What You See (Or Pay For) Is What You Get When You Travel: Benefits of a Personalized Travel Itinerary

The benefits of creating a custom travel itinerary are endless. But one for sure is that what you see is what you get and pay for. This cartoon is the perfect depiction of two recent conversations I had with people wanting to travel. When I saw it posted on Facebook by a friend, it reminded me of recent conversations with two clients. Just as I do in new travel conversations with every client, I asked about their hopes and dreams for their trips.


Step #1 to Designing a Custom Travel Itinerary: Understand my Client’s Travel Goals and Expectations


Client A: A Couple Seeking Experiences

Client A is a couple, repeat clients who recently traveled to Italy on the first trip we worked on together.

The planning and travel experience were such that they immediately asked me to help them with a dream vacation to Ecuador.

  • They wanted to celebrate the wife’s milestone birthday and the husband’s impending early retirement they built.
  • This vacation is a travel bucket-list.
  • They plan on making each vacation one-of-a-lifetime.
  • They want an adventure vacation to explore all aspects of Ecuador – the Andes, the Amazon and the Galapagos.


Client B:  A Family (10 people) Seeking to Spend Valuable Time and Make Memories Together

Client B are new prospects who found me on the Internet and contacted me through my website. (Note: my website shows exactly who I am in terms of my travel philosophy and what I strive to achieve for clients.)

  • They dream of a family vacation for 10 people, grandparents to grandchildren, in the Caribbean during a school break.
  • They want to be all in one place to share as much time together as possible.
  • They don’t want one person in charge from the family so ALL may enjoy the experience without having to be “head cat-herder”.
  • They want their days to have choices of activities so that anyone may choose according to fitness or curiosity, and then they all gather at the end of the day to share experiences.
  • It is a perfect vision of a family vacation for all generations.


Step #2 to Designing a Custom Travel Itinerary: Understand My Client’s Budget

Once clients fill in all the details of their dream, the next question is budget.

What did they want to invest in the dream?

When a client gives me their budget expectations, I can give them my best travel advice. Click To Tweet


Budget for Client A: 

Their stated budget is what is reasonable and full of value for the experience they want. They want to know WHY the price is what it is and what they are getting for it.


Budget for Client B:

They asked me to find them the “best travel deal”.

drawing of a horse, half professional half childish done, when your client asks if you can do it cheaper, benefits of creating a custom travel itinerary


Step #3 to Designing a Custom Travel Itinerary: Understand the Need to Provide a Tangible Travel Deliverable on Hopes and Dreams

For all my clients, I understand the final price is important.

They want what they want and expect a fair exchange in investment and final product.

“A travel experience is not a physical “good”; it is a realization of a dream that has as much to do with feelings as it does in physical enjoyment.” ~Theresa Jackson


The tangible “deliverable” for clients is the expectation they have on how they want to feel about their vacation, both while they are taking the trip, and in their memories long after it is completed.


Step #4 to Designing a Custom Travel Itinerary: Match Budget While Fulfilling Travel Aspirations

My next step for both clients was to find the experiences they wanted at the best value proposition I could find.

I designed the vacations with what would meet their aspirations and met their date requirements.

Expectations Client A: Full on immersion and time for relaxation and discovery. My challenge was to meet their desire for great experiences in places that suited them and their hopes. I prepared a proposal with choices of places to stay that had activities built in, with choices of what to do in each location, and private guides and drivers to customize fully their experience.

Expectations Client B: Quality family time and memories to create together. Both equally worthy aspirations.

My job was here to find a place to meet that togetherness feeling and the need for all to be on vacation. Their proposal included a beach villa stay with enough bedrooms to suit the family sleeping configuration. The bonus would be more time together, shared space for meals, some of which they could prepare themselves (a cost-saver). The villa came with maid service (yay, everyone is on vacation), and a concierge to arrange activities they might want to do. I also gave them the option of a private driver or 2 rental cars, depending on how they wanted to explore the rest of the island. Because they wanted to travel during a popular season with school vacations being one of the most costliest times to travel, there wasn’t necessarily a price “deal”, but a villa was a bit of a cost-saver from multiple hotels rooms, and definitely a value in family time.


Their Reactions to the Custom Travel Itinerary Proposals

The reactions to the proposals were predictable, based upon their budget expectations.

Client A: With adjustments to the proposal based upon the time they decided to spend in each part of the itinerary, they were happy with the final price tag because the vacation itinerary met their desired dream, plus added in far more value in the experiences they would have than they had hoped.

Was it a bargain-basement price?

Of course not (although I did work in a free night in one of the hotels)!

But it is packed with far more value for the price than anything they could have tried to cobble together on their own, and they know that.

Client B: They were “shocked and disappointed” by the price tag, when “their friends had taken a family trip for so much cheaper”. (Yes, at a different time of year, in a 3-star all-inclusive resort – and they had complaints about the food and being in separate rooms at the resort).

Ding, Ding. Ding.



The difference between the two clients is that client A was “shopping” for value for experience, and client B’s main motivation was price.

As depicted in the cartoon, your travel dream is a beautiful and accurate rendition of your expectations.

Your travel dream is a beautiful and accurate rendition of your travel expectations. Click To Tweet

But when you try to either do it on your own with trying to fit disparate pieces together, or you compromise the dream for the price only, you wind up with something not only far different, but inferior.

A good travel advisor’s mission should find the best solution filled with the best value, not just to sell you any “product” based on the price.

Your dreams cannot be met by the price of a good alone. The end result matters if you also want a happy ending.

If you’d like to have more ease in your travel planning, I’d love to help!

You can stay informed and inspired in planning your travel in 2018 by reading more of my blogs. You can also follow me on Facebook. Twitter @enlitndjrntrvl, and Instagram @enlightenedjourneystravel. Sign up to receive the blogs and a newsletter filled with more insights and offers so you don’t miss a thing.

luxury travel advisor Theresa Jackson on one of her adventures journeys

At Enlightened Journeys Travel, we design handcrafted travel itineraries for your immersive journeys of a lifetime.

Keep exploring – Life’s an adventure!

I look forward to opening hidden doors in exclusive travel for you!