Travel designers aren't in the business of finding the lowest price, they are in the business of finding the best value and the best vacation option for their clients. You won't pay more than you would if you book a vacation directly with a resort, ship or tour operator, but in many cases a travel designer can get you better service and possibly some additional inclusions. We use our experience to anticipate your needs and do the leg work to ensure that your vacation is 100% enjoyable.
i can book this through an online discount travel agency. Why should I use suitcase swagger?
I'm glad you asked! An online travel agency doesn't know you; hasn't spoken to you about what you are looking for in a vacation, what you have liked about past vacations, what your idea of the perfect vacation looks like. I will do all of that and more. My goal is to exceed your expectations in every way. What happens if you run into a problem just before you are about to leave, or while you are traveling? The online travel agency doesn't care. I do. I will be here for you every step of the way, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health... You get the picture.
how much do you charge for your services?
In most cases, my services are completely FREE to my clients. I get paid by the resort, tour operator or hotel. In cases where clients want to book something that is not commissionable to travel agents, we will have to charge a fee to fulfill your request. This will be communicated to you up front and you may decide whether to proceed or not. Air only transactions will also yield a fee since airlines do not pay travel agents commission.
if you have never been to a destination, how can you plan my vacation there?
Excellent question! I do love to send clients to the places I've been, and I have traveled extensively. But there are many times when I receive requests for places I have not yet been. In those instances, I have many resources at my disposal. First, I work with suppliers that sell portfolios of products (tour operators, resorts and hotels). The suppliers I work with have been in the industry for typically 40 years or more and their staff has local people in the destinations, as well as support staff that has visited those destinations. Their recommendations are invaluable. Additionally, I have partnered with other travel agents and we share information about our personal experiences, as well as our clients' experiences. They are another excellent resource to verify our recommendations. I have never sent anyone anywhere that hasn’t been vetted out by my trusted network.
How far in advance do I have to book?
We get this question all the time! "It depends" isn't the answer you want to hear, so let's break it down. For spring break and the November and December holidays, if you can book a year out you're on the right track. If you can't, shoot for six months out at a minimum. Off peak times require less advance planning. Fall is a great time to travel almost anywhere because crowds are smaller, prices are lower and availability is greater. Cruises, however, can book over a year out, so if you are a cruiser it would be best to book early to have your best selection of staterooms and specials.
I want to note that the old "last minute specials" of the past are not a reality any longer. If you wait till the last minute, you'll probably be disappointed at the selection and the pricing.
what can i expect when i book with a travel consultant?
Quite a lot! Your travel consultant works for you, not for the destination or resort or cruise line. We will begin the process with a conversation about what you want to do and why, where you've been before, who will be traveling with you, and many other considerations that will impact how we will advise you. The next step is for us to take that information and do our research into possible vacation options to present to you. Once you have those options, your job is to consider which you like, if any, and we will begin to narrow the choices down from there. Once you have decided, we will book your trip. As you prepare for the trip, we will be there to ensure you have what you need to have an amazing vacation. And once you are vacationing, we'll be available to help out if you need us. No risk. All reward.