 600 twists and turns along the way. Fifty-four one-lane bridges cross nearly as many waterfalls ­– some eye-popping torrents, others soothing and gentle. But the ride’s only half the thrill. Get out and swim in a Zen-like pool, hike a ginger-scented trail and savor fresh guava and coconuts.

The Dalton Highway – Alaska
Belt up, stick some Springsteen on the stereo and get prepared for the ride of your life. The 500-mile trawl up the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to the Arctic Ocean won’t be the smoothest ride you’ll ever take, but it could well be one of the most legendary. What the infamous ‘haul road’ lacks in asphalt, it makes up for with a succession of surreal ecosystems, from the boreal forests of the interior to the bleak tundra of the North Slope. Arctic Ocean, here we come.

Olympic Peninsula Loop – Washington
Imagine pine-clad beaches fused with an American Mt Olympus (with a slice of coastal rainforest thrown in for good measure) and you’ve got an approximation of what a drive around the Olympic Peninsula looks like. This is wilderness of the highest order, where thick forest collides with an end-of-the-continent coastline that hasn’t changed much since Juan de Fuca sailed by in 1592. Bring hiking boots – and rain gear!

 Zion & Bryce National Parks – Utah
Meet red-rock country in all its heart-soaring, sculpted splendor. From the sheer wall of Zion to the pastel sentinels of hoodoos that form Bryce Canyon, these are the landscapes that no one traveling in the Southwest should miss. This trip takes in the parks’ classic highlights as well as tiny Western towns and off-the-beaten-path nature sanctuaries where the screech of a hawk breaks the silence of the trail.



Published: May 2019
https;//www.lonelyplanet.com/

6 Must-Try Menu Items for Food Fans at Universal Studios Hollywood

Posted by KAYLA M. on JULY 21, 2019EDIT

Fans of fun and adventure know that food can be a total experience, a transport to a different time and place, a combination of flavors and sensations. If you’re a Universal Studios Hollywood™ fan, passholder, or even first-time visitor, you know this better than anyone! Here are six of our favorite delicious dishes that embody the stories, the scenes, and the Hollywood flourish we know and love.

1. Butterbeer™ Ice-Cream

We all scream for ice-cream, but fans of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ will scream in delight when they try this ice-cream with that iconic, unmistakable Butterbeer™ flavor.

2. Bangers and Mash at Three Broomsticks™

When visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, head to this snow-capped inn and enjoy a plate of Bangers and Mash, a traditional British dish with savory flavors that will have you feeling right at home.

3. Chicken Waffle Sandwich Cletus’ Chicken Shack

Savory meets sweet in this irresistible sandwich in Springfield, U.S.A. ™ Double battered, extra crispy fried chicken breast between two waffles with maple syrup mayo.

4. Meat Haters’ Pizza at Luigi’s Pizza

You’ll want a piece of this pie! The pizza is a big slice of crispy veggies, tangy sauce and melted cheese!

5. Tropical Twist Cone at Studio Scoop

The vacation vibes of these tropical flavors bring a true “twist” to your tastebuds. With options like Orange Berry and Tropical Sunset, this cone is so LA it might as well be wearing shades.

6. Mel’s Diner milkshake

Mel’s Diner is more than a Hollywood icon: it’s a trip back to the drive-in and diner days of 1950s Americana, where young up-and-coming stars and movie-makers chowed down. The classic diner milkshake will satisfy your sweet tooth while saying “Welcome to Hollywood, dahhling.”

https://www.vaxvacationaccess.com/the-compass/6-must-try-menu-items-for-food-fans-at-universal-studios-hollywood/