Part of the fun of planning a long-term trip, whether it be around the world, or focused on a couple of continents, is dreaming about the possibilities. Where you leave from is the easiest part. From then on, it’s all possibilities. Not only did I use Airtreks on my career break and round the world travel adventure, but I used them when I went out to film the first season of our travel series.
One reason is their fun toy that is called the Airtreks TripPlanner tool. Long before I pulled the trigger to take my RTW career break, I spent literally hours over the course of years playing on this cool mapping tool. When I say I would spend hours on it at one sitting, I’m not exaggerating: late nights, weekends, or anytime I would go into that daydreaming place where I would imagine all the cool places I could visit. (Travel nerd alert!)
How It Works
With a few points and clicks, you can create a worldwide itinerary, ON A MAP, get immediate feedback on alternatives and a quick quote.
- DREAM: Select Your Cities. Starting with your departure city, you start clicking the cities around the world you want to fly in and out of. At this point, it’s not necessary to know your dates, just that you want to go in and out of these places.
- PLAY: Leaving By Air or Overland? If you’re like me, you want to mix up your travel between air flights and overland options like trains, buses or cars. The TripPlanner lets you plan for that. This allows you, for example, to arrive into Bogota, Colombia, explore South America overland but fly out of Santiago, Chile.
- PLAN: Get the Price and See Alternatives Without Commitment. At this point, TripPlanner spits out a price range for your trip. And, it gives you an alternative route called ¨More For Your Money.¨ The thing that I like about this step is that as you are planning and budgeting, you can get an idea of how much to budget for your airfare. And, you get immediate advice on other places you can visit without paying anything more. It then becomes a matter of how much time you have and what your travel priorities are. Finally, at this point, you are not committed to a single thing. You haven’t given up your email, phone number, nothing. So you can start over again and keep playing day after day…not that there’s anything wrong with that.
- BUY: Get To a Live Person. If you’re ready to move forward, click the ¨Provide Trip Details¨ button. Enter your information so an Airtreks travel counselor can get in touch with you. Mine was Laura, and she was great (tell her Jeff says hi if you get her!). I liked this blend of tech and personal service. Laura helped me through any number of itinerary changes, refunds, rebookings, and a stolen passport drama. When you’re traveling around the world, I liked knowing that if anything happened, I could get to a live person to help me get through it. And, as crazy as air travel has become, that peace of mind is invaluable!
My Experience With Airtreks: The ¨Moments of Truth¨
- Flexibility.There is a lot of concern by new travelers that RTW tickets lock you in at a point in your planning when you know the least about how you will travel, where you want to stay and for how long. I didn’t find my ticket to encumber me at all. And, my plans changed drastically.
- First, I mixed up the tickets I bought with Airtreks with tickets bought on the ground whether they be for flights or busses.
- Second, I found that by having an end date to my time somewhere, it kept me going to discover new places. I could have stayed settled into lots of places longer. But, in a situation where you have total freedom, having one date on when I would leave was actually a good thing for me.
- Finally, I made major changes at the end of my time in South America:
- Date: Left 6 months later
- Countries: Instead of New Zealand, I went to Colombia
- Direction: Instead of leaving South America for New Zealand, I went to Europe
- Help & Service In a Pinch. So, while filming our series in South Africa, I was robbed in Johannesburg. Part of what they got included my passport (the most valuable thing they got, not in terms of money, but what I truly needed to travel) which included my e-visa for Australia. Once I was able to get my temporary passport from the US Embassy, Laura got my Australian e-visa reissued in no time.
- Experienced Travel Suggestions. Probably because I was a business flyer for so long, my instinct was just to fly everywhere. It was Laura who suggested that I look into overland travel and getting some flights locally. Now, she could have made a lot more money off of me. But, these suggestions told me 2 things. First, she wasn’t out to hammer my wallet. Two, she was interested in a long-term relationship. By gaining my trust, she earned my long-term business.
- Control: Lots of Customization Possibilities. If you’ve seen an independent traveler’s itinerary, you’ve seen ONE independent itinerary. Airtreks’ model puts you in control of where you go. Price will be an obvious constraint at some point. But, unlike the airline alliance tickets, you get to be in control of where you go next. It’s your trip, TAKE CONTROL!
Making Airtreks Available To You
I take the selection of the products and services in our store, very seriously. As we looked around at what to offer to you, it came down to Airtreks very quickly. It’s a service that I’ve used and I can stand behind it. Certainly, there are flight vendors that would offer us a higher commission for tickets sold. But, the point is that I don’t know their services, I haven’t used them. Airtreks’ service I have used. And, I am proud to offer and promote it to you to check and to see if it’s right for you.