Travel Partners | Book Your Next Adventure!
Traveling has become a regular pastime for most of us. Remember the old days, when you had one big vacation a year? Those days are over. Now, people seem to be hopping on planes and jumping on cruise ships with astonishing regularity.
With that being said, there’s a new travel agency in town. Travel Partners brings 120 years of combined travel agent expertise to ensure that you have the very best vacation at the very best price.
Phil de Albuquerque is a former Collette tour guide who has traveled the world. He has always missed the jet-setting life and opening the agency is a fulfillment of a dream: He’s back in the industry he loves and he’s making people happy.
“I opened the travel agency to give people the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world while using our experience and expertise, and not spending anymore than they would if they did it themselves,” he says. “I enjoy hearing people’s vision of their vacation dreams and making them come to fruition. I have contacts with resorts, and cruises anywhere people would like to go.”
With him is a staff of experienced agents who are ready to help you fulfill your dreams of a perfect vacation.
Don Payne is an industry veteran who started working in reservations for American Airlines in 1963. He joined Delta Airlines’ marketing department three years later. When he retired from Delta in 1995, he moved from Los Angeles to Louisiana and became an agent. He loves booking travel and having adventures. He’s been all over the world, riding elephants, petting baby pandas, checking out ancient burial sites in Peru and visiting the Great Wall of China—twice! This man truly has his sea legs. He’s been on over 35 cruises all over the world and is a luxury cruise specialist.
Deirdra Willis has been in the business since 1986. “My first job was at Bob Winfree Travel,” she says. “I’ve seen a lot of changes. I can remember when we had to hand-write tickets; we didn’t have computers like we do today. We used the airline system to book airline reservations. Later on, we were able to print tickets. Now, we have a lot more resources to make our jobs easier!”
With 32 years of travel expertise behind her, Kelly Basone probably has the longest career of most agents in the area and brings her vast industry knowledge to Travel Partners. A Certified Agent, she is always up for an adventure. She just returned from a cruise to Cuba, which you’ll be reading about in an upcoming issue of The JAM.
Sabrina McCoy has been a travel professional since 2007. “I got into it because I love to travel and do the research,” she says. She’s noticed that a lot more families are traveling abroad now.
“I feel like this is due to all the family-friendly resorts that are available now, as well as affordable pricing. Most families can go to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico for about the same price they would pay for a trip to Gulf Shores.” McCoy especially enjoys working with families, as well as young couples planning their destination weddings and honeymoons.
Before officially becoming a travel consultant, Pat Landry worked in the Middle East for 10 years and traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia, enjoying destinations as far flung as Nepal and Thailand. She became a self-taught expert by planning, researching and booking all of her own international travel arrangements—which is tedious for most of us.
When pressed for her favorite destination, Landry puts Italy and Greece as her favorites. “The history, the art, the food of the Mediterranean countries are wonderful!” she enthused. “I love Rome, the Amalfi Coast and the Greek Isles.”
Going back to the past once again; in pre-Internet days, you had to go to a travel professional if you wanted to book a vacation. With the Internet, why would someone choose to go through an agency rather than doing it themselves? “We have more resources and more knowledge,” Willis says. “We can also search for best price and you know where and to whom your money is going.”
“We are going to save you time and in most cases, money,” de Albuquerque explains. “It’s not going to cost you extra to use us, as we get paid on the other end.”
Travel agents of today do more than act as the go-between for travelers, airlines and hotels. They now work across multiple platforms to help their clients book a variety of vacations. They’ve adapted to the changing environment, and they are meeting a consumer need.
“We can help you make modifications to your booking, deal with trip delays or cancellations, or organize additional elements for your booking, like car or hotel reservations,” de Albuquerque says.
Why Use an Agent?
From ASTA, the American Society of Travel Agents, are five examples that are considered optimal opportunities to use a travel professional:
In addition to providing some destination-specific advice, travel professionals can negotiate international hotel and flight packages for you to help trim the costs on a trip overseas. Since things can get tricky when traveling abroad, especially if you’re visiting a nation with complicated visa or passport requirements, not only can you get a better value when you use a travel agent, but you also have the peace of mind that you won’t get stranded in a foreign country.
You’ve got enough on your plate when it comes to organizing your wedding — let someone else plan the honeymoon. Not only can a travel agent get you discounted rates, but they can use their established relationships to provide you with special honeymoon perks like room upgrades, welcome amenities and candlelit dinners.
Large group and corporate travel
Thanks to their industry contacts, travel professionals can help you negotiate large-group discounts and organize all of your itinerary details so your family reunion or your corporate retreat goes off without a hitch.
Planning a cruise may sound easy, but you have to consider a lot of variables. What itinerary is right for you? Will you be spending an extra night in the departure or arrival port? Do you need to book a hotel room or car rental? What shore excursions do you want to sign up for? A travel professional can help you sort out all of the intricacies of your cruise and use their connections to secure unadvertised deals.
Theme park travel
Theme park vacations can get expensive quickly, especially when you factor in daily park expenses like tickets and food. Though places like Disney World routinely advertise package discounts to entice vacationers, a travel professional can help you distinguish between a good deal and a deal that’s too good to be true. They can also find you those under-the-radar discounts, such as special family or group rates.
“I truly enjoy making people happy and seeing smiles on their faces, “ de Albuquerque says. “Vacations and entertainment are so important in people’s lives. It’s important to your health to balance work and play. I can get people on vacations they never thought possible…and probably even save them money!”
722 Pujo St., Lake Charles, (337) 602-6767
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