Hi! I’m Elise ter Haar, the owner and primary travel consultant with Arrivals, a travel agency.
Whatever you’re looking for in your vacation, I would be honored to help you find it. Whether you yearn for stunning views, delectable tastes, fascinating cultures or warm sand between your toes, my goal is to make your vacation the extraordinary and memorable experience you dream of.
I focus on itinerary planning for families and groups, but I’m also happy to help with any other travel needs you may have.
I can plan your lodging, transportation, dining and activities. I can also arrange professional photography and unique local experiences!
Ultimately, I want to help you have YOUR best vacation. Life is short. Let me share in your excitement as I design a memorable vacation for you!
Here at Arrivals we have a passion for people living well, and traveling well is part of that. We also believe in supporting our community and giving back, so that more people in our communities can live well.
If you know an organization that you think we should support, let us know!
Q&A with Elise ter Haar
Q: What inspired you to open a travel agency?
A: My career so far in medicine has showed me that we can’t put life off until tomorrow. We need to live and travel now. When I started contemplating opening Arrivals it occurred to me how different this endeavor would be to working in the Emergency Department. As an Emergency Medicine physician I help people on their unexpected worst days. As a travel consultant I help people to plan and prepare for their best days, and this contrast is refreshing. Life is short and unpredictable, and some of my most memorable and remarkable experiences have happened while traveling. This inspires me to live in the moment and not to put off great experiences for another day or another year. Carpe Diem! It means a lot to me to help others plan experiences that they will remember with their families for the rest of their lives.
Although I love discovering new places, it’s really my tendency to dive deep into destinations and research them extensively that made me realize I would be good at this. Over the last few years I have spent countless hours learning about potential destinations and optimizing lodging, activities and dining for my own family for the vacations we have taken. I can’t possibly travel to the extent that I’m willing to plan it, so I figured I could turn this passion into a service that could potentially help other busy families.
Q: Why family and group travel?
A: In my opinion, traveling solo or as a couple often allows for more flexibility than a big family or group can allow. It can also be challenging to plan the logistics of traveling with a larger group. The numbers alone contribute to the difficulty, and the reality of many personalities with different ages, interests and abilities can also add to the challenge of creating a vacation that everybody will enjoy. I’m one of four siblings myself, and now that we’re all grown up and married and so far we have 5 children of our own we are finding it difficult to all get together! We’ve gathered a few times over the past few years, and I’ve done a lot of anticipatory research for other potential destinations. I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping people experience great vacations, and this is a niche in which I provide the most assistance.
Q: How do you go about planning a vacation for somebody else?
A: Ultimately I need to learn about the travelers, their budget and time frame to determine what kind of vacation would suit the group best. This process of learning about your family is part of the discussions we will have together prior to the planning of your vacation. Although one of my goals is to shield my clients from the dizzying array of options available when they travel, I also know that it’s important to present options to my clients so that they have input into their final itinerary and are satisfied with the plan.
Q: Tell us about your most memorable travel experiences.
A: The most memorable travel I have done was going to Kenya on a medical mission and ending the trip with a safari. It was led by a friend from undergrad that grew up in Kenya and knew the country well. I hope to return with my own family one day.
Other memorable experiences include spending weeks in Italy with a close friend, living abroad in Spain, assisting with a medical mission to Guatemala, coordinating a clinic in Mexico and traveling for 3 months throughout Eastern Europe as a child with my family.
Q: What makes you a great travel consultant?
A: Besides being a knowledgeable and well-traveled consultant, there are three things I do well that can really benefit my clients. The first is that I’m skilled at learning about your family in order to determine what kind of vacation would suit your family best. The second is that I have a lot of resources at my disposal for finding great accommodations, interesting activities and delicious cuisine and I’m good at using those resources to provide great options for your trip. Finally, my attention to detail drives me to meticulously check all aspects of your travels to be certain that your trip is optimized for you to develop extraordinary lifelong memories with your family.
Certifications & Insurance
CLIA & IATAN
Certified Disney planner, completed College of Disney Knowledge Training
Princess Cruises specialist
Avalon Waterways river cruises specialist
Monograms touring specialist
Cosmos affordable touring specialist
Professional Liability insurance with Berkshire & Hathaway
photo credits: Casey Horner (banner), Zoe Roth (headshot), Simon Migaj (lantern water), Bobby Burch (sailing), Elise ter Haar (mountain)