30/11-08 23.21 : Maya Northen
What Inspires You?
When I tell people what I do for a living, I am virtually almost always asked what the “hot” (trendy) places to travel are. I don’t know if the person asking is just making conversation or they genuinely are curious, but either way it strikes me as odd. My goal as a travel planner is not to help people visit the trendiest places so they don’t feel left out when everyone else at the proverbial water cooler is discussing their vacation. Instead, I aim to create experiences that match my clients’ interests, needs and preferences so that their destination and trip as a whole reflects them as a person and as a traveler. So when I am asked what’s hot or popular, I respond with my own question: why do you want to take a trip at this time? In other words, what inspires you to travel?

For me, the answer is simple – I love new experiences. Sure, I can have new experiences in my home town of Cherry Hill, NJ. Nearby Philadelphia is full of festivals, events, shows, exhibits and plenty of other experiences, and don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them. But for me, I feel most exhilarated when I am learning the ins and outs of a new city, tasting a new type of cuisine, learning a new cultural custom or meeting someone from have way across the glove. I truly love to expand my knowledge of the world first hand – I feel it opens my mind and my heart in a very unique way. What’s more, I love sharing all of these experiences with my loved ones.

That, however, is just one of the many things about travel that inspires people. Sometimes, this question is a little tougher to answer than we anticipate. Perhaps you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and have a chance to unwind. Maybe you haven’t gotten to take a romantic week without the kids since your honeymoon years ago. Often people have a particular activity or interest around which they want to center their vacation (e.g. wine tasting, kayaking, cycling, a historical event). Or, it might be that a particular destination just intrigues you. Whatever the reason is, answering this question honestly is the most beneficial step you can take in planning your vacation. All too frequently people know they need a vacation or think they want to visit a specific spot, and because they haven’t considered the basic reasons for feeling this way, they end up with a trip or a destination that is not actually what they were looking for. So next time you decide it’s time to hit the road (or the air or the sea), ask yourself what the inspiration behind this trip really is and work from there. Once you have this basic piece of information, your travel planner can help you determine the details.

To check out some destinations that might be ideal for you, visit the “Where to Go” section on our homepage.

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