frequently asked questions

general

 

Why would I use a travel agent when I can book travel myself?

 

We’re so glad you asked! In the age of online booking, it’s a good question. It’s such a common question that we decided to write an entire blog post about it here. This is what you should know:

 

As a travel agent, my job is to do the research for my clients. I take all of the hassle and hard work out of travel planning by creating a door-to-door itinerary in alignment with their wishes and needs. While it is true that I get lots of great deals across my desk that I am able to present to my clients, the travelers I typically work with are those who value their time and my expertise far more than penny-pinching. That being said, if someone truly enjoys research, and more than anything else, he or she values getting the absolute cheapest deal possible regardless of how much time it takes in comparison shopping, then working with a travel agent may not be for that person.

 

Are you legit?

 

So glad you asked! We would want to know that, too. 

 

Christie Costello, owner and founder of GlobeSage Travel, is a travel advisor independently affiliated with Nexion, LLC, a highly-respected host agency, IATA #45-61343-3. We are independently insured and registered as a Seller of Travel in the State of California, CST #2139804-70 and through Nexion, Florida ST #ST38545, Washington UBI #603046 768. 

 

GlobeSage Travel is a registered trade name of our overarching business, Fidelis Services, LLC, Tax ID: 20-5475198, which has been fully registered in the state of California since 2006.

 

What destinations do you specialize in?

 

Our global team has broad experience in nearly every continent. When you work with us, we bring our histories and travel experiences to the table so you can benefit from our learning (and even our past mistakes!). We serve our clients’ travel needs to anywhere and everywhere they would like to go. (Well, maybe not to outer space. We’ll leave that to Elon Musk!) We have a love for every part of the globe. That being said, we are currently focusing on furthering our expertise and obtaining certifications in the nations of Latin America (Central and South America). 

 

What types of travel do you arrange?

 

There are three of us on the team, so we have the capacity and the know-how to assist with all types of travel, including resort vacations (including all-inclusives), golf clubs, cruises, private rentals, urban getaways, and business travel. We have experience with:

  • Family vacations

  • Multi-generation family experiences

  • Special needs travelers (including those with physical or learning disabilities)

  • Solo travelers

  • Romance couples travel

  • Business travelers (air, hotel, car, meetings, etc)

  • Fundraising groups

  • Club group travel

  • Team retreats

  • Family reunions

 

Do you book airline tickets?

 

Absolutely! Many travel advisors no longer book flights because the rewards are small (little or no commission), but we are a full-service operation. We charge a small ticketing fee (which hovers around the industry average) if the plane tickets are not included as part of a larger vacation package.

Do you help clients if they are stuck or their trip is interrupted/canceled?

 

Yes! This is yet another reason to use a travel advisor. When CoVID-19 shut travel down all over the world in 2020, our clients called us directly and knew they would be taken care of. Those having to call airlines and booking engines themselves were on hold for an eternity. Some were stranded. Some waited in ridiculous lines in airports wondering if they would get home. 

 

The service you get from Expedia, Kayak, or Costco will never rival working with a person that you know, who knows you, and who is looking out for you! Our goal will always be to serve your travel needs so well that you cannot imagine ever booking your own travel again. To online travel companies, you are just a number and an algorithm. 

solo /couple /family vacations

 

How much does it cost to use GlobeSage’s services?

 

Great question. Here is our complete schedule of fees and payment policy:

 

GlobeSage Travel offers fully customized travel consulting services, planning your itinerary from beginning to end. Our consulting fees vary and will be determined upon initial consultation. 50% of the consulting cost will be due at the time of the planning agreement. This portion is non-refundable and covers our research time and creation of the initial draft itinerary and quote. The remaining 50% will be charged upon client approval of the final itinerary, prior to booking of all travel suppliers. Once all suppliers have been confirmed, this consulting fee is non-refundable, even in the unfortunate circumstance that plans are cancelled or the itinerary is not fulfilled for any reason. GlobeSage Travel accepts Visa, American Express, Discover, and MasterCard. Checks are typically not accepted because of the lack of protection provided to the client. 

 
GlobeSage Consulting Fee Schedule, non-group (as of 2/2020):

 

Travel Consulting Services, simple - $100-275 consulting fee

Travel Consulting Services, complex - $280-500 consulting fee

 

The exact fee amount is determined and disclosed during our initial consultation once we discuss the trip particulars. This discussion will be followed by a formal quote and invoice to ensure that you have everything in writing.

 
A la carte fees:

 

Non-commissionable lodging (e.g. home rental services, AirBNB, VRBO, etc) - 15% of rental total 

Domestic US Airline Ticketing Fee - $30 per ticket 

International Airline Ticketing Fee - $50 per ticket 

Airline Ticket changes and cancellations - $15 per ticket, plus airline change costs

Major vacation package changes and cancellations - $50+ (amount varies by supplier)

Do you book home sharing services like AirBNB, VRBO, etc?

 

Absolutely! Again, many travel advisors will not book home stays. There are really valid reasons for this. If our job is to serve your needs and make sure your trip is amazing, then it can be a bit risky to put you in the hands of someone we don’t know. We can’t really ensure the quality of your lodging. Additionally, some of these situations are notorious for last minute cancellations. Again, doesn’t line clients up for a great experience!

 

We began getting a lot of requests for these types of stays, and we completely understand why - because sometimes they make the most sense! Our goal is to serve our clients’ needs well and we find ways to accommodate. To take precautions to protect the client, 

  1. We only book “superhosts” and very highly-rated locations

  2. We have clients sign a waiver that they understand the risks involved in these kinds of stays

  3. We try to have a back-up plan in case of cancellation (which rarely happens with highly-rated hosts)

 

How far in advance should I book my trip?

 

Under the following circumstances, you should begin planning a trip as far in advance as possible - one year in advance at least, two years ahead would be better:

  • Groups of any kind - When there are more than ten or so people to coordinate, finding the perfect location that has enough availability to accommodate the entire group is the key factor. Planning far in advance also provides time for you to promote your group and lock in the trip on people’s calendars.

  • Weddings, anniversaries, holidays, and other special occasions - When your dates are not flexible and/or you are focused around a particular event, you will want the advance preparation time to find the right locations with availability on your required dates. You definitely don’t want to be caught scraping the bottom of the barrel all because everything great is sold out. We want your event to be special, but not THAT kind of special.

  • Must-haves - When you have very particular aspects of your trip that are non-negotiables, for instance, you want to stay at a specific resort during a peak season or you want a specific type of room that has limited availability, you will want to give yourself as much lead time as possible to ensure you get exactly what you want.

 

Of course, these are simply guidelines rather than hard-and-fast rules. A great travel advisor will do their very best to find you exactly what you want, even when dealing with a tight time frame.

 

If you are traveling solo, with your significant other, a small group of friends, or with just your immediate family, and you are fairly flexible with your date and location options, most trips can be planned six months in advance with very few issues.

 

For a solo traveler or a couple that is flexible, we can even narrow that window down to a month or two in a pinch, but the more lead time you have, the better options and package prices you will have available to you. You will also benefit from the peace of mind that comes from advance planning and not feeling rushed.

group travel

 

How many people make up a group?

 

Travel suppliers have different requirements for group rates. A good rule of thumb for a group minimum is 10 rooms (on some cruise ships, 8 cabins), which typically accounts for 16-20 people in the travel party. Anything less than that would most likely not be considered a group for pricing purposes, but GlobeSage arranges travel for any size party - from a solo traveler to hundreds of travelers attending an event together.

 

If I organize a group, does that mean I get to travel for free?

 

Again, this depends greatly on the travel suppliers that we use for your group as well as the exact size of the group. Many times, there are wonderful perks associated with being the point person for a group trip, and the perks multiply with the number of people in the group. However, for a small, minimum-sized group, we encourage our travelers to not expect a ton of freebies.

 

In some cases, there is a comped room for every paid ten or so rooms. As your travel advisors who are looking out for you, we will always be looking for opportunities to negotiate extra perks and comps on your group’s behalf. That’s one of the benefits of working with an experienced travel professional.

 

How much does it cost to use GlobeSage’s services for groups?

 

Great question. Here is our complete schedule of fees and payment policy:

 

GlobeSage Travel offers fully customized group travel consulting services, planning your itinerary from beginning to end. Our consulting fees vary and will be determined upon initial consultation. 50% of the consulting cost will be due at the time of the planning agreement. This portion is non-refundable and covers our research time and creation of the initial draft itinerary and quote. The remaining 50% will be charged upon group leader approval of the final itinerary, prior to booking of all travel suppliers. Once all suppliers have been confirmed, this consulting fee is non-refundable, even in the unfortunate circumstance that plans are cancelled or the itinerary is not fulfilled for any reason. GlobeSage Travel accepts Visa, American Express, Discover, and MasterCard. Checks are typically not accepted because of the lack of protection provided to the client. 

 
GlobeSage Consulting Fee Schedule, group (as of 5/2020):

 

Travel Consulting Services, small groups - $250-500 consulting fee

Travel Consulting Services, large groups - $500 nonrefundable deposit, applied to the trip costs of the group leader

 

The exact fee amount is determined and disclosed during our initial consultation once we discuss the trip particulars. This discussion will be followed by a formal quote, agreement, and invoice, so you have everything in writing.

 
A la carte fees:

 

Non-commissionable lodging (e.g. home rental services, AirBNB, VRBO, etc) - 15% of rental total 

Non-commissionable event planning services, such as event space rentals, catering, etc. - 15% of vendor costs

Domestic US Airline Ticketing Fee - $30 per ticket, if separate from package

International Airline Ticketing Fee - $50 per ticket, if separate from package

Airline Ticket changes and cancellations - $15 per ticket, plus airline change costs

Major vacation package changes and cancellations - $150+ (amount varies by supplier)

What types of groups do you work with?

 

GlobeSage works with all types of groups, both large and small. We have planned:

  • Multi-generation family experiences and family reunions

  • Fundraising groups

  • Club/association events

  • Affinity groups

  • Team retreats

 

How do groups work?

 

We will start with a consultation with the group point person (leader). During this call, we will find out the particulars of the group and desired itinerary. We would then let the leader know next steps from there, including going over a written agreement with deposit requirements and setting a timeline for planning. Once the agreement has been signed and deposit paid, our team will go to work crafting the perfect itinerary for your group in consultation with the leader. The plan we draft will include per person costs for varied lodging options, payment schedules and instructions for the participants, the travel suppliers we will be using, and any perks that will be available to the group. Once the leader signs off on the plan, we will go to work nailing things down.

 

We were event coordinators even before we were travel advisors, so we are comfortable taking the lead on communications with the group, tracking every detail, and working with each individual on their specific questions and concerns if the point person prefers not to be in the middle. At the same time, we are just as comfortable simply taking direction and following the lead of the point person, if that person would rather us not communicate with their group directly, as is the case with some clubs and organizations. YOU are the client. Simply tell us what you need and what roles you would like us to play when we meet for our initial consultation.

 

Can you even help us with group event planning and meals?

 

Yes, yes, yes. We provide full service event planning, including securing banquet or meeting rooms, arranging catering, ordering audio-visual rentals, etc. Did we mention that we negotiate on your group’s behalf? Sometimes you will end up saving money after our fee simply because we negotiated such a great deal for you!

 

How far in advance should I book my group trip?

 

Groups require the coordination of a lot of “moving pieces”. To ensure that the locations your group wants have enough availability for everyone, it is not uncommon for planning to begin two years before travel. While we can definitely do it in less time, we recommend you give yourself and us as much time to “herd cats” as possible. In the initial consultation, we will be able to tell you if your request is doable in the amount of time you have provided.