Kari Huff Helps Clients Get the Most Bang for Their Travel Buck
Writer / Lois Tomaszewski
When planning a vacation, there are unknowns for the average do-it-yourself planner. Scouring the internet for deals or reviews of a resort or destination is both time consuming and confusing. Can you really trust those online reviews? That’s why enlisting the services of a travel professional like Kari Huff is a wise decision that can eliminate stress and make sure your vacation meets your expectations.
Huff started her career as travel agent affiliated with CS Elements Travel in February of 2020. It was not the best timing for this new career as COVID-19 largely shut down travel for several months. Huff saw it as an opportunity to learn more about destinations she could recommend, and be informed of what travel restrictions could impact her clients at their destination choice.
“We watched these restrictions closely because they could change daily,” she recalls. “That way we could advise people on what to expect.”
Huff works out of her home in Knox. She got started in the travel business as a busy mom with a big family, with the task of planning the family vacations.
“I was planning our own trips and loved it,” Huff says.
She started planning trips for friends and it became a side hustle for her. Now, it’s a career.
Disney is one of her areas of expertise, developed through her own family’s vacations. Huff also specializes in all-inclusive trips to the Caribbean, large-group travel and destination weddings.
“If anyone is interested in a trip, reach out to me,” Huff says.
She can help her clients find the right destination by asking the right questions. Huff wants to know where they want to go, the kind of vibe they want and what they want to do.
Some clients want a laid-back, relaxing trip, and others want to pack in a lot of activities. Whatever their vacation style, Huff has the knowledge and connections to help guide her clients.
When planning a trip, Huff offers some tips to make the process easier. First, consider the budget. That can determine the location, and the level of accommodations and activities available.
Second, travelers should decide on what they want their vacation to be. Are they looking for a romantic getaway? Are they looking for a family-friendly resort with lots of things to do? Some people just want to relax, Huff says.
Huff describes her role as a travel agent as a “personal concierge.” Often, the travel agent has traveled to the resort or destination and has firsthand knowledge that is helpful in helping to plan a vacation for clients. They also know what amenities airlines offer to passengers.
“We are specialists on the areas we sell,” she says.
Huff has personally visited more than 50 resorts in Mexico. The amenity information and other details about these resorts are kept updated on a spreadsheet for quick reference when working with clients.
Travel agents also work for the client, and can step in when flights are canceled or when problems occur during the trip. Huff will call the airline and deal with making new arrangements, for example, so her clients don’t have to spend their vacation time attending to this time-consuming task.
“Travel agent services are free,” Huff says, adding that this is misunderstood by many people. Clients pay for the travel package and her services are compensated by the hotels, resorts and other suppliers in the travel industry.
Disney continues to be a popular destination for travelers and the Dominican Republic is also seeing a lot of interest, she says.
Huff grew up in Knox. She and her husband Rob have five children ranging in age from 8 to 17.
It is possible for a large family like hers to afford travel, Huff says. Travel is a way to make time in busy lives to do something memorable.
“I could do it for my family of seven,” Huff says. “It’s affordable and doable.”
Contact Huff at 219-395-6537 or at [email protected] CS Elements Travel is located at 198 West State Road 130 in Valparaiso.