7th Annual Vacation Expo a big success

On Saturday, February 22, from 10 a.m.– 2 p.m. Dearborn Market’s indoor garden center was transformed into a festive travel destination for the public to enjoy browsing for their next vacation destination.

The award winning, time-tested Excel Travel – celebrating 26 years of success – featured more than 35 of their favorite vacation vendors, operators and owners of top-notch travel destinations.

These experts provided first-hand information about a wide variety of travel destinations.

The possibilities were limitless including everything from an exotic safari, a fun-filled, family cruise, a romantic getaway or simply a resort within a day’s drive, it was all on display at the Vacation Expo.

As shoppers entered the warm garden center they heard the sounds of Tropical Island Music performed by local artist Mario DaCunha.

No matter what your idea of a dream vacation is, it was easy planning at the Vacation Expo. There was an endless variety of journeys available with the lowest prices possible (even compared to Expedia, Travelocity, etc.)

With 26 years in the business and a staff of travel counselors whose average experience is 24 years, Excel Travel owner Friedli kicked off by stating his four reasons (with comments), on why you should use a travel agency for booking your next vacation.

1. Best Price. “I can get better pricing online,” Friedli said when asked about online deal sites, “Have you ever seen any proof that you can better prices online? I’ve never been able to find a survey that confirms that you can get lower prices on Expedia, Travelocity or Travel Zoom compared from what you get from a travel agency. Never.”

2. Expert Advice. Friedli talked about the inside knowledge his travel counselors have, one even having gone to Disneyland 39 times. “Yes, you can do it online. When we do it for you, you get free expert advice. You pay for the services of a travel agency whether you use a travel agency or not. We’ve had a customer come in with their Expedia print-out for a cruise. We pointed out that this is a great cruise with a great cabin. We can get you the same price, but for $50 more, you can get a cabin that’s not above the nightclub so you can actually sleep at night.”

3. 24/7 Emergency Service. In discussing airline cancellations or delays, “If there is a problem with your flight, we can help bail you out. We know what airlines can and cannot do.” If warranted, Excel Travel can get you compensated.

4. Shift the Risk. “People make mistakes when they book their own vacation. You’d be surprised how many people book flights to Naples, Florida instead of Naples, Italy.”

“It’s not about cheaper. You can always get cheaper. It’s about getting value,” said Friedli.

Friedli also mentioned that in many countries, passports must be valid for three or six months past the return date of their trip.

Excel Travel knows the tricks of the trade in saving money. “If you’re traveling for a long weekend getaway, book between Saturday and Tuesday. If you’re planning a roundtrip, always price two, one-way tickets. It’s not always less expensive, but always worth a try, especially for international flights. If you have a family of five, you’ll get the lowest online price for all five tickets. If you price one ticket at time, savings could be significantly more.”

Ted Friedli also sees travel as a way to give back to the community. In 2010, he founded Kick Cancer Overboard (www.kickcanceroverboard.org), a nonprofit organization that has given away almost 300 free cruises to people whose lives have been affected by cancer.

For more information, you can call Excel Travel, at 732-571-1960 or visit: www.exceltravel.com.