Disney Vacation Planning with The Enchanted Traveler

Disney Vacation Planning with The Enchanted Traveler

Help with Planning Your Disney Vacation – Meet Your Travel Consultant

This week I thought I’d post a video introducing myself to you.  Planning an amazing Disney vacation for your family is a lot of work, but I’m here to help you with that.  Watch this video to see me give a short explanation of what I do, and why you might want to work with me.

 

 

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Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Why you need travel insurance

photo credit: Gary Knight via Flickr

You’ve just put down a big chunk o’ money on your next big trip, when your travel consultant asks you if you’d like to purchase travel insurance.  More money??  After all that money you just paid?  Well, that’s exactly the point, actually.  How much did you just invest in your vacation?  And if something goes awry, are you willing to lose it all?

It’s all very well and fine to think that nothing is going to happen…until it does.  If you are traveling with others, the chances increase, as well.  Travel insurance covers many things from trip cancellation to trip interruption, lost luggage to long trip delays at the airport, medical coverage to evacuation.

Maybe that all sounds like a lot that you think doesn’t apply to you.  But let’s take a look at some of the reasons your average traveler might find it necessary:

  1. You’re all packed and excited to leave – and then one of you comes down with a flu that makes it impossible to travel.
  2. You arrive at your destination…your bags don’t, and will take at least a day to arrive.  What will you do?  Travel insurance will cover a set amount for purchasing necessary items to tide you over.  And if they were completely lost, travel insurance covers that as well.
  3. Got a connecting flight?  You’ve landed, but the next flight has been cancelled.  The next flight isn’t until tomorrow morning.  Now what?  Travel insurance will cover food and hotel stay.
  4. No one wants to think of it, but it happens.  You’ve arrived at your glorious destination, but two days into it, your mom ends up in serious condition in the hospital.  You need to go to her, but not only are you losing out on the rest of the trip you paid for, the return tickets are far more than your original tickets.  Trip interruption is covered under your insurance and will cover these costs.
  5. You’re going on an awesome tropical vacation – but a hurricane is now shutting down the airports and you can’t get there.  Travel insurance has you covered.
  6. You are in a foreign country when you are accidentally injured on one of your adventures and need to see a doctor.  Where will you seek good medical care, and will your own medical insurance cover it or are there exclusions, provisions, etc?  With travel insurance you can have the policy become your primary medical so you don’t have to worry about who pays AND have access to a 24 hour helpline, in English, that can quickly help you find a reputable doctor and help you get there.
  7. You become severely ill or injured and adequate medical care is not available in your location.  You need medical evacuation (extremely costly!), and travel insurance covers this.
  8. You unexpectedly lose your job before your vacation – what now?!  Coverage for work related reasons can be added to the policy, or in some states, is already covered under the policy.

 

These are just a few of the reasons to consider travel insurance.  We all hope that nothing will go wrong before or during our travels, and many times, of course, nothing does.  However, the peace of mind you get from insuring your large vacation purchase is quite valuable in and of itself.  And should something unfortunate occur, you know that you will not lose the investment you have made, and that you will have assistance in your time of need.

 

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Keeping Up with the Travel Industry

Keeping Up with the Travel Industry

Keeping Up with the Travel Industry

Travel agent conference

 

See this?  Travel consultants, as far as the eye can see!  All of these people are planning amazing trips for their clients – if you aren’t using one, you are missing out!  This photo is from a Home Based Travel Agent Forum in Las Vegas this past week.

I headed out to learn from the best in the travel industry and meet important contacts at hotels, cruise lines and tour companies.  Travel consultants make it a priority to stay educated on all areas of the business and conferences like these are an integral part of that.  Never underestimate what a travel agent knows and who they know!

 Las Vegas OSSN 2013 061

I loved meeting up with Fernando of Starwood Hawaii.  The Westin Maui is one of my absolute favorites, and it was great to get a chance to talk to him.

 

I met some fabulous agents out there as well.  It was especially great to find other young professionals, with creative businesses and interesting niches.   Anyone who thinks travel agents are outdated just hasn’t met the new generation.   We are a passionate group of travelers with distinct specialties who are determined to keep up to date on the travel industry and continue to explore the destinations we serve to give our clients the best possible travel experiences.

 Young travel agents

Plus, you know, I got to pet this adorable Wallaby.

 Las Vegas OSSN 2013 063

Wallaby petting + education + meeting awesome agents = excellent experience!

 

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The Changing Role of a Travel Agent

The Changing Role of a Travel Agent

The Changing Role of a Travel Agent

using a travel agent - passport

What’s that?  You thought travel agents went extinct?  That’s ok, I don’t blame you.  We all heard about how once the online vacation booking sites came alive, travel agents suffered.   What once kept them so busy – taking orders for vacation bookings – could now be done online.  Sort of.  Close enough, people supposed.  So what happened to the travel agent?  They evolved.

The new breed of travel agent, (some, like myself, calling themselves Travel Consultants instead), are not order takers.  Travelers today want so much more, and that’s what we do.  What can an online booking engine NOT do?  Well, for starters, it can’t personalize your trip.  It can’t offer expert advice on your destination.  It probably won’t even tell you that the pool is currently being refurbished at that resort and you won’t even get to go swimming.  It offers you a DIY experience, which was pretty cool at first – but as some travelers are finding, it lacks that personal touch and the one on one expert experience.

Travel consultants, today, are specialists.  They come in all kinds of flavors.  African safari experts?  Yup.  Bird watching tours?  Yup.  Europe independent travel planners?  Uh huh.  Adventure tourism?  Of course.   Destination weddings?  Indeed.  And in my case: a family vacation consultant, specializing in Disney destinations and tropical getaways.  The key is that these agents spend their time perfecting their knowledge of these specialties, which means that when you are seeking an experience that falls into their category, they are 1000 times better than an online booking engine.  The KNOW the products and destinations, and they will help find the absolute best fit for you.  They study in special courses, they visit the destinations, they have contacts at the properties and destinations, they travel to conferences that speak to their topics, and they stay current on all of the latest news.

No longer simple order takers, a travel consultant will talk with you to develop an understanding of your travel tastes and vacations needs.  She’ll help you select the best resort, best flights and best activities.  She’ll save you the time taxing chores of endless hotel and flight shopping, of reading hundreds of conflicting reviews, and she’ll still find you excellent values and deals.  She’ll offer touring tips, make activity reservations, spa reservations, dining reservations and more.  She’ll take care of all of the bookings for you and make sure you are prepared for stress-free travel.  And once you are on your way, she’ll be your go to contact – not a call center, but a real person you have a relationship with, to answer your questions, or solve any problems that arise.

So are travel agents extinct?  Not at all.  The industry has just undergone a significant change, and on the rise is the new, improved Travel Consultant.

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Technology vs. A Personal Touch: When a Human is Still Better Than a Computer

Technology vs. A Personal Touch: When a Human is Still Better Than a Computer

Technology vs. A Personal Touch: When a Human is Still Better Than a Computer

technology is not always better

Photo credit: Jami3.org via Flickr

I love technology.  I really do.  I may have a slight addiction to the internet.  So trust that I understand how great it is to have so much information at our finger tips.  For years, technology has been growing all around us, letting us get a whole lot done for ourselves that we may not have done ourselves before.  But as so much has become automated, there comes a time when you step back and think, is the tech version always the right choice for me?

Here’s the thing.  You start thinking of needing a vacation, so you head to Google.  You type “cheap vacations” or maybe “Caribbean vacation” and what happens?  A gazillion results pop up.  Alright, so now you start sifting through all those results.  What do you find?  More lists of places, more prices, more deals, more everything.  So what you’ve got is thousands upon thousands of options and it takes forever to sort through it all to find what you really wanted.  What if you had a an expert to do that for you?  A real person?  Someone to listen to you say, “So I’m thinking of going on vacation.  Maybe the Caribbean” and knows to ask in return, “What kind experience are you hoping for?  What did you love about your previous vacations?  Do you like more of a relaxed beach experience or a more adventurous experience?  What’s your ideal budget range?”  And so forth.  See, in that little bit, a travel consultant can narrow a lot down, and then spend their time researching to find the very best options.  You just saved yourself hours and hours and hours of research – for free.

What actually got me thinking about this was fashion.  Fashion is everywhere online.  I can read about the latest styles, see magazine websites with outfits put together, browse endless online shops.  I could, in theory, learn about being stylish on the internet.  Is there a real life alternative?  Yup!  It’s called a personal stylist, and it makes quite a difference.  I happen to know an excellent one.  Her name is Jennifer Saul, and she is way better than the internet.  Why?  Because Jen will get to know my personal tastes, my lifestyle and my budget, and she will help me find clothing and accessories that are exactly my style, every time.   A personal stylist saves her clients time and even saves them money by helping you avoid those items you buy that then hang in your closet for years, never to be worn.

Examples are everywhere.  What if you want to buy or sell a house?  Certainly, there are homes for sale by owner, and you can scout out houses on your own online.  You can search Craigslist and many other sites.  But there’s a reason that real estate agents exist, and I suspect most of us are using one to complete these transactions.  Why?  Because they are experts in this field, trained to help get you through all the information you need and their job is to help their clients find the best house or make the best sale.  Despite the fact that you COULD do this yourself, you probably aren’t, because you value the knowledge a real estate agent has, the time they’ll save you and the advice they can give.

So while we love browsing Pinterest for new craft ideas and Foodgawker for new recipes, consider that a vacation is a large investment.  You can spend hours upon hours to DIY and take the chance on it turning out lovely (like that one recipe you tried) or seriously awful (like when you tried that really cute Christmas craft that looked absolutely ridiculous when you were done with it).  You can take your chances googling “cheap vacation” or “Hawaii hotel…”  Or, you can have a travel consultant whose job it is to know the industry and get to know your preferences and travel style, take care of it all for you.

 

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