What Working in the Travel Industry Taught Me About Travel

15 October 2014


I'd like for it to be known that my time in Hawaii hasn't been completely spent lying on the beach watching sunsets and rainbows. In fact, I good portion of my time was in an office, working as a reservations specialist for a tour company. My time here has opened up doors to so many opportunities in the travel industry and taught me a lot about travel in general. Moreover, it helped me reflect on myself and learn about my own travel goals.

1//I want to travel while I'm young
Time and time again I was contacted at work with the question "I have a cane/walker/wheel chair, will I be able to do this tour?" or "I get tired easily, are there lots of rest breaks on this tour?"

First of all, congrats to these troopers for getting out there and seeing the world despite their age!

I, however, do not want to be that person.

I want to take advantage of the time in my life when I have nothing physically holding me back. The time in my life when living off of fast food and getting hardly any sleep is fine as long as it means I can save up for a plane ticket. The time in my life when I can jump off a 40-foot cliff. The time in my life when my body can handle trying sketchy street food. The time in my life when I have the energy to go to a museum during the day and party at night.

I could save my money for that day some time in the future but unfortunately that will be a time when I will not fully experience travel as much as I can right now.

2//I want to travel before I have kids
Don't get me wrong, if I ever have kids I intend to make sure they are worldly. I'll raise them with both English and French spoken in the home, their palettes will know foreign tastes from a young age, and, when they're old enough, I want them to see the world too.

However, another question I encountered daily at work was "I have kids, will this tour keep them interested? Do you think they could last on a tour this long?" This was usually followed by exasperated sighs and one woman even admitted "Once you have kids, everything gets more complicated, ya know?"

I'm sure one day it will be great to have children but right now I am not ashamed to admit that I just want to be selfish. At this stage of my life I want to focus my time, energy, and money on cultivating myself before I have to worry about supporting another person.

3//I want to travel when I can afford it
Allow me to rant for a hot second but why the fuck does everyone think they deserve a discount? By far the email/call I receive most often is "Hey I'm booking two/three tours can I get a discount?"

First of all, on a business level that makes no sense. You just admitted to me you're going to buy them anyways so why would I give you a cheaper price? Secondly, if you truly need a lower price, you shouldn't be buying it in the first place.

As one of my favorite quotes by Oscar Wilde so eloquently puts it: “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”

Do you really need to buy that expensive tour or can you accomplish that same agenda on your own for a cheaper price? If you like the convenience of a tour then that's what you pay for.

I, however, being a Cheapy McCheapskates know that if I want to make travel a priority in my life then I must be willing to make the sacrifices to afford it which can sometimes take some creativity.

4//My gut has the best instinct
This isn't something I noticed right away. It took months of working a phone line before I understood the pattern. Day after day of people calling in, not to book a reservation but just to chat.

"Hey I kind of have this itinerary idea (5 minutes of explaining their travel plans later) What do you think?"

I couldn't understand this need for people to call for reassurance for a plan they had already quite well created when I realized, how many times have I myself done this very behavior? How many times have I gone on to travel forums, written out my entire travel plan that was already fully fleshed out and researched just to get that encouragement from someone else? At what point did I stop trusting my own judgement?

From now on, I intend to listen to my own intuition more and stop looking for reinforcement from others.

What's something you've recently learned about your travel goals?

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