How to Find the Right Travel Agent?

In today’s Hi- Tech world, we have easy access to all kinds of information. We’re able to research, compare, and book travel right in the comfort of our own home. But the question arises – Who needs a travel agent anymore?

Fewer of us do, apparently. In last one decade the travel agents statistics had fallen by about 30%.

“They are an outdated remnant of past practices that add virtually no value to any transaction today,” says one of the employee working for Michigan airlines. After my recent recommendations of travel agent in various columns, I’ve been on the receiving end of the feedback – How could i..?.

So, here let me discuss about this common query. I believe that travel agents today still offer services and information that we can’t get on Internet. Granted, some things such as booking a simple flights, most people can successfully manage on their own. A travel agent however, can recommend smaller, alternative airports that the discount carriers use. This alone can save you quite a bit of money. However, the key thing that travel agents today offer is their first hand knowledge and right information. In planning a trip or vacation, one wants to find information about the places and regions suitable to them. Here the role of a travel agent comes into act considering the fact that they have traveled to many different places, they can provide much more insight than a brochure or web page can. Thus, finding the right travel agent is inevitable. The same thing goes for tours and specialty travel such as luxury, adventure, villa rentals, etc. A competent travel adviser can be your greatest asset when you’re planning a trip. The key word here is “competent.” And let me also define what I mean by agent: I’m not necessarily talking about an offshore call center worker reading from a script or a hobbyist who paid a few hundred bucks for bogus agency credentials. I mean a bona fide, certified travel professional. Once you decide to book a trip through an agent you must go through few quality check of an agent. These few measures include:

Understanding An Agent And Using Your Intuition – It’s important to feel out a prospective travel agent to see if you can build a rapport with them. This can be done even when you’re dealing with an Internet agency, through phone calls or e-mails. Face-to-face meetings are not necessary. The choice of right travel agent comes from knowledge, not words. The correct answers to your direct questions are what count. Before you even ask for a price quote, probe the knowledge and personality of the agent you may be putting in charge of your hard-earned vacation. If you get the right feel about this person, you then ask for a price quote. If a travel agent quotes you a price that is not the same as, or lower than the cost of booking directly, or doesn’t offer incentives like free insurance, or even a pre-cruise hotel room, they are choosing not to compete — a choice some agents do make. They hope to attract uneducated consumers. This not the kind of agent we recommend, unless the service is so fantastic you don’t mind missing out on a few perks. But price alone may not always be the best factor to find the right travel agent. We want the best price, but we also want assistance and service when we need it. Hence, when your skull asks this ” How to find the right travel agent”, the above mention criteria should strike you first.

Look For Certification – A right travel agent must be certified from some travel body or institution of his nation. This proves to be more promising or as the elderly travelers say “a certified travel agent is the right travel agent”.

Stay Local And Interview The Agent – There’s no substitute for the personal touch. My best experiences with agents have been one-on-one. The ability to meet – to look the agent in the eye, to shake his or her hand – is something online agencies can’t match. (Note: not all agents work in an office, but home-based agents can and do make personal visits.) The only exception to this rule is if you’re out to find an agent with a sought-after specialty. But even then, a trusted voice on the phone is preferable to the often unintelligible, script-reading customer service associate you’re connected to when dealing with a large agency. Mind this- a professional travel agent makes personal visits. Don’t pick the first agent you find. Talk to the travel pro. Pay close attention not only to the way your prospective agent responds, but also at what’s going on in the office around you.

Pressure Check – The only way to know for certain if your travel agent is a keeper is to see what happens when you run into trouble. A right travel agent would run through your foot steps in trouble. You must conform the services provided by the agent under such circumstances.

Good travel agents have an edge over almost any other seller of travel. They know what you want. They speak your language. And they’re there for you when you run into trouble.
In other words, travel agents aren’t obsolete. Only the bad ones are.

6 Tips to Help you Find the Best Deal on Your Mortgage

When you are short on cash, it’s best to go for a mortgage, as there are banks and NBFCs that offer you loan against this collateral.
However, it is important that you find the best deal on mortgages so you don’t end up making an unprofitable bargain.

The interest rates that you would pay for your mortgage would depend on a few factors that you need to look at before applying.
In general, any investor would love to pay as little as possible and spend that money on other things.

Here are few tips to help you get the best deal on the mortgage you take:

1. Research and Shop Around

When shopping for mortgage schemes, don’t settle for the first quote you find. If you are taking the loan for buying a new home,
your real estate agent might direct you to a few set of lenders and claim that they offer the best interest rates.

However, make sure that you research the market and settle only for the best deal.Securing the best mortgage can be complicated and it can be a time consuming process. Compare the interest rates online before taking the final call,
whether you’re approaching a local lender or a big financial institution.

2. Spruce up your Credit Scores

Brushing up on your credit score is important before applying for a mortgage loan.
Your eligibility and the interest rate offered will depend on your credit score.

The better your credit score, the lower the rate and the more choices for home loans you would have.
Home loan against property is a common mortgage scheme offered by most of the banks and NBFCs.
Even if you already have a home loan in your name, you can still get mortgage loans.
You know abut the home loan eligibility criteria and need to provide the right set of home loan documents.

3. Increase the Down Payment

It’s not easy to save enough for the down payment. However, paying more for the down payment can help you get a better interest rate.
You can also save yourself from paying for mortgage insurance which is charged by many lenders if your down payment is really low.

4. Income Stability and Employment

Lenders prefer borrowers who show proof of a steady employment for at least the past 2 years. In an ideal world,a person who has been in the same company for the past 2 years or has shifted to a better-paying job is a preferable candidate to lenders have strict norms for self employed people, and you’ll need to document your business income along with your tax returns for the past two years.

5. Debt-to-Income Ratio

DTI or debt-to-income ratio can be measured in two ways.

The first is a backend ratio that measures the total of your minimum debt payments and your new housing payments on a monthly basis divided by your overall income.
The front end ratio, on the other hand, focuses only on your housing costs without taking your debts into account.
The lower these ratios are, the more likely you are to get a better deal from banks and NBFCs.

6. Lock your Rate

If you manage to find a low interest rate but still want to shop around, don’t forget to lock the rate.
This would ensure that you at least have that rate if you don’t find something lower.
Most of the lenders would allow you to lock the rate for a period of 30 days.

All About Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses is relatively new and has come in the market only in the 1990s. The memory foam was first tried on various beddings as trial before it was introduced in the mainstream market. In the early times the memory foam mattress in India was found only in hospitals and in certain sports equipment. This foam is basically made of polyurethane foam which is visco elastic by nature. It is called memory foam as it comes with certain unique properties. The memory foam pillow and mattress have a specific property of molding itself to the human form. They are much more adaptable and flexible in giving extra support to your body. Earlier memory foam was used for patients with orthopedic issues as it gives support to the bones and take the pressure of them. Gradually the memory foam has become cheaper to manufacture and so it has developed mass appeal today. They have replaced the spring mattresses in India and other countries.

Today there are a number of such mattresses available in India and other places. You can get some of the best memory foam mattress India today. It is also possible to order memory foam and spring mattress online or get it from a normal brick and mortar store. Many people can find these mattresses a little expensive so they us mattress protectors in India or opt to use memory foam toppers which can be used on regular mattresses. This way you can get the benefits of memory foam without spending too much of money. These toppers are thinner than a mattress obviously and will therefore wear out faster. The constant weight of your body can suppress the toppers and make them very thin quickly. They are great only for a short period of time.

The memory foam mattresses in India is a better option as they do prove cost effective over a period of time. They will not have any wearing out issues like the toppers. The body warmth warms the mattress, especially its top layers when you lie on them. This warmth actually makes the mattress flexible and durable. This actually helps the memory foam mattresses mold themselves to the shape of your body. The lower portion of the mattress remains cooler and therefore continues to remain supportive. Once you get up and leave the mattress, the spring helps it go back to its original shape and size. This versatile feature of the memory foam, can help you sleep comfortably and allows you to naturally move around in your sleep without causing any disturbance. The support is gives is unparalleled as your back bone aligns itself properly and helps prevent aches and pains that occurs due to a bad sleeping postures. The memory foam mattress in India are good for those will various allergies too. The material repels dust mites and is almost dust resistant. Mites cannot feed on this kind of memory foam and the few of the mites on the surface can be vacuumed easily. Thus memory foam mattresses and pillows are comfortable, durable, versatile and flexible.