Seeing into the future of travel these days is like asking a Magic 8 Ball what the year holds and getting "Outlook Not Clear."
I can't say I'll be sad to see 2009 go. This was a tough year for the industry I love, but I do see positive signs for 2010 - and some of them may make your next vacation better than ever!
SECURITY, SECURITY, SECURITY
The "underpants bomber" has certainly placed airport security front and center in any discussion on the coming year. Some of the things we'll see are nothing new - plan on arriving at least two hours before your domestic flight departure, with 2 ½ or 3 hours recommended for international flights - but other methods being kicked around may add new wrinkles to your travel routine.
Plan on paring down your carry on luggage, if at all possible. I know I'm guilty of bringing five books when two will do, and do I really need all those snacks? Make your carry on as small as possible and as easy for the TSA folks to examine as you can.
And as always - be flexible. You never know when you'll be chosen for an "expanded search," so be ready and most importantly, be patient. They're trying to keep us all safe.
TAKE A CRUISE
Those ultra-reasonable Alaska fares from last summer? They're still here for this summer - and I couldn't be happier!
Cruise rates fell dramatically last year and I'm glad to say they haven't gone up dramatically for the coming year. A cruise is always an excellent travel value, as they include your meals and accommodation in one price. And with the newer and larger ships that have come on line recently, there are lots of beds for the cruise lines to fill.
You won't see rock-bottom rates on the very newest ships, but if you can be flexible - there's that word again - you'll get an excellent rate for your next vacation.
And don't be afraid to book early. Cruises offer their very best rates to the folks who book the earliest, and if the rates do happen to fall before you sail, they are very willing to modify your booking to get you a better price.
Cruising is one of my favorite ways to vacation and if you've been thinking about it for yourself or your family, 2010 is your year!
EUROPE RATES LOWER
Escorted tours are down 20% over 2009 - and that's just the beginning!
Hotel rates, cruise rates, tour rates - you'll see nice very reasonable prices for 2010. Airfare is still a bit of a mystery, sometimes fluctuating by hundreds of dollars from day to day, but if you keep your eyes open, you'll find a good fare.
The Euro and the Pound have stabilized too, so if you've been wanting to see the splendors of Italy or the beauty of Ireland, get ready to go!
HAWAII WANTS YOU!
It's no secret the economy of Hawaii is based on tourism, and 2009 was a very difficult year across the state. But with the beginning of the new year brings a new push to bring you back to the islands!
Rates for hotels and condos have been very reasonable for sometime now, and I'm still seeing great rates on into June and July. And that's a wonderful surprise as typically, once the end of May rolls around, the rates soar across the board.
As is always the case in Hawaii, condos will be your more economical vacation option, but even the big hotels and resorts are offering free nights, included breakfast and "kids stay and eat free" options.
Like Europe, air to Hawaii is fluctuating madly these days, so be on the lookout for decent fares. Or you can look for great package rates through your friendly neighborhood travel agent! Cruises are still a good option here too, since you can unpack once and see four islands.
Hawaii wants you for your next vacation!
And from all of us at TravelationOnline, here's hoping 2010 brings all good things for you and your families!
Because of the holiday, there aren't many specials out right now, but the one I have is a doozy!
MAGICAL MEDITERRANEAN: PROVENCE, THE FRENCH RIVIERA AND ITALY
October 9 - October 18
From $1999.00 per person, double occupancy!
(Air and port taxes additional)
Can you believe that price?? With cruises offering excellent value, we were able to put together this terrific air, cruise and post-cruise package!
The rate includes round trip air between Phoenix and Barcelona, your seven-day cruise on the Voyager of the Seas (an ice skating rink at sea??) in an Inside Cabin and an extra night in Barcelona to explore this gorgeous city! All your transfers are included, too!
If you'd like a mid-ship Ocean View Stateroom with a picture window, add $380.00 per person to the rate above, and if you'd like a balcony to enjoy your time sailing the Mediterranean, add $530.00 per person to the price above. I'm so pleased about the prices!!
The itinerary is terrific:
Oct. 10 -- Barcelona, Spain -- Depart: 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 -- Cruising
Oct. 12 -- Naples, Capri, Italy -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 7 p.m. (Docked)
Oct. 13 -- Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 7 p.m. (Docked)
Oct. 14 -- Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 7 p.m. (Docked)
Oct. 15 -- Villefranche (Nice), France -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 7 p.m. (Tendered)
Oct. 16 -- Provence (Toulon), France -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 5 p.m. (Docked)
Oct. 17 -- Barcelona, Spain -- Arrive: 6 a.m.
I can't wait to explore Provence, and even if you've sailed in the Mediterranean before, you have so many options in each port - Italy in particular offers so many things to see and do - you never have to do the same excursion twice, unless you want to. For example - last time, I toured the spectacular Amalfi Coast during our stop in Naples. This time - it's Capri!
And on our port day for Florence - all those wonderful museums will be open!
I'm holding Inside Cabins, Ocean View Staterooms and Balcony Staterooms for the group. I'll also be offering some nice amenities for those who sail with us.
October is a beautiful time to sail the Mediterranean! The crowds are gone and the weather is great. And so are the prices! Give me a call to reserve your space!
By air, land or sea, we're planning your next vacation at TravelationOnline! Give us a call at 602-252-1140, or if you're outside the Metro Phoenix area codes of 602, 480 and 623, call toll-free at 888-751-2032. You can also reach me directly via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!