When I told friends I was taking my TICO education standards test to become a travel agent, they laughed. I laughed with them. It really sounds silly to say I am learning how to do what every and anybody can do searching the internet on sites like Expedia.com, Kayak, Skyscanner, Hotels.com, etc… but I’m not. I’m not trying to compete with those search engines. I want to deliver dreams.
I have traveled extensively to the Caribbean, the States, France, Thailand, Australia, UAE, etc. Much of it I have blogged about (much of it I have yet to lol).
My friend Mona and I have been talking about delivering on years of combined travel experiences. Our goal is simple, to discover and share cultural experiences that must not be missed, taste food your tastebuds never knew it loved, meet people that will enrich your life.
First step – learn the biz.
Turns out, not everyone has the time to dig through the internet or Instagram hashtags to find their next vacation. Not everyone knows what to look for or what to look-out for either. It can get very overwhelming and the truth is, what you see may not be what you actually want.
Who best to help you plan your next trip then someone who understands your lifestyle, and who understands you are driven by the desire to experience something new? It’s hard to get that from a search engine.
So as the first step towards my dreams, in the Spring of 2018, I finally decided to get my TICO.
TICO stands for the Travel Industry Council of Ontario and is a governing body in place to ensure the consumer is protected when purchasing travel products (trips, vacations, flights, etc.) with an Ontario-based travel professional.
In the province of Ontario, Canada (where I️ live) you are required by law to be TICO certified in order to sell or market travel products/services to the public. There are a slew of standards that must be adhered to like advising the customer on the full amount of a trip and notifying the customer of all documents they will need to travel to their destination. Should the airline(s) or hotel(s) go out of business while they are on their trip, TICO makes sure customers are compensated the cost to return home.
Professionally, I am a marketer with a background in events. Planning trips for leisure/corporate is something I have been doing for years and I’m ready to explore it further. Having my TICO education standards certificate let’s me do that.
My goal isn’t to be a travel agent by solely booking flights. Again, I’ll leave it to the search engines for that. As a Travel Concierge or Travel Curator, I want to be able to plan experiences and offer my friends/family/clients the confidence knowing they are in good hands with not only the advice I offer, or the planning I provide but ultimately in handling their precious time.
Want to learn more about my travel-style? Check out my Instagram account @urban_traveler to see where I’ve been.
*I respect those seeking privacy/discretion.