Once you’ve made the decision that you want to travel, whether across town for a festival or an overseas adventure, you’ve just assumed an awesome responsibility and undertaken a mission in providing for the enjoyment, safety, and security of your group – this includes students, parents, staff AND yourself! With all of the advances in technology today, online booking is becoming the norm; after all if in doubt SIRI can answer just about any question. One may think that organizing and setting up a group trip by oneself would be the way to go. Isn’t it just setting up hotel, transportation, meals, and FUN… how hard could that be? Let me offer some considerations as you contemplate whether to use a travel professional like Diana Naber and Music Travel and Tours.
TIME: There are a myriad of decisions to be made in selecting hotel, transportation, meals, and tour itinerary; add to that the desire to get the best rate and one should plan on hours/days on the computer/phone bouncing between vendors negotiating the best deal. For me, I found having a travel professional help guide me and navigate all of these decisions afforded me the time to focus on the big picture and not deal with the minutia, time-consuming details. I was able to spend more effort preparing for the performance, working with my students, and felt less stress of waiting for someone to get back to me.
NETWORK: Working with a professional like Diana, her iPhone contact list is extensive. Her people now become your people. Travel professionals will have developed personal relationships with representatives from all the trip elements you are seeking. Not only do they know who to call but you gain the benefit of the purchasing power they have garnered through years of volume business. While an online deal may work for a family of four – seeking hotel, air, bus, and dinner reservations for a large group will take a bit more than a click on the submit button.
AUTHENTICITY: A great travel professional will help you get the most out of your destination. One could take the easy way and hit the franchise fast-food stop for lunch/dinner; but for me using the advice of a travel professional like Diana has allowed our trips to take advantage of the local experience like lunch with WWII vets at Pearl Harbor, a whale watching cruise in San Diego, or having your drum majors lay a wreath at Arlington on behalf of your band. Having a travel professional help plan a custom itinerary, versus picking what is the cheapest, sets up unique experiences that your group will remember for a lifetime.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: Despite the months of planning, detailed itineraries, and best intentions one may run into an unexpected situation. Accidents happen, paperwork is lost, and an instrument can be left behind. The trip still must go on. Having a travel professional like Diana at your back can make your life less stressful in a tough spot. There have been many times she was able to resolve a problem before we reach the destination – having a travel professional to help get you out of a jam is a benefit that is priceless. In my experience, what could have been a devastating moment turned into a great experience (ie: rained out for a Sea World dinner, Dianna got us refund and dinner tickets for 160 to Pirates Adventure). Ask any band director and I am sure they will have a few encounters to share. For me, having a travel professional able to troubleshoot and resolve the unexpected is like having a guardian angel at your back. Thank you Diana for having my back the past 25+years!
So before you venture into your next group adventure, think about getting some insight from a travel professional like Diana Naber and Music Travel and Tours.