Tours of a Lifetime
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Travel & Leisure

Which Travelers May Be Better Off
 Planning Their Vacation Themselves?

In a bit, we’ll quote the many reasons our past guests have given for having us as their travel planning partner. But first…

Let’s acknowledge that for many people, doing their own planning is a genuinely better alternative. Let’s see each of their perspectives…

The traveler with lots of time

They have a lot of vacation time and a high tolerance for, even a liking for, uncertainty.

They are not like travelers who have just a week in Costa Rica and would feel distraught to lost 10% of their vacation wrestling with some problem with their plans, or a hotel reservation problem.

They have the sense that with enough time they could get all the rich experiences on their own, and they give less weight to our knowing how to orchestrate many more interesting experiences and encounters for them in every day – our mantra that “vacation time is precious.”

Indeed, if they are a savvy, sophisticated international traveler, they might be able to have equally valuable experiences as we orchestrate into one day if they are willing to spend more days doing it.

Some may turn their loss of time and planned experiences into having interactions with local people.

If making the most of every day matters to you, we think you’re better off becoming our client. Otherwise, this is a reason to go it on your own.

The traveler with little money

They are simply unwilling to spend money to prevent problems, get more experiences, have the benefit of guides, and maximize their lifetime memories.

The traveler who finds adventure in things going wrong

Many of our guests (quoted below) rave about how smoothly everything went. But even with us, things can go wrong. The issue is whether you’re willing to pay extra to minimize how often things go wrong.

Sometimes we fix the problem behind the scenes without your ever knowing there was a problem.

Sometimes nobody screwed up; perhaps we alert you that it’s sunnier in one part of the country, and offer to move you somewhere else, sometimes at no cost, sometimes at our out of pocket cost, in a cordial and constructive consultation. It’s like insurance. It’s peace of mind.

In any case, our goal is always to fix problems while you go about your vacation.

The question is whether getting stuck then rescuing yourself is a big part of your enjoyment and adventure. If spending a day fighting with a hotel is an experience you could enjoy, win or lose, without spending the next day with a headache and indigestion, it may make sense for you to save the money for our planning. But if worrying about what might ruin your vacation is a concern, delegate the planning, organizing, and solving to us.

Whether you want to remove such stress is often the determining factor in whether you’re willing to pay more to have carefree experiences.

The travelers who loves the detailed “do it yourself” process

Some people love to “do their own plumbing.” All the details of planning are a major delight to them.

In fact, some travelers love the planning process almost more than the travel experience. They love to study peer reviews and separate the wheat from the chaff. They find the planning so nourishing, they might plan 10 vacations in detail for every one they actually take.

With us, you take a more strategic role in the planning, by telling us in detail your interests and preferences on our Wish List. Then we do all the detailed planning, reserving all the places, cars, planes, guides, and other vacation details to get you the exact vacation that matches your interests. You come to us with your suitcase of dreams, expectations, and standards. You remain the star; we plan and manage all the backstage details – with you collaborating actively in tuning the itineraries we provide.

And as you’ll see as you read on, there are many keys to the vacation of a lifetime that you cannot learn about on your own.

The traveler who loves to be his own in-country guide, or hire his own guide

No one other than an experienced native, who is a trained guide, can know what there is to see the very month you are there, where to go to see what wild life is appearing now, what to avoid, and how to learn the most from every hour.

But for the self-guiding traveler, not knowing and discovering whatever they are lucky enough to discover is part of the adventure they want.

Please be careful about local guides that haven’t had our training and thorough vetting process. They may be giving canned speeches, hyping various activities, hunting tips, hunting your daughter, or living out their own fantasy.

Whatever you do, don’t settle for less than a great guide who is extremely knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna, who knows how to not be intrusive, who helps you discover things, who is professional and personable, and a delight to spend time with.

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