Q: What is the difference between a travel consultant and a travel agent?
A: The difference, in a nutshell, is the business model. A travel agents get commissions from booking activities, like flights, cruises, tours, and hotels. A travel agent can’t spend time on activities that don’t produce commissions, like researching restaurants or creating self-guided walking tours, for example. A travel consultant charges fees for expertise and time, like a consultant in any other area. This means we can spend time researching or working on anything that is of interest to our clients. Our clients’ interests and priorities lead our work.
At Las Tres Marias, we only work with Spain and have extremely deep knowledge that most travel agents don’t. We can do everything travel agents do (except we don’t book flights). Since we charge fees, we are able create customized and extremely well planned trips that cater completely to the your needs and interests.For example, we can plan a self-guided tour of wineries or recommend a shopping tour of the chicest neighborhoods of Madrid, both of which are very time intensive and don’t produce commissions. We will always make the best recommendations for each client based on their preferences and never have to consider the commission-producing factor.
Q: I need help planning my Spain trip and I don’t know which service is right for me. What do you suggest?
A: If you are looking for travel planning advice and recommendations on the overall flow of your Spain trip, hotels, restaurants, and activities, but you can handle the booking details, the coaching service is right for you.
If you are looking for travel planning advice and recommendations on the overall flow of your Spain trip, hotels, restaurants, and activities, but you can handle the booking details, the coaching service is right for you.
See the Las Tres Marias Spain travel planning comparison chart here.
Q: How far in advance do we need to book Las Tres Marias to plan my Spain trip?
A: It depends a bit on the season you’re when you’ll be traveling and whether it’s high season and your flexibility. For a relaxed and low-stress process with the Basic Trip Planning, 4-5 months is ideal. We need at least 2.5 months to plan your trip with Basic Trip planning.
For the Coaching Service, it’s up to you and depends on my availability. For example, if you are already in Spain and realize that you need help making sense of the overwhelming amount of information and I have availability for Coaching, we could work together while you’re in Spain. For the Coaching service, the most important thing is to book time on my calendar — either 7 days together or two sets of 3.5 days — so I have daily time dedicated to working on your trip.
Q: Why should we use a travel consultant to plan our trip to Spain?
A: The short answer is that unless you speak Spanish fluently AND know Spain well, it is very difficult to have anything but a very touristy experience. Spain lags behind other European countries, especially Northern European countries, in its English skills and tourism promotion. I explain some of the reasons for this here. All this means is that it can be challenging to travel around Spain without expert planning knowledge.
A travel consultant will also help you get more value for your money. I know Spanish cuisine from lifelong, first-hand participation and know how to ensure you get good value for your money.
A travel consultant will also save you time.
Q: We’d like to travel to Spain, but we’re not sure we fit the description of the independent or luxury traveler that is a Las Tres Marias client, especially since we haven’t traveled that much yet.
A: Independent and luxury travel is more about a style of travel and a mindset than how much you’ve traveled or staying in expensive, luxury hotels. You’re right for Las Tres Marias if you want a highly customized, carefully planned trip, but are able to execute the trip on your own as opposed to being part of a larger guided group. Every step will be carefully planned for you, but if you haven’t rented a car in a foreign country before and dealt with jet lag while trying to get to your first destination, it could be overwhelming. If you’re still not sure, we should talk about this before we begin planning.
Q: Why should we choose you?