By ROB W. ANDERSON
Those who may be feeling the need for a vacation should start planning now.
Vacations R US owner/operator Lynda Spyres said there has been an increase of people booking trips over the past six months, and believes people are traveling more due to optimism about the country’s economy.
She’s currently booking trips out of the country, as well as within the United States, for couples, groups and clients looking to take a journey to a place of entertainment and relaxation or spiritual significance.
“I have a family of five going skiing up in Red River over spring break. I found them really good rates on that, including the lift tickets, skiis and the condo,” said Spyres. “I have a couple going to Australia and New Zealand for six weeks. I think, with the economy being better, people are starting to travel more now. I have a family group, I have four school groups that are traveling, I have a pilgrimage I’m working on to Ireland and Scotland for next year. There are just a lot of diverse things, really.”
And despite the recent headline news about Carnival Cruiseline’s Gulf of Mexico incident, the all-inclusive paid vacation remains a popular way to enjoy time away from home and work, said Spyres.
“I have a group going in May that has around 20 cabins. They haven’t canceled. They’re all going,” she said. “It’s a fluke. It’s just something that happens. Anything mechanical can go wrong: your car, a boat. And Americans like to whine. What happened hasn’t really effected it at all really. Nobody’s that’s booked a cruise has canceled. They’re very, very safe. The fire was put out in a timely manner. Yes, it was inconvenient, but nobody got hurt and nobody got killed.”
For people who like to spend time on the open water, repositioning cruises are economical and are now being planned, as the ships plan to return to European ports in April and May, said Spyres.
“Obviously in the wintertime over in Europe there are not a lot of cruises because it’s cold. So they’ll come over to the Caribbean or South America. When they reposition back to Europe, they’ll start out here in the United States or wherever and you’ll have quite a few days at sea,” she said.
“For people who are frequent cruisers, they love that. Total relaxation, and it may be a 10-day cruise over. They may hit a few islands. A lot of people do that every year and they fly back. They’ll usually give you a good deal on air fare a lot of times, too.”
No matter if planning a trip out of the country or to a theme park like Disneyland, the process needs to begin as soon as possible to ensure the best rates and desired accommodations, said Spyres.
“It’s all based on availability, whether it’s air fare or cruising,” she said. “Like with my group that’s [cruising] out of New Orleans that has 20 cabins; by the time they made up their mind they wanted ocean-view cabins, all the cheap ocean views were sold out. We had to go up a level. So it cost more than if they would have booked it four months ago.”
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