As you may have guessed from previous posts, travel is a bit of a passion for us. Some may say obsession. We will go with passion. If we could hop on a jet plane to various points across the globe every week we would. While we have only scratched the surface of our desired destinations, we feel that we have the tools to make any travel dream a reality.
We started this blog for a couple of reasons, but the main one was to fill others with the knowledge that travel, especially to far off lands, was not only possible, but affordable on any budget.
Due to our blog, many conversations have popped up with our friends about their own travel dreams. Despite some helpful guidance, they still did not feel comfortable or confident enough to book their trip. This caused us to take a step back and rethink what we had going here. How can we help people make their travel dream a reality? How can we make them feel confident in their travel plans? Craig, the leader of the idea train, said “Let’s start a travel agency!”
So we did!! Introducing The Traveling Chevaliers Travel Agency!
Before we dive into that, let’s go back a little and give you some background. We are both in an age group that is above the 30’s, but below the 50’s. (If we do not spell it out literally then Jen can stay in denial that she is still 29). We both have full time jobs that we love and work the same schedule. Our children are bolting out of the nest, and we find ourselves with a bit more free time.
Anyone that has children graduating and just venturing off to live on their own, you know where we are at. It is a very emotional time of letting go and closing a chapter that you thought you would live in forever. It’s a time where you thought you would be at a child’s sporting event every night of the week for the rest of your lives.
Eventually, those hectic days slow down drastically and eventually end and you are left a bit shell shocked. You are used to the hustle and bustle; that fast-paced schedule that pulled you in a thousand different directions. You may have complained that you never had a moment to yourself, but you loved each and every second of it. What do you do now? We decided to jump headfirst into a new adventure!
Why a travel agency? Well, to start a business with your spouse , it must be something that you are both interested in and passionate about. If Craig wanted to start a Montreal Canadiens themed bar, then Jen would have to spray herself with holy water each time she crossed the threshold. It just would not work. Travel, on the other hand, is something that we can come together on- it is one of the only things that can make us feel joy to our very core. We desperately want to help people find that feeling for themselves.
A partnership with your spouse also requires a little Yin and Yang to work smoothly. We have that in spades. While Craig enjoys taking courses, listening to webinars and learning about new places, Jen would rather be forced to watch all fifteen Fast and Furious movies (or however many there are at the time of this posting) back to back. On the other side of things, Jen loves the details of the trip planning and falling within a set budget. She enjoys reading reviews and side by side comparisons. Craig would rather submerge himself in Toronto among the craziest Maple Leaf fans. It is the perfect match!
With our idea in place, how do we make it a reality? We began looking into host agencies (there are a lot to choose from) to understand which one would be the best fit for us and what we are looking to do for our clients. A host agency assists with booking software and builds relationships with travel suppliers around the world, giving us the ability to offer discounts, perks and exclusive opportunities to our clients. The best host agencies offer continuing education for travel advisors, ensuring we stay up to date on the latest industry news and trends. After researching over 40 host agencies, we decided that Travel Quest Network would be the best fit for us and our new agency. Once that decision was made, it was time to tackle the training and education aspect of the agency.
We will be completely honest with you on this. We have taken and planned several trips on our own and stuck our noses up at an agency to assist. Why would we pay someone to book our trips when we are capable of doing it ourselves? It seemed to be a waste of valuable funds that we could put towards our trip.
Guess what?? Agency commissions are built into all prices!! If a person buys a plane ticket or books a hotel directly from the airline/hotel or on Expedia or Priceline or whatever online avenue they choose, the commission has been built into that price. Here is the difference with an agency; we may be able bundle it cheaper or get you extra perks! If you are going to pay the same price, why not try to get something extra out of your trip? There are also exclusive sites only available to travel agencies. We did a facepalm when we learned this little piece of information.
The more we learned the more excited we got! We learned different avenues to take to save more and get the most out of the trips. So, now that we have the booking down, we knew we were only solving half of the problem.
For many, it is not the reservation system that is so daunting, but the planning of what to do in a foreign land that stops them from hitting the ‘book now’ button. It is overwhelming and too much to weed through. Fortunately, that is our favorite part of trip planning! We love finding the unforgettable landmarks and destinations you will see while you are there. Using our journal to plan each day and get entry tickets ready to go is very exciting!
Itinerary building will be a service that we focus on for those that want to hand over the planning to us. We aim to take the stress out of planning your overseas trip. As we have talked about in a previous blog, everyone is different and enjoys different things. We fell in love with the Boboli Gardens, while others could skip it. We soaked in the London South Bank while it makes others cringe.
To personalize each trip, we developed an interview process to make sure you get the most out of your trip. Based on that we will plan as many days as you want, and you can really sit back and let us take the reins. Let us help you make your travel dream a reality.
If we help one person a year check something off their bucket list, we will consider this venture a complete success. For us, we want to share the feeling that comes from travel. We want everyone to see that sunrise on the top of Diamond Head, walk the cobblestone streets in Pompeii or walk through a castle that Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon used as a vacation home. Maybe you want to find the Loch Ness monster in Scotland (Jen will beat you to it, but you can try.)
Whatever destinations you have on your bucket list, we want to help you get there. Want to fly to Europe? We can help. Want to go on a cruise? We have tons of options. Prefer an all-inclusive stay at a tropical resort? Just tell us where. Need someone to plan each day for you? That’s our specialty! Need a quick weekend getaway? We can book it.
Contact us and let’s make your travel dream a reality! You can reach us by leaving a comment on our blog (www.thetravelingchevaliers.com), messaging us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you all for your support and #NeverStopPlanning!
Jen & Craig