Would you pay for a travel companion?

Old Sep 15th, 2004, 07:07 AM
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Yes, lyb did make me laugh out loud.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 07:14 AM
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NYCSNOB - Did I read your post correctly? You consider $3,200 doable at many income levels? That is a large chunk of change.
there are many teachers on this forum. Do you think their income level could comfortabley provide spending an extra $3,200 on a travel companion? I am just curious....... I don't want to start a war but that seems like a comment that would ruffle a lot of feathers.
Some people spend less than that for the whole European trip.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 07:51 AM
  #43  
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The advice from St Cirq - - and the analysis of the reality of it - - seems right on, to me. And far more likely that you might find a small group (two or three couples, for example) willing and able to &quot;hire&quot; you. Best if they know you well, look up to your travel skills - - and ideally, you build a reputation for the first few trips by charging <i>nothing</i>.

I am several years &quot;behind&quot; St. Cirq in developing an interest in doing this - - still operating in the &quot;do it for free&quot; mode.

My more-or-less standing offer (here on this forum) to put together a trip for a small group (of Fodorites, or others acquainted with this forum) is no secret.

Assuming the time of year, duration and destinations would actually suit me.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 07:59 AM
  #44  
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I'm enjoying the replies...for both the humor and the educational value. Just for the record. I'm a teacher. It's my most recent of 70+ different jobs I've held over the years, and I'm finding I have made a huge mistake. I'm good at it one on one, so I'm currently exploiting that by working in with children who are not able to attend school for illness reasons (home/hospital instruction, it's called). In addition to that, my father just passed away. He got his Masters in Modern European History...he has books and books and books...but he never went to Europe. I wanna live. On a teacher's salary, especially the sporadic and infrequent one I'm capable of producing...I'm looking for alternatives.

My 70 jobs? That would take too much time, but it has left me with an eclectic background of experience. I've been a golf pro and a bartender, a journalist and a secretary, an English teacher and a motel maid (and the list goes on). I've traveled all over the US (by bus, car, plane and thumb) and 3 trips to Ireland (I play Irish music...fiddle/banjo/guitar) and recently to France and Italy.

I don't speak anything but English, and a vague recollections of French from high school. I can figure out the Latin-based words, but that doesn't help much with communication, so I guess I'm not asking to be a &quot;tour guide&quot;. I'm suggesting &quot;companion&quot; b/c some people want to go and their friends or family can't, or they may butt heads when it comes to doing things. The person paying gets to pick when and where to go, and I go for the ride. I know this sounds ludicrous to some of you, but you wouldn't be the ones to hire me! There are so many different types of people in this world and a few of them don't fit into typical molds. I'm one of them.

Thank you to NYCFoodSnob: I like the things you had to say. And as an aside...AussieR...I knew exactly where you were coming from on your comments to StCirq. It was more about attitude than about content...and I right, sir?

Anyway, thanks for the replies everyone. All information is helpful in some way.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 08:02 AM
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<i> Did I read your post correctly?</i>

Maybe not.

Robert Rubin cautiously described middle-class income in America as anywhere between $25,000 and $80,000 per household. Upper middle-class could be $80,000 to $100,000, and this depends on where you live. I think a $3200 expense can fit in this range of incomes in numerous ways.

No offense against teachers (who are grossly underpaid), but it seems to me this is simple math, and my comments were not meant to pit one income level against another. Most people find a way to spend their money on things they see as priorities. One person's tour guide is another couch potato's flat-screen TV.

If you purchase a full-time guide based in the country of your destination, subtract the travel and hotel expense from this number and the savings is even more substantial.

I never said $3200 isn't a sizable chuck of change but, relatively speaking, it's all relative.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 08:19 AM
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This is sounding more to me like someone wants to go to Europe, all expenses paid while providing 'company' for the person who pays. No other language spoken, no real experience, sort of the Blind leading the Blind?
It sounds like a Dream job, meaning, only in your dreams
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 08:21 AM
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PS. since StCirq is the only person on here that has actually done anything like this, I would not be so quick to find fault with her advise.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 08:21 AM
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sorry- AdviCe
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 08:30 AM
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I just read StCirq's reply and I agree, she's right on.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 08:36 AM
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aussie:

For heaven's sake, I never even used the word &quot;complain,&quot; and I didn't imply that I thought tour participants were a pain. I simply and ONLY pointed out that being a tour guide is very hard work, harder, I think, than most people imagine. In fact, I've had an absolutely wonderful time with the groups I've led (always very small groups) and keep in touch with many of them.

The paid companion idea sounds good, and yes there are all types of travelers out there, some of whom have a traveling style that might be different from the ones most people on this board have; nonetheless, I can't imagine a person who would use this service other than maybe a lonely wealthy person with possible ulterior motives. As a simple business proposition, there just isn't enough being offered to merit someone paying for it unless that person is rather desperate.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 08:41 AM
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Obviously I've not done something like this before, and I don't think that what StCirq has done is necessarily similar to what the original poster has in mind.

Perhaps the idea, as it stands right now, is half-baked. But don't forget that much of this is a lot of creative thinking, packaging and marketing. I'm sure that when StCirq started her (I think that it's a she, yes?) business, she must have tried various approaches to get it to work, no?

If this is presented in the right way, people can go for it. One man's meat is another's poison. I'm sure that there're very few who would have thought that Google would be a multi-billion company -- &quot;What, a search engine?! Who nees that?&quot;

If the original poster has been in 70+ jobs, then perhaps (s)he is creative enough to make this idea work. I wish him/her the best of luck.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 09:03 AM
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I don't think this is a crazy idea nor that no one would do it except wealthy, lonely people. I do think the market is very limited, though, so don't think it's a very good idea for a career.

Lots of entertainers do have personal assts who travel with them, but it's not really for the companionship, but to handle things. I think elderly people and/or those less physically able would find this quite useful, but it really would work best with someone they knew or had personal references or worked for someone they knew.

It's not the same as a guide, because guides do not stay with a person all the time. I think most people who want these services (aid and/or companionship) would take a tour, however. So this would be limited to those who want to travel solo but aren't quite able. I think there probably are some women of a certain culture or age who wouldn't be comfortable traveling alone for various reasons, and would also like a female companion for sightseeing and dinner, etc., (sort of the niece going with them in older novels or movies), and do not want an average tour group.

The idea that no one but a pathetic loser could ever require such a thing doesn't seem right to me. Most younger people or relatives would not ever be willing to do such a thing (not in my family, anyway, or most of the people I know). I have friends who won't even travel with their mother for a week because they don't want to spend their time that way, are busy with their own lives and duties, and don't like the aggravation. Someone with family obligations or a job cannot just take off easily to accompany some relative on a trip.

As I said, I think there is a possible market for this, but it is very limited and not the kind of thing you find by advertising. I don't think having 70 jobs qualifies one for much (and certainly not this) as that seems to show a person can't keep a job or doesn't like anything they do and isn't very reliable.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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I did know a gentleman who was tall and very handsome, funny, witty, charming, great taste and he loved women! That said, he also was gay. He escorted quite a few ladies who wanted desperately to travel but were not of the mindset to treck out on their own.
They paid his airfare (and more than not, the cruise ship fare...thus avoiding the single supplement or being assigned a stranger with whom to &quot;bunk&quot; while on a cruise).
The ladies also paid for the accommodations. One was a lodge in Gstaad for skiing...she wasn't rich but that was a dream of hers! So? She did it.
As I recall, he was responsible for his personal expenses and his half of the meals.
Is that sort of fair?
John was a friend and an escort.
AFter he joined a friend or two, the word was out and off he journeyed!
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 09:38 AM
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Exactly! SuzieC...thanks!
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 09:44 AM
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Exactly? does that mean you are a tall handsome gay man spootiskerry? LOL

Those gentlemen who escort ladies to the opera are usually quite sophisticated, well educated and successful in some other way. The late dear Bill Blass was a favorite of the widows and divorcees/and wives whose husbands are too busy or not in town.. .
Not to say that he needed anyone to pay his way, but that is kind of sort of the type of gentleman Suzie is referring to.. I think
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 09:49 AM
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I don't think it's an outrageous idea. Some people on the Europe board post about private guides they have hired in places like Paris. However, the guide already lives there and is only spending a few hours or a day with the clients. You would need to do a whole lot more research and maybe get the 71st job as a guide in your hometown to get some experience.

A few years back, I was on vacation staying at a hotel where a tour group from England was staying. The main tour guide (like St. Cirq) had the morning off because the tourists were taking a bus tour from a local guide. The main guide was in the breakfast room doing a ton of paperwork and hoped she had time to call her boyfriend before the group returned. It was very eye-opening.

By the way, for people here who thing $3,200 is expensive look over on the US board about the price of a people-to-people student ambassador program about $6,000 to send a kid on a trip.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 09:52 AM
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that's &quot;people here who thinK&quot;

maybe that will apply to me one day.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 09:53 AM
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Yes...that's the kind of person. Like I said, John wasn't so much &quot;hired&quot;, but friends asked him to accompany them...and he did. For them all, it was win/win.
... Course once or twice he had to make himself &quot;scarce&quot; because his ladies met someone...
I'll bet a dollar that he went missing an evening or two as well!
All should be fair in love and travel!

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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 11:11 AM
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Well, it doesn;t sound as if you want to be a companion - a paid employee. It sounds like you want just to be someone's friend. And its certainly possible that you might find someone - eventually - who wants to take a friend to europe with them - all expenses paid. (although every time I have traveled with a friend they have paid their own way.)

So perhaps you just need to make lots and lots of wealthy friends - and hope for the best.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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I don't see any reason in the world why you should not pursue this idea. It is something you would like to do, I see no reason to assume there is no one on the planet who would not like to engage such a service.

I am a huge believer in going ahead with things . And going ahead with this is certainly not going to drain your resources - it is not like going to medical school on an impulse.

It is also to my mind an enterprise where you do not need hundreds of clients, just one person here and there.

I like the challenge of thinking of how you might find your clients. The image the comes to my mind is the financially comfortable woman without pressing obligations in the home or a job, on her own or married to someone who doesn't share a travel interest.

I imagine there are people who would rather pay the way of a companion - which doesn't double the cost of a trip - than be accompanied by someone who isn't very interested in the activities.

If I were thinking of doing it I would think of how to get the word out to women in the right category: in my case that would mean asking everyone I know to tell their moms and aunts about me.

I'd probably print something up that could be distributed listing what I'd be happy to do.

Selling points might be - some of the benefits of an organized tour (I'd emphasize not having to eat alone) without the requirement of moving around in a pack.

I might also include a little list of possible places to go presented as suggestions. I'd think of places my potential client would like to go.

And I'd add - &quot;or if there is a place you've always wanted to visit - it would be my pleasure to plan and take a trip there with you!!&quot;

Please let us know if you go ahead with this.




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