Staying Wise, Staying Calm, And Looking Ahead

For any person who loves to travel, who loves the freedom of being able to go almost anywhere, who sees the world as a beautiful place to be explored — this is likely a time of some discomfort and uncertainty.

It is, of course, good to be wise. It’s smart to listen to experts and make necessary preparations.

Many of us are having to adjust our businesses, our budgets, our schedules — and for many of us, that might include huge changes to vacations, weddings, honeymoons, reunions, and other getaways we’ve been looking forward to for months.

I want to say: I’m sincerely sorry for the upheavals. I’m feeling them, too.

And I also want to say: there is hope, and there is so much great stuff to look forward to.

There will be a time when this uncertainty will be resolved and the fear will lift.

While we’re doing our part to keep ourselves and our communities healthy — practicing social distancing, being conscientious about washing our hands, staying home, not touching our faces — we can also experience the excitement and joy of making future plans.

Four quick things to know about travel in the coming months:

  1. Many airlines are waiving change fees on all tickets booked for future travel.
  2. Amazing destinations are offering refundable packages, special offers, and extra freebies to those who book now. 
  3. This is a smart time to buy inexpensive trip insurance so you have the option to cancel and get your money back if things change before you depart. 
  4. It’s not too early to start dreaming, planning, and booking for 2021 trips!

Right now, it is a season of stillness, of staying close, of appreciating all that we have right in our own homes. It’s in our best interests to accept this temporary shift. We have a unique opportunity to be of service to one another in ways we maybe haven’t imagined before.

And just imagine how incredible it will feel, when the time is right, to stretch our wings, set off across oceans and mountains and miles, and make the whole wide world our home again.

I am sending all my best wishes for health, healing, happiness, and hope for you and your loved ones in the coming weeks and months! If you have any questions about your travel plans, please don’t hesitate to reach out here.

Sincerely,

Jenny

Plan Now, Travel Later

Where are you dreaming of going?

Having to stay home during the pandemic isn’t easy for anyone. Even if you are taking advantage of the slowed pace, or are finding unexpected joy in the quiet — this time can still be a time of restlessness, uncertainty, and anxiety. You probably know someone (maybe yourself!) who had to cancel a destination wedding, a summer vacation, or a trip they’d been anticipating for months or even years. 

If you’re someone who loves to travel, restricted movement can feel especially discouraging. Travel isn’t just about going places. It’s about the entire experience, the anticipation, the joy, about who you are and who you become when you visit someplace new. 

There can be a real sorrow in the letting go, especially amidst so many other changes and unknowns. One thing I’ve heard a lot of people saying is, “I wish I hadn’t put off taking that trip I always wanted to take.

But believe it or not, now is a great time to be planning your post-Corona-celebration trip. 

There are a few reasons that this downtime is the ideal time to give me a call and get started planning your vacation of a lifetime. 

1. The travel restrictions won’t last forever. I know it can feel like it when you’re staring down weeks or months of having your biggest excursions be to the grocery store! But this is an event with an end. Beginning to dream and plan now can be a wonderful way to nurture hope and excitement, and to keep your mind focused on all the good things that will be possible again.

2. There are many deals to be had. All around the world, resorts and venues and restaurants and parks are just as eager to have you return as you are to get out into the world again. They want you to visit, and they are ready to offer incredible deals. As your agent, I have access to discounts and VIP perks that these businesses are waiting to offer.

3. It’s easy to build in travel protections when you book. You don’t have to worry about losing money if something comes up. Many airlines and resorts are offering penalty-free cancellations or adjustments. They know these are unusual times, and they want to be as flexible as possible. Remember: they want your business! Travel protection insurance offers additional peace of mind.

4. Perhaps begin closer to home. We may be a bit hesitant to circle the globe for a while. There are so many amazing destinations near you to enjoy! National Parks, river cruises and significant sights abound in many countries. Some of the best National Parks in the world are located right here in the U.S.! Destinations of breathtaking natural beauty, a number of them feature fascinating cultural significance. Cruise along one of many U.S. rivers in luxury onboard charming paddle-wheelers, reveling in captivating history and incredible scenery along the journey.

One of the many amazing gifts of traveling is that it teaches us resilience, curiosity, and how to find joy in the little things. 

Wherever you are right now, I encourage you to embrace this moment and start dreaming of your next adventure. When we emerge again, imagine the new appreciation we’ll have for things like bustling cafes, sunlit beaches, and just being able to interact face to face again. There are so many beautiful things ahead. When you’re ready to get started, you can find me here. I can’t wait to chat with you about future adventures!

Why You Shouldn’t Let Coronavirus Stop You From Traveling

Travelers are wise to take the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak seriously, but there are a handful of facts to consider before canceling any travel plans or ruling out travel entirely.

For one, the World Health Organization (WHO)—the world’s authority on public health—continues to advise against any travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.

Today’s 24/7 news cycle may make it seem like you’re taking a risk simply by leaving your house, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. For now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is discouraging nonessential travel to only a few countries: China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. The U.S. State Department has also issued Level 4 (do not travel) travel advisories for China and Iran and Level 3 (reconsider travel) advisories for South Korea and Italy for the time being.

Keep in mind that 95 percent of all coronavirus cases are in China, with a majority limited to Wuhan in the Hubei Province where the outbreak originated.  Further, of the documented cases, over half have recovered, and of those currently infected, 86 percent are mild cases.

As has been the case since the outbreak began late last year, travelers are still more likely to be impacted by the common flu, which has affected approximately one billion people worldwide compared to fewer than 120,000 cases of coronavirus.

If the thought of flying amid the outbreak has you spooked, remember that the virus isn’t airborne and is only transmitted by droplets that live on surfaces for short periods. The WHO doesn’t consider airplane cabins any more conducive to spreading the coronavirus. Plus, cruise lines and airlines have already put procedures in place to prevent the spread of illness on flights and sailings.

At home or away, travelers can always protect themselves by implementing some common-sense practices such as washing hands regularly for at least 20 seconds and avoiding contact with their eyes, nose and mouth.

Even if you were to come down with the coronavirus in your travels, you should know that there is only a 2 percent fatality rate and that 2 percent almost always has a pre-existing condition, according to research compiled by award-winning airline consolidator Centrav. For perspective, previous outbreaks of SARS and MERS had mortality rates of 10 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

If knowing all of this and traveling amid the latest outbreak still scares you, consider working with a travel advisor who can save you time, money and stress while keeping you informed and up to date on the latest travel advisories and restrictions.

Trouble eating well when you travel? Try these tips!

One of the best parts of traveling is getting to taste and savor all kinds of new and delicious foods, whether you’re driving across the state or flying across the world. And, without a doubt, it’s fun to let go a little and eat things you wouldn’t normally eat during a week at home—that’s part of the freedom and excitement of being on vacation!

But we all know the feeling when we’ve had way too much for too many days in a row: the total lack of energy, the bloating, dehydration, headaches, or hangovers, the pronounced jet lag, the increased susceptibility to getting sick. All of these things can really get in the way of maximizing your travel enjoyment. And if you’re someone with food restrictions, you know the added frustration of trying to find good food that will be good to you, too!

The great news is that it’s easier than ever to make the kinds of food choices that will keep you healthy and energized while you’re away from your usual routine. Here are some simple ways to eat great while you’re taking in the best moments of your trip:

1. Plan ahead

Often when we’re traveling, we’re out of routine and aren’t eating at regular intervals. Sometimes we can go several hours without eating anything. Contrary to the popular myth that you should hold off eating to “save room” for a big meal, going for long stretches without eating actually slows metabolism and causes your body to become sluggish and tired and hang on to calories. Our bodies experience these periods as “mini-starvations” and send our brains into panic mode. To keep blood sugar stable and avoid energy lapses (which can then lead to overcompensating with high-sugar or fried foods), aim for eating a little bit every couple of hours while in transit and while you’re out and about, in the form of foods that are nutrient-dense and high in lean protein. Pack snacks for easy access: nuts, seeds, hard-boiled eggs, firm fruits (like apples), veggies and hummus, or natural fruit-and-nut bars.

If you know where you’re staying, scout out restaurants in the area of your hotel. Check with your hotel or resort to peruse menus and see what’s available. Once you arrive, you can use an app like AroundMe to locate healthier restaurants in your area. And check out these smart phone apps that can help you find gluten- and other allergen-free options while you travel.

2. Don’t forget the grocery store!

A supermarket, and especially a local co-op, can be your best ally while traveling. You’ll have easy, cheap access to fresh produce and bulk healthy snacks. You’ll find a wider variety of great foods that are free of gluten, dairy, and other common allergens at a reasonable cost. Plus, many co-ops also have a deli where you can get delicious sandwiches, salads, or wraps to take with you during the day.

3. Your mother was right: get your greens and take your vitamins!

While you’re traveling, your immune system is exposed to tons of new pathogens—especially on airplanes and other mass transit. You want to make sure your body has what it needs to stay healthy and fight germs and process toxins. Don’t forget to pack your multi-vitamin and your other supplements! If you can’t get ready access to fresh greens, consider getting some powdered greens that you can bring with you and easily mix into a glass of water or a morning smoothie.

4. Speaking of morning smoothies….

If you’re really dedicated to getting your daily intake of fruits and veggies, you might even consider bringing along a travel blender. This might seem extreme to some, but consider this: most of them are under $20, fit easily into a suitcase or the back of the car, and can be just the thing to quickly make a power breakfast of fruits, nuts, and vegetables that will keep you going all morning.

5. Drink way more water than you normally do.

Planes and hotel rooms are notoriously dry. Walking around all day expends energy and dehydrates. Often people drink alcohol or sodas with meals, which also are dehydrating. Drinking more than your usual 8 glasses of water a day will keep you energized, hydrate your cells, keep your skin glowing, and will help flush out toxins.

6. Drink less alcohol than everyone around you is drinking.

This can be challenging especially on business trips, where drinking is a familiar pastime. But in addition to worsening dehydration and jet lag, tossing back more than two drinks leads to more unhealthy eating. (A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men take in an extra 433 calories on average from alcohol and food when they consume more than two drinks!)

7. Get your eight hours’ beauty rest.

Easier said than done, I know! But getting decent rest helps steady your metabolism, resets your adrenal system, and boosts your immunity. Being sufficiently rested will make every other choice you face on your vacation so much easier.

8. Try the “one and done” rule.

Let yourself have treats and enjoy them—just keep it to once a day. Get that gorgeous piece of chocolate cake. Have an extra helping of steak fries. Order the thing that’s happily doused with butter, and love every single bite. And then, be done with the less-than-healthy food for that day. There’s always more.

Enjoy the culinary adventure that goes along with your fabulous vacation!  However you decide to plan meals on your trip, I’d love to help you get there. If you’re ready to start planning, contact me today. I can’t wait to chat!

Christmas is right around the corner!

What To Give?

Stumped about what to get the traveler in your life? Try these ideas!

When it comes time to buy a travel-loving friend a gift, it’s easy to feel stuck on what to get. Journals are great — but not all travelers are journalers, and those that are often have at least a few blank ones on hand. Here are unique takes on classic ideas for the various kinds of travelers in your life.

For the foodie: send delicious global flavors right to their doorstep. Try The World with top chefs from Argentina to Morocco who assemble gorgeous boxes filled with curated delicacies from each country.  Delivered every month, each box contains descriptions for how to use the tasty and exotic flavors in your own recipes.

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

For the well-accessorized: customize a favorite map to make cufflinks, a bracelet, or pendant. Have a special place you want to commemorate? Maybe the place of a first date, or a favorite childhood destination? This can be a beautiful and deeply personal way to show your traveler that you know what matters to them most.

For the crafty commemorator: check out this simple, beautiful way to re-trace steps and wonderful memories with a map and thread. The maps can be titled, as well. Imagine a wall decorated with these minimalist representations of adventures!

For the traveler who has everything and wants to give back: Why not make a donation to a favorite cause in your traveler’s name? You can choose organizations that support environmental stewardship, advocate for people in crisis, promote education, or help bring beauty, such as Tourism Cares, The TreadRight Foundation or Cool Effect.

For the traveler who’s always up for adventure: Experiences pack the biggest punch, happiness-wise. At Experience Days you can give the gift of a lifelong great memory to someone you care about. Try everything from hang gliding to art lessons throughout the United States. What a great surprise for honeymooners or a friend’s next big adventure!

For the gadget-junkie: this funky, universal worldwide travel adapter is perfect for the tech-savvy traveling family and will help ensure everything stays running smoothly.  For the hardcore gadget-junkie, what about these stylish vests, hoodies, and jackets with interior pockets (for men and women) to hold everything from smartphones to keys to water bottles?

For the photographer: If your friend is never without her smartphone or camera, why not make it easy for her to create beautiful, lasting photo albums, calendars, or prints of her best shots? At Artifact Uprising, she can connect directly with her Instagram account and assemble her most gorgeous memories.

If you need help planning the next adventure to fill an album, stitch on a map, or wear around your neck — or to give the gift of travel! — contact me today and let’s get started!

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

REAL ID Compliance Requirements One Year Away

airport

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a reminder for all travelers that REAL ID requirement and enforcement will begin October 1, 2020.

By this time next year, airline passengers will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, a valid passport or U.S. military ID to go through airport security and board a plane within the country.

Travelers who do not present an acceptable form of identification will not be permitted to enter the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.

REAL ID

Example of REAL ID Compliant Driver’s License

DHS officials revealed that all 50 states and six territories are now REAL ID compliant.

“This is an important step in enhancing commercial aviation security and we urge travelers to ensure they have compliant documents,” DHS Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan said in a statement. “DHS is committed to working with states as they continue their efforts to issue REAL IDs to Americans.”

The DHS has been working since April to increase public attention on the upcoming deadline by displaying signs at airports, verbally advising travelers and co-hosting REAL ID events around the country.

Despite the efforts, a survey commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association revealed that 72 percent of Americans either do not have a REAL ID license or are unsure if they do. The study also found that 57 percent of respondents did not know about the October 2020 deadline.

While DHS officials have made strides informing the traveling public, there is still work left to accomplish.

Visit https://www.tsa.gov/real-id for more information.

WTTC and Tourism Industry CEOs Call for Sector to Be Climate Neutral by 2050

sustain globe forest

The World Travel & Tourism Council, along with 50 CEOs, heads of state, ministers and industry leaders are calling for climate-neutrality by 2050.

The call to action is the result of the first-ever Climate and Environment Action Forum, which is taking place this week in New York City.

The event also resulted in the announcement of an action plan called 0SCARS that is designed to encourage members (leaders from airports, airlines, hotels, tourism boards, travel, technology, and cruise companies) to adopt and accelerate sustainability programs and to share best practices.

The 0SCARS framework includes the following, according to a statement from WTTC:

— 0 [Zero] – WTTC has an ambition for the travel and tourism sector to be climate neutral by 2050. WTTC said it intends to work with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], to establish a framework for decarbonization of the global travel and tourism sector.

— S [Support] – Support the travel and tourism sector in developing ambitious climate strategies, such as setting science-based targets, and in reducing the impact of current activities, products and services by continuously using resources in more efficient ways.

WTTC said it will also work to support energy efficiency measures, renewable energy, and waste reduction, both within companies [throughout the value chain] and with governments to develop incentives to invest in nature-based solutions.

— C [Change] – Develop or share research and evidence for how travel and tourism companies can reduce actual emissions and invest in emission reduction schemes in projects through UNFCCC or equivalent recognized mechanisms.

— A [Act] – WTTC and its members will identify and implement new sustainability strategies and innovative business models as well as seek to align sustainable development efforts with the UN SDGs.

The plan also calls for a commitment to prioritize sustainability by setting ambitious, time-bound sustainability targets, as well as collaborating and sharing data and best practices to improve sustainability.

It also suggests engaging consumers in efforts to make travel more sustainable.

WTTC said it intends to produce an annual report of action that will articulate and show demonstrable movement towards Climate Friendly Travel and progress towards sustainability commitments.

— R [Recognition] – Through the sustainable WTTC travel and tourism partners, WTTC will invite all companies, large and small, to sign up for the program so that they can be recognized for their commitments and progress towards sector sustainability.

— S [Share] –WTTC will launch a Sustainable Travel & Tourism Hub, which will be designed to fuel research, drive best practice sharing, and foster collaboration with key partners including the UNFCCC and UNEP and other experts to find climate solutions that are applicable across the sector.

World Travel & Tourism Council President & Chief Executive Officer, Gloria Guevara, said the new program is the culmination of nearly two years of work, building on a partnership with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to accelerate towards climate neutrality for a sector that has climate and environment action as its top priority.

“As the leaders within the travel and tourism industry, we have the power to drive real change,” said Guevara. “The WTTC has the opportunity to convene the industry so we can move faster, contribute, and address the significant environmental and sustainability challenges facing our world. ”

From a consumer standpoint, 0SCARS aims to help travelers recognize, with a simple and visible stamp in the form of a turtle, the suppliers with sustainable practices.

Within a year, the WTTC hopes to establish this identifier and with the involvement of experts, members, UNFCCC, and UNEP intends to create future higher levels, based on performance.

Climate change is outpacing us, outpacing our collective ability to get a handle on it, and could soon outpace global business and have a devastating impact on the global economy itself,” said Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary.

“The WTTC’s Sustainability Action Plan is a “timely and important initiative” and a welcomed opportunity to work together to identify ways to achieve climate neutrality in the sector by 2050.”

Source: WTTC and Tourism Industry CEOs Call for Sector to Be Climate Neutral by 2050

Voluntourism: Take a Trip, Make a Difference

The famous playwright Henry Miller said, “One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.”

Those who travel know this well. The places we visit — whether it’s a state park near home or a safari in an exotic locale — have the power to change us in many ways, both simple and profound. We learn about ourselves and others, about being able to deal with uncertainty, about gratitude, about being in the moment and appreciating the world and extraordinary people around us.

What if your next trip could not only change you, but change the world for the better? Have you considered taking a service-centered vacation?

As our world rapidly shrinks due to connectivity and easy access to information, we are becoming more aware of life outside of our small, comparatively privileged bubbles. More and more people are asking how they can make a difference.

Also known as “voluntourism”, service-based trips offer the opportunity to spend your vacation time, skills, and dollars with those who need them most. They’re also great opportunities for kids (and adults!) to learn empathy and gain a perspective on today’s most pressing issues like global poverty, the environmental impact of climate change, the well-being of children, and conservation of animals and the natural world.

Here are a few tips to get you started and help you make the most of any volunteer vacation.

Go with heart, but plan with your head. Like any kind of travel, voluntourism is vulnerable to scams and fraud. I can provide you with names of reputable and responsible companies. Make sure you know what to pack, which vaccinations are required, which fees might apply, and what challenges (if any) might be present in the area or the work you’re about to engage in.

Look for opportunities that encourage relationship. It can be easy and somewhat tempting to pop in someplace, make an appearance, and then leave. Your feel-good emotions are triggered, and you don’t have to commit much of yourself to a place or a project. But that shortchanges both you and the recipients of your good intentions.

The website www.govoluntourism.org puts it like this: “A balanced engagement alternating between voluntary service and tourism activities allows for a reciprocal relationship with communities. The economic impact of tourism is blended with the social impact of volunteering: recipients become servers and servers become recipients.”

Know yourself. If you’ve never been exposed to extreme poverty or the pressing plight of some of the globe’s endangered species, be aware that trips like these can be extremely emotionally demanding. Talk to people, research, ask questions, and be prepared for what you might see and experience.

Especially where kids are involved, always opt for good training and a true time commitment. There are many people who have a deep heart for the suffering of children worldwide, and they want to do something to lift spirits and support good work. Again, look for reputable companies that understand the complex issues associated with working with children and other vulnerable populations. For example, breezing into town and spending an afternoon at an orphanage and then leaving the next day can be very distressing for kids who are already dealing with the pain of leaving and loss. A good volunteer organization will tell you exactly what is required of you to have the greatest positive impact on others’ lives — and you can decide if it’s a commitment you want to make.

Take time to rest and process. When your engagement is over, take at least few days before leaving to get to know the community you’re visiting better (many organizations will build this into your trip), to rest, and to write or talk about your experience with others. Many people are surprised by how life-changing these trips can be — in the best possible ways! — and it can take a while to integrate that new perspective into your everyday life.

Stay in touch. Even if you never visit that particular location again, it’s a good idea and can bring your experience full-circle if you stay connected to the organization you volunteered with. Sign up for newsletter updates; share photos you took; write a note or email a few times a year.

Looking for some more ideas? Check out books like this one, or check out this list to see more trusted organizations. The world is a big place — but you can make a big difference!

As always, I’m thrilled to be in a business that helps connect people with the best places and the best parts of themselves. If you’re ready to plan your next adventure, you can reach me simply by clicking here.

One in Five Americans Will Be Scammed When Booking Summer Travel

Don’t be that one!  Summer travel should be all about rest, relaxation and fun.  Unfortunately, cyber-criminals are targeting travelers in a variety of ways including on sites designed to steal personal data and hard-earned money.

A just-released study by McAfee found that one in five Americans have been scammed or nearly scammed when booking summer travel.

Additional concerning findings revealed in the study, which involved surveying 1,000 Americans, included:

— 30 percent of travel-related scam victims reported they lost between $1,000 and $3,000 as a result of the fraudulent activity.

— Nearly one-third (31 percent) of vacation scam victims were defrauded after spotting a deal that was too good to be true.

— Nearly one-third of consumers (31 percent) are leaving the door open to fraud because they do not check the authenticity of a website before booking a trip online

— Despite 36 percent of people expressing concerns about having their personal data stolen while on vacation, almost half (42 percent) said they either do not check the security of their internet connection or they willingly connect to an unsecured network while traveling.

The report from McAfee also identifies what it calls the riskiest destinations, places most vulnerable to booking scams.

The findings show that popular summer destinations in Mexico, Europe – and, surprisingly, Canmore, Canada – generate the riskiest search results when people are hunting for vacation deals online.

Here are the top summer destinations hackers are targeting via potentially malicious sites:

1. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

2. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

3. Amsterdam, Netherlands

4. Venice, Italy

5. Canmore, Canada

Taking advantage of the high search volumes for accommodation and deals in these popular destinations, cyber-criminals drive unsuspecting users to potentially malicious websites that can be used to install malware and steal personal information or passwords, according to McAfee.

Meanwhile, a small group of victims (13 percent) shared that their identity was stolen after sharing their passport details with cyber-criminals during the booking process.

The majority of survey respondents (80 percent) said they worry about having their identity stolen during the research and booking process or while traveling abroad for summer vacations.

But despite these worries, less than 25 percent of people feel that they have the right security in place to prevent their identity from being stolen.

“The last thing that consumers should have to deal with during or after a vacation is an identity scam or personal privacy issue,” Gary Davis, McAfee’s Chief Consumer Security Evangelist, said in a statement “While cybersecurity threats, unfortunately, exist during most stages of the booking and travel experience, consumers can take proactive steps to protect themselves and minimize the risk to ensure scams and other nefarious activities don’t spoil summer travel plans.”

So how does one keep their data safe? Here’s what McAfee suggests.

Only access verified websites

Only click on websites that your security software has identified as being safe. For example, McAfee WebAdvisor will identify safe websites with a green checkmark and will block malware and phishing sites if you accidentally click on a malicious link from your search results.

Use trusted platforms and verified payment methods when finalizing your bookings. Fraudsters may try to lure you away from a trusted platform with the promise of discounted rates. Remember to keep all your communications and bookings to trusted platforms and verify the site before entering payment information. This will help protect you from phishing and other cyber fraud.

Utilize an identity theft solution

With all this personal data floating around online, it’s important that you protect your identity. Use an identity theft solution to help protect personally identifiable information from identity theft and fraud.

Always connect with caution

If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection, use a virtual private network (VPN) to help keep your connection secure.

Enjoy your summer travels and stay cyber-safe!