My Travel Advice for Right Now

Expert Tips

October 22, 2020

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i'm cassandra marcella

I have always loved travel. Travel wakes us up. Travel teaches us. And travel opens us to new ways of living and being.

I’ll be honest – I had a whole other post ready to go for this week with enticing holiday destination ideas for you to travel to with your quarantined companions. But I scrapped it because it felt out of integrity. Unless travel is absolutely essential, the risks still outweigh the rewards. 

Yes, people are traveling. Yes, private villas and rentals are available. Yes, destinations are reducing capacity and enforcing social distancing. Yes, Americans can travel to Mexico and to certain Caribbean islands with negative test results. Yes, yes, yes, yes people are craving an escape more intensely than ever.

But with Governor of New York discouraging out-of-state travel (even to nearby states) and with infection rates continuing to rise in the Unites States – with 2 record days for new infections just this past week, travel for pleasure is still not a good idea. Travel is how the virus spreads. And we spread it unknowingly. 

Even Europe, which did a lot of things better than we, is seeing rising cases again. Ireland, Scotland, northern England, France, Italy and Spain – all have had to put restrictions back in place. And the CDC still maintains there’s no such thing as safe travel.

Then I read this from The Atlantic, Is There a Safe Way to Be Home for the Holidays?

This year, the holiday season is laced with danger. Individually, Americans have been tempted over and over during the pandemic to violate public-health experts’ recommendations, whether by the celebration of a family milestone or just a drink at a bar. But the holiday season represents a different, more collective sort of temptation that’s likely stronger than any of the ones that came before it.

On Friday, NPR did a segment, We Answer Your Questions About How To Celebrate The Holidays Safely, that among other things suggested we get use to eating outside in the cold if we want to eat with others. 

I know. All very disheartening stuff.

We have to face reality as it is, and not gloss over it with toxic positivity. Or else we will never get back to traveling and enjoying the freedom to explore the world. Oh, how we took it for granted!  

So my honest advice is stay home. Do not travel. Not yet.

Still, there are ways to craft a sense of holiday, of escape and of relief at home. We can’t physically travel, but we can get creative. And I’m here to guide you on how to satisfy that wanderlust, for now, from home.

This past week, I also attended the terrific Gifted Travel Conference, created by my award-winning travel host agency. It was so much fun. I tuned into sessions on all the backend aspects of running a travel business and continued to cement relationships with very exciting travel partners.

Several that really impressed me were Atlas Ocean Voyages, a new luxury expedition line with smaller boats (“Small Ships Mega Journeys”); Remote Lands which creates extraordinary trips to Asia; Kensington Tours which crafts custom private tours throughout the world; and of course my perennial favorite Belmond with their portfolio of iconic and historic resorts.

During the conference I also got updates about the various and very flexible policies of my partners – in order to keep you healthy and to safeguard your investment so that you can book a trip for 2021 and 2022 with confidence, as well. 

am designing holidays for Summer 2021 and beyond—with maximum flexibility, of course. And if you wish satisfy that wanderlust safely, right now from home, I also gleaned some terrific and creative ideas this past from my many esteemed and generous colleagues too. Stay tuned!  

So with travel for the immediate future on hold and my training this past week intensified, I thought I’d take a moment to explain what a travel advisor does and what travel design actually is.

The most surprising thing I’ve learned about travel over the last 18 months of immersion is how much of the industry is hidden and not even available to the consumer.

What folks and the general public have access to book is truly only the tip of what is possible and available…and not just when it comes to savings. As an advisor, I have access to unique travel experiences not available to the traveler just using the internet to plan – whether special tours or the ability to see sites apart from other tourists. (And I save you money.)

When people ask how I can compete with online booking sights, I simply smile and say “I don’t.”

Then after the pause, I add, “I provide a tailored experience for my clients complete with support before, during, and after travel, that they just can’t get online.”

The usual response is “I didn’t realize that was possible. Can I have your card?”

I’m not a booking agent. I’m a specialist. Now, my expertise and knowledge is more valuable than ever.

As this Washington Post article, Why you may want to consider a travel agent during the pandemic correctly noted, “While we’ve been stuck at home, travel agents have been studying what’s happening in the industry.” That’s exactly what I spend my days doing, so that I am fully up to speed. And I’m also forging relationships that I can leverage on your behalf when the world heals and reopens.

As your advisor, I get to know you really well, assemble optimal options for your consideration from my partners, and offer you pros and cons. And then you decide. I advise on travel.

My goal is not just for to experience an adventure delights you, transforms you deeply, and awes you, but also to earn your trust so that you turn to me to assist you for all your holidays.

You just never know with online booking sites what’s going to happen. Airlines and suppliers can go bankrupt leaving travelers stranded – money gone and with booking reference numbers that didn’t work. See Collapse of Australia’s Fly365 Shakes Confidence in Online Booking. There’s just going to be more of that as we navigate the pandemic.

Here are some other unique benefits to hiring Premier Wellness Travel to help you plan your travel ::

1 | luxury access

Savor and revel in extraordinary amenities at the top resorts, hotels, cruise lines around the world. Be treated like a star with plenty of extras such as complementary room upgrades, free breakfasts, spa credits, beverage credits and more. I also procure entry to exclusive after-hour tours, private access to sites, and unique experiences for my clients through my affiliation with the worldwide luxury travel network Virtuoso, as a Member of Gifted Travel Network.

2 | deep experiences

Half the pleasure of a trip is the anticipation, so to lift up that lull between booking and traveling, our clients receive curated multimedia content from experts and educators focused on the unique aspects of your destinations or of your wellness goals. These insights — into a local culinary treat, an artistic treasure, or even a bit of colorful history — will transform the way you encounter a place, or enable you to begin to consider your lifestyle aims and habits. We also offer the travel industry’s best interactive electronic cultural guides, easily available on any electronic device for you to access on the go.

3 | responsive support

Travel is only stressful if you do not have the proper help. Bask in a calm, seamless holiday with white-glove service. If you encounter the unexpected while you’re away, I am only a call, text, or email away. My clients are never treated like cattle or bothersome guests. Irritating phone support systems or long lines of disgruntled travelers are not good for your wellbeing, so I’ve got you. I also love to surprise my customers to enhance their joy and pleasure.

4 | exclusive itineraries

Your priorities, values, and desires are the foundations of a journey that supports your wellness. Nothing feels better. By tailoring the itinerary to your style, pace, and interests, we will ensure that your investment will make your heart sing. Whatever is on your list, I’ll be your partner to ensure you realize your travel dreams and reap all the benefits of my industry access. Be enchanted by knowledgeable and entertaining tour escorts. And create memories you will treasure the rest of your life.

5 | powerful expertise

Computer searches and algorithms are not providing the right answer for you specifically… they’re just giving you the most popular choice. As your advocate, I cut through the clutter of paid commenters and advertorials. You do not have the time to scroll through endless and contradictory hotel reviews. Every travel site offers tantalizing deals and alluring photos—but what is real? What don’t you know about construction, weather, visas, safety? I harness my knowledge, background and personal relationships to make sure you experience only the best.

6 | peace of mind 

The shrewd traveler appreciates value, competence, and efficiency. So do I. Relax and let me handle all the details for you. I will also fight for you if we need to rearrange, reschedule, or rebook anything. And fight for your refund. Have confidence that among all the travel opportunities and options, you will gain outstanding guidance. Know the confidence that your hard-earned dollars will get the best value possible and feel the freedom of being in capable hands.

And finally here’s a pre-pandemic report from the New York Times – Are Travel Agents Back?

Agents today also know they must set themselves apart from the Web by offering special experiences that consumers can’t easily get on their own, like after-hours tours of the Sistine Chapel, tee times on P.G.A. golf courses normally closed to the public or the ability to pull some strings to get clients into that sold-out hotel or on the next flight out when bad weather strikes.

Such services often come with fees that range widely from $25 to book an airline ticket to $12,000 annual retainers. But even for budget travelers, the overall experience can offer better value, as my colleague Seth Kugel found in a recent test of agents versus online search engines. Agents won “nearly every time,” he wrote, “on both price (the objective part of the test) and service (what you might call the essay question). In other words, the agents suggested alternate routes, gave advice on visas and just generally acted, well, more human than their computer counterparts.

I have personally been able to match or better prices from online booking portals at luxury hotels. I also secure additional amenities such as free breakfast or a welcome basket. One client enjoyed a complementary bottle of his favorite bourbon when he escaped to Miami over Labor Day weekend. (If you really want to travel, I’m still here to help.)

Peace of mind while you’re traveling is priceless. And I’ll always be straight with you with my informed advice and share freely my broad knowledge.

There’s nothing like the personal touch of the expert travel advisor. And right now, I want you to stay safe and healthy through the holiday season of 2020, so I can design fabulous and fantastic adventures for you in 2021, 2022, and 2023 and 2024 and 2025 and beyond.

Meanwhile, connect with me on LinkedIn or Instagram where I’m keeping the kindling going to inspire you and keep our spirits up!

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