TheCLUB Quarterly July-Sept 2013 - page 8

Traveling
with The
Tour Girl
This quarter’s feature
story is a guest submission by
Dea Hoover, owner of
Are We There Yet?, LLC.
8
l
TheCLUB Quarterly
Philosophy
I am often asked, “What is your
favorite place to visit?” That is
perhaps one of the most difficult
questions for me to answer, as the
locale is not nearly as important as
the experience. Frequent travelers
will tell you that how a trip goes is
nearly as important as where a trip
goes. Memories are created through
the tour guides one meets, the meals
shared with fellow travelers and the
atmosphere of sites visited. When
planning a trip, all three of these
need to be taken into consideration.
Trip Planning
If you are on a tight budget, it
is imperative to spend time on
research. I have people come to
me with remorse who wanted to
go to a destination, picked out
the organized tour or a hotel/air
package that was the least expensive
and then were disappointed with
the lack of decent accommodations,
meal choices and amount of time
spent at the actual destination
they paid to visit. Just because you
are on budget does not mean you
cannot find a tour or package to suit
your needs. Talk to people who have
been, whether it be personal friends
or with other travelers on online
forums. If a travel opportunity
seems to good to be true, ask why.
Are they luring you there to sell
you a timeshare? Has there been
political unrest in that location?
Did the hotel get purchased and is
now going downhill? Is it hurricane
season thus lowering pricing?
Be sure to understand how
much money will be needed in
addition to the actual up front
cost of a trip for meals, tips,
admissions and tours. These can
often add up to a price that you
cannot afford.
When budget is not the number
one consideration you will have
more flexibility. Approach the
planning in a similar way but
you can save yourself a lot of time
and research by working with a
reputable travel agent or a tour
operator. Ask a travel professional
who has a good reputation for
advice. If you are working with
someone new, whether it be a
tour operator or travel agent, ask
them for three references from
past clients. Follow through and
speak with those three references
before you continue any further.
If an organization cannot fulfill
that request then you need to look
further. You also need to delve into
what sort of traveler you are. Do you
prefer short visits to many places or
longer visits to fewer places? How
stressful is it for you to pack and
unpack? Would a cruise fit or does
the idea of being on a floating city
unnerve you? If you are in between
you might consider a river cruise as
you are able to spend multiple nights
in the same room, unpack once and
then enjoy brief stops at difference
locations. But if you believe that will
just leave you longing for more, then
a more intense trip to one location
might be in order.
If the ultimate experience is what
you are after, booking upscale hotels
with concierge desks that can help
you hire a private guide provides the
ultimate local experience. Because
you are not dividing the cost of a
guide over many people, it is more
expensive on an individual basis but
you will make the most of your time
doing and seeing what is important
to you. This will also incur the need
to book transportation and hotels on
your own, but again, a competent
travel agent or tour operator will
help you make those important
decisions. When I ask people why
they choose private touring they
typically say they have experienced
it abroad and have started seeking
it in the United States. Private
touring also alleviates the time and
date constraints associated with
organized tours as it will be tailored
to your schedule.
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