By Rebekah Martin

Hartselle Living

Warmer weather is finally on the horizon, school is almost out and people everywhere are gearing up for summer vacations. found that more than 45 percent of Americans will go on a trip and between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Veteran traveler and owner of Journeys By Design Dena Nagel has some tips and tricks of the trade to help vacationers enjoy smooth sailing on any trip.

Nagel has been in the travel business since 2010 and said her favorite part of the job is her relationship with her clients. “It’s so rewarding to help them plan their dream vacations,” Nagel said. “It’s one of the best ways to make lasting memories.” Nagel has a passion for travel and said some of her favorite destinations have been Costa Rica, Italy, Yellowstone Ntaional Park and the Grand Canyon.

Tips for traveling like a pro

  1. What are the benefits of utilizing a travel agency as opposed to booking and scheduling on your own?

A travel agent knows many of the hints that make your trip more pleasant and the pitfalls that make it less pleasant. We spend our days looking at air schedules, resorts and activities. We can help you prevent errors like booking into the wrong airport, not allowing enough time for connections or booking a cruise cabin that only has bunk beds. We love to share our knowledge of tips and hints from the experience we have gained through our own travel with our clients so they can have a seamless vacation.

Many people don’t realize that in most cases, booking with a local travel agent is the same price as booking on the Internet or over the phone with a company. You really get their knowledge and customer service for no additional charge.

  1. When is the best time to book a flight?

You can read many articles that say about six weeks in advance in the middle of the week is the right time to book a flight.

Since I specialize in leisure travel, I would never recommend waiting that close to the time of travel. The fare normally goes up if you wait that late, especially for a high demand destination; even if the price hasn’t increased, the perfect resort or cruise cabin that you have been looking at might no longer be available.

  1. How do you go about planning a dream vacation?

Start with doing a little research to see exactly what it is that you want to see and do. Make a list of the must do attractions and prioritize those to make sure you include them in your plans. Of course, many things factor in – like budget and length of time you are comfortable being away from home.

Dream vacations are a process. A travel agent is always looking at the big picture to make sure all details of your dream are ironed out.

  1. What should vacationers be aware of if traveling abroad?

Many things, but safety is the most important.

  1. How do you go about choosing a good location? Hotel? Local restaurants?

I always find out the purpose of the trip. Then I research what is near the primary reason for the travel. It is often better to pay a little more and be in a convenient location than try to save money by booking on the outskirts of town, only to spend most of what you saved on transportation getting back and forth.



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