How to be a Happy Traveler

Dear Travel Agents/ Advisors,

What are the reasons you travel or want to travel? 

I have found that it is much easier to sell what you would buy, rather than what you think others should buy. Below is my list of the reasons I travel. I truly believe in each one of them.

1.) Life is too short to stand still, to dream about places to see but not doing anything about it.

2.) I don’t want to wait until retirement age, or until my kids are grown and doing well, or for my grand kids to go to college before I start living my life and start traveling. My time is now, and I owe it to myself.

3.) No one will care about and love me more than I love and care for myself. I need to wake up, smell the coffee and the flowers, smile, think how fast the clock is ticking, and make my travel dreams come true! 

To me, making my dreams come true is to travel the world. I want to make this huge planet seem as though I can conquer it all during my lifetime. I want to explore every country and city that I dream about and make memories in each of them.  

When I am an old lady it may be too hard to travel. My bones might prefer to stay at home. But, I will have no regrets, and will treasure my many memories because I loved myself enough to travel.

I’ve always wanted to be a happy person and now, more than ever, I want to be a happy traveler.

What about you?


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Social Media, Social Media, Tell me who is the Best!

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

Thanks to Facebook and other social media, we live in a world that feels like the grass is always greener on the other side. It seems like only MY grass has so many weeds, and is a more greenish yellow-brown than the deep green of my neighbor’s! Isn’t this true?

I remember that when I went to meetings and conventions before social media, other companies and competitors talked about how WONDERFUL their businesses were doing, but I knew from other sources that it wasn’t the truth. Let’s face it, people haven’t changed, only the method used to deliver the “news” has. Now information is more “in your face” and you are constantly bombarded with information every time you check your social media. There was a time when you only found out about people or companies when you met them in person.

Let’s talk a bit about clients who complain during their trips – just when you thought you were all done and ready to enjoy your commission and the benefit of a referral. Suddenly, you get an awful phone call, text message or email. If a problem is happening on your client’s trip, contact your supplier and tell your clients that you are doing so. Get back to the client as soon as you get an answer from the supplier. If a problem has ALREADY happened and they want to complain about it and demand a solution, ask them to send it in writing with all details. If it is pertinent to the supplier, forward the complaint and ask for an explanation and/or compensation for your client.

Remember, a client always behaves differently when he/she is excited planning for the vacation compared to when they are actually on the trip. Not every traveler is relaxed and easygoing. Some are more demanding, more uptight. Jet lag can have a bad effect on many people, and a change in medication can play an important role (taking it on time, changing it, or not taking it at all).

From a supplier’s perspective, I can tell you that some clients will complain even because of the weather (over which no one has any control) and demand compensation for that.

My advice is to listen to your client, deal with real problems as soon as they arise (and deal directly with the supplier) and if not, ask to have it put in writing in detail once they get back. Let them cool off and have the time and energy to put it all in writing.

Handling an upset client is similar to what you should do when you feel overwhelmed by so many postings about fantastic green grass on Facebook. Take a few deep breaths. Be gentle to your clients, and to yourself!

Travel is like life, only those who choose to see the beauty actually will!


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Be My Sweet Client (For Valentine’s Sake!)


Dear Travel Agents/ Advisors,

It seems that we all have clients who ask for everything cheaper: hotels, airfares, tour packages and everything else under the sun. Those of us who have been in this business for a long time and those who have just started all have these types of clients (or prospective ones) in common.

They tell us they saw an advertisement on the internet! They heard it from a friend. They even saw a deal on TV. They wonder what kind of professional we are if we cannot give them a deal! We each have our own ways of dealing with clients like these. Some of you charge for your time and to provide a quote – good for you!

There are full-time travel agents and some are part-time. Some agents work only with family and friends, and some AVOID working with family and friends (that’s me, LOL!)

Whenever a travel agent asks me how to handle clients who are seeking a cheaper price no matter where or when, my honest advice is to:

  • Take a deep breath (or 2 or 3)
  • Remind yourself why you are in this business
  • Know that because you have more knowledge than your client, YOU and ONLY YOU should take control
  • Ask the necessary questions: When do they want to travel (high or low season)? How many people? What are the components of the trip? (Hotel and transfers only are cheaper than an all-inclusive and all tours!) Most importantly, ask what they are willing to negotiate on to make it cheaper.
  • If a client raises their voice or interrupts while you are speaking, lower your voice as much as you can. It is hard to “argue” alone, especially with someone who keeps their voice low. Watch how much more flexible they become!

By questioning them (with a smile and lots of kindness), we make the client THINK they are in charge of their “fate” and their price. Some clients need to be educated a little, such as that high season is pricier than low season, and that including all tours would be pricier than if they did transfers only (and how this is not a good choice, especially when in a foreign country – no matter what language!) Even if you are 100% sure the client knows these things, remind them of all important points.

For any of you who use different tactics, I would love to hear about them and share them with other travel agents. After all, “Travel Agents Rock!”


Have Your Cake And Eat It Too Times 2

Have Your Cake And Eat It Too Times 2

Dear Travel Agents/ Advisors,

Or, we could rephrase that to say ”How to have a great time with your clients.” Throughout my career, I have been very lucky. I have traveled with many travel agents who became my dear friends, and I hope to continue doing so. I believe that some of the greatest gifts in life are travel and friends. What a joy to meet new people with one thing in common – travel.

I would never have met these wonderful people if I hadn’t organized tours for them. I met these newfound friends on FAM Trips and Tours for Women. They were travel agents and their companions from all over the USA and Canada. All of us were from different backgrounds, ages, with differing views of the world, but all sharing a love of travel and traveling together. This is the cherry on top for me, the part of my work that I look forward to the most!

To ensure a smooth and wonderful group tour, you need to make sure that you will be the Travel Leader. (Organizers of  a group become the Travel Leader.)

Important responsibilities of the leader include:

  • Deciding who will pair the roommates: you, or will you let the travelers interview one another? If you decide that you will be doing it, ask the important questions, such as o you snore? What do you expect from your roommate? Also, ask other questions pertinent to your specific trip.
  • Deciding if you will all travel together from one gateway, or meet at the destination.
  • Deciding how much “free” time and/or optional tours you will offer to your group.
  • Decide the number of people that will be included on your trip. Keep it small for your first group to make it more manageable.
  • Deciding if tips to drivers and tour guides are included, and if not, if you will collect from the group and present to each professional, or let each traveler give individually. (Please advise your travelers ahead of time to avoid surprises!)
  • Set ground rules before the trip, or as soon as you arrive to avoid future problems. (Problems will happen, and I could write a book about them!) Ask travelers to let you know that if they have a problem “today” to tell you “today,” and not “tomorrow.” It is hard to solve problems from “yesterday.”
  • Medication – People seem to believe that once they are on vacation, it means “I will not take my medication.”  This is a big mistake, and can jeopardize a great trip for everyone.
  • Respect: Personal views on politics, race and religion are very sensitive.  Decide how you want to handle them if they come up!
  • Make sure that you will be the only one communicating to the tour guide and tour organizer. This way, you avoid too many tour leaders and everyone knows who is who.


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