An Interview with Cindy Rake from Your Way Travel….

How did you get into the travel business?
Many years ago, my husband and I planned a much-anticipated two week trip to Hawaii. These islands are so very special and we were beyond excited to finally be visiting Hawaii. This it made my disappointment much greater once I realized we had wasted our money on the wrong trip for us.  Yes, the Hawaiian Islands were the right destination for us.  However, due to poor planning we went to the wrong islands, in the wrong season and stayed at the wrong resorts for us.

Soon after our return I found myself eager to help others avoid the same mistake. I left my full time job, enrolled in travel training and began my career in travel, working for 13 years at various store-front travel agencies.  In 2007 I started my own agency, Your Way Travel, and haven’t looked back since.

How are you different from other travel advisors?
I treat each and every trip I plan with the same attention to detail that I would put into my own vacation.  This means taking the time to suggest alternatives to itineraries my clients may have in their mind.  I often save my clients time and money on their trips by coming up with an alternative that works well for them.  For example many folks plan their arrival day in Europe to the max, anxious to see the most important sights as soon as possible.  Instead I suggest a soft itinerary the first day, a pleasurable activity to  gently acclimate your body and your senses to the unfamiliar time zone, language and culture.  Most of us arrive very groggy after the long overnight flight minus the boundless energy we expected to have.

What types of services do you provide?
Believe it or not, this is a tough question to answer because I do tailor each vacation to my clients needs.  I supply the basics including flights, accommodation and ground transportation—anything from train to car rental to hired chauffer.  I can and do book excursions which could be anything from a city tour to a dinner cruise to a day trip to wine country-- and many others.  I supply tips on when to travel, what to look out for, how to handle money, packing advice, airport parking, payment reminders…..the list goes on and on.  In short, I am the sounding board for ideas, the secretary that takes care of all of the planning details, the friend that advises and the professional that delivers it all in a neat package.   I always follow up after my clients return home because I truly want to know how it all went—both positive and negative-- and love hearing about the favorite memories created while there.

What do you expect from your clients? My clients return again and again because of great service, professionalism and genuine caring.  In return I ask that each person come prepared with information such as when they would like to travel (a window of flexible dates is best) and for how long, names and ages of those traveling and an idea of the type of experience they are looking for.  My ideal client is clear on what they are looking for, decisive and trusts me to guide them in the right direction.   

What types of travel do you handle?  I understand that many travel professionals now have a narrow niche, is this true?
The world has become an incredibly large place.  Think about all of the areas we now visit that in the not-so-distant pass were not a viable option.  Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Grenada are a few examples.   Tie this together with the ever-increasing numbers of hotels, cruise ships and vacation options and you can see why many of us choose to narrow the market be true experts in our chosen niche.  My areas of expertise are Tropical Destinations, Europe and North America.  I handle mostly adult-only vacations with a real passion for romantic escapes. 

Why should I book my trip with Your Way Travel rather than doing it myself online?
Have you ever talked with someone that went on vacation when the weather was at its worst or the hotel was not in a good location? A disturbing example (and this really happened): a man booked his family’s overnight flights for a European cruise only to find out he arrived the day AFTER the cruise departed!   What if you found that the hotel you booked for your Honeymoon had one small swimming pool—filled with boisterous children?  Do you lie awake worrying that you may have forgotten something when booking your trip online?  Who do you call with your concerns?

I take the worry and time-consuming research out of booking travel.  I ask probing questions, sometimes reading between the lines and hearing replies you did not know you had.  My clients save money because I look at the whole picture and suggest the best value not necessarily the lowest price.  For example, when arriving at the Venice Airport, one can take a bus to Venice Island.  At a greater cost, but a valuable alternative, is arrival by boat with sweeping views of Venice Island.  Which experience would you choose?  I provide the best experience, not necessarily the most popular route.  I supply tips and details you didn’t know you needed.  Some of my most loyal clients are very experienced travelers with plenty of techno savvy that simply appreciate the time and money I save them along with a stress-free vacation.