Americans had 768 million unused vacation days in 2018, according to the U.S. Travel Association. That’s a lot of time lost that could have been spent on the beach, visiting exotic locales or making memories with family.
If you’re resolving to make better use of your vacation time in 2020, Lori Spoelstra is standing by to help. Spoelstra owns Adventures by Lori and is putting her extensive travel experience to work by helping others plan the perfect getaway.
“I have flown the flights, taken the trains and sailed the ships,” Spoelstra says. “My first-hand knowledge of a destination, ship, resort or guided tour operator will give you peace of mind that what you are booking is a great value, and you are assured a wonderful vacation.”
Located in the Big Boiler Brewery building at 318 E. Main Street, Adventures by Lori is available for appointments or can arrange for travel over the phone or email, if more convenient. Regardless of how you book your travel, Spoelstra promises her clients receive personalized service and a personal advocate should they need travel assistance while out of town.
Trip Gone Wrong Leads to Business
Spoelstra says she has always loved to travel. “I used to work in direct sales with my main objective to earn the annual incentive trip,” she says.
However, it was her husband who first recognized that her attention to detail and organizational skills would be perfect for a career in travel planning. Around the same time, the couple was scheduled to take a cruise when they were bumped from the boat after a celebrity decided to charter the ship for a private function. Spoelstra contacted her travel agent but wasn’t able to secure any assistance from that individual.
“I had to get on the phone and advocate for our family,” she remembers. It was only then that she was able to reach a solution with the cruise line. She explains, “It was at that time that I thought I could be a good travel agent, and I would fight for my clients the same as I would for myself.”
Spoelstra started her agency in 2005 and moved into her storefront location in 2019. While her business has gone from planning a few vacations for family and friends to a full-time endeavor, her commitment to excellent service has never changed.
Personalized Vacations Around the Globe
Adventures by Lori can help people plan international travel, Disney vacations, cruises and more. However, Spoelstra says her firm doesn’t handle camping, individual domestic flights or budget chain hotel accommodations.
“Each vacation is custom designed around the client,” Spoelstra says. “We have booked everything from large multi-generational vacations (to) high school spring break trips with multiple families.” Many of her clients are couples looking for a quiet getaway, but her firm is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and Universal Orlando Travel Agent.
When it comes to cruises and all-inclusive resorts, Spoelstra says she has firsthand experience with most and can help steer clients to the one that best meets their needs. Plus, Adventures by Lori may have access to special pricing not available to those booking travel themselves.
River cruising through Europe and Asia has been a hot bucket list item for many travelers lately. While Italy is a popular destination, concerns about the coronavirus there may mean vacationers will now adjust plans and find a new favorite spot to land. Spoelstra says Costa Rica, Southern France and Barcelona are among her favorite international destinations, but for those who would rather not leave the country, Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska is her top choice.
Offering More than Online Booking Agencies
While there are plenty of online travel booking websites, there are good reasons to use a travel agent, according to Spoelstra. “Sometimes things happen and you need a person to call to help,” she says. Some of her clients even do all their own research and then call Adventures by Lori to book the travel so they can be assured of having a professional to advocate for them if needed.
Spoelstra provides more than peace of mind though. “I am a travel matchmaker really,” she says. Thanks to her years of experience, she can help clients find destinations and itineraries they may not have considered. Plus, she has insider knowledge of top destinations that can help with the planning process. For instance, Spoelstra’s son is a full-time cast member at Walt Disney World, and his knowledge helps her create more magical experiences for her clients.
“Our clients are people (who) want a great experience on their vacation, who want personal service and want to have a relationship with someone that cares about their vacation like it’s (their) own,” Spoelstra explains. In most cases, there is no extra cost for Spoelstra’s services since many vacation packages have a built-in travel agent fee.
As members of the community for a decade, Spoelstra and her husband Paul are proud to call Lowell home. Spoelstra notes, “It’s great being local and knowing the community you serve.”
To learn more about Spoelstra’s services or to get started booking your next vacation, visit the Adventures by Lori website or follow the business on Facebook. You can also meet Lori during an Travel Expo/Open House to be held on March 19th from 4-8pm in the Big Boiler Brewing banquet room. Plus, look for the Adventures by Lori booth at the Lowell Expo on March 28.