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  • Cultivating Connections Travel Planners

15 Reasons to Use a Professional Travel Advisor - Part 1

flights, Oklahoma, travel advisor, Cultivating Connections Travel Planners, Erin Smith

The Benefits

You already hire experts to get a better result

We are all quick to call an expert when we are in a jam or out of our skillset; mechanic, accountant, attorney, dentist, or plumber.

From cutting our hair to preparing our taxes, there are just some tasks that are better left for the pros.

Travel is one of the biggest three purchases you’ll make in your life after a home and car (or college tuition if that’s in the cards for you).

You use experts to save yourself time and stress, but most importantly, to get a better

outcome. In this case, a better vacation.

Travel is complex

Of course, booking a cruise online yourself is easy… or is it?

You need a stateroom from category 1D, 2D, 5D, or 7D.

Wait… maybe a 1E or a 2F.

There are dozens of stateroom categories on the one ship and every cruise line has different categories too.

Now you can see why 75% of cruisers hand the job over to a professional travel advisor.

They still get amazing value and they also benefit from our in-depth cruise knowledge, ship savvy tricks, and tools, and of course, we are able to offer great perks, amenities and at times, upgrade opportunities.

There are too many options on the internet

  • There are 323 cruise ships to choose from.

  • This year alone, 28 new cruise ships will be launched.

  • There are over 2200 ports of call around the world to cruise to of which almost 600 are by river only and the other 1600 by ocean cruising.

That is a LOT of options.

There is quite literally a ship and an itinerary for every style of traveler BUT not every ship or itinerary is for everyone.

We are experts at matchmaking travelers to the perfect ship and itinerary.

Navigating the fine print

Every element of your vacation including but not limited to your accommodation, flights, tours, cruise, and travel insurance, all have “fine print” also known as terms & conditions. This isn’t new news at all.

But what is new is the number of changes that each travel company is currently making to their services. Changes come out of nowhere and are often effective immediately.

Navigating all of the date changes, and schedule change fees and rules can be a nightmare.

The good news is… we’re really good at it. You can trust that we have checked the fine print - and understood it before we lock in your travel bookings. If you want flexible travel arrangements - we’ll make sure to book it that way.

Choosing a destination for your vacation is different now.

Travelers around the world now consider different factors than pre-pandemic. These include the destination’s Covid-19 protocols such as mask-wearing, social distancing, whether restaurants, businesses, and the big attractions are open (and at what capacity).

You also need to know the entry requirements for your destination.

  • Will you need to be vaccinated?

  • Will you need a negative Covid-19 test?

  • What kind of test will be accepted?

  • Antigen, NAAT, PCR?

  • Will you have to quarantine?

These are all super important questions to consider and the most challenging part? The rules are shifting goalposts. They change often.

There are a lot of moving parts

The average 7 day vacation to Europe or the Caribbean has up to 15 separate bookings in it.

  • Accommodation (maybe 1-3 properties)

  • Flights (perhaps a few booked separately with different airlines for better value and logistics)

  • Airport transfers to and from your home, accommodation, and the airport (between 2 and 6 of these)

  • Travel insurance to match exactly what you booked

  • A few day trips or excursions with the same or different tour companies

  • Museum, gallery, or social attraction tickets to avoid waiting in line

  • Car rental

  • Meal reservations

Did you know that each of these separate bookings (usually through different companies) comes with its own rules and fine print? They can be incredibly complex to stitch together into one itinerary.

Just take a flight layover for example. Did you know that different airports around the world have “legal connection times”, a minimum amount of time required to connect two flights together?

Why on earth would you put yourself through the stress of researching and planning all of these bookings when you can rely on a professional travel advisor (like me) to do it for you for one low planning fee.

We are connected to the right people

One of my favorite things about working in the travel industry is the relationships and friendships that we form.

It’s not uncommon for travel advisors to go to several conferences and training events each year and meet with the CEOs and Presidents of the biggest travel companies in the world.

We have email addresses, phone numbers, and most importantly open lines of communication with decision-makers and problem solvers at many cruise lines, resorts, hotel chains, and airlines.

We won't hesitate to call them out if we need them whether it be planning your vacation - or troubleshooting while you are away, know that we put in that call for you.

What you see online is not always what you get

Have you ever arrived at a hotel to find that your room is nothing like what you thought you had booked? It happens more often than you know.

And it’s so disappointing.

When you check into a hotel you have expectations about the room design, space, cleanliness, and of course the room amenities. You also probably have specific ideas about what breakfast, parking, the gym, room service, or lobby café will be like.

We are experts at navigating the complexities of booking hotel rooms and knowing what to look for in the clever marketing speak that hotels throw out there, like “partial sea view”.

Nobody loves a partial sea view standing on the toilet and covering your left eye to catch a “glimpse”.

Not only will we make sure you don’t end up at the wrong hotel, in the wrong room, or in the middle of constructions or closures, but we also have access (that you can’t get) to upgrades, perks, and amenities.

Travel tip: When planning your next journey, keep two things in mind. One - as your travel advisor, I will have your back every step of the way. Two - travel insurance will ensure, should something happen while you are traveling, you will likely be covered. Two very simple steps to reducing emotional strain.

The journey should make your mind happy and healthy! Taking a break from the daily hustle and bustle should be a stress buster. Different cultures will broaden your perspective. Travel should boost your happiness, make you mentally resilient, and enhance your creativity.

And... You will reap the benefits AFTER you return!

With so benefits, why don't you contact me today for help planning your next trip so you can take advantage of having a professional working on your behalf?

Oklahoma, Noble Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma, Moore Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Edmond Oklahoma, Travel Advisor, Cultivating Connections, Travel Planners, Erin Smith, Cultivating Connections Travel Planners, Concierge, Itinerary, Group Travel, Dancing, Sun-Bathing, Skiing, Concerts, Wine Train, Hot Springs, Museum, Culture, Cuisine, Getaway, Vacay, Family, Friends, Girlfriends, Guys Trip,

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