When You Need a Travel Agent
There are several reasons to consider working with a travel agent:
- You want to visit a place where you've never been
- You appreciate inside knowledge of a destination
- You don't have time to deal with all the planning that goes into a trip
- You want to visit multiple destinations and aren't sure how much time to spend in each one
- You want to spend time pursuing a particular sport or passion, but don't know how to organize a visit that revolves around it
- You appreciate the advantages that a well-connected insider can provide.
There are several options when you need a travel agent:
- Find one in your neighborhood, and make an appointment to discuss your dream trip
- Check the travel ads in your Sunday newspaper
- Contact an online travel agent (did you know that you could speak to a live person at Expedia and Travelocity by calling their 800 number?)
Work with an Expert
Zicasso is a free travel service that connects travelers with the industry's top travel specialists, individuals who are road-tested experts in specific destinations and activities. Here's how it works:
- Go to the site to begin a trip request
- Input your desired destination and dates
- Note how many people will be on the trip
- Choose whether you want a custom trip, group escorted tour, or luxury cruise
- Check off what you need, i.e. hotel accommodations (3-to-5 star), activities, tour guides, international flights, other transportation (such as a private car or airport pickup)
- Specify the per-person budget
- Identify your special interests
- Register for free (no credit card required)
Q&A with a Zicasso Expert
I recently spoke with Buenos Aires-based travel agent Alejandro Varrente of Breaking Trails, who has planned many trips for Zicasso clients. His company specializes in travel to South America.
Q: Can you tell me about your business?
Breaking Trails specializes in highly personalized journeys for discerning travelers who expect the highest level of service and attention to detail. Trips through South America are tailored to their interests, schedule and preferences in order to provide true insider access to meaningful local experiences. Depending on a client's interest, we can focus on nature, wildlife, art and culture, or another theme.
Q: I understand that you're a Virtuoso travel agent. What does that mean to clients?
A: We typically are able to get room upgrades at luxury properties, along with better amenities and treatment for clients.
Q: If a couple were thinking of honeymooning in Argentina, how could you help them?
A: The first thing we do is to have a phone conversation so I can learn about their travel preferences and the type of travelers they are, active or relaxed. From that I make a proposal that includes accommodations, ground services, special activities in the area. See a sample.
A: We have a very close relationship with providers that enables us to get more for our clients. Since we're in in South America, we stay updated about what’s going on here. I just came back from Chile. In different countries we know which restaurants are open, what hotels are truly good, what’s best to do in each place.
Q: Do you plan many honeymoons?
A: Yes. For couples who want to mix relaxation with fun activities, we can set up private wine tastings and tango lessons with a top instructor in Buenos Aires. I'd recommend they follow that with dinner at a great restaurant and a tango show where the locals, not the tourists, go.
We also arrange tours of the city for couples who have a particular interest. We have an architectural tour and a sociological tour that gives visitors a sense of immigration patterns and their influence on the Argentine culture. Some couples enjoy a Jewish tour of Buenos Aires; Argentina is the country with the largest Jewish population outside of Israel and the United States.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to add?
A: We are a custom company; no two of our trips are alike. We listen to what our clients want, and what we plan is very detail-oriented and personalized. For clients on a multi-destination trip, we contact them when they go from one point to another to make sure everything is as planned. We also try to stay a few steps ahead of them, to set up special amenities before they reach the next place we've arranged for them to visit.