You have dreamed about it forever. You saved your pennies to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip. You book it and start counting the days until you leave. Then the unthinkable happens….
- We all have bad things happen to us at some point. Whether you get sick, break a leg, a family member needs you, you lose your job, etc. things can derail a trip at the last minute. Many components of your trip can be non-refundable and insurance can protect you from having to pay for a trip you can’t take.
- It is a fact that airlines do not always run smoothly. Your flight can be delayed, cancelled, or your baggage may be late or lost. Insurance can reimburse you for these inconveniences and help replace what is lost. A voucher issued by an airline that has to be used with them on a future flight is not really the same as having insurance reimburse you so you can use it where you choose.
- Many US Medical policies, including Medicare, will not cover patients overseas. Medical coverage is a major reason I offer insurance. If you are sick, or have a medical emergency while on vacation, insurance helps you get the medical care you need.
- Sometimes nature surprises us with a volcano, flood, hurricane, or earthquake that prevents you from traveling. Mother Nature does not always warn us in time to change our plans.
Simply put, Life is unpredictable. Insurance is there to help solve problems that threaten to ruin your vacation.
You will find many articles online and in magazines that try to educate the consumer on the value of a travel advisor. I have even shared quite a few of them myself with my clients. They will tell you about our expertise, experience, contacts, time-saving, money-saving and being there for you if something goes bump in the night. All of that is true but the key reason really comes down to service. A live person can simply take care of you better than a computer can. Here are a few of the questions I may ask my clients:
- Are you a simple chicken nugget girl or will you try anything?
- Do you prefer economy or first class, in air and accommodations?
- On vacation do you resemble a sloth or the energizer bunny?
- Do you prefer solo or just family, or do you like large groups?
- Do you like large resorts or small charming boutiques?
- Do you like sweeping ocean views or mountain vistas?
- Do you mind the size of a room or is a suite a must?
- Do you prefer bars and nightlife or cultural sites and museums?
- Is this your first time out of the country or are you well traveled?
- Do you prefer a strict schedule or to go with the flow?
By finding out as much as possible about my client’s travel style and what they want to achieve on a particular trip, I am able to plan a vacation that is actually suited just for them. Does your internet booking site ask you anything besides a credit card number? Of course not. To them you are just a transaction and they don’t care if you book a hotel or tour that is not at all what you really wanted. We all work hard and many people save for vacation all year. Don’t just leave it to chance. You deserve to have someone help you create your dream vacation.
When I travel, I make it a mission to try new things. Obviously the destination in itself is a new experience, but I also really try and push myself to try things out of my comfort zone. I am blessed to have visited a few new places this past year, but I am more proud of what I did while I was there.
For those of you that know me, I do NOT get in the ocean. I am terrified of sharks and just what may be under the water in general. But on a recent trip to Turks and Caicos I was struck by how clear the water was and how I could see everything. The best part was that after watching the water for 4 days, I never saw anything, hardly even a fish. So after not even stepping foot in the ocean for ten or more years, I not only got in the water, but also kayaked in the ocean! I had to have a friend take a picture because I knew my husband and kids would not believe it. It felt so good to face that fear and to have fun in the water like everyone else.
So on my next trip to Jamaica, I took this a little further. The water was not as clear, but I was game anyway. I once again got in the water and this time I tried stand up paddle boarding. I do not suggest trying this for the first time after two rum punches, but it was fun despite the falls. It just felt like such an accomplishment for me. Since I was not great at it on the first try, I am already planning on trying it again in Costa Rica in December. I have to redeem myself.
On each trip this year I have also tried so many new foods. It really gives you a sense of place to try local specialties. In the past couple of months I have tried callaloo, festival, plantains (note- I hate bananas so this was a hard sell for me), guacamole , sushi (yes I was very late to the game on both of these), and mallorca to name a few. I have eaten pretty much anything put in front of me and have enjoyed almost all of it. The food is such a big part of any destination and I have great memories of each trip that revolve around the food. So many of my great memories involve a dinner with friends or a sunset cocktail.
So what next? I am visiting Cost Rica in December and already have plans to rappel a waterfall, walk a wobbly bridge (the name alone makes me dizzy), zip line, and take a mud bath.
I would love to hear some of your adventures too!
I grew up with a mom who practically refused to fly and a dad who fortunately loved to drive. Our family took all our vacations by car. Long road trips together before car seats and seat belts were mandatory. Our parents would put us in the car at 4:00am lying down with blankets and start the trip with us still asleep. By the time we woke up hungry we had already been travelling for hours.
What I remember best about our trips is that my mom always planned for weeks. She would meticulously lay out each day but build in time for spontaneity. She always asked for our input and about what we wanted to do. I remember the summer we went to New England and I was obsessed with the Julia Roberts movie “Mystic Pizza”. We had no plans in Connecticut at all, but we made a day trip to Mystic just for me. And how we went to LL Bean in Maine because I had to have a flannel shirt bought IN Maine. And how my mom let us choose CATS on Broadway even though she is literally terrified of real cats. I remember how special each trip was because it was planned just for us.
As I grew up and had children of my own, I wanted them to enjoy similar family vacations. As they got older, I asked more and more about what they wanted as I was planning our trips. Our first big road trip was the summer they turned 6 and 9. We drove from Birmingham to Vermont. 23 hours with so much to see along the way! A favorite stop was Hershey, PA just to see the Hershey Kiss streetlights I told them about from my childhood. Our most successful trip to date was Sacramento to Denver- 9 states in 14 days. Our route was twisted and long due to my kids’ must-haves for the trip. My oldest just had to see “big” trees in CA and my youngest had to go to Mount Rushmore, so those became our start and end points with all the major National Parks in between. The trip was so fabulous because we all had input into what we wanted. And we simply enjoyed each other’s company away from everyday stress. We played a lot of car bingo and the license plate game!
When planning a trip for your family, whether it is just the two of you, or a multi-generational trip of 20, always take into account everyone. You may have to compromise and do something one day that is not your favorite, but you will see how happy that makes the other people and you realize it is worth it. Plus the anticipation is even greater and the excitement grows as you wait for your turn. Every vacation is different and no two families’ trips are alike. Always plan with YOUR family in mind and make sure everyone gets a say in what you do.
We have all heard the term bucket list. But what does that really mean? People say it is a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. But that seems a little morbid to me. I prefer to think of it more as a bucket full of goals and dreams for your life. As a travel advisor the term usually refers to the list of places you want to visit. It should not just be a checklist of things before you die, but places you truly want to experience and learn about in life. It should contain your dreams, desires and goals. It is not enough to just list places you want to go, but you have to plan for how to get there and when. A good bucket list has dreams but also details how you will achieve those dreams. If you say you want to go on a safari, you are more likely to actually go if you list a date and plans to save for it. Much like a financial planner creates a lifetime investment plan, a travel advisor helps map out your lifetime bucket list and makes those travel dreams a reality.