Who I am – english
Hello! My name is Marilena and I live in Turin, Italy. I am a travel designer and a travel blogger. Do you know why?
I am a travel blogger because I like to tell my travels, my discoveries, my passions: the markets, the people, the colors, the different cultures… Everything I discover along the way. But not only what I meet myself, also what other people see, women in particular: those who, like me, took their suitcase and left alone and those I meet in the places where I go they want to tell me their story or just some curiosity.
I am a Travel Designer because I love not only traveling, but also organizing everything related to travel: from personalized itineraries, looking for news, from local curiosities, to places to see absolutely. And I don’t like doing it just for me, but for anyone who needs it: from a weekend getaway, to a week of relaxation, to the journey of life…
What exactly does a Travel Designer do?
As a Travel Designer, I organize any type of travel required. From a simple long weekend to an entire holiday, always down to the smallest detail and personalized. And the word Designer means this: I design trips, adventures and excursions around the world.
What does a Travel Designer offer other than what can already be found online?
Everything is online nowadays, I am aware of it and I am looking for a lot of things on the web. Tell me, how many of you book flights through the companies’ websites or hotels through booking.com or apartments through air bnb? I do it too, I’ve always done it.
But it takes time to organize a trip, to study the itinerary, to understand what to see or not and to find out which is the best transport to use. I make my time available to my customers, but not only this but also my knowledge, my passion and my organizational skills. But in addition to the practical things, I also make available my way of seeing the world: a very curious traveler who does not stop at the “holiday villages”, who absolutely does not believe in what they make us see on tv and who does not just visit only the most touristic places.
What is the difference between a travel agency and a travel designer? And between travel designer and online travel agent?
The first reason that differentiates a Travel Designer from a travel agency is simple: the agency is open at fixed times and during the week, a Travel Designer can reach you where and when you want, or you can never see her and work with her remotely, by email or by phone. And then there is the cost, the travel agency has a lot of expenses and therefore adds the commission to the total travel.
The online travel agent has no physical expenses but he sells holidays through tour operators, and therefore in this case there is a commission. The travel designer does not, because first of all she offers you an personalized itinerary, and if requested, she searches for flights and hotels online and tells you what to book, without any commission.
How much does the Travel Designer work?
It depends. The cost of my work is mainly based on the number of weeks of travel to be organized, with the variable of the hotel and transports search. For example, in case you are planning a road trip by car, the cost is lower than my standard weekly rate, as I don’t have to look for the means of transport for moving. Or for example if you only need the search for a flight, hotel and itinerary in a capital, the cost would still be different.
My latest works from Travel Designer
Two weeks in Perù
A few months ago, a friend of mine asked me to organize a trip to Perù by giving me a list of places he wanted to see in less than two weeks. Lima, Arequipa, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Puno, Lake Titicaca and Macchu Picchu but above all he wanted me to book the panoramic train from Puno to Cusco, which is not daily but runs only three times a week. Between transfers, distances between places and alarm clocks at dawn, setting everything together, in the end we did it! They left with an excel sheet in their hands, in which I had marked anything, and returned with dark circles that I leave you to imagine!
Honeymoon in California
My best friend and her boyfriend decide to get married and put the organization of their honeymoon in my hands. And so far so good. But what if I told you that she initially wanted to go to the United States and he wanted to go to Australia? And then after a few months he would have preferred to change the bike rather than leave? But he, for love, gave it to her and so they opted for California as long as he didn’t drive for more than three and a half hours a day: easy in the States, no? Especially wanting to see the whole coast in just ten days!
Well, in the end they left, they too with a nice excel file in their hands, and they respected the whole battle plan. Result? They did not spend what they would have spent if they had gone to a travel agency (considering also how much the prices go up with the word wedding), they were not lost and above all they did a lot of shopping!!!
A month between USA and Canada
One day, not too long ago, I receive an email through my blog, a request for a one-month itinerary between USA and Canada east coast, which said so would seem very easy considering a month available. But no, and do you know why? The distances are immense, they would have traveled by car and they asked me to include Philadelphia, Washington, the Niagara Falls and Tadoussac in the tour plus other stops where there was no extreme mass tourism. I created the itinerary with google maps always open, paying attention to the hours of driving between one place and another so as not to tire them too much and looking for places not so well known and crowded but still worthy. I swear it took me almost three weeks to build everything … but in the end I did it!
My best trips
A long weekend in Fez and Chefcahouen and a long weekend in Marrakech.
Argentina y Uruguay
Two weeks around Argentina and Uruguay, wonderful!!
My first trip alone, three years ago, immense freedom.
Stunning views between Algarve and Alentejo.
For other doubts and questions write me! Happy travels to all!