Talk to a San Jose Travel Agent about Your Long-Term Trip Planning

A lot of people in San Jose are looking to see the world. There are married couples eager to take advantage of their new, empty-nest status, and early retirees—many from Silicon Valley’s software and tech industries—looking to explore the world while planning their next move. Likewise, learning and travel go hand in hand for many. There are high school grads who are looking to go on a big adventure before heading off to college. There are university faculty who take classes in Europe for a semester, and there are post-graduate students who are looking to teach English in any number of Asian countries.


How a Travel Agent can Help

Before you try to plan an around-the-world trip on your own, know that there are a couple reasons why it may be a good idea to talk to a travel agent first. To this end, we reached out to Marilyn Bell Zelaya, second-generation owner of Willow Glen Travel Agency with half a century worth of experience. We first talked about the more typical clients who approach her for advice and deals on cruises and other vacation travel. It was immediately clear she still has her pulse on the local travel culture. “Most people here in San Jose, they get nervous after about two weeks. They’re still working. They get antsy, and they’re ready to come home.”

At the same time, it became clear during our conversation that many of the same benefits that travel agents provide for short-term trips apply to long-term travel as well. What benefits? Well, to start, travel agents have contacts and build a large network of travel vendors, property owners, and hospitality service providers. Simply put, they often have access to deals that are not widely available to the public. What’s more, these travel packages tend to include a bunch of local, personalized tips that come from the travel agent’s direct experience with that travel destination at different times of the year. For this reason, it’s often wise to look at the various deals and featured suppliers listed on the travel agent’s site.


Find a San Jose Travel Agency for Your Long-Term Travel

Still, when it comes to working with a travel agent, these deals aren’t the only consideration. “There are many great aspects to travel agents and what they can do. You want to look for a personality match, but there are also things that different agents specialize in,” Bell Zelaya explains. And when she knows another travel agent has what her customer needs? “We’ll gladly refer people to other travel agents.”

What she really wants people in San Jose to know is that they can get more bang for their buck with a travel agent. “Generally, people are pretty smart about their money, but it’s not just your money, it’s also your time.” To this point, don’t underestimate the advice that a travel agent can provide even to experienced travelers. Here’s one recent development Bell Zelaya wanted us to warn you about and which may be particularly relevant for long-term travel plans: “It used to be that passports lasted ten years, but now it’s really more like nine-and-a-half months. You want to make sure your passport has a good number of blank pages, too.”


Basic Protections and Timely Resources

According to Bell Zelaya, when it comes to finding someone you can trust, “The biggest thing is making sure your agent is a member of the ASTA [American Society of Travel Agents].” Bell Zelaya also pointed out that people in California enjoy consumer protections through the Seller of Travel license program and the California Coalition of Travel Organizations.

Being able to trust in the basic services provided by California travel agents gives you that much more time and headspace to find an agent who speaks to your individual priorities. Not sure how to start planning your long-term travel adventure? Willow Glen Travel Agency is a great resource to point you in the right direction. Have storage needs in connection with your long-term travel plans? Contact our San Jose storage center.


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