Live as if it was


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors:

Do you believe in destiny? Do you believe in “meant to be?”

I believe in “live as if it were meant to be!”

First, in your head, you create what you believe you deserve, and then you live as if it were true.


By setting goals and keeping your dreams alive.

I came from Brazil almost 32 years ago, not knowing any English, with no money, and bringing a 1-year-old son and a husband. We came in January, had only 1 bedroom, and slept on the floor (carpet) with just a cheap blanket to cover us. We bought a refrigerator and the refrigerator box became our dining table. I learned English watching Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, and from there, I learned to be a travel agent.

I always liked to dream about traveling, but never had the opportunity to travel other than coming from Brazil to Los Angeles.

I went to work as an outside travel agent for a company in San Diego. I remember the first time a prospective client asked me for a hotel room in Jerusalem, Israel. I asked if he wanted an ocean view. By his reaction I knew I made a boo-boo. So, fast enough, I said I was joking, but then asked if he wanted a high enough floor to see the ocean in Tel Aviv. He thought I was funny (not stupid for sure) and then I realized that I was behaving as if I were already successful.

Things got better from there. I opened my own tour operator company, and eventually had 25 employees – I just kept doing better and better.

If you act as if, and believe in it – the American Dream is still alive, and I am proof of it!

Here’s to being the best that you can be!

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The Perfect Time to Travel


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

People are always asking when is the perfect time to travel. There’s no such thing as the perfect time to take a vacation, so the best time is always ASAP!

Should we list the reasons? Why not?

Not in any specific order of priority:

  • Life happens
  • Celebrating an event
  • Rewarding yourself
  • Being kind when something sad happens
  • To learn about other cultures
  • Meeting new people
  • Seeing the world
  • Appreciating what we have
  • To learn more about ourselves
  • Giving thanks
  • Love, live and laugh
  • Treat family and friends to a nice vacation
  • Just because…

You could probably add even more reasons why people should travel now and not wait. Planning ahead for new trips keeps us young at heart and hopeful for better days ahead. It is a healthy and very positive mindset to bet on good health, happiness and to expect only reasons for celebration.

Actually, it works like a good anti-depressant medication without any side effects! It is a great stimulant without addiction (actually, traveling can be addicting but it is a good addiction!) and gives us plenty of topics for fun and interesting conversations.

Having a Bucket List is very empowering and gives the traveler great reasons to make their lives more beautiful by creating fun expectations ahead.

Share this post or rewrite it with your own words, but make sure you spread the word that there is no such thing as the perfect time to take a vacation, so the best time is always ASAP!

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Choosing the Best Travel Agent/Advisor


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

I am targeting YOU, the travel agent, to talk about how customers can choose the best travel advisor for their needs.

Could that work against you? I bet it will not. Actually, my hope is for you to share this post with your clients and prospective clients if you feel comfortable having them read about your best strengths.

I want to compare a great travel agent to a great physical trainer. I use a trainer to make me feel stronger, to help my self-esteem, and to keep me excited about exercising. I’ve tried quite a few trainers. I’ve experienced some that made exercise so boring that I dreaded going, one who found a problem with my neck, back and even my capacity for understanding (?). I’ve found some who like to talk about how good and experienced they are, yet did nothing for me. Then, I found the right one! One who clicked and made me excited to go. When my private classes are over, I am sad.

Finding the right travel agent is the same. It doesn’t matter how famous or busy the person is, how many degrees they have, or the number of countries he/she has visited. It matters how this travel agent makes the client or prospective client feel. How interested they are, and how much they care.

Sure, many new prospective clients have unrealistic expectations, but travel agents can provide a reality check in a straight forward way and with caring words. How? By just being themselves and showing the client how much they care. Kindness goes a long way.

Being a caring and kind person and giving 100% of your attention, shows that many degrees and years of experience are not worth much when they are not in use. Just because a travel agent is famous or has years of experience doesn’t guarantee that his/her work will be fool proof. Everyone can make a mistake but the agents who are 100% present and attentive to their clients will certainly make fewer.

Be the best version of yourself and then you’ll certainly be the kind of travel agent/advisor that clients will be proud to recommend.


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Getting the Perfect Trip


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

Do you feel compelled to find the “perfect” trip or vacation for your clients?

What do they mean by “perfect?” Can you control the weather? The conditions of the roads? A delay or cancellation on a commercial airline?

Yes, you can advise them about pickpockets in some cities or areas and tell them not to have valuable items with them, and to use extreme caution.

You can tell them about rainy season and dry season. You can even describe conditions of the roads in small villages. You can advise them to buy a round-trip airline ticket from the point of origin to the destination instead of using different carriers for each segment of the trip which can save money but doesn’t guarantee a cancellation if any segment is delayed.  You can highly suggest that they purchase trip insurance but can’t make them purchase it. And despite all of your efforts, sometimes things go wrong, and your client might blame you for a not so “perfect” trip or vacation.

First of all, most travelers will not blame themselves – just because it is more convenient to blame someone else, and they’re trying to get an apology and/or reimbursement.

My suggestion is to send all advice in writing via email and ask for a reply. Make sure you strongly recommend travel insurance and that the client makes sure all paperwork is done for the country where he/she is traveling. Do not assume that if the client speaks English with no accent that he/she is American; many could be holding only a green card and have a foreign passport that requires a special visa to visit the country.

Personally, I used to assume that no one was American. I would always ask which passport they would be traveling with and checked if they needed a visa, special vaccines or other paperwork for the destination they wanted to visit.

Remind yourself and your client that “perfect” is a subjective term and depends on each individual’s experience. A travel agent/advisor cannot get into someone else’s mind and know their expectations and desires.

Communication is the key to avoid misunderstanding, combined with the knowledge that no one is perfect and life itself is not perfect.

Not even the best travel agent knows it all. Luckily, we are always learning, that is the beauty of life.

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What Tour Operators Should I Trust?



Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

By now, everyone has probably heard what happened to Thomas Cook, and how many clients got stranded in so many countries. That is scary, to say the least.

These are the things that travelers don’t think of everyday when they book travel online, or when they book themselves a vacation. Why should they?

Just last week I wrote about time and life not being refundable; I guess my timing was just perfectly on-time!

Would travel insurance be the answer in this case? Unfortunately, not really. In the case that a person buys travel insurance with the tour company, and that company goes bankrupt, everything is lost. And, basic travel insurance policies do not cover interruptions or cancellations for bankruptcy of tour companies. Travel insurance policies with Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage offer cancellation within 2 days, or 48 hours prior to the trip, but it needs to be purchased and upgraded within 21 days from when the trip is purchased for the full amount, and not exactly 100% will be refunded.

In this case, a better bet would be a strong credit card – one that offers coverage in the event a trip is canceled or delayed, or if an airline becomes insolvent. Some of these cards may also cover the cost of a booking a hotel room when a traveler is stranded. Please make sure you read the small print of the credit card agreement and ask questions before you sign up and use them for payment of your travel.

Now, what are the chances of reputable tour operator going out of business? It is not a big enough number that one should worry about it.

My advice: always feel protected, buy the trip with a credit card that gives you enough points AND protects your trip, but also purchase the travel insurance policy that makes you comfortable. Some prefer to buy through the tour company with the price included in the tour package (always cheaper), many buy through an independent travel insurance company, and some people with any history of any illness prefer the insurance with coverage for pre-existing medical history.

Life happens, and it makes us think about better ways to protect our happy dreams coming true.

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