Already Dreaming of Vacation?

How can it be that we are three weeks into fall and I am already dreaming of spring break?!? I was recently walking with a friend and we were comparing notes on our plans for the upcoming year. She was gushing about how she didn’t know where she was going yet, but she did know she’d once again be using Debbie Hires, owner of Masterpiece Journeys, to help her plan her trip. Debbie created a once in a lifetime trip for her family last year, taking 3 children with them to Morocco. They saw ancient ruins, took cooking classes that featured traditional Moroccan food, and road camels through the desert. And every detail was arranged by Debbie so that they didn’t have to stress over where they’d be having their next meal, where to meet their car service, or if rooms had been confirmed. Sounds like heaven to me.

Q&A with Debbie Hires of Masterpiece Journeys for The Sentimentalist

When and why did you start your travel business? 

During my teenage years, I had the opportunity to study and perform abroad over the course of seven years, so travel has always been a passion of mine.  When I decided my children were old enough for me to return to work two years ago, I decided to enroll in training programs through Largay Travel and the Virtuoso Luxury Network in order to learn the business of travel.  Once I completed my training and they provided me with the tools to get started, I created my own LLC called Masterpiece Journeys, so I work from my home office as an Independent Consultant. 

Who is your ideal client?

Since my Virtuoso network focuses on Luxury travel, my services are best suited for clients looking for 4 and 5 star level trips.  It is very helpful if the client is nice to work with, responsive and decisive when it comes to the planning process. 

How does the process work with a new client?

When a new client reaches out to me, I usually send them an introductory email about myself and my services to see if they think it is the right fit for what they are looking for in their upcoming trip. 

How do you charge clients?

I do charge an upfront research fee of $250 which covers up to four hours of time.  It is usually enough for me to do all of the necessary research, put together a customized itinerary based on the clients wish list and budget, make revisions based on client feedback, confirm all of the components of the plan and then make sure they are all set during their travels.  (There is a list of other potential fees on my website, depending on the client’s needs.)  

What are a few of your favorite trips you have planned? 

The benefit of the Virtuoso network is that I have vetted partners and experts to help me plan for any kind of trip anywhere in the world.  This past year I helped a family of five explore Morocco by staying in a medina within the walls of Marrakech, in a desert tented camp, on the Atlantic in a fishing village and in a kasbah in the Atlas Mountains.  Besides sightseeing, they enjoyed other family bonding experiences such as a cooking class, hiking with a donkey and camel rides.  I also had a couple of families in Iceland this summer doing a combination of self-drive days with unique, luxury experiences such as hiking into a volcano, a buggy safari, glacier hikes and hot springs days.  In the past year, I have been fortunate to work with many wonderful clients on trips to destinations including South Korean, Hawaii, Italy, Peru, Tahiti, Canadian Rockies, England, Scotland, France, Greece, Czech Republic, Spain and the Caribbean. 

Where can people find you?

The best way to learn more about me and the kind of travel service I provide is through my website –  Clients can also email me directly at [email protected].

Leave a Comment