Give the Gift of Travel

Posted by Tammy Murphy

December 15, 2016 at 10:38 AM

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A few years ago after searching and searching for the perfect gift for my adult children, parents and friends, I had an epiphany . . . they won't remember these things, but something they will remember is a great TRAVEL EXPERIENCE.  The gift is even sweeter if we can share that experience together ("We'll always have New York").  Share your secret with another struggling Santa mom and experience a destination with several family members or friends.   I promise you that planning this gift is so much more fun than fighting the mall crowds and traffic, and I can make it even easier for you, one phone call or email to me and I'll do your shopping.  
 
Here are a 3 ideas to WRAP your GIFT OF Travel Experiences:
 

1. Scavenger Hunt.  Write down several clues (or when the boys were younger, I printed pictures clues), wrap the clues in separate boxes all New_York_Empire_State_Building_ticket_38147.jpgunder the tree numbered, or I like to put one box under the tree and lead them to boxes hidden around the house with clues.  Imagine the excitement on their face's when they discover the last clue is tickets to:  Whale Watching in Hawaii, Wine Tasting in Italy, Swimming with sharks and rays in Bora Bora, Zip lining in Caribbean or YOU fill in the blank.  Be sure to have your video camera ready-these are priceless moments.

2. Travel Gifts. Buy a few things that pertain to your trip.  Books to build the anticipation of the destination they will be visiting soon.  Or more tangible gifts pertaining to the destination:    If you are taking them to the Caribbean or Costa Rica, some water shoes, snorkel mask,cosa rica.jpg

sunscreen;  National Park passport or national geographic books of Grand Canyon, if visiting National Parks; golf tees if golf trip,  Lei if gifting Hawaii or Tahiti, Bora Bora; etc.

 

3. Gift Certificate.
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I create gift certificates for my clients with photos of the excursions or destinations that have been booked.
 
Studies show that the twenty-something millennial generation, increasingly value experiences over material possessions.  In the age of technology and social media,  we are bombarded with information, no downtime, etc.  Millennials rate travel experiences just below life's milestones.   This may be a time that we can learn from our children . . .
 
So enough of the THINGS they outgrow or throw out.  Imagine the love and laughs increased with time away from routines exploring new areas of the world.  Time spent  getting to know and connecting on another level with your adult children on your trip to ?? . . . Great times mingling and really connecting are PRICELESS.  Oh the memories, it grows even more special over time when you recount the memories "remember the time when . . ."  So put your thinking cap on and let's find an experience that will change you/their lives.  You will thank me later! A famous quote, The Trouble is You THINK you have time,  make the most of the times you have and experience LIFE together. 
 

WARNING:  I gave John a GIFT OF EXPERIENCE about 10 years ago (Golf Trip with his buddies), and he won't accept any other gift except that one each year.  On the bright side, I don't even need to think about WHAT to get him, its a given.

I would love to hear YOUR ideas, how did you surprise your family or friends with an extraordinary experience?
 
Remember, in your life, you’ll meet two kinds of people – those who dream of going places and those that GO PLACES! Which one do you want to be?
 
Click here MORE BLOG STORIES for more inspiration and ideas for a travel inspired life.
 
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Topics: #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, Italy, #reunion, travel concierge, travel consultant, #passportpassion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, First Time Tips to Italy, LOVEITALY, #group travel, paradiseescape

Benefits of Packing Light

Posted by Tammy Murphy

November 30, 2016 at 5:57 PM

                                                     airport-1543009_1920.jpgPacking Light – especially on an itinerary where you will be moving and changing locations a good bit – cannot be underestimated. In fact, it can be the difference between an enjoyable vacation and a miserable one! You will never meet anyone who says “I wish I had packed heavier” when they return from a journey. Rick Steves, the Public TV European travel guru, only allows the members of his escorted tours to bring 1 carry-on size piece of luggage per person…even when the tour is 3 weeks long! Can’t be done? Yes it can…and it should! I’ve done it myself, in fact, I did that earlier today as I prepare to hop around the islands of Tahiti this week.


Admittedly, it does take a little more planning, but the advantages outweighed the disadvantages by a huge margin!


I'll let you know the advantages wihle traveling in Tahiti in future posts, but today I will share the benefits of traveling light in Europe, we would dress quickly in whatever outfit was clean and appropriate for the day. I started thinking of my wardrobe as my “travel uniform”. We were there to explore, enjoy and expand our horizons…not worry about what we were going to wear. Doing a little laundry along the way won’t kill anyone – in fact, it can be a real adventure!


1. We could move quickly from place to place….No worries about big suitcases and where we would fit our luggage on the train or bus or taxi. A lot of European hotels have no elevator, so lugging heavy bags up and down stairs can be a real bummer.

 

2. Having too much luggage “marks” you as a typical tourist. Con artists figure you’re helpless and you become a serious pickpocket or scam target.

 

3. We saved enough money in checked luggage fees to treat ourselves to some special “extras”. We also saved time by not having to wait around at luggage carousels in strange airports. We were off and starting our adventure while everyone else was standing around waiting for the bags to arrive.


4. Here are my suggestions for cutting back on the amount of “stuff” you think you need on your next trip:


 Spread out everything you think you might need across your bed. Pick up each item one at a time and ask yourself “Will I really use this enough to justify carrying it over the Swiss Alps?” (or wherever you are heading) When in doubt, leave it out!


 Don’t pack for the worst-case scenario…Pack for the best-case and buy yourself out of any jams along the way. Risk shivering for a day rather than taking a heavy jacket. Buy a cheap umbrella from one of the many street vendors who "miraculously" appear when the drops start to fall. If you think it “might come in handy”, it should stay home.


 Pack exactly the same whether you’re traveling for three weeks or three months. Rather than take a whole trip’s supply of toiletries, take enough to get started and replace them along the way. Believe it or not, Europeans use toothpaste, lotion, hair gel, soap and (sometimes) deodorant! It’s REALLY fun to go into a general store and stock up on local brands on the fly!

 Multi purpose items work best (3 shirts per one pair of paints, several dresses and swap up with sweaters, shoes that match several outfits, you get the picture.


 Invest in a good quality piece of luggage that fits your needs. Rick Steves offers a few options in his travel store at www.ricksteves.com/travelstore that are reasonably priced and come with or without wheels. If you are healthy enough to carry your bag, do it…suitcases on wheels don’t get along with cobblestone streets very well….


So weed out the unnecessary, pack your bag and go walk around the block a few times to get a good idea of what you will be dealing with. You will thank me later! Remember, in your travels, you’ll meet two kinds of tourists – those who pack light and those who wish they had!

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Topics: #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, Italy, #reunion, travel concierge, travel consultant, #passportpassion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, First Time Tips to Italy, LOVEITALY, #group travel, paradiseescape, packing light

A First-timer's Guide to Italy

Posted by Tammy Murphy

November 17, 2016 at 7:30 AM

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ITALY is, by far, the European country requested most by my clients . . . in fact, over 46 million tourist visit this amazing country every year.  They come from all over the world, for many different reasons and many will return again and again for that magic that only Italy can deliver. Italians are very kind, outgoing, family-centric and extremely patient (unless they are driving!). The Italians realize how blessed they are to be the safe keepers of some of history’s most magnificent relics and art treasures and they are happy to share them. However, there are a few things that most Italians want Americans to know before we arrive in their country. Here is “VIP Travel Experience's” list of the Top 10 ways to blend right in to Italian Culture:

1. Slow Down: You will NOT see it all! IMG_0509.jpg
Trust me, the reason that the 46 million tourists flock to Italy each year is because there is so much beauty to see and experience: culture, art, vineyards, food, museums and the amazing people!  A lifetime isn’t even enough time! So, slow down, take it all in, appreciate what you DO see….and then plan to return!  I had to tell myself "Enjoy every second, you will see what is meant to be seen on your first visit".  At the time, I thought surely I would never be able to return, thank goodness that wasn't true. 

2. Dress more conservatively than you do at home.
IMG_0414.jpgMiniskirts, short-shorts (they are for the beach!); halter tops and saggy jeans will not live up to the classic fashion taste of Italians. You don’t have to be formal and uncomfortable…just neat, put-together and a little more modest. Some Cathedrals (including the Vatican) will not let you enter if your shoulders and knees are not covered. Cover up, unless you really are spending the day on a beautiful Italian beach. And leave the stilettos at home…Cobblestone streets and high heels don’t get along very well!

3. Cappuccino and Café Lattes are morning-only drinks!
A true Italian would never dream of ordering one after late morning, or especially after a meal! If you need a caffeine pick-me-up later in the day, stop  in a coffee bar for a quick shot of espresso. Did you know that Italy is one of the only countries that doesn’t have a Starbucks? They are illegal there because the Italians are so proud of their coffee culture. Italian coffee is superior and should be enjoyed as the real Italians do…Give it a “shot”! (Pun intended!)  Sshh, don't tell but I don't drink coffee, so this bit of info is from friends. cappuccino-593256_1280.jpg

4. Dinner is not usually served earlier than 8:00pm!
Showing up at a restaurant before 7:30 will probably get you a view of the staff having their own pre-service meal and a totally empty dining room! Your meal will be more enjoyable in a restaurant full of happy locals and with the wait staff ready to do their thing! Most places charge a “Coperto”, or cover charge, for each table. This is NOT a ploy to take advantage of you…it is routine! It is explained as the cost of washing the linens, dishes, and providing the “free stuff” like bread (pane in Italian) or tap water. Get used to it!  IMG_0246.jpg

5. Simplify your schedule!
Leave time in your day to just wander around and poke your head into the real Italy. If you just get a couple of blocks away from some of the most famous tourist sites, real Italian life is in front of you. Stop to listen to a street performer (and tip!), stop into a neighborhood café for a glass of wine or a coffee or slurp a cone of gelato with the locals. Plus. If you are always trying to keep up with a tight schedule, you and your travel companions will just plain get grumpy!

6. You need to call for a taxi, or go to an actual taxi stand.
You cannot just hail a taxi off the street in Italy, and many Italian taxi drivers get their entertainment from watching tourists try to do so! As an alternative, familiarize yourself with the public transportation systems in your town. Busses, Subways, Trains and Boats are remarkably efficient and manage to get millions of Italians where they need to go every day…Why not you?IMG_0416.jpg
 
7. Italian is the official language of Italy!
I know this seems obvious…but some Americans go barging in to other countries expecting everyone to speak English fluently? Just learning a few common words and phrases in the local language will make a big difference in your experience. We have seen Americans screaming “DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?” at someone (they aren’t deaf…just Italian!) try “I’m sorry, but my Italian is poor…Parla l’Inglese?” (Par-la Een-glace?) Even if you find yourself in the rare circumstance with no English-speakers, Italians speak with their hands, so go back to your charade talents and you will get your point across and have a good laugh doing so!
Note:  there are apps now that demonstrate how to say words or phrases in another language, which we tried to do out of respect.  

8. Speaking of waiters in restaurants, slow service is good service!
European restaurants are drastically different than most here in America. When you take a table for a meal, it is yours for the night or as long as you want…Waiters are NOT trying to “turn tables” fast so they can make more tips. (tips are not required, but a small gratuity for good service is always welcomed)   Waiting tables is a respected profession in most of Europe and they are paid well. Italians enjoy their mealtimes and are not in a rush to dash off to a movie or other event. Dinner IS usually the event! Relax and go with the slow flow! And you must ask for the check when you are ready to leave. It is considered rude for a waiter to bring your check before you ask because he doesn’t want to rush you! Get the picture???bluecam_3522.jpg

9. Everyone in Italy doesn’t want to kiss you!
Italians are very welcoming people, but there is a certain etiquette for reaching out and saying hello!  You will see friends, family and even acquaintances kissing each other on the cheeks and saying “Ciao” all over, however, as a stranger, that might be a little bit “overboard”. When you meet an Italian, take their lead…but a smile and a firm handshake is probably the most appropriate until you get to know them a little better. Also, Italian culture respects its elders and, if someone is introduced as Signore (Mr.) or Signora (Mrs.), it is best not to address them by their first names until they request it.

10. Smile!
You are in a country that has welcomed and inspired visitors for centuries! Enjoy the people, the beauty, the art, music & literature. You are one lucky duck…and don’t forget it! The Italians will be happy to share a smile with you and you will return home already planning your return trip in your mind! And remember…”VIP TRAVEL EXPERIENCE” specializes in custom-crafted Italian vacations! Let us help you plan your next adventure to put these newly learned skills to use! IMG_0413-1.jpg
 
My first experience in Italy was nothing short of magical, and I would love to help you have that same experience!!!
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Topics: #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, Italy, #reunion, travel concierge, travel consultant, #passportpassion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, First Time Tips to Italy, LOVEITALY, #group travel, paradiseescape

Best Travel Experience Ever, Is Butler Service Worth It?

Posted by Tammy Murphy

November 10, 2016 at 7:25 AM

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Just ask anyone that has had Personal Butler Service at Sandals?  Once you have experienced vacation with a butler, its really hard to imagine NOT having a butler on vacation.  It's where luxury meets exceptional hospitality!  Many are interested, but may be a little skeptical at first.  Some say "I don't need a butler?  I'm not high maintenance".  While this is true, none of us really NEED a butler, but if there is any way I can help my clients experience the butler service, I am so happy.   I too was apprehensive at first about having a butler and then once we made the decision choose the suite with butler service, I was almost embarrassed to let Nicola (our first butler) do things for me.  Then I learned what an honor it is for the staff to become a Butler.  They sincerely LOVE their jobs and will do everything in their power to make your stay as special and as perfect as possible.  
 
When clients contact me about planning their trip, I try to share my experiences with a butler to see if that is something they would enjoy.  We determine what they are comfortable spending and if there is any way the budget will allow a butler, I highly recommend it.  Ten years ago we were planning our first visit to Sandals and we had dreamed of visiting St. Lucia for quite a while. However, after looking at what options fit our budget, we opted to visit Jamaica with a butler as opposed to St. Lucia without a butler.  As much as I hated not seeing St. Lucia ten years ago, I still think its the best decision we ever made, never before or since then have I felt so pampered --It's not something most of us experience too many times (until we return to Sandals).  While the Sandals website provides a short list of the butler perks, it is only a starting point, it only scratches the surface.   I can never fully explain how awesome the butler service can be, because they take the que from the client.  Their goal is to anticipate your every need and then EXCEED it.   As a Sandals specialist, it makes my job SOOOO much easier because I feel relieved once my clients are in the hands of the butler, I know everything will be just perfect.  Almost every client that has selected a suite with personal butler service comes back from vacation bragging that "their butler was the best ever".  In fact I typically hear more about the butler than the excursions.  I have also noticed that clients that experienced butler service usually have their friends calling me without days of their return.   I think they really connect with the local hospitality through the butlers, and island people have such beautiful souls filled with gratitude and service. 
 
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Curious about how to get the most value of butler service at Sandals?  Here are a few important things . .
 
Work with a travel professional.  Your travel professional will communicate your preferences the butler prior to your arrival.  When you arrive, your travel professional will already have double checked that your suite is confirmed and your butler will have already double  checked that it is prepared per your preferences: Club Sandals Lounge keys, His and Hers plush robes with bed slippers, 24 hour room service, In-suite bar stocked daily with Mondavi wines, spirits, sodas, juices, and water, fine Egyptian cotton linens and pillow menu including feather down pillows, coffeemaker with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and free wifi in room. 
 
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The butler knows your expected time of arrival and will be waiting for you in the lobby with lemongrass-scented hand towels to refresh you from your flight.  Listed below are just a few of the things he enhances your arrival:
 
  • Welcome cocktails and culinary treats
  • Escorts you to your suite for check-in in the privacy of your suite and coordinates your luggage handling
  • Provides you with resort and room orientation
  •  Reviews your personal preferences communicated through your travel professional
  • Supplies a cell phone to reach him during your stay
  • Offers to unpack your luggage
  • Press your first night's clothes complimentary
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During Your Stay

  • Butler makes your dinner reservations, cabana rentals, spa treatments and any other activities you have added to your stay.
  • Reserves your chair at the beach or pool and serves your favorite drinks while you relax
  • Serves your lunch at the beach or pool
  • Confirms your room is serviced while you are away and ensures it is kept in perfect order
  • Ensures your table is arranged at the restaurants of your choice and escorts you to your table with preferential seating, skipping all lines
  • Per your request, arranges a perfect romantic dinner for two in the privacy of your suite or patio.  They can order from any resort restaurant menu for dining in-suite.
  • Shine/clean shoes for dinner
  • Tend to your wardrobe
  • Collect and return all laundry
  • Leaves amenities in your room between meals (per the preferences provided by your travel professional or things he hears you mention during your stay)
  • Ensures your bed is turned down and that you have anything you need for the night.
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Before your Departure

  • Provides you with check out details
  • Offers to pack for your departure
  • Ensures your bags are brought to the departure area
  • Escorts you to the butler lounge to process check out
  • Escorts you to your transportation and bids you farewell (i promise you will want to take them home with you, I know I did)
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 A few other tips your Sandals specialist can help you decide: 
  • For the same price as an entry level butler suite at one resort, you can stay in one of the top butler suite at another
  • The higher the category of room, the bigger the room and better the view (usually)
  • Some rooms have a private plunge pool or tranquility outdoor tub

Loosen Up:  

They will make it abundantly clear that they are at your beck and call, but who can wrap their head around that, right?  Remember, this is his job and you are depriving him of what he loves to do.  Making the most of your butler experience may include asking him for your favorite drink while you are on the beach,  or saving your chair at beach or pool or reserving your table at your favorite restaurant, etc.  The more you allow him to get to know you and learn about him and his life on the island, the more you will enjoy your stay.  Imagine your surprise when you return from dinner to find this?   He mentioned that he heard you mention your feet hurt.  
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What to Expect?

Ask your travel professional what to expect.  Think about how much you hate to pack and unpack, take advantage of his offer.  I usually recommend that you unpack a few personal items and leave the rest for him to unpack while you are exploring the resort.  Or another idea would be to pack your personal items in a carry on which you unpack and ask the butler to unpack the other bags when they arrive.   Here's a little hint, my butler unpacked and packed WAY better than I did.

Remember, the only way they know what you want is if you speak up.  

Nothing makes you feel more special than a personal note on your pillow from your butlers reminding you "Love is All You Need".

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True VIP Travel Experience is  . . . anything you want is at the press of a button.  

It's OK to so No.  Butler service is not for everyone and that is okay.  For those that are not comfortable with the idea, the concierge service at Club Sandals may be the right fit for you.  Club Sandals is a quiet lounge offering snacks and drinks and free wifi, tvs and even kindles to borrow.

As you know Sandals has a strict no tipping rule.  However, butlers and spa attendants are the only Sandals employees that are able to accept tips from guests.  If your butler does an outstanding job enhancing your stay, consider leaving them a tip to show your gratitude.  If you aren't sure how to tip them, ask your travel professional. 

So is butler service worth every penny?  For me it is, but you are the only one that can decide for yourself.  The one thing I tell my clients is if you aren't afraid to use your butler service, it is worth every single penny and much, much more!!  In my very humble opinion, once you try the butler service, its almost impossible to go back!

 

 
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Topics: #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, #reunion, travel concierge, travel consultant, #passportpassion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel, paradiseescape

Mobile passport

Posted by Tammy Murphy

November 2, 2016 at 9:38 PM

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Are you looking for a secret express lane through customs?  Again, "There's an app for that".   A free app for Apple and Android phones, Mobile Passport, allows you to skip long lines and avoid searching for a pen to complete the pesky customs forms and the passport scanning kiosks at the airport.  Simply wave your phones over a scanner, and VOILA its like magic, step quickly to the customs agent.
 
Don't misunderstand, its not a substitute for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, but its a good option for avoiding long lines to re-enter the United States, if you don't have precheck or global entry.  Currently its accepted at 20 US Airports, including, but not limited to ATL, JFK, MIA, SEA, ORD and SFO, with more to follow.Click here for complete list
 
What's behind the magic?
Innovative software authenticator that allows you to generate one-time passcodes instantly on your phone.  
 
5 easy steps

DO Steps 1-3 before you leave

Step 1: Download the app to your smartphone
Grab the app off of the App Store or Google Play. This is also going to require you having your phone charged by the time you arrive at your home airport, so don’t let the battery die listening to music for 10 hours!
 
Step 2: Set up your profile
Enter your profile information as it appears on your valid, official passport. You can set up profiles for your entire family. Your information will be encrypted and shared only with CBP.
 
Step 3: Answer a few questions
Answer CBP’s four brief questions about your trip, and carefully review all of your information for the trip.

Steps 4-5 on return trip home only after landing in United States, because its only good for 4 hours:  
ONLY AFTER YOU LAND IN connecting airport, you’ll have to connect to your cellular network or wi-fi and submit your data to CBP.
 
Step 4: Submit to CBP
Within a few seconds, you will receive a receipt with an encrypted barcode. Your receipt will be valid for 4 hours.
 
Step 5: Skip the line and save time
Follow the MOBILE PASSPORT CONTROL signs and skip the lines!
Show your passport to the CBP officer and scan the barcode on the CBP receipt. Wave goodbye to all the people giving you the side eye in the normal lines.

 

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Topics: #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, different travel styles, #reunion, travel concierge, travel consultant, #passportpassion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel, mobilepassport

Why use a Travel Professional?

Posted by Tammy Murphy

October 17, 2016 at 4:34 PM

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Hurricane Matthew tried to spoil the fun for some of my clients and made my afternoons very tiring.  The end result though is that we pulled off alternate plans when flights were canceled, and everyone had a fabulous, relaxing time and is home safely.  While I was sitting on hold for hours making alternate arrangements (I had a lot of time to think).  One thing occurred to me is what are travelers doing that didn't have a Travel Expert? Are you missing the last piece of the puzzle?
 
1) You know how crazy schedules are the day or two before you leave to go on vacation?  Would your work schedule allow you to sit on hold for hours making alternate arrangements?  OR
2)  What if you didn't know YOU COULD make alternate plans?  Many travelers canceled their trip altogether when they were notified of canceled flights.   
3)  What if your flight is delayed and you miss your connecting flight?  Where will you stay for the night?  Will I lose that day at my resort? How will I beat the crowd to get on the next flight?  (Sometimes, there is only one flight going to the islands per day per airline).
 
If I had a dollar for every time I am asked "Do people still use travel agents?"  My response is all day, everyday (keep reading, I think you will be surprised at what a travel agent is).  And the really well informed travelers are using a travel expert INSTEAD of a travel agent. 

If you have asked the question, "What can a travel expert do for me that I can't do for myself online?" 
A quick example of what a travel expert would do:  If your flight was delayed and your connecting flight would be missed, your travel expert could re book your flight before you landed saving you from standing in long lines of angry travelers at the ticket counter, book you in a hotel for the night* if no other flights for that day and make alternate arrangements at your original destination resort.   Of course, no one wants to HAVE to be the hero in this story, but sometimes travel plans go awry despite the BEST laid plans. Travel experts frequently are holding extra pieces of the puzzle, just in case.. .
 
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Travel Experts take pride in offering incredible service and value for our clients hard-earned vacation time and budget.  Service that begins with their dream and ends when they are unpacking after the trip.  This goes WAY beyond clicking BUY NOW on a computer screen.  Travel experts spend hours custom-crafting YOUR vacation to provide you with the EXPERIENCE you are dreaming of, collaborating with colleagues to check the best values, amenities. Travel experts don't just "sell travel", we won't try to fit a square peg in a round hole . . . we research hotels, resorts, destinations with YOUR interests and hobbies in mind, if we have not visited the particular property or destination, we have long lists of vetted properties and excursions, in addition to being an engaged member of consortia to obtain unbiased opinions (you can't exactly believe all opinions you read online). 
 
ARE WE A GOOD FIT?
You may not need all the services we provide?  We review your answers on the questionnaire and schedule a complimentary phone consultation to see if we are a good match.  We will let you know if you don't need our services.  We will ask questions to find out  what a perfect vacation looks like to you?  If your anniversary dream includes relaxing at a kid-free pool cabana with an umbrella drink?  I'm going to steer you towards an Adult-Only property with amazing service!  Are you looking for a hopping, party atmosphere or some place to relax and disconnect? That may be yet a different resort or destination.
 
Are you dying to show your children the Caribbean, but you really want a resort that has a nice adult-only section to sneak away to while the children take advantage of sports clinics or learn to fly on a trapeze before you all meet up a few hours later for some quality family fun?  I have the perfect place in mind to make everyone happy.
 
We can also provide benefits to the traveler that loves the challenge of researching travel and finds the exact hotel and excursions they want.  That's when our inventory to properties that may show sold out online or our vetted suppliers come in handy.  We may have amenities or upgrades at the resort you've chosen without the added cost.  We may have a vetted supplier for excursion or a private tour excursion for the same price you found for a big group tour.

WHY SO MANY QUESTIONS?
So these are why we ask so many questions, not to be nosy, we want you to have the best EXPERIENCE possible.  We take all of your answers and put together the puzzle to match little dream in your head.  More times than not, that takes hours and hours of detailed research and planning to put each little piece together
 
Many times, we have access to things that YOU may not be aware of.  Would you like to visit the Sistine Chapel after hours?  Would you like a photopher on location? Would you like a cooking lesson in the chef's home as opposed to cooking institution or restaurant?  Would your kids love a truffle hunt? You may be able to get a private experience for nearly same price as big group excursion.  And much more, we can't reveal all of our secrets, right. 
 
Will you really get what you think you're getting online? Buyer beware, last week a client sent me an email asking if I could get them a room for 4 at a specific price at a specific resort during Christmas holidays.  Well, turns out I could get the room (which appeared sold out online), however the price shown online did not accommodate 4 people, the price for the room that would accommodate 4 people was significantly higher.  Saving money is great, and I'm all for staying within budget and getting a good value for your hard-earned travel dollars.  That is why we ask for your budget.  I really do have your best interest in mind . . . trust me, I will do my best to find you the perfect fit for the greatest value.  
 
Many think they are saving money "booking themselves", but what they may not realize is that the booking engine is a "large corporation travel agent", you will receive confirmation numbers and that online booking travel agent gets a huge cut of the cost and that is the end of that story, there is no service during and after the sale.  AND if something is not as you perceived it to be, you probably won't receive a live person that sincerely cares about your time and money.  When you give me or any other hard working travel professional, the "go ahead" to book that same vacation (often at the same price or better), most times, you are not paying in full on that day, you will receive first class service, well-organized travel documents, app with your day-to-day itinerary plans via mobile phone, destination information, restaurant recommendations and sightseeing recommendations, along with the peace of mind that we are available for you each step of the way.  If anything goes wrong on the trip, we typically have affiliates on-location and/or good working relationships with the hotels, resorts, cruise lines.  We sincerely advocate FOR YOU. Just ask yourself or the agent you are working with, what is included in the sale.
 
Insure your vacation
Your travel expert can help you choose the best policy for YOU. 
One of the greatest surprises why you may want travel insurance is not just for trip cancellation.*(more on this next week).
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Topics: #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, different travel styles, #reunion, travel concierge, travel consultant, #passportpassion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel

Group Travel, Redefined

Posted by Tammy Murphy

September 28, 2016 at 12:18 AM

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Most people love hanging out with friends, colleagues, associates, ... and what better way to do that than connecting and having fun IN STYLE and experiencing some great travel times together?  No need to worry about all the details - no one needs to shoulder all of the planning responsibility when we would love to do it FOR YOU.  
 
VIP Travel Experience can help your group find the perfect getaway.  It may be family reunions, milestone birthday or anniversaries, girlfriends, class reunion, sorority/fraternity reunion, college reunion, business team, professional association meetings, corporate incentive travel, continuing education meetings, wine clubs, mission trips, family heritage, art or music groups.  Whatever your group needs may be,  we will relieve you of all that travel planning stress and create the perfect custom itinerary based on the interest and focus of your group.    
 
WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
  • Caribbean All Inclusive Resort
  • Caribbean Cruise
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • Hawaii 
  • Africa
  • Alaska
  • Holy Land
  • Any place you can imagine because who says that business getaways have to be in a big city? Aren't you more inclined to soak it all in when it's combined with awesome scenery, great activities and luxury accommodations?

WHAT MAKES OUR GROUP TRAVEL DIFFERENT?

You can RELAX, we've got this!!  VIP Travel Experience can customize group travel with excursions or immersion experiences for smaller groups within larger groups.  For example, some attendees may have business meetings or group practices during the trip that other group members aren't required to attend.  NO WORRIES!  We can plan activities for the others with diverse interests.  The best part is that you can travel as a group, but you are not limited to only large group activities.  We love the challenge of diverse group travel options!
 
Our specialty is exploring group tours that will take you off the beaten path into the real heart of destinations.  If you LOVE life and have a burning desire to travel and really EXPERIENCE this wonderful world we live in, call us today.  

We have millions of negotiated fares all over the globe and connections with on-location partners.  Regardless of your destination, we can accommodate groups of 25 or 250 and still maintain a personal memorable experience for all.
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Topics: business travel, #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, different travel styles, incentive travel, #reunion, travel concierge, travel consultant, #passportpassion, #group travel

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