Travel agents provide value for vacationers

SOUTHWICK–As summer approaches so does travel season. But before you go, it may be worth it to check in with a travel agent.

Travel agents provide consumers with a lot of information that could be useful when planning a trip, in addition to deals and values that you may not know about. Also, they know the current trends in travel, which will help you to understand where the best places are to go, depending on what you desire in a vacation.

“A lot of people may ask ‘why do I want to use a travel agent?’,” Kasie Provencal, travel agent and owner of Pro Tour and Cruises, said. “It’s because we may have access to promotions or space that you don’t. We can get a lot of discounts and specials and we don’t charge a fee for consultation.”

Provencal said that travel agents, particularly local ones such as herself, get paid through the companies they work with, so the only cost incurred by the consumer is related to the trip directly.

Also, travel agents have access to certain deals and promotions due to the large amount of consumers they provide or the connections they have with vendors, as well as more information on what a group of travelers may need. As an example agents like Provencal, who are “Disney-certified agents,” can provide consumers with a larger variety of options for trips to Disney at a lower rate than if you were to book the trip without a travel agent. Additionally, travel agents can make these plans better accommodate your needs.

Another benefit of working with a travel agent is that they are aware of trends, both current and upcoming in the industry. This can benefit the potential traveler since these trends happen for a multitude of factors, and often come with an economic benefit to the consumer that they may not have known about otherwise. One such trend now are cruise ship vacations.

“One of the biggest trends are more ships are coming to New York for cruising, so we’re seeing a drop in cruise pricing,” Provencal said. “The more ships that come up to Boston and New York City, the more prices go down.”

And fittingly, this ties in with Disney.

“Disney will also be calling New York City home in 2017,” Provencal said about their cruise line. This will mean an even further drop in prices, as well as a family-oriented experience closer to Westfield.

But if you’re not interested in family-friendly travel, or if you’re in the mood for something different, then travel agents are the people you want to talk to. Travel agents are well-versed on finding packages and getaways for people of all backgrounds and interests, and specialize in creating packages for everyone.

One such package that Provencal talked about was through Viking River Cruises. The package is for the European holiday season, which runs between Nov. and Dec., and includes a cruise ship (appropriately enough) on a river. While there are many events and activities on the cruises, from dinner to entertainment to games to complimentary drinks, the biggest benefit may be the lower cost getting and staying there.

“They are offering highly discounted lodging and free airfare,” Provencal said. “So you can go to Prague, Vienna, the Rhine, Danube, Switzerland–all at a cheaper price.”

Provencal said that these trips can cost around $2,000 per person.

And if you’re not interested in going international but rather visiting places within driving distance, travel agents even have the scoop on that.

“A lot of people don’t realize that there are great dude ranches in the Catskills and Hudson Valley of New York,” she said. “It’s basically an all-inclusive resort–a cruise on land–and there’s probably three or four of them in the New York area.”

For these more local trips, Provencal quoted the cost as low as $199 a night per person.

If you would like more information and consultation, contact a local travel agent, go to Provencal’s website at, or call her at (413)998-3424.

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