Greetings Fellow Travelers; Let’s begin this entry by talking about one of the best parts of any travel…..the planning!
Nothing can beat the fun and excitement of thinking about places in the world you would like to travel to and visit.
You may be attracted to a place because it has something you are interested in or maybe it is just so different that it becomes fascinating to you and you want to go there!
One of the first resources you have today is the web where you can Google all sorts of information about your target destinations. The next place you can gather data is by talking to friends or others who may have been there as well. One other option is to approach a tour operator or a professional travel agent to help you sort out all the options and opportunities for your trip.
There are many on line travel sources and sites that focus on delivering the most inexpensive option for air and hotels. We have seen some of these services work out well and we have also seen more than a few upset people at airline gates and in hotel lobbies clutching an email printout that now had little negotiating power as their expectations were not met and disruptions in travel moved them to the bottom of the priority list.
Since this blog is on the site of Signature Travel you may be expecting a blanket endorsement of the travel agency industry; however that is not the case; we are also familiar with the impersonal, commission driven, production line approach that many travel agencies may take in booking and managing your travel. Signature takes a very different style, they are more of a concierge for you and as part of their business is managing the travel profiles and requirements of senior corporate executives; they are committed to providing world class service to a CEO going from London to Tokyo or to you, who maybe taking your first trip across an ocean.
The key to planning any trip is to first determine what are YOU interested in? Where do YOU want to go? What is there about that location or destination that’s makes YOU want to go there? What do YOU want to see and do? Yes, it is all about YOU because it is your trip, your money and your dreams that are being pursued. Start making a list of those criteria and research those places on the web, in books or from brochures at the Signature website or agency. Aurora and I like to look at maps and books so we have file drawers full of research material like Michelin books, brochures and maps of many places we have been to and those we hope to visit one day. Focus on what you want to experience and see during your travels.
You also need to develop an outline itinerary, How many days do you have for the trip? Will you want to stay the whole time in Rome or will you want to visit Florence and some of the Hill towns or Tuscany? This is important because it will determine transportation planning, different accommodations arrangements and other considerations.
You will also need to balance when you can go with when the best time to visit your chosen destination is, for example the weather or season (in the case of flowers and gardens) may play a key role in when you should travel to a particular place. Is either summer or winter an impact to your travel goals? Maybe certain attractions or locations are closed on a seasonal basis and sometimes the off seasons may be less expensive or have more interest for you if you want avoid crowds. Are you traveling alone or with others? How will this make a difference in the planning?
At this point you should also start thinking about your budget for the trip, yes, we all have a budget! Don’t look at your budget as a limitation but as the enabler of your trip; you just have to set priorities and make tradeoffs in your planning of the HOW!
We will talk about the HOW TO GET THERE in another entry.
See you at the Airport!
Aurora and Robert