Most everyone could benefit from working with a travel pro.
My clients typically fall into one of four buckets:
- Seniors –They use the Internet to research travel but some are more comfortable working with someone rather than booking online.
- Busy professionals — who don’t have time to plan travel. I’m given a destination and 3 or 4 must-haves and tasked with creating something amazing.
- Unchartered territory – something about the trip motivated them to bring in a pro. A new destination, another language, visas, etc. Or, lots of moving parts like a multi-destination trip.
- Extended families – Making decisions as a family is not always easy. Take the stress out by handing travel planning over to an expert.
And, yes — working with a travel agent does mean access to special savings and amenities. Travel agents are well traveled and well trained.
The best value: a Cruise. The best value + experience: a Cruise Tour.
I didn’t think I was a “cruise” person but I’m totally converted. There’s simply no better value out there. No packing and unpacking. All your transportation, lodging, meals and entertainment – at a price that definitely beats hotel rates. And, there’s a cruise for everyone. There’s river cruises and ocean cruises. Big ships and small boats. And there’s every level of stateroom, dining and service possible. So many desirable travel destinations around the world are port cities. Hit all the best cities with a cruise and have plenty of time to explore.
Speaking of exploring— many of the major cruise lines offer cruise tours. (Not an excursion – or some half-day port tour. No, this is different). A cruise tour is a deeper dive into a destination on the front-end or back-end of a cruise where your transportation and accommodations are all handled seamlessly. For example, a number of the Alaska cruise lines offer cruise tours where you take the glass-topped train inland to spend three to five days at Denali National Park. Cruise tours are offered all over the world.
Travel Insurance is a must.
I never purchased travel insurance until I became a travel agent. It’s only been a year – but I’ve seen it all. Falls, food poisoning and illness while traveling. Lost passports. Cutting a trip short to get back to a sick family member. I’ve seen 100+ flights in a day cancelled. Ports skipped on a cruise. Record heat-waves. Volcanoes.
Plan for the unexpected. Have me quote a policy for you even if you didn’t book the trip with me. Yes – you do need medical coverage overseas. I’ll show you Kaiser’s or Medicare’s website where they encourage you to purchase travel insurance. I want to make sure that if the unexpected happens, you won’t be emptying out your savings to pay hospital bills. And, I’ll make sure you have just enough trip cancellation and interruption coverage to cover airline change fees and hotel cancellation fees. The price depends on two things – the cost of the trip and your age. But, a modest policy can be found for less than $100 and the whole process only takes a few minutes over the phone. Travel insurance protects both you and your trip investment and is necessary in my opinion.
I love the job.
The pay as a travel agent is not great, but the travel perks are wonderful. The work is challenging and meaningful. I can point to a number of trips that I planned that were once-in-a-lifetime destinations or something very special to the travelers. Honeymoons and anniversary trips. Family reunions or retracing ancestry trips. Last big trip as a family before college. I love helping with bucket lists and making dreams come true.
It’s also very satisfying to be my customer’s safety net. I’ve got your back all the way until you get back home. I’ve helped a number of customers with real-time changes to travel plans. I’ve gotten customers back home in emergencies. I’ve negotiated numerous better settlements and resolutions with travel suppliers on behalf of my clients. I’m a full-service agent who understands “service”– good luck trying to get that kind of support from the online and warehouse travel companies.