I was working as an accountant, while skiing, going to spas and traveling every minute I could get away. I kept trying to a travel agent, but found I knew far more than they did when it came to planning the kind of travel I liked to do. Finally, I decided to change careers and do what I loved so I became a travel agent.
Ironically, I became a travel agent because I loved to travel, but in the days when working remotely was not yet possible, working in travel actually meant I couldn’t get away as often as I used to. Happily, I discovered that planning travel was almost as much fun as traveling, and 30 years later, every day as a travel agent still feels like an adventure.
I started at Liberty Travel and later moved to Protravel International, where I can offer my luxury clientele lots of perks and benefits. At most hotels, my clients extra perks such as free breakfast, late check-out, and room upgrades, and often I can get room upgrades confirmed at the time of booking rather than waiting for usual “space-available” room assignments upon arrival. I also often leverage Protravel’s airline connections to arrange waivers and discounts.
Mostly, what keeps my clients loyal to me is my expertise and service. I often can figure out how to make the impossible happen. One time, my clients were flying home from a cruise in Antarctica. They’d made it to Santiago but a major blizzard had shut down all New York airports and many others in the region. Checking around though, I found that Philadelphia was still open, so I booked them to Philly and got them home.
One of my most important roles is often advising clients that what they think they want won’t really make them happy. You really don’t want to drive through Death Valley in the summer! And no, you shouldn’t try to cram ten places into three days! People often want to do too much in too little time. My clients are like family to me and I plan every trip as though I were sending my parents, my siblings or my grand kids. That means being very detail oriented and often, showing them the benefits of slowing down so they can discover the joy of true exploration.
One of the most unusual places I’ve ever been was Camp Jabulani. It’s located on a privately-owned game reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa, and it offers a very intimate safari experience.
Skilled rangers offer game rides in four-wheel-drive vehicles, river boats, hot air balloons and elephant rides and on ...Read more from my On Safari in South Africa story.