Why should I use a travel agent when I can book with Expedia or Costco Travel?
We can offer many services and conveniences not found on a search engine site or big box retailer – everything from saving you hours of research, ensuring you are traveling with a reputable company or to resort that has been vetted for quality, plus handling any unexpected surprises that could potentially derail your vacation plans, such as unexpected illness, extreme weather, or a lost job.
But that really is too simple of an answer. And we as humans aren’t simple which is why there is so much more to how we develop relationships with our clients – that human touch that sets me apart from Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity or a random phone representative at Costco.
A few reasons why you may want to consider working with a travel agent:
- You Value Customer Service
- You Don’t Enjoy/Have Time to Research
- You Have a Complex Vacation with Multiple Cities or Stops
- You Want Advice From Someone Who’s Been There
- You Prefer a Payment Plan
- You’re Traveling With a Group
- You Have Special Needs or Requests
- You’re Celebrating a Special Occasion
- It’s Your First Trip Outside of the Country
I’ve never worked with a travel agent, what is the process? How do I get started?
Whether you’ve never used a travel agent before or maybe didn’t have an ideal experience in the past, if you’ve wondered how a trip could be elevated from ordinary to exceptional, it’s worth checking our Design a Trip page to learn more about the experience you can expect when working with Plan Your Perfect Vacation.
Check out everything you receive by working with a professional travel agent
How do travel agents get paid?
Travel agents typically are paid on commission by hotels, cruise lines, excursion companies and resorts, but as we create custom trips, oftentimes we will provide clients with experiences with companies that don’t necessarily have a commission partnership with agents.
We would rather see you take part in the experience of a lifetime than limit what we can design into your itinerary.
Since we may be creating your custom trip that doesn’t include commission or may be incredibly complex, charging a Trip Design & Travel Management is something we do anytime we begin designing a trip. Putting together an itinerary, particularly one involving a complicated trip, like a safari, or booking a large group trip or family vacation, is the full time job that most travelers do not want to take on during their free time.
Charging a fee is a bit of insurance for all of the time and effort we put into creating an itinerary in the event that a client ends up deciding to not travel or needs to cancel. Agents are only paid when a traveler completes their trip.
Why should I pay your Trip Design and Travel Management Fee? What does that get me?
Every trip we plan is completely customized and tailored to you because each of our clients are special and all trips have a different vision and goal. Although custom travel won’t look the same for each reservation, this is what you can expect with every booking so we may provide the best client experience pre, during, and post travel:
- Consultation – We’ll discuss your past travels, what you like to do in your free time, your favorite foods and other details that will give me insight into what is unique about you and how you like to travel.
- Research and Partnership – We’ll begin researching to find the best options that match you through partnering with trusted and vetted suppliers that are on location and current with that destination. Even with over 60 countries traveled, we rely on partnerships to make sure you’re getting the most accurate information.
- Itinerary Proposal – We’ll review itinerary that includes everything we discussed in the initial consultation for your review and we can continue to fine tune all components and book the trip once everything looks perfect.
- Trip Preparation and Support – We’ll be available to help you prepare – whether it is with packing lists or the customs process, I’m here to answer any questions.
- Point of Contact during Travel: You’ll always have local assistance with 24 hour peace of mind
What brands do you focus on for your clients?
Although we have preferred properties, brands, and companies that we have chosen to partner with based on their track record of exceptional service, amenities, and experience, every trip is tailored to each client individually. Therefore, a portfolio of options we have personally vetted is used to curate the perfect trip for you.
What kind of special certifications do you have?
Our agency engages in continuous education year round to stay current within the travel industry. We have over 30 certifications and continue to attend industry conferences, tourism board and destination travel trips, educational webinars, and online training programs to provide our clients with the most accurate information.
Can we make changes to the proposal created for our trip?
Once we have agreed on the general parameters of your trip, the first proposal is created. That initial proposal is not the final itinerary, just a starting point with flexibility to make tweaks and changes until it matches what you envision.
What if we decide we want to go in a totally different direction after seeing our proposal?
Custom trip planning is specific to you, but this takes time. It is important from our first consultation call to agree on a clear vision of what you expect.
Can you break out each individual trip cost?
Your custom vacation package comes as a single trip cost and you will be invoiced for the entire trip package, inclusive of all trip components we have agreed upon. Agreements with our suppliers are often confidential and do not permit us to provide pricing for each travel component separately. Costing segments of your journey separately voids the total price of the itinerary presented to you.
What if we need to cancel our trip?
Cancellation costs vary by supplier resort and airline. Due to the customized nature of your vacation, trip insurance is highly recommended in the event you need to cancel or postpone your trip.
Do you recommend trip insurance?
Travel insurance for all trips is highly recommended. We are legally required to offer it to you with every booking. Travel insurance covers not only travel related costs, but also medical needs that are typically not covered by domestic medical plans.
What is the best way for us to communicate?
During the planning process, email communication is best because it allows us to keep track of anything that is discussed. While you are traveling, our agency is available to you as much as possible, but as time zones may make it difficult to answer immediately, you will often have local partners available to help with any issues that may arise.
When will I see my final itinerary/travel documents?
Your final itinerary typically will be available 10-14 days before departure and provided electronically.
Can you help me book travel using airline miles or hotel points?
Reward Program Points/Miles such as ie. Marriott Rewards, AAdvantage Miles, Hilton Honors, etc. are personal accounts of point and can only be utilized by the owner of that points account.
Note: If trip components are booked using miles and points and coordinated in conjunction with services not booked and provided by our agency (e.g., lodging, air travel, etc.) we cannot be held responsible for these suppliers’ rates, bookings, and operations or for their actions that may cause any loss or damage to you during your vacation. We will not be able to support, rebook, or assist with managing any portion of travel that may be interrupted, delayed, or cancelled that was booked personally by the traveler.
Can you book Air BnB or VRBO type properties?
To provide the most seamless experience during your vacation, we are not able to book Air BnB, VRBO, Turnkey, hostels and non-approved accommodations through our agency. The quality of the property and the amenities being offered cannot be vetted for accuracy. These types of properties can cancel without notice, plus transfer and tour companies may not pick up in residential neighborhoods. Our agency works with preferred partners and we book strictly within our approved network, not any property that can be found online.
How are payments and cancellations handled when one person cancels on the trip and the other still wants to travel?
Each traveler must read and sign the same terms and conditions, agreeing upon all details of a reservation before finalizing a booking. Payments cannot be split and will need to be arranged prior to any required deposit is made. Our agency is not responsible for any fees and/ or penalties incurred if any traveler cancels and/or changes their reservation.
Changes and/or cancellations by one guest will cancel the entire booking and the remaining travelers on the reservation will have the option to rebook based on availability and prevailing rates. Travelers assume the risk of no availability or increased price due to any changes or cancellations that are made.
How much should I budget for my vacation?
For our best tailored, custom trips that will match those photos you’ve seen online or fulfill the pampered amenities that anyone would want away from home, the recommended budget per person is in the mid to high 4 figure range. For the more complex, luxurious, or unique trips, these begin in the 5 figure range, per person.
Also check out “Am I the right travel advisor for you? to learn more.