Use a Travel Advisor
I have a confession to make. I’ve never personally used a travel advisor. My high school used one for our DisneyWorld band trip and my University of Wisconsin-Madison study abroad to Xi’an, China used one but never for my personal trips. I come from a family who’s idea of vacation is road trips and staying with family or friends. Creating itineraries and the details of booking hotels, transfers, flights, and excursions was one of my favorite hobbies. Therefore in my mind, it’s always made sense for me to just book my vacations on my own.
My outlook on using a travel advisor changed when I planned a Costa Rican yoga retreat for my mom and me. We both love yoga and wanted a fun mother-daughter tropical, relaxing vacation. Everything I was seeing online was over our budget. I found a cheap website to book our yoga retreat where we’d get two meals and two yoga classes a day and the stay at the resort. It looked perfect! It was in the jungle right on the beach and in our budget. We booked it and were very excited for our trip!
After I booked the resort stay, I became a little nervous. Booking the transfers we would need to the yoga retreat resort intimidated me. The transfers included flying from San Juan, Costa Rica to a very small town and then from there getting picked up and driven 1.5 hours to the resort. Even though I was nervous, I got it all booked and we were on our way!
The flight from San Juan to Golfito was on the tiniest plane I’ve ever been on. My mom is not a fan of heights and this plane did not help that. Our 1.5 hour taxi ride brought us through the very remote countryside of Costa Rica. When we first arrived at the “resort”, the power was out due to a recent storm. Good thing we brought our headlamp flashlights. We were in a cabin with no hot water for showers. This place could not even be considered glamping. But the food was delicious and the yoga in the jungle was relaxing. We got to hike through the jungle with a local guide, horseback ride on the beach and make chocolate bars from real cacao beans. Overall we had a nice trip with some lasting memories.
Neither of us were expecting how rustic the “resort” was and how much we’d feel like we were absolutely in the middle of nowhere. We were definitely out of our comfort zones. Although we maybe saved some money, a travel advisor has connections with travel supply companies that are vetted and trusted to provide safe and enjoyable experiences. Next time I travel, I’ll be using myself as a travel advisor that now has a whole network of connections to make sure I have the exact trip I was envisioning.