FAQ – what is it exactly that you do?

Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! If you’ve seen my social media posts (Facebook and Instagram), you’ll know that I’m in Europe doing a deep dive in the Netherlands and Belgium visiting hotels, river cruise ships, top experiences, and much more to best inform my clients. The most popular time to visit this area is the spring – April/May – for the gorgeous tulips especially. But any time of year is fun and well worth a vacation. If it’s on your travel bucket list, schedule a trip consultation with me when I’m fresh off my trip.

I’m often asked how I work and what I do. I’m NOT a typical travel agent looking to sell you something in a transaction style relationship. As an advisor and consultant, my role is to provide a customized, client-focused experience enhancing value and providing access to resources clients can’t get by booking themselves. A long term relationship where I’m your go-to travel professional (like your wealth advisor) is the goal.

Read on for the scoop about the benefits of working with me, a professional travel advisor…

What’s In It For You?

In a nutshell, you will receive professional travel planning, access to my global network, and added value. My goal is to save you time (getting you out of the google black hole), provide you with peace of mind, and set you up for a seamless trip from start to finish. And you have a real person to contact, who is invested in making your trip the best experience possible, not a bot or call center employee.

For custom designed trips I charge a research and planning fee which is calculated based on the complexity of the trip. This includes the number of legs, number of travelers, number of nights, and time until departure. The starting price is $350. This cost is offset by the time you save and value you receive. NOTE – for simple hotel/resort, escorted tour, or cruise bookings where you know what you’d like to book, there’s no fee, and you will likely receive some perks through my preferred partner status with many travel suppliers.

One of the enhancements I offer is the ability to have your itinerary on an app on your phone. It is a game changer to have everything you need in one digital space. It makes travel so much easier to have your itinerary beautifully laid out in contrast to excel spreadsheets, word docs, handwritten notes, emails, or a folder with paper as you may have had in the past when organizing your own trips. In addition to a day by day description, the app also includes an ‘information and documents’ section with helpful information such as tipping guidelines, travel insurance, travel tips, and more.

Do You Get Better Rates Than Me?

You will receive a better value when working and booking through me. For example, my preferred partner status with a long list of hotels, resorts, and cruise lines, I get valuable added perks and amenities for my clients which vary by partner.

When booking yourself, you’re a one-off for the travel supplier whereas they know that I will be working with them multiple if not many times in the future. Also, when you book via an OTA like Expedia, your reservation is at the bottom of their priority list; not a place you want to be if it’s a special trip. Cheaper can often be more expensive.

💎Hidden Gem Tip: I specialize in premium to luxury travel experiences and buck list travel. A healthy budget is needed to create a dream vacation, and I will let you know what budget range is needed to get what you want.

I Love Travel Planning… How Can We Work Together?

Yes, absolutlely we can work together!  Since my process is customized, you can do your research and then come to me for my insider knowledge and expertise as well as the itinerary creation and booking. If you just want to pick my brain, I offer a paid consultation call. Let me know if that’s your preference when you reach out.

For many international destinations (Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Central and South America), I work with business to business local partners. Your experience is greatly upleveled through this process, and if you need help while there, they will fix the issue minimizing the impact on your precious time. Major value add!

Humble brag – I’m grateful that my clients give my services rave reviews 😊 Here’s one from last month…” Susan was so easy to work with- when first planning our trip she had great ideas for us and really took time to learn what we wanted out of a vacation. Weeks leading up to the trip she was so helpful with any questions, dining reservations, experiences etc. We felt in great hands for our trip and we were well taken care of. Highly recommend Susan!

Inspired? Reach out to me now to get your questions answered and begin the planning process.

Wishing you amazing travel adventures,


NEW Section: Travel News You Can Use

💎 Hidden Gem Tip: Global Entry Expands

“Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.” I personally use and value Global Entry as if often saves me valuable time when reentering the United States at the end of an international trip.

Global Entry lasts 5 years and currently costs $100; TSA PreChek costs $78 and is included with Global Entry. If you travel internationally, it makes sense to get Global Entry instead of TSA PreChek. However, an in person interview is required for Global Entry at a limited number of enrollment centers requiring an appointment.

The latest news is Dulles International Airport, in the Washington DC metro area, will be come the nation’s first airport to offer Global Entry “Enrollment on Departure.” Enrollment at arrival is offered at select airports such as JFK in New York. For the full list and hours of operation for each location visit the link here: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/enrollment-arrival

Enrollment on Arrival (EoA) is CBP program that allows Global Entry applicants who are conditionally approved to complete their interviews upon arrival into the United States; including those entering the United States via a designated CBP Preclearance location. You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp2s0pbbeqA

Follow my Facebook/Instagram pages this week for more travel inspiration: www.facebook.com/hiddengemtravelconsulting or Instagram: www.instagram.com/hidden.gem.travel

Make your own Wanderlist for 2024! As a reminder, Wanderlist is an online portal where you can research, explore, and create shareable lists of destinations and experiences. Share your list with me so I can make it happen for you. Check it out here: https://bit.ly/wanderlisthgtc  

Share This Post


Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


Get the Guide!

10 Hidden Gems to Inspire Your Family’s Wanderlist


My signature consultative process uncovers exactly what your family is craving for your next journey—so I can design a tailored, layered experience that speaks to what wows you.

Looking for something?


Enjoy a Wealth of Travel Resources, Guides, & Services​

All in One Place