HOW (AND WHY) TO CHOOSE A TRAVEL ADVISOR

With travel websites like Expedia, Orbitz, Airbnb—and even Tripadvisor—plus direct sales sites like Viking and Marriott, etc., the travel planning space seems pretty crowded. Across all media, you see ads for cruises, hotels, and other vacation “deals” enticing you to get away and join the fun. 

You deserve time away with your spouse, family, friends, or maybe by yourself, to unplug, recharge, and reconnect. You have many choices and decisions to make based on whether your next vacation is intended to be good or great, an expense or an investment, a completed task on your unending to-do list or an unforgettable experience on your bucket list.

If that next vacation is your annual trip to the beach with family, then you probably have a good handle on selecting and planning the perfect arrangements. 

 

However, if that next vacation and the ones after it are part of a larger, soul-stirring strategy to explore, immerse, and discover the unique and vast experiences offered around our planet, then perhaps consider partnering with a professional travel advisor like your favorite financial planner, accountant, or attorney. 

Across all professional service industries, the best advisors are educated, active in trade organizations, and hold certifications in their fields. They are also well-connected to “hidden gem” resources that can benefit and enhance the quality of your plan to achieve your goals. 

They’re exemplary experts who collaborate with you to design custom-crafted plans rooted in your vision and are your reliable advocates when risk mitigation is necessary. Ultimately, they are guardians of your most valuable assets, both money and time. 

When you think about choosing your trusted travel advisor, here are a few questions to guide you in your search:

  1. Do they practice full-time in a formally structured business entity and hold business and travel-specific certifications, which demonstrate their professional commitment? 
  2. Are they a member of organizations like the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and Virtuoso, Signature, or other top-tier travel industry consortia, which hold advisors to a higher standard? 
  3. Do they deliver creative and custom-curated plans designed with your travel vision, preferences, and style in mind? 
  4. Do they share updates about the current political, socioeconomic, governmental, health, and financial factors to educate you before you decide on your dream destination?
  5. Do they have partners in all the destinations you want to explore? If yes, how do they leverage them, so you have feet on the ground to ensure your enjoyment and assist during your “whoops” moments? 
  6. Will they cast a wide net, including utilizing their resources for options not published online, to negotiate the best value for your travel return on investment (ROI)?
  7. Will they guide you through decisions like travel insurance, so you don’t over or under-insure? 
  8. Will they call ahead, confirm, and smooth the way for your plans, and VIP you where you can’t VIP yourself?
  9. How do they support you while they’re traveling or unavailable? Do they have responsive staff you can reach if needed?
Also, research your potential travel advisor online to see if he or she is a member of the Better Business Bureau and review what former clients have shared online about working with him or her as well. 

Ultimately, being educated and knowing what does or doesn’t resonate for you are excellent starts on finding inspiration for your next vacation experience. Then engage with a travel fiduciary, especially an advocate who understands your needs and can deploy vast knowledge, resources, and relationships to gain valuable context and enhance the return on your travel investment. 

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