Travel Tips – Post #1

Hopefully you are always learning on the job. I am finally relaxing laying in the hotel room that I didn’t request. I am in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for my third time. This was planned to be a very short trip with a dear friend and potential business partner to do research. I used the gift from a timeshare presentation to come down here, requested the ideal property and ended up at their less-appealing sister resort. The first of a total of three days has definitely been a learning experience. Here are five tips from Day 1 in Cabo.

Tip #1 – Pre-arrange transfers
Before departing, reserve your transfers or rental car. In Cabo San Lucas, a line of fellas will be asking if you need hotel transfers, taxi or a rental car. They will welcome you to Mexico and say they work for the airport to draw you to the many counters. Once you are at the counter, they will delay you and talk all about the great things your property offers and probably at ‘low rate’ thru them. Say ‘No, gracias’ and move on. Follow the directions your pre-arranged transfer or travel agent has provided.

Tip #2 – Pre-book and pay for your car rentals to ensure exact costs.
Great rental deals may be found but when it says that you will pay at the counter, they will lock you into a rate you can’t refuse. Since it took you so long to get the shuttle to the rental office, what else can you do? Make a car reservation that you have a loyalty program with. They will do what’s necessary to continue to keep you as a customer and guarantee or match quoted prices.

Tip #3 – Learn a little bit of the language.
Knowing common phrases in the country’s language will be beneficial. Learn how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at the very minimum will show you’re a respectable guest in their country. Consider signing up for an online course with ACT Language Schools.

Tip #4 – Stand your ground.
Being a tourist, you are a target. You are a target with disposable income and someone in a new land. Offers to buy a shuttle ride to your hotel, hats on a sunny beach, handmade necklaces draped from wrist to elbow on both arms by an older woman will be aplenty. Politely say, ‘No, gracias.’ Your response to ‘What time would you like to attend this presentation?’ should be ‘Is this required?’ If not, get your room key and start your vacation without another hard sales attempt to take up your time.

Tip #5 – Timeshares are great but try before you commit.
If you follow Tip #4, you won’t be out thousands of dollars on a timeshare. You’ll actually be up if you take advantage of their gift offerings. Timeshare presentations vary but you can get a lengthy trial period if they really don’t want you to walk out the door. They want to close the sale. Counteroffer, tell them what you want, remind them why you’re worth it, how you operate and let them say no. Not you.

It was a challenging four hours from the plane to eventually our final hotel. Mislead by so-called airport employees, hotel front desk personnel were rude, helpful front doormen were disguised as timeshare salespeople, abrasive timeshare sales manager chimed in without introducing himself, hotel on-site medical clinic was not helpful with an attitude, the condo that was promised turned into a hotel room with several things wrong with it and then spending the first hour on the phone with the company I booked this trip through. As a Travel Agent, I am on the exact trip I would like to help avoid for my clients.

On a positive note, I now know more than I did before which I can pass onto my honeymooners, solo travelers and family travel clients. I know more about transportation, how to deal with sneaky salespeople and rudeness, and what properties and vendors I do and do not want to work with. This visit to Cabo was about research. I definitely learned a lot today. Cheers to that!

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