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DIY vacation planning versus using a professional vacation planner

There is a lot of confusion out there regarding the process of working with a professional vacation planner and how it differs from DIY vacation planning. The goal of this post is to explain the differences, along with how PRO planning saves your most precious resource--your time.

Step 1. Determine where you'd like to vacation. If you're on you're own, you'll likely scour the for ideas and information on various destinations. But if you're working with a professional, we'll take 20-30 minutes to discuss what you hope to get out of the vacation-be it quality family time or solitude and time to reflect. We'll then make suggestions based on our experience and expertise.

Step 2. Select your lodging. Selecting the destination was just the beginning. After that's done, you have to figure out where you'll be staying. This is really where the worst of the internet comes out. You'll find ten different opinions on every option without any idea which to trust. If you're working with a professional planner, we will discuss the types of resorts and amenities you typically enjoy. Then, armed with that information, we will narrow the search to just those properties you're most likely to enjoy.

Step 3. Make your lodging reservation. Depending on the provider, this could easily take 30-60 minutes on your own. And if you're using a discount site, your nothing but a credit card number. In contrast, a professional planner will do this for you with the attention to detail that you deserve.

Step 4. Identify your transportation needs, activities, excursions, events and extras. Here again, alone you are at Google's mercy. But if you partner with a pro, you'll take 30-45 minutes to review your vacation goals, along with the options that best match those goals. You're professional partner will then use this information to compile a draft itinerary for your review and approval.

Step 5. Make your activity, excursion, events and extras reservations. Without a professional on your side, you'll have to whip out that credit card every single time you want to make a reservation. But if you're working with a pro, they will make all the arrangements for you after you approve the vacation itinerary.

Step 6. Collate all of your travel information. Were you keeping track of all those reservations numbers, locations, times, and contact numbers? Good luck finding it when you need it, if you weren't. But a professional vacation planner will collate everything into an organized folio so that everything will be at your fingertips when you need it.

Step 7. Make adjustments while your on vacation. If you planned everything on your own, you're still on your own if you want or need to make adjustments while on vacation. If that happens, you might as well write off an entire day of vacation. But if you partnered with a professional, all you have to do is give them a quick call and let them handle the details of the change while you get back to relaxing or enjoying your time with family.

Total time savings. According to research by Expedia, the average consumer spends over 23 hours planning each vacation. By partnering with a professional vacation planner, you can reduce this burden to under 3 hours. That's almost a 90% reduction. What's more, instead of generic reviews, you'll get personalized advice and you'll ultimately end up with a better vacation!

Professional planning creates better vacations and a better vacation planning experience. Contact me today to start planning your next vacation with a pro!


Image based on a photo by Petras Gagilas, modified and shared with a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

The Cahaba Travel Company is a veteran-owned and family-operated small business based in Hoover, Alabama - right in the heart of the beautiful Cahaba River Valley. But thanks to the interwebs, we can help you plan your next vacation no matter where in the world you are.





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