If you use Twitter or Instagram (or even if you don’t) you’ve likely heard of the Fyre Festival debacle, which recently blew up across social media. The basics are that a music festival was organized on a private island in the Bahamas, pitched as an ultra-exclusive (and very expensive) luxury event that would be packed with models, yachts, and famous people.
But, despite the advice of professional planners who said there wasn’t enough time or resources to put the festival together, the organizers fired the planners and pressed ahead on their own. Needless to say, the festival was a disaster, with attendees stranded in airports, sleeping in parking lots, and begging for food, water, and shelter.
First of all, this was a really unfortunate event for everyone involved. The organizers, attendees, and stars alike all wanted a successful, buzz-worthy festival. No one wanted it to fail, but fail it did. Importantly, as with any complex debacle, there are lessons to take away from it all, but most important is this: when it comes to complex, multinational events requiring the coordination of multiple companies, contractors, and stakeholders, letting a professional handle the nitty-gritty is worth every penny. No matter if it’s a music festival or a top-shelf Asian travel experience, the pros are there for a reason.
“Of course Smiling Albino would say this,” you may think, “that’s what they get paid to do.” Ah, but check some of our past posts on Trunk Lines, you’ll see that we are very much in favor of self-guided travel. Indeed – it’s often how you have the best adventures and return with the most interesting stories! But when you really can’t afford to have anything go wrong, or want to experience things that solo travelers might not have access to, well, that’s where we come in.
The most obvious benefit of hiring a professional travel planner is that you immediately gain a friend on the inside who can give you the secrets, histories, and background of the locations and attractions you’ll be visiting that might be left out of the travel guides. Not only that, but you’ll also have someone handy who will know what to do if something does go wrong. Everything from food allergies to political upset to a sudden storm might make a mockery of your well-laid plans, but having a friend who can switch to plan B, C and if necessary D seamlessly can be a lifesaver.
Another thought that occurs to some is that planning a trip with an agency restricts your flexibility – but the opposite is actually true! Talented guides can adapt the itinerary to suit your needs, often at a moment’s notice. Whether it’s a quick side trip to a craft brewery for beer fans, an impromptu crash course in noodle-making for the kids at a roadside food cart, or entrance to an attraction that would normally be closed, knowing where to go and who to contact to customize all or part of a trip is something no book can teach you.
There are many other reasons why it makes sense to hire a professional to guide your adventure. You will save time because you don’t have to research everything (that’s our job), you can learn about the local culture at your own pace (we’re here to answer your questions!), and you can take advantage of the connections that we have built up over years (being able to cut through the dense layers of red tape in Southeast Asia is a lifesaver).
As the organizers of the Fyre Festival found out the hard way, there’s a difference between price and value. Price is what you pay; value is what you get. And when it comes to creating memories that will last a lifetime, value is what professionals should always be focused on.