Using an outside source to help inspire and plan travel is certainly not a new concept. There are loads of travel agencies ready to book your trip and websites with claims to have tools to sift through flights or to find you the best price. There are hotel and experience review websites, revered travel experts publishing article after article, and endless travel bloggers across social media. With this information overload, how do you know where to start? And with all of this expertise already out there, how can I help you with travel decisions and planning any better or differently? I hope the FAQs outlined below will help!
What is a personal travel planner? What exactly can you do for me?
As a travel planner/ travel consultant, I help people plan their vacations, holidays, honeymoons, weekends away, and other trips. Living in Europe and having traveled extensively there and elsewhere, I've picked up quite a lot of knowledge about great places to visit, the ins and outs of getting from A to B efficiently, how to find the best prices, how to get the best out of your loyalty programs, and so on. I also have unending patience for the tediums of travel planning research–I love spreadsheets and charts and weighing the many options against each other. So the odds are that I've been to the places where you'd like to travel, and regardless, I'll put in the research for you!
What else should I know about you?
I am well-traveled, but I am not an expert adventurist, backpacker, or professional travel blogger. As you know, there is an over-saturation of experts, and they can sometimes feel inaccessible or unidentifiable with the everyday person. I can connect these two worlds for you by cutting through the massive amounts of information and providing what you need to plan a trip for you: culled-down suggestions based on your preferences, recommendations and options based on thorough research, and the right amount of experience applied throughout–just as if it was coming from your own well-traveled friend.
So are you a travel agent?
No. First, a travel agent usually makes your bookings for you. Depending on your need, I can suggest destinations and specific itinerary ideas based on your budget and preferences, and even provide specific options for flights, connections, hotels, etc.; however, you will make your own bookings and all final decisions yourself. Second, many times a travel agent will work with specific hotels, airlines, or touring companies for a profitable partnership. Whereas I might suggest places I've been and enjoyed, my recommendations are completely unbiased. I do not receive any commissions on my recommendations in any way.
Who can benefit most from Your Well-Traveled Friend's style of travel planning?
Anyone who does not have the time to research their own vacation, but wants to be involved in making decisions would benefit. If you'd like a one-stop shop where an agent will all-inclusively suggest and book a package, a traditional travel agent is probably best for you. If you have an idea for a trip, and would normally cast your net of questions out to your well-traveled friends, and/or dig into your own research, consider giving me a try. I can take hours off of your hands and provide valuable input into your decision making.
I value a certain level of independence when traveling, so by default, my suggestions will assume your are comfortable with experiencing your destination outside of a tour group (i.e. getting to different destinations by the best method of public transportation over a tour bus, buying your own entrance tickets, deciding independently how to spend each of your days, etc.). I will usually only suggest a tour group for particular destinations or activities where you would benefit greatly from that type of expertise and assistance. Of course, if group-touring is your preference, I'm happy to provide suggestions for those to you!
I'd rather put my money into the trip itself. How much will your services cost?
Price will vary depending on time spent on your specific needs; that said, as a generalization, for only $150-$300 I can help with a two-week European holiday with multiple destinations. This would include suggesting an itinerary and how to get to each point, specific transport suggestions with pricing (including flight connections, etc.), hotel suggestions based on your preference type, activity suggestions, etc. In general I charge hourly for time, and before getting started, we can agree on an estimate or amount of hours. If your destination is somewhere I've been already, or where am confident in my knowledge with less research required, we can usually agree on a flat-fee as in the example I provided, assuming we don't surpass an agreed-upon number of hours.
Are there any places where you are most knowledgable?
The benefit of working with me is to use my time and expertise to do the research and planning for you, so I can help with any vacation you can dream up! That said, my expertise is in Europe, America, Canada, and Australia. For many destinations in these countries, I will have first-hand experience to add to my research suggestions, and for my assistance in many of your holidays there, we can usually agree on a flat-fee, assuming we don't surpass an agreed-upon number of hours.
Specifically for Europe, I have personal experience planning in Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, southern Norway, Switzerland, and parts of Spain, plus London, Prague, and Stockholm. I've also planned across the USA's east and west coasts and Hawaii, the Australian areas of Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, and Cairns, plus Israel, New Zealand's North Island, Peru, and also Toronto and British Columbia in Canada. Finally, having lived in New York City and Amsterdam, I have tons of knowledge in those areas from a truly authentic local's experience. For parts of South America, Asia, and South Africa, I have partners and friends who have lived in areas there to share experience and recommendations with me to expedite my research for you. For other African countries, I just recently gained invaluable experience planning my own adventure in Zambia, including Victoria Falls, and the Zambezi river as well as Botswana's Chobe National Park and the Seychelles!
How do I get started working with you?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can talk about the type of trip you have in mind and how I can help, and we will agree on a cost estimate. We'll estimate the time needed, and I will bill 50% of the estimate upfront, and 50% before delivery of the final research information. Depending on the extent of research needed, I can usually turn around something to you within one week.