As summer beckons and the poolside daydreams begin, who better to interview for Melissa Odabash’s Ask The Expert than Rachael Rogers, founder of For The Story Vacations.
Rachael prides herself on creating 100% tailor-made vacations for her clients, making sure their money goes as far as possible, and giving them the vacation they’ll look back on for years to come.
First things first: How did you discover your passion for travel?
When I was 16, my high school offered us the chance to travel to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji (if we could save up the money). I thought I’d be homesick but I was actually sad to leave. This would turn out to be a recurring trend throughout my travels.
How did you know planning people’s vacations was for you?
Well, first off, you should probably know I’m a little bit crazy. My Irish husband and I had two pretty large weddings seven days apart: one in Missouri, where I’m from; the other in Ireland. It took a LOT of planning and hustling. Not only did we have to get people booked into the perfect hotels and Airbnbs for their price range, we also wanted to ensure all our American guests who flew to Ireland got the full experience and vice versa.The weird thing was, I actually enjoyed doing it. I loved the euphoria on peoples’faces. Although I was working in sales in NYC at the time, it really got me thinking.
What makes For The Story Vacations unique?
I really, really care. I’ve dedicated my life to travel and researching for my clients. I hate that so many people spend above the odds for a totally generic holiday. I sit down with my clients or chat with them over Skype. They tell me their loves, hates, bucket list, pet peeves.
In the end, I create a completely tailor-made vacation for them for less than they would have paid for the cookie cutter one through the old-school methods. And then I take care of booking it all for them too.
What inspired you to start a travel business in your mid-twenties?
Shortly after the wedding celebrations ended- which basically took a month- I had my annual performance review. Although I had exceeded the sales targets, it was suggested that I would be better served within the sales world if I spoke up less.
I left the meeting determined not to let another person tell me how be successful. Having gone to an all women's college, it didn't sit right with me that two men were suggesting I smother my personality… I liked my personality! A week later I quit and launched my own company.
What did you do before For The Story?
I pursued theatre for 4 years after college. A tour around the US and a summer inLAMDA punctuated some great but challenging years in NYC. I also worked planning weddings in Manhattan. Although these were great experiences and I learned a lot, I felt like something was missing. Everything just seemed to be a means to an end that would let me book my next flight to Europe. Eventually, I decided I’d book a one-way ticket to Paris next time, instead of coming back after 10 days.
How did you manage this?
It seems crazy to me now, but one day I sat down, constructed an email, and essentially emailed every English-speaking Paris tour company I could find. I landed a Skype interview with a bike tour company. One week later, they offered a second interview. This time, though, it was in-person. And in Paris. I booked a one-way ticket and ended up working as a bike and Segway tour guide in Paris. The travel bug had caught me and I never looked back.
Where are you next going on holiday?
My husband and I work remotely and travel full-time, moving to a new city every month. I like to have researched a place before sending people there. We are in Vienna right now and Dubrovnik in Croatia is next up.
How do you adapt your diet while you travel?
It's hard man! I want to experience traditional foods and specialities but that takes its toll on your body if you’re always traveling. I’ve become a big fan of splitting multiple smaller dishes rather than eating one large one. I get the knowledge I need as a travel planner and the enjoyment I want as a foodie, without making my clothes snug. Walking around exploring is great, too. I get familiar with a city while getting my 10,000 steps in.
What is the best beach you’ve ever visited?
Old Silver Beach in Cape Cod. It has the softest sand I've ever experienced, and it continues all the way into the ocean until your feet can't touch anymore.

Quickfire Questions

What’s your signature holiday style? Comfy and cute. Sun dresses all the way. Cute sandals, sun glasses, and adorable hats.

Bikini or Swimsuit? Usually a swimsuit but I love both.

Pool or sea? Sea

What smell reminds you of holidays? Sun tan lotion. I get butterflies in my stomach. When I was a kid, applying it meant we were going somewhere that involved sun and fun. I'm also a summer baby. It's when my hair, skin, and tan are at their best. Plus, I love running around barefoot.

What do you love most? Wine? No, all jokes aside, I love my husband, my family, and the friends that have been part of this crazy journey. Sometimes it doesn’t seem real.

Career goal? To use my passion (and my unfiltered personality) to be successful doing what I adore.

And, finally, what’s your favourite place to visit? Paris. It will always be Paris.

Be sure to follow Rachael over on her Instagram Page and Facebook Page where you can stalk her incredible travelling photos- instantly making you want to click that contact button for Rachael. Also, make sure to watch FTS daily videos to keep up to date with Rachael’s fab advice and tips for each city she mentions.

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