What to expect (i.e. steps or checkpoints) as we work with you to craft your travel journey
Thank you for your interest in planning a trip with Christopher Travel LLC. In order to move forward with your trip we need some information from you and we also want to be sure you understand the planning process.
As travel advisors our goal is to ensure your vacation matches your expectations, so we want to understand what you are hoping to see, do and experience. We first ask for a simple list of your travel priorities. Some people have a literal exact checklist of places they want to see and things they want to do. (Paris: Eiffel Tower, Mona Lisa, overnight in Normandy Beaches, and day trip to Chartes) Others have a list based on their interests rather than specific locations. (Paris: romance, food, art and history) Most people have a list that is a combo (Paris: Eiffel Tower, Overnight in Normandy, some sort of foodie experience) We ask that you consider your destination and discuss with your fellow travelers all the “must dos” and “would like to dos”. It is imperative that you talk this over with everyone in your travel party and give us a concrete list. If you aren’t sure of all the things there are to see/do in your destination just give us interests of everyone in the party and we can easily suggest things. Even if your list is not even a list and just the simple statement, “We want to relax on the beach with no obligations or activities” we need to know that. And we need to know that everyone in your party has had a chance to give their input.
In addition to knowing what you want to see and do we need to know what you are able to spend. No one really wants to talk about budget, but it’s really important. It’s virtually impossible to plan a trip unless we have an idea of how much you expect to spend. We try to get the absolute most value for our clients, but we can’t do that unless you know what your expectations are.
With all of that as background here is a general list of steps to expect as we work with you to craft your travel journey:
- Phone consultation. Let’s chat to make sure we understand what you're looking for. We are also available to meet in person by appointment.
- Send us your list of priorities.
- Let us know how you’re thinking about your budget.
- Review your proposed itinerary & our Terms & Conditions. We do the work and get your feedback on the trip. This is the fun part for us and where we really get to know you and what you want out of your journey!
- We make the first set of changes, if required.
- If you have a custom trip (i.e. not a cruise or land tour) and want to make a second set of planning revisions then we will invoice you for a $200 “Plan to Go” fee, refundable after you complete your travel (see “How We are Paid”).
- Confirm your itinerary. When you agree on a final itinerary, we will send you i) an invoice with ii) a travel insurance election, iii) additional terms and conditions provided by specific travel providers, when available and iv) a credit card authorization. Please note that pricing and availability are subject to change until you receive a confirmation that your travel is booked.
- Review your travel details and documents. Once payment for your trip is processed (either payment directly to a travel provider, multiple travel provider, or in the case of a custom bundled package to Christopher Travel LLC), you will receive i) a receipt and ii) a checklist of items for you to review travel documents. Note that if you are making an initial deposit followed by additional payment(s) we will request that you authorize use of your credit card for each payment and we will send a receipt for each payment. You agree to double check our work by reviewing everything in the travel documents is correct – we will send you a link for you to review and to sign electronically.
- Final Itinerary. Upon your confirmation that your travel documents are in order and correct we will send you a complete itinerary with all travel documents attached.
- Enjoy your journey! Upon your return expect a phone call and a follow up, we want to hear what you loved and your unfiltered thoughts. We build our business on referrals and recommendations!
How we are paid: planning fee, commissions, and/or pricing for custom trips
We are usually paid a commission from travel providers like a hotel and in instances like this you will pay the travel provider directly. For handling the reservation the travel provider pays us a commission. Note that the rates we book for you are typically the same and/or provide additional value (i.e. we may be able to find a hotel rate that includes breakfast) versus booking directly with the hotel (please let us know if you find a better rate). Through our affiliation with Travel Leaders we have access to resources and options that may not be available to the public. Other types of providers that pay commissions include car rental providers, travel visa service coordinators, insurance providers, and some air transport providers. This list of commission providers is not exhaustive but is provided to give you a sense that it is a payment model used by many service providers in the travel industry.
No fees will apply to single destination journeys (i.e. one round-trip flight and one hotel), pre-packaged land tours, or to cruises (including assistance with pre- and post-cruise stays).
If you have a custom trip and want to make a second set of planning revisions, then we may invoice you for a $200 “Plan to Go” fee and you will receive an invoice for the fee payable to Christopher Travel LLC. Note that the $200 fee is non-refundable if you cancel your trip or you decide not to proceed with your travel. Otherwise the fee will be refunded after you travel.
“Booking” fees may also apply for vendors that do not pay commission. Although the vast majority of vacations do not require booking fees we periodically find a vendor we think is a great match for your trip, but does not pay a commission. In this circumstance a booking fee will be applied and included on your quote. Such a fee will be applied and included in the quote on the proposal and you will receive an invoice for the fee payable to Christopher Travel LLC. Booking fees are most common with lodging at National Parks or Vacation Rental type properties.
Any fees charged are to ensure we are compensated for our time in planning your trip from start to finish with all the details you need to leave with confidence. We do all the research, save you time, get you the most value for your budget, answer questions and offer support for all aspects of planning your trip. Our finished journeys are amazing with comprehensive itineraries seamlessly put together with all your trip information and documents.
If we are planning a custom package, usually for groups and/or trips to foreign countries, we present one total per person price in U.S. dollars covering the many different elements associated with such a trip to include items like hotels, restaurants, tours, transportation, entrance fees, destination management companies, special event costs, commissions, credit card processing fees, foreign exchange risk, foreign transaction fees, etc. Though there may be these and other elements that go in the cost trip payable to multiple providers, you will see one invoiced price in U.S. dollars payable to Christopher Travel LLC -- our aim is to make that price competitive and offer you the best value for your budget.
We reserve the right to discuss alternate compensation plans with you should your needs fall outside the situations discussed above and we are happy to answer any further questions you may have about our compensation for your particular situation.