Travel Designers

Travel agents are becoming fashionable again as “travel designers”, and after a hellish traveling experience I understand why.

As agents used to, travel designers handle the painful parts: planning, executing, and management.

However, unlike agents, designers tailor the experience to your tastes. It seems like you choose how much involvement you want with itinerary planning. Unlike a prepackaged experience that agents offer, the trip becomes uniquely yours because it’s based on your preferences. Then, you go on your trip and they handle the rest.

I wonder if the travel agent industry died out because it was transactional, not experiential. From what I’ve heard, no one looks forward to speaking with their agent. You didn’t learn about the best secret restaurants and hotels from them and you were charged a premium for what you can do with TripAdvisor for free.

So why would someone pay for this in the age of free information?

I’ve always enjoyed planning my trips, but after taking way too much shit during my 3-month stint in Asia, I get it. I’m incredibly price-sensitive, too. I’d rather stay in $10/night hostels if they are clean and comfortable.

But then I spent +30 hours in the last month planning and managing only accommodations! On occasion, this necessitated interrupting work hours, so the disruptions significantly affected my productivity. It boiled over when I felt like I was spending so much energy planning the coming weeks that I couldn’t stop to enjoy the present moment.

I’m tired of loading my Skype account so I can make expensive international calls to dispute hotel charges and negotiate refunds. I’m tired of being charged a premium for terrible experiences (have you been told “it’s tourist season”, too?). I want to focus on important work, my creative pursuits, and enjoying Asia.

Sometimes the pursuit of saving money is expensive in time and attention. In this case, to plan hotels is not why I chose to travel, and I’m willing to pay something to remove some menial tasks and manage my trip.

What do you think?

I’ve started looking into travel designers and initiated help from Journy, a modern company looking to improve this experience. Keep an eye out for my review of the experience, and if I think travel designers can be worth it.

Foreign Travel Part 2: Best Apps, Services, & Tools

On January 25th, 2018, I started a 3-month Southeast Asia trip with my girlfriend, Sam.

This is the first in a series of travel-related posts where I’ll talk about lessons we learn along the way. These ideas surely aren’t new, but hopefully, we point you to a few solid resources that help you take that leap or travel more effectively.

Moving in and out of airports, finding our way to hotels and Airbnbs, finding WiFi at 2 am to get online for meetings…

The past few weeks have been a rush of new challenges. However, in the face of these challenges, these apps, services, and tools have proven to be godsends.

Testing tons of new apps along the way, I’ve found these tools to be invaluable in my brief digital nomad life. And I’ve only left the tools that I use on a daily basis.

I think any digital nomad could get value from these and to provide an updated list, I’ve set it on another page so that I can keep it up to date.

See it here.

Foreign Travel Part 1: Introduction

On Saturday, my girlfriend, Sam, and I started a 3-month Southeast Asia trip. We’ll start with the Philippines, fly to Thailand, then Japan. Finally we’ll make our way back to Los Angeles, CA in May!

I’ve planned some travel-related posts where I’ll talk about lessons we learn along the way. These ideas surely aren’t new, but hopefully we point you to a few solid resources that help you take that leap or travel effectively.