What does a travel advisor do, exactly? I thought travel agents were extinct? Why should I hire a travel advisor when I book a vacation online for myself? (Or, some variation of this question.)
We are so passionate about this question that we could go on and on and on and on, but we’ll try to keep it short and sweet! At Kinship Vacations, the answer is very simple we don’t sell cookie-cutter vacation packages that you can just get online or at Costco! We take the time to get to know our clients through multiple conversations, emails, and phone calls to ensure that the vacation we are taking the time and putting our passion toward designing is just right for them. We have YEARS of travel experience and spend YEARS developing relationships with our partners in the travel industry. We have a sixth sense for what is going to be an amazing experience and what will provide you the value in a vacation that you are looking for. We provide personalized special touches all throughout your vacation experience. We are just a phone call or WhatsApp message away when you need help on your vacation. You can’t get ANY OF THAT when you DIY your vacation and book it online!
When should I not book with a travel advisor?
Almost as important as the first question, this question is another one that we come across frequently. You can always ask us or any other travel advisor if you’re not sure, but generally speaking these are the reasons/ instances when you’re probably better off DIY’ing it!
Domestic air tickets (only) – Airlines don’t pay travel agents commissions anymore and booking air travel for you represents a huge responsibility for us to manage your air travel without any compensation, especially this day and age with all the difficulties of air travel. You can always ask us to do it for you, but we’ll charge you an air-booking fee.
If you’re only interested in the cheapest option for everything – The best travel advisors bring VALUE to your experience, not CHEAP PRICES. That’s not to say that you can’t get an extremely affordable trip by working with a travel advisor, but don’t expect a travel advisor to spend hours haggling with suppliers to get you the most cheap vacation possible. Travel advisors want you to have the BEST vacation possible by seeking experiences that provide the best VALUE. Usually the cheapest options are the cheapest options for a reason. We think you deserve better than that!
If you can’t let go of control – If you have to be the orchestrator of every minute of every hour in your life and your family’s, working with a travel advisor probably isn’t for you. We love to take the stress of planning off your hands and the time it takes to research, coordinate and book off your shoulders, so you can JUST ENJOY the best parts of a vacation.
If you see no value in personalized touch and perks – We love to personalize your trip with surprises here and there that match your likes and wants. We spend time making sure everything works seamlessly for you. We do our best to give everyone of our clients the VIP treatment throughout their vacation, with added amenities, special treatment, and upgrades wherever possible. If you’re not into that, no problem! We just want to warn you that we’re not trying to kill you with kindness – we’re trying to WOW you!
Do I need a passport and/or visa to visit (INSERT DESTINATION)?
Usually the answer is “yes” to the passport question for our US-based clients traveling outside of the US. The answer to the visa question depends on your passport origin and the destination country. We always try to remind our clients and inform them of their immigration document needs for each trip, but ultimately it is the client’s responsibility to determine which documents they need to travel to their destination. It is also the client’s responsibility to ensure that their passport is up-to-date and valid for the duration of their visit according to the destination country’s rules. For example, most countries require that a visitor’s passport be valid for the six months following the date of travel in the country. For US Citizens, the best resource for these questions is U. S. Department of State’s Travel Site. Of course, you can always reach out to us and ask us, if you are not sure!
Do I need a passport for my cruise?
Straight from the State Department’s Website, “We recommend that everyone taking a cruise from the United States have a passport book. Though some “closed-loop” cruises may not require a U.S. passport, we recommend bringing yours in case of an emergency, such as an unexpected medical air evacuation or the ship docking at an alternate port. Also, your cruise company may require you to have a passport, even if U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not.”
Passport books v. Passport cards – “You can use the passport card to reenter the United States at sea ports of entry from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. However, if you are not able to return on the cruise ship for any reason (e.g., for an emergency evacuation, you will need a passport book to fly back to the United States.”
We always recommend our cruise passengers get a passport book for the following reasons:
Unexpected circumstances can come up that make it impossible to return to the United States on the cruise ship. Here are some examples:
Illness or Injury – Depending on the severity of your illness or injury, you may have to be admitted to a local hospital overseas. If you cannot be discharged before the cruise ship is scheduled to depart, the cruise ship may leave without you. In this case, you would need a U.S. passport to fly home upon clearance from your doctor.
Damage to cruise ship – Occasionally cruise ships are damaged or have mechanical issues that cannot be fixed during your trip. In these cases, you might need to go ashore in a country that requires a passport and/or you would need a U.S passport book to fly home.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Why should I get travel insurance?
Again, we say, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” #1 – protect your health and safety. #2 – protect your investment.
Life is unpredictable. Some trips need to be cancelled at the last minute. Some trips are delayed due to weather, mechanical disruptions, strikes, and other reasons. Illness and injury occurs, medications are forgotten; luggage is lost, stolen, or delayed. Not to be all gloom and doom, but we know these things happen. We try our best at Kinship Vacations to plan your trip meticulously and emplace measures to hedge any issues that may arise throughout your travels, but sometimes things happen that are out our and your control.
Also, though you may have health insurance that works in the U.S. and travel insurance through your credit card company, be sure to check the fine print on these policies and terms & conditions. Often times, your health insurance doesn’t cover international travel. Not every country is like the US when it comes to emergency medical treatment. Some countries require cash payment for medical treatment upfront before life-saving treatment is rendered. Usually the travel insurance that comes with certain credit cards is not enough to cover the total amount for emergency medical care. Unless you have tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in your bank ready for such expenses, I highly recommend you purchase travel insurance for every trip!
We so strongly believe that you should protect yourself and your investment with insurance that if you decline to purchase insurance, we will require that you sign an Insurance Waiver Form.
Is Kinship Vacations an MLM/Direct Sales company?
We just want to take a moment to set the record straight. This is a question we ALWAYS get from people learning about us and our program designed specifically for military spouses and veterans to start a home-based travel agency. Inevitably the second or third question we always get is some form of...
“So, are you an MLM (multi-level marketing) company?”
“What company are you with?”
“Are you a direct-sales company?”
The quick answer to this question is: no, we are not an MLM or direct-sales company.
For a more indepth answer and our thoughts on travel agency MLMs, go here: