Making Wise Travel Choices

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

One of the key elements of our travel business is helping you make wise travel choices.  Often, this is one of the hardest part of travel planning—what return do I get for money spent?

There are so many elements that go into this process, that it can become overwhelming.

So, I thought I’d provide you some thoughts about making wise travel choices.

Travel Choices Mean Decisions

One of the realities of the myriad of travel choices that today’s vacationers face, is making the right decision for their trips.  The problem often boils down to picking the right place to visit among several possibilities.  Once that decision is made, then the next problem is what to see, where to stay, and how to get there.  The list seems to go on and on.  It is no wonder that travel planning seems overwhelming!

One way to resolve this issue, is to use a solid decision making process when planning travel.

The Decision Making Process for Travel

Since there is often an uncertain outcome in the decision making process, most of us have learned to create a process that allows us to select what we think will be the best outcome.  Here are the 3 most common processes we have experienced with our clients.  They are: 1) Advantages & Disadvantages, 2) Simple Prioritization (another way of saying this–what is the best opportunity cost?), and 3) Acquiesce to us. 

All three work and in reality, we have used all three to provide the best possible trips to our clients.

Problems in the Travel Decision Making Process

In our experience, the two most common problems that influence our clients’ decision making process are: 1) information overload and 2) overanalyzing their trip.  Adding to these two types of problems, are that when we are making travel decisions, we all tend to make decisions based on our biases, emotions and memories.  Not that these are all bad, but sometimes we just tend to ignore the facts about a destination or hotel or trip and let these other factors take over.

Information overload is real.  We study travel every day and there is so much out there it is hard to cut through the clutter.  Adding to this problem is FOMO—fear of missing out. 

Overanalyzing a trip is another common problem.  Sometimes our clients have studied their trip so much that they are overconfident about every decision they have made and their plan is perfect—they actually know too much!  The other end of this scale is total indecision because it is all too much.

So, how can we help resolve all these problems and issues?

How we Enhance your Travel Decision Making Process

On almost every trip we plan, we have to balance, with your input, what is available and what you desire.  We can make predictions based on our knowledge and, most importantly, our judgements on what would work best for you.  One factor that really aids us here is our extensive experience in travel planning.  We can cite either similar trips or most often, our personal experiences about prior visits to the place you want to go.  Our favorite method to resolve travel planning issues are often call the advantages and disadvantages method that I talked about earlier in this blog—basically– what is the benefit versus the cost?  Here is how we do it:

!)  What are your goals for the trip—why are you going?

2)  What do you want to see and do?

3)  What is the order of importance—what must be included to make it an outstanding experience?

4) What do you like and dislike?

Once we know these facts, the decision making process becomes much easier—now we are just trying to figure out what level of comfort and experiences you desire.

As you can see, there is both a logical process and an art in our decision making process—sound judgements make all the difference in the outcome.

Sound judgement means that we try and find the right balance—eliminate or reduce fears, keep you from trying to do too much or too little.  And, perhaps most important, make sure you don’t miss a chance to see something you didn’t even know existed or was possible.  Sure is a bummer to miss the sold out event or cabin or cruise by not acting fast enough!

Some Examples of How our Decision Making Enhances Your Trip

Just this week, two phone calls with clients made me realize how important the decision making process is.

First, I talked with a potential client about a trip he was struggling with.  He wanted our help but was unsure if he should use us.  It was partly due that they had overanalyzed the trip and frustration—did the benefits of their plan match the costs?  I provided him some guidelines to ease this process.  Not sure what the outcome will be, but I’m sure of one thing—he now had a framework to help with the decision making process. 

The other experience was helping a client on a 12 night Mediterranean cruise.  She had slightly exceeded her budget, but really seemed happy with her choices.  As I told her, I believe she had selected the best possible tours based on her family’s desires and the offerings of the cruise line.  When we started focusing on her goals for the trip, her fears dissipated—she had trusted our judgement and we had delivered.  Affirmation is important—a great guide book or website may have the facts but they can never explain in-depth or answer questions (not even chat rooms).  But it takes folks like us to deep dive into the trip to make it more successful.

My Final Thoughts

As you can see, making wise travel choices, is more complex than you may have thought.  Trip planning is not easy.  Making sound decisions are critical to the travel planning process.  Time and money issues are complex—we all want the best at the least possible price.  We help you solve those complex issues, saving you hassles, time and worry.  We are travel experts, ocean and river cruise experts, and Europe destination experts.  We have first-hand knowledge of almost anywhere you want to visit in Europe.  We know our products and the vendors who sell them to you.  We have designed special tours for dozens of clients, led several and will continue to find just the right vacation that will exceed your expectations.

When you are spending your hard earned money for a vacation, you want an advisor who can match you with the right trip.  You want someone who will understand your expectations and fuel your anticipation (or excitement) to get you the best possible trip experience.  And, you want someone who can help you with the decision making process.  We think we have all these qualities.

Whatever your Dream Destinations are, we are here to help you get the best possible vacation based on what is important to you!  We will provide you high quality, expertly planned travel.  Please give me a call 713-397-0188 (Hank) or email me at  We want to help you:  Savor life…make memories…Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Hank Schrader
Hank Schrader

HANK is a certified Western European Destination Specialist (DS) who has been traveling to Europe for 45 years.  He is also an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), conferred by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).  This recognized expert in cruise and leisure travel is a retired Army Officer, and taught World Geography for 8 years.  He is a `71 graduate of West Point and has earned 2 master’s degrees.   His other Certifications:

  • AmaWaterways River Cruise Specialist
  • Viking River Cruise Specialist
  • Scenic River Cruise Specialist
  • Emerald Waterways  Specialist
  • Avalon Waterways Specialist
  • Brit Agent

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