Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I work with a travel professional?

The internet is filled with great travel information. Too much travel information! Busy people don’t have time to dig through the clutter to find the gems, and often suffer decision fatigue. That’s where we come in - we do this all day long, every day. Let us help you plan the best trip EVER. Outside the Lines Travel has first-hand experience and insider information on the best places to stay and things to do in destinations all over the globe, and we pride ourselves on being excellent listeners and consultants.

How do travel professionals make money?

Many people do not understand how travel specialists work, and it’s okay to ask this question! Most trips booked with a travel professional do not add any extra cost to you, as our trusted travel partners take care of paying us after our clients travel. Your price is the same whether you book on your own or with a travel specialist. When booking with a trusted professional, you get all of our knowledge and expertise to assist you with your trip. This is a complimentary service for our clients who choose to book a package with us. For more complex or highly customized trips, or for our clients that require travel assistance, tips, or consulting advice on trips where the travel specialist is not compensated, we charge a planning fee to for the time that it takes to get exactly what our clients want. Our service is worth it.

How are travel specialists trained?

Travel specialists invest much time and money in coursework and personal travel. We attend summits, conferences, forums,workshops, and familiarization trips to stay current with destinations, travel news, best practices, and industry trends. A large part of what we do is developing relationships with suppliers and vendors, where we visiting the destinations that we sell, so that we can advise our clients appropriately. Travel specialists also must stay current with online coursework. Some professionals have degrees in the travel industry, but this is not always required. It is our job to learn about all of the best options out there so you don’t have to!

What are the first steps when working with a travel professional?

All of our vacation planning services begin with a required phone consultation. In our 30-minute consultation, we will discuss your travel needs, wishes and desires, go over your travel preferences and travel history. We learn about your family and what they like, your budget, and more. Together we’ll discuss some options and general price ranges, and you can ask questions. Based on our conversation, if we are a good match to work together, we will make our services available to you, and we will send you a request for information about your travel party. If your travel requires a service fee, we will ask for that up front, and we will move forward with your custom vacation planning experience.

Do you charge a fee?

It depends. For all-inclusive packages, theme park packages, and cruises - no. For custom trip builds, trips that require comprehensive assistance, and trips where our travel suppliers do not provide agency commission, we charge a consulting fee for our planning time, expertise, and the connections we have built during our years in the travel industry. Trips such as this start at $350, less if you are a repeat client. If you know where you are going and want help with accommodation/transportation recommendations, we’ll ask you to outline what you are looking for and then ask you how you would like us to assist you. We offer a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation for this purpose. Please reach out to be put on to our schedule. We believe in listening carefully, providing price transparency, and delivering extremely high-quality service.

Can you get us a better price than we can find online?

Everyone likes a deal, but that is not Outside the Lines Travel's bottom line. We are passionate about helping our clients avoid costly mistakes and provide them exactly what they are looking for in their travel needs. While we do not upsell, we strive to get our clients what they ask us for. No one has ever thanked us for a "cheap vacation". Our clients come to us for our personalized service and knowledge. Because of our partnerships with our trusted suppliers, we often receive extra values, such as resort credit, onboard credit, and special perks for groups or special occasions. Of note - when you book online, you’re paying a “gross rate” that includes agency commission, whether or not you have booked with a travel agency. You may as well get our service (since you’re paying for it anyway!) Also, we can work with you to insure your trip and help protect your vacation investment.

Why would a travel professional not work with me?

Though it could be that your request is out of their comfort zone or they are too busy, the main reason a travel professional would choose NOT to work with you is because they sense that you are interested in just the lowest possible price, or just looking for ideas on where to travel, and not interested in booking your travel with them. Be certain not to ask lots of of questions in the beginning, ask for a quote, then do not follow up after a quote has been provided. Because travel professionals are only compensated AFTER our clients travel, if you take our expertise and advice and book on your own or elsewhere, it is unlikely that the travel professional will take you on as a client after that, and you may really need them for that trip to Africa or Asia (two destinations we recommend!!)

Do you book group travel?

Yes, and we love it! It's a bit like herding cats, but we thrive in the midst of controlled chaos.

What’s the deal with travel insurance? I’m skeptical…

We recommend it always, but if you are doubtful, at least consider this: travel protection is a must when traveling to the Caribbean in hurricane season, anywhere from or through the Northeast in the winter, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, and is strongly recommended for international travel, mostly for medical coverage. For more info, please read Joy’s blog post .

Many people are surprised to learn that travel advisors are still around!  Actually, we are busier than ever, and we know that you may be curious about what travel advisors do and how we work. Here are answers to the most common questions that we encounter on a regular basis.

To learn more about our services and promotions please contact us:

Joy Hess

(412) 608-4991
Outside the Lines Travel

Florida Seller of Travel # ST15578

California Seller of Travel No. 2090937-50

Washington UBID No. 603189022

Iowa Registered Agency # 1202

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© 2018 by Joy M Hess