Top 10 Reasons Why We Engage Travel Planners Today

Today, more and more people are engaging travel and trip planners to provide advice for their travels. Why? I will share the top 10 reasons in today’s article. Before that, please allow me to share my own story.

In 2005, when I decided to go New Zealand for my university education. Someone advised me to engage a New Zealand travel planner, which cost me over 100 bucks (can’t remember exact figure) then.

My first thought was “Woah! That’s expensive! Just for 1-2 hours of conversation!” I was a young and naive 22-year-old then.

Since no one I knew had stayed in New Zealand, and only a few of my friends went there for holiday. Well, I did my own research on internet, but wasn’t too sure what I should be looking out for.

As you might have guessed, I paid for the service. Felt the pinch. *ouch*

On the hindsight, I am really glad that I engaged the New Zealand travel planning services. After meeting some friends who engaged travel planners, those who had ‘prior advice’ adapted and settled more smoothly than those who didn’t.

Recently, I went for a short business trip to China. Luckily, my friend had visited China once. It was a last-minute trip, and not well-planned, to put it mildly. Thankfully, we met wonderful Chinese locals who helped us heaps and had a safe trip.

Top 10 Reasons Why We Engage Travel / Trip Planners Today:

10) We only have 24 hours a day. By outsourcing, I have more time to focus on things that are important in my life. Same reason why we take cab/taxi, to save the time spent travelling on buses and trains.

9) Online information is free. It is not necessary reliable, or perhaps, they just omit the teeny-weeny important detail. Water is ‘free’ from the tap, why do people still pay for bottled water?

8) Researchers suggested that there are estimated 30,000 messages directed at you daily. Assuming you are doing an hour of research, that’s 1,250 messages. How do you know which is right and which is a twisted fact?

7) Maybe, one day in the distant future, everyone would have visited every country. But before that, we need to share the knowledge with one another.

6) Safety is top priority. One incident is enough to change your life. Better be safe than sorry.

5) Heard this comment before: “Why go to a doctor when you can research online? Same applies to travel.” Simply put, for assurance.

4) Pleasant surprises are welcome! Like learning about a new culture, hearing different languages and accents, and sampling new cuisines. Culture shock, language barrier and unpalatable food are better avoided.

3) Common belief that travel planners plan your entire trip and you must follow it or else things go haywire. The truth is, they provide information that is customised for you, which friends/travel agencies/computer software/internet don’t.

2) As Benjamin Graham said: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” The world is exchanging values with money.

1) The unbiased opinion. Most travel agents and agencies make the deal only when you decide to travel to the destination. They will say everything wonderful about a country that they have never been to, just to convince you.

I have friends who engaged travel planning services to countries like Japan and United States. Some even paid for the guide to go with them. Expensive? Of course. But the experience for their whole family is the value they paid for.

5 Tips to Hiring a Travel Copywriter

I’m anticipating many changes in the travel copywriting and content creation world in 2014. If you are a company in the travel and hospitality industries I would like to ask you a question.

Is your content addressing the need of your ideal clients or are you still stuck with not knowing how to create content? Since returning from South America, I’ve done research and discussed with my clients about our travel copywriting services and strategies.

Here are five tips to hiring a travel copywriter:

One: Knows and understands your ideal client’s needs

Hiring a travel copywriter or content writer who can’t feel the emotions and hear the voice of your ideal client is not going to cut it. A travel copywriter who has not been overseas or never went through immigration and customs will not understand the hassle your ideal client may have to go through. So if you need content for tips to international travel or lessen your stress when traveling overseas – a travel copywriter who has not been through the experience may not be able to write effective content.

For example, when I wrote for a wellness and travel company, one of the prerequisites was that I try out their products. I smelled and touched them, wore them on my body and used them. That was the only way to understand the products and successfully describe the texture, smell and anything that the ideal client needed to know and feel before making a purchase, which leads us to tip #2.

Two: Knows the products or services

Just like the tip above, I need to know the products or services that I write about. I have more authority and power in my copy and content when I know the products or services well.

I’ve not been to Africa. When I was hired by Sandfield Travel to rewrite content on their website two years ago, I felt overwhelmed and charged way less than what I would have normally charged. I researched, studied the photos, watched videos and worked really hard in ensuring the content was SEO-friendly and keyword rich.

In my opinion the content could have been better if I had walked the streets of Uganda or personally volunteered in the orphanages. I’m just being honest now that I have done more travel copywriting compared to two years ago.

If you are marketing a destination and need someone to work on your blog, email newsletters and social media platforms, make sure you take this tip into consideration. This is connected to tip #3…

Three: Have first hand experiences (in the travel and hospitality industries)
Not all travel copywriters have traveled to every country in the world but some of us travel more or less than others. After traveling to South America for eight months (39 countries in total), I know I can write better content on South America now compared to last year.

All I had was just second-hand information. At the moment I know how it is like to have altitude sickness, I can describe in detail the city of Cuzco or Machu Picchu or the difference between the Otavalo Market in Ecuador and the Witches Market in Bolivia.

Another crucial first hand experience that sets a travel copywriter apart from others is an experience in the travel industry. If we had time, I would sit with you over a cup of coffee or tea and tell you all the tales of being a travel agent/tour consultant/ticket agent/tour guide and more (12 years of tales!!). Nothing beats first hand experiences.

Four: Understands WordPress Content Management System (CMS)

WordPress is no longer just for bloggers. Companies like CNN, eBay and Oprah are using WordPress. I am referring to self-hosted WordPress websites. It is user-friendly, allows you to update or edit your content without the need to code, mess with html or hire a techie person to help you out.

You can easily go into your back office to delete, add or update content, images or videos.

Most travel and hospitality companies hire a travel copywriter because they don’t have the time to write, manage and publish content through blogging and other platforms. A travel copywriter that can do all the work for you and understands WordPress CMS will free up your time and let you focus on other money making activities.

Within WordPress you need a travel copywriter that understands meta descriptions, focus keywords and other things related to producing and publishing relevant content on your website.

Five: Knows how to seamlessly connect your blog content, e-newsletter and social media platforms
You are not optimizing your content marketing strategies if you are not connecting your blog with a newsletter and social media platforms. A travel copywriter that uses all these three channels constantly in his or her own business understands your needs as well.

I believe in being consistent in writing my own blog posts, newsletters and engaging with followers on Twitter. I must admit I am not always consistent in my social media platforms but I’ve not stopped blogging and publishing my weekly newsletter since I started blogging in November 2010 even when I was traveling at sea and in the remote areas of Peru. That’s what it means by ‘walking the talk’!

Finally, a travel copywriter that believes and sticks to deadlines and cares for your success.

How Will You Define Retirement?

There was a time not that long ago that when the subject of retirement came up, we all pretty much had the same vision of what it would look like. We would work to about age 65, retire and live comfortably on our company or union pension, social security and whatever savings we had in the bank. It was similar for everyone. Retirees would kick back on the sofa, visit grandkids, travel and do this for the rest of their lives which was typically only 7-10 more years, give or take. Retirees didn’t have to worry about something called Long Term Care yet and medical costs were still somewhat manageable with your old Blue Cross Blue Shield indemnity plan pretty much taking care of everything. Bottom line, retirement was more streamlined, easier in some ways to prepare for, but overall much shorter than it is today.

That traditional and very typical retirement structure is not dead but certainly on life support for a variety of reasons and not all of them bad. Most in what I call the “New Retirement” play by different rules. The goals and dreams of our parents are no longer our vision of how we want to spend our “golden years”. If you are not retired yet, you will need to define what your vision is and not think about it necessarily as a destination but perhaps more so a change of course of how you will live in the next phase of your journey.

I am noticing with our own clients that there are now three very specific templates they are deploying or targeting. I think our group is probably a good litmus test for what will continue to evolve over the next 20 years. The three structures are as follows:

1. Traditional Retirement- Yes, it didn’t go away completely. Some have saved enough spendable assets to properly budget for living expenses and plan for contingencies. They do not have a driving desire to work any longer and primarily spend their time… well… doing whatever floats their boat! This group however is very small and no longer typical. With longer lifespans our parents’ retirement may soon be a lifestyle of the past.

2. The Semi-Retirement Retirement- This group represents what’s becoming the largest segment of today’s successful retirees. They have enough assets and don’t have to work but continue to want to do something productive with their lives, very often in a different capacity. This group realizes that if retirement today can last as long as 30 years, it is more desirable on their terms to spend it on starting a small business, consulting in their past careers part time or choosing to make money at something they love doing. The semi-retirement retirement will be available primarily to those who still value proper financial planning and have saved enough to provide for flexible work for fun options.

3. The Working Retirement- Yes, an oxymoron but this in my opinion will become tomorrow’s prevalent structure based on current planning and savings habits of young baby boomers. The prior two scenarios will not be an option as one or both spouses will have to remain in the workforce doing what they may not love in order to provide the necessary income for basic living expenses. I believe this group will do the best they can to take extra time off to find some diversion, but the live for now habits of the past 30 years will have caught up with them. My biggest fear is whether a job will be available to them to stay in the work force. If this does in fact become the predominant structure of the near future, where one or both spouses work full time forever, will the demographics of an ever aging population along with college graduates just joining the work force provide for enough employment opportunities? A very risky proposition but in reality, isn’t how this group has played it all along?

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual(s). To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

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Save on Travel Now: Discover How Much Money You Can Save on Travel Now Using This

Who else wants to save on travel today? I realize that may sound like a silly question and the fact is, economic times are rough right now. Most people (including myself…) are looking to save big money on their travel prices. If you want to save a lot of money on your travel expenses, the solution to doing just that is actually a lot easier than you think. If you want to go to a nice luxurious hotel, resort, or cruise, the reality is you really can and at affordable prices that everyone can afford…let me explain…

The answer to saving on your travel has nothing to do with travel sites that have been known to save you up to 30%. I am talking about are travel memberships wherein you pay a one-time fee and gain immediate lifetime access. You can literally begin saving up to 80% off your travel needs for the rest of your life. No restrictions of when you travel, either! I am speaking highly of something known as a travel discount club that many are now discovering for the first time.

If you have never heard of a travel membership, basically what this mean to you is this…..it eliminates the high prices when it comes to travel prices. Have you ever gone to a hotel thinking that you paid way too much? Me too! These overpriced prices have gone on for far too long in my opinion. So in essence what these memberships do for you, is save you a log of money.

When you are a paid member, you then have access to over thousands of highly sought after travel locations from around the world. This will save you up to 80% off of your travel expenses around the world. You do not have to worry about when you travel because you get to decide that.

You can literally go anywhere and save a lot of money. You will save limitless amounts of money if you are member. If you are a member, you will have the luxury of being able to stay at some of the very most luxurious relaxing condos. You can also take advantage of scenic cruises, villas and cottages and best of all, when you want!

Savings are available at many of the finest of resorts, too. You can stay at 4 and 5-star hotels and be treated like a king or queen! For many, this is a dream come true because of the fact that you will have the ability to stay at some of the very best resorts from all over the world. This is not a timeshare, mind you.

These memberships do not require you to pay any additional fees, at least the ones that I have checked out. No maintenance fees or annual fees is a huge plus to many, who have been burned by timeshares. That is something that no timeshare can even come close to when comparing the two. If you compare the amount of money that you would have to pay on a retail vacation, a membership blows the retail price right out of the water. You will easily save over 50% or more.

Do your own research and see for yourself. Having a membership to for access to thousands of luxury hotel locations at rock-bottom wholesale prices is what makes this an easy decision for many. When you compare the savings to the retail price that you would have to pay, it just makes good sense..

Take for example the fact that you can get:

a 2-bedroom condo at multiple worldwide locations for less than $200 for a seven-day vacation stay. The only question is why would would you want to spend several hundred more than what you need to? The retail price for this vacation retailed for $998 on a site that offered the exact same amenities.

When I first learned of these savings, I jumped on the opportunity because I hate having to spend more money than I really have to. When you join, you will gain immediate private access and be a part of the vacation club that allows you to profit from these vacation deals. When I first took a look at it, I could not believe the savings. In fact, I thought there had to be a catch….I was pleasantly surprised when I realized there was no catch on having access to unbelievable discounts on these luxurious vacations. It was a dream come true for me.

Another big advantage is that you will also have access to travel advisors. These are advisors who will assist you with various travel needs on other travel related expenses. When you are getting ready to go on a trip, the less that you have to worry about is priceless.

These memberships are the answer to saving money when it comes to traveling throughout the entire United States, but all across the globe. While memberships are not free, you could easily make your money back on one vacation alone. So basically, you get your money back after your first vacation. Keep in mind that there are pretty high priced memberships compared to other clubs.

If you want to save some serious cash, consider a membership because it will certainly save you more than just a few bucks when you consider the fact that you can save several hundreds of dollars on your first trip. I cannot say enough about these memberships. They really are the way to travel when it comes to saving money at worldwide luxurious hotels, resorts and cruises.

No matter if you are casual traveler or a business traveler, saving up to 80% on travel related expenses is the perfect solution for literally anyone who travels I do not know about you but most everyone I talk to travels at least once in a while. So even if you just travel once in a while, you still save a lot of money.

If you want to save money on your travel, having a membership that will save you several hundreds of dollars on resorts, cruises, fine hotels and many other vacation expenses, is the best deal. The reason is that having one of these memberships pays you back every time you access your membership privileges. It allow you to take immediate advantage of for the unlimited savings.