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Traveling for Big EventsApril 1, 2007 By: Stasha Mills Home-Based Travel Agent
Being part of the crowd at Mardi Gras, music festivals, new year's celebrations and sports events takes advanced planning
The story we have in this issue ("Being There") on traveling for big events started me reminiscing about all the exciting happenings I've been lucky enough to be a part of. The most historic and spectacular was the millennium celebration in Giza. There were all sorts of security concerns leading up to it, but the thousands of people from all over the world in banquet tents dotting the desert around the Sphinx and the pyramids danced and mingled and marveled in unison as fireworks illuminated the ancient landscape.
I've also spent a new year's clapping along to a jam session at a pub in Dublin, dodging prosecco corks on Rome's Spanish Steps and learning a stick dance at a wedding in India. This past December 31 I was twirling around the dance floor at Tavern on the Green in Manhattan. People say that holiday is never as much fun as it should be; my response is, it is what you make it.
I was fortunate enough to go to college in New Orleans, so I've caught my fair share of Mardi Gras beads and boogied in the sun at many a Jazz Fest. I've been back to this treasure of a city twice in recent months, and if you haven't been since Katrina, you really should: The areas visitors go are just as you remember them, and the tourism infrastructure is more than ready for your clients.
Music is a passion of mine, and I've traveled to Palm Springs for Coachella, Baltimore for the Virgin Music Festival, New Orleans for both Jazz Fest and the Voodoo Music Experience and the Berkshires for Tanglewood.
I've also spent Christmas in London, Acapulco and Key West; July 4 in Wasington, DC; Thanksgiving in Prague, Budapest, and this past year, Buenos Aires.
From all this traveling at peak periods I've learned that there is no such thing as planning too far in advance. I had almost everything booked six months ahead for my Egypt millennium trip, four months for India, three months for Coachella and Jazz Fest. I've also learned that Thanksgiving is a perfect time to travel overseas—domestic flights are jammed with families trying to reach each other, but international travel is a breeze.
It's imperative that you know your client base so you can suggest and book trips for big events well in advance. Do you have clients either with small families (my case) or other circumstances that would avail them to traveling over holidays? Do have clients who are music aficionados or big sports fans? Prices are at a premium and availability is slim during peak travel times so you can save your clients big headaches in trying to figure out their travel arrangements themselves and make a nice commission as well.
Speaking of nice commission, check out our "Selling Group Travel" story. Now wouldn't it be ideal to sell a group on a trip to a big event?
Anastasia (Stasha) Mills Managing Editor