Avia Travel was established in 1987 by VIA (formerly Volunteers in Asia), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing understanding between the United States and Asia. Since 1963, VIA (now known as VIA Programs) has provided transformative learning experiences for participants in USA and Asia.
Avia Travel, though independent of VIA Programs, supports VIA’s ideals and mission.
The travel industry over the past 30 plus years since Avia Travel’s inception in 1987 has been a challenging and ever changing one. There are travelers who do NOT see any need for travel agents. After all, online tools can offer easy access to booking flights, accommodations and most of the nuts and bolts of a trip directly online. In many instances, I do agree. I too, embrace all the same tools.
Why use a Travel Agent, Trip Planner, Travel Consultant then?
As a Trip Planner my best asset for my clients is helping them make the best use of their time, budget, energy, and resources for that special time of their lives.
When planning a 10 to 30 days multi destination vacation, many clients want to do everything, go everywhere. Online resources can be overwhelming unless one is prepared to spent hours shifting through it all. My role is to help you weed out the excess, connect the different destinations seamlessly. I can recommend guides and activities that complement the destinations with ground operators that are trusted. Online resources offer endless accommodation possibilities in each new destination which makes choosing one a challenge. I can recommend just the right hotel for you, be it classic, distinctive, historical, luxurious, or simply quirky, centrally located or of great value.
For the many who travel solo, I can find an existing group that may be the right fit as I have done the same for other travelers many times.
Through our local ground operators, we can access local licensed professional guides who are personal ambassadors to local attractions. In fact, some programs may not even be possible without them, e.g., community-based tourism in villages. In the event of unforeseen circumstances our local ground operators know what to do. In summary, even in this instant online 24/7 world, a good Trip Planner is an essential partner when planning your vacation. We work together to create a program that is within your budget and interests.
Despite the many ups and downs we have continued to thrive as our commitment to our clients have not changed. Our guiding principle in all that we do is that we work with our clients and our partners on a long- term basis with integrity, professionalism, and good will.
South East Asia is in my genes, my culture and heritage as I had spent half of my life there.
Travel is in my blood as I have always been involved in some aspects of the travel industry for most of my working career. My years of extensive travel as a Tour Manager through South East Asian destinations, parts of Australia and USA opened entire worlds of culture, food, and traditions. More importantly I learned how to work with clients and local operators who are from diverse racial, cultural, economic, social, and educational backgrounds. It was my job to ensure that these strangers to each other, traveling together as a group for the duration of the trip (anything from 10 to 30 days) emerge at the end of the trip, enriched with goodwill, new friendships, and many memorable moments.
The travel industry is constantly evolving. It is easy for a travel agency to get lost in this current climate of impersonal online bookings. Nevertheless, I am optimistic and resilient as my boutique agency does not deal with thousands of anonymous clients. Each trip is tailored with my clients’ interest, budget, time, and physical constraints in mind. I certainly know my local operators well as they are a crucial part of my team. Together we ensure that whatever services we provide will always be ethically and professionally well done.
Job satisfaction to me is when we both take a holistic approach in working together to create a trip that you envision, and my receiving a jubilant report from you on your return.