Stacy Small

LuxeGetaways - - Feature -

Q: For some­one who does not use a travel agent, how would you sug­gest they be­gin look­ing for a travel agent?

A: For starters, think about what your needs are, and what type of travel agent will be most help­ful. Also, ask your friends who travel a lot who they use! Choose some­one who’s not only knowl­edge­able about the des­ti­na­tion for your up­com­ing trip, but also some­one who is well versed in the style of travel you are en­vi­sion­ing. For ex­am­ple, choose some­one who knows a lot about lux­ury travel if that is your style…or has a back­ground in ad­ven­ture or fam­ily travel if your fu­ture trips will call for that. Also, ask for a phone con­sul­ta­tion so you can ask ques­tions and vice versa, to de­ter­mine if it’s a good match. The goal is for this to be a long-term re­la­tion­ship, sim­i­lar to one you might have with your fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor, so you want to find some­one you hit it off with from the start. Ask as many ques­tions as pos­si­ble and also be clear about the type of travel you are hop­ing to do in the fu­ture so the agent can give you an hon­est as­sess­ment if they think that they are the best match for you. If you pre­fer to work with an agent who re­lies heav­ily on email/text verses talk­ing on the phone or meet­ing in per­son, be sure to men­tion this. Some agents will make them­selves avail­able seven days/week when­ever needed, oth­ers keep strict hours… so be sure to also take that into con­sid­er­a­tion when mak­ing your choice. In­quire up front about fees so there are no sur­prises, and don’t be afraid to ask a po­ten­tial agent for client ref­er­ences!

Q: What unique travel ex­pe­ri­ence would you sug­gest for trav­el­ers look­ing for some­thing out of the or­di­nary this fall?

A: A unique travel ex­pe­ri­ence could be the com­bi­na­tion of a few days in Thai­land or In­dia with Bhutan, as it’s best to fly via Delhi or Bangkok. Speak­ing from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, I en­joyed spend­ing time in Thai­land (in Bangkok at The Siam ho­tel and pos­si­bly a few days at the beach in Koh Sa­mui or Phuket) be­fore head­ing to Bhutan for a to­tally unique ex­pe­ri­ence (there are a lim­ited num­ber of tourists al­lowed at any one time, and also a lim­ited num­ber of ho­tel rooms…the best op­tions in­clude the Aman and the Como prop­er­ties). Hik­ing to Ea­gle’s Nest, vis­it­ing the monas­ter­ies, meet­ing the lo­cals, tast­ing Bhutanese cui­sine and just re­lax­ing in a coun­try where ev­ery­one seems to smile is a once-in-a-lifetime ex­pe­ri­ence. An­other unique ex­pe­ri­ence would be a trip to South Africa—with it be­ing a com­bi­na­tion of sa­fari, winelands + city (Capetown) rather than just fo­cus­ing on the sa­fari as many tend to do. South Africa’s Stel­len­bosch is not to be missed (a stay at La Res­i­dence is a must) and a few days in Capetown is of­ten not enough… fly­ing through Lon­don and stay­ing a few nights at Coworth Park for a UK coun­try­side ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore jour­ney­ing home is also an ex­pe­ri­ence we’ve planned for clients who have re­ally en­joyed this type of itin­er­ary!

Q: What des­ti­na­tion/ex­pe­ri­ence would you sug­gest to the trav­eler want­ing some­thing truly unique while on a bud­get?

A: For a trav­eler want­ing some­thing on a bud­get, I would sug­gest look­ing at a cruise con­sid­er­ing they are (mostly) all-in­clu­sive in the pric­ing, and pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity to visit mul­ti­ple des­ti­na­tions that might be too costly to do a la carte. Celebrity Cruises of­fers won­der­ful itin­er­ar­ies in Alaska and Europe, as does Wind­star… and the pric­ing typ­i­cally works out to be less than when planned as an in­de­pen­dent itin­er­ary. I sug­gest choos­ing a port-heavy itin­er­ary (rather than too many days at sea) in order to get the most out of the ex­pe­ri­ence, and the bud­get.

Q: What des­ti­na­tion/ex­pe­ri­ence would you sug­gest for fam­ily travel?

A: It’s so hard to choose just one as we cre­ate itin­er­ar­ies for so many fam­i­lies based on the kids’ ages and in­ter­ests. Italy is al­ways a crowd pleaser… as there are mul­ti­ple cities to ex­plore, and we al­ways try to in­clude time on the Amalfi coast at a fam­ily friendly ho­tel on the water. Other des­ti­na­tions I find to be ex­tremely fun for fam­i­lies — due to the va­ri­ety of ex­pe­ri­ences we can set up — in­clude a combo Lon­don/Paris trip, Aus­tralia, Ice­land and more re­cently, Ja­pan.

Q: What des­ti­na­tion/ex­pe­ri­ence would you sug­gest for a ro­man­tic get­away?

A: I love to sug­gest the Hawai­ian Is­lands, as there is a mix of beau­ti­ful beach re­sorts, won­der­ful peo­ple/cul­ture, mul­ti­ple is­lands (each with their own per­son­al­ity) and easy flights be­tween them. Maui + the Big Is­land, or Maui + Lanai are the com­bos I rec­om­mend, and book most of­ten.

Photo by TAIT Pho­tog­ra­phy Bio:

A for­mer lux­ury travel mag­a­zine ed­i­tor and jet-set­ting jour­nal­ist, Stacy founded Elite Travel In­ter­na­tional in 2005 with the goal of chang­ing the land­scape of of­fer­ings for the new gen­er­a­tion of af­flu­ent lux­ury trav­el­ers. Ten years later, she is one of the go-to lux­ury travel ad­vi­sors for a mixed port­fo­lio of Sil­i­con Val­ley ex­ec­u­tives, celebrities and en­trepreneurs seek­ing a global-minded ap­proach and ef­fi­cient, fast, knowl­edge­able re­sponse time to any level of lux­ury travel re­quest. Along with her dy­namic team span­ning the globe from Lon­don to LA and Mex­ico to Maui, Stacy spe­cial­izes in tak­ing the has­sle out of high-level travel.

www.elite­trav­elin­ter­na­tional.com

Travel Tip:

It’s never a bad idea to buy travel in­sur­ance, as you never know what can hap­pen… and al­ways make sure your pass­port is up-to-date!

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