Rosalind Bigg

Norfolk, Virginia Travel Agent
An independent agent with Travel Leaders in Albertville, MN,
Rosalind Bigg
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DESTINATIONSJordan, South Africa, Alaska, Australia, Dubai
INTERESTSAdventure, Outdoor Activities & Sports, Escorted Tours, Women's Travel, Luxury
SUPPLIER PARTNERSAmaWaterways, Travel2, Abercrombie & Kent, Delta Vacations, Silversea Cruises
CERTIFICATES & AWARDS Aussie Specialist (Tourism Australia), South Africa Specialist, (SA Tourism Board), Jordan Specialist (Jordan Tourism Board), Alaska Specialist (Alaska Tourism Board), AMResorts Master Specialist
Certified Active and Adventure Travel Specialist
Certified ASTA Travel Agent

Rosalind Bigg

Norfolk, Virginia Travel Agent

An independent agent with Travel Leaders in Albertville, MN,

Tour Operators: Yes, Please!

They probably just met on a tour 5 days prior. :)
They probably just met on a tour 5 days prior. :)
Tours
I highly recommend them. Yes, I’m a millennial and I’m recommending escorted tours. I’m not talking about those double-deckers, hop on/hop off busses that we have in New York. Those “touristy” type of tours have their place, but do nothing for me personally. I recommend the interest-based, small group, customizable tours. Why? Well, in my experience, it immeasurably enhances the trip. They answer the questions that you never thought to ask.

I’ve had the pleasure of having such tours in Punta Cana and Chiapas. My guides, vetted by other travel professionals, were gregarious and knowledgeable. There were no uncomfortably silent nor uncomfortably chatter-filled taxi rides. They knew how to read the room, so to speak. They provided information about the areas that we passed through, sights that we visited, history and culture. If I had questions, they had answers. In a very short period of time, I learned more than I ever could have on my own.

I have had the pleasure of meeting many tour operators and owners. I have been able to ask them questions such as, “what processes are in place to ensure consistently high-quality tours,” “how are staff recruited and trained,” and “are you familiar with American travelers and comfortable with providing or exceeding our expectations with regard to service and accommodations.” Thanks in part to these conversations, there are tour guides that I absolutely recommend and others that I would avoid like the plague.

Different tour operators satisfy different needs. Knowing the individual traveler(s) and tour operators very well is the key to matching up interests and strengths in order to elevate an experience from “great” to “extraordinary.” For example, G Adventures, Abercrombie &, had the pleasure of meeting other tour operators and owners. I have been able to ask them questions such as, “what processes are in place to ensure consistently high-quality tours,” “how are staff recruited and trained,” and “are you familiar with American travelers and comfortable with providing or exceeding our expectations in relation to service and accommodations.” Thanks in part to these conversations, there are tour guides that I absolutely recommend and others that I would avoid like the plague.

Different tour operators satisfy different needs. Knowing the individual traveler(s) and tour operators very well is the key to matching up interests and strengths in order to elevate an experience from “great” to “extraordinary.” For example, G Adventures, Abercrombie & Kent, Un-cruise Adventures, and Intrepid all have wonderful tour itineraries and are fantastic companies with which to work. Nobody will be disappointed with any of these choices of tour operators. However, which of these will provide that “OMG! Guess what I just did!” experience will depend on the traveler(s) being serviced and their goals and vision for the trip.

Some travelers will prefer to tour with much smaller tour operators. This is where having a travel agent that attends travel conferences, meetings, and trade shows is particularly valuable. These events attract small operators with top quality products from all over the globe. They may not have an A&K budget for advertising, but may actually be contracted suppliers for A&K. It’s not something that one can easily discover outside of a face-to-face conversation.

This is lengthier than I anticipated, so I’ll just leave these two more benefits:
1) They speak the language. That’s a huge time-saver.
2) One inherently meets other travelers that share that specific interest. I’ve made fast-friends with several other travelers during tours, and I’m an introvert! There’s nothing like shared-passion to bring people together.
There are many more benefits. But, sheesh, 450+ words! At this point I’ll have to conclude with a concise:

The End.

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