Travel agent or travel consultant … the terms are easy to confuse. If you’ve stumbled upon the site and you’re not exactly sure what I do, the following comparisons might be of assistance:
A travel agent works either for a larger company, or independently. He or she can book airfares, can tap into special deals on certain hotels and organized tours with whom an agency has contracts and occasionally gets to see Japan on the Japanese government’s dime in an effort to help them more effectively promote tourism.
That’s all well and good but it’s not what I do.
As a travel consultant, I help you cut through the glossy publications and well-trod tourist office itineraries to craft the trip of YOUR dreams, not anyone else's. I’m not paid by the Japanese tourism bureaus, I’ve never been invited on a tourism junket (though they sound like fun!) and I’ve paid for every hotel I’ve ever stayed at.
How exactly does this help you? It means I’m not afraid to tell you which sights should be seen and which can definitely be missed. I don’t feel obligated to recommend certain hotels, when I know that others will suit your party, your itinerary or your budget better. I can tell you about restaurants you just can’t miss because I’ve eaten there myself, not read about them online or been shuttled there with a tour group; likewise, I can recommend guides and organizations that I've worked with personally. And because I travel on my own budget, I know the best ways to maximize your time and money. By working with me, you know that you’ll be getting an honest opinion, expert local advice and tips and tricks from someone who’s gone before you.
Admittedly, you can’t “bundle” a trip with me. I can’t pay for your hotel room or airfare without an official travel agent’s license. But I CAN do all of the legwork for you – finding the best internal flights, securing hotel rooms at affordable rates and making all of the reservations in your name. Before you leave on your trip, I make sure you have all contact information, confirmation numbers and a cost breakdown for every day of your itinerary. You won’t run into any surprises on the ground when you have your (personalized) thorough, detailed travel packet in hand. And if you ever do happen to hit a snag, my Japanese cell number is included with every itinerary. You never have to worry about ringing your travel agent back home and finding they don’t answer because it’s 3am.
If you want a well-traveled route with the convenience of included lodging and airfare, there are some excellent companies out there that can offer just that and I’d be happy to suggest some that might suit your needs. But if you want this to be YOUR trip to Japan and not (insert travel company’s name here)’s trip to Japan, contact me soon and we’ll get started on your personalized adventure.