Q – We’re recently retired from the financial sector where, I suppose you could say, quoting  that famous Saturday Night Sketch, “we’ve done berry, berry well.” So now it’s time to see the rest of the world excluding Europe, a continent we know well. Our first thoughts are to do, perhaps, two trips to China, one to see the highlights, and the second to do the Silk Road and Tibet. Should we pay to use a travel agent and when should we plan on going. There seems to be conflicting information about the best time to see China. Finally, how do we find an agent who will work with us for our next decade of travel. We’re in our early sixties and anxious to get started. Congratulations on the site. It is wonderful.

A – The sheer size of China makes it somewhat difficult to certify the best months to visit but there certainly are some guidelines. We would suggest you visit in April, May, September, October, or the first half of November for optimum weather. But the northern extremes of the country, including portions of the Silk Road, as well as Tibet are best seen in June, July, and August.

Given the amount of travel you are planning in the next ten years or so, it would be wise to establish a relationship with a nationally-recognized worldwide consultant. That is quite different than a travel agent. A travel agent’s primary job is selling airlines tickets. You need a worldwide vacation planner with worldwide contacts. Interview the firm under consideration. See if there is a comfort and a confidence level. Then, it might be wise to set up an appointment and review your desires and specific needs which will result in the formulation of a five-year Travel Plan, not unlike what financial planners do for their clients.  Do not limit yourself to working with someone in the immediate neighborhood or even your own State. The best person for you may be out-of-state but that would still enable you to have Skype, I Chat, or telephone conferences. A good vacation consultant will help you prioritize your travels, an often daunting task. There are definitely, for instance, going to be some destinations you will need to do first because they will require greater stamina. Tibet is such a destination. Thank you berry much.