As a traveling attorney, your job is to travel nationwide or internationally to represent your client in a specific court of law. In this role, you prepare for each case, interview people relevant to the case, and present information during a trial. Traveling attorneys often work with people or companies who have complex legal needs and find themselves involved in cases within multiple jurisdictions. Traveling attorneys should not be confused with many other types of travel lawyer jobs, which usually focus on temporary assignments to fill staffing shortages; instead, traveling attorneys typically work for the same firm or client but travel extensively as part of the job.
The primary qualifications for getting a job as a traveling attorney are a license to practice law in each jurisdiction your client needs help in and some experience as an attorney. Most firms and clients want to see a record of success in at least one jurisdiction before you start taking cases in other areas. Travel schedules vary widely; you may stay with your client on their trips that need legal counsel, or you may need to attend scheduled court dates around the country, so the ability to adjust your schedule whenever necessary is essential to this job. You also need a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation. Some positions may require international travel, so you may also need a valid passport. Whether you are a frequent flier or the occasional traveler, you likely have had a few travel agent questions regarding the best way to plan a trip. To help you weigh out the benefits of using a travel agent or planning a trip on your own, below are a few frequently asked travel agent questions.
What services does a travel agent offer?
Travel agents provide information and help consumers make travel arrangements. A travel agent, for instance, coordinates a traveler’s airline flight, hotel reservation, car rental, or tour. Travel agents offer advice and answer common travel agent questions such as inquiries weather conditions, exhibits to visit, currency exchange rates, required travel documentation, and local customs. Because travel agents receive compensation from travel suppliers, there is a certain degree of loyalty to suppliers rather than consumers. However, several state courts have ruled that because of the special relationship between travel agents and consumers, travel agents are fiduciaries subject to a high standard of care. A travel agent, consequently, has special duties and obligations to clients.
A travel agent has the following duties:
• Duty to warn. A travel agent has a duty to disclose known negative information that is not “obvious or apparent” to the consumer. For example, if a travel agent is aware that a certain destination has recently experienced a rash of muggings, the travel agent has a duty to warn the client. If a danger is public knowledge, however, the travel agent bears no responsibility for giving this information.
• Duty to investigate. Because travel agents have access to travel information through trade journals and travel magazines, agents have a duty to stay informed about conditions that could affect a client’s trip. Courts have ruled that when available, travel agents should have knowledge of information like the financial stability of suppliers and tour operators and the ability of suppliers and tour operators to deliver travel services. For example, courts have found travel agents liable for failing to investigate whether a hotel was open or whether it was under construction.
• Duty to inform. Travel agents have a duty to inform clients about important travel information. Travel agents must inform clients about restrictions on tickets, itinerary changes, the types of travel documentation needed, and the availability of travel insurance.
• Duty to make reservations. Travel agents have a duty to make the reservation requested by the client. The travel agent is responsible for making the correct reservation that is consistent with a client’s requirement. If the travel agent makes the wrong reservation or a delay results in increased costs, the travel agent will be responsible for the difference between the original cost and the actual cost.
• Duty to confirm reservations. When a travel agent books travel arrangements through a wholesaler or a tour operator, the agent must confirm the reservation and notify the client of any changes to the itinerary. The travel agent must confirm the reservation by directly contacting the supplier.
• Duty to disclose a supplier’s identity: A travel agent must disclose the identity of the wholesaler or tour operator that will deliver the service to the consumer. The failure to provide this information may result in a travel agent’s liability for damages that result from defaults or accidents.
Whether the client is responsible for paying the difference depends on the circumstance. If, for instance, the travel arrangements were booked based on the price quoted by the travel agent, it is likely that the agent will be responsible for incurring the cost if the client relied on the agent’s quote. On the other hand, if the agent quoted the correct price but inadvertently charged less, the client is responsible for paying the additional amount owed. Travel agents receive compensation from commissions earned from travel suppliers and for some services provided to clients. For example, a travel agent may charge a client for booking an airline flight or making hotel or car rental reservations.
Most states do not require travel agents to obtain a license. In some states, travel agents must register with the appropriate state agency. Professional associations for travel agents do not regulate the conduct of agents. Although professional associations do have established guiding principles for members, these rules provide consumers with very little recourse if an agent violates a code of ethics. Nevertheless, a consumer with a complaint or questions about an agent may contact the association the travel agent belongs to and make a complaint. Some associations do provide mediation services to resolve disputes.
Characteristics of a Successful Travel Agent
1. Knowledge: When travelers choose to use a travel agent instead of booking a trip themselves, they are looking for expertise. Turn yourself into an information sponge and soak up everything there is to know about airlines, airports, destinations, dining, and accommodations. Read travel articles and publications to stay current. Don’t be afraid to ask your suppliers questions about the products you are buying.
2. Professionalism: Set high expectations of professionalism for yourself and your employees. Check the spelling on your emails and quotes. Put efficient processes in place for making and managing bookings rather than just “winging it” as you go. Consider implementing or following a personal dress code to help you feel at the top of your game even if you work from home!
3. Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is contagious. Stay excited about what you sell and your clients will catch on. Be that crazy person that loves Mondays. Keep your standards high and your goals ahead of you. Make sure to save plenty of time in your year for your own travels. This will keep you excited and passionate about what you do!
4. People Skills: Are you able to pick up on subtle communication cues? Can you figure out what a client really wants when they’re having a hard time expressing it clearly? Do you know how and when to close the sale? Some of these things come naturally, but much of it is learned simply by paying attention. Become a student of human nature even when you are not on the job and you will start to develop a keen ability to read people.
5. Integrity: Be honest and upfront about fares, rules and regulations. Don’t try to sell something you don’t think your travelers would love. Take the high road. Referrals and recommendations are your best form of advertising, but they simply won’t happen if you don’t maintain the highest standards of integrity
6. Resourcefulness: A great travel agent has the ability to think on their feet and adapt to new situations. Whether it’s a forced a schedule change, an unusual request, or a missed connection, quick-thinking is essential. Learn to stay calm and navigate emergencies like a pro. Figure out what resources you have at your disposal and make it happen! Your clients will think you are a miracle-worker!
7. Empathy: Even when you do all the right things in the booking process, travel arrangements can often go awry. Airlines are delayed, bags get lost, and travelers can get sick. Just because an incident is not your fault, doesn’t mean you show no compassion. Be your client’s advocate whenever you can. Use your experience to take up their cause with airlines and travel insurance underwriters. If there is truly nothing you can do, offer your best suggestions and your genuine empathy. Be a listening ear and make them feel heard and understood.
Advantages of online travel agents
Ultimately, OTAs give you instant access to a large number of potential customers. Possible advantages of using an online travel agent to sell your service include:
• It’s a low cost way to list your property and its rooms.
• Reductions in your online marketing spend. OTAs will invest in marketing and advertising to attract potential international customers.
• A reduction in your website costs. OTAs are keen to provide a positive online experience for customers through good website design and functionality.
• Online travel sites are popular with customers who like to compare accommodation costs and the services offered by individual providers.
• Impartial reviews on online travel sites may give new customers the confidence to book.
Disadvantages of online travel agents
There may be some disadvantages to using online travel agents. These include:
• Online travel agents can charge commission on every sale. This can range between 10-20 per cent of the gross cost.
• There may be restrictive terms and conditions imposed by OTAs such as guest cancellation and automatic room reselling policies.
• You may need to find a way of managing room availability across a range of OTAs, your own website, front desk and telephone sales. This can be time consuming and labour intensive. There are software options to help you manage this.
• Using OTAs does not reduce the need to have your own website with booking engine.
• You may still need to invest in a balanced multi-channel marketing strategy.
The I-131 Application for Travel Document is a form that a foreign national submits to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to apply for one of various types of travel document. The costs associated with filing an I-131 application depend on what kind of travel document you are applying for and whether or not you decide to use the help of an immigration attorney. The different travel documents you can apply for using the I-131 application are:
• Reentry document\Refugee
• Travel Document, or
• Advance Parole.
The filing fee for the I-131 application depends on the travel document you are applying for. The fees are as follows;
• $575 for a reentry document or advance parole, plus an $85 biometrics fee for applicants between age 14 and 79 years of age
• $135 for a refugee travel document for applicants who are 16 years of age or older, plus an $85 biometrics fee (unless the applicant is age 80 or older)
• $105 for a refugee travel document for applicants who are under the age of 16 years, plus an $85 biometrics fee if the applicant is age 14 or 15.
If you are also filing an I-485 application for adjustment of status, there is no filing fee for the I-131 application, assuming you are submitting it in order to request advance parole or a refugee travel document. If you are applying for humanitarian-based advance parole and are unable to pay the fee, you can request a waiver by submitting USCIS Form I-912 Fee Waiver Request along with your application. USCIS raises its fees on a fairly regular basis, so always check the USCIS Web page for Form I-131 to confirm the fee that applies to you before you file.
When you first meet with an attorney, you will almost always have to pay a consultation fee. A consultation fee can range anywhere from $75 to several hundred dollars depending on where the attorney is located and the size of the firm he or she works for. At this stage of the process, you should ask the attorney whether the consultation fee will be deducted from the final bill if you decide to retain his or her services.
Most attorneys will charge a flat fee for preparing an I-131 application. An average flat fee for the entire I-131 process can be anywhere from $250 to $1,000, depending on what travel document you are applying for. If you are applying for advance parole or a refugee travel document as part of an I-485 application for adjustment of status, the attorney will generally charge you a flat fee for the adjustment of status process that will include preparation of the I-131 application.
An attorney will generally perform the following services with a flat fee:
• Preparing the I-131 form.
• Assembling the documents that need to be submitted with the I-131 form.
• Drafting affidavits, if needed.
• Drafting a legal memo for more complicated cases, where needed, and
• Preparing and submitting a response to a Request for Evidence (RFE).
A flat fee is normally a good deal, particularly if you have a complicated case that requires a lot of documentation. Some attorneys might charge you at an hourly rate. This could be a better option for you if you have a straightforward case or have already completed the I-131 application on your own and simply want the attorney to review it. The downside to being charged hourly is that your fee will be less predictable and, depending on your case, you could end up spending more than you would have if you had paid a flat fee. For example, if you prepared your own application and it contains lots of mistakes, it is possible the attorney might spend more time fixing your work than if he or she had started the petition from scratch. It is always a good idea to contact several attorneys to ask about their fees before scheduling your consultation. No matter what, make sure you select an attorney you feel comfortable with.
Travel Attorney Free Consultation
When you need legal help from a Travel Attorney in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506
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