Take it easy...
Recently a friend asked me if I plan trips differently for myself, then I do for my clients. The simple answer is yes. Whereas my clients are most often traveling for pleasure and want a minimum of stress, I don’t necessarily do things in the easiest or most comfortable way when I travel, preferring to have an understanding of the trade-off between comfort and cost so I can make good decisions on behalf of my clients.
Being out of one’s comfort zone in an unfamiliar place can significantly increase the pressure. When planning trips for my clients my goal is to ensure their focus is on enjoying their destination rather than “navigating” it. Depending on the destination, the duration of the trip and the client’s level of familiarity and comfort traveling in this area I may suggest a variety of different options. There is always a cost to these services, but many are well worth it. Some of the “stress reducing” options I often suggest include:
Airport Transfers – Being met at the airport and transferred to the hotel is a really nice way to begin a trip - especially after a long flight. By arranging everything in advance – destination, time of pick-up, and payment – your arrival stress can be greatly minimized. No worrying about local currency, finding a taxi/bus/subway or dealing with your luggage.
Private Guides – I’m a huge fan of connecting my clients with reputable and knowledgeable local private guides tailored to their particular interests and travel style. Think of it as engaging your own personal in-destination concierge. Guides not only take you on tours tailored to you, but are also a wealth of local knowledge when it comes to suggesting activities, dining options and getting around town. If cost is an issue consider joining a small group tour. This is also a great option for solo travelers who want to meet and interact with other travelers with shared interests.
Bookend “Special” Accommodations – The beginning and end of a trip are often the most stressful so to make sure clients will have a great start and end to their trip, I choose accommodations that meet their most important needs on both ends of their trip. For some this may mean a really comfortable hotel at the start of the trip with “luxuries” not needed during the rest of their travels such as a larger room, room service or spa services. Upon departure, proximity to the airport for an early morning flight may mean a less luxurious airport hotel trumps a night at a hotel in the city center...or just the opposite. Make sure the right choice of accommodation gets the trip off to a great start and ends on a high note.