2019 was an incredible, whirlwind year! I truly embodied a Major Traveler. I stepped foot on to two new continents and 7 new countries. I met many new people, saw World Wonders and World Heritage sites, experienced the magic of Africa and immersed myself in foreign cultures. Most importantly, I had the honor of being a part of countless client travels. To say I’m excited for 2020 would be an understatement.
I did learn a thing or two from all of 2019’s international travels! Here are my biggest takeaways that I want to share with you as you plan your own travels or work with me. Your time and resources are valuable, so let’s make the most of them!
Point number 1 comes with a slightly biased perspective. However, it has hit me at certain points over the last few years just how ‘make it or break it’ travel advisors are. On a recent trip to the Philippines, we had an especially nightmare-ish situation. On our flight to Shanghai, we were made aware of a hurricane that just hit Boracay, the first island we were intending to visit on our trip. The travel advisor who booked our trip (me) was on a plane for 16 hours with no way of contacting transportation, hotels, ect.. to get a handle on the situation. I did my due diligence via email but ended up asking a travel advisor friend to assist in calling hotels and suppliers. The couple next to us on the plane simply emailed their travel advisor in the states and had a worry-free remainder of the flight. Of course, travel advisors are an amazing resource for scoring upgrades, exclusive activities, resort credits and more. However, the TRUE value lies in their ability to truly save you time, money and be a resource in the event that something goes wrong.
Along the same lines as point 1, always purchase trip insurance. I know you are thinking, “that won’t happen to me”, but it could! Trip insurance typically costs between 4% and 10% of your total trip cost. It covers all of those things that are out of your control. Think flight delays and cancellations, weather events, family illness and more. Yes, your credit card companies can help in some instances, but you should be fully protected by travel insurance.
Trip Advisor is a wonderful resource if used well! It can be helpful for tidbits of information that describe the location, amenities, and details of the hotel. However, it is a platform that is used for travelers to review their experience. When you are reading a Trip Advisor review, you have no idea the type of traveler who is behind the words. Do they typically stay at Holiday Inn’s, but splurged on 5* Hotel X? Well, of course they had a fantastic time! Do they typically stay at Four Seasons, but just had to stay at a hotel near the airport? Maybe that hotel wasn’t up to their standards for service and luxury. Did they get in a fight with their significant other on the trip? Maybe that’s why the breakfast wasn’t up to par and the staff was rude!
You have no idea who is writing the reviews. I have been to many a beautiful resort this year that had questionable Trip Advisor reviews. And they were fantastic! Everyone has a different travel style. Take these reviews with a grain of salt and ask your Travel Advisor instead (shameless plug)!
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