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The Roaming Yeti
E8 - When to Work with a Travel Advisor
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In this episode, I speak with Julie Cohn about when and how to work with a Travel Advisor. Julie Cohn, the owner of Wander & Bloom Travel, has been a travel advisor and travel concierge for over 35 years in both the corporate and leisure travel world. In addition to being a travel advisor extraordinaire, Julie is a travel writer and social media marketing expert. She likes to cook, play board games, and stalk wiener dogs in her spare time. 

Are you ready? Let’s Roam!

You can find her at:

Wander & Bloom Travel – https://wanderbloomtvl.com/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/wanderbloomtravel/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WanderBloomTravel

Transcript

Here is a transcript of the podcast. Please keep in mind this was done via AI, so there are typos and mistakes. I tried to catch as much as I can, but it is definitely not perfect.

Beth 00:00:00 Welcome to the Roaming Yeti podcast, where we share stories and tips to inspire you to roam your neighborhood and the world. I’m your host and head Yeti Beth Schillaci. In this episode, I speak with Julie Cohn about when and how to work with a travel advisor. Julie, the owner of Wander and Bloom Travel has been a travel advisor and travel concierge for over 35 years in both the corporate and leisure travel world. In addition to being a travel advisor extraordinaire, Julie is a travel writer and social media marketing expert. She likes to cook, play board games and stalk wiener dogs in her spare time. You ready? Let’s roam. Welcome back to the Roaming Yeti podcast today. I’m really excited, , because I have someone who’s, who’s definitely an expert in their field, who can give us some information on when to work with a travel advisor and how to work with a travel advisor. So I’d like to introduce you guys all to Julie Cohn from Wander and Bloom Travel. , Julie, tell me a little bit about your travel background and, and also,  your, the company, Wander and Bloom.  

Julie 00:01:12 Hi. Thank you, , very much for inviting me on. So, yes,  I have been a travel agent for 35 years. , Actually I started as a technical writer for a travel agency in Rochester, New York. , writing their training manual and decided that, , you know, I liked what they were training people to do and I wanted to learn to do that too. So they trained me. And then, , I went from there. , most of my career was spent in corporate travel and, , I worked in both Rochester and Richmond, Virginia, , in corporate travel. And, , , the agency that I really have the most memories with that, that I had the most training with was Rosenbluth International, which is a corporate travel management company at the time. And, , I was a corporate onsite manager for, , two big companies in Richmond, Virginia.  

Julie 00:02:10 And, , worked in their offices, managing their travel. And, , through there I also did, , the executives personal travel. So that’s how I kind of got my segue into luxury travel, , by doing their, their personal travel, , reservations. And, , then I had my own agency when we moved to Phoenix, Arizona and had that for several years and then took a, a break to be a mom and, , got back into it by doing, , school trips for my son’s school, going to Washington DC and just had missed doing travel. I was a travel writer too at that time, so I was still staying in the, the travel industry and, , decided to open up my own agency. And  I partner with a really wonderful agency out of Los Angeles, , that has, , just a, a real family feel. And, , and that’s, I do now I do corporate travel and, , luxury leisure.  

Beth 00:03:13 That’s a good, good combo. So you’ve, I mean, 35 years you’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry, obviously  

Julie 00:03:21 <laugh> a lot of changes. Yes, definitely <laugh>.  

Beth 00:03:25 , and, and looking at that, like one of the biggest changes is now you can pretty much book anything on online yourself, , but I know that’s not always advisable. I think this year of how many things with cancellations and mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, , I know I had a trip insurance issue this summer that we’re still trying to figure out, , you know, what types of trips and when should we consider using, , a travel advisor.  

Julie 00:03:57 So if you’re doing just a basic hotel reservation or even a basic where you, you have a non-stop flight on an airline, , you know, those, you could pretty much do yourself through, , any of the online booking sites. The problem with the online booking sites is, especially since covid, the customer service, they just can’t handle the influx of, of customer service issues. And yes, this year with tr with, , flight delays, flight cancellations and stuff, they’re just, it’s just too much for them to do. And, and honestly, it’s a lot for us as travel agents too. We’ve dealt with a lot, but those of us that are experienced in the industry know how to work with the airlines. We have the resources, we have the contacts that we can work with them. And, and sometimes it still will take a while to get something accomplished, but we will eventually get things taken care of.  

Julie 00:04:58 So, , I would say that, , trips especially where you’re gonna have multi legs or you’re going to have customized itineraries where you’re going several different places, , definitely you need to use a travel agent cuz they can help coordinate that together. , , yeah, I honestly, myself, I would say any trip use a travel agent, but there’s some people that just don’t wanna use a travel agent. So, you know, it’s,  the cruises, , anything where you’re gonna be doing multi-day someplace. Okay. multi-locations, definitely use a travel agent to, to, for those trips.  

Beth 00:05:45 And, and what are, you know, what are the advantages, , of using the travel agent in, in these situations?  

Julie 00:05:54 So for a cruise, the travel agent can help you with, , they, a a good travel agent should guide you every step of the way for the trip. So beginning with, with flights, a lot of the cruise companies, their ports were closed because of covid. , you know, just, , a lot of the Alaska cruises, for a good example, the Canadian ports were closed because of covid restrictions. So they can help you maneuver through the, the cruise lines we’re still operating, but they, they know the ports, they know, you know, the, the adjustments that were made, , for things like a, a multi, , city trip, they know how to work with the, the, , the train schedules. For example, I just did a trip to Spain. So, , dealing with, you know, flights coming in and then getting to the train station and then getting to the next place that you need to go.  

Julie 00:06:56 A good travel agent will help you keep all of that seamless and smooth so that you don’t have any, have any issues. And then the other big thing is the issues travel today is chaotic no matter what you’re doing. , it’s chaotic and a travel agent will help you take care of that. A a good example is one of my clients was traveling a very simple trip. Her girls were going from New York to Phoenix nonstop flight, and we were texting back and forth at 10 30 last night because her girl’s flight was delayed three and a half hours. And I wanna make sure that they get off the ground and if they don’t get off the ground, it is my job to help them work with the airlines to get them on another flight so that they can get out. So. Gotcha. Sometimes I’ve, I’ve gotten text messages at two o’clock in the morning, you know? Yeah. , people that were in Europe showing up for a tour and the tour, the, the tour guide didn’t show up or something. So. Yeah. , you know, a travel agent helps you when things go right to help things go right. And travel agents can help you when things go wrong to get them remedied.  

Beth 00:08:08 Yeah. So it’s like, it’s like a 24 7 job, it sounds like.  

Julie 00:08:13 It can be sometimes. , especially with, , you know, like I, I deal with luxury travels, so my clients expect a higher level of service and, and I, you know, I love my clients. They’re like family to me. So, you know, this, this particular client, you know, she’s worked with me now for almost four years, and I know her and her family very well, and I wanna make sure that things go smooth for them. So, you know, each trip that my clients do is a trip of a lifetime, and I wanna keep it that trip of a lifetime for them.  

Beth 00:08:46 So like, that’s the, the trip of a lifetime kind of thing. Like, so what, what is the favorite, what is your favorite trip you’ve booked for someone or yourself?  

Julie 00:08:57 So, , there’s, oh, for myself, well, , so for other people, I would say probably my favorite trips to book were, , a trip last year for a client, actually the same client that, , is going to Phoenix this year, , to Switzerland. Mm. , this was their first trip post Covid. And, , a lot of places still had restrictions. When we originally booked the trip, they were having to test every two days in Switzerland. They were traveling between Wow. Five different, five different places by train. , it was a 14, 15 day trip, I believe. And, , so we had to coordinate testing locations, and there was just a lot of particulars for the trip. , you know, , they were traveling for Christmas, so we had to make sure, you know, I had to make sure that they had Christmas decorations in their hotel room and to make it extra special for them.  

Julie 00:09:58 And, you know, I, I did, I do dining, I do concierge services too. So doing dining reservations to make, make the trip spectacular. And they came back and it was like, wow, this was, you know, amazing. And, , the, the agency that I partnered with is part of Signature Travel networks, so we were able to get them upgrades at, , all of the hotels. And one of the upgrades they had, they had the entire floor of the hotel, they had their own elevator. So it was just a, wow, it was an extra wow factor for that <laugh>. But it was a, it was a fun trip to put together. , I did a trip for, , a friend of mine to South Africa a few years ago, and that one was also a lot of fun to put together for them and just knowing what they were gonna see when they were there.  

Julie 00:10:44 It’s part of the excitement for me is when somebody goes to, to a place for the first time, knowing what they’re gonna see and do there and how amazing it’s gonna be for them and their family. It, I get as excited as they do. So it’s, you know, it’s, it’s, , it’s fun to put these trips together. I would say for myself. , it was kind of a last minute Christmas surprise a few years ago. , many, many years ago I was invited up to, , lake Louise and Banff, , Canada, up in Alberta, Canada for, a business meeting. , and I had been wanting to take my family there for years and years. I talked about it for years. So I put together this trip for us to go up there and, , and my family says it’s the most amazing trip that, that they’ve ever had. And I have to agree, it was, , you know, we went in March and it was bitter cold, but we had just such a, a wonderful time up there and it’s one of my favorite places to, to send , clients to as well. So, , it was just a, a really good trip.  

Beth 00:11:50 So That’s great. They all sound amazing,  

Julie 00:11:54 <laugh>. ,  

Beth 00:11:55 And as someone who ends up being the researcher of the restaurants and stuff, the, the thought of having someone else do all that <laugh> Yeah. That actually sounds like real vacation, rather than the where do you wanna eat? I don’t know. Where do you want to eat? , you’re right. Situation we usually run into. , so you specialize in, in luxury and corporate. Are there, are there other specialties that travel agents have or is that, is that pretty usual that they have specialties?  

Julie 00:12:24 There is, , and you should look for a travel agent that has specialties because they’re gonna know their travel, they’re gonna know their destinations. So I would say, I do know Disneyland and Disney World fairly well, more Disneyland than Disney World, but I stopped doing that a few years ago because, , I don’t know it as well as the agents who specialize in it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So if somebody were to come to me for a Disney trip now, I would refer them to one of my colleagues who really, the Disney has changed, especially post covid. So, , I, I don’t have that expertise and I don’t wanna tell my clients the wrong thing, so I would refer them to somebody else. , the same thing with, , I do specialize in, in Europe and Africa and South America, , and the United States, but I do not specialize in, in Asia travel.  

Julie 00:13:18 Okay. So I would definitely recommend, I have a wonderful colleague that that does, and she knows her destinations, so I would definitely, , recommend to her. So there are travel agents that do specialize in certain things. Some people just do honeymoon travel. Oh, okay. And you, you, you wanna look for those people because they know their stuff, they have the contacts, they have their resources. So yes, definitely look for, , you can ask a travel agent. Do you specialize in this? Do you have experience in this? You know, I, I do Africa, I do South America, so I do have several specialties, but Right. , you know, golf travel, I, I can do golf travel, but it’s not my specialty, but I, but ski travel, absolutely. Okay. So, you know, so there’s travel that specialize in, and you wanna go to them because they, they know their stuff.  

Beth 00:14:11 So, and that brings me to, in addition to, , specialties, like how, what other things when you’re choosing a travel agent should you be looking for?  

Julie 00:14:22 , so I would say look for a travel agent that has had professional training mm-hmm. <affirmative> who has invested in themselves, the industry has changed a lot. And there is not professional training required to be a travel agent. And I’m not going to say that those, those other travel agents are not qualified because that would not be fair for me to, to do that. Some, there are some people that have traveled extensively and they know it, it a destination. But those people that have invested in training and ongoing training, every, every, , location in the world has destination training available to us as travel advisors. , has, has certifi certifications that you can achieve. And those travel agents that invest in themselves in training and knowing their destinations are the travel agents that you wanna work with because, , a newer agent who has not invested in the training may miss something important, especially post covid.  

Julie 00:15:30 There’s just a lot of legal, , ethical, , cultural, , things to consider when you’re traveling, especially internationally. So, , it’s  important to work with a travel agent that has done at least some training. And, and there is, , both Asta, which is the American Society of Travel Advisors, has a training program. , and then the Travel Institute has a certified training program too. So people that have been in the industry a long time, they’ve received training probably from their travel agencies that they worked with, such as myself. , but, , any kind of certification or training that they’ve received really does help them know a destination.  

Beth 00:16:20 And, and I know things have changed in the industry. And if you don’t mind me asking, how do travel agents now get paid?  

Julie 00:16:29 That’s a great question. So I think that most people think that we receive a commission on every single booking that we do. And,  for things like cruises, that, yes, that is the case that we do receive a commission, but that commission is not really keeping up with the industry as far as the amount of work that we do. , with, again, post covid and even before covid, there’s just a lot of research that we do, a lot of, , you know, itinerary building that we do and stuff that, that we do that work for free. And, , but there is a lot of travel that we do that we do not get commissions for. , airline tickets, 95% of travel agents do not get any commission from, from airline tickets. , the industry changed back in the early two thousands and, , you know, travel agents used to get a 10% and then they bumped it down to 5% commission, and now there’s no, no commission.  

Julie 00:17:30 So there are some agent, there are some agencies that will get commissions here and there for airline tickets. But throughout the industry, as a general, when you’re, when you’re booking with a travel agent, they are not getting, , a commission or, a livable commission Right. On, on doing those tickets for you. So, , most agents now, I, or I would say I think that the latest percentage is about 75% of travel agents now charge a, a fee, , either a a a plan to go fee or a consulting fee for their services, , so that they have a livable wage for the amount of work that they do for, for their clients.  

Beth 00:18:14 Yeah. I mean, especially if you’re available 24/7 to the  

Julie 00:18:18 Clients. Right. Well, and then the other thing too to consider is, , that about 30% of the commissions that I do get from hotels and stuff I have to chase after, , especially international destinations. I have probably about 10% of commissions I do not ever get paid for. , some of them are well known brands, <laugh>, you know, just, you know, I have one commission. It took me a year and a half to get paid for, and it was a couple hundred dollars. , so it’s not, it’s not like it was something just to ignore, you know, it was $5. It was, it was a, a significant amount that I was counting on, , receiving for payment for my services. And, , , it took a year and a half to get it, you know, which, and it just,  

Beth 00:19:05 Which in the grand scheme of things, to them, that’s not a lot of money, but that’s a livable amount of money for, you know.  

Julie 00:19:12 Right. Well, and then that, that’s the other thing too, is most people don’t understand that those cl, the travel agents, the commission that we do get, we do not get paid until the trip is done. So, okay. If you’re working with a travel agent on a trip two years from now, they don’t get paid for that trip for two  

Beth 00:19:31 Years. Oh man.  

Julie 00:19:32 So, yeah. So it’s, it’s, you know, income wise we’ve had to make adjustments and there are some travel agents, there’s a lot of old school travel agents that do not charge fees still, and that’s their prerogative to do that. But to keep up with the industry, , more and more travel agents are charging fees so that they can make a livable, you know, so they can keep doing this. I love doing this. I’ve been doing this forever, but I do expect to be paid for my, my time, so. Sure.  

Beth 00:20:00 Yeah. And is that, is, does that cost sort of, is that, you know, it’s a per tripp cost, is it a percentage of the cost to the, the client? Like what do those sort of fees schedules look like?  

Julie 00:20:13 It depends on the trips. Okay. So I have, , my corporate clients that just do, , airfare, , hotel and a car rental when they travel. I don’t charge a fee. I do charge a ticketing fee when I do their, their airline tickets. And part of that is because of the fees that, that, you know, we pay, pay for our services too, for our, cuz I do have, , reservation system access mm-hmm. <affirmative>, , and, , for other trips where it, it’s, it’s really on a trip by trip basis. If I’m doing a lot of, , customized work for someone creating an entire itinerary, then, then I usually charge a per hour fee that I kind of wrap into a per person fee or a per family fee.  

Beth 00:20:58 Okay.  

Julie 00:21:00 So, , and it, and I actually have, one of my clients has said to me, you don’t charge enough. And, and I probably don’t charge enough for what I do, but, , you know, I I don’t wanna price myself out of the industry either, you know, so.  

Beth 00:21:13 Right. Yeah. It’s, it’s definitely that, that balance. , right. And so with the, with this custom itinerary thing, I keep going back to, we’ve done, we’ve done a couple adventures by Disney trips, , and our attraction to that is because everything’s booked for us <laugh>. Right. We just show up. But what I’m hearing is like, that’s what you do as well. Like, I mean, you’re not on the tour or on the trip with, with your clients, , with as a, you know, a local tour guide, but, , you can plan the tours and you can, is is that correct?  

Julie 00:21:55 That is correct, yes. I have several companies that I can work with to, to do tours. And actually when somebody, , the adventures by Disney is a, a different situation, but a lot of the tour companies, , or I’m sorry, a lot of the cruise companies that have shore excursions, they, they have limits on some of those shore excursions. And I can get, I have access to shore excursions that they may not have. So probably, I would say about 60% of my cruise travelers will do shore excursions outside of the cruise company. Oh. With, up with other companies that I recommend, you know, unique things such as Alaska going, you know, seeing the, the dogs, the, the dogsled puppies, you know, just different, unique,  

Beth 00:22:36 Now I wanna go to Alaska <laugh>.  

Julie 00:22:38 Right, exactly. Yeah. , and then I can also do  travel insurance, which is an in a very important component for travel today. , especially with all the flight delays and cancellations, having travel insurance is really important as a travel advisor. I can, , quote insurance and I can sell insurance. I cannot, , advise on insurance. I’m not an insurance agent, so if somebody has particular questions on their insurance policies, then I have to send them to the travel insurance companies, but I can sell travel mm-hmm. <affirmative>, , I, I can pretty much do soup to nuts for a client. So, you know, , going back to the, the flight delay thing, having a travel agent, you could do the trip on your own. I would say, you know, a 30 to 40% of trips you could do on your own if you’re somebody who likes to micromanage things mm-hmm. <affirmative>,  

Julie 00:23:33 , probably working with a travel agent wouldn’t be a great idea because travel agents are supposed to be taking that stress off of you. Right. Those people that don’t want to handle all the nitty gritty stuff, they should work with a travel agent and we can do everything for you. You know, we can do, like I said, the restaurant reservations, the, i I did spa appointments for somebody last week, you know, , tennis lessons for their girls. You know, there’s just a, a good travel agent has the resources to get all of those things taken care of for you so you don’t have to worry about it, so. Right. Yeah.  

Beth 00:24:08 Yeah. It’s, see, we have a different opinion in our family, so I’ll just leave it at that <laugh>, some of us don’t, me, don’t wanna deal with anything and  

Julie 00:24:21 Okay.  

Beth 00:24:21 Some of us like to fly by the seat of our pants, so it’s, , okay.  

Julie 00:24:25 Yeah. <laugh>,  

Beth 00:24:28 It’s, it can get stressful. , so I mean, I think we talked a lot about like when to use, when not to use, , and, and all this great information. Like I feel like I’m not asking something really important. Like what, what else is there that, that we need to know about, , working with you? ,  

Julie 00:24:50 So there’s a few things. So one of them would be, , if you are looking for that bottom dollar bargain, I don’t know if using a travel agent mm-hmm. <affirmative> would be worth it. We are, we are here to save you money, but we, , for me personally, the cheapest airline tickets are basic economy. I do not like to sell basic economy. There is some budget airlines, I do not and will not sell. Right. As a matter of fact, there’s, , a new inter, I won’t say the name of the company, but there’s a new international airline that is on my do not fly list right now, because I had, , some young girls in their twenties going to, , , France this summer and this, they were on a budget airline. And when they booked it with me, I was like, well, you know, but there hadn’t been problems lately with the airline.  

Julie 00:25:43 So I, you know, the, the young girls, they couldn’t afford other flights. So, you know, okay, let’s do this. Every single one of their flights was canceled by the airline with no rebooking of a new flight. I was on the phone for three and a half hours for one of the flights to get them on a flight to get them back to the United States. Fortunately, they had travel engines, but they would’ve been stuck in Lisbon, , for the flight home that was, they just gave them no alternative for a new flight. And because they’re a budget airline, they didn’t have to put them on another airline. So that’s another important thing that I think that travelers should know, especially now with flight delays and cancellations. Look at the terms and conditions and the, the contract of carrier Okay. Of the airlines that you work with.  

Julie 00:26:35 If you book flights on your own, well, even if you work with a travel agent, you should still know those conditions. The budget airlines are not required to put you on another flight. Now, the Department of Transportation is trying to change things with that, but, , right. As of now, they are not required to put you on an alternate flight if that is part of their contract of carriage. Hmm. , the major airlines, the three major US airlines have different conditions where if their flight is canceled and within three hours or four hours, they, they will make every attempt to get you on another flight if there is a flight available. Right. , in, in Europe, their, their laws are changing there. Okay. , so again, the major airlines can put you on new flights, , if your flight is delayed or canceled after a certain time period. , but the budget airlines, again, there’s just no, you know, if it’s in their contract of cares that they are not required to do that, then they, then they will not do that. So, okay. Fortunately, these, these travelers because of European law, they actually work compensated for all of their flights. We, we submitted paperwork and, , I don’t know if they’ve actually been paid yet, but because of European law mm-hmm. <affirmative> regarding travel or flight delays and cancellations, they, the airline is required to compensate them for their, their, , their flight cancellation.  

Beth 00:28:06 So Wow. That’s  

Julie 00:28:08 Great. And travel agents know those, those laws and stuff too. We, you know, a good travel agent will keep up with the ever-changing, and I will say ever-changing <laugh>, it is, it is, you know, , conditions of of contract, of carriage and, and, , refunds the airline, you know, change policies and refund policies are constantly changing. So we keep up with, with all of that.  

Beth 00:28:33 Yeah. I had no idea that depending on the level, I, so what makes it a budget? Is it the level of service or, , dollar amounts spent on seats, or, or is it just, eh, objective <laugh>?  

Julie 00:28:49 Well, for those of us that have been in the industry for a while, we know which airlines are the budget airlines. That, that, , I have to be careful what I say here, but, ,  

Beth 00:28:59 I know I don’t wanna get you in trouble, <laugh>  

Julie 00:29:02 Shortcomings with customer service care. So, , you know, a perfect exa example is my, my father when we lived in Phoenix a few years ago, was on a budget airline to go home after Christmas. And his flight was canceled. There wasn’t another flight on that airline for another three days. And fortunately he was able to stay with us, but some airlines don’t have service every day. , you know, they don’t have multiple flights a day. If you’re, if you’re looking, if you were looking at flights, especially in the United States, and there’s a difference between, , an airline, if there’s a difference of $50 between, a budget kind of no name airline mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and one of the four, and I, and I would consider Southwest one of those great airlines that Okay. Is very, very flexible. So they’re, they are, they’re considered a budget airline, but their customer service is wonderful. Right. So they would, they’re in the top tier with the other airlines. If you had a difference of say, $50 between a airline ticket, go with the airline that has multiple flights a day, so that if you are in a situation where your flight is canceled, you have other options and you can get out to your destination. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, , the other thing I would tell travelers is allow as much flexibility in your schedule as possible. It is just a norm now that you are gonna have  

Beth 00:30:33 Right  

Julie 00:30:34 Flight delays just between weather and, , under staffing. So allow that time. So if your flight is delayed, you know, if your honeymoon is the next day, or, or you have to go to a wedding, allow two days to travel instead of one day to travel. , put pad your, your travel schedule if you can, to allow for those unforeseen circstances that can come up.  

Beth 00:31:01 Right. Yeah. It, it definitely seems like you have to <laugh> have to be a little more patient. And, , and I like that, like just pad it. And, , my parents have al they used to cruise more and they would always pad one day, but it’s good to know, like maybe a second day is right  

Julie 00:31:21 A little more. Yeah. I have some people cruising next week and they wound up, , they wound up going, padding for two days mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and just enjoying the city that the crew city that they’re going out of for an extra day. So, you know, the weather’s warm where they’re coming from, it’s super cold right now. So, you know, <laugh>, they just included that into the vacation, so, yeah.  

Beth 00:31:39 That’s a great idea. And are you finding that, , with doing some of the corporate and luxury, are you finding people are taking now that they can work remotely? , do you find people taking longer trips or, or going away for, or sort of getting away for longer times?  

Julie 00:31:55 I think post covid people are taking more meaningful trips.  

Beth 00:31:59 Hmm.  

Julie 00:32:00 So trips that people may have put off in the past. Okay. They’re taking advantage of it to travel when they can. , and there are sometimes some hoops to jump through, such as that trip to Switzerland last year, that was a trip of a lifetime for them. It really was. It was her dream trip. She wanted to be able to do it while her girls were still young and, you know, not married and stuff. And, , so there was some hoops that we had to jp through because of covid restrictions and airline restrictions and, you know, train, train restrictions. It was just every, everywhere we turned there was something that came up and we just had to kind of work through it to, to, you know, to get the trip. And she still, she still says it was just such an amazing trip. , one thing I forgot to tell you about that trip is when they landed on the ground in Geneva, Switzerland, that morning changed their requirements for the covid testing. So they did not have to test Oh. Every other day while they were there. So it’s, talk about ever changing, , conditions, you know, it’s just, you just never know. And, you know, with Covid still out there, that restrictions could come in place in the future. I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet, so. Right. People just need to roll with the punches. <laugh>, you know, <laugh>.  

Beth 00:33:24 Yeah. Which is, which is sometimes I feel like when you’re traveling, especially on those big trips, it’s, it’s harder to roll with the punches because you’ve put this investment and you’ve been waiting your lifetime to do it and Absolutely. And so it, it’s definitely you have to remind yourself like, this is gonna like, it’s fine. We will get through this and, and, and on to what we’re trying to do.  

Julie 00:33:45 Well, and I think a, a little kindness goes a long way, you know, as travelers are dealing with all of this, so are their travel advisors, and we’re doing the best we can too. I would say one thing that I’ve seen with, , some of my colleagues and stuff is that people have, people just really need to be kind. Right. There’s been a, there’s been a little bit of demanding, there’s been a lot of impatience. , I had, I had a a, a client last spring who called me up, the circstances were beyond my control and just screamed at me on the phone. And he is no longer a client of mine, <laugh>. because I have my own business, I do get to pick and choose who I work with and, , I think I deserve better. , you know, I outlied the, , the, the obstacles that they would face before the trip. And I have everything in writing. I put, I build a, a custom itinerary for my clients that includes everything including the weather conditions, so they know how to  pack.

Beth 00:34:50 Oh man.  

Julie 00:34:52 <laugh>. Yeah. I put that in, , you know, eight to 10 days before the trip and, and my, , itineraries are accessed by, , digital, by phone or iPad and stuff. So they have all the information they need right there. And, , so I would just say exercise some kindness. Travel agents are overworked right now. We are underpaid <laugh> really for what we do, but we love what we do, so we continue to do it and, , just be, be kind and be pa as patient as you can be if you’re gonna work with the traveler gym.  

Beth 00:35:24 So yeah. I, I think that’s great advice overall for everything with everything. Yeah. Like, , be patient with the hotel workers. We’re Disney vacation, , members, and nothing makes me more mad than people being mean to cast members, , when we’re in the park. Oh, are you there?  

Julie 00:35:51 Yeah, I, yeah, I’m here.  

Beth 00:35:54 , and when people are guests are ma are mean to cast members, I just, oh, blah blah. So it’s like just, just everyone just be kind and, and patient out there and, and we’ll all, we’ll all get through this. , this information is amazing. , it’s a lot of things I did not know, so this was great. , so I, I’m sure a lot of other people will, we’ll learn a lot. , so now I always do sort of a fun, fun question at the end. , well, I think they’re fun. I don’t know if anyone else, <laugh> <laugh>. , so what, what is your, if you’re going on a road trip, what is your favorite snack to pack?  

Julie 00:36:37 Ooh, my favorite snack. , I would have to say strawberry Twizzlers.  

Beth 00:36:45 Ooh, that’s a good one.  

Julie 00:36:47 So, and I’ve, I’ve done many road trips, so <laugh>  

Beth 00:36:50 So you can tell you’ve spent time in Arizona, you know, not to pack chocolate <laugh>.  

Julie 00:36:54 Right, exactly. Yes. <laugh>, I would say Chex Mix would be my second choice. Probably <laugh>,  

Beth 00:37:02 That’s a, that’s one of my current ones that I’ve been, , been munching on in the, the road trips that we’ve been on. , <laugh>, what would be sort of your, if you got to plan on your dream trip, what would that dream trip be?  

Julie 00:37:19 , I have two. Machu Picchu. , I’ve always wanted to go there and I’m gonna make it happen in the next few years because I’m not getting any younger. And then the other one, , would be, I have always wanted to hike Kilimanjaro and I have that on my, on my schedule to do in 2025, so. Nice. Yes. Yep. I’ve always, I’ve always wanted to do that. So those are my two big dream trips.  

Beth 00:37:43 So you, you are an active vacation taker, it sounds like you like active vacations?  

Julie 00:37:50 , I do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yes. , I, during Covid I started a, a a a road to more to better fitness, I guess. Okay. , I would say. And I, I do about, , five to six miles a day now. So, yes. So definitely I, if you had asked me five, 10 years ago, I think my answer would’ve been different. I’ve always wanted to do Kilimanjaro, but I think I would not have had the stamina to do it. And I think now I do have the stamina, so  

Beth 00:38:15 That’s great. Yeah. We are not, , very good at sitting still on vacation, so I appreciate the  

Julie 00:38:21 Okay.  

Beth 00:38:22 The active locations for sure. , what is, I think I know the answer cuz we talked about it earlier, but what is your favorite trip you’ve taken so far?  

Julie 00:38:32 Probably the trip to Lake Louise. , the other, the other really amazing trip was probably, , , back in 2017, we road tripped from Phoenix to Portland, Oregon. And then oh, , went, picked my husband up at the airport and then went down to Silverton, Oregon and camped out for three days for the solar eclipse and Oh wow. That was just, we had, we’ve road tripped up the coast of California before, but this trip was just, , just amazing. You know, we, we went all over California, we went all over Oregon, , plus the camping out, , you know, for three days to see the solar eclipse right at the epicenter of the eclipse was we’ve kind of become solar eclipse junkies now, so we’re like waiting for the next US solar eclipse so we can do the same thing. So that’s,  

Beth 00:39:21 Yeah. That’s so cool.  

Julie 00:39:22 That trip was pretty amazing, so  

Beth 00:39:25 That sounds fun. , what, beyond all the awesome travel trips you’ve already provided us, what, what’s your favorite trip travel trip  

Julie 00:39:38 That I’ve taken?  

Beth 00:39:40 No, like a tip. I’m sorry. I said trip on a tip.  

Julie 00:39:42 Oh, I’m sorry. Favorite travel,  

Beth 00:39:44 Travel tip tip.  

Julie 00:39:46 , my favorite travel tip would be, , pack a few things in your carry on luggage just in case your flight is canceled or delayed. And then the other tip that I guess that I would give is, a friend of mine makes these wonderful scarves with mm-hmm <affirmative> a hidden pocket in them. So when you’re traveling around, you can actually put a little wallet or something in it and have the carp scarf around your neck and nobody’s, you know, it’s, , you know, when you’re dealing with pocks and pockets and stuff like that, it’s just a, a great way to keep keep everything secure. So I think that would be my other travel tip.  

Beth 00:40:30 That’s a great one. Yeah. And so I know you take road trips or have, , what is on your, what is on your playlist when you,  

Julie 00:40:40 , <laugh>? So for a while it was, , the Hamilton soundtrack, but, , I, for me, always new wave eighties music. , the other thing too is we do have Sirius XM and it’s a just a, it’s a family tradition that we listen to this channel called Radio Classics. And it’s old time radio shows with Dragnet. , the, the cop shows are our favorite. So Dragnet Johnny Dollar. It’s just a, we’ve done a million road trips and that’s always something that we, that we have to listen to when we go on our road trips, so  

Beth 00:41:17 That’s cool. What, I mean, , what is your favorite road trip you’ve taken?  

Julie 00:41:24 ,  

Julie 00:41:27 I would say <laugh>, the very first road trip to the Redwoods that I took with my, and it was, , fraught with a few, , calamities along the way. <laugh>. So when at the time it was stressful, but looking back on it, we can laugh about it now. I had, , my son, he was, , 10 years old, had a brand new car and a six month old puppy that went with us on the trip. And , you know, I tried to make every trip including my own family’s trips memorable too, so that I had, my son was very into, , , vintage things like Elvis and , you know, that kind of stuff. So we stated this motor lodge in Palm Springs that, , had, at one time Elvis had stayed there, Mar Marilyn Monroe had stayed there, you know, it had a lot of history and stuff and, but when we stayed there it was way past, its, it’s heyday and, , you know, there was bugs on the floor and there was a couple above us fighting in the middle of the night. We wound up getting, getting up up and getting in the car at four o’clock in the morning to go on to our next destination, you know, our next stop. , but , it was absolutely incredible and we still look back at it on it as one of the most amazing trips that we had, so.  

Beth 00:42:54 Very cool.  

Julie 00:42:55 Yeah.  

Beth 00:42:55 Well, Julie, I I totally appreciate, your time and your expertise and I know everyone will, , find this very beneficial. , I will make sure I have a link in the show notes to Wander and Bloom so that , people can thank  

Julie 00:43:12 You. Well, appreciate  

Beth 00:43:13 That. I mean, I think a lot of people, ,  

Julie 00:43:16 We love talking about travel, so anytime <laugh>,  

Beth 00:43:20 So, , again, I appreciate your, , time today and , thanks for listening.  

Julie 00:43:27 Well, thank you. You have a good day. You  

Beth 00:43:29 Too. Thanks again to Julie for sharing her expertise. There was so much great information in that conversation. And remember, head over to the show notes on the website at theroamingyeti.com to find links on how to follow Julie. And thank you for listening. I hope these episodes inspire you to get out in Roam even in your own neighborhood. Please subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes. And if you like what we’re doing here, please leave a review and a rating also to really help support us, please head to Yetitoshop.com to pick up some Roman Yeti March. We’ll talk to you soon and keep roaming.