Travel agents haven’t gone anywhere. In fact, they can help save valuable time while adding panache to an excursion, according to Alyse Cori, owner and president of Travelwize, a home-based, virtuoso affiliate travel agency in Sonoma County since 2006. “The main difference with an online website is: you’re just a number,” Cori says. “But when you work with a travel consultant, not only do you get a confirmation number, but we call the hotel. We call the resort. We get you better seats. We VIP you for no extra charge.”
Cori and her team of more than a dozen, independently-contracted employees don’t earn a wage from the travelers’ pocketbook. Rather, they earn a commission from the same companies that consumers normally deal with themselves. “People spend hours researching. We’ve already been there and done that. We know the destination. We know how to get the most added extras thrown into your trip,” says Cori, who lists perks such as room upgrades, extra credit on a cruise or a complimentary bottle of wine. “We don’t charge more. People don’t realize the value,” says Cori. Travelwize also works with its clients to prepare for trips far in advance. “I have people planning for 2021 now. They have a deposit and they make installment payments, like a layaway.”
However, Cori realizes that at times, booking directly through a supplier is less expensive for her customers. “I’m the first one to tell you, ‘You know what, that’s a great rate, grab it.’ I don’t want you to miss out. I know they’re loyal and will come back next time. It’s all about what’s best for the traveler.”
Customers have been returning to Cori for more than decade. She got her start in corporate travel and booking accommodations for rock bands like The Grateful Dead, Primus and The Cranberries. At a certain point, Cori decided to walk her own path. “I like to beat on my own drum, as opposed to being told how I’m supposed to play,” says Cori, who says she was anxious about starting her own business. But loyal clients, some of whom have known Cori for more than 20 years, followed her to Travelwize. It could be because she keeps up on clients’ relationships, children, and life changes. “That’s what it’s all about, to be honest. Building relationships is the key.”
There’s not much that can ruin a vacation more than becoming ill. What was intended to be an escape from everyday life can turn dreary in a hurry. Here are five ways to stay healthy on your next trip.
1. Boost your immune system. Building your immune system is based primarily on diet, so rather than indulge all day, eat fruits and vegetables to prime your immunity and your appetite. Dark, leafy greens like kale and brightly colored berries are best.
2. Get enough sleep. Travelers are more likely to catch a bug if they aren’t well rested, and recovery time is impacted as well. Bring a pillow and use time in the airplane or car, if you’re not driving, to bank some rest, and pick the best nights to stay up late, rather than opting for every night.
3. Stay hydrated. This is especially true if traveling by plane, where humidity levels are low and can leave your body vulnerable to germs. Pack an empty water container and fill it up after passing security, making sure to drink 8 ounces of water for every hour while in the air.
4. Stay active. Try to book a hotel with a workout room, or take a walk and explore new surroundings. Keeping active will help your body stay strong and ready to fight whatever comes its way. A work out will improve your energy and mood, too.
5. Keep your hands clean. In the excitement of a new adventure, it’s easy to forget to wash your hands regularly. But at the airport or the counter at the hotel, germs are abundant. As an extra precaution, sanitize your seating area on the plane, train or bus, including airflow vents.
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