Travel & Outdoors

Best Travel Agencies In Tampa Bay

May 6, 2013 6:00 AM

View Comments
File photo. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Internet revolution has made it easier than ever for do-it-yourselfers to book their own airline flights, reserve their own hotel rooms and arrange their own car rentals. That’s been bad news for travel agents who have seen a lot of business simply disappear. However, in recent years, there’s been a revival of interest as consumers get swamped by ever-increasing numbers of travel-oriented websites. The American Association of Travel Agents reports that 57 percent of independent travel agents saw an increase in business during 2011. In some cases, travel agents may be paid commissions by the companies they select for your trip, in other cases, they may charge their customers a fee. Check with your prospective travel agent up front about how they are compensated to help you decide whether they’re a good match. However, it’s worth remembering that a fee could be a small price to pay for a special deal that saves you a lot of money.

AAA Auto Club South
1515 N. Westshore Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 289-5800
www.autoclubsouth.aaa.com

AAA is the ultimate “big box” store when it comes to all things related to travel. Formed in 1902, the American Automobile Association morphed into a confederation of 51 independent motor clubs around the country, providing everything from road maps to travel insurance for members. For travelers, AAA offers special discounted package deals as well as a rating service based on one to five diamonds to help customers decide how much they need to spend to meet their hotel standards.  

Related: Getaway Guru: One Tank Trip to Orlando

Accent on Travel
33655 U.S. Highway 19
Palm Harbor, FL 34684
(727) 786-3336
www.accentontravel.org

If AAA represents the “big box” approach to customers around the world, Accent on Travel offers a more specialized approach to serving its neighbors in the western part of Pinellas County. Accent offers all kinds of travel assistance, but it highlights its ability to put together cruise packages, family holiday trips or a golfing experience. One service touted by its websites is weekly cruise specials. This is definitely a “must stop” for cruise lovers looking for a great trip at a great price.

Jet Setters Travel
2114 Drew St., Suite D
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 443-4559
www.jetsetterstravelinc.com

Surrounded by water, it only makes sense that a Pinellas-based travel agency would specialize in cruises. Jet Setters offers weekly cruise specials, which is a perfect opportunity for a traveler with a flexible schedule to snap up a bargain vacation. Jet setters also offers international vacation packages to Europe and Mexico. While personal service is going to be one of the selling points for any locally owned travel agency, Jet Setters’ website has a currency calculator that could be quite useful for international travelers.

Land O’ Lakes Travel
2442 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
Land O’ Lakes, FL 34639
(813) 949-4275
www.landolakestravel.com

For everyone who’s intimidated by the thought of dealing with a massive organization but doesn’t feel up to navigating the sometimes overwhelming Internet, Land O’ Lakes Travel’s appeal is simple and straightforward: friendly, expert help with everything down to the smallest details. Its expertise ranges from individual trips to group outings and business travel. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway, an unforgettable honeymoon or a once-in-a-lifetime European vacation, Land O’ Lakes Travel offers help for you.

Hyde Park Travel
3307 Bay To Bay Blvd., Suite A
Tampa, FL 33629
(813) 258-8880
www.hydeparktravel.com

Hyde Park Travel opened 14 years ago just as the Internet started to become a force in the travel industry. That’s an issue the company addresses head on. In its mission statement, it vows to offer services that travelers can’t do for themselves. Hyde Park Travel notes that it has helped travelers who have been stranded overseas because of inaccurate or incomplete information. With experienced world travelers on staff, Hyde Park Travel agency promises to bring customers first-hand knowledge and assistance throughout the process of planning a business trip or vacation. The website also offers the option of signing up for automatic notifications of exclusive travel offers.

Related: Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Siesta Key

Mike Hennessy is a veteran news man who has won Florida AP awards for feature reporting and covered almost every kind of story imaginable from on-the-scene coverage of Hurricane Andrew, to some of the highest profile murder and corruption trials in Florida history. Mike is versatile and has the curiosity it takes to get to the bottom line of any story. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 934 other followers