Ashley Theis, the Charlotte travel advisor who owns and operates The Constant Wayfarer, is on a mission to plan your dream trip. With her boutique agency, she crafts curated adventures, perfectly tailored to who you are, what you love, and how you like to travel, all so you can relax and enjoy your dream trip and the meaningful moments that will become part of your story.
She took a break from globe-trotting to answer five questions about trip planning, using an agent, and what’s happening in the travel world today.
What types of trips are ideal for using your services?
Any type! I plan two week European vacations, African safaris, honeymoons, babymoons, girl’s trips and weekend getaways… even staycations. No trip is too big or too small.
What if we aren’t taking a big trip, like an international trip or a honeymoon, but rather want to have a really memorable week in, say, NYC or Chicago or at the Tetons?
My goal is to curate trips for my clients to most destinations so if they aren’t ready or don’t have the time for a long international trip, I can create a shorter domestic trip that really utilizes their time and gives them the opportunity to experience a new place. To me, it’s not necessarily about how long you are gone but the experience you have while you are there. My number one goal is to make each trip memorable and designed perfectly for you.
I’ve never worked with an agent! What can you do that I can’t?
There are so many things that a travel advisor does that is so much more than just being better at Google then my clients. I am constantly educating myself on Covid entry requirements (a new logistic we have to navigate these days), new hotel openings, new travel insurance options, and the latest news within the travel industry. Not only that, but a lot of my time is spent networking and meeting travel suppliers in the industry and utilizing those connections to make my clients’ trip even more memorable.
Because of my partnership with travel suppliers all over the world, from hotel managers to tour guides to drivers etc., my clients have a VIP experience they couldn’t get booking on their own. That means access to behind the scenes private tours, upgrades and extra amenities at the best hotels and personalized service. I act as my clients’ advocate from the creation of the trip all the way until they return home, helping them navigate any changes in covid entry requirements, flight cancellations, lost luggage… you name it! My clients don’t spend hours on hold with an airline or Expedia. I am the one who handles all of that so they can have peace of mind while they travel and enjoy the experience.
Can you work within a certain budget? I would love to work with a travel agent but I don’t have a huge amount to set aside for that portion of my trip.
Yes! I do work with most budgets and can customize a trip that fits all your needs while doing my best provide the best value for your vacation. Most travel advisors do charge a planning fee for our time curating your trip. This fee depends on the number of days you are traveling, the number of people traveling and the destination.
As a Charlotte travel advisor, what is the time frame of working with you versus when my travel is occurring? Do I need to plan far in advance?
Planning in advance is always helpful. Covid has brought a new dynamic as destinations are reopening and entry requirements are changing but we have seen a huge increase in the demand for travel. That means that starting the planning process as early as you can is still key in order to get availability for in demand destinations. Typically I say 3-6 months for domestic and 6-12 for international, but I can provide a quick turn around when needed. We are already seeing a lot of availability issues for end of 2021 and into 2022 as trips from 2020 are being rebooked and so many are just ready to get back out and explore the world. Also check your passport!!! Passport processing times are longer then ever so making sure you’re passport is not expired and starting that process early is super important right now.
Do you provide quotes? What is the process like, is it a phone call, a meeting?
Of course! After a client contacts me by filling out the Plan Your Trip form on my website, we set up a time to meet on the phone, on zoom, or if they are local, at a coffee shop to go over the details. This gives me the opportunity to get to know the traveler and find out what makes them tick. What they like to do in their spare time, what vacation memories they have, what experiences they don’t want to repeat, and the vision they have for their trip. From there, I start curating the trip and send them a proposal. We tweak the proposal until they are 100% happy and then I take care of booking everything from the flights to hotels to tour guides even dining reservations, private shopping experiences and spa appointments.
My goal is for my clients to not worry about anything and just pack their bags and enjoy their vacation. Prior to their departure I advise them on Covid testing (when to get tested, where to go and what documents they need with them) as well as sending them a hard copy and a mobile version of their itinerary so they have all the info they will need. While they are gone, I am on hand in case they need anything at all and when they return I love to follow up to hear about the memories they made on their trip and start planning the next one!