Traveling—getting to explore new cultures with family and friends and making the most of your precious time off—is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Traveling well is an art form that one learns over decades of less-than-ideal travel experiences: delayed flights, underwhelming hotels, and excursions thwarted by bad weather. What if there was a better way to travel well, one that didn’t take decades to learn? What if every trip could be seamless from start to finish?
That’s where the value of a travel advisor comes into play. Travel advisors offer expertise honed over years in the tourism business. When you trust your travel with a travel advisor, they ensure that your trip is enhanced from start to finish. They’ll steer you to the right destination at the right time of year, ensure you don’t have to think about transportation logistics, secure reservations, and make certain you’re treated like royalty at your accommodations. The value of a travel advisor is something we’ve witnessed countless times over the years, through our two decades of business and experience as a Virtuoso Preferred Supplier.
There are countless trusted and valuable travel agencies for travelers to choose from, but we’ve consulted with some top Tradewind experts to share just how valuable a travel advisor can be.
Someone to Count On
Advisors recognize the importance of connections, both with their clients and the partnerships they develop at the destinations they book. “A travel advisor is a real-life human relationship—someone who will be in your corner to create memories and experiences rather than just provide a transactional relationship,” explains Josh Alexander, a luxury travel advisor with Protravel International. “We recognize that our clients work hard and value their free time, so we often get clients extra perks, amenities, and upgrades to enhance their experience, and when the unexpected happens we are there to navigate them through any tough situations.”
Travel advisors have access to insider information, industry connections, and expertise that can help you plan a trip that exceeds your expectations. In case of unexpected changes to your travel plans, a travel advisor can act as a resourceful and supportive ally, helping you navigate unforeseen circumstances and provide alternate solutions.
Traveling with Sustainability in Mind
A travel advisor will guide you and your travel party throughout your worldwide journeys with ease while ensuring you also travel responsibly. With over 20 years of experience, Joshua Bush, CEO of Avenue Two Travel, understands how important it is to treat each new destination with the respect it deserves. “[We’ve focused] more recently on how sustainability plays a part in travel, as well as safeguarding our planet for future generations,” he says. “It’s critical now more than ever for people to work with an advisor, as the travel landscape is constantly evolving and becoming more complex. We prioritize client service and help them become better global citizens through travel.”
The Gift That Keeps Giving
President and CEO of Huffman Travel, Shawna Huffman Owen has spent more than 16 years developing deep relationships with clients. She grew up in a family that considered travel an important form of education, instilling a love of adventure from an early age. She’s carried this passion into Huffman Travel, viewing her advisors as “travel consultants that share our passion for exploring with our clients, creating magical experiences wherever they go.”
Sometimes these experiences come from unexpected places. This past year, Huffman Travel gifted their clients Apple AirTags™ for Christmas—and it quickly became apparent that it was a wise decision.
“A week later, one of our clients flew to Santiago to board a cruise with her family to Antarctica,” Huffman Owen says. “The commercial airline lost her luggage with all her crucial outerwear inside. The AirTag™ helped us identify the location of the bag before the airline did and we were able to have them reroute the bag to arrive hours before her cruise departure. She called us in tears, saying it was the best gift she’s ever received!”
It’s this type of proactive thinking that makes a travel advisor invaluable. “Using an advisor for travel is no different than the decision you make when you hire a professional to help manage your money or decorate your house,” Huffman Owen explains. “Why would you trust your most precious asset, your free time, to chance when you can enlist a professional?”
A Plane for the Pup
Kristen Korey Pike of KK Travels Worldwide loved planning trips for friends and family before making travel her career, but it was her international destination wedding that inspired her to pursue travel advising full-time.
“It was very rewarding for me to facilitate travel plans and logistics for fifty Americans [and allow] them to experience a new culture to celebrate my wedding,” she says. “I decided to turn my passion into a career and quickly noticed that there was a lack of clarity in the world of travel planning. Who is writing that online review? Why am I trusting someone I don’t even know with how to spend my free time and money? There are no “do-overs” when it comes to your leisure time, so it’s imperative to get it right from the beginning.”
She launched KK Travels Worldwide shortly after with the goal to make travel planning enjoyable, and quickly learned the importance of strong partner relationships. “We need to expect the unexpected when it comes to travel, and thanks to our key partners on the ground (and in the air!) travel advisors have the ability to solve the seemingly unsolvable in real time, removing stress for the traveling clients,” she explains. KK Travels once had a client arrive at the airport for their destination wedding with their dog (who had not been accounted for ahead of time) and far more weight than anticipated. “Thanks to Tradewind, we were able to quickly secure a secondary charter and ensure their precious pup would be allowed onto the island without any complications. Travel advisors can provide their clients with their network of reliable partners who can step in to assist when needed, like Tradewind, who has a reputation for incredible attention to detail and unparalleled customer service.”
Motorbikes to the Maldives
Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of EMBARK Beyond, has an endless list of colorful stories that enthrall you from start to finish. Throughout his 23 years in the travel industry, he’s flown hors d’oeuvres from New York to St. Tropez, coordinated a helicopter to urgently provide a forgotten passport, and ensured a client had her preferred Elchim hair dryer at each of the six destinations of her honeymoon, which included stops in Sri Lanka, Laos, and Kenya.
However, his most compelling anecdote seems straight out of a movie. “We had a honeymooning couple stuck in traffic in Paris en route to the Maldives,” Ezon says. “If they missed their flight, they would not be able to fly for another two days. We sprang into action and hired four motorbikes that immediately met them on the highway and weaved through traffic to get them to the airport, where we had a VIP expediter waiting to whizz them through the airport and onto the plane.”
For Ezon, it’s all in a day’s work. “A relationship with a good travel advisor gives you access to sold-out space, first grab at available upgrades, negotiated perks and rates, and, most importantly, when a flight is canceled or other unforeseen things go wrong, [we’re] there to jump in and get you out of it!”
Embark’s mission with each and every client is to learn their personal preferences, and then knowledgeably pair them with the right experience, guide, restaurant, club, or hotel. “Ultimately, when you have an expert curate the perfect experience, you are able to find new passions while connecting deeper with the people you love, which is what travel is all about.”