If you are contemplating on taking that trip, then you probably fall into one of three categories: 1. The Self-Planner who just loves every aspect of working through the details; 2. The Bargain Hunter who feels you can get that “deal,” and beat the odds; and 3. The Overwhelmed who have anxiety over all of the complexities, that you just don’t even know where to begin, and need help – – fast! In any of these cases, here is where you may want to use a Travel Advisor.
- The Self-Planner. For you overzealous, excited, detail-oriented planners out there (and I count myself among you!), you may want to take in the full picture. Self-planning is an entirely different thing than when you plan for others since you have the tendency to unduly obsess over every little thing. Prior to becoming a Travel Advisor, I too, took on the daunting task of planning out every aspect of my family’s trips, as well as those for friends and other family members. However, I encountered an unforeseen “bump in the road,” on our last one. You see, I didn’t expect that when it came time for Dining Reservations, FastPasses , flights, and special experiences, that I would be bombarded with sick children, doctors appointments, and other daily tasks to accomplish on my ever growing, “To Do List.” In spite of getting excited over our vacation, I found myself seeing it more as one more thing I HAD to do, rather than taking pleasure in it. Towards the end of the planning, I felt more stressed and that I may have forgotten things during our trip. I put my own planning on hold while taking care of others, including helping a friend with their trip. Needless to say, during that vacation, I had been preoccupied with worry about whether I missed something or whether I planned out enough exciting and different things so that my family would be having a memorable time.
Lesson: IF I had used a Travel Advisor, I wouldn’t have had to worry about making deadlines. I would have had a steady lead time of reminders from my TA, given her/him my preferences, and had them do all this for me. I could have also given my TA all my ideas for what I envisioned our family vacation to be like, and allowed them to come up with suggestions, pricing, etc. They would have worked within the reality of my budget and time. I could have saved myself a lot of stress, and simply have gone on vacation to really enjoy it!
- The Bargain Hunter. For you bargain hunters – – the reality is that we are all looking to save money on a trip. I’ve been there, I’ve done it, and the key to this is recognizing what is, and is not, a real bargain. Time is money, and money is time and convenience. If you think that not using a TA saves you money by not paying them a commission because you booked direct, then stop there.
Lesson: If a Travel Advisor can see what you are looking at and book it, you have already paid for their services but are not getting them. Nor are you getting their commission as a savings – – suppliers don’t work that way. A Travel Advisor is not a sales person, but is more likened to a Financial Advisor. We use years of experience, training, research and cultivated relationships with suppliers to offer the maximum return on your vacation investment. We also know what pitfalls to avoid, monitor for offers that can save you money, and continue to be on call for you while you travel. So many times I have been asked about a hotel or resort that someone has found, only to dig deeper to find that there are so many other costs associated with the initial “deal.” So many times, we have found that deal to not be a deal at all, and moreover, a time consuming, and costly venture just to get to the destination. More times than I care to count, I have also discovered some major issues that were conveniently omitted about the hotel, resort or room someone wanted to book at that “great rate.” Example: the pool may be closed, construction is going on and you’ll never sleep, the rooms haven’t been updated since the 1970’s, or it’s located 30 min. away but actually 45min. because you are going during spring break. Furthermore, Travel Advisors are not resources for free information, as they only get paid by a supplier if you book through them.
- The Overwhelmed. For those of you not knowing what to do first or how to go about it . . . breathe! In most cases, a Travel Advisor isn’t going to cost you anything, but will instead save you stress, money and time. We do this as our job, as our passion, and are committed to helping each and every family have a wonderful vacation full of memories. You may feel that this statement is a bit self-serving, but it comes from a lot of experience on both sides of the planning process.
Lesson: Some people like to be really “hands on” in the planning process, while others like to have it done for them. Either is possible when using a Travel Advisor! The important thing to keep in mind is that a good Travel Advisor will be there when you need them to help, guide, or even complete some of those daunting tasks.
Like with anything, if you want a truly great experience, then talk to someone with that experience. Using a Travel Advisor is not uncommon! In fact, people are using Travel Advisors more so now than ever before with the convenience of the internet. The abundance of data, supposed deals, and advertising put in front of the average human being is a lot to digest! However, what it all comes down to is knowing fact from fiction, and building a relationship with a real person who will guide you. After all, it’s YOUR vacation and you want to make it as great as you’ve always dreamed about!