Confessions of a travel tip junkie: Check the altitude of where you are traveling. Many of do not live at altitude and don't think about its effects. However, altitude sickness and being short of breath is real, especially if you have certain medical conditions. When you plan that once-in-a-lifetime hike or exotic trip, make sure you know how high you are going and stay hydrated (and don't be afraid to pack some altitude meds...just in case!). ... See MoreSee Less
I love hearing from sweet clients like Michelle: "This trip to West Palm Beach was by far the best trip I've taken when it comes to planning. Mandy Horn with The Traveling Compass booked everything! Flights, rental car and even took care of using my rewards with Hilton Honors - our room was $50 per night! The best part of all: part of the proceeds from booking through this company are donated to orphancare and adoption worldwide! Thank you Mandy we had a great time!" ... See MoreSee Less
Confessions of a travel tip junkie: the beach is not free of bugs. People often forget that paradise is a natural environment. While you may easily remember the sunscreen, don't forget the bug spray. Itching is not fun on vacation. ... See MoreSee Less
Confessions of a travel tip junkie: Book your cruise early. As early as you can. I explain, rather painfully, to MANY shocked clients that the best rooms on cruises book up early...especially on holiday cruises. Did you know that Disney just released their rooms for 2017? Yeah like that kind of early. Lots of extended families love to travel together and getting multiple rooms close together (or the coveted multi-room or family space rooms) can be challenging and expensive when the rooms are picked over. Most cruise spots can be held with a low deposit. If you want to cruise, get a reservation early and change it later if you decide to do something different. ... See MoreSee Less
Confessions of a Travel Tip Junkie: When you travel, you don't always have a full load of laundry. If you need to do some washing, by hand or machine, it can be helpful to be able to do just one small load. You can mix your colors and whites if you wash on cold with a Shout color catcher. ... See MoreSee Less
Confessions of a Travel Tip Junkie: Whatever you pack for bags, make sure you have a small, easily carried, bag for everyday. When I travel out of the country, I often have a large (and heavy) carry-on. If I use this bag for everyday walking around while traveling my back will hate me. My feet will hate me. I will hate me. So, I never leave home without a small backpack so I can leave my larger bags at the hotel. You can thank me later...after the people on the public transportation thank you for not smacking them with your ridiculously overpacked giant bag. ... See MoreSee Less
Confessions of a Travel Tip Junkie: Everywhere is known for something food-wise. These famous dishes are often where geography and history collide happily in your mouth. Dim sum in Hong Kong? Paella in Spain? New York Pizza? Whatever "it" is: you need to try some. And ask the locals where the best place is to get it. Not only will you get a mouthful, but probably an earful about the long list of reasons a certain restaurant is THE best. And you'll make a friend. It's worth it. ... See MoreSee Less
Confessions of a Travel Tip Junkie: I love to walk foreign food markets and see all the beautiful fresh food. But experience has taught me that if can't peel it, wash it myself in filtered water, or watch it come out of flaming hot oil, I don't eat it. Yes, that is sad. But I have taken parasite medication (and loads more Imodium) more than I care to remember from breaking this rule. Many people forget when they travel to watch out for raw produce washed in local water...but they will remember later. Trust me. ... See MoreSee Less
Confessions of a travel tip junkie: Pack the sunscreen first. Nothing cramps your vacation style like being burnt alive. Going to the amusement park? Hiking? Outside concert? Beach (duh)? Standing in line? Sunscreen should always go with you. They even sell tiny tubes of it. No excuses. You never know when you will unexpectedly be stuck in the sun. And guess what it costs to buy sunscreen at all those places when you realize you don't have it? That'll give you heart burn. ... See MoreSee Less
Working with a Travel Agent 101Never worked with a travel agent? You are not alone. Many of my clients have lots of questions (and some fears) when they come to work with me.
What do you do?
I am a travel designer. My background is in design. In design, you take many different elements, remove those that don’t add to the whole, and strategically arrange them to create a personal, practical, beautiful experience. That is what I do for my clients and their travel needs. I take all the different elements of travel and craft them into the experience that beautifully fits my client. Everyone travels differently so every travel experience needs to be expertly fitted.
In a nutshell I…Help you understand and clarify what is important to you for your tripUnderstand your budget and keep away surprise or unexpected costs Recommend great lodging, transportation, or travel experiences that fit well with how you like to travelNavigate shopping and pricing to find you a great price and the best valueProvide expert advice on putting all the details together Book all the elements of your trip and organize all the information in one place for youAnswer questions you have along the wayWork with vendors before, during, and after your travels to take care of you (especially if things don’t go as planned)
What does it cost?
Usually nothing. That’s right, you can have personalized travel service for free. Suppliers (Disney, hotels, car rental companies, vacation companies etc.) pay travel agents to help you with your travel plans. They know the value of expert advice and personal service in making you a happy customer. When you book through a travel agent, the travel agent gets credit for helping you. Therefore, it does not cost you anything to get expert advice in planning your travel.
If you get advice from an agent and then go make the reservation yourself somewhere, the agent does not get credit. I simply ask my clients who use my planning services to book through me so that I get credit for my work.
Should you find a better price elsewhere, please let me know. While I always rigorously research my quotes from multiple sources, sometimes a client finds something I did not (or finds something that looks good but is missing some important stuff). I have many great suppliers who price match.
For special planning services, I sometimes charge a fee. If you want to book an air-only trip, I charge $30. Airlines do not pay travel agents on air-only reservations. There are occasionally special services for companies or large groups that go beyond normal trip planning that would incur a similar fee, but these occasions are rare and are always discussed up front. ... See MoreSee Less