Where do you start when planning a vacation?
Finding the time for a vacation is hard enough when you have all the family and work commitments much less finding time for friends, last-minute bake sale requests from the PTA or even an evening out with your significant other. Finding time to plan a vacation is nearly impossible. In fact, in 2018 fifty-five percent of American workers report forgoing at least some of their vacation days. With 768 million vacation days, that was an increase of 9% in just one year. As we all wait to hear how many went unused in 2019, I wanted to share with you how to take the time to actually go on vacation. While I can’t lower your workload at the office, or take away any of the other commitments you have, my sole purpose is to help busy working families to take time away to reconnect. Whether you are connecting as a family, a couple or even just taking time to reconnect with yourself, it is so important for the long term benefits that you take the time now.
Let me do the heavy lifting.
Just because you are the one going on vacation, does not mean you have to be the one to research every single nugget of your vacation. That’s what I do for you as a professional. Just as you would hire a mechanic to analyze and work on your car, a doctor to diagnose and cure what ails you, I can pinpoint exactly what it will take to ensure you have the best vacation possible and execute the itinerary and planning so you only need to show, relax and enjoy every moment of it. In fact, I’m right by your side all the way through. My in destination suppliers, ground operators, and partners are all amazing, but I’m cognizant of the realities that come with travel, and as such, am reachable throughout your vacation in the event something crops up that require special attention. Imagine what traveling with complete peace of mind would be like?!
What does it cost?
I’m just going to jump right into this one because it always feels like the three-ton elephant in the room. Yes, I charge a design fee. This is the cost of creating and tweaking the itinerary to match your specific needs. It is a flat fee charged, regardless of your destination or family size. I get asked often why I charge a fee to design an itinerary when others don’t, or when they could go online and do it for free. Well quite simply, you could go online for free and do it yourself, that’s great, but I want you to think about what is that actually costing you? Time is money, and when you’ve put in ten, twenty or thirty hours or even possibly more, what will that have cost you? As for the others that don’t charge, I find that to be a shame. Many times there is a number of reasons but in my business, we charge it upfront to every client. This way you can be assured of no hidden fees, or paying for something on the backend. When you are ready to book your vacation, you aren’t having to pay a fee at that time.
The design fee also leaves you free to be able to take my work in good conscience and book with another source should you wish (but I’m not sure why you would) and I’m still compensated for the many many hours I dedicate to creating the itineraries for my clients.
What do I get for my Design Fee?
The design fee is set up to offer you three unique itineraries. Perhaps it is three destinations, three travel styles of one destination, multiple departure & gateways or a combination of the options. If you wish to have additional itineraries created, there is an additional charge for that simply due to the time required to create the additional options.
You will receive an itinerary based on your requests. The itinerary could be as basic as you like with just the hotels and some excursion ideas or as detailed as you like including all ground transfers, excursions & guides even some private restaurant reservations. The degree of detail will be determined during our consultation call.
You will be allowed up to two itinerary adjustments to one of the itineraries sent at no additional cost. Additional itinerary design fees will be applied beyond that and will be relayed prior to proceeding with the changes.
How do I know if you’re the right fit for me?
That’s actually a two-way street. Not all clients are the right fit for my business, so I like to start with a discovery call. We start with a quick discovery call where we get to know each other. You will start by telling me what you’re looking for on your vacation. Who is going to be going with you? We discuss the level of independent time vs prescheduled time as well as the destination(s). We will then bring up the price point, to ensure that your price point is consistent with your vision. As much as I believe in always seeking the best value for my clients, I’m not a backpacker - hostel sleeping, carry a loaf bread for three squares a day sort of a travel professional. I will, however, work with families that have a variety of price points. You don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to be my client (and being one doesn’t automatically make you one either) but having a realistic expectation for the price point you have to work with is key.
My goal is to take away the stress and frustration of planning family vacations and couples escape for busy women and moms (but I also help the men as well, so don’t feel left out). By creating itineraries that will surprise and delight even the pickiest of family members. My years as a mom have taught me well, you aren’t always going to make your teenagers happy in the planning stages, but never have any of my six children come home and regretted having gone. They actually tell their friends all about how much fun they had, once they are home, and the phrase I hear (when they don’t realize I can hear them) is “you’ve totally got to make your parents take you, it was epic”.
How do we start?
Following the discovery call, you will be ready to get started. I understand that you are busy and as such, it is my job to ensure we keep things as organized and as clean for you. You will simply let me know that you are ready to proceed. I will send you an invoice, and as soon as it has been paid in full, you will receive a questionnaire and a link to my calendar. You will schedule (for a time that works within your calendar, based on my availability) time for a consultation call. During this call, which takes place on zoom, I will review the questionnaire answers and ask for additional follow up to items that need to be clarified. You will also be able to express any additional thoughts, concerns, and ideas that you didn’t include in the questionnaire. While I say to allow up to 30 minutes for this call, I do my best to wrap it up in 15 minutes or less to allow you to have more time back in your day.
From there, I will begin the process of designing custom-crafted itineraries for you and your family. While my goal is to turn it around within five business days or less, some destinations require a slightly longer processing time to ensure we have all of the pieces together. All itinerary designs are completed within 10 business days. The designs (quotes) that are prepared for you, are all based on live inventory, meaning that the space was available at the time of quoting. The rates can fluctuate, depending on the time it takes for you to approve, or make changes to an itinerary. Most interactions following our initial consultation call will take place via email unless otherwise requested by you.