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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is Susan Whitson Travel different from other travel agencies?
    As former White House staffers, we had the rare opportunity to travel the globe and experience destinations as a US president and first lady did. We draw on this experience to collaborate with our clients to design creative, engaging and meaningful travel, while pulling together all of the components to create an itinerary that runs with ease and precision. Responsible tourism is personally important to us, especially investing in local communities, which is at the core of each itinerary we design. We believe transformative travel happens when travelers connect with the right people in authentic locations. Additionally, we are uniquely skilled at managing complex and complicated logistics to make each travel experience run smoothly. We work with a small group of clients, who believe, like we do, that travel is transformative, educational and restorative. We specialize in becoming experts in our clients’ preferences, travel dreams, and long-term travel plans. The proposals we design are completely different and unique depending on the client’s desires. Our strong networks and longstanding personal relationships with the best travel providers all over the world give our clients access to the best guides, drivers, and travel experiences. As a Conde Nast top travel specialist for high profile/high security travel, Susan understands effective family safety requires a proactive outlook. Our team's personal experience coordinating and traveling with security teams sets us apart from other travel agencies. When a client requests security for their family, our goal is to implement proactive security measures into their trip while maintaining the privacy they desire. Our services can also include pre-advancing trips where we handpick guides, create experiences specifically for your family or group, coordinate with security teams, and manage complex logistics.
  • Do you work with everyone?
    We work with a small group of discerning travelers who value a long-term relationship with a detail-oriented travel team who designs personal travel especially for them. Discretion and client privacy are critical to establishing trust with our clients. We want to make sure our clients are the right fit for us, and that we are the right fit for them. We only take on clients where we feel confident we can add value and enhance their travel experiences. Once we feel we are a good mutual fit, our consulting fees are based on the trip complexity, duration, and number of travelers. Please see our rates for an overview. When working with us on a trip, we focus on the details of your trip, without the ‘more is better’ mentality of many agencies.
  • Is there a minimum trip cost to work with you?
    We specialize in seamless and unique travel across the world. The cost to have this experience varies across the globe, depending on destination, length of trip, and whether any touring is done in small groups or privately. Not including airfare, most of our clients’ trips generally start at $1,200 - 1,500 per person per day. These are the rough starting points from which we can provide the most value to your trip and leverage our highly vetted travel partners, and vary based on destination, time of year, and number of services.
  • How long does it take to plan a trip?
    A number of factors determine the amount of time it takes to plan a trip from the initial discover call to booking the last component, including how far in advance of the trip you’ve contacted us; the complexity of the itinerary; how many suppliers we are coordinating with across the globe; and any tweaks you decide you’d like to make to the initial proposal. Our How We Work page provides a general idea of the planning process. Sometimes events out of our control may result in a delay (an emergency from a currently traveling client, for example). We ask for your understanding when the need to take more time arises.
  • When my proposal arrives, are the trip costs broken down line-by-line, or will it be one price?
    Whenever possible, we break down trip costs for you in a proposal. However, many of the world’s best tour operators negotiate confidential wholesale rates with their individual guides/suppliers, and are contractually unable to break down costs for us when pricing a customized touring itinerary. Our partners work with us to tweak the initial touring itinerary based on budget or desired pace of travel, but they cannot legally share the individual negotiated rates of tours, drivers, or in some cases even hotels, with us. We vet our suppliers thoroughly and only work with those whom we know are committed to negotiating fair prices for incredible experiences for our clients.
  • Do you recommend travel insurance?
    Yes. Most of the trips we plan require a final, nonrefundable payment several months prior to departure. In this day and age of unexpected natural disasters to terrorism attacks to getting ill prior to or during travel, we believe it is too big of a risk not to purchase insurance to cover your investment. As part of our trip proposals, we include quotes through our preferred agency so you know you are covered. If you decline travel insurance coverage, we will ask you to sign a waiver stating you have decided not to purchase this coverage.
  • What is your change & cancellation policy?
    While canceling a trip is never what anyone wants to do, any change or cancellation is time consuming to unravel, and results in unrealized income to compensate us for our time and knowledge poured into a custom itinerary (normally paid after time of travel by suppliers). Susan Whitson Travel’s cancellation and change policies are in addition to any third party supplier (e.g. hotel, cruise ship, guiding company) and provided at time of booking.
  • Will you help book my travel using points and/or miles?
    While we do not book with points and miles (this is simply not our area of expertise), we are happy to refer you to a third party partner of frequent flier experts who can assist with airline reservations. Additional fees apply.
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