INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Even if it doesn't feel like spring, this is the time to book your spring break vacation.
You can also look ahead to fall to get the best deals. Searching online by yourself is a popular way to book a vacation. All the information is at your fingertips--from flights to hotels and transportation--but it can be time-consuming and overwhelming. That's why travel agents are seeing a resurgence.
"When my wife and I took a vacation after 25 years of doing police work, I was ready to ease my mind, and they took care of all that stuff," said Michael Dove, the former police chief of Brownsburg.
Dove really wanted a stress-free vacation, but there's a lot involved in booking a perfect getaway. He and his wife, Jackie, wanted a hassle-free time. They both told FOX59 that they got just what they wanted when they chose to use a travel agency.
"It's intimidating to have all those hundreds of things to look through online and they just take all the problems away. They matched up our vacation needs perfectly. We knew what to expect and we knew what we were going to get," said Jackie.
They chose Beach Bum Vacation run by Hayley and Robert Whorrall. The company is based out of Brownsburg and has agents all over. They handle vacations in tropical destinations and around the world. They said flexibility is key to saving money.
"If you want to leave on a Saturday for example, maybe think about leaving on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Fares do drop significantly in mid-week travel," said Hayley Whorrall, president of Beach Bum Vacation.
Keep an open mind when it comes to your departure destination. Indianapolis International is a great airport--it's actually top-rated--but sometimes you can get a cheaper vacation package if you fly out of Cincinnati, for example. And where you plan to vacation can save you money as well. There are often similar destinations with much different pricing. Much of it depends on the time of year and several other factors.
"There are three destinations right now that are a great bang for your buck. You can go to various parts of Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica without spending a lot of money," said Haley.
The travel agents say it's not always about how much you spend, but what you spend your money on. An expensive vacation can end up being a bust; a less expensive one can turn into something great. The secret to travel isn't as much about the budget as it is finding the perfect fit--what Beach Bum Vacation calls "The Match Process."
"We interview them, talking to them to find out what's important. It's vital for us to find out their must-haves, and must-not-haves. We then match them up to the dates, destinations, resort, room category and the entire experience," said Robert Whorrall.
"You don't have somebody just trying to sell you something. The people at the travel agency we chose have been to every place they refer you to. That's why they do such an inclusive interview with you or your family or whatever you want to do. Beach Bum found out our likes, even what preferred to eat," said Michael Dove.
Every agency is different. In this case, the travel agents had literally gone to every destination they've booked. That's more than 500 places.
"We do a full inspection of places we book for clients. We go through full-site inspections, through the resorts, restaurants, room categories, and occupancy levels. It's very detailed," said Robert.
In case you're wondering, will using an agent cost a ton of money? More and more these days, the fees are low, or non-existent, as is the case with Beach Bum Vacation.
"We end up getting paid through the resort, the airline and the transfer company that takes you to and from the resort. It's the same price everyone else on the planet gets," said Robert.
Before you pick a travel agent or book something online yourself, ask around. Look at reviews and do your research to make your vacation stress-free.