Virtuoso Travel Week On Tour - Los Angeles
We are back home after a few days in Los Angeles at Virtuoso's Travel Week on Tour, during which nearly 150 professional Travel Advisors met with 80+ travel suppliers, in a "speed-dating" format - followed up by a day of professional development (with a good measure of fun in the mix.)
One of the questions I frequently am asked is "Are there any good deals out there?" So fresh from meeting with so many suppliers, many of whom are currently offering promotions, here you are!
(Photo above: You may not know that I'm not the only family member in the travel industry; my son, Ben, is a First Officer with Republic Air!)
I'm writing this as the sun sets on St. Patrick's Day. Having lived in Chicago most of my life, St. Patrick's day in Southern California is comparatively low-key. But if you've harbored a hankering to visit Ireland, this is a great time to plan - one of my partners has a great air-included promotion for trips to Ireland - but this trip must be booked by March 19th. My wish for you is well stated in this Irish Blessing: May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door!
How Can A Travel Advisor Help You?
What are you looking forward to as spring approaches? I know that many of you play golf, and also that many of you are interested in river cruising. Wikipedia says: “Golf, unlike most ball games, cannot and does not utilize a standardized playing area, and coping with the varied terrains encountered on different courses is a key part of the game.” Golfer friends of mine delight in playing courses new to them while traveling. But did you know that there are river cruise companies which offer rounds of golf as excursions during their European itineraries? How special would it be to combine a river cruise with hitting the links in totally new destinations? This article introduces a couple of options to do just that! FORE!
Something Free in Waikiki? Absolutely!
Aloha - today is a day that has been anticipated by many for a long, long time: Southwest Airlines is now selling flights from the 8 California cities to Hawaii; the new destination has rolled out with remarkable sale fares - and other airlines are matching the special rates. So if you've dreamed of visiting Hawaii (and chances are, you have!) why not contact me now to plan your visit to this American Paradise? As a certified Hawaii Destination Specialist, I would be delighted to help you plan!
With so many free things to do in Waikiki, there is really no reason to fork out a lot of cash on activities. From torch lighting and hula shows to hands-on classes in Hawaiian arts and crafts, this visitor “Mecca” has a lot of offerings to keep you busy – and entertain and educate at the same time!
Here are some of my favorite “free” or inexpensive things to do in Waikiki...
Recently a group of colleagues visited a luxury Jamaican resort for a corporate event. Prior to their meeting, the resort asked the group leader to consider asking travelers to bring school supplies to help a local school with which the resort had a sponsorship relationship. Great idea, right? This group was happy to contribute, and collected quite a nice stash of supplies for the local kids. When we travel, we can indeed help others. Depending on the destination and the need, there are many ways to do this. Today, I will cover several ways to help:
You are likely aware that ocean cruising, with bellyflop contests and buckets of beer, has an alternative, more "civil" competitor in the cruising arena - River Cruising. While most of the river cruise itineraries are in Europe, including the Rhine, Danube, Seine, Rhone, Douro and even the Po Rivers, river cruises are offered as well in Asia, India and Africa, and here in the US - although river cruising outside of Europe is a very different offering.
Many European river cruises are focused on a theme or special interests, such as wine regions of France, Jewish heritage, beer tasting in Germany and Austria, "Sound of Music" Tours, Tulip Time in Holland and, in November and December, visiting Christmas Markets, many of which are held in European river cities. Here are several reasons why many travelers are choosing river cruising - and why many choose to river cruise again.
Do travel agents still exist? Because, you know, the Internet! This is the number one question I’m asked when people learn I am a Travel Advisor. Here are five benefits for clients choosing to use a Travel Advisor to help plan their trips:
First, Travel Advisors help clients choose a destination and how best to experience it. I’ve been to many destinations – but if not, I’ve got trusted colleagues who have, as well a host of research resources to draw on for my clients’ behalf. In order to match my clients with a great experience, I take time to get to know them. I hate to see people spend money on an experience they don’t enjoy, or have a subpar vacation, even if it was presented as a steal of a deal.
Second, Travel Advisors save clients time and hassle. The Internet is called the Information Highway for a reason, but it’s a double-edged sword, and it may be difficult to know what's accurate. My knowledge and experience allow me to quickly assess available options. I love sitting on hold (said no one, ever!) – but as their Travel Advisor, my clients can outsource this time consuming and sometimes frustrating task to me.
Leadenhall Market, London - Site of The Leaky Cauldron in the Early Harry Potter Films
I love going to the movies, and with London being a key player in so many of my favorites, I felt like I sort of knew the place when I first visited - and now when I view a film set in London I have a greater appreciation of the places depicted. Movies have such a powerful effect on our imagination, and in fact serve to influence many people by inspiring them to travel to their favorite movie locations.
If you fancy going behind the scenes to see how the Harry Potter films were produced, Warner Brothers offers a studio tour experience just outside of London specifically called "The Making of Harry Potter."
I’ve listed below several movies set in London; if London is on your travel bucket list, be sure to check out these movies to get you and your travel companion in the mood for a visit. Trying to convince a group of friends to go with you? These movies will help!
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What’s your favorite movie set in London? Comment below.
PS - I love Hugh Grant - so Four Weddings and a Funeral, About A Boy, Notting and Love Actually top my list - as well as the Sean Connery-era James Bond movies. And I love the sweet optimism of Bend it Like Beckham!
Recently I did something I'd never done before - I planned a trip more than two years in advance. Crazy, right? Not really...
As a travel expert, one of my very favorite things is networking with my colleagues, and learning from them. While I had heard the term "Oberammergau," I had no idea what it was, until a friend, who specializes in Religious Travel, described in detail this once-a-decade spectacle that has been created and performed in the town of Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany since 1634. Fascinated, I decided that my husband and I must experience this.
Earlier this year we headed to Cabo San Lucas for the first time, and fell in love. We stayed at the beautiful and well-located Breathless Resort, went deep sea fishing for two days, and took a day trip to Todos Santos. We knew we would be back...during Marlin time! So we planned a return visit for September, with another couple who enjoy fishing as much as we do. But - they had never experienced deep sea fishing...
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