Hey Girl, Do You Need a Travel Planner?


Hey Girl, Do You Need a Travel Planner?

It’s nearing spring break and we are all beginning to dream of sweet summer time, no school and family vacation. Do you dream about it or dread it? Moms are most often tasked with the details, planning and decisions that come with a big family trip, and sometimes it seems more like work than vacation. Thankfully, you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting by yourself anymore! We sat down with Kelly Ricke, a Chattanooga local mom and travel planner, about choosing to use complimentary vacation planning and why it could be the best decision you make.

Here are the top three ways Kelly can assist in your next trip:

  • Travel Counseling: Do you consider your vacation style before planning a trip? Oftentimes we make decisions based on what we hear from others and their experiences, instead of thinking of what works best for our family and the daily quirks that come with us — whether we travel a mile or hundreds of miles from home. But how do you find out where to eat that best serves allergies, where to stay when traveling with multiple generations, or what kind of schedule best accommodates all of your kids? Sure, you could comb through blog posts and Facebook comments, cross your fingers and hope for the best. But what about meeting up and chatting with an expert about all your options, having someone help pull out what you really want in a vacation, and possibly even offer to play ambassador between touchy relations? Kelly brings all that to the table. Her experience in traveling as well as being a mother makes her a helpful resource to answering questions you never knew you had. 
  • Helpful Planning: Maybe you haven’t even put a date down on the calendar, but your kids went back to school after Spring Break and now they need to go to Disney like everyone else. Where to start? Investing in a vacation is always emotional as well as financial, and an ill planned trip can be hard to forget on both of these fronts. Kelly Ricke doesn’t have timelines for how long she assists and advises on vacations; as soon as you know what side of the continent or island you are headed to, you can start planning with Kelly so you can prepare months ahead of time. Once you book a vacation, your travel agent can still apply last minute promotions and bonuses, sometimes saving hundreds on your trip! 
  • Facilitating Excitement: Once a vacation has been decided and planned, all there is left to do is wait, which we all know is the easiest part for kids, right? Paper chains and checking off calendar boxes can work for bigger kids, but when you have a four-year-old who can’t tell the difference between one hour and two months, it’s time to get more creative. Kelly helps to provide ideas, maps and even unexpected gifts to keep the magic alive to help your family wait expectantly instead of anxiously.

So, what’s the catch?

I am with you; there always has to be a catch! In this instance, the only party getting caught is the resort; they pay their own booking fees to your travel agent, instead of pocketing them. Your travel agent can be as uninvolved as you choose or she could stay on the phone for hours making sure you get the Fast Passes to the only ride that your four-year-old wants to go on, and stay up late to snag promotions to get you some extra spending cash. Either way, you get to enjoy all the benefits of a second brain helping you plan your family’s memories without it costing a dime of your budget or losing your mind.

Kelly Ricke is an admitted “Disney addict.” After she and her husband had a disappointing experience during their honeymoon at Disney World with an agent who didn’t specialize in Disney travel, she threw herself into researching the ins and outs of Disney resorts, cruises and theme parks. Her children have visited Disney since their infancy and the family now enjoys Disney cruising in the fall and highly anticipates the new Disney addition, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, rumored to open later this year. She has helped family and friends over the years with vacation planning and dreamed of finding a niche in the travel planning market that fit her desire for close communication and availability with clients. In 2018, she joined Hiatt Magical Vacations, a small and highly invested group of travel planners who are dedicated to their clients and their needs.  

Kelly Ricke
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Hi, I am Elizabeth! I am married to a Chattanooga fire fighter, and mother to four boys and a princess who test my sanity and patience on an hourly basis. To keep my head above the waters of parenting, I get lost in books and try to articulate my thoughts into words with meaning. Our daily activities include playing outside, wrestling, sword fighting and trying to time everything to produce the most sleep at night. Follow me on Instagram @BossMom_247 for insights on living with boys, possibly a few rants and definitely an overabundance of baby girl pictures.


  1. Fabulous article with so much valuable information on the importance of utilizing a travel planner. I can attest that Kelly Ricke is an amazing travel planner with Hiatt Magical Vacations!

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