Travel dates can be the most amazing thing. You get to see the world, experience different cultures, and broaden your horizons – and you don’t foot the bill for it! Travel can be such a big expense, so getting to explore new places while making, not spending, money is a really wonderful opportunity. Add that clients tend to book more upscale transportation, lodgings, dining experiences, and outings than many of us would book for ourselves on our personal trips and it’s no wonder that travel dates are dream dates for a lot of us!
That said, travel dates can go really, really well or really, really poorly. You can have the time of your lives, or a nightmare trip. A lot of it comes down to approaching the trip with the right mindset, communicating well, and doing all you can to be a valuable travel companion and not a travel burden.
Whose Vacation is it?
When you’re being spoiled on a first class trip with a charming gent, it can be easy to forget that you’re not on vacation. But you’re not. Your client is.
Your client has spent at least thousands, but potentially tens of thousands, on flights, hotels, dining out, cultural activities, and everything else that goes into putting together a holiday for two. Your travel date likely constitutes a significant portion of their entertainment spending budget, and they've chosen to spend it on an experience shared with you. It’s crucial that you remember that, and let that inform your behavior.
It’s your client’s vacation and while it will likely be highly enjoyable for you, too, this trip isn’t about doing all the things that you want to do, when you want to do them. You can make suggestions for activities and restaurants that you’d like to try during your trip, but don’t be pouty or insistent if your client wants to do something else or go somewhere else. Be enthusiastic about what your client is excited to see and stay open minded.
Sure, you might prefer visiting the Louvre over the Rodin on a trip to Paris, but this isn’t your trip to Paris - and the Rodin is pretty cool, too! That’s just an example, but that attitude applies to any itinerary items on your travel dates. Not only does that approach make you a gracious companion, the sort a client will want to book over and over again, but you might even discover some new interests and new favorites!
Never showing disappointment about the itinerary, or being entitled or bratty, is crucial to providing a great experience for your client. Be a great companion and you’ll secure future bookings!
No Divas Allowed
We all love to look our best for our clients and travel dates are no exception. That said, travel can be strenuous and it’s not the time to act like a pretty, pampered princess.
Pack comfortable shoes, so you’re not the reason you two can’t take a long walk through the city center.
Pack clothes that will look good even after a few hours on the plane, so you’re not freaking out about being wrinkled.
Pack backup outfits, in case something goes wrong with an outfit or two.
Pack clothing and footwear that suits the activities your client wants to do, so you’re not trying to conquer a challenging hike in a silk playsuit.
Go with the flow and adapt gracefully to changes in your plans. If a flight is delayed, it’s your job to make that extra time in the airport more enjoyable! If reservations fall through, come up with some alternatives. If something annoying happens, don’t have a meltdown. There’s an upside to everything and as your client’s companion, it’s up to you to find and magnify that upside. No pouting allowed!
The last incredibly important point I’ll touch on is how vital clear communication is to ensuring a great experience for both you and your client. It’s so important that your have the same expectations of how the trip will unfold. Some key things you’ll want to go over are:
Are you sharing a room? A suite? A bed? When one of you needs alone time, where will the other go?
Being with anyone 24/7 is a lot, so it can be a good idea to plan to have an hour, or a couple hours, to yourselves each day. If you’re accompanying your client on a business trip, time apart is built in, but if it’s a vacation you’ll need to establish how much independent time each day will make both of you happy.
Whether it’s an hour in the mornings to get in a workout or an hour in the evening for leisurely skin care and a solo stroll, just a little bit of time apart can refresh you for your time together.
Being well rested is super important for mood and energy. Establish reasonable expectations for how much uninterrupted sleep you’ll need each night to be your best self. On your own, make sure to start the trip super well rested and to plan in some days afterwards for recovery.
If you’re traveling with an established client you may already have an idea of what their particular needs may be. If not, just ask! Maybe your client has a disability and could use help getting through TSA. Maybe they have a severe allergy and you should know where their EpiPen is, just in case. Being helpful makes your client feel cared for, and that’s why they’ve asked you along in the first place!
Travel dates can be incredible, with the right preparation and the right attitude. Make being the sunshine of the trip your mission and it’ll be a great experience for both of you!