Today’s blog is super personal and I want to share 5 reasons for why I became a travel agent this year. I love to travel. Yea, No kidding, right? But, planning travel has been part of my life since 1986. Actually, 1982. My family took a cross-country trip from New York to California. A few months before Chevy Chase did his “Vacation.” As a matter of fact, we think someone stole our trip and wrote that screenplay. Like Imogene Coca, the crazy aunt who was strapped to the roof of the car, well we also took my Grandma. There’s a good story, there. If you want to know more about that adventure, well, just wait for my book, I’m working on that too.
My friend Vicky asked me last year if I would like to join her travel team and since I had group travel experience, I said, “heck yea, tell me more about it.” She has shared this great group of people with me. Fellow travel agents who love to travel as much as I do and I’m pretty sure we have these five things in common. Check out Vicky’s podcast in 2020!
(1) Travel Advocate
I know this is showing my age, but I really don’t care. I love when I call customer service for companies and get a REAL HUMAN BEING! it’s AWESOME! When there’s a pulse and not a bot on the other end of the phone, I think, oh, man I’ve hit the jackpot. Hopefully, this person will understand my quandary and be able to help me out.
Travel Agents are like travel cheerleaders for you!
Travel agents are real humans who help you out. I want to be an advocate. Caveat, we aren’t miracle workers. We can’t help you cancel a several thousand dollar excursion/cruise/multi-destination trip in less than twenty-four hours for a full-refund with no travel insurance. We can’t do that.
But, what we can do is be your advocate. We will talk with travel advisors, companies and other agents on your behalf to try and help come up with solutions and options for the travel interruption or cancellation that might occur. In many cases, we will have already given you a “heads up” weeks before to caution you for deadlines, cancellation policies, down payments, flight requirements and restrictions. You will mostly likely know before you go, so there’s as few travel hiccups or surprises as possible.
If you have ever booked with a big third party company and gotten the run around or no refund or return call, that’s because most of the time there is no customer service/advocate. Yes, this has happened to me. 😩 I thought I was saving money. BUT when something went wrong often times there was no advocate helping me find a solution. I was !@#$ out of luck. I have tried to contact the individual hotel/airline/tour company and because I made my reservation with the third party not direct or with an agent, there’s no advocate. This frustration can leave you with a financial hardship or heartbreak that might have been avoided. Which leads me to second reason of why I became a travel agent.
(2) We know things (I know travel hacks)
Not in the creepy way, like seeing dead people. (Sixth Sense reference)HA! However, because we work in the travel world almost 24/7 we keep up-to-date information at the ready. We also know who to contact, if we don’t have the answer right away.
I am not sure what your passion is or what motivates you. However, if you’ve probably figured out travel is mine. From how to get there, how to get around, what to see, where to stay, what to avoid, what to eat, I love it all! A day doesn’t go by that I’m not talking about travel, planning travel, reading an article about travel or connecting with a friend whose traveling. Some may say it’s an obsession, o.k. so my husband, he calls it an obsession and he’s probably right. I can’t help it, I want to see the world and share it too.
Researching is also a passion. Whether it is scouring Pinterest or talking with my social media travel communities I want to be in the know. What is really cool about my community is almost 100% of us are Extra-Extroverts so no one is quiet, shy and everyone is a sharer. This travel agent community is fantastic at sharing. No one will intentionally let you go down a path without some insight or information if you ask a question. I LOVE it!
If you have ever been on a trip let’s say Paris and said, “I would like to go to the Louvre and the Champs de Elysee and the Latin Quarter in one day.” 😳 Oh and I want to find a cheap hotel somewhere in the middle and I can only go in January, well, that is where we come in. In a nice way, we might be able to talk to you about the reality of this trip. So, come on Paris is never a bad idea. However, we might be able to help you plan a better itinerary.
(3) I can help you save time and money
There was a time when people thought travel agents/advisors were a thing of the past. However, today, most often we can save you time and money. From Town and Country to Forbes to The Travel Net you can scour the internet finding articles on how Travel Agents save you time and money.
Suppliers, airlines, Disney, cruise lines, you name it. They love travel agents and they communicate with us every single week on specials, crazy deals, upgrade possibilities and offers you can’t Google or find on TripAdvisor. We do the research for you and once we know you have a bucket list or destination in mind, we will keep that in mind as opportunities pop up.
For instance, there may be a transfer fee involved getting you from the flight to the cruise or to the airport that is actually two hours from your all-inclusive resort, (you will need a ride for that, it may/may not be included in your package.) Just to name a few. These small logistics might be overlooked if you don’t fine tune them.
Some people are explorers/adventurers, foodies, cozy comforters or luxury travelers, you name it. That is why it is important to share with a travel agent, how you like to travel. Some people go to the beach and sit in the sand drinking margaritas the whole time, while others scuba/surf/skydive and some just want to do all. Travel Agents can save you time and money by matching your travel personality to your itinerary.
(4) I care about the little things
If you are traveling for a special occasion, wedding, anniversary or birthday. We celebrate with you! Most travel agents will find a way to say “thank you” or send a special “somethin’ somethin'” if we know it is a special time for you.
We can also help you plan surprises or activities with the help from our suppliers and vendors to make your experience memorable. (That special photographer on the beach or champagne greeting on arrival.)
Other little things we like to take care of include special restaurants or “off-the-beaten” path treasures that we have found. If you are planning a special dinner for one night of your trip, we can help you make it even more special guaranteeing a wonderful restaurant for the occasion. Maybe we can secure a room that might have a view and setting that has a lanai just off the bedroom suite.
(5) I want to help people see the WORLD
Since I began my travel journey in 1986 as a graduate from Johnson & Wales as a Travel & Tourism Major, I have wanted to help people see the world. In High School, my dream was to be a National Geographic Photojournalist. Although, not specifically a photojournalist, I am a travel writer for sure.
As you move through life and this world, you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return…life…and travel…leaves marks on you.Anthony Bourdain
At my core, I want to help people experience what I have experienced through travel. As a travel agent, I hope I can help people see the world. More than ever in our crazy changing hopefully, post-COVID travel world, we all need to embrace global experiences. I believe travel helps develop empathy and understanding for others. Heck, maybe we all need a trip to the beach or Disney to help us laugh too after these past few years. Perhaps a cruise on a river or the ocean to give us new perspective and a change of scenery.
⬇ Want more information? ⬇
Would you like a travel questionnaire to find out more?
Find a travel advisor for YOU!
Choose an advisor that fits how you travel. I would never assume to be the Travel Agent for every type of traveler. I specialize in Europe and now the Caribbean. Hopefully as time goes on, I will specialize in organizing group travel packages as well. There are travel agent/advisors who specialize in every type of travel. From Disney/Disney Cruises, Luxury travel to Adventure Travel, you get the picture.
I can still help you find a specialist for your travel needs. Like I shared our awesome travel community has someone who specializes in where and how you like to travel. Next week, I am heading back to the Caribbean, so I’ll have more to share soon. Til then…