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FAQ #1

Why should I work with a professional travel advisor?

The #1 reason why luxury clients opt to work with a professional travel advisor is to save their most precious resource – TIME!

You may not be a luxury client, but I ask you: is time a vital resource to you?

I should hope so!

And through my expertise and global connections, I free you up to do other things while I get busy spending hours of research, planning and performing due diligence on your behalf.

As your travel advisor, I will:

  • Thoroughly research and investigate travel options based on your unique needs, wants, and non-negotiables.
  • Contact my destination experts on the ground to start crafting a proposal custom-tailored especially for you.
  • Present a draft proposal and incorporate your feedback with up to three rounds of revisions.
  • Keep in contact with you before, during, and after your journey, including 24-hour emergency service to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

In a nutshell, it’s my job to make your life easier, heighten your travel experience, and eliminate worry and fatigue so you can enjoy some peace of mind. If you’re on the fence, check out these additional resources that clarify the benefits of working with a professional travel advisor.

FAQ #2

What types of clients have you worked with?

 

People who opt to work with a travel advisor want customized travel experiences uniquely designed for their interests and needs. I work with clients who don’t have the time or energy to plan travel on their own, and who don’t want cookie-cutter off-the-shelf vacations.

Most of my experience is planning travel for professional women traveling solo or in small family or girlfriend groups who want expertise on history and culture, the unique and/or off-the-beaten-path adventures: to de-stress and recharge.

FAQ #3

How long have you been in the travel industry? And how did you get started doing this type of work?

After many many years of planning vacations for family and friends, I officially launched my travel agency in July 2018.

See my About Me page for more information.

FAQ #4

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work as a travel advisor?

 

I am a Certified Travel Agent/Advisor, a distinction earned from The Travel Institute.

In addition, my education is ongoing through my affiliation with the Ensemble Travel Group, as well as my host agency Travel Network, both provide me with opportunities to continue my education and training to learn all that I can in my areas of expertise.

FAQ #5

What does the process of working with a travel advisor typically look like?

There are five steps to the travel planning process:

(1) DISCOVER
I’d like to get to know you to see if we’d make a good fit. On our discovery call or online meeting, it’s my chance to learn more about you and your desires for this next vacation. I’ll discuss other important considerations like your travel dates, budget, and who will be traveling with you.

You’ll also get an opportunity to ask me anything on this call as well.

To begin, book an appointment (see FAQ #18 below for business hours) and secure a spot on my calendar. I look forward to speaking with you!

(2) DESIGN
I will get to work researching the best available options for you based on your unique non-negotiables and nice-to-haves. But I am not flying solo here! I do have access to destination experts who are on the ground and have direct knowledge about bespoke experiences that you might not find in any internet search. See FAQ #16 (below) for a list of possible travel products and services.

(3)  COLLABORATE
Your feedback is essential as we continue to cultivate the perfect travel experience just for you. Of course, there is paperwork to be completed and signed. And together we will create a uniquely SelfishMe Travel experience that will have you excited and craving your vacation sooner rather than later.

(4) EXPERIENCE
When you take off, you’ll be able to travel with confidence and ease. I have coordinated the logistics of your accommodations and experiences for you in order that everything goes smoothly and stress free from start to finish. All my on-the-ground contacts and I have your back when you need us should anything go awry.

(5) DEBRIEF
Welcome home! Half the fun is reliving all the memories of a great travel experience. I cannot wait to hear all about it, including any feedback you have for me as your travel advisor. It can only help me be a better travel advisor for next time!

FAQ #6

How much does luxury travel cost?

 

 

Luxury means different things to different people. Budgets vary greatly depending on where you’re going, when you’re going, the number of days traveling, how active you want to be, and whether any touring is done in small groups or privately. Roughly speaking, the prices begin at a minimum of about $300 per person, per day not including airfare. That’s not to say that I can’t plan trips for less depending on the logistics of the vacation or destination, however, in order for me to provide the most value to your trip and work with our highly-vetted and esteemed luxury travel partners, this is the standard recommended starting point. But it really depends on what you’re looking for.

I repeat: Luxury means different things to different people.

For me, luxury is all about the personal experiences and the memories we create together that will last a lifetime.

My best recommendation to you is this: simply schedule a complimentary discovery call with me so we can discuss your trip. There is absolutely zero commitment and it will give you some insight into whether or not I am a good fit for you. You decide where we go from there.

FAQ #7

How are travel advisors paid?

Professional travel advisors typically earn their compensation in three ways:

(1) PLANNING FEE
My planning fee starts at $100.00 USD depending on the scope and complexity of the trip. This fee covers some (but not all) of the time and expertise I’ll be spending on your entire trip before, during, and after.​

(2) COMMISSION
Most hotel properties, destination management companies, tour operators, and suppliers will pay out a commission to travel advisors. These commission rates are generally negotiated by the travel consortium with whom the travel advisor is affiliated, and in no way affects your final cost. All of those online booking engines make the same or better commission without doing the work for you.

SelfishMe Travel is an affiliate of the Travel Network (an Ensemble Travel Group member agency) which means that my commissions are negotiated by Ensemble in most cases.

(3) REFERRALS
If you find that working with me as your travel advisor has been a rewarding experience, please do tell your friends, family, and colleagues about me. This is another way that I earn future compensation in what is mainly a referral-based industry.

FAQ #8

What advice would you give a client looking to hire a professional travel advisor?

The most important advice I would give any client would be to to take your time and don’t rush your travel experience! If you only have 10 days, don’t try to cram too many cities in that short span of time as it won’t be as experiential or memorable. Moving around too much can drain your enjoyment and relaxation. Stay long enough to savor the local culture, the sounds of the environment, the fragrances, the feast for the eyes, the vibe. Meet some people and make new friends.

Work with a professional travel advisor affiliated with a host agency connected to global contacts and suppliers on the ground that can help you in the event of an emergency or a change in plans. Work with people that are there for you when you need them.

FAQ #9

What questions should potential clients consider before consulting with a professional travel advisor?

Some things you might want to give thought to prior to speaking with a professional travel advisor are:

  • What places would you like to visit, and more so, WHY?
  • What are your interests and hobbies (travel advisors know how to customize an itinerary centered around the answers to these questions.)
  • Do you (or anyone traveling with you) have special needs, physical or dietary restrictions that a travel planner should know about and make arrangements for?
  • Do you want your days loaded up with lots of activities, or would you rather have your days open to have on-the-go flexibility? Perhaps a mix of both?
  • What are your bucket list items for this trip? Consider your top three non-negotiables.
  • What do you definitely NOT want to do or see?
  • Thinking about your most favorite travel experience, what was it that made it so?
  • Thinking about your least favorite travel experience, what was it that made it so?
  • What’s your budget range (excluding airfare)? It’s important to be super realistic about how much things really cost – you get what you pay for!

Thinking about these questions before that initial consultation with a professional travel advisor facilitates the conversation and helps your advisor get to know you and what you desire, so they can provide you with options that fit your particular needs and expectations.

It’s all about YOU – it’s your journey!

FAQ #10

What happens if I run into any issues during my travel period?

Is there anything scarier than traveling across the world without backup? When you work with me, you also work with my network of trustworthy partners who are there to ensure that your trip is as easy and effortless as possible. Should you run into any travel snags, weather delays, or lost luggage, rest easy knowing that all of us have your back 24/7. We’re a team and we won’t let you down.

FAQ #11

How long does it take to plan a trip?

The amount of time it takes to plan a trip from the complimentary discovery call to final booking of the last component depends on a variety of factors, including how far in advance of the trip you’ve contacted me, the complexity of the itinerary, how many suppliers I’m coordinating with across the globe, and the revisions you request to make to the initial proposal.

In general, it takes 7 to 10 business days after our initial chat for me to complete the first draft proposal. After the draft proposal is delivered, I ask that you review and respond as soon as you’re able to thoroughly review it, in order not to lose the held space and prevent it from being booked by someone else in the interim.

Please note that while I always try to stick to my estimated delivery date for the first draft, there are events outside of my control that may result in a delay (an emergency with a currently traveling client for example). I ask for your understanding when the need to take a few more days arises.

FAQ #12

How far in advance of a trip should I contact you to kick off the planning process?

Advanced planners rule!

Early booking ensures better options. Even if it’s a year out, I’d still love to work with you. Some of the world’s most alluring destinations and experiences book 12-15 months in advance. The same is true during busy holiday times. If you’re planning for a milestone celebration that takes over an entire hotel property (wedding, anniversary, 50th birthday, etc.) 18-24 months prior is a good time to open this dialogue. Apart from those exceptional types of trips, the sweet spot has proven to be 6-9 months in advance. This way, I can ensure that you have the best guides, space in the hotels you want, and access to those highly sought after dinner reservations at a 3-star Michelin restaurant, if you like!

In order to make the trip planning process most efficient, I do ask that you initiate the planning process with me only when you’re ready to commit to booking. I’m happy to help with conceptualizing ballpark ideas with you anytime, but if you’re not ready to proceed with booking the trip within 2 weeks or so, the proposal will go stale. I then have to start the process over from scratch, which can mean that we lose the held space, the best guides, and have to rework logistics with my suppliers. It’s like a major do-over. For this reason, you can rest assured that I share your enthusiasm for finalizing details as quickly as possible, to confirm the most magical experience for you the first time around.

FAQ #13

What are the specific benefits of booking through a professional travel advisor versus booking on my own?

When you book an Ensemble partner hotel through me, you’re automatically a VIP. Partner properties offer upgrades and amenities to my clients that often include (or may be a variation of) the following exclusive amenities:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary full breakfast daily for two
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit or spa credit to be utilized during your stay
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

​These benefits are exclusive to Ensemble clients at participating partner hotels and are not offered to guests who book on their own.

In addition, online booking engines leave everything up to you to figure out. From me, you’ll always get accurate, up-to-date, and true travel information. And if anything goes wrong, I’m just a phone call or text away. I have your back. I won’t leave you hanging.

FAQ #14

Will you work with me if I need to plan a trip on short notice?

It never hurts to ask! Though my consulting rates are higher for inquiries that are departing within 60 days (rates for hotels, flights, cruise lines, etc. are often higher at this point as well), I’m happy to discuss your last minute needs to see if I can assist.

Given that, I ask that you commit to being decisive, responsive, and enthusiastic about finding a great option that will work! I, in turn, promise to get you the information as fast as I can, and match the best available options with what you’re looking for considering the short lead time.

FAQ #15

Should I purchase travel insurance?

MOST DEFINITELY. While it is not mandatory, in these uncertain times, it is too big of a risk not to purchase travel insurance to protect your investment. I highly recommend a CFAR (cancel for any reason) policy.

I’m happy to give you a quote through one of our preferred agencies, but you can also book through your preferred insurance provider – the important thing is that you are covered.

If you decide not to cover yourself with travel insurance, I’ll ask you to sign a waiver stating you’ve knowingly opted out and accepted the risks.

FAQ #16

What travel services and products do you book?

 

I book every last travel component for you. This could include:

  • Hotel, resort, ranch, cabin, camp, lodge, chalet, castle, and villa or vacation home rental reservations
  • Cruise ships: river, ocean, and expedition
  • Flights
  • Private or shared transfers to/from hotel, airport, cruise port, etc.
  • Meet & greet services
  • Vehicle rentals
  • Train or ferry reservations, and even provide subway logistics/suggestions
  • Group, day, or private tours
  • Shore excursions
  • Restaurant recommendations, dining reservations, cooking classes, food pairings, wine/beer/liquor-tastings, or a private chef
  • Tee times at golf courses or tea times at luxury hotels
  • Spa appointments, wellness classes or retreats, or a private trainer
  • Museum, theater, concert, or sporting event tickets
  • Yacht or jet charters
  • Art, dance, writing, film-making or photography classes or workshops
  • Riding, racing or precision driving lessons
  • Safaris and wildlife-spotting, watching, and conservation tours
  • Sustainable volunteer work or voluntourism
  • Airport lounge access
  • Photographer for a day, a special event, or the entire trip
  • Travel insurance
  • and much much more!

However, see FAQ #17 (below) for the products and/or services that I will not book.

FAQ #17

What travel services and products will you not book?

I do not book the following:

  • hostels or 3-star hotels and below
  • non-refundable rooms
  • non-refundable flights
  • domestic flights-only or flights with transfers only, except for business and first-class seats
  • car rentals, except for high-end luxury cars
  • Airbnb, vrbo, HomeAway, or other similar owner-to-customer accommodations.

In addition, there are some tours or activities that I will not book for you. Please see my Protecting Animals in Tourism Pledge page to understand my position.

Finally, if you are not a resident of the United States of America, I’m not authorized to sell you anything.

FAQ #18

What are your regular business hours?

Our initial conversations will be an online conference call. However, I spend a lot of time on the phone with my trusted travel partners building incredible experiences for my clients.  For this reason, email is usually the easiest way for us to communicate for minor updates and feedback.

My business hours are based on Eastern Standard USA time zone*:

Monday: 12:00pm – 9:00pm
Tuesday: 10:30am – 7:00pm
Wednesday: 10:30am – 7:00pm
Thursday: 10:30am – 7:00pm
Friday: 10:30am – 5:00pm

 

*Eastern Standard USA time zone means that:

  • From November to March (Fall Back), I’m in the same time zone as New York City, Washington DC, and Atlanta.
  • From March to November (Spring Forward), I’m in the same time zone as Chicago, St Louis, and Dallas.

 

FOR TRAVEL EMERGENCIES: I am available 24/7 while my clients are traveling, just in case.

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