by Tori Ward, Cruise and Resort Specialist, ROX Travel
When friends visit our home and see the diverse collection of objects acquired and photos assembled from various trips they often remark, “You guys really must enjoy traveling.”
I love the tourism part of travel, but the travel component I only enjoy if it’s relaxing or exciting.
Growing up with an older brother and younger sister I sat on the hump in the backseat, and of course, I was the one asking, “Are we there yet?” When my aunt took me on a train to Baltimore when I was 4 years old, I quickly learned that travel doesn’t have to be boring when the trip to the destination is exciting.
As a travel planner, I curate many types of trips that blend the ingredient of travel and element of tourism to create a recipe for a meaningful experience. Sometimes this is a quick flight to visit the grandchildren. However, it can also involve a lot of moving parts that require extensive research and presentation of multiple options that satisfy both the client’s desires as well as a budget.
In October I received a call from Carol who wanted to know if I had some brochures or books she could consult to help her focus on a trip to Germany, Austria and Italy. We met at the office, and she trusted me to coordinate her trip requiring 12 hotels, dozens of pre-selected activities and multiple transportation options including planes, trains and automobiles. What a labor of love this trip has been.
I have been to many of the places on her itinerary, and it felt as if I were there on the Romantic Road again, wandering through charming German burgs and majestic ancient castles.
In Salzburg, I’m strolling through the verdant hedge tunnel in Mirabell Gardens with the Hohensalzburg Fortress appearing and disappearing in the misty morning clouds. I’m sampling gelato in Cinque Terre and praying I don’t perish while walking between Monterosso and Vernazza because I failed to bring sufficient water. I’m laughing at the absurdity of driving around and around the roundabout in Poggibonsi until finding the right exit for San Gimignano.
When my clients return from a trip, I love hearing about their most meaningful memories. Our friends Liz and Greg just got back from a vacation we planned that included Ireland. I smiled as they told of driving around the Ring of Kerry in swirling snow until they tucked into a neighborhood pub in an obscure town to wait it out.
As soon as they entered, the room went silent and they stood in the doorway looking at strapping Irish men lining the bar, all dressed in hunting coats and boots, raising a pint. A riding club had assembled and was also waiting for the storm to pass. They were delighted to pose for pictures by their horses an hour later.
I love getting calls from returning travelers who appreciate the little touches such as YouTube videos embedded in their travel documents containing walking directions to a hotel through the wet and winding canal bordered streets in Venice. Or, how to tell the difference between when to leave a tip or walk away without feeling guilty when looking at the check in Florence.
Last year I helped a family plan a trip to the Basque region to repatriate their father’s ashes to his native soil. Meaningful events such as this are memories their children will cherish when they are grown. It makes the packing and waiting in TSA lines, sitting in traffic and trying to sleep on a plane to get there worthwhile for the rewards that await at the destination.
Do you have a dream trip, but feel overwhelmed at the task of pulling it together? Give me a call and let me help you plan a memory.