June 10, 2008 08:15 ET

AAA Texas Travel Agent Survey Reveals Best Ways to Get the Most From Vacation Budgets

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - June 10, 2008) - Alaska is the No. 1 destination that creates the most satisfying vacations for Texas travelers, according to a new survey of AAA Texas' most experienced travel agents at the start of the summer vacation season.

The AAA Texas survey also found that many clients of travel agents were surprised to learn that using an agent can be cheaper than booking a vacation through the Internet, and that travelers are most likely to create an enjoyable vacation experience for themselves if they provide the travel agent with as much information as possible about their personalities and preferences.

With budget concerns on top of many travelers' minds this year, AAA travel agents say they are encountering more price-sensitive vacation planners. The survey revealed that the most common misperceptions about travel agents -- such as the myths that they charge a fee for their services, pass on commission costs to clients or can't match prices of packages booked on the Internet -- are being increasingly encountered by travel agents.

"In most cases, our prices are competitive with anyone else, including the Internet, and travelers have the peace of mind of knowing they are traveling with a highly reputable company," said one AAA Texas travel agent with more than 20 years of experience. Another longtime agent added, "The Internet cannot offer suggestions and options based on conversations, and it can't provide the service and expertise of an experienced agent."

An additional advantage for budget-sensitive travelers, agents pointed out, is vacation payment plans. Unlike most Internet travel sites, which require full payment for trips at the time of booking, AAA Texas and other agencies allow travelers to pay for their trips in installments prior to the departure date.

According to the survey, the top vacations that have travelers returning to tell their travel agents about their excellent trips are:

     1) Alaska (cruises and tours)
     2) Hawaii
     3) Disney World
     4) Mexico all-inclusive resorts
     5) Europe

The best reasons for using a travel agent to plan a vacation, according to the survey, are:

     1) A travel agent can provide options that the traveler might not
        otherwise consider to improve the vacation
     2) The traveler knows they have an expert to contact in case they
        have an issue
     3) A travel agent is aware of current trends, travel advisories and
        the quality of travel providers, and can help the traveler avoid
        potential problems on the trip

AAA Texas conducted its survey from May 2 to May 9 among AAA Texas Travel Agency employees.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Dan Ronan
    (469) 221-8217

    Rose Rougeau
    (713) 284-6552