Travel News for Week of July 15

By | Blog

Hi Everyone,

For the last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about Smarter Travel’s misleading travel terms.   Here are a couple more thoughts. We’ll finish this topic next week.

Hi Speed Internet

Having typed in many hotel Wi-Fi passwords for access to lagging Internet, I feel comfortable saying that the phrase “high-speed internet” is one common travel term that doesn’t mean anything. With fluctuating numbers of guests, hotel internet is notoriously finnicky and vastly unreliable—especially when traveling abroad or to rural areas.   Personal note:  Be very careful when using any hotel wi-fi that you never enter personal info as they are rarely secure.   Also, hotels are targets for people who like to set up look alike websites  so that they can access your information.

Walking Distance

For those who hike the Appalachian Trail, “walking distance” means from Georgia to Maine. For those of us who are running late to dinner downtown, however, walking distance better mean under 15 minutes. Probably one of the most subjective travel terms in the industry, never take “walking distance” at face value, and always consult Google Maps.

Tips for summer travel:

I belong to a Consortia called Travel Leaders.   They are the people that send all those informational flyers to you on my behalf.    They have published a few travel tips for summer travel and a few of them are worth sharing:

  • Most of us know to check in 24 hours ahead for our flights.   I love the mobile boarding pass as I hate digging through my backpack to find the paper copy.   I do, however, print the paper copy as well just in case something happens to the copy I have stored in my digital wallet on my phone.
  • Pack a few essentials in your carry on so that if your luggage gets delayed you could still freshen up or go for a swim.
  • Be aware of the new TSA ruling regarding powders. “Excluded from the carry-on list this summer are canisters of powders larger than 12 ounces. This affects protein powder for your mid-flight energy drink or a large jar of your favorite ground coffee.”  This applies only to international flights.
  • Bring the email and cell phone number of your travel agent with you, and provide your travel agent with your personal contact information, as well as pertinent health and travel insurance information,” says Travel Leaders.  Travel agents can be your lifeline if something goes wrong.

2019 Tour

April 22-May 5  Lynn and Lidia’s Italy     My number 1 guide and good friend will take us on a journey through Italy to some of our favorite places.  We’ll visit Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento,Isle of Capri, Assisi, Venice, Padua, Lake Maggiore, Lucca , Florence, San Gimignano and more.  Call for availability.

June 6-20, 2019 Viking Homelands   This cruise will take place on the Viking Sea.This cruise will visit Sweden, Norway, Denmark, St. Petersburg, Estonia, Poland,and Berlin.  Deposit now!

August 11-21,  2019  Delightful Danube and Prague   Join us as we spend three wonderful days in the beautiful city of Prague before boarding the S.S. Beatrice in Nuremberg for a seven night cruise down the Danube.    We’ll visit the towns of Regensburg, Passau, Melk, and Vienna before ending our journey in the amazing city of Budapest.   Deposit now!

September 8-16   Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice  We’ll visit Reykjavik,  before traveling the Golden Circle.   We’ll experience the energy at the geothermal fields of Geysir and Strokkur.   We’ll have an opportunity to explore caves or lava fields.  We’ll spend some time with a family that keeps alive a 400 year old fishing tradition.  We’ll stop at the Volcano Visitor Center to learn how families survived during the 2010 explosion.  We’ll take a cruise among the huge icebergs of the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.  Enjoy the Blue Lagoon or Whale Watching before returning home.  Time to deposit!   See the itinerary at https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/861057

2020

May 17-28, 2020   Alpine Explorer and Oberammergau  We will explore a bit of Switzerland and Austria before arriving at Oberammergau for the Passion Play.  Some of the highlights of this trip include Lago Maggiore, Island Dinner, Zermatt, Glacier Express Train, St. Moritz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, St. Peter’s Restaurant, Mozart Dinner Concert, Munich, Oberammergau Passion Play, Linderhof Palace, Füssen, Neuschwanstein Castle.  I only have 4 spots left for this once every ten years event.   Check out the itinerary:   https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/817395    

May 31, 2020    Paris and Normandy River Cruise  

June 2020   New!!  Colorado Rockies  We’ll fly in and out of the Mile High City of Denver and then travel to Grand Junction.   We’ll visit the Colorado National Monument, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, National Park,  and Mesa Verda National Park.   We’ll then travel to Durango and ride the Silverton RailRoad before ending our trip in Colorado Springs.

September 2020  Discover Poland

October 2020  Autumn Colors

Have a great week!

Lynn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel News for Week of July 8

By | Blog

Hi Everyone,

In last week’s blog I mentioned that Smarter Travel  had published a great article on misleading travel terms.   Here are a couple more to consider:

Boutique is a relatively new and trendy word that gets thrown around far too often, and few people know its true definition. Some people say that a boutique hotel can only be considered such if it has fewer than 100 rooms—but if that were the case every truck-stop motel across the country could slap the word “boutique” above the vacancy sign.   If you really want to experience a boutique hotel, look for something petite and artsy. A boutique hotel should feel like an independent hotel with its own distinct, locally focused style—even if it’s owned by a bigger hotel conglomerate.

What’s the difference between a five-star hotel and a four-star hotel? It depends who you ask. When you’re looking for hotels across booking sites like Expedia or Travelocity, it’s not uncommon to see different “star” ratings on the same hotel. Depending on the source, hotel star ratings are based different things: Expedia, for example, takes into account “hotel amenities, media reviews, customer experience, and professional benchmarks” to come up with a rating. Meanwhile TripAdvisor (SmarterTravel’s parent company) simply displays an average of customer reviews.   You could spend hours trying to compare all the different ratings of one hotel to decide how good it is, but should you? Probably not. Ratings are arbitrary and the rules are constantly changing, so it’s better to do your own assessment of what you need in a hotel, and how well it will suit your needs.

Are you aware that the airlines are increasingly engaging in dynamic pricing?   This method of pricing allows the airlines to use your IP address or browser history to determine how much you might be willing to pay for your flight. If you are searching for airline pricing, make sure that you either clear your browser history or turn on private browsing.

Fun fact about Italy from Travel Pulse:  In Italy, dining establishments will typically be described as one of the following: trattoria, ristorante or osteria. Ristorantes are best described as proper restaurants (expect printed menus and professional service); Trattorias are more casual spots; Osterias are wine-focused venues that also serve up a small selection of food. Oh, and if you see and enconta that’s a wine tavern.

2018  Tours

July 29-August 8    Alaskan Cruise on the Island Princess.  

September 8-16    Castles Along the Rhine River Cruise

October 5-10     Washington DC and Gettysburg-waitlist

2019 Tours

We are taking deposits for all of next year’s tours:

April 22-May 5  Lynn and Lidia’s Italy     My number 1 guide and good friend will take us on a journey through Italy to some of our favorite places.  We’ll visit Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento,Isle of Capri, Assisi, Venice, Padua, Lake Maggiore, Lucca , Florence, San Gimignano and more.  Call for availability.

June 6-20, 2019 Viking Homelands   This cruise will take place on the Viking Sea.This cruise will visit Sweden, Norway, Denmark, St. Petersburg, Estonia, Poland,and Berlin.  Deposit now!

August 11-21,  2019  Delightful Danube and Prague   Join us as we spend three wonderful days in the beautiful city of Prague before boarding the S.S. Beatrice in Nuremberg for a seven night cruise down the Danube.    We’ll visit the towns of Regensburg, Passau, Melk, and Vienna before ending our journey in the amazing city of Budapest.   Deposit now!

September 8-16   Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice  We’ll visit Reykjavik,  before traveling the Golden Circle.   We’ll experience the energy at the geothermal fields of Geysir and Strokkur.   We’ll have an opportunity to explore caves or lava fields.  We’ll spend some time with a family that keeps alive a 400 year old fishing tradition.  We’ll stop at the Volcano Visitor Center to learn how families survived during the 2010 explosion.  We’ll take a cruise among the huge icebergs of the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.  Enjoy the Blue Lagoon or Whale Watching before returning home.  Time to deposit!   See the itinerary at https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/861057

2020

May 17-28, 2020   Alpine Explorer and Oberammergau  We will explore a bit of Switzerland and Austria before arriving at Oberammergau for the Passion Play.  Some of the highlights of this trip include Lago Maggiore, Island Dinner, Zermatt, Glacier Express Train, St. Moritz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, St. Peter’s Restaurant, Mozart Dinner Concert, Munich, Oberammergau Passion Play, Linderhof Palace, Füssen, Neuschwanstein Castle.  I only have 4 spots left for this once every ten years event.   Check out the itinerary:   https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/817395    

May 31, 2020    Paris and Normandy River Cruise  

June 2020   New!!  Colorado Rockies  We’ll fly in and out of the Mile High City of Denver and then travel to Grand Junction.   We’ll visit the Colorado National Monument, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, National Park,  and Mesa Verda National Park.   We’ll then travel to Durango and ride the Silverton RailRoad before ending our trip in Colorado Springs.

September 2020  Discover Poland

October 2020  Autumn Colors

Have a great week!

Lynn

 

 

Travel News for Week of July 1

By | Blog

Hi Everyone,

Facial recognition technology is making inroads into the travel business in a major way.   While several airports in the US have been experimenting with this technology, Orlando International will be the first to scan all incoming and outgoing international travelers with this.  The program compares photographs of travelers with their on-file image in the Department of Homeland Security holdings, using small, easy to install cameras, in order to process travelers quickly and efficiently. According to the CBP, the process takes less than 2 seconds and is 99 percent accurate.  This eliminates the need for boarding passes and speeds up the boarding by up to 50%.  You can always ask for a manual screening if you don’t want to use the technology.

Smarter Travel published a great article this week on misleading travel terms.   I’ll publish a couple of them each week as I think it is helpful info:

  • Whether you travel once a year or year-round, you’ve probably run into this word over and over again when comparing hotels. But do you know what it really means? Across hotel websites, “deluxe” is a travel term usually used to upsell a room that is the same size as a standard room and looks like a standard room, but usually only has one feature that makes it any better.   When it comes to travel,  the word deluxe could mean anything from bedsheets with a higher thread count to the addition of a coffeemaker. So when it comes to selecting a “deluxe” room, the only part of that definition you can really count on is that it’ll be slightly more expensive.  Before deciding to upgrade to anything deluxe, make sure you understand exactly what this means at your chosen hotel.
  • While it’s not as vague as “deluxe” is, “suite” is another word that doesn’t seem to have a concrete meaning. For some, a suite might mean multiple bedrooms, or at least a separate living room and kitchen area. However, when you’re comparing different hotel suite options, they can range in size and layout dramatically.  Even hotels that market themselves with the word itself in their names, such as Candlewood Suites or Comfort Suites, often have vastly differing opinions on what the word means. At Candlewood Suites, accommodations can be a bit basic, but there are multiple rooms and a full kitchen. Suites at Comfort Suites don’t necessarily have multiple rooms and extra amenities, but may be a little bit bigger than your standard hotel room with a few “deluxe” touches thrown in. (This is true on cruise ships as well where a suite  or mini-suite may mean just a little larger or different layout than a regular stateroom.)

2018  Tours

July 29-August 8    Alaskan Cruise on the Island Princess.  

September 8-16    Castles Along the Rhine River Cruise

October 5-10     Washington DC and Gettysburg-waitlist

2019 Tours

We are taking deposits for all of next year’s tours:

April 22-May 5  Lynn and Lidia’s Italy     My number 1 guide and good friend will take us on a journey through Italy to some of our favorite places.  We’ll visit Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento,Isle of Capri, Assisi, Venice, Padua, Lake Maggiore, Lucca , Florence, San Gimignano and more.   2 spots remain!  Call for info.

June 6-20, 2019 Viking Homelands   This cruise will take place on the Viking Sea.This cruise will visit Sweden, Norway, Denmark, St. Petersburg, Estonia, Poland,and Berlin.  Deposit now!

August 11-21,  2019  Delightful Danube and Prague   Join us as we spend three wonderful days in the beautiful city of Prague before boarding the S.S. Beatrice in Nuremberg for a seven night cruise down the Danube.    We’ll visit the towns of Regensburg, Passau, Melk, and Vienna before ending our journey in the amazing city of Budapest.   Deposit now!

September 8-16   Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice  We’ll visit Reykjavik,  before traveling the Golden Circle.   We’ll experience the energy at the geothermal fields of Geysir and Strokkur.   We’ll have an opportunity to explore caves or lava fields.  We’ll spend some time with a family that keeps alive a 400 year old fishing tradition.  We’ll stop at the Volcano Visitor Center to learn how families survived during the 2010 explosion.  We’ll take a cruise among the huge icebergs of the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.  Enjoy the Blue Lagoon or Whale Watching before returning home.  Time to deposit!   See the itinerary at https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/861057

2020

May 17-28, 2020   Alpine Explorer and Oberammergau  We will explore a bit of Switzerland and Austria before arriving at Oberammergau for the Passion Play.  Some of the highlights of this trip include Lago Maggiore, Island Dinner, Zermatt, Glacier Express Train, St. Moritz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, St. Peter’s Restaurant, Mozart Dinner Concert, Munich, Oberammergau Passion Play, Linderhof Palace, Füssen, Neuschwanstein Castle.  I only have 4 spots left for this once every ten years event.   Check out the itinerary:   https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/817395    

May 31, 2020    Paris and Normandy River Cruise  

June 2020   New!!  Colorado Rockies  We’ll fly in and out of the Mile High City of Denver and then travel to Grand Junction.   We’ll visit the Colorado National Monument, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, National Park,  and Mesa Verda National Park.   We’ll then travel to Durango and ride the Silverton RailRoad before ending our trip in Colorado Springs.

September 2020  Discover Poland

October 2020  Autumn Colors

Have a great week!

Lynn

 

Travel News for Week of June 24

By | Blog

HI Everyone,

243 million people are expected to fly between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  All of those people are going to go through security.   An article in Travel Market Report reminds us of  a few things:

  • The TSA launched stricter carry-on screenings nationwide, earlier this year, requiring travelers to separate food and powders that can obscure x-rays; as well as removing personal electronics larger than a cell phone, including tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles, into separate bins. This can bog down lines as travelers have more to do before clearing security, so it’s helpful to have these items easily accessible.
  • Having a mobile boarding pass is convenient, but it’s a good idea to print out a paper boarding pass as a back-up. Sometimes the WiFi signal at checkpoints isn’t strong and people may have difficulty accessing it when needed. Or, take a screen shot of the boarding pass, as those can also be scanned.
  • We know liquids need to be under 3.4-ounces to remain in a carry-on, but that bug repellent and spray sunscreen count, too. One of the most common reasons that carry-on bags require TSA officers to search inside is for the oversize liquid, gel or aerosol. Avoid the time it takes for a TSA officer to conduct a bag check by packing those items in a checked bag or making sure they are travel sized.
  • Children aged 12 and under and adults aged 75 and older can leave their shoes on at the checkpoint.

In another article, we learn that beginning June 30 TSA will implement stricter rules related to carrying powder-like items onto inbound international flights.   Under the new requirements, flyers traveling with more powder than would fit in a standard 12-ounce soda or beer can will be subject to additional screening. If the substance can’t be verified as safe, the U.S. is requiring the foreign security authority to prohibit it from being brought aboard the aircraft.   Cosmetics, ground coffee, spices, sugar and flour are among the substances that could be subject to the new screening procedure.  A range of powders, including pepper spray, can be used to harm aircraft passengers and crew, TSA said.

June 19 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc said on Tuesday that it has partnered with Marriott International Inc to help increase guest access to amenities with Alexa, through its voice-controlled device Echo, in an attempt to expand its presence in the hospitality industry.   Alexa for hospitality would assist in providing services ranging from ordering room service to requesting housekeeping or calling the concierge for dinner recommendations without picking up the phone.   The company said the partnership will start this summer at Marriott’s select properties and the service will be available by invitation to other hotel chains.

2018  Tours

July 29-August 8    Alaskan Cruise on the Island Princess.  

September 8-16    Castles Along the Rhine River Cruise

October 5-10     Washington DC and Gettysburg-waitlist

2019 Tours

We are taking deposits for all of next year’s tours:

April 22-May 5  Lynn and Lidia’s Italy     My number 1 guide and good friend will take us on a journey through Italy to some of our favorite places.  We’ll visit Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento,Isle of Capri, Assisi, Venice, Padua, Lake Maggiore, Lucca , Florence, San Gimignano and more.   Only a few spots remain.   Call for info.

June 6-20, 2019 Viking Homelands   This cruise will take place on the Viking Sea.This cruise will visit Sweden, Norway, Denmark, St. Petersburg, Estonia, Poland,and Berlin.  Deposit now!

August 11-21,  2019  Delightful Danube and Prague   Join us as we spend three wonderful days in the beautiful city of Prague before boarding the S.S. Beatrice in Nuremberg for a seven night cruise down the Danube.    We’ll visit the towns of Regensburg, Passau, Melk, and Vienna before ending our journey in the amazing city of Budapest.   Deposit now!

September 8-16   Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice  We’ll visit Reykjavik,  before traveling the Golden Circle.   We’ll experience the energy at the geothermal fields of Geysir and Strokkur.   We’ll have an opportunity to explore caves or lava fields.  We’ll spend some time with a family that keeps alive a 400 year old fishing tradition.  We’ll stop at the Volcano Visitor Center to learn how families survived during the 2010 explosion.  We’ll take a cruise among the huge icebergs of the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.  Enjoy the Blue Lagoon or Whale Watching before returning home.  Time to deposit!   See the itinerary at https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/861057

2020

May 17-28, 2020   Alpine Explorer and Oberammergau  We will explore a bit of Switzerland and Austria before arriving at Oberammergau for the Passion Play.  Some of the highlights of this trip include Lago Maggiore, Island Dinner, Zermatt, Glacier Express Train, St. Moritz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, St. Peter’s Restaurant, Mozart Dinner Concert, Munich, Oberammergau Passion Play, Linderhof Palace, Füssen, Neuschwanstein Castle.   First com, first served.   Check out the itinerary:   https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/817395    

May 31, 2020    Paris and Normandy River Cruise  

June 2020   New!!  Colorado Rockies  We’ll fly in and out of the Mile High City of Denver and then travel to Grand Junction.   We’ll visit the Colorado National Monument, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, National Park,  and Mesa Verda National Park.   We’ll then travel to Durango and ride the Silverton RailRoad before ending our trip in Colorado Springs.

September 2020  Discover Poland

October 2020  Autumn Colors

Have a great week!

Lynn

 

Travel News for Week of June 17

By | Blog, Uncategorized

Hi Everyone,

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there.   Hope you have a great day.

One of the biggest news events in the travel world occurred this week when Royal Caribbean announced that they had purchased a majority share in Silversea, a luxury cruise line.   It will be very interesting to see how this plays out and if Royal allows Silversea to continue to operate as the luxury product it is.

If you’ve ever wanted to cruise with Oprah, here’s your chance.   She will be aboard Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale on a 3 day Girls’ Getaway cruise on January 30, 2019.

I just spent the last 4 days at a conference in Las Vegas.   We stayed at Caesar’s Palace as that is where the conference was held.   This conference is always a good chance to connect with suppliers as well as learn about new technologies and trends in the travel industry.  We were taken over to the new Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo) to check it out.   We also had an opportunity to see a couple of shows.    I was once again reminded that the days of old Las Vegas with inexpensive meals and lodging are long gone.   Celebrity chef restaurants are the norm these days and resorts are getting bigger and glitzier.   Las Vegas is still a destination not to be missed.

Richard Turen is a very well respected travel writer and a travel agency owner.   His is one of the columns I read regularly.    His latest column may be of interest to you as travelers:    https://www.travelweekly.com/Richard-Turen/In-travel-you-get-what-you-pay-for

 2018  Tours

July 29-August 8    Alaskan Cruise on the Island Princess.  

September 8-16    Castles Along the Rhine River Cruise

October 5-10     Washington DC and Gettysburg-waitlist

2019 Tours

We are taking deposits for all of next year’s tours:

April 22-May 5  Lynn and Lidia’s Italy     My number 1 guide and good friend will take us on a journey through Italy to some of our favorite places.  We’ll visit Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento,Isle of Capri, Assisi, Venice, Padua, Lake Maggiore, Lucca , Florence, San Gimignano and more.   Only a few spots remain.   Call for info.

June 6-20, 2019 Viking Homelands   This cruise will take place on the Viking Sea.This cruise will visit Sweden, Norway, Denmark, St. Petersburg, Estonia, Poland,and Berlin.  Deposit now!

August 11-21,  2019  Delightful Danube and Prague   Join us as we spend three wonderful days in the beautiful city of Prague before boarding the S.S. Beatrice in Nuremberg for a seven night cruise down the Danube.    We’ll visit the towns of Regensburg, Passau, Melk, and Vienna before ending our journey in the amazing city of Budapest.   Deposit now!

September 8-16   Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice  We’ll visit Reykjavik,  before traveling the Golden Circle.   We’ll experience the energy at the geothermal fields of Geysir and Strokkur.   We’ll have an opportunity to explore caves or lava fields.  We’ll spend some time with a family that keeps alive a 400 year old fishing tradition.  We’ll stop at the Volcano Visitor Center to learn how families survived during the 2010 explosion.  We’ll take a cruise among the huge icebergs of the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.  Enjoy the Blue Lagoon or Whale Watching before returning home.  Time to deposit!   See the itinerary at https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/861057

2020

May 17-28, 2020   Alpine Explorer and Oberammergau  We will explore a bit of Switzerland and Austria before arriving at Oberammergau for the Passion Play.  Some of the highlights of this trip include Lago Maggiore, Island Dinner, Zermatt, Glacier Express Train, St. Moritz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, St. Peter’s Restaurant, Mozart Dinner Concert, Munich, Oberammergau Passion Play, Linderhof Palace, Füssen, Neuschwanstein Castle.   First com, first served.   Check out the itinerary:   https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/817395    

May 31, 2020    Paris to Normandy River Cruise  

June 2020   New!!  Colorado Rockies  We’ll fly in and out of the Mile High City of Denver and then travel to Grand Junction.   We’ll visit the Colorado National Monument, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, National Park,  and Mesa Verda National Park.   We’ll then travel to Durango and ride the Silverton RailRoad before ending our trip in Colorado Springs.

September 2020  Discover Poland

October 2020  Autumn Colors

Have a great week!

Lynn