It’s hard not to mistake a travel advisor for a hero. We get it. “Not all heroes wear capes,” as they say, and there are multitudes of witnesses that have seen their travel pros perform miracles. But the thing not everyone seems to realize is that even the very best travel advisors can’t accomplish the physically impossible.
Here are our favorite oddball requests of travel advisors and even hotel staff, sourced from the Internet and our own advisor partners.
An Impossible Train Tour
One of ALGV’s travel advisor partners, Jan Busse of Distinctive Travel once received a request that she couldn’t fulfill. As she was working through the details of one couple’s Hawaii multi-stop trip, “I asked if they wanted me to do their inter-island air,” she says. Their response? “No, we’ll just take the train!” She tried to explain what an island was, but they were adamant. Disgruntled that she couldn’t arrange the train tour, the trip never came to fruition … with her, or anyone else!
Calm Seas Guarantee
If only we could control the weather or travel conditions! But alas, travel advisor powers stop short of this amazing ability. However, that doesn’t stop people from hoping, as Tina DaBella of All Travel By Tina discovered. “I was asked to guarantee that they would not have rough seas on their cruise,” she reveals. “Well, they did not have rough seas … so I will take the credit!” she laughed.
Wildlife sightings are just that—absolutely wild! But sometimes, travelers are afraid to leave them by chance. One client once asked Kim Sheer Goldstein of Journeys, Inc. to guarantee that he would definitely see whales on a whale watching tour in Hawaii. Her response? “Uh … sir, they’re whales and live in the ocean; I can’t control when they appear.”
No Fly Zone
We get it—flying can be a hassle, and sometimes, we wish there were better ways to get where we’re going. Like this customer of Cruise Planners’ Lighting Travel’s Charles Russell. The vacationer really didn’t want to fly, but they also really wanted to go to Alaska. He insisted that he could do a 7-night Alaska cruise from his home port of Galveston. It’s unclear how far he got!
Retired travel advisor Robi Adaskes has heard and seen it all, and with years of experience, is a pro travel hacker. However, perhaps no one beats one client of hers, who booked Hedonism every year in a non-clothing optional room. “He always asked for the same exact room,” she said, so out of curiosity, when she was there for a site inspection, she asked to see it to find out what was so special. “It was a corner room … where you were able to see the clothing optional side! He saved money but still got to enjoy the view!”
The Right Side of the Bed
For some, getting up on the right side of the bed is super important. Or, in some cases, the left side. For instance, Lori Hoffman of Travel by Lori had a client who was a left-side sleeper but was adamant about wanting to face the ocean as she dozed off. In this case, though, confirmation calls did make this happen.
No Email, Please
Lisa Deal from Uniglobe Travel Center once had a client who claimed not to have email, and gave her a hard time about electronically delivering his Funjet travel documents. He couldn’t find them and called her, and she offered to “re-email him.” Insistently, he said, “But I don’t have an email! I have a Gmail.” The good thing is, he did end up getting those docs and getting on his merry vacay way.
The ALG Vacations® sales team hears a lot on the road, and after nearly two decades of on-the-ground experience with our team, regional director Heather Hendrix is no exception. She was on a sales call recently when our During Travel team called the agent back to let her know that there would not be a refund on a package for a female client who was unable to travel with her boyfriend because she contracted COVID. Why? “During Travel had called to hotel only to find out that not only had the boyfriend gone without her … there was a different girl who took her place!”
Another BDM story: In 1993, back when she was a travel advisor herself, our own Shelly Williams got a unique request. “A client called wanting to fly his prize-winning donkey from Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.” Well, was she able to manage it? “No … the plane from Ft. Leonard Wood was only an 8-passenger one and couldn’t accommodate the donkey.”
According to Reddit, a popular request hotel staffers get is to have a pillow fort built in their rooms. User PancakesAndPenguins said, “I always like getting these silly requests—puts a little fun in our day at the front desk (as long as it’s not too [wild], of course. I got my first fort request about a year ago; we put snacks and a flashlight in there, too!” ScousePete, a hotel manager for an upscale business hotel agrees. “Everyone has a lot of fun trying to make the experience as unique as possible.” Same with Awesomeatwood, who worked for Marriott for seven years and says, “these requests actually tend to make the staff very happy. It’s way more fun to make a pillow fort than stand at the front desk during slow ties! … The hotel may be too busy to fulfill every request, but if they have downtine and a sense of humor, you may be pleasantly surprised.”
Three’s a Crowd, Even In a King
There’s a reason that maximum occupancies are listed on hotel room descriptions, and it’s not always because of the bottom line! Redditor StephBGreat once witnessed a couple who had assumed they could share a king-sized bed with their pre-teen daughter change their minds upon arrival, and ended up asking for a hideaway bed … which isn’t always available at all hotels, and definitely harder to secure last-minute. Eek!
Buy the Runway
We’ve all heard of Rent the Runway, but one high-flying traveler wanted to just up and buy the jet that was on it. Maki_Taki posted on Reddit, “I have an uncle who travels on ridiculously lavish flights. He said one time, somebody tried to buy the plane while on the plane!”
Oodles of Noodles
Redditor luxtravel90, a travel advisor who works only with clients traveling first class and in hotel rooms over $2,500 a night, once had a client with a dire craving for Noodles & Company—one so strong that they had they hotel staff drive 120 miles away just for some chicken noodle soup. But that wasn’t all. They also wanted “at least ten staff members to applaud the guest upon arrival, then to give it to the guest so that he could eat it on the elevator ride up.”
Travel Advisors Share is the 2022 Year of the Travel Advisor content series with some of the most interesting insights in their professional history. Check out experiences like most magical honeymoons, life-affirming getaways, best perks scored, mind-blowing proposals, and more with this series.