Travel questions

Does anyone here use a travel agent and would you recommend them?

Does anyone here have access to airport lounges and know how to purchase those privileges?

I’ve used a couple of travel agents over the years. One was called “Vacations To Go”, and they were great. Not sure if they’re still around or not. We recently used “White Glove Destinations” in the Woodlands, and they were good too. I like having a travel agent to do all the leg work and have a contact should things go south. Some people like to do all the logistics themselves, search for the best deal, etc, but I’m not one of them, so they are definitely worth it to me.

As for airport lounges, there are multiple ways of getting those privileges. One is to simply purchase a subscription. You can purchase a full year or a one-time access. For example, with United, the full year pass is $650 and a one-time access pass is I think $65. You also get access through having a United credit card, but the yearly fees are often steep. Finally, certain classes of tickets may get you access for that trip. For example, an international business class ticket usually gets you club access for that airline.

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We used a service when we took the kids to Disney World several years ago.

They handled everything (plane/bus/ accommodations/park reservations/meal reservations/ visits with characters) and I don’t know how much it cost but it was worth it.

If we had a multi-leg trip abroad I’d probably look for something similar.

As for airport lounges I’ve been in one because I was traveling with a buddy. I think it was the American Airlines Admiral’s club.

Definitely nice to sit comfortably and snack. I don’t fly enough to justify my own membership.

I don’t have one to recommend, so I have no dog in this hunt, but I think the answer to this question will depend on where you’re going.

Depending on the airport, there are “untethered” lounges to which you can buy access. You’ll need to look up where you’re going/connecting to see what they have.

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I used a travel agent several years ago when visiting Colombia, not only to make travel arrangements but also to arrange various tours once there. It was a lot better quality touring than my traditional method of bumbling about between drinks.

We used a travel agent for a while to book our cruises but decided it was easier to do it ourselves. She was good, Debra Willms at Avoya travel, 800-375-1827. She kept in touch and took care of details, checked in with us right before and right after our cruises.

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I use a travel agent in Austin who is very good: Sally Watkins at Century Travel.

We were once kicked out of the United club for bringing a salad in for our son, who had nothing else to eat due to his food allergies.

So fuck them sideways with a rusty pitchfork

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That’s one of my mother’s college friends.

United also has a premium drinks menu, where a (shit) beer is free, but the premium is $5. How the fuck does that make sense? The upgrade is $5?

Really? What was your mom’s name then? I’ll tell Sally.

She is very good.

Your mom has a lot of friends.

Obviously ML’s mom is among that group.

Sally and Mom keep in regular touch. I haven’t seen Sally in a number of years but there was a stretch when yearly I’d see her and her son, David, his wife whose name escapes me and their son whose name I believe is Jack. Just tell her you know Ann’s son and she’ll know who you’re talking about.

I don’t use a travel agent. Sometimes I wish I did, but most of my flights are with points on SW. I like the planning part of it though, even when it’s not.

Does Rice have an agent they work with? Fulbright always does.

Kind of, not really. I’ve been trying to set up an account and they are incredibly non-responsive. So, I’d rather not have them set up travel and be non-responsive when someone wants an immediate response.

Will do. I had lunch with her last week to debrief her on my trip.

Nice. Tell her I said hello. Like I said, I know she and Mom are in touch.

That’s why I plan to use one for my next international trip. When my wife and I went to Japan a few years ago I didn’t mind tackling the flights and hotels, but in retrospect we might’ve gotten more out of the experience (I should say “even more”, it was already incredible) if we’d had someone to clue us in on interesting tours, events etc.

Yep, I did in an email just now.

Sally says hi back, Charles. She said she and your mom were roommates their sophomore year.