I’ve had a few calls this week from concerned travelers if they will still be able to travel with the government shutdown. Yes, you will. First, thank you to all of the TSA workers who are working diligently during this difficult time to keep us safe.
But what does this mean for us? At the airport, most of the agents are still here working hard and although on my last trip through Houston I did have somewhat of a slower time going through, it just took some patience to get through. Please remember that, and if you are worried to get to the airport a few minutes earlier.
Will your TSA Pre-check still work? Yes - nothing has changed with that, however the wait maybe a few minutes longer going through security. Yes, it will still save you time, a good example of this, last Friday in Minneapolis St. Paul the standard wait time was 24 minutes and the TSA Pre-Check was only 5 minutes.
How about Global Entry? Yes, again it’s still working if you are already approved. If you have applied for Global Entry, you will have to wait for your appointment until after the shutdown is done.
I want to get a passport, can I do that while the government is on shutdown? Yes, they are currently running on normal processing times. I can personally attest to that since we got passports for the boys over the holidays.
If you are looking to go see the National Parks, you will need to go to WWW.NPS.GOV site for updated information on each park. For example, one of my personal favorites, Mount Rushmore, is open to see, however, there are no NPS services such as NPS restrooms, plowing, and Mount Rushmore will not be lighted up in the evenings. The concession stands will still be open and there will be limited emergency services.
Hopefully, this shutdown will be over soon, and all will be back to normal.
One of my personal favorite ways to travel is to take the ocean cruise. Yes, I’m at the age where I can remember the TV show, “The Love Boat”, however, cruising has come a long way from those days. So, let me share my top three reasons why I love today’s cruising and why I believe it’s a great value for your vacation dollar.
3:) Stop and go vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I love to check out a new place, however, if I’m able to check out more than one location while on vacation I’m ecstatic! And what’s even better about a cruise - you don’t feel overly rushed. You can go check somewhere out, have an adventure and then go back to the ship to just sit back and relax. Or if you want to go to an island and just sit back and relax on the ship. To me, it’s the best of both worlds. I get to explore see more than just one location and not feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. What?? I get everything in one vacation… Yes!!
2:) There’s more to eat than a buffet. Now don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a buffet as much as the next person, and let’s face it that’s what the cruise lines are known for 24 x 7 buffets and food! But today’s cruise lines have so much more to offer! Did you know that they have everything from Italian, French, and even Steak Houses on the ships? Yes, it’s a plethora of quality dining on the ships. Even some of the famous chef’s and restaurants are getting in on the ships. You can still have the dining where you are sitting down at a particular time every night or you can have it where you sit down when you want. You name it, it’s there. Did I mention some ships even have dinner shows? Yes, it’s all there for you.
1:) Resort on the ocean. Yes, this is still my favorite reason to cruise. These ships have it all anymore. Do you like to go rock climbing? Yes, they have it. How about practicing your surfing - yep. Maybe you are a thrill seeker and want to walk the plank off the side of the top the ship? How about zip lining? Maybe a ride on a carousel is more your speed? Now let’s take a break on the waterslides, or play a round of mini golf? Better yet let’s play a game of basketball. Wait - maybe ice skating would be better for you. At night, how about a movie under the stars, or a Broadway play? Do you love a good laugh? Let’s go see a comedy show, or perhaps a dueling piano show. Wait, maybe a concert would be even better. As you can see there are so many options and each ship has its own feel and livelihood. You can get a ship that holds 4,000 people or one that holds closer to 2,500 people. It all comes down to what you are looking for.
Cruising is a great value for the vacation dollar, and there are a ton of options out there. That’s where working with a trusted vacation advisor is your best bet. We sit down with you find out your needs and match you with the perfect ship for your needs. This way you get the best deal for your vacation dollar. If you are seeking a cruise for your next vacation, feel free to set up a time to meet with me and I’ll be more than happy to help you find the perfect match.
And until next time, remember - Love is the Journey!
The past couple of weeks I’ve been writing about gifting an experience instead of just things for the holidays. This week I wanted to talk about an experience that we gave the kids a few years ago. I knew that we wanted to have them go somewhere warm, and we wanted to wait until after the holiday season. But we didn’t know where exactly to go. After some research, we looked into visiting another city. We chose Houston, Texas. You see my little guy, Zach, is a huge space fan and loves astronauts. I wanted to take him to see NASA.
And what started out as a trip to NASA in Houston, turned out to be a wonderful vacation to the Houston-Galveston area. We had a blast taking the boys not only to NASA but to Houston’s Zoo, Aquarium, the Museum and to the Kemah Boardwalk. The best part is that we took Grandma with. This was not only an experience that the boys were able to enjoy but one that we all cherish because it was with their Grandmother as well.
For all of us, we had some once in a lifetime moments together. To see my mom’s face light up when she stepped into the Houston Control Room where they launched the first ship to the moon and she remembered seeing that as a child. And then hearing her explain that to Zach and seeing his excitement was simply priceless! And just watching the boys get excited about doing new things with their Grandma and the memories that they shared, down to just swimming in the swimming pool at the hotel are things that we still talk about to this day.
I guess that is why I’m so passionate about giving the gift of travel and the gift of experiences. I was blessed with parents who gave me and my sisters' experiences even more than things. We were very blessed to have had that time together to share and to bond and when we lost my Dad several years ago, during that time of solace, some of our fondest memories are of the experiences and the travel experiences that we shared.
So no matter where you are going if it is to Disney World, Houston Texas, the Caribean or to a local waterpark, give an experience - it’s the gift that will keep on giving. If the thought of putting together that experience is overwhelming, send me an email, I would love to plan it for you so that all you have to sit back and enjoy each other’s company!
Because - Love is the journey!
Last week I started a series talking about gifting an experience. This week I wanted to expand on that a bit. Every year I, like many, flock around the TV on December 31st to “watch the ball” drop on Times Square in New York.
Some of my friends last year said how cool would it be to go to New York to watch the ball drop? Then as we dared to stay up even later and watch the after show, we saw the porta-potties, the people fighting to get out of the streets and we started realizing that they were probably there for hours in the cold waiting to see it drop. The excitement of being on the streets of New York for that moment started to look a bit different to us.
If watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve is on your bucket list of an experience that you would love to have or perhaps share with your sweetheart but you don’t want to stand in the cold for hours, stand in line for the porta-potty, or fight your way back out of the crowds, I may have an answer for you. How about a couple of nights in New York City for two, with an exclusive party high above the city lights right in the middle of it all? With dancing, buffet, open bar, a view of the fireworks and the most important thing of all the ball dropping right there? Plus you will be warm! What an experience to give!
Or perhaps you want to give more of a romantic low key New Year’s Experience away. Perhaps a room for two for New Years where you can ring in the New Year’s alone with a bottle of champagne and some roses, and perhaps some romantic music.
Now you may have the kids this year for New Years. There are many options for ringing in the New Year and giving them a great experience. Including taking them to a hotel for a kids friendly evening complete with a party to ring in the New Year and watch the ball drop on TV. Or perhaps going to a waterpark. Maybe taking them to Disney World to see the Fantasy in the Sky at Magic Kingdom Park or New Year’s Countdown Fireworks At Epcot.
Whatever New Year’s Experience that you would like to surprise them with this holiday season, I am here to help you plan the perfect surprise. You can give me a call or send me an email and I would love to be of service to you.
And until next time remember Love is the Journey!
Have you ever heard, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” I know that I’ve said that before and I’ve heard that many times before. Your vacation should be fun and not wearing you down.
Sometimes we like to either plan everything for the moment to try to get it in just in case we never make it back there again. Or we have to see just one more thing. I know I’m guilty of that. I call it the over-achiever vacation syndrome. I’ve learned over the years to let it go, or I’ll go insane. I’m learning to make myself a well-balanced vacation.
You can do so much research on the internet on how to make your vacation less stressful and more relaxing that you will be stressed by trying to be less stressed! It’s CRAZY! From someone who has vacationed before the invention of social media, being attached via the internet 24\7, let me give you a few things that I’ve learned, ignored, and re-learned over the years.
DETACH - We all need to detach and live in the moment. When the kids were little I wanted to video and photograph every little moment of their lives when we were on vacation. Mark was the smarter one he always told me - “Let’s live in the moment instead of behind the camera.” It took me a while, however, I did learn to do that. Don’t get me wrong, I still have those pictures and if it were up to Mark and the boys there are too many still. However, I’ve lightened up the load over the years and lived in the moment. They don’t need to have every moment of their lives videotaped to relive. Every moment doesn’t have to be on social media for the world to see - sometimes it’s nicer to have things just between us. When we were kids we didn’t have a device to live on and when we went on vacation we all reconnected. Sometimes I think we all need to do that as well.
RELAXATION - Yes, build in that time. We are in a world today that everything is at warp speed and every moment has to be filled with something to do. When on vacation take some time off of and do something crazy, like read a book, take a nap, go swimming or try something new. Keep activities at a low tension - let’s slow it down….
When we do these things we start to relax and feel more recharged and in control again of life. That’s when the magic of the journey happens. Your favorite destination maybe a beach, or maybe a ski hill, or a European Countryside, it doesn’t matter as long as you detach and relax - the rest will come to you.
And until next time don’t forget that love is the journey!
During the holiday season, we are all thankful for the things that we have. And over the years I’ve learned that when I travel that I need to make sure that I am thankful for the journey that I’ve taken and not to miss out on it while I’m on it.
When we travel it is always easy to think of the destination that we are going to, and if something goes wrong get upset and let it ruin our vacation. Here’s an example, on our honeymoon we went on a cruise. We were supposed to go to the Grand Cayman. Now you need to remember that we’ve been married for a LONG time, you know before a little thing called the internet ruled everything that we do. Yes, there were cell phones, but not smartphones. Anyways, the ship had to turn around and ended up in Key West, Florida. Needless to say being a new bride I was not happy. Fill in any word that you want here. We had no plans on what to do, plus we were stuck on the ship for an extra couple of hours while they unloaded the person who was ill. Well, after realizing that it was because of someone’s health I did calm down, however, I was still bummed that my dream honeymoon was ruined. Yes, everything did not turn out as I had dreamed and planned.
Here’s where I’m thankful. I was able to go to Key West. After I stopped pouting like a two-year-old, I was able to enjoy a day exploring the island with my new husband. We made a ton of memories, and I made it to my first Margaritaville Restaurant. Yes, I’m a Parrot Head. I was able to see things and do things that I NEVER would have been able to do if I had kept my negative attitude and pouted and sat on the ship. We actually ended up having dinner at the most amazing restaurant on the island with a beautiful sunset. Well, part of our sunset was covered by a ship, ours, so as the waiter put it, “We’re dead tonight because that dang ship came in.” Well, it was the most romantic dinner for the two of us in a super romantic spot with an amazing backdrop. Would I have had that in the Grand Cayman? No. Would I of had that if I wouldn’t have just sat back and enjoyed the journey? No. Looking back the unexpected detour was a blessing.
So friends, just like life and love when traveling the journey is what takes you places and it’s what to be thankful for.
With that thought, I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving -
And until next time, Love is the Journey!
You want that once in a lifetime vacation, that special honeymoon, or that special anniversary trip. You may want to go to a beach, or on a cruise, but you don’t want it to feel like just any other vacation. How can you put your own personality on it? Let’s take a look at a few options…
Before you leave home, purchase a small gift and pack it away. You can then give it to your sweetheart at a special moment. What a great way to surprise them with a special piece of jewelry or momento that will remind them of this special vacation.
How about a special dinner either on a beach or at a romantic location for just the two of you? Candlelight, or at sunset with torches of lights around you?
How about having rose petals on the bed when you arrive? Or on a certain day? Better yet, what about a bubble bath for two with rose petals?
You can also to the spa and have a massage for two. A lot of resorts have outdoor massages that you can have on the beach, or in a garden.
Perhaps you would like to have a special momento of this once in a lifetime vacation and would like to have a photographer take a session of the two of you. You can have this set up ahead of time.
Something that I like is taking a piece of resort stationery and write a love letter to your sweetheart. Write about how you are feeling right now at this moment. Then after you return home, I always say wait six months or so and give it to them to remind them that this wonderful time.
When I work with a couple I like to make sure that they have any little surprises or special touches. I can help them put together all the extras that take a vacation from ordinary to extraordinary. Helping create a romantic moment that you won’t forget, or surprising your sweetheart with a day trip to that one place that crosses off his or her bucket list is one the best parts of my business.
And until next time….
Love is the journey!
In today’s day and age, everyone has a device and is using it when traveling. Here are 5 tips to help keep you safer when traveling…..
5:) Prepare your device before leaving by installing anti-virus software and having the latest OS version loaded on your phone.
It is crucial to have antivirus software on your phone while traveling. You are exposed to more threats when traveling because you are on more free wi-fi services. And that is the same with having the latest OS loaded on your phone before leaving home. It will save you from any previous OS exploits and you will have the best speeds available when using the mobile and cellular networks. It also wouldn’t hurt to look into having a VPN service on your phone for safety.
4:) Don’t let everyone know on social media of your travel plans.
You wouldn’t want to have the neighbors calling you on vacation telling you that your house has been burglarized. Yes, that does happen. Save all of your cool pictures and share them at the end of your vacation. Burglars are known for scanning social media for travel plans and then making their plans on your homes.
3:) Keep an eye on your devices at all times!
Anymore our entire lives are on our cell phones. Just as much as our wallets. Think about it - we have our pictures, our banking information, our email, our social media, everything on that little device. When you are traveling, don’t just leave it out on the lounge chair or on the table by the lounge chair and walk away. Take care of it like you would your wallet. Put it in your hotel safe if you are not going to be using it. If you are using it, keep it next to you at all times.
2:) Turn off the Bluetooth!
Turn off your Bluetooth when not in use. Not only will this save on your battery life when you are on vacation, but it will be a big safety protector. Hackers may be able to get into your device from the Bluetooth connection. Only use it if you need to.
1:) Change your passwords.
Even though you should change passwords every three months, it is especially crucial after coming home from vacation. You were most likely on free wifi over your vacation and especially if you used a public access PC to print out plane tickets or to access your email, you will want to change those passwords.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful!
And until next time - Love is the Journey!
Let's face it, after you’ve been together for awhile, perhaps you have a couple of kids, the career, and everything else, you want to feel like newlyweds. Especially in the bedroom - that’s the biggest reason why we take the romantic vacation away. Here’s a few tips to set the mood for the two of you to enjoy each other’s company….
Most of us love to go the beach. Find us a beach resort, or a cruise and we are happy. However, that may not the setting for everyone. What setting made the two of you feel sexy. Is it a night out in the city? Is it exploring a new land? What makes you feel sexy?
When picking out your room, splurge a bit on the accommodations so that you WANT to stay in your room. Get the king size bed, or the in room jacuzzi. And when picking a resort, stay away from the family resorts, choose one that has more of an adult feel. You left the kids at home, you don’t want to see everyone else’s kids. It’s harder to “get in the mood” when the kid at the table next to you is throwing his spaghetti on the floor.
When planning activities and excursions or day trips, don’t over book yourself on your romantic vacation. Remember that you will want to rest up and get some downtime to enjoy each other’s company. You need to reconnect on all levels when you are away. You don’t need to go from sun up to sun down on excursions and activities. Pick something to do for the day for a few hours and then relax a bit. If you are a couple who feels sexier in the morning, pick afternoon activities. If you are a couple who feels sexier in the afternoon pick a morning activity. And if you really enjoy this romantic getaway and the location makes you feel sexy most likely you will want to return and you can then go see something else in that location so you don’t have to do it all in one vacation.
Most importantly, disconnect from the outside world. Yes, put down the smartphone, email, and everything else. If you must check email and take calls, talk ahead of time and setup a mutually agreed upon time to do that. And if you are going to check in on the kids, make sure that you have a window of time that you have setup with their caretaker. Check in, let them know that you are good and get back to being newlyweds.
Things might not always go as planned, from getting there to the weather, to activities. Sometimes you need to go with the flow. And that’s okay. Enjoy the moment - who knows how the romance will flow.
And until next time remember, Love is the Journey.