I appreciate that it may seem like wishful thinking to plan any vacations in 2022, but if you are already throwing darts at a world map in anticipation, you’re not alone!
Full disclosure: I had never used a travel professional before I became one. Our travel style is typically ultra low-key, and my Type A personality means that planning travel is almost more fun for me than going on the trip (almost!). If your travels typically involve backpacking, staying in hostels, and just wandering wherever the wind takes you, then it’s likely that you won’t find a tremendous benefit from working with a travel specialist.
However, considering the complex, and ever-changing rules and requirements around travel, I implore anyone who might want to take a trip in 2022 to really give some serious thought to working with an advisor, for the following reasons:
1. It’s literally our job to keep up on the regulations surrounding travel to and from all of the countries we deal with. While we don’t have access to news or changes before the general public (at least not in Canada) we read, and discuss, and monitor, and speak with our suppliers in destinations the world over. If you need to make any modifications to your travel plans based on government announcements or policy changes, you aren’t the one who has to wait on hold for 7+ hours with your airline (let me tell you, the wait tines are crazy right now) to ask about travel credits, or refunds, or rebooking. Just that fact alone makes me never want to book a flight myself again. Your advisor is the only person who is going to have your back if things go sideways and your home country gets “red listed” just days before you were supposed to leave on vacation. We also typically get better results when seeking refunds or re-bookings that individual travellers, because we do a lot of volume with carriers, accommodations, and tour operators. They want to retain a good relationship with us, and we can leverage that to get your plans sorted out more efficiently.
2. You can “set it and forget it”. Travel specialists are the Ninja Foodie of travel. Save yourself hours and hours of trying to sort through hotels and tours, reading reviews, sending emails, or making phone calls. Think of working with an advisor like throwing a frozen roast into your Instant Pot and then walking away. Later you can come back and all of the hard work is done. A travel professional can be your only point of contact, so you don’t have to keep track of or speak to a bunch of different providers for your travels. It may seem easy to just pop online and DIY, but many people become quickly overwhelmed by the amount of information available.
3. Travel is our expertise. Establishing a relationship with an advisor is similar to hiring a wedding planner, but better, because we can help you with a lot more than one event! Your time is valuable, and so are your precious, well-earned vacation days. Make the absolute most of them (and your money) by giving yourself permission to relax, and let someone else fuss over all the details. Like a wedding planner, we are there to make certain everything you want out of your travel runs smoothly, with minimal effort on your part. That way you can just show up and have a great time! Without a trip planning expert, if something goes wrong you have to deal with it yourself, which can potentially ruin the whole experience. Instead you could send a quick email or make a brief call, and ask your advisor to take care of it. These days travel specialists have a more involved role than ever before. We are dream-fulfilling, troubleshooting, life-coaching, deal-finding travel wizards, who act as your personal see-the-world assistant. We can explain travel insurance, assist you with passports, visas, and driving requirements in foreign countries (if you’re renting a car). We can take care of problems before you even know they exist, and largely run interference to prevent them in the first place.
4. Modern travel planners aren’t your grandmothers travel agent! Young, tech-savvy people use us too. Today clients want unique, highly personalized (and dare I say instagram-worthy) travel experiences. One of a kind vacations, bucket-list travel, or putting together a group trip require logistics and problem-solving skills that are a travel advisors wheelhouse. Let us put our Type A personalities to good use and give you some peace of mind by sorting out all the details. Over 40% of people still use an agent, and it seems Millennials in particular understand the value of outsourcing. As an “elder millennial” myself, I’m far more inclined to defer to someone who has invested years of their life to honing their skills. There is a good reason I take my truck to a mechanic when it starts “making a noise” instead of attempting to diagnose the problem myself. It’s almost certain that your travel specialist knows a great deal about your destination(s) of choice. They can suggest hotels, attractions, and places to visit that you may have never even heard of before. When you book your trip with a travel professional, you are getting access to decades of knowledge, connections, and relationships with suppliers. We can bring lot of value to your planning, and you are less likely to miss out on some incredible experiences because you weren’t aware of them.
5. We can save you from yourself, and from a lot of travel-related landmines that most people never even consider. When you hit a search engine and type in your destination or look for flights, it’s information overload. Thousands of hotels (with new ones popping up every day) and resorts, tours, “specials” and “discounts” and “sales”. How do you even know if it’s a great deal? If you haven’t been monitoring the prices for months, you can’t really be sure. Major search sites have mysterious algorithms that determine what shows up near the top of the results, and just because an option is on the first page, that doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. Plenty of substandard flights, accommodations, and tours rank high because companies pay for “search engine optimization”. If you aren’t immediately discouraged, and subsequently suffer from decision-paralysis by the sheer volume of options, it’s easy to impulsively book something that looks really great, but that no responsible travel specialist would ever let you choose. When presented with far too many choices, it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and click the CHECKOUT button just to get it over with. Travel is changing so fast. With companies going out of business, leaving clients in their wake with nowhere to turn, natural disasters, political unrest, trip insurance coverage, cancellations, visa issues, the list could go on for miles. A great advisor can guide you, and give you an incredible travel experience despite all of that, or at least help you recover your investment if the worst should happen.
Bonus: Ok I know I said five reasons, but this one is very important because of the work our agency does. If you have specific requirements when you travel: due to a disability, medical challenges, or any other reason that makes your personal needs unique, then an advisor who specializes in accessible and barrier-free travel is 100% worth it. At Travel For All we actively audit our suppliers, we guarantee accessible tours, and everything we do is tailor-made for our clients. We build vacations for absolutely everyone, but our focus will always remain on giving people the opportunity to travel who otherwise might have assumed vacations were just for “other people”.
If you’ve read this far, I’m sure you’re keen to know the second reason you don’t need a travel specialist in 2022 (I covered the first one in my opening paragraph). Well, to be perfectly honest, if you’re not comfortable travelling due to the state of the world, you likely don’t need an advisor…yet. However, the next time you start looking wistfully at photos from vacations past, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! We will be here, ready to help you plan your next bucket-list trip, destination wedding, far-flung family reunion, corporate team-building travel, or any other wanderlust related thing your heart desires.