So you are planning a trip. Or thinking about planning a trip. Or dreaming about the time when you can plan a trip. Or… well you get the gist. If you are like me, a lot of your daydreaming goes towards your next getaway – whether that is a camping trip, visiting friends in another town, or an international holiday. Maybe you enjoy planning your own travels, maybe you have a strict budget, maybe you don't even know what you want to do... Whatever your deal is, you don’t need a travel advisor. You can plan your trip and likely, nothing disastrous will happen because you planned it yourself. You will go to a nice destination, stay in a nice place, and have a nice time. Really, you don’t need an advisor. However, I want to tell you why you should WANT an advisor. Whatever your situation is, a travel advisor can help you turn an idea or plan into a fantastic, unforgettable adventure. Whatever your situation is, I want to tell you why (and how!) a travel advisor can help you have a better trip.
First, what is a travel advisor and how is it different from a travel agent?
Honestly, there is not much difference between what a travel advisor and a travel agent look like today, but there is a big difference from what you may picture as a travel agent. With the advent of the internet and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Orbitz, Tripadvisor, Travelocity, and all of the others, the profession has changed. While some of the work that travel agents do still resembles Toula Portokalos’ work for her family’s agency in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, travel advisors have shifted course somewhat away from simple bookings of travel to offering customized journeys and adventures for their clients. While an advisor can just book your flights and hotels for you, the real value in using a travel advisor comes in the form of customized daily itineraries, restaurant and activity recommendations and bookings, emergency support, and other customized and personal services. A travel advisor is your one-stop shop for every aspect of your travel needs, and will take you from planning your trip, all the way through your vacation until you are back in your own house.
Okay but I have Google, isn’t that all I need?
So Google is amazing. You have access to a world of information at your fingertips. And I agree, everything you need is likely coming back to you in that Google search. The problem comes in when you have to decipher which information to use, what information is sponsored and what is reliable, who to even listen to… Take a trip to Greece for example. You have your trip narrowed down to one pretty small country, it should be pretty easy to find out what you need to have an awesome trip, right? Well, a search for ‘Greece’ comes up with 1,190,000,000 results. If you decide you are sure you want to hit up beaches and narrow your search down to just those for beaches, you narrow the options down to a measly 719,000,000 results. Maybe you decide you want to go to Santorini (an awesome choice), that’s 61,900,000 results. My point is, the internet is awesome. It can give you a great idea of the options out there. However it is OVERLOADED with information, and you never know what sources you can trust. Travel Advisors (especially if they are with trusted networks like Virtuoso) have access to verified information, local experts who live and work in the destinations, and networks of other travel advisors who have been to the spots we are booking. We can double and triple check that all of the information that you are receiving is verified, current, and the best option for you.
I enjoy planning travel, why would I want to give that up?
Great! I enjoy planning travel too! Travel Advisors usually offer a few different levels of service, so you just have to pay for the services you need. If you want to make a vision board and plan out every element of your trip by yourself, more power to you. If something gets complicated, or you are having trouble reaching a vendor to book, or you aren’t sure if your itinerary is feasible, that’s when you can give an advisor a call. Some advisors offer free consultations where they will answer any questions for you and give any advice they can to help you have an awesome trip. If after those 30 minutes you have enough information to continue booking your trip yourself, great! If you think that an advisor’s help could be useful in finalizing some of the more complicated pieces of your trip, that’s also great! Either way, a travel advisor can help plan your entire trip, or just the components that you need help with.
I don’t even know what I want yet, how could an advisor?
Most advisors are avid travelers themselves, and have a lot of first-hand experience learning what destinations and what type of travel are the best for which moods/seasons/celebrations/etc. A good advisor will help tease out the pieces of the information that you know you want out of your trip and will then use their experience to help guide you towards a trip that they think is perfect for you. Most advisors would be happy to talk to you regardless of where you are in the planning process, and most people find even just talking with an advisor can help them have a clearer idea of what they want to do.
I have a strict budget for my trip. Why would I spend some of it on a travel advisor?
Okay so this is the coolest part. I used to think the same thing – why would I pay for something when I could do it myself? But then I learned more about how the travel industry works, and it turns out that question is based on a false premise. Basically, the travel industry runs on commissions. When you book a hotel, whoever you book through gets a commission. Sometimes that is someone in the sales department for the hotel; sometimes it is an OTA like Booking.com; and sometimes it is a Travel Advisor like The Adventure Expert. Regardless of who you are booking through, that commission still exists. SO, you can spend a ton of time searching for a good deal online (the average person spends 10-30+ hours planning each trip), cross compare all of the sites, and feel pretty good about the price you get. OR, you can spend 30 minutes on a phone call with me, let me do all the work of finding the best deal for you, and end up paying the same (or often a lower!) price for a similar or better trip. Advisors have access to sites that I only dreamed of when I was planning my own travel. I have the direct phone numbers for people in charge at hotels, cruise lines, tour companies, and other vendors around the world. My relationships with these supplier partners allow me to get you the best value, with the added benefits of special amenities, free upgrades, and other great perks. In reality, you don’t save money by booking your travel yourself. You end up spending a lot of time, and often MORE money, than if you just go through a travel advisor.
Okay so I want a Travel Advisor – but why would I pick you?
Normally this would be the spot where I would do my sales pitch and sell my services to you. But honestly, my services aren’t for everyone. If you have a really good idea what you want and who the best providers are, and they all have easy to use websites – you don’t need me. You can use the OTA or a basic travel agent for your booking. If you want to go on an organized tour and find one in your price range that does everything you want, you don’t necessarily need me to help book it. In those situations, I can maybe help you get a better price, and maybe get you some special perks or upgrades, but it is possible that I would just end up booking the same thing. However, if you want help figuring out where to go, and what to do while you are there, I am your girl. If you want access to awesome perks and amenities, I’ve got you covered. If you want to be able to relax and not worry about logistics, I can do the worrying for you. If you want personal service and outstanding access to insider activities and adventures, I can help. The Adventure Expert can take a trip from nice to amazing, breathtaking, and unforgettable.
Want to learn more about why you should book with a travel advisor? The articles below provide some great insight.
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