Guest Author - Previous BellaOnline Editor
Have you ever had a trip ruined because a baby cried all night, right next door to your hotel room? Or has your romantic candlelit dinner for two in a posh resort restaurant been tainted by a whining 4 year old? Have you wished for a trip without children, but didn’t know where to turn?
Then perhaps you need a little help planning an ideal child free vacation!
Elena Mathis at Child Free Travel has owned her own travel agency, The Vacation Consultant, for three years. As her friends began to start families, Elena realized her life wasn’t following the same path. The epiphany that followed led her to a new business venture.
“I went online to find others who were ‘child free by choice’ so I could find someone to relate to,” she says. “I joined my local chapter of No Kidding and started reading the Married No Kids articles. Suddenly – I had the idea. How about starting another travel division that catered exclusively to those who are child free?”
After doing some initial research, Elena was shocked to learn she would pretty much be the only game in town.
“I haven’t come across any other agencies that do exactly what I do,” says Elena. “I won’t be so bold to say that I’m the only one, but I will say that I’m one of a very small group and I haven’t met the other members yet!”
While there are some “adult-only” sections in a few travel agencies, Elena’s agency focuses exclusively on child free travel. “I am child free myself,” she says, “and I completely relate to my clients. There are no judgments or questions – just the desire to plan the best ‘child free’ vacation possible.”
Elena is passionate about traveling and personally visits many of the destinations she recommends to her clients so she can give them “first person” advice. She takes about three trips a year, mainly focusing on the Bahamas, Caribbean, and South Pacific, because she loves “sand & sun” destinations. Most of the child free resorts are located in those areas, so it was a perfect fit for her.
Elena is truly hands-on when working with a client. “I am available in EVERY stage of the vacation planning process – from the time a client first contacts me until they arrive back home. I don’t just email you and air/hotel package and then send you on your way. I find out what experiences you’re looking to have and then I do everything possible in my power (and the client’s budget) to make that vision a reality.”
She is also accessible. “This is an online agency,” she says, “but my clients know that there is a person behind the website who is readily available to assist them in any way. Outside of normal business hours, I’m on-call mornings, nights, and weekends. And trust me, my clients take me up on the offer!”
Child Free Travel’s typical clients are people who are looking for an escape. “I have interest from couples who don’t want kids, some singles who don’t plan on having kids, and some parents with adult children who are just over the ‘kid thing.’ I have found that the concept is more appreciated than one might expect.”
Elena acknowledges that it has been a challenge to find places to book child free vacations outside of Mexico and the Caribbean. “On one hand this wasn’t a bad thing, because those are the areas where I am the most familiar. On the other hand, I didn’t just want to give the child free a small portion of the world. I was able to find a property on Maui that goes ‘child free’ two months out of the year.” She has also found places in Australia and Fiji.
So far, she has quite an extensive list of vacations she has planned for clients, including the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida, Hawaii, Australia, Tahiti, and Europe. She has also sent people on cruises.
The trips she has planned reflect the diversity of the child free community. “My last trip was for a ‘child free by choice’ couple to the Caribbean looking for a diving vacation. I am currently talking to a client about taking a culinary vacation and someone else who is looking into a spa vacation experience.”
Some people think that the only way to enjoy a child free vacation is to attend some kind of x-rated or “clothing optional” resort. Not true.
“I do sell the Desire and Hedonism resorts but that’s pretty much where the possibility of an x-rated vacation ends,” says Elena. “Most resorts, like Grand Lido in Jamaica or Little Palm in the Florida Keys, are luxury resorts. They understand that the client is probably more discriminating than the average person and really strive to give their guests an upgraded product in a classy and pampering environment.”
So what might the price tag be for such a travel agency? Believe it or not, Elena’s services are 99% FREE!
Sometimes she is able to benefit from discounted pricing someone may not be able to find on their own. Plus, she has the experience, knowledge, and expertise to plan an ideal vacation. “People can save themselves the stress of planning a trip by leaving the details to me,” she says.
She can often save her clients money too. “I once had a client who came to me with a quote for a vacation package. I made the call on their behalf and was able to save them $500 on the EXACT same package,” she says. “I’m not going to say that happens every time, but it’s just an example of how an agent can bring you great value. Aside from the money, clients also benefit from my certification, training, and affiliations with reputable suppliers and organizations. As it says on my homepage, ‘The Service is Free but the Advice is Priceless.’”
If you are interested in contacting Elena, she can be reached through her website (link below). Her enthusiasm for the child free lifestyle has clearly carried over into her professional life, making her rare child free travel agency worth checking out.
“I’m excited at the prospect of working with other child free singles and couples and sending them on PEACEFUL vacations!” she says.