FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why should I work with a professional travel advisor?
The #1 reason why luxury clients opt to work with a professional travel advisor is to save their most precious resource - TIME! Through my expertise and global connections, I free you up to do other things while I get busy spending hours of research, planning and performing due diligence on your behalf.
As your travel advisor, I will...
Thoroughly research and investigate travel options based on your unique needs, wants and non-negotiables.
Contact my destination experts on the ground to start crafting a proposal custom-tailored especially for you.
Present a draft proposal and incorporate your feedback with up to two rounds of revisions.
Keep in contact with you before, during, and after your journey, including 24-hour emergency service to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
In a nutshell, it's my job to make your life easier, heighten your travel experience, and eliminate worry and fatigue so you can enjoy some peace of mind. If you're on the fence, check out these additional resources that clarify the benefits of working with a professional travel advisor.
Forbes: 5 Reasons Why You Need A Travel Agent More Than Ever
CNN Travel: The Perks of Booking Your Next Trip Through a Travel Advisor
How are travel advisors paid?
Professional travel advisors typically earn their compensation in three ways:
(1) PLANNING FEE
Please review my current rates.
My planning fee starts at $250+ USD depending on the scope and complexity of the trip. This fee covers some (but not all) of the time and expertise I’ll be spending on your entire trip before, during and after.
Payment of my Planning Fee is the green light I’ll need to authorize the official start of the planning process.
Most hotel properties, destination management companies, tour operators and suppliers will pay out a commission to travel advisors. These commission rates are generally negotiated by the travel consortium with whom the travel advisor is affiliated, and in no way affects your final cost. Luxe Itinerary is an affiliate of Coastline Travel Advisors (a Virtuoso member agency) which means that my commissions are negotiated by Virtuoso in most cases.
If you find that working with me as your luxury travel advisor has been a rewarding experience, please do tell your friends, family and colleagues about me. This is another way that I earn future compensation in what is mainly a referral-based industry.
How much does luxury travel cost?
Budgets vary greatly depending on where you're going, number of days traveling, how active you want to be, and whether any touring is done in small groups or privately. Roughly speaking, the prices begin at a minimum of about $500 USD per person, per day not including airfare. That's not to say I can't plan trips for less depending on the logistics of the vacation or destination, however in order for me to provide the most value to your trip and work with our highly vetted and esteemed luxury travel partners, this is the standard recommended starting point. But it really depends on what you’re looking for. Luxury means different things to different people.
My best advice to you is this: simply schedule a free consultation so we can chat about your trip. There’s absolutely zero commitment and it'll give you some insight into whether or not I'm a good fit for you. You decide where we go from there.
What does the process of working with a travel advisor typically look like?
There are five phases to the travel planning process:
A BRIEF CHAT
We have a complimentary call about your trip logistics and goals. If you think we're a good fit, we execute an agreement to move forward with planning.
I'd love to learn more about you on a personal level so I can uncover the best options for your customized itinerary - a trip that best fits your unique lifestyle and travel preferences.
PROPOSAL & FEEDBACK
I present your draft trip proposal. With up to two rounds of revisions, your detailed feedback is essential! Then, we confirm the plans, agree to the dates & lock in the rates.
GO HAVE THE TIME OF YOU LIFE!
YOU'RE OFF! Everything's taken care of so you can be fully present for every moment of your trip. All the details are right at your fingertips via mobile app.
Welcome home! Half the fun is reliving all the memories of a great travel experience. I can't wait to hear all about it, including any feedback you have for me as your travel advisor. It can only help me be a better travel advisor for next time!
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work as a luxury travel advisor?
My education is ongoing through my affiliation with the Virtuoso Travel Consortium, as well as my host agency Coastline Travel Group, both who provide me with continuing education and training to learn all that I can in my areas of expertise.
To delve into those areas of luxury travel I'm personally passionate about, I've become an active member of the following Virtuoso Communities which means I receive focused training and support targeting these specific niches:
Virtuoso Wellness Travel
The Virtuoso Wellness Travel Community focuses on experiences that restore travelers’ mind, body, and spirit. This portfolio integrates nutrition, healing, mind/body balance, fitness, and educational components that provide a comprehensive wellness experience.
The Virtuoso Sustainability Community brings together Virtuoso partners and advisors who are passionate about sustainability. This shared space will allow the network to grow our collective impact through learning and sharing sustainability best practices, inspiration, and success stories.
Furthermore, I hit every travel conference I can get my hands on, including Virtuoso's Annual Travel Week in Las Vegas 2019, the New York Times Travel Show 2020, the New York International Travel Show 2022, the Women's Travel Fest in both 2020 and 2022, and LATAM Airline's Re-Think Latin America Travel Show in 2022.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
Growing up in a place as eclectic as New York City exposed me to a world of diversity and multiculturalism. I dreamed of visiting every country in the world to experience the unique wonderment of their local vibe through language learning, cuisine, music, art, historical/cultural immersion and more.
As a result, I began traveling abroad whenever I could. My favorite trips so far were to Kenya, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Morocco, Turkey, and the Caribbean. There's still so much more to cover! I believe world travel broadens our experience and global perspective, cultivating compassion and understanding. This is why travel has become my passion, which I now want to share with others.
Planning an epic travel experience requires resourcefulness, keen attention to detail, and a commitment to top quality outcomes. As a project manager for over 20 years, I've combined my career experience with my newfound passion to make travel dreams come true. Thus, my agency, Luxe Itinerary, was born!
What types of clients have you worked with?
People who opt to work with a professional travel advisor want customized travel experiences uniquely designed for their interests and needs. I work with clients who don’t have the time or connections to plan travel on their own, and who don't want cookie-cutter off-the-shelf vacations.
I certainly look forward to planning AMAZING travel experiences of any kind - for couples, families, and group getaways as well.
What advice would you give a client looking to hire a professional travel advisor?
The most important advice I would give any client would be to to take your time and don't rush your travel experience! If you only have 10 days, don't try to cram too many cities in that short span of time as it won't be as experiential or memorable. Moving around too much can drain your enjoyment and relaxation. Stay long enough to savor the local culture, the sounds of the environment, the fragrances, the feast for the eyes. Meet some people and make new friends.
Work with a professional travel advisor affiliated with a host agency connected to global contacts and suppliers on the ground that can help you in the event of an emergency or a change in plans. Work with people that are there for you when you need them.
What questions should potential clients consider before consulting with a professional travel advisor?
Some things you might want to give thought to prior to speaking with a professional travel advisor are:
What places would you like to visit, and more so, WHY?
What are your interests and hobbies (travel advisors know how to customize an itinerary centered around the answers to these questions.)
Do you (or anyone traveling with you) have special needs, physical or dietary restrictions that a travel planner should know about and make arrangements for?
Do you want your days loaded up with lots of activities, or would you rather have your days open to have on-the-go flexibility? Perhaps a mix of both?
What are your bucket list items for this trip? Consider your top three non-negotiables.
What do you definitely NOT want to do or see?
Thinking about your most favorite travel experience, what was it that made it so?
Thinking about your least favorite travel experience, what was it that made it so?
What's your budget range (excluding airfare)? It's important to be super realistic about how much things really cost - you get what you pay for!
Thinking about these questions before that initial consultation with a professional travel advisor facilitates the conversation and helps your advisor get to know you and what you desire, so they can provide you with options that fit your particular needs and expectations.
It's all about YOU - it's your journey!
What happens if I run into any issues during my travel period?
Is there anything scarier than traveling across the world without backup? When you work with me, you also work with my network of trustworthy partners who are there to ensure that your trip is as easy and effortless as possible. Should you run into any travel snags, weather delays, or lost luggage, rest easy knowing that all of us have your back 24/7. We're a team and we won't let you down.
How long does it take to plan a trip?
The amount of time it takes to plan a trip from the initial chat to final booking of the last component depends on a variety of factors, including how far in advance of the trip you've contacted me, the complexity of the itinerary, how many suppliers I'm coordinating with across the globe, and the revisions you request to make to the initial proposal.
After an in-depth consultation with you where I learn about your travel personality and specific requirements, it takes approximately 10-15 business days for me to complete the first draft proposal. After the draft proposal is delivered, I ask that you review and respond as soon as you're able to thoroughly review it, in order not to lose the held space and prevent it from being booked by someone else in the interim. Please note that while I always try to stick to my estimated delivery date for the first draft, there are events outside of my control that may result in a delay (an emergency with a currently traveling client for example). I ask for your understanding when the need to take a few more days arises.
How far in advance of a trip should I contact you to kick off the planning process?
Early booking ensures better options.
Advanced planners rule! Even if it's a year out, I'd still love to work with you. Some of the world's most alluring destinations and experiences book 12-15 months in advance. The same is true during busy holiday times. If you're planning for a milestone celebration that takes over an entire hotel property (wedding, anniversary, 50th birthday, etc.) 18-24 months prior is a good time to open this dialogue. Apart from those exceptional types of trips, the sweet spot has proven to be 6-9 months in advance. This way, I can ensure that you have the best guides, space in the hotels you want, and access to those highly sought after dinner reservations at a 3-star Michelin restaurant, if you like!
In order to make the trip planning process most efficient, I do ask that you initiate the planning process with me only when you're ready to commit to booking. I'm happy to help with conceptualizing ballpark ideas with you anytime, but if you're not ready to proceed with booking the trip within 2 weeks or so, the proposal will go stale. I then have to start the process over from scratch, which can mean that we lose the held space, the best guides, and have to rework logistics with my suppliers. It's like a major do-over. For this reason, you can be rest assured that I share your enthusiasm for finalizing details as quickly as possible, to confirm the most magical experience for you the first time around.
What are the specific benefits of booking through a professional Virtuoso travel advisor versus booking on my own?
When you book a Virtuoso partner hotel through a Virtuoso advisor, you're automatically a VIP. Partner properties offer upgrades and amenities to Virtuoso clients that often include (or may be a variation of) the following exclusive amenities:
Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
Complimentary full breakfast daily
$100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit or spa credit to be utilized during stay
Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
These benefits are exclusive to Virtuoso clients at participating Virtuoso partner hotels, and are not offered to guests who book on their own.
Will you work with me if I need to plan a trip on short notice?
It never hurts to ask! Though my consulting rates are higher for inquiries that are departing within 2 months (and rates for hotels, flights, cruise lines are often higher at this point as well), I'm happy to discuss your last minute needs to see if I can assist.
Given that, I only ask that you commit to being decisive, responsive, and enthusiastic about finding a great option that'll work! I, in turn, promise to get you the information as fast as I can, and match the best available options with what you're looking for considering the short lead time.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
DEFINITELY. In uncertain times, it is too big of a risk not to purchase insurance to protect your investment. I'm happy to give you a quote through our preferred agency, but you can also book through your preferred insurance provider – the important thing is that you are covered.
If you decide not to cover yourself with travel insurance, I'll ask you to sign a waiver stating you've knowingly opted out and accept the risks.
Alex Jiménez | Luxe Itinerary is not a licensed insurance agent and cannot provide recommendations for, comment on, or endorse any specific coverage. I can provide quotes and information directly from the 3rd party insurance suppliers that I partner with. All questions about coverage, claims, etc. should be directed to the insurance provider.