Travel Beyond Review
Normally I make my arrangements for my vacations, but the more I dug into my trip to Botswana the more I realized that perhaps there would be a benefit to enlisting the help of a travel agent. I knew that some things would probably end up being more expensive, but there were also many details that I just wasn't prepared to deal with. While researching the Duba Plains Safari Camp, I came across a phone number that actually connected me to an agency called Travel Beyond. At first I was dismayed and annoyed, but this turned out to be quite fortuitous for me.
My first conversation was actually with the CEO. I guess when all else fails the number falls back to him. Pretty cool. I like an owner that is able to deal directly with customers. His initial questions were all about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. With that information in hand he promised to have one of his travel consultants contact me. And sure enough, that same day I heard from someone who had made many trips to Africa in general and Botswana specifically. She turned out to be a fantastic resource.
Since I had already selected the camps of interest (Duba Plains and Savuti) I actually came to the table better informed than most of her clients. Regardless, she talked through my expectations and explained what she had experienced when she was there. It was so great to hear from someone who had actual hands on experience. She patiently worked with me on the schedule and order of the destinations. Plus she provided a lot of background information that helped me prepare properly such as making sure I understood that the temperature would drop quite a bit at night and to not underestimate just how cold it would get just because it's Africa.
A few weeks before my trip, my travel consultant scheduled an hour long call where she walked me through every detail of my itinerary. This was great and helped eliminate some of the anxiety I'm sure we all feel with multi-country trips. As it turns out this sort of thing isn't done by all travel companies as I discovered from meeting other tourists at the camps who were obviously not as prepared. They weren't buying souvenir clothing — they were buying the clothing because they had not packed appropriately!
Upon my return from my trip, my consultant was interested in a debrief. She wanted to know what I enjoyed and what I didn't presumably to continue to improve the service she provides her clients. I also had fun recalling the trip, sharing my memories, and acknowledging the efforts of the camp staff that made this trip even more special for me.
While I'll still arrange and book my simpler trips in the future, Travel Beyond will most certainly be my first pick for anything complicated with multiple destinations.