Jan. 31 is National Plan Your Vacation Day.

We know in general that prior planning prevents poor performance.

But when it comes to planning your vacation, making a plan and consulting a travel professional can mean the difference between a dream vacation and a nightmare.

The travel consultants at Uniglobe Ohio Valley Travel explained why.

Jennifer Merryman has been to Disney World 35 times.

It’s massive, with four parks and 20 hotels.

“Plus lightning lanes, an app, dining reservations, there are a lot of pieces to a Walt Disney World vacation so you need to plan ahead and use your travel agent,” said Merryman, owner of Uniglobe Ohio Valley Travel.

International travel has so many moving parts, Heather Kornetti says the language barrier is just the beginning.

“The currency, the signs, public transportation, safety concerns,’ said Kornetti, a travel consultant at Uniglobe Ohio Valley Travel. “We can make sure that the hotels you’re staying in are in the safe areas of the country you’re in. And if you’re there and an issue comes up, you always have us to fall back on.”

Guided tours range from a one-day ball park trip to a two-week motor coach adventure.

The traveler can sit back and leave the planning to the professionals.

“They really do provide a sense of adventure, a sense of excitement,” said Georgette Stock, travel consultant. “But they also provide a sense of security. Individuals don’t have to plan, they just come, they enjoy and they know there’s someone from Uniglobe on the tour, should a problem arise, to be their advocate.”

Exotic beach trips are popular.

But do-it-yourselfers can learn the hard way that all beaches are not created equal.

“People often come in and ask about Costa Rica and Cabo San Lucas and things like that but they don’t realize that it might not be the exact vacation that they’re asking for,” said Renee Manukin, travel consultant. “Gold sand beaches vs white sand beaches, or it turns out to be more of a jungle and not a beach destination. And they want to swim in the ocean but the water’s cold.”

Cruises are extremely popular.

A travel agent can guide you toward which cruise is best for you.

And they can also encourage you to get travel insurance.

“Sometimes somebody needs to interrupt their cruise and get back home,” said Bill Bryson of Uniglobe Ohio Valley Travel. “Either something has happened to them or something happened back home. And we’ve been able to jump in and assist with that in the past.”

A travel agent can even recommend what part of the ship to book a cabin in, if you are prone to motion sickness!