Would you pay for a travel companion?

Old Sep 15th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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Personally, NO.

Unless I had a physical disability wherein I need help getting around, dressing, etc. in which case I'd probably take my caregiver/nurse with me.

Unless I had no friends or family in which case I should probably take my shrink with me or if he/she is not available at the time, a shotgun. I mean, c'mon, you gotta have at least ONE friend/family member/acquaintance!

But, then again, this is just me. I've been reading through the responses and I just can't figure out who would need this service since you don't seem to be a tour guide but simply someone who would like to accompany someone on a trip for free.

As someone previously mentioned, this is more of a personal assistant job and a majority of people don't have/need personal assistants. You should research this position instead because, based on what you have posted, that fits the job description you are looking for.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 01:19 PM
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Occasionally I work with families traveling to Russia on short-term work or vacation with their children and a nanny or au pair. If this person wasn't the family's full time caregiver, she inevitably was a neighbor or daughter of a friend who was able to enjoy the trip, but whose primary responsibility was watching the children (specifically NOT guiding/driving). All expenses were paid so that the person would enjoy a style/comfort level that was quite good, but the salary on top of that was usually very small.

Given your background in education and tutoring this might be a legitimate option.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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I used to have a maid who had previously had the type of job I think you want. She traveled the world with families and took care of their children and all the dirty work of travel. She enjoyed the perks of seeing the sites and living it up in top end hotels and restaurants but she was never exactly "equal". She set up the transportation and acted as a traveling secretary/babysitter/scapegoat/companion
and she learned the languages before she left in order to be of help but she wasn't exactly a guide while there, it was up to her to set up local guides.

I think she was listed as a "companion".
She used to be registered with an agency who supplied such help.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 01:52 PM
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I don't like to travel alone, but I would not pay a "companion" fee, it's called "single supplement" fee on a tour. It gives me a flexibility of being alone in my room at night and mingling with other travelers at daytime. What you are saying sounds more like a paid escort, not a companion. Definitely thumbs down.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 02:10 PM
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Thanks for your encouragement, Elizabeth...the most helpful advice thus far. Yes, it is a half-baked idea, and I can see that the nays are in the majority, but I'm not totally discouraged. I think there may be a small market for it and will definitely give it some more thought on the best way to approach the subject.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 02:19 PM
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I, for one, would not want to hire someone out of the blue to travel with me, they would have to be bonded, have good recommendations from reputable people and have alot going for them if I were to accept them in my personal space on a trip to a foreign country, no less.

I see you are at the pie in the sky phase, now you have your work cut out for you laying the groundwork.

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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 03:01 PM
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I think established personal connections would be most important for success. If you worked thru a senior community center, church, school, library among people you knew who trusted you, that would be one thing.

To take out an ad in the paper, although not impossible, seems a much less likely road to success.

One post above raises interesting possibility of legal ramifications. Would you have a contract? Would you be liable for the person you are traveling with? If they fall and break their ankle on your personal guided tour, what is your responsibility?

One concern is that you seem to think having 70+ jobs is a good thing. Most people would view this resume history as a negative.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 03:05 PM
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Wow, the only way I'd consider hiring anyone who has had 70 jobs is if they were at least 210 years old. Not holding a job for an average of 3 years doesn't speak well to me. I'd be afraid you'd leave half way through the trip!
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 03:10 PM
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I pay for a travel companion all the time - a regular in fact. She performs a variety of services (including parenting our children) and enjoys many of the same things as I do.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 03:48 PM
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suze, I am getting tired of agreeing with you all the time.

Liability is a VERY good point!

Spoot, I'm not saying it's impossible, I just think the obstacles are:

1. Very small population of potential clients -- how do you reach them?

2. Very large potential for hassle.

3. You underestimate the amount of work and overestimate the amount of free time. I actually did exactly what you are suggesting when I was the travel companion for my elderly mother. (Who paid was not an issue.) I loved her dearly and even so found these trips to be exhausting. On one trip to Hawaii I managed to go swimming exactly once in the week we were there.

But hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 05:06 PM
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I don't have a negative reaction to your 70 jobs, it makes me want to meet you if anything - you sound as if you've had a real life with plenty to talk about.

I would think a well-selected list of things you've done would appeal to the person seeking pleasant travel company.

Looked at from another angle - if I signed up for a tour and knew you were going to be a member of it, I'd look forward to sitting next to you at dinner.

Do you know the play "Blown Sideways Through life" by Claudia Shear? (or - did you write it?) It's one of my favorite things I've ever seen, a one-woman show by/about Claudia who had had at least as many jobs as you. Terrifically life-affirming.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 05:15 PM
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I keep thinking of marketing plans for you.

One is: find a very nice, fancy adult community and volunteer to run some kind of nice activity there that would appeal to intelligent women. Teach a course, take people on outings of an original nature, etc. So that you'll get to know some people & they you.

After at least six months, you could ask people if they knew anyone who might want what you are suggesting.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 05:21 PM
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The title says "Pay for a travel companion.
Yes, if she were my friend and couldn't afford to go with me and share the sights. But not as my flunky!
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 06:53 PM
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Well, spootiskerry, I think you got your answer. No one HERE would hire you. But I suspect there are indeed people who, while they might not hire you (and might not treat you as a respected employee) would probably foot the bill to have you as part of their entourage. My concern would be, how much fun could that be for you? Going back to Scarlett's Bette Davis vision, you could end up getting a very short end of the stick, IMO. And if you fell out of favor, well, that's that.

Not a recipe for a satisfying career choice, I think.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 07:28 PM
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Do you know the play "Blown Sideways Through life" by Claudia Shear? (or - did you write it?)

I don't know the play, but sounds like I need to see/read it! Thank you for some kind words and helpful advice. Wish there were more people like you, Elizabeth, on the list (and the planet).

It's discouraging how quickly people are ready to judge when they know so little about someone. I'm 46 and I've worked since I was 15. Some jobs lasted a month or two, some lasted a few years, and except for my job in a casino where I gave back my paychecks the first two times I got them (I was 24), I gave notice, or completed my obligation. I'd never abandon someone on a trip. Thanks for your interest in marketing me!! I'd like to sit next to you at a dinner party...we'd have a great time!
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 08:05 PM
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spootiskerry, follow your dream, if you want it, ignore the rest of us.
Good luck.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 08:35 PM
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spootiskerry, I suggest reading this book:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...l/-/1562613979

In that book, Rick Steves discusses how he started his travel business (which involves giving travel courses, providing travel tours, writing travel books, etc.).

Here's an idea to start - could you give a night school course on travel preparation? That's one way to start marketing yourself.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 10:27 PM
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Scarlett,

Forgiven!!! Healthy debate.

spootiskerry,

I am with ciqalechanta, go for it!!!Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

regards,

aussieR
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 10:28 PM
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Seems to be a lot of confusion between "guide" and "companion". As St Cirq says, being a guide involves much responsibility, skill and hard work, but it can be extremely rewarding and enjoyable too - especially with a fun group.

However this poster was asking about a "companion" - quite a different thing. The consensus seems to be that it's rare and that a person would have to be desperate. I disagree. Imagine an older person, who is well off, who has an unquenchable thirst for travel (I think many Fodorites could relate to that?), but whose like-minded friends may have died off. Such a person might think the price of a person's travel costs a fair price to pay for an interesting and congenial travelling companion who is willing to help with chores and planning.
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Old Sep 15th, 2004, 10:43 PM
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Good point about the difference between a companion and a guide, twoflower. But I think that most older people who are well off would be inclined to take someone they knew rather than hiring a stranger, especially a stranger who was not an expert in the country to which they were going.

Most older people have a grandchild, a niece or nephew, or perhaps someone they know in a service capacity already. The sort of person you are describing would seem likely to me to have friends of different ages and not to ever be without possible traveling companions.

I don't see any reason why spoot shouldn't try this if she wants to, I just think it's a real long shot. And I think if she gets a job, she's likely to regret it. A "companion" is a servant, at the beck and call of her employer, and that's no fun.
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