In February I flew to Florida and my outbound flight was delayed more than 5 hours because of the extremely cold weather. There was a family of five waiting in the airport with us. They had planned a Caribbean cruise to celebrate their son’s 16th birthday. As the hours dragged on from 8 a.m. to past noon with no end in sight for the flight delays, that poor family became more and more agitated that they would miss their 4:30 p.m. cruise ship in Florida. They were desperately calling the cruise line and getting no help. Most of us have either heard of or experienced this type of travel nightmare. It’s the type of vacation-gone-sideways experience that Glastonbury native Claudia Dawley helps travelers avoid. She recently started a concierge-style travel agency called The Stamped Passport Travel Co. The company curates personalized travel plans, tailored to each individual client and intended to assure they have the best experience possible, whether they’re traveling near or far. We spoke recently with Claudia about her new venture.
1. When and why did you start your company?
I have always been enthusiastic about travel. Over the years I have visited over thirty counties and have had the opportunity to experience so many amazing cultures around the world. It is so fun to immerse yourself in the areas you visit. Though it can be scary at first to let go of what you are accustomed to. I witnessed this firsthand during my time in the Peace Corps while stationed in Uganda. Whenever I tell people about my two-plus years in Uganda, they say things like “I could never do this,” or “It must have been scary.” Because of this, I thought how fun it would be to help people overcome this feeling. Though my business just opened this year I have been involved in the travel industry for many years. I have always been interested in owning my own business and felt now was the right time to embark on this journey.
2. In an age of online booking sites, why is it important to work with a travel agent?
It is important to work with a travel agent because the client is saved from the hours of research that it takes to put all the components of a trip together. I create unique custom itineraries for each client. I use my trusted relationships within the industry to create the best trip possible for the client. I can help clients avoid costly mistakes. Travel rules change often and I keep the clients informed. I am the client’s advocate from beginning to end, and help handle issues that may arrive during travel.
3. What are some of the most popular places people want to travel right now?
My business primarily focuses on international travel. I specialize in Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean/Mexico. Europe is currently very popular. I am seeing a lot of requests for Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and France.
4. Your service also provides “curated travel experiences'' for clients. What does that mean?
I tailor all vacations specifically to the client. I help research all the components of the trip and coordinate flights, transfers, hotels, tours, activities, and excursions. This can all be very overwhelming, especially when traveling to multiple destinations, so that is where I come in to help! I use my expertise, relationships and resources I have established in other countries to curate unique experiences. No two trips are the same. A curated travel experience helps to save the client time, money and hours of research.
The Stamped Passport Travel Co.
On Facebook and Instagram: @TheStampedPassportTravelCo