Chelsea Martin, Luxury Travel Advisor
Spring Break is right around the corner…where will your next vacation take you?
Meet Chelsea Martin, luxury travel advisor and creator of Passport to Friday. She shares favorite destinations, essential travel tips, and even a little inspiration for your future dream vacations.
Tell us, how did you get started?
After I graduated from hospitality school, I worked in corporate events and incentive travel, where I was traveling about 250 days a year. Being away and on the move all of the time can be great, but it also has its challenges. I started a blog to share advice on how to live a healthy and happy life while traveling. This evolved into my blog, Passport to Friday, where I share my tips and tricks, destination guides, and overall advice to help others have the most enjoyable, the most fun, the most memorable travel experiences each and every time. Life is meant to be enjoyed!
As a luxury travel advisor, you get to visit some pretty spectacular places. As you look back on your 2017 travels, what was your favorite surprise?
Last year was filled with so many wonderful adventures. Choosing a favorite is nearly impossible. I have to say, though, that Ireland was magical. I don’t say this lightly: this was possibly the best trip ever. Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries I have been to, not just in the landscapes, but also the people and the experiences we had. I think everyone needs to go to Ireland! And I got to visit the Christmas markets in Germany. This was something my family and I always talked about when I was growing up, so being there was kind of like a dream of mine coming true.
Share three destinations with us that are on your travel wish list.
It’s so hard to pin down just three. But for sure and without a doubt, I would include taking a hot air balloon ride through Cappadocia, Turkey.
I also want to go on an African safari! I think I would visit South Africa first, but I also want to experience Botswana and Kenya. My great aunt was one of Jane Goodall’s assistants and I’ve always dreamed of seeing these places, the animals, and that continent.
I also cannot wait to visit Southeast Asia. Thailand and Bali first, and then Cambodia and Vietnam. The world is so interesting and vast - I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve seen it all or done it all.
What do you never leave home without?
My Helen Jon tote! It truly is the perfect travel bag. It fits so much more than any other tote — and is so light and really easy to carry. And, yes, it looks amazing. I can carry it from a business meeting straight to a flight, directly to my travel destination, and feel perfectly appropriate for all.
We are always on the lookout for tips to help us look great when we’re at the beach. What are the essentials you pack for tropical weather?
Well, I have decided to embrace not trying too hard. That said, I love Bumble and Bumble Defrizz, it really helps. I also can’t say enough about the power of a good hat to combat bad hair. A vintage baseball hat or great straw beach hat can work wonders. And, as a third option, I love the look of a cute sock bun.
I also love Kopari Coconut Body Glow. This adds a really nice, and subtle, shimmer and is a great complement to a beach tan.
Doing my nails in light colors feels so vacation-y to me. I especially love Essie. Light colors look great against a tan. Blanc, Fashion Playground, and Ballet Slippers are among my favorites.
When you plan vacations for clients, how do you decide what the ultimate destination will be?
Well, each client is unique, so each “dream” vacation I help plan is tailored to fit. I send a questionnaire to every client first-thing to figure out where they’ve already been, where they think they would most like to go, if they want a boho-chic kind of experience, a cushy spa retreat, a busy city, a quiet get-away, these kinds of things. Part of the magic of planning the perfect experience for every client is getting to know the person or people who are going. I have a couple who plans to honeymoon in an igloo in Finland! Not for everyone, but they absolutely love it.
This is why I love what I do. I truly enjoy planning vacations for others. Whether it’s for a honeymoon, a 50th birthday celebration, mother/daughter trips, a multi-generational family vacation, I enjoy matching the perfect destination, accommodation, and experience with every client.
Why do you think it’s so helpful to work with a luxury travel advisor?
I like to tell people that you can always paint your own nails and they will look fine, but they might not look as good — and the process might not be as fun — as if you got a real manicure. There’s more to it than that, but this is an analogy I like to share.
When you use a good travel advisor, you will benefit from so many perks, insider tips and secrets — and you will definitely end up saving money and finding great deals and discounts too. I find my clients great upgrades, free nights at their hotels; I share little gems of what to do, where to eat, how to get from point A to point B, that kind of thing. Little details can often make or break a trip and I pride myself on knowing how to truly enhance the whole experience. It’s so fun sharing my tips and favorite restaurants or shops.
Besides being creative and personable, what qualities do you think make you such an excellent luxury travel advisor?
First and foremost, I love what I do. I think having a passion for my work and for my clients is what sets me apart. I love getting creative, being unique, and never settling for cookie-cutter experiences. The fun is in designing something special and perfect for each and every client or group.
Also, I’d say I pay great attention to detail. Being a travel advisor is definitely full-time, and I never really have “days off.” I have lots and lots of patience and I don’t get rattled easily. A good thing, because you never know what little snag might need to be untangled. And that’s what I’m there for! But it’s all more than worth it. I love this work. I get to travel, see the world, meet amazing people, and take in more amazing experiences than I could ever dream of.
Now, who's ready to pack a bag and head out for their next dream vacation? We know we are. Spring break is calling!