With the rise of the internet, and the information overload that came with it, Travel Advisors have become a trusted professional resource, similar to a Financial Advisor, Accountant or Attorney. We get to know our clients’ personalities, preferences, travel history, special needs, bucket lists and budget parameters, and we work hand-in-hand with those clients to make the very best use of their available vacation time.
You’ll be pleased to know that we don’t charge planning fees. We earn commissions that are already built into the prices charged by hotels, resorts, tour companies, cruise lines, etc. So your trip should not cost any more than it would if you planned it all yourself.
That being said, we do generally ask for a retainer ($100 – $200) before we start planning your customized itinerary. The retainer gets applied to the cost of the trip once you book, so it’s not an additional fee. But in the event that you decide not to book the trip with us we hold onto that retainer as partial payment for the time we’ve already spent on your plans.
It all starts with a complimentary phone (or Zoom) consultation, where we’ll get to know you a little bit better and ask lots of questions about the adventure you have in mind. This is also your chance to get to know us and decide whether you’d like our help with your plans. If it seems like a good fit for everyone, we’ll discuss the retainer and the timeline for pulling together a proposal, and the whole process will be quite easy and collaborative. It can all be done through phone/email, though we’re always open to in-person meetings if that’s more convenient for you.
That’s fine with us! But even the most dedicated DIYer can benefit from having a professional look over their plans. We’re happy to provide our suggestions/advice, and you might be surprised with all the ways we can fine-tune a trip to make it even better! We can do this on an hourly fee basis, or you can just agree in advance that we’ll make the bookings for you, and we’ll earn the commissions.
That works for us! We like to use points/miles too. This is something we should discuss right at that first consultation, so that we can figure out where it makes the most sense for you to use your points (almost always it’s for the flights; and you’ll have to book anything that’s using points or miles on your own) and where it makes the most sense for us to handle the planning (usually it’s the land arrangements like hotels, activities, and experiences, where our experience and connections really come into play.)
Of course! Most couples these days already have all the housewares they need, and a honeymoon registry is a fantastic way for guests to contribute to something much more memorable. We’ll plan the honeymoon together, and then we can point you towards several online services that will host the registry for you. They all charge a small service fee (similar to the tax/shipping you’d pay on a Crate and Barrel registry), and what you’ll receive in the end is all the money contributed by your guests.
We normally connect clients with the concierge at their hotel(s) to help with this, since they have the intimate local knowledge of the destination, but if you prefer that Shared Adventures handles these arrangements, we can do that for a $25/hr concierge fee.
Our advisors all have their own specialties, and we handle all sorts of vacations. Our “sweet spot”, where our personal experience and global connections are used to their best advantage, is complicated international travel. While we don’t handle business travel or meetings/incentive trips, we can help you with almost any other kind of adventure. That includes multi-country trips, multi-generational vacations, and bucket list travel like honeymoons, milestone birthdays and anniversaries.
We sincerely hope that you will! There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all vacation, and everything we do is customized. We do our best to tailor our proposal to your personality and wish list, but we love it when clients suggest ways to make an itinerary even more personalized.
No, you won’t. Most of our wholesaler partners don’t even share that information with us, because they have proprietary contracts with local hotels, tour companies, drivers, etc. The way that we look at it, you’re not buying a spreadsheet of individual items anyway. You’re investing in a complete experience, from start to finish, and if the entire customized itinerary excites you, and the overall price feels fair, you’ll be happy.
Life happens, and occasionally it gets in the way of our travels. Before you book anything with us, you’ll be informed about all the relevant change/cancellation penalties that would be imposed by the suppliers, and you’ll be aware of the $100 per person cancellation fee imposed by the agency. We always encourage travel insurance to protect your otherwise non-refundable investment. And we will, of course, handle any cancellations that need to be done and will pursue any refunds that are due.
They are our secret weapons! As a boutique agency with just a handful of Travel Advisors, Shared Adventures has a relatively small footprint in the industry. But we have allied with a much larger “host agency” (Travel Planners International, with more than 4,000 Travel Advisors in total) to give us more clout with suppliers around the world. Through Travel Planners, we are also members of the Signature Travel Network, a consortium of luxury agencies and supplier partners. This partnership allows us to provide our clients with some unique experiences, exclusive privileges, and complimentary perks.
You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!
– Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)
The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!
– Carli (Italy and Spain)