As an ex-travel agent, I’m forever receiving requests from friends and family to help plan their trip. Mostly it’s finding the best options for flights and sending them the booking links, which got me thinking…
I first mentioned helping travellers plan their trip on a recent podcast episode but I finally have something structured in place after creating an Australian travel itinerary for a freelance client.
So if you would like help organising your dream travel itinerary; from finding the best deal on flights to having a day-by-day itinerary planned (including how to get there) along with booking links for flights, hotels and attractions, I now offer an itinerary planning service.
Simply provide your interests, budget and any special requirements and I’ll send you a detailed travel itinerary with all the booking links so you can have control over your booking and costs, but the hard part is done, finding everything.
As an ex travel agent, knowing where to find something is a large part of the job and whilst booking travel online is relatively straight forward, there’s a lot of websites that have sneaky tactics like exorbitant fees, zero refund policy or who operate outside of common jurisdictions like Australia, USA or the UK.
All links provided are (where possible) through sites I’ve personally used such as Agoda or I have investigated first to make sure they’re not dodgy. Cheap is not alway cheap when it comes to travel. Check out my article about online travel scams or the podcast episode for more on this.
Having previously been an:
- issuer of airline tickets
- teacher of IATA airfares and ticketing
- teacher of travel and tourism
- travel agent
- cruise ship employee
- tour guide
- Online marketing for tourism businesses
- traveller to almost 60 countries
My areas of expertise are Western Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and the Pacific. Though that doesn’t mean I haven’t already planned trips around South America and Africa for clients or friends. All my travel has been independent.
A quick browse though my blogs or podcast (you can search for the country you’re interested in to see what information I’ve already put together) will give you peace of mind knowing I live and breath travel.
So why am I not a travel agent?
Good question. 90% of being a travel agent was itinerary planning; searching for flights and finding the best deals for clients, however a travel agent only makes money when a booking is made and paid for.
As companies like Flight Centre pushed to take over small independent travel agents and price them out of the market, they effectively made it unprofitable to be a travel agent because no matter what price I quoted to a client, they would always go lower because they were a huge company and could afford it.
The individual agent who made the booking, would receive a cash bonus for ‘stealing’ a booking from another travel agency, even if that meant selling an airline ticket below cost (so Flight Centre would actually lose money on the deal) but then they’d attempt to recoup their costs through pressuring you to buy overpriced travel insurance and other add-ons.
As smaller independent agencies got pushed out of the market, knowledge went with it. Most travel agents these days are sales people trained to sell. That is all. They don’t know, don’t earn enough to care and don’t have the inclination to help you have a life-changing experience.
Also travel agents are affiliated with certain companies. They will sell and recommend companies they make the most money from.
As I’m not processing the booking (merely providing the links for you to do so), I’m therefore not a travel agent (even though I hold the qualifications), I’m more interested in ensuring you find the right products for your trip. Yes I do have a number of affiliations within the travel industry, which do provide a small commission for any bookings made, however this doesn’t cost you any extra, they simply provide a small commission if your booking came via my website or links I provide. These are not extensive and realistically the commission provided is not much, and basically just helps keep this website running.
Mostly I created travel affiliate accounts as I was already providing booking links in my podcast and blog so I figured if I can make something out of something I’m already doing, to help pay bills then why not? Besides a writer needs coffee.
However, by offering an itinerary planning service, my time and knowledge is covered therefore any options I provide are in your best interest.
If you want to know what you can expect, here’s a free sample itinerary for Sydney or you can buy a full 15 day pre-planned itinerary covering the best of Sydney, Cairns (including the Great Barrier Reef) and the Blue Mountains. It features close encounters with wildlife including koalas and kangaroos, bush walks, bike rides, snorkelling, markets, museums and shopping. It’s basically the best of Australia in 15 days.
For more information about itinerary planning fees, check out the terms and conditions or fill out your details below to request your trip plan now, or if you have any further questions, please contact me.
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