Umbrellas, seatbelts, life jackets, condoms and tour directors. What do these things have in common? Things that don’t mean a thing to you… unless you need them.

Honestly, how many times have we wished we had that umbrella that was in the hall closet as it started a downpour?

It goes without saying that a seatbelt and a lifejacket could be the difference between life and death. The difference is whether the device was in place.

A condom? Well, I don’t need to explain that example.

Which brings us to the tour director, like me, your Fearless Leader. When our group trips go along swimmingly, then I recognize the temptation of the gang to whisper to one another “She has such a great job! She’s on vacation all the time! She travels for free! Why should we go with her? Anybody could be a tour director and just go on the trip!” Yep, I may not hear those words spoken out loud, but I often times know they are being said.

But I also know I’m an umbrella. When the storm rolls in and the clouds open up, most people are pretty happy to have an umbrella.

When it’s all sunshine and rainbows, who cares where that thing is? Figuring out directions, finding places to eat, not being dropped off at the front door, those are all little things that could dampen your good times if they accumulate. I’m the umbrella that protects my fellow travelers from those discomforts.

Going with a group tour to places that there is the potential for “wrecks,” it will be nice to have this Fearless Leader/ seatbelt along. A tour manager can assist when there is illness or mishaps or lost items.

As a tour escort, I’ve organized requested trips and introduced roommates and found missing passports. Maybe you could have done it by yourself, but, you didn’t have to! Just make sure that buckle is in place and everything is good.

Sometimes traveling can be anything but easy, with events resulting in disasters. That’s when I’m a life jacket. When the flight is cancelled, or the cruise is missed, or the hip is broken. Watch out, I’m going in for the save to keep the trip going and the folks happy.

When you pack for your vacation, you want your biggest worries to be if you have your money and your toothbrush. You don’t want to be stressing over the “What if this happens?” and coming up with Plans B. Or C. Or D... That’s my job and when I have very tangible value. I’m the life saver or at least the vacation saver.

Sometimes you don’t know you even want to go to a place until you see a flyer and hear me talk about it. I love it when travelers get excited and sign up, and are spontaneous!

Too often the moment passes and they never get around to going. But know that for months I’ve been planning and researching and organizing the perfect tour for you!

You must always be ready and Good to Go if YOUR trip is announced. Being prepared in the heat of the moment...well, I don’t need to explain.

Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or pb@goodtogowithpb.com.