Chris Alderson, Travel Consultant @ Advantage Travel
I have been in the travel industry for 23 years and my personal experiences have spanned 6 continents. I am hoping to book a trip to Asia next spring to complete my quest. If I listed all of the countries and islands that I have been to, it would resemble a geography lesson rather than the enrichment lessons experienced by traveling.
Certain destinations can be easily researched and booked once I understand what type of vacation my clients desire. There are other trips that need more knowledge and the client needs to trust the advice of a travel consultant. I personally loved my cruise to Antarctica, but this is a unique voyage that really needs in depth discussions with my clientèle. I had good friends inquire about cruise options to the "end of the earth" and I explained that the husband would probably thoroughly enjoy it, but the wife would not do well. Antarctica is an exploration and Drake's Passage is not for the faint of heart. The winds and seas can be unmerciful and the passengers can be frightfully ill or just plain frightened. We were quite lucky even though we had gale force winds, we only had 30' seas on the journey down.
Many Americans dream of going to Australia but hesitate to book the trip because of the long flights involved from the east coast. Also, it is daunting trying to decide how much of Australia one can see in the allotted amount of vacation. If the flight is a concern, you always have the option of flying to the west coast a day prior to your departure. This will enable you to rest before the 14 hour journey. When choosing your options for touring, try to focus on a few of your "must see' areas and know that you can always return. When I went, I did spend a night in Los Angeles before I flew to Brisbane. My trip was also centered mainly on New South Wales and the gold coast.
One of my personal favorites is Africa and I am fortunate to have been to Kenya twice on safari. Once again, this is not a destination for everyone and there are minimum age requirements for children. I could be perfectly happy viewing animals 24/7, but others need a variety of options during their trip. I will be jetting off to South Africa soon and will have a chance to spend time in the world's best zoo (Kruger National Park) and also visit Cape Town and the Winelands.
My experiences are so diverse that I can sum them up by saying "I have stayed in 5 stars (hotels) and I have slept under the stars." I truly believe that education and travel are the best investments anyone can make. With all the changes in today's travel industry, it is a great advantage to have an experienced travel professional to guide you and advise you if the need arises.
As long as there is a there, I want to go!
Donna Boyt, Sales and Marketing Associate @ Advantage Travel
I have been in sales for over 25 years. Several of those have been in various aspects of the hospitality industry. My first introduction in travel sales was with a large multi-office agency securing corporate travel. I personally planned and escorted 38 executive assistants of local CEO's on a "thank you" trip to Bermuda. I then made a move to Colorado for several years where I was the senior sales manager at the Colorado Convention Center.
Now that I am back in the seacoast, Advantage Travel allows me to work with great people in an industry I enjoy.