“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us” - Anonymous
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I book a vacation?
Please feel free to click on the button below and send us a message, call or text us at 703-791-2944 or send us an e-mail at email@example.com. We will communicate with you by phone, e-mail, FB Messenger, text and in person - however you prefer. We want to make working with us to be as easy as possible! Vacations should be relaxing, and the planning should be fun and exciting, not difficult and inconvenient.
To protect you and our company, all bookings must be confirmed in writing, and name and birth date as it is written in the passport must be provided in writing before a booking can take place. This minimizes the chances of costly mistakes, and ensures that our clients travel will go smoothly.
If you are located in the VA/MD/DC area, and are interested in a customized vacation, we prefer to meet with you in person, to get to know you. The more we know about our clients, the easier it is to plan a memorable vacation. If meeting in person for the initial consultation is not possible, we will obviously do it via phone or e-mail. (if you can send us some pictures of you and your travel partners, that would be awesome!)
What type of vacations do you book?
We book Pre-packaged Niche Tours - tours that we have put together that will focus on a specific interest for small groups. These will be very intimate, partially customized to the group and very flexible.
We also do Requested Groups - groups that are requested by our clients and built to their specifications and FIT (Foreign Individual Travel) where we work with our client to design a trip around their wants, needs and budget.
How large are your groups?
Our pre-packaged niche tours are normally between 12 - 20. Requested groups will be as large or small as the client wants. Some groups can actually be as small as 5 people to have a group status.
Do you accommodate single travelers?
Yes, of course. Unfortunately single travelers often end up paying a single supplement very often. When possible, we will match up single travelers so that they will avoid the single supplement.
What is a Single Supplement?
Vacations are priced based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement is an additional charge that secures a private room for solo travelers. If you are traveling alone and would prefer a roommate, please notify us as early as possible in the planning process. Although we cannot guarantee a match, we will make every effort to pair you with another solo traveler in order to waive the Single Supplement.
Should I purchase travel protection?
Perfectly Planned Journeys always advises our clients to purchase travel protection. We work with several travel insurance companies and will be more than happy to help you find the best policy for your trip.
When should I purchase Travel Insurance?
We recommend that you purchase your policy at the time of booking your trip. This will, with some policies give you a rider covering Pre-existing Conditions at no extra charge. If you wait, this rider can not be added, even at a charge. It is also important to know that unless you have a policy in place you are not covered.
Please note that your trip will not be booked unless you either 1. Purchase a travel insurance policy or 2. Sign a waiver confirming that a policy was offered to you, and that you chose not to purchase a policy, and thereby accept all responsibility should something happen.
Do you charge Fees?
The short answer is “yes, sometimes.”
We do not charge any fees for our pre-planned journeys!
We do charge a fee for itineraries that we prepare based on client requests. These fees cover our time for the research and development phases of your travel planning, much in the way you would compensate any professional for their services. We start with a FREE 30 min - 1hr consultation, during which we meet with you (in person, by phone, or online) and discuss your travel plans, needs, desires, and any preliminary research you have conducted yourself. At the end of the consultation we decide if and how to proceed, including the exact fees involved for your specific travel needs.
The planning fee varies a little bit on the complexity of the trip, and must be paid prior to any research and planning will be performed.
Our Fee-Back Guarantee
We offer a money-back guarantee on our planning fees. After your travel is completed and you have returned home. If you paid a planning fee, and feel our services were not performed satisfactorily as we outlined them to you at the time you paid the fee, we will refund our fee to you 100%. (does not include the cost of your travel) You must have notified us, and given us a chance to correct the problem. It must also be a complaint reflecting the service performed by Perfectly Planned Journeys. We can not be responsible for our suppliers mistakes, or incidents caused by weather, natural disasters, strike, terrorism or other incidents not within the control of Perfectly Planned Journeys.
Do all travel professionals charge fees?
Although many professionals do charge fees, not everyone does. Travel professionals that do no charge fees solely rely on their travel suppliers to compensate them. If your travel plans involve a lot of components where commission is not normally paid such as air, rail etc. these travel professionals will either be forced to base their selection of their client's travel components on the suppliers which one will pay them the highest commission, instead of the components they feel are in their client's best interest or they simply end up not being compensated for their work.
When an agent accepts payment for a service, you are also a priority, vs. someone who does not pay for a service, and may or may not book a trip.
This is neither in the client or the agents best interest.
Why do you charge fees?
We have accumulated years of education, training, and personal experience, and have cultivated strong personal relationships with our supplier-partners. These relationships and our expertise have value, and we want to focus that value on clients that are serious about working with us through the whole travel process. Since no-one can afford to work for free the only way agents who don't charge fees can afford to stay in business is by focusing on suppliers who pay the highest commission.
We feel that this is not in the best interest of our clients. We work for YOU not for our suppliers. We focus on your needs, and the suppliers we believe are the best fit for you. If we relied solely on being paid commission, then we would need to focus only on those suppliers that paid us the highest commission or offered bonuses. If a travel supplier is a better fit for your needs, we want to be able to offer it to you, even when there is no commission involved. We want you to be assured we are working for you and with your best interests at heart.
Do you discount?
No, we don’t normally discount as many of our suppliers do not allow this. We also feel that we offer a valuable service, and just like any other professional we should be compensated fairly for our work. We do however have access to very competitive rates, and sometimes promotions that are not available to the general public. If you see a promotion that we have not offered you please let us know as we will most likely be able to match it. Please keep in mind that there are many factors that determines the price so please send us the exact promotion with dates that you are looking at and we will see if there is a reason for the difference, or match or beat it.
Will you always have the lowest fare?
We do not compete with internet sites for the lowest price and minimal expectations. We charge a non-refundable planning fee on travel that requires a good deal of research. The amount will vary depending on the complexity of your trip, but it will always be discussed with you. We don’t claim to be the cheapest, but we are competitive. Many of our suppliers will also price match. Our goal is to always give our clients excellent value.
What about basic, straight forward bookings?
For an uncomplicated, straight forward booking (for example, if you come to us and you already know exactly what cruise ship, sail date, and room category that you want to book) we may waive our planning fee, but instead charge an administration fee in the event of cancellation (which can be included in an insurance claim if you purchase travel insurance). We do charge a service fee on airline tickets since airlines do not normally pay commission, and we are responsible for servicing all of our bookings.
Why come to you when I can book it myself on the internet?
We save you time, stress and a lot of work. We provide peace of mind knowing that your vacation is planned with high quality, financially sound suppliers, not just someone you found online who had a pretty website, or received great ratings on Trip Advisor. We are someone you can call, who will be your advocate should something go wrong. Will Expedia or Trivago do that?
It is also important for you to understand that the commission that we receive from our suppliers, you would be paying anyway, whether you book from a travel agent, a call center such as calling the cruise line directly or an online website. The difference is in the service that you receive! As mentioned above, when you speak to a booking agent at the cruise line, or when you log on to a website and book a vacations there, you are just a booking number! To us, you are important!!!! someone we want to get to know, and build a relationship with. We are someone you can call, e-mail and text, or even meet with if you are local.
We do charge a planning fee for a lot of our bookings, we do this because a lot of our suppliers, such as airfare and train tickets etc. do not pay commission.
Another benefit to working with a travel agent is that we work with a huge variety of suppliers, and my only objective is to match you up with the supplier who is the best match for you. If you call a specific resort or cruise line they are not going to give you any options, as they are going to just offer you their brand.
We are also able to plan experiences that may be difficult or impossible for you to do on your own. Did you know that there are a lot of suppliers who only deal with travel agents?
So, if your main objective is to get the cheapest price possible, we are probably not be the best fit for you. We strive to provide incomparable service in designing memorable travel experiences customized just for you. We utilize our own experience, training, and connections to craft our recommendations. This does not mean that we don't look at cost! We do also compare prices, but instead of being focused on being the cheapest, we focus on getting the best value. Most travelers are savvy enough to know that the room booked at a given hotel on Expedia or Hotels.com and a room booked through a preferred agent who has a relationship with that hotel are two very different rooms. We usually confirm reservations directly with each property, involving the Sales Manager or General Manager in flagging you as our VIP client, often negotiating extra amenities, upgrades or special inclusions. Our travelers appreciate this level of personal involvement and enjoy the special recognition they receive.
The question ultimately comes down to what is the most important part of your vacation, the cost or the experience? If you answer experience please give us a call.
How can I trust that Perfectly Planned Journeys is a legit company that provide a quality vacation?
Perfectly Planned Journeys is hosted by Nexion, and part of Travel Leaders, the largest and most celebrated network of professional travel agents in North America. I am a member of CCRA with my own TRUE number. We have been in the travel industry almost seven years, and is a well respected company in the travel industry and by the Travel Institute.
What makes Perfectly Planned Journeys special?
You! We take our relationships with our clients very seriously. We take time to get to know you, find out what your perfect vacation will be like. We are not a call center where we process bookings! We only do a limited number of bookings at a time so that we can focus on each client, giving each one the very personalized service that we pride ourselves in. We do not rush to get on to the next person, you are our priority and we love it!
Do I need a passport to go on a cruise?
While we Strongly recommend traveling with a passport, it is not always required for U.S. Citizens. As long as the ship departs from a U.S. port and returns to the same port it departed from (this is called a “closed loop” cruise), you are not required to have a passport in order to return to the U.S. Keep in mind, that the U.S. State Department can change this in the future.
Also, keep in mind that if you have to leave the ship early in a foreign port, you are required to have a U.S. passport in order to fly back to the U.S. You will have to go through extra measures, possibly paying for an emergency passport at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, in order to return home.
For non-U.S. Citizens (traveling from another country, or legally residing in the U.S. in possession of a Green Card), you will need to confirm what form of ID you are required to travel with, whether that’s a passport from your country of citizenship and/or additional documentation. All non-U.S. citizens residing in the U.S. must bring their Green Card when traveling outside the U.S.
Does the name on my reservation have to match my ID?
Yes. It is important that the name on your reservation be exactly as it is stated on your passport or other government issued picture identification. If your name has changed since your document was issued (e.g., marriage/divorce), it is required that you update the document with the new name or provide an official supporting document of the name change. Otherwise, it may result in delay or possible denial of boarding. Denied boarding willnot be refunded, nor is it covered by travel insurance.
What name should I book under for our honeymoon?
Unless you will have a couple of months or longer between the wedding and honeymoon, you will need to get your passport in and book your travel in your maiden name. You can change your name on your passport after returning home.
How long should my passport be valid for when traveling?
For international travel passports must be valid for 6 months after your anticipated return date. (may vary a little depending on country, but 6 months is recommended) and have between 2 - 6 blank pages depending on which country/ies you will be visiting. Passports must match all travel documents! You will most likely not be allowed to board a flight or cruise ship if your name and birth date in your passport does not match your documents. Passport should also have at least two blank pages.
What vaccinations do I need before leaving the United States?
For many destinations you do not need any special vaccinations. We recommend checking the Center for Disease Control's website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/) for recommendations specific to destinations that you are traveling to. It is the traveler's responsibility to check this, and ensure that she/he has the proper vaccinations.
Can someone’s criminal record affect their travel plans?
The short answer is: maybe. You will need to check with the countries you plan to travel to, and verify with their embassy or consulate if your criminal history (especially felony convictions) could affect your ability to enter their country. As an example, if you have a DUI conviction on your record, no matter how long ago, you could be prevented from entering for instance Canada. Do not assume that something that took place 20 years or more in the past would not be an issue. A DUI is considered a criminal offense, and a DUI may even prevent you from entering Canada while on an Alaskan cruise. Please consult a lawyer prior to booking your vacation should this apply to you.
Are there any health requirements for travel?
When booking your travel you must be healthy enough to travel. Please understand that airlines and other travel providers have the right to deny any passenger access if they feel that the passenger is not fit for travel. Please also note that pregnancy may dis-qualify you for travel. Many cruise lines for instance will not accept pregnant passengers who have entered their 24th week of pregnancy before or during the cruise. Pregnant women in their first and second trimesters technically need a "fit to travel" note from their physicians.
Can I travel with my prescription medication?
It varies based on your destination, regardless of whether it is within the United States or an international destination. If you live in a state that has legalized medical marijuana, you cannot travel with it outside of your state; no matter the circumstances. It is a federal offense to cross state lines with any amount of marijuana in your possession. It is also a crime to transport marijuana to international destinations. As for other prescribed medication, there may be travel restrictions on them as well, much like the restrictions on marijuana.
When traveling outside the US with children whom are not your own, or traveling alone without the other parent it is always recommended that you have a signed and notarized letter from the other parent/parents. Please feel free to contact me for a sample letter.
Are there any other restrictions I need to be aware of?
Some countries have laws that could impact your enjoyment and or safety such as your sexual orientation. Some countries do have laws that ban homosexuality. You should also be aware that some countries have have clothing restrictions, such as some places in the Caribbean for instance do not allow camouflage clothing, and the Middle East has very strict requirements for women’s clothing.
You should also be aware that there are countries that require that you have travel insurance before entering, and there are some countries that if you need to receive medical care they will not release you until you have paid your bill in full.
Can I set up a payment plan?
It will depend on what we are booking for you. Normally airfare has to be paid in full at the time of booking. But many packages as well as cruise bookings do have the option of paying a deposit with a final payment date 30-90 days before the start of your vacation. Between deposit and final payment, we can set up a payment plan based on your needs.
What form of payments are accepted?
We recommend paying by credit card in most instances. Credit card companies offer the most protection, compared to debit cards or check payments. Some deposits are required to be made by check, and some of our suppliers will offer a savings of a couple of % when paid by check because it saves them from having to pay the credit card fee. When a planning fee is charged, it can be paid by credit card or check as well. There is a 3% processing charge on credit card charges for planning fees.
When should we start the planning process?
Planning is best started 1 year to 6 months before you travel. In some cases it is better to start even earlier. Cruises tend to give some of the best rates and have the best availability a full year before the departure date. Some posh hotels and restaurants must be booked well in advance. Some sports events sell tickets a few years in advance of the actual occurrence.
How long does it take to plan a vacation?
Planning time varies greatly. Something basic may take up to 2 days to plan. Most Signature trips involving custom tailored itineraries run between 20-40 hours of work and may spread out over 2-3 weeks. Please keep in mind that we are dealing with suppliers in different countries, who are in different time zones, have different holidays and work schedules than we do. We also check with numerous suppliers for most of our quotes to make sure we use the best option for our client's trips.
I am interested, so what do I do?
Please either call me at 703-791-2944 or on my cell at 703-927-0588 to schedule your free consultation, or you can fill out the form on this site or simply send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also send me a text to my cell phone 703-927-0588.