I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating: I’m not the best advisor for every traveler.
Just as you might shop around for the perfect esthetician or dentist or massage therapist, you have a pool of qualified advisors to choose from. And this is a good thing! Some advisors focus on honeymoon resorts, others on budget packages for families. One traveler might be an expert in cruises, while another organizes corporate retreats.
Me? I get to plan curated trips for clients interested in boutique, lavish experiences. Since I focus on custom luxury vacations, my itineraries aren’t about stretching dollars. But traveling smarter? Absolutely.
So whether I’m the best advisor for you or not, I’m here to help you make that choice. From the perspective of a travel advisor herself (me!), here are four keys to help you find that perfect fit:
Do your research. Some of the best client-advisor relationships come from word of mouth. It’s safe to say that some of the very best people I have been able to work with have come from other clients referring me to their friends and family because they know that they would enjoy working with me.
But in the absence of a personal referral, I recommend taking a few minutes to scroll the advisor’s website and social media accounts. What kinds of trips does she plan? Which locations does he seem to focus on most? And does the advisor offer testimonials from previous clients? Check these out to see what makes this advisor stand out from the crowd.
Most important? Does it seem like you would vibe well together? I make it a point to make my personality shine through on everything that goes online because I want you to know who I am as a person and decide if that meshes with your personality (or not!).
Decide your goals. It helps to know if you plan to use this person’s services on an ongoing basis. Maybe you’re tired of taking the time to research your anniversary trip every year. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a professional who knew you and your spouse — someone who could wow you year after year? Travel planning is a lot like matchmaking. I’m dedicated to planning trips that delight you, make you light up with joy. If you’ve already decided to make this travel advisor a regular part of your planning, let her know! And if you're using this first trip as a trial run for future trips, it’s OK to tell the advisor what you’re thinking.
Know your budget. While expenses aren't the most fun travel topic, advisors can’t start planning your dream trip until you have a number in mind. Knowing your numbers will help you as you choose an advisor too. Your budget will guide you toward a travel advisor who specializes in budget, mid-tier, or luxury travel.
A note about cost: Since travel advising is a professional service, you will pay a fee. The fee covers my time, your access to my knowledge and expertise, and my pool of resources (from connections at private island resorts to local foodies in the Mediterranean). When you calculate your projected trip budget, it’s important to leave room for the travel advisor’s fee.
Trust your instincts. Depending on how long you’ve been hanging out on this blog, you might not know travel consulting isn’t my first career. But you know what I’ve always loved, since years before I started booking first class tickets and private wine tours? Helping people. That passion means I’m committed to plotting a dream getaway that’s perfect for you — not me. Because there might be a difference.
So after that first conversation with the travel advisor, do you feel understood? Do you feel like your travel dreams match his or her planning style? Can you relate on a personal level? While it’s not necessary to share the same hobbies or passions, I believe in the power of a personal connection with my clients. I am the matchmaker between you and your trip, after all.