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The Research & Design phase is where all of the magic happens, as we meticulously craft the perfect travel itinerary for you! Ever heard of the adage "You get what you pay for"? From a cup of coffee to working with an attorney, usually, the free option isn't the best one. The world of online travel can be an utterly frustrating place to design your own itinerary because there are just too many options, and the "free" services typically lack expertise, trust, and ease of use.


Our team of expert travel designers begins by analyzing the information gathered from the Initial Inquiry and during the Discovery Call. We delve deep into understanding everything you've shared with us to gain a comprehensive understanding which forms the foundation for our Research & Design efforts as we strive to create a tailored itinerary that reflects your unique travel style and preferences.

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In many cases, we utilize our preferred suppliers to ensure we have proper representation each step of the way. We leverage these relationships to get preferred pricing, amenities, and additional perks/benefits for our clients whenever possible! We also serve as your advocate in case anything unexpected happens with your trip. We've created our fee structure to cover ALL of those services as we do much more than just make a booking and move to the next client. The Research & Design stage involves a significant amount of work and expertise on our end, which is why we charge Agency Service Fees, to compensate for the extensive research, planning, and design efforts involved.

Did You Know?

Our team spends an average of 15 hours per booking from the time we receive your Initial Inquiry to the time you start your vacation? This does not include the time we spend on modifications prior to departure, hiccups that may occur during your travels, or following up after your trip to make sure you arrive safely back home. This alone is a savings of over $300 of your time (assuming you only get paid $20/hour)!

So, here's why the Research & Design process is essential and what you can expect during this phase of your vacation planning experience with us.


When it comes to finding the right vacation, searching Google or using online travel websites is overwhelming; they offer too many choices, and make unvetted recommendations. Doing things yourself can seem fun at first, but it can often lead to frustrations along the way because there are several components to consider with vacation planning. Not to mention, hotels and cruise lines are not as motivated to make special exceptions for one-off customers who reach out. This might also include bumping you to another hotel upon arrival if they've oversold -- believe us when we say, this happens to individuals and groups more often than you think! Travel advisors, on the other hand, are knowledgeable and experienced at aligning you with the right hotel, cruise line, or vacation to meet the specific goals of your trip, and they are equipped with the tools to advocate on your behalf!

Vacation  Planning  Inclusions

    Our team has invested the time and effort in learning about a wide variety of cruise lines, hotels, and tours to better match you with the right accommodations and travel style to meet your individual needs. This helps save you hours of time and anxiety trying to research all of the different options available to you! We work with a number of different travel suppliers to coordinate each piece of your trip, and we have strong connections in the industry. So, whether you have issues while in destination, or special requests before you go, we can help to make sure every part of your trip is pre-planned and ready for your arrival!
    Those "too good to be true" travel deals are usually exactly what you would expect them to be. We've heard countless times where travelers show up to a hotel and additional fees are requested that the client never even knew about! These might be local taxes, exchange rate issues, or all-inclusive package "add-ons" that were never discussed. When you book with Goulds Travel, there are no hidden fees. All expenses will either be prepaid or you will be advised as to what will be due upon arrival.
    If you are planning your vacation more than 6 months in advance, we provide the option to secure your trip with low deposits and make payments along the way, rather than paying it in full at the time of booking. Please be aware that deposits may be higher depending on the supplier we use, but our team will inform you of the different payment options available!
    That's right! Working with us can actually SAVE you money, even with our Research & Design Fee! Our goal is to match you with the best vacation experience possible, and we have the industry knowledge, resources, and expertise to get you the most bang for your buck! We know, and have personally experienced, so many different cruise lines, hotels, and tours to match you with the right accommodations and travel style to meet your individual needs. This helps save you hours of time and anxiety trying to research all of the different options available, and helps eliminate the possibility of wasting money on something you may not like.
    We will help you determine what will make this trip special, offering unique activities/excursions, while keeping your vacation goals in mind, thus providing you with recommendations and an itinerary crafted just for you. From the moment you book with us until you travel, we are constantly checking on your reservation (an average of 5 times) to make sure your flight schedules have not been updated, seats are assigned (when possible), and even emailing the hotel(s) to let them know of your bedding requests and special occasions ahead of your arrival. A few weeks prior to departure, we work to ensure everything is lined up and you are fully prepared for your vacation!
    Resorts, cruise lines, and hotels value the travel advisors that work with them. The suppliers we use often have a "no-walk policy" or a "first to rebook policy" meaning that by booking through us and our preferred suppliers, you will likely be given more attention over someone who booked through a conventional online method (like Expedia). You will also receive added value by booking with us which may come in the form of additional perks, added amenities, or even better room locations than those who booked online.
    In many cases, big travel companies do not support other small businesses or the local communities. As a local business, you will have peace of mind that you won't be passed around some call center when you have questions or problems arise. We will work with you on an individual basis, fighting for you every step of the way. We work with YOU, not for the travel companies, so our focus is on advocating for our clients and our business if it comes to it.
    We are here for you! Many of the travel suppliers we work with offer 24/7 in-destination "during travel" support to ensure you have the proper coverage to make changes in an instant. However, we are your added layer of protection to walk you through any questions you may have, saving you the hassle of figuring out what to do or going at it alone!
    We offer a complimentary consultation by phone or Zoom to chat about your vacation and help walk you through our process more in-depth, if needed. Please keep in mind that many of our suppliers provide negotiated, contracted "Package Pricing" which means we will not be able to provide individual component pricing. Trip/package pricing will not be provided until after the Research & Design Planning Fee has been retained by Goulds Travel to plan your vacation with us. Please note: when comparing itineraries "apples to apples", 9 times out of 10, our price and package is the same, if not cheaper, than booking online!

The Research & Design process ensures that our dedicated team can devote the necessary time, expertise, and resources to create a personalized travel experience that exceeds your expectations. Our Research & Design fee not only compensates for the extensive work involved, but also reflects our commitment to delivering high-quality, customized services that reflect your travel dreams and aspirations. Throughout this phase, we will remain in close communication with you, providing updates about proposal timelines, seeking feedback as needed, and refining the itinerary to ensure that it aligns with your vision prior to the Proposal Presentation.

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