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Case Study: 2 friends, 10 perfect days in Paris

The anatomy of a personalized door-to-door itinerary.

When Clarice came to me, stressing about her upcoming vacation to Paris (and first ever international trip), I knew I had to help. During our initial call I learned that while she knew she wanted to include all of the iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, the rest of the trip was a question mark. Perfect – that’s exactly where I do my best work!

Below I explain how we approached the planning of the itinerary then share Clarice’s thoughts on the whole experience.

Clarice in Paris

The planning process

During our initial consultation, Clarice decided the travel planning that best fit her needs was my “Door-to-Door Itinerary” service. To start crafting Clarice’s perfect itinerary, I first needed to get to know what her goals were for the trip, her interests and general preferences (such as travel pace). She’d be traveling with a good friend and it was really important to both of them that they make efficient use of their time and maximize their opportunity to see this incredible city. Their ideal travel pace and length of stay was ideal for alternating between activity-dense days and more relaxed days (1 day on, 1 day off). The itinerary for their 10-day adventure included a couple of guided walking tours through neighborhoods, visits to the “must see” sights, as well as a few of my favorite lesser-known sights.

Q & A with Clarice, the happy traveler

What do you normally struggle with when planning your own trips?

“Not knowing the places I was traveling to very well. I knew a little about Paris and can speak some French, but I didn’t know the geography of the city. I needed to know more about where to spend my time to make my money be worthwhile. The one thing I kept thinking was, ‘Gosh, I don’t want to get stuck at just touristy places!’ I wanted an authentic Paris experience – not just the tourist experience.”

Did you have any reservations about spending money on a travel consultant?

“Yes, because this is the first time in my life I’ve ever done that. Even though it makes sense to have a specialist help you, we work so hard to earn every penny, so to spend extra money when you know the trip is already going to be expensive – it’s not just an easy decision. But I eventually realized that there’s real value in having someone who is an expert in their field help with trip planning. Even though you may think about having a little extra money to spend on something else, for me I know that the experience wouldn’t have been nearly as rich if I didn’t have that help.”

Clarice on top of the Notre Dame Cathedral

How did having a planned itinerary change the way you travel?

“Having Cassie create my itinerary maximized the number of places that I saw and gave me the opportunity to have flexibility in my schedule. I could also easily eliminate something if I wanted to see one place instead of another (without messing up the overall plan) which I couldn’t have done if I didn’t have an itinerary. I feel like when you don’t plan you are so caught up in trying to figure out what to do next – it’s such a time sucker and increases stress. Having a plan also made it a more relaxing and leisurely experience – exactly what travel and vacation is supposed to be!”

Did the trip meet (or exceed!) your expectations?

“Definitely exceeded my expectations. It really was a perfectly curated blend of what I wanted to see. I got some unique perspectives on different places that I wouldn’t have gotten if I had tried to do it myself because it was non-touristy and authentic.

To know where to go and what to do and how to do it – that was way better than I ever imaged it to be. I expected travel to be a nerve-wracking event and I was going to have to figure out all of the pieces to the puzzle – but it was already done and I didn’t have to do any of that.”

Would you use Montage Travel to help with your next trip?

“Yes! Cassie was professional but very personable and pleasant. Super fun to brainstorm with – there is definitely a teamwork aspect to the planning with her. I know that she took my concern about maximizing value to heart and really understood what I was seeking from the experience.”

Dreaming of your own trip of a lifetime?

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer like Clarice, a good itinerary makes touring more efficient and helps mitigate potential issues or obstacles. If you’re interested in having a custom itinerary designed to fit your travel style and preferences, check out my “Door-to-Door Itinerary” service (sample itinerary here). Or if you want to plan the itinerary on your own but want expert travel advice, I offer a Travel Consulting service as well.

Not sure where to start? Contact me for a free, no-obligation 20-minute consultation, and we’ll figure it out together!

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