Travel services is a very broad area, covering everything from making your trip to another country legal to getting you a reduced cost on your flight and a vegetarian in-flight meal, booking you at a hotel with a hot tub, and providing you with driving directions. Because travel now takes place so often, both for work and for pleasure, and in so many ways, there are a wide variety of travel services to serve different types of travel needs.
The governments of most countries have an agency that issues travel documents and works to ensure the safety of their citizens who are traveling abroad. For example, if you are a U.S. citizen traveling to another country, part of your travel preparation may involve a passport and a visa, and the Department of State is the provider for those documents. The DOS website is also a good place to check for any safety or health considerations in the region you plan to visit. In addition, you can register your visit on their website and have a point of contact in the country you visit so that in the case of any kind of emergency—even just something arising that means you need to get home quickly—and the U.S. Embassy, wherever you are will try to assist you.
Airline, Train, Bus, and Cruiseline Travel Reservations Services
Businesses that are in the transport business at least will offer you a reservations service for their own services, but some may offer much more. This includes packages with hotel and car rental, entertainment, sightseeing tours, and other features.
Travel Agents and Reduced Rate Booking Services
Local and national travel agencies, and services such as Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline differ from the group above because they do not actually provide the service you are seeking, but just have more or less of a hand in arranging it for you. A travel agent does the footwork for you, while with the discount services, you will likely have to invest your own time seeking and comparing until you find what you want.
Roadside Safety Services
Companies like the American Auto Association (AAA), have offered roadside travel services for a long time. Some roadside assistance is limited to that service, and will help you with flat tires, lost keys, stuck vehicles, needed gas or coolant, and towing. But with AAA, some of the benefits that members enjoy include emergency road service, trip planning assistance, car rentals, and discount travel services.
Garage and Service Station Tow Trucks
If you need travel assistance because of a breakdown and you don’t have a roadside assistance plan, you may find towing and repair services at a local garage or service station. These businesses will usually tow your car to the service location of your choice or take your car to their place of business for repair. If you live or are staying nearby, you might even get a ride home while they repair your car.
In-vehicle assistance systems, like OnStar, offer a range of services for driver safety and travel. They provide trip planning, respond in case of a crash, offer assistance if the vehicle is stolen, can give turn-by-turn navigation, and can diagnose vehicle issues before they become big problems. These systems are sold with the vehicle.
511 Information Services
From the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration website, you can access the page entitled “511 America’s Traveler Information Telephone Number.” This page contains a map that clarifies the status of each state’s 511 service, with links to the services that have been deployed.