(3TV/CBS 5)-- You know how social media seems to read your mind sometimes? In a “I’m so loving being in the travel industry, everything I see online is related to travel” kind of way? Like this little nugget, that seems to pop up every day or so:
“Life is short. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake.”
That all sounds pretty perfect to me - how about you? Do you dream of taking off to Thailand? Hightailing it to Hawaii? Leaving it all behind in Lithuania (like I will next week)?
One of the best parts of my job as a travel advisor is to make your travel dream a travel reality, and to do that, here are a few of the things I consider before crafting every new adventure:
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE?
This alone will help narrow down your dream destinations considerably. Personally, if you have a week or less, I recommend staying within a six to seven hour flight distance, including connections. If you’ve got more time - let’s talk. That will open up your options considerably.
And however tempting it might be to shoehorn in a tour or activity, remember to plan on a day of nothing but travel at the beginning and end of your trip.The trip to, and through, the airport is stressful enough without worrying if you built in enough time to swing by your hotel to grab your bags after you visit that one last museum.
WHAT’S THE SCOOP ON THE GOINGS ON IN YOUR DREAM DESTINATION?
You may have your heart set on taking your two weeks of banked vacation in Thailand, but would you still feel that way if the only time you can go is the rainy season? Are you planning on enjoying the beauties of Germany in September? More power to you, but know going in Oktoberfest actually begins in September, so your favorite little town may be a bit crowded.
Talk to your travel advisor about what’s going on in your destination while you’re there, and check out the tourist board sites, too.
DO YOU NEED A VISA?
You know you’ll need a valid passport for international travel, but will you need a visa? Many destinations popular with American travelers won’t require you to obtain one prior to traveling there, but you might be surprised to know several very popular destinations do (Australia, Brazil, and Russia are but a few), and some take weeks or months to obtain.
Go to the travel section on the State Department website - travel.state.gov - for excellent and accurate information. Click on the International Travel tab, then Country Information. Type your destination in the “Learn about your destination” box on the left side of the screen. Scroll down
to the Quick Facts box and you’ll see if you need a visa, and if so, what you need to do to get one.
Are there any public or religious holidays on the calendar while you’re traveling in your destination? If so, you may be facing closures for museums, banks, and government or tourist offices. If it’s a religious holiday, you might not be able to go inside that beautiful basilica you’re always wanted to explore.
Just something you’ll want to know before you go.
DO I NEED TO BUY EXCURSION OR ENTRY TICKETS IN ADVANCE?
I learned this lesson the hard way in Barcelona! It didn’t even occur to me I’d have to have a reservation to see the inside of La Sagrada Familia, and by the time we arrived, there wasn’t a spot to be had for the three days we were there.
Another cautionary tale - one of my favorite museums in Rome, the Borghese Gallery, requires advanced purchase of their tickets. You can’t just walk up to the box office and buy one. And like La Sagrada Familia, the tickets are often sold out far in advance.
During the planning stages, chat with your advisor about your list of “must sees” while you’re in your destination. He or she can help you get everything from “skip the line” tickets to reservations for art exhibits - or to see the inside of famous churches.
Already dreaming of your next getaway? Contact me directly at Rosanne@preferredtravelservices.com, or call Preferred Travel Services at 602-603-9300. It’s all about the journey, and we can take you there!
And a terrific vacation value crossed my desk this week:
After the success of their “free and reduced air” promotion for Alaska sailings in 2019, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering free and reduced air from Phoenix to a variety of destinations - including the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, and yes, more Alaska!
The offer is valid on specific stateroom categories and for a limited time - through October 31.
This is a terrific value on an innovative cruise line, so grab your calendar and give us a call!