The kids are all settling back to school and parents everywhere are rejoicing. This means two things are starting to happen.
1. Students are being assigned that proverbial homework essay - "What I Did On My Summer Vacation".
2. Smart parents are planning ahead and booking the spring break and summer 2019 vacation reservations. Many need some vacation inspiration so they don't book the "same old" vacation again.
So in a bolt of blog inspiration that struck me at about 3:00 am this morning, I thought our fans would enjoy a little a peak "behind the scenes" to see what our team of travel agents did on their family vacations this past summer.
One big myth out there is that I would like to bust is that travel agents get to travel for free. Let me set the record straight by saying all of these trips were paid out of our own pockets. For all of us, travel is not only an investment in time with our own families, our children's education but also an investment in our own careers.
Our personal travel experiences help us to better serve you.
I will also share that even though these were all personal family vacations, a travel agent's "radar" is always hard at work. Just because we're on "vacation" doesn't mean our brains can switch off of work mode. We may look like we're taking selfies of our toes at the pool but brains are still at work. We're always observing and taking detailed notes. We share details of our trips with the rest of our team. We send 'vacation idea pics" to our clients who are looking for travel ideas, often via social media in real time (whenever we can get a WiFi signal!)
So here's the run down of all the new experiences we can't wait to share with you.....
Amber@vacationkids went to Italy with her family in tow! Truth be told, she traveled as part of a large group of extended family and friends that she organized. Here is her photo of the Dolemites. "Its a great location for families on a budget because accommodations and food, etc are reasonable... yet its close to Venice, Austria border and other amazing areas like Verona for day trips. Keeping everyone happy and on budget is especially important when traveling with extended family. I'm already at work planning another Italy adventure for our group for next year....Apulia or Puglia perhaps, depending on which you prefer".
Vanessa@vacationkids also took her whole family to Italy! She says it was a feast for the senses.
"We were surrounded by beautiful art, history, culture, and of course delicious food. Every long exhausting walk in the hot blistering sun was rewarded with gelato. The bickering and whining was washed away by a glass of wine.
We thought long and hard if we were crazy to take a a five and ten year old along with a teen to Europe. Yes, we were and we would do it again! It was worth it because they all returned with a greater appreciation of the world around them and opened up a curiosity to see more. Don’t wait until your children are older. Take them when they are little. Go into to it with realistic expectations. You are dealing with little people who go at a slower pace and you will take a lot of breaks. No you will not get to see everything and that’s okay. You are in it for the experience and the lifelong memories. Traveling with your children is the greatest gift you can give them and yourself. Every cultural difference is a teachable moment that will open your child’s mind and heart. When people ask my children what they did this summer their little faces light up with joy and excitement. They want to tell everyone what they did and what they saw and that is what I call a successful family vacation!"
Tamara@vacationkids.com says "This is what jet lag really looks like" after flying with her three boys from Philadelphia to Sydney Australia. She and the boys spent the entire summer touring as much as they could all over Australia while visiting family and friends.
"Parents need to know that long haul flights to a fantastic destination like Australia is completely do-able. The boys were great on the plane. You just need to give yourself enough time to get adjusted to the time change so that you can have fun and really enjoy your vacation time. After a couple days the boys were back up to speed and wanted to do it all. Remember to give yourself a few days when you return to get adjusted back to reality before heading off to work and school....despite the long flight, the boys keep asking when we're going back".
Speaking of long flights, Carla@vacationkids.com and her family visited Singapore and Bali.
"Our family has visited Asia before but these destinations were better than I could have ever imagined. My adult kids loved every minute of it. What surprised me was how much there was to do for kids of all ages. These destinations are truly kid friendly. I'm excited to help my clients discover this for themselves. No doubt they will be as delighted and enchanted as my family was."
Alycia@Vacationkids.com is planning a big family cruise for next year. This year was full of day trips a bit closer to home.
"My family loves getting outdoors and exploring the parks. This summer we spent a few days at Moraine State Park which is about a 60 min drive from Pittsburgh. Here we can enjoy a day at the beach minus the 8 hour drive to the ocean. As exciting as it is to travel far and wide, don't forget the simple family pleasures that can be found right in your own backyard."
Stephanie@vacationkids.com and her family opted for a city stay this summer. "We were long overdue to visit friends in St. Louis. The iconic Gateway Arch, the city museum and the botanical gardens were big hits with the kids. We absolutely love exploring new cities as a family, especially the food. Our favorite was the Gooey Louie.
Carrie@vacationkids.com and her boys spent their summer vacation in Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya. They were excited to check out the new Hotel Xcaret which is incredible, especially for families.
"My boys, ages 6 and 3 especially loved visiting the Xcaret, Xplor and Xenses parks, swimming in all of the pools and visiting the candy stand!" After checking out Hotel Xcaret and the parks, we headed up to the Hotel Zone to check out the Cancun's beautiful beach and some of the new resort offerings that will be coming soon....stay tuned"
MaryEllen@vacationkids.com & daughter jetted off to Jamaica for a girl's getaway to the Iberostar Resort.
"I visited Jamaica last year to attend the Family Travel Forum conference. I only had one day to get out of the hotel and explore Jamaica. I opted to "take the plunge" at the Blue Hole. My daughter couldn't believe I jumped so I told her we would go back and do it together. Teens can have their own opinions so it's great to have the opportunity to travel with her and hear her travel reviews. I like being able to make recommendations to my clients that I know have been teen tested".
Linda@nvacationkids.com made a big move from Northeast PA to become a resident of the Florida Coast. She's been busy taking in all the local sights and meeting wildlife neighbors in her new backyard.
"It's been a busy summer! Florida has so much to see, do and experience for families. Now that I live here, I've been thrilled to be able to put my Walt Disney World annual passes to good use!"
Linda was there for the opening of Disney's new Toy Story Land, brought us all the latest on Universal Studio's new Aventura Hotel and has been giving our team up to the minute new strategies for the parks.
Lea@vacationkids.com has been on an amazing journey a different kind this summer. She and her husband Vinnie welcomed there first child Sarai Therese Marie McCastle into the world this summer. Our newest little "Vacationkid" will be heading out on her very first plane ride and family vacation next week to visit relatives before starting her new position as Mommy's office manager.
This is where I spent my summer vacation. I was happy to do so. Whenever you collaborate with one of our agents please know you have the combined support and experience of our entire team. The more we travel, the better we can serve you and your family with first hand experience.
Please don't feel bad for me - It's my turn now. I have speaking engagements and time to explore Bermuda, Cancun/Riviera Maya and South Florida this fall. Actually I'm excited to be visiting the Florida Keys for the first time. I was also invited to the U.S. inaugural of Royal Caribbean's newest ship The Symphony of the Seas. My final speaking gig before busy season hits for us in January will be at the Dude Rancher's Association at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tuscon, Arizona. I'm not sure if I'm most excited about - a chance to visit this amazing ranch, spend some time on horseback or be surrounded by real life cowboys.
So to answer your question "What do Travel Agents Do on Vacation" - a lot of different things!
And this pretty much happens every summer at Vacationkids.
If you're family would like to vacation like a travel agent, please reach out to us. We've probably been there and done that and we can help your family travel like our own families.