It’s a Tuesday morning at 6 am and Kerry Boyd is already up. The house is quiet, but in just a few minutes it’ll be filled with the rattle of movement. Her oldest son is stirring; her youngest is still in that deep sleep that only a 13-year-old can get. The peace is not for long.
Kerry lives in the Massachusetts town of Winchester, a suburb of Boston, and her day is not too different from that of any other busy parent with two teenagers: get up, drag her 16-year-old out of bed. Whip up some breakfast. Get him on a bus (sometimes, let’s be honest, while still wearing her house slippers). Return home and repeat the exact same routine with her second child on slightly different hours. Part ways with her husband, who’s trying to beat the traffic to the office.
And then, her day begins.
Kerry settles into the breakfast nook in her kitchen and pulls out her laptop. Today she’s planning a trip to Portugal for a family of four, and she spends a little time debating between two beautiful properties that she’s meticulously researched in Lagos, located in the beachy region of the Algarve. While she deep-dives into Google Street Views and maps walking distances, she could just as easily be in an office, or plugged in with a coffee and her AirPods at the local Caffe Nero. In fact, that’s one of her favorite parts of being a Fora Advisor: she could literally do it from anywhere.
For some people, this level of travel planning is stressful – but Kerry lives for it.
“It's been so amazing, I can't even begin to tell you the life change for me,” she said. “What better way to spend your time than trying to plan somebody's dream vacation with their family, especially after everything that we've been through [during the pandemic]?”
At noon, Kerry takes a break and dons comfortable shoes. She goes into her “other office,” a local preschool where she teaches early literacy. Before that, she taught third grade for 12 years. A lifelong teacher, Kerry loves the lessons that travel can bring, and feels like she can connect with people’s needs (and their kids’ needs) even more empathetically as a travel advisor.
Travel advising: a new way to teach
In fact, Kerry finds teaching and travel advising to be pretty similar: to her, the best travel advisors (and teachers) are organized, need to juggle multiple balls in the air and can multitask. Each lesson (or trip) is different, and you can’t overload a lesson or you’ll lose your audience. Kerry laughs when she reflects on the uncanny similarities.
“When my family travels, my husband asks me, ‘what’s on today’s lesson?,’” she explained.
Kerry wasn’t always dual-hatting as a teacher and a travel advisor. In fact, she considers herself pretty new to travel advising, despite finding a lot of success with it.
“Fora kind of found me,” she said.
“I'd been planning travel for my family and friends, and they had been telling me I should be a travel advisor for I-don’t-know-how-many years," she said. "But I didn’t even know how to begin. Do I take classes? Do I have to go back to school? Do I join a large company? How do I even begin to do this?”
These questions aren’t uncommon for someone thinking about going into the travel advisor industry, and finding the right information can be an exhausting process. But when Kerry discovered Fora, a lightbulb went off for her. Now, she works whenever and wherever she wants, sneaking hours between her busy schedule as a teacher and a parent.
When she finds herself with extra time, she watches recordings of Fora’s live destination trainings and region-specific trainings led by Fora’s co-founder Henley Vazquez. The sessions are designed to teach anyone how to become an expert on regions around the world, and support them in their journey to becoming a successful travel advisor.
“Because they’re taped, I can continue to educate myself, because I feel like, the more that I can learn, the better I can be at doing this,” Kerry said.
She also cites Forum, an online portal for Fora travel advisors to connect and ask questions, as a huge resource for her.
“Having Forum there is like having a support system,” she said. “I feel incredibly lucky that they've been there to support me, because the learning curve is huge [for new travel advisors].”
And the best part is that she can be authentically herself.
“I tend to kick it old-school a little bit,” she said. “I don’t really use Facebook and Instagram, but I can’t tell you how many references I’ve gotten just from my Winchester residents page.”
Building up her local network has been an incredibly important part of creating a business that is constantly growing. If she can plan a memorable trip for someone, she knows she can count on good referrals later. It allows her to plan trips that she’s excited about, for people that she knows deserves them.
“It still feeds my teaching bug,” she said. “But this new adventure just feeds my soul.”
Are travel advisors for everyone?
One of the biggest surprises that Kerry experiences as a travel advisor is the fact that her services are free.
“Everybody always has the bottom question of, ‘How do you get paid?’ Then they realize that it's kind of like the best deal in town,” she explained.
Since Fora Advisors typically earn money from the properties they book, travelers can support a small business for the same price they would have spent on a Booking.com search, while also scoring valuable perks and benefits like free breakfast in the process.
“I think everybody could use a travel advisor,” Kerry said, even citing people who traditionally enjoy planning their own trips, like herself. She mentions the amazing ways that using a travel advisor can help save energy, time and resources so that you can focus on other priorities, without sacrificing your travel preferences and needs.
“If you understand and appreciate travel, or you value being a traveler over a tourist, then a travel advisor is right for you,” Kerry said.
Want to book your next trip with Kerry? Reach out to her today.