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It may not be obvious to travelers who have not used a travel advisor but the value a trusted travel advisor can provide is immense. The advisor's firsthand knowledge of your destination, transportations options, and established relationships with hoteliers and tour providers drastically improve the quality of your trip from the get go. Your travel experience is then further enhanced through access to exclusive amenities and experiences. However, perhaps the two most valuable reasons to use an advisor are to save you time in planning and peace of mind that an expert has your back when things don't go as planned and you need them most.

From Virtuoso Travel Blog:

Professional travel advisors provide expert counsel to clients.  They consider people’s leisure time their most precious resource and take a long-term view of planning for a lifetime of travel experiences. Virtuoso travel advisors have firsthand knowledge of destinations and extensive expertise in planning luxury vacations.  They look at travel planning as a collaborative activity with clients, where they help tailor an experience to the clients’ wishes and interests. Virtuoso travel advisors are able to bring added value to their clients through the relationships they enjoy through the network.  And, unlike do-it-yourself travelers, they are there for clients if something goes wrong during the trip.

  • Value: Through its immense combined buying power, Virtuoso negotiates added-value offers exclusively available to its clients. From room upgrades, complimentary meals and spa treatments to private tours and transfers, these amenities are included at no additional cost.

  • Knowledge: The experience and expertise of a Virtuoso travel advisor ensures that clients will have a superlative travel experience designed to meet their specific needs. They provide ideas you can’t find anywhere else as well as VIP access to special experiences that aren’t readily available. Virtuoso strongly supports travel agent accreditation, and provides hundreds of training opportunities to its advisors to develop knowledge of specific destinations, specialties and skills.

  • Relationships: Virtuoso travel advisors have access to an exclusive network of more than 1,700 travel providers around the world. These connections mean that clients of Virtuoso travel advisors are treated as VIPs wherever they go, with special attention and personalized service. They will enjoy rare experiences courtesy of local experts in virtually any country they wish to visit.

  • Time: Because travel advisors are experts in planning and booking vacations, they can create a wonderful itinerary for you in a more time-efficient way than you could on your own. That’s especially true for complex trips involving groups, multiple stops and several travel providers.

  • Inspiration: Only Virtuoso clients can explore the world through our award-winning publications. New clients receive Virtuoso Traveler, which welcomes them to the world of Virtuoso. Seasoned travelers receive Virtuoso Life, with insightful articles that span the globe. 

  • Peace of Mind: Like a valued investment manager, Virtuoso travel advisors are entrusted with managing the most precious of assets – a client’s leisure time. Working with an expert who knows a client’s preferences and the best options for the desired vacation eliminates risk, and results in exceptional experiences. Clients can rely on their Virtuoso travel advisor before, during and after every trip.

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What to look for in a travel advisor?

A good travel advisor is your trusted partner in developing travel experiences that are custom tailored to your preferences, your personality, and your style. A good travel advisor's number one priority is the success of your travel experience and for each client that can mean something totally different, even when traveling to the same destination. When you have established a good partnership with an advisor you should feel that the advisor "gets you",  understands how you like to travel, and can anticipate what types of experiences are important to you.

From Virtuoso Travel Blog:

  • Expertise in an interest of yours such as adventure travel, food and wine, or family vacations

  • Experience with destinations of interest, including recent travels there

  • A track record of satisfied clients

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How much will it cost to use a travel agent?

Travel agents are compensated through commissions from booking hotels and tours and through planning fees charged to clients. Planning fees range in amount based on the complexity of the trip which is usually determined by number of locations, size of the group, and unique elements added to the itinerary. Planning fees are non-refundable and are in place to protect the advisor's time spent researching the trip, conversing with hoteliers and tour providers, and building the itinerary. Planning fees may be waived for a straightforward hotel booking, where the client already knows exactly what they want. 

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What is Virtuoso and how can it benefit you as a traveler?

The Virtuoso network is an amazing asset that we can use to make our clients' travel experience truly amazing. Not only are we able to provide unparalleled ammenties for our clients, but the personal relationships we are able to build with hoteliers and providers ensure that they are treated as VIPs throughout their travels.

From Virtuoso Travel Blog:

Virtuoso is a by-invitation-only network of more than 11,400 luxury travel advisors in North and South America, the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Virtuoso travel advisors work for more than 770 independent travel agency locations in 42 countries, and have more than 1.2 million affluent leisure travelers as clients.

The hallmark of Virtuoso is fostering close relationships among member agencies, preferred travel suppliers and affluent travelers. More than 1,700 luxury travel providers, including hotels, cruise lines, airlines, tour operators and government tourism boards, are part of the network.Virtuoso member agencies generate $15.5 billion annually in travel sales, making the network the most powerful in the luxury travel segment.

What is Luxury Travel?

Luxury travel is being freed from many of the challenges that encumber modern travel: too many options, too many opinions, too many tourist traps, too many boxes to check, and so on...Luxury is confidence that you are getting the best travel experience available and one that is customized to your preferences and needs. Benefits from having this confidence can take many forms: reduced time spent on your own planning efforts, knowing you will be in a great hotel and treated like a VIP when you arrive, excitement that the tours and experiences that await will meet your expectations, feeling that you have a trusted parter to assist you should you need support at any time during your trip. It can be difficult to have confidence in these areas when you book travel yourself and especially when booking through an online, discount provider.

From Virtuoso Travel Blog:

The definition of luxury travel is subjective and constantly evolving as people’s vacation tastes shift. It can be characterized by the following:

  • Authentic experiences that enrich travelers’ lives, such as taking part in a cultural tradition with locals

  • An itinerary tailored precisely to the needs and wants of the traveler

  • VIP access to rare privileges, such as backstage access at a sold-out show

  • Discovering an emerging or little-visited destination, including space

  • Exceptional value for the price, which could include extras such as credits and airport transfers

  • Products and services that provide a superior experience, including first-class or business-class air travel, five-star hotels, luxury cruises on upscale lines, and exclusive-use travel such as private jets, yachts and villas

What does "Ultreia" mean?

Ultreia is a word commonly associated with the Camino de Santiago, "the Way of Saint James", a walking pilgrimage of more than 500 miles that ends on the western coast of Spain. "Ultreia" is a common salutation from one pilgrim to another encouraging them to press forward, continue onwards, and go beyond. Ultreia Travel has embraced the passion shared amongst pilgrims to articulate its passion for providing clients with experiences that exceed their imaginations. The symbol of the scallop shell represented in the Ultreia Travel logo also originates with the Camino de Santiago and is the symbol that marks the trail of the pilgrimage guiding the travelers and assuring them they are on the right path. Many pilgrims also wear or carry a scallop shell with them during their journey to identify them as pilgrims as they often seek shelter or donations from churches and other supports along their way .

"Unexpected, unscripted moments that go beyond the guide book

transform a great trip into an exceptional travel experience"

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Should I buy travel insurance?

For many clients, travel insurance provides peace of mind to protect their travel investment. We have seen first hand the value they provide when trips do not go as planned due to adverse weather, unexpected health issues, or changes in international politics. Unfortunately, we have also witnessed the significant stress created by such events when travel insurance was not purchased. We work hand-in-hand with clients in this situation to recover as much as possible, but often there is a financial loss to bear. For this reason we strongly recommend travel insurance for trips where clients are making significant investments.

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