Encino, California Travel Agent
White-Glove Service for Family Travel
Vacations often are the best—and sometimes the only—quality time a family has together so it is important for me to plan in a way that everyone can enjoy. I don’t want either parent to have to worry about the details of the trip. They need to know that I am always behind the scenes looking after them so they can relax and enjoy their time together.
It’s also important that every day brings a highlight for each member of the family. I get to know each family member’s likes and dislikes so I can plan a trip that is exceptional for everyone in the family. Having traveled with my two boys as they grew up, I can anticipate the needs of families with children at different ages.
When children are young, having connecting rooms is a must. Hotels with swimming pools are a big plus because they give families a way to unwind together.
Being careful not to over-schedule each day is key. I also find ways to make education and sightseeing fun. The right guide will find ways to keep kids engaged. Many children enjoy adding a competitive element or challenge like a scavenger hunt to museum visits and city tours.
I also look for experiences that everyone in a family will enjoy. In Japan, I set up a meeting with a wonderful Buddhist monk whose family has been monks for five centuries. He can make Buddhism accessible to everyone and is endlessly patient in answering kid’s questions. I also have arranged for clients to watch sumo wrestlers compete and train and, even to have a private training session with a coach.
I try to make every member of the family feel special. In Ecuador, one of my contacts knew someone who could sew the names of the children on hand-made dolls. I had them placed in their room at the Hacienda Zuleta, a working farm in the Andes where you can learn local crafts and explore on foot, bike or horseback. The kids were thrilled with the dolls and their stay.
One of my most heart-warming moments was when a client’s children decided that they wanted to meet me. They were eight, ten and twelve at the time. They’d seen how relaxed their high-strung dad was after speaking with me when their to-the-minute schedule almost got derailed, and how I was able to jump in to set everything right.
They had also loved the unusual experiences I’d arranged, like getting to be gladiators and taking a pizza-making class in Rome, and the surprises I’d added along the way, like when the Four Seasons Florence had spelled out their name in sponges in the bathroom. They said they felt I was with them and thinking of them throughout their travels—and they wanted to meet me in person to see who I was and to say “thank you”!