The truth in all things is extremely important!
We need the truth, about ages, number of travelers, people in room, all of it. We can't create accurate quotes and help you plan accordingly without the WHOLE, TRUE picture. If you plan to lie about one or any of these, We're not your agent, and we're not sorry to say it.
Lying about these items can impact your booking once you are on property and create huge headaches for everyone - they can even get you kicked out of places. Personally, we like to offer our assistance if we're able if clients need help after arrival. If something unanticipated has popped up, you can call and ask for advice and we're usually happy to assist. If you've lied though...we likely won't be able to offer much, if any, help.
Regardless of your vacation destination, we really need to know what you think the perfect list of activities is for you and your traveling party. Since our job is to make as many of these things happen, within reason, we can't plan for that (or help you manage expectations) if we don't know what's on your list. Along with this, we need to know about your vacation style.
What's your vacation style? Are you looking for a party, or do you want a luxury spa experience?
Maybe you are a rugged camping family who love going off on your own adventures, or maybe you enjoy guided tours given by local experts?
We need to know your vacation personality before we can make suggestions or begin quoting any trip.
Then there are the quotes themselves.
Really, we need to know your approximate budget.
Honestly, what do you want to spend? This doesn't have to be an exact number, but a general range is extremely helpful!
Asking for a blind quote doesn't help us quote within your expectations. For example, a one week Disney vacation can be $1500 or $50,000 depending on several factors like number and ages of travelers, time of year and what your expectations are for the trip.
Telling us your cousin's neighbor got their trip for $XXX doesn't help in the slightest. We don't know them, their ages or their trip plan, and honestly, you may not either.
(Pro tip - Disney tickets are expensive. You're not getting tickets for 6 people for a week for less than $2000 - not without some serious voodoo or something - but hey, if you've got a direct line to the Shadow Man we don't need to know about it just book your room and dining with us and we'll call an ALL GOOD HERE).
Seriously though, if you can't spend more than a certain dollar amount, we need to know that amount. Leave it to us, and we will do our absolute best to provide options that meet (and hopefully exceed) your expectations within your budget.
We can't operate blind. Our idea of cheap, and your idea of cheap, and another person's is frequently completely different.
We can assure you, we're not here to price gouge you. Travel agents rely on repeat business and word of mouth referrals for a lot of our business. It is in our best interest to help you plan the best trip within your price expectations. We want you to trust us to do so far into the future, not just this one trip.
What are your expectations for the trip?
Don't expect a "Champagne Wishes" vacation on a youth hostel budget.
Yes, great deals are out there, and sometimes people get fantastically amazing deals.
We genuinely want you to have the best vacation you can, but we also want you to understand that everything comes at a price. It is our job to know the destination, what's included, and what is going to cost you extra. Where can you stretch your dollars, and where do you just have to spend them to get what you want? Booking with us has it's perks though! We have access to amazing suppliers and can often get upgrades and other amenities not available to the general public.
Managing expectations is hard. We hate delivering sticker shock news, it's one of the worst parts of the job. So, getting the hard conversations out of the way early is the best course of action.
Aside from money, what else could you possibly need to know?
Any physical limitations? Remember, we can't see your cast, or wheelchair, or service animal through the phone or computer. We're happy to help you plan around any physical (or mental) limitations, but you have to tell us. Please don't assume these accommodations are ready at a moments notice. However, with advance notice most destinations can ensure an excellent vacation experience for anyone.
Food allergies are especially important if we're helping to plan your dining arrangements. Again, with advance notice, we can usually plan a seamless experience for your traveling party, but we need to know the details.
Do you have fears that may impact your vacation? We need to know them.
For Example: If you're going to Disney or Universal and you or your child are afraid of the dark, there's a long list of attractions on your warning list. If you're terrified of birds, or snakes, or boats these are things we need to know.
We can advise you what things to plan to do or avoid so you're not faced with disappointment (or terror) during your stay. As your advisor, we want to recommend not just lodging, but tours and experiences to make your trip the best it can be. We cannot do that with limited information.
Did you decide not to book with us?
Please don't just leave without asking questions or telling me why you can't/won't/aren't booking!
Most of the time the last two are something we can work together to fix! Personally, we have pretty thick skin, if you aren't booking with us we'd like to know why. Not only can we use this information to continue to help you, it will also help us better serve future clients.
Did you find a "better" deal somewhere else?
Let us see the deal, many times we can match it. If not, we'll send you off with our best wishes.
Most of the time though, the "better deal" is missing some key items that were included in our quote and we can walk you through those differences.
Most of all, that deal is missing our services!
We're likely never going to "beat" vacations bought at Costco or Sam's Club. If you buy your discount package from a box store, you're going to get a one size fits all package with zero help planning anything from the moment you hit the "book now" button. You'll get no tips and tricks, no dining or tour assistance, and all the further planing is up to you.
That's the value we agents bring.
We know where the trouble spots are, and we can help prevent most of them and likely help you if something unforeseen happens too.
Please, don't ghost your agent, we've spent time creating quotes and suggestions for you. We've invested in making sure you've got excellent options for your trip. Give us the professional courtesy of a no thank you and a reason. At a minimum, we can take you off our "follow-up" list and you don't have to worry about us contacting you wondering if you fell off a cliff, or got lost in a rain forest or something.
We hope this list has been helpful, or at least entertaining, and look forward to working with you on your future adventures.