One of the coolest things about traveling to new places for me is getting out there and exploring. And if you’re going to the Caribbean, the options are limitless! I know I always want to see and do as much as possible. Whether it’s a cultural adventure with a tour of a museum, a nighttime ghost walk, hike up a cliff in the middle of a rainforest to see a beautiful waterfall, or playing hide and seek with a fish in some coral while snorkeling, I want to come home having experienced something. And I want all of my clients to have that same chance. The best way to accomplish this is to go on tours and excursions when you are on your trip. I pride myself on finding that perfect moment for everyone who comes to me. Even my clients who tell me that all they want to do is read a book in a beach chair will positively drool when I talk about the opportunity to charter glass bottomed Catamaran that will take them to a private island for a day, complete with a picnic lunch.
Once I had a client who pulled me aside to tell me that he was going to propose to his girlfriend on their trip and really wanted to surprise her. I talked to the property manager at their resort and arranged a horseback ride along the beach to a secluded lagoon where they had a private candlelight dinner prepared by the resort’s award-winning chef. The whole thing went off spectacularly and they came in to see me after the trip so she could show off her engagement ring!
This is the biggest advantage a travel agent has over booking trips over the internet. Over the years, I have cultivated good relationships with various properties and travel services in the areas I specialize in. Concierges call me to let me know about new tour guides they’ve met, new excursions they have added to their roster, and new equipment acquired by their hotels. I find out about new nightspots and trendy new restaurants straight from the local source. Guides will sometimes work with me to tailor events especially for my clients because they know that if they do a great job, I’ll recommend their services to more people.
With a skilled travel agent like me, you can have everything pre-vetted by a pro, scheduled and paid for before you even set foot on the plane. Everything will be clearly documented in a daily itinerary with transportation and contact information for anyone hired, maps if necessary, and then there’s the best part: if anything goes wrong, you have an ally to reach out to that can straighten things out.
Once you get there, if you haven’t booked anything, you will end up having to arrange things yourself. If you don’t speak the language, it can be a real challenge and can lead to some serious misunderstandings. Also, if you are not staying at a resort with a concierge, you may wind up asking random locals like shopkeepers and restaurant staff for tour guide advice. I’m not saying that everyone will be out to take advantage of you, but for every great recommendation from a waiter you’re going to get some doozies; there will always be that guy who sets you up with his cousin who takes you in his rattletrap pickup truck to some horrendous backwoods swamp when you thought you were going to a hotspring.
That’s when you’ll remember that for the same price, I could have had you at an exclusive spa enjoying a massage right on the beach. Whoops.
Do yourself a favor and tell your travel agent what you’d like to do, then have them help you book some great excursions to add that personal touch to what will be a fabulous vacation!