Monday, June 17, 2013

My Sister's Travel Regret

One of my wishes, as a travel agent, is that all travelers select their vacation accommodations based on what they wish to experience rather than what they want to pay.  Often times, when people call me about traveling, they select their resort and room accommodations based on price, no quality.

Sure you can vacation in a less expensive room, but the question is--is what you are giving up worth it?   Regardless of recommendations (which is one of the reasons you select a good travel agent), some travelers just want to book based on price and not quality.  My sister is one of those people. 

My sister (left) & Me in Vegas

I recently went to Las Vegas with my sister.  Upon check in, they asked if we would like to upgrade our room, for a small price, to a balcony room at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.  My sister did not want to spend the extra money to upgrade our room.  I went along with her decision because we were splitting the cost and she did not want to spend the extra money.

Our room was amazing, at the Cosmopolitan.  However, that is not the point of this blog.  The point is, throughout our entire stay, my sister thought of a million reasons why she needed a room with a balcony.  She talked about not having a balcony for days.  It was worse, once she found out that all her friends upgraded and kept talking about how awesome the balcony was, it really made her regret not upgrading to the balcony.

On another occasion, I had a client that insisted on booking an inside stateroom on his cruise.  Once he arrived on the ship, he called me and asked if he could upgrade to a suite.  I told him that the ship was full and he was unable to upgrade.  Once he returned from his cruise, he said he had an amazing time, however, he truly got what he paid for and he would never book an inside stateroom again.

Sometimes, travel agents, like myself, are not trying to upsell you and cause you to spend more money than you need to.  It is about the value that you will receive when you stop selecting your accommodations based on price and select your accommodations based on what you want to experience and enjoy.

If my sister would have applied a little more money, she would have been able to enjoy the balcony, sit on the balcony and enjoy the view of the busy Vegas strip, while sipping on her beverage of choice.  The balcony would have enhanced her experience, I know it.  And I bet she would not compromise, again, on her vacation.

If my client would have selected the stateroom, on his cruise, that best fit his personality, it would have taken his first cruise experience to a different level.

Listen to your travel agent when he/she says that you will enjoy having your room facing the ocean rather than the front entrance of the hotel or street.  Listen to your travel agent when he/she says to get a balcony on your cruise so that you can order room service and enjoy your breakfast while sailing down the ocean, rather than an inside stateroom with no view.  Sometimes, your travel agent is trying to get you to enjoy and enhance your travel experience and add value to your vacation for a reason---so that you can have the best experience ever.

Book through Erica James Travel when going to Las Vegas to receive food and beverage credits, Complimentary Breakfast, and more on select hotels. For more information and to book, contact me via email or by phone at (615) 405-2167.  Follow Me on Twitter, LIKE me on Facebook, and see my travel pictures on Instagram.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Club MoBay

Fresh off a four day stay in Jamaica, I will have to say that Club Mobay was the perfect departure experience and end to my visit to Jamaica.  Club Mobay is an airport lounge experience located in the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Through my Club Mobay pass, I was able to skip the stress and chaos of long departure lines and sail straight through security all the way to enter the relaxing atmosphere of Club Mobay.

I arrived at the airport four hours before my flight departed--three hours before gate check-in time.  This allowed me plenty of time to experience and enjoy all that Club Mobay had to offer.

There were two rooms--one for families and one for adults only.  And of course, I decided to wait for my flight, in the adults only section of Club Mobay.  The decor was very contemporary with great style and a soothing atmosphere.  I loved the overall look of the lounge, as well the atmosphere.
I sat down, pulled out my computer and was able to enjoy free wifi on my devices, along with several delicious finger foods, sandwiches, bottled water, coffee, specialty coffees, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages.
The service inside the club was wonderful.  I fixed my plate with great food and never had to get up again because the attendant continuously came around to check on me and bring me whatever beverages that I needed.

Although, I do not smoke, there was a smoking area on the upper level of Club Mobay.  They bathrooms were very nicely decorated and clean.  The lounge also offer massages and nail service.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience that should be experienced by all.  Purchasing a pass to Club Mobay through the airport is $35 per person.  Purchasing your pass through Erica James Travel will save you $5.  Listed below are more features offered by Club Mobay.

  • Fast track privileges through security and immigration for all guests
  • Complimentary refreshments of fresh fruits, pastries, snacks sandwiches, tapas and patties
  • Complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (hot/cold)
  • Complimentary fully equipped Digicel business centre
  • Magazines and daily local newspapers
  • Complimentary phone calls to USA / Canada and UK Landlines
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi and International cable television (12 flat screens)
  • Culturally themed sound proof children’s play area
  • Electronic games on Samsung
  • Galaxy tablets
  • Quiet lounge for adults only
  • Jamaican cultural exhibits
  • Complimentary access to VIBES smoking lounge on main concourse beside gate 9
  • Showering facilities
  • Mango Spa with mini treatments available to purchase
For more information and to book travel, please contact Erica James at (615) 405-2167 or via e-mail at

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Friday, April 19, 2013

My AHA Moment with Shared Transportation

I went to a Travel conference in November that was held in Orlando, FL. I went with the intentions of gathering new ideas and learning ways to better Erica James Travel in 2013. Although, I was inspired by all the information that I received, I also realized a few important things about traveling and being on vacation.
I was attending a conference, however it was still vacation to me and I wanted to be treated as such. It is my perspective that I am on vacation every time I travel, and I do not want to compromise on things that are going to enhance my travel experiences.
There are some things I simply have learned by experience that I will not compromise. I do not want to compromise on transportation. When I arrived at the Orlando Airport and after waiting for my bags, I was ready to get to my resort and relax before the conference started. I headed to the shuttle service that was booked for me and was told that it would be 30 minutes or less before my shuttle would arrive. I was handed a pager and I sat and waited for almost 30 minutes for my shuttle to arrive.
While waiting, I decided that waiting was unacceptable to me. It was cutting into my relaxation time. When my pager went off and I looked up and saw that my transportation had arrived, it all became clearer and that is when I had my AHA moment! When I saw the 12-seated passenger van pull up, as the transportation I was receiving, at this moment, I realized that this was not how I wanted to start my vacation and nor did I ever want to settle for "shared transportation" again. Shared transportation is exactly what I received--an unattractive van with too many strangers.
After waiting for my shared transportation and delaying my relaxation because I had to ride through every stop on the way to my destination to drop off other passengers that I was sharing the service with because none of us were staying at the same hotel. I finally arrived at the resort, got myself checked in and headed to the breakfast buffet to finally get something to eat.  I arrived at the breakfast buffet at 11:15 am to  be told the buffet closes at 11:30am.  I was frazzled and this is not way to start off a vacation. 

I arrived at the Orlando airport at 9:30 AM.  It took me 2 hours to get from the airport to the my room because I spent the majority of my time waiting on the shared transportation and dropping other passengers off.

My AHA Moment was---I am tired of accepting less than I deserve. I no longer want to compromise on the things that are going to enhance my situation. I work hard and deserve a few luxuries in my life.  I am going to start enjoying those luxuries.

Erica James Erica James Travel