Travel June 2016

Who needs a travel specialist?

Travelling for leisure has become something we cannot live without. Whether for pleasure or education, a holiday can enhance our lives. Moreover, those experiences are often shared with spouses, other family members and friends, creating unforgettable memories.

In order to make the most of our time, it is important to get the right information about accommodation, transport, guides and food before setting off. Many of us start by browsing the Internet for ideas, but this can become overwhelming. There is simply too much information to digest.

It has been said that travel agents are defunct. Perhaps that is the case with traditional agents who solely book single components of a holiday such as flights, tours, restaurants or hotels.

But if you want to guarantee flawless logistics and VIP treatment—especially if it is for a special occasion or long-awaited trip—you need someone with local know-how and clout.

These experts—known as modern travel advisors—can get you access to the room with the best view, exclusive amenities and the most knowledgeable English-speaking guides. They often spend lengthy periods on the road scouting hotels and deepening relationships with tour guides and suppliers.

Some travel advisor agencies are part of agency-only hotel loyalty programmes. Travellers who book through one of these receive an automatic upgrade either when they check in or when they make their reservation.

Advice for Japan and beyond

Plan in advance to avoid disappointment. In Japan, autumn tours, winter ski holidays and the cherry blossom season get booked up very quickly.

If you hope to travel abroad, it is best to start planning six to eight months in advance. Vietnam and Cambodia are popular. Many travellers to these countries enjoy avoiding the crowd, exploring locations off the beaten track and relaxing in the numerous luxury hotels after a long day of touring. For travellers in the know—supported by an advisor—such hotels often offer about ¥10,000 in food, beverage or spa credit.

Other fashionable locales are New Zealand and Australia, often perceived as once-in-a-lifetime destinations where visitors can enjoy pristine nature and educational experiences. New Zealand has won numerous awards as a travel destination thanks to its stunning landscapes and friendly locals. Meanwhile, Australia has a host of attractions including distinctive wildlife, varied terrain and beautiful beaches.

If you are not sure how to begin your travel plans, perhaps you should start by looking for a great travel advisor.