Even Us Travel Agents Learn Lessons Too: Reminding myself, you always get what you pay for.

My husband, my youngest and myself decided last minute to travel home to Toronto for a few days in early December to celebrate the holiday with our family.  Although my hubby travels most years to celebrate the season with his family in early December, due to factors like the cost of traveling as a family of five, sports commitments, kids school schedules & exams we have not traveled home in December as a family in many years.

When we realized that schedule wise it would work for us to travel with our youngest, and surprise our family, I immediately went into booking mode.  Although in booking mode, I somehow took off my travel advisor hat and went right into traveler mode.  We had a short window of time to book our tickets, I was super busy working on my clients travel itineraries and getting ready for the holiday season, my first instinct was to find the lowest fare possible.  Without even thinking I pulled up a popular Online Travel Agency, aka OTA (sites such as Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline etc) and found a fare that I was super happy with and it was departing out of Daytona Beach to boot.  I quickly compared the pricing to the airlines booking tool and choose to save myself minimal dollars and booked with the OTA.  I was so ecstatic about the price that I proudly sent my hubby a text to tell him what a bargain shopper I was.  (He is a numbers guy and I knew that he would be impressed).  I think my ticket purchasing transaction took me a total of ten minutes.

Immediately after booking my tickets I signed into my sky miles account and attempted to book our seats.  What I quickly realized was I had not read the fine print when I purchased my financially pleasing airlines tickets to Toronto, and seat assignment was not available for this class of service until time of check-in.  Not being seat assigned is a stress that I am not very good at dealing with as I suffer a little from claustrophobia and need an aisle seat when I travel.  I know, I know it seams a little silly that an ex-flight attendant, now travel advisor has issues while flying. But such is the case.

Anyway, I finally received my notification that it was time to check-in and we were able to secure seats (me with an aisle) for the first leg of our trip.  What it didn’t allow us to do was obtain our seat assignments from Atlanta to Toronto, we had to receive these upon arrival in Atlanta.  Now, one of the perks traveling international is that you get to stop at the Duty-Free store and make a purchase or two.  Once we reached our terminal we stopped by the Delta counter to get our seats assigned but were quickly informed that we can only get them from our gate agent.  Our gate was of course the second from the end of the corridor, so the three of us kicked it into gear and headed to the gate to get our seat assignments so that hubby and I could make it back to the Duty-Free store to pick up our libations of choice to enjoy during our trip home.  We arrived at the gate and while we waited patiently for our turn to speak with the gate agent I checked my Delta app to see if by chance our seats had by assigned.  Nope, however we were number 3,4,5 on the waiting list with many more seats still available on the plane.  We were getting on the flight but just need to wait.  It was finally our turn to speak with the gate-agent.  In the time period between checking the app and speaking with the agent, our seats had been assigned and yes I was able to get an aisle again.  We actually didn’t need to be in the boarding area or speak with a gate agent to be assigned, it was done automatically based on when we checked-in. We looked at the time and taking a deep breath we began our trek back to Duty-Free.  We knew what we wanted and quickly headed to the cashier thinking, phew we made it, or so we thought.  What we had not anticipated was that Duty-Free has a cut-off period to make purchases for each flight.  We had just missed that time-frame and our purchases were not allowed.  Feeling defeated we headed to our gate and boarded our plane.

The stress of not being able to obtain seats prior to check-in, not being able to receive seat assignments on multiple legs of a trip, and the Duty-Free fiasco, it was decided by all, never again, will we book the least expensive option when traveling.   For us, it is just not worth the savings.

 

 

Marriott Bonvoy – Marriott rebrands their loyalty program.

As of February 13th, 2019, Marriott will roll out Marriott BONVoY, a rebranding project that will encompass Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Ritz-Carlton Rewards platforms.

This launch will be backed by a multi-million-dollar media campaign, including a number of marketing events that will highlight partnerships with sports organizations like NFL, NCAA, Mecedes-Petronas FI racing team and high profile events such as the Academy Awards, Coachella, the Dubai Jazz Festival, Hong Kong Sevens and the World Golf Championship-Mexico Championship.

With this rebrand, Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments will become Marriott BONVoY, Moments, which will offer members around 120,000 experiences they can purchase with points.

With this rebrand, two new elite status categories will be introduced:  the Marriott BONVoY, Titanium Elite, replacing Platinum Premier Elite (75 nights or more) , and Marriott BONVoY, Ambassador Elite which will replace Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador (100 nights or more & spend $20,000 annually)

The Marriott app will also automatically update to reflect these on February 13th.  The SPG and Ritz-Carlton Rewards apps will be come obsolete.

Travel Apps: OpenRice helps you find local eateries & more

Live like a local when in Asia, and find restaurants that locals recommend with the OpenRice app.  OpenRice is available for Android and Apple devices.

This easy to use app includes over 2 million restaurants across Asia, including Hong Kong, Macau, China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.  OpenRice is conveniently available in 6 different languages, making it even more user friendly.

OpenRice allows you to search restaurants, rate your meal & service, save your favorites, create an online reservation, order take-out, find coupons & promotions from local eateries and earn Asia miles.

Looking to upgrade from tourist to a local,  once you receive your work visa, OpenRice can also assist you in finding local jobs in the food and beverage industry.  I mean who wouldn’t want to stay a little while in Singapore or Thailand?

TIP:  Remember to download this app prior to departing for your Asia adventure.

 

 

Why Traveling Lifts Up Your Spirits

Posted by: Windstar Cruises on October 17, 2018

The more you travel to new destinations in your life, the more you broaden your mind and spiritual horizons. Whether you’re watching the sunset from the cliffs of Dover, taking in the view of the majestic Taj Mahal with your mate, or even lounging on the black-sanded beach of Punaluu in Hawaii, both mind and instinct tell you that travel enlivens your very being.

Truly, it’s critical to get away from your home headquarters, where you’re linked to so many burdensome responsibilities, chores and the chains of a full-time job. You know this. But you need persuasive facts to motivate you to finally break the work bonds and set yourself free and a-roaming’ for a healthy period of time.

Consider the following facts that explain how traveling significantly boosts your mental health — followed by tips on how to get the most out of your vacation:

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1. You Experience a Mood-Boosting High

A Journal of Travel Research study found that vacationing considerably boosts mood and well-being, making travelers happier and more relaxed. A similar study by American Psychological Association also found that taking a leisure trip dampens the effects of burnout and fortifies the mind and spirit against energy-draining tasks at work once you’re back in the office.

Scientists have also confirmed improved physical effects among recently returned vacationers, such as deeper sleep, less insomnia, and a more relaxed state. Experts recommend taking frequent mini-trips throughout the year to prolong the effects of a restorative vacation.

Tip:Find out the restorative physical effects of a vacation by keeping a Fitbit on your wrist. It measures your sleeping hours and keeps tabs on any sleep interruptions, while monitoring your heart and generating exercise data.

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2. Your Relationships Deepen

Researchers further say that travel strengthens the bonds with accompanying friends and family while encouraging new connections among the locals. It often happens that vacationers in new surroundings will gather the gumption to approach, engage, and meet with new people during their travels. At home, the willingness to do this isn’t as likely since people already feel incorporated into their local social community.

Taking such a chance with strangers can lead to fascinating and meaningful experiences that make a vacation more fun and enjoyable. Some vacationers, avid pet lovers to the bone, even take their pets with them to a leisure destination, where their four-legged companions often attract new people for vacationers to chat with and befriend.

Other pet-owning vacationers turn to technology to forge a connection with the locals. Some professional pet sitting services continually send pet owners videos and images of their precious cat or pooch, which give the locals a lot to smile at and coo over.

Trips taken with a romantic partner or family members also deepen the familial bonds. You form a ton of fun memories and adventures with your loved ones during travels — the kind that you will be talking about for years to come.

3. You Become More Grateful

You become a more grateful person when you travel to completely different and new vistas and environments. You lovingly take in all the kind gestures of the locals in making you feel welcome. Plus, if you’re witnessing poverty, you become more grateful of your own station in life and the privileges that come with it. Additionally, because you engage with people from variant linguistic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, you become more compassionate and more tolerant of the diversity of people in general.

The Takeaway

If work had been giving you the blues, the joys of your vacation would perk you up for a long time coming. But in the end, your mindset will importantly determine how much fun you will actually have on your vacation. Exercising mindfulness, living in the present and being open-minded will ground your experiences of new and exciting adventures – both big and small — in your mind during your restorative vacation. The end result? A more relaxed, more mirthful you.

How to Explore

Recognized by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler on the 2016 Gold List of Favorite Cruise Lines and by USA TODAY readers for Best Boutique Cruise Line, Windstar’s fleet of small luxury sailing ships and all-suite power yachts with 148 to 310 guests bring you closer to smaller ports and exclusive local experiences around the world. Visit windstarcruises.com or call 888-460-5098 for more information.

For more travel experiences aboard Windstar Cruises and to learn about our exclusive amenities, please contact Wheels Up Adventures at Request for more information – Wheels Up Adventures.


Written by: Catherine Workman

Catherine Workman believes we should all leave our comfort zones once in awhile. She travels to boost her physical and mental health. Ms. Workman is part of a great team at WellnessVoyager and enjoys sharing her thoughts on travel and wellness.

AmaWaterways – Vietnam & Cambodia

Be sure to book through Wheels Up Adventures so that you can take advantage of the exclusive amenities.

2019 MEKONG SAVINGS – 2-FOR-1 LAND PROGRAMSFor a limited time, add our incredible 8-night land program in Vietnam & Cambodia to your Charms of the Mekong or Riches of the Mekong cruise at a special 2-FOR-1 price on select sailings! Enjoy Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City for an unforgettable experience at an amazing value. Just mention promo code 2FOR1LAND.

2-FOR-1 LAND OR UP TO $1,500 PER STATEROOM

  • Charms of the Mekong – 7-nt Ho Chi Minh City – Prek Kdam cruise – Mar 4, Mar 18, Apr 1, Apr 15, Aug 19, Sep 2, Sep 16, Sep 30, Oct 28; Nov 25, Dec 9, Dec 23.

Other Itinerary Options – Looking for a shorter trip? You can add 2 nights in Siem Reap to your 7-night Mekong cruise and also enjoy this special 2-FOR-1 land offer. Simply add $350 to the full cruise fare. Charms of the Mekong 7 night Mekong river cruise + 2 nights Siem Reap. Ask for details.

  • Riches of the Mekong – 7-nt Prek Kdam – Ho Chi Minh City cruise – Mar 11, Mar 25, Apr 22, Dec 2, Dec 30, Aug 12, Aug 26, Sep 9, Oct 7; Dec 16.

Other Itinerary Options – Looking for a shorter trip? You can add 3 nights in Siem Reap to your 7-night Mekong cruise and also enjoy this special 2-FOR-1 land offer. Simply add $400 to the full cruise fare! Ask for details.

Terms & Conditions: All rates are per person in USD for cruise only, based on double occupancy in a base category stateroom unless stated otherwise. Discounted cruise fare promotions are valid on select departures for new bookings only made November 1 – 30, 2018. Savings are per stateroom, based on double occupancy. 2-FOR-1 Land program is only valid on select 2019 sailings with the purchase of a participating 7-night cruise at full fare based on double occupancy; must mention promo code 2FOR1LAND in order to receive. 2-FOR-1 Land offer is valid until November 30, 2018. Offers are combinable with AmaWaterways’ Past Passenger Privilege Program and Future Cruise Benefit Program. Offers are not combinable with any other promotions, limited to availability, capacity controlled and subject to change/termination without notice. Stateroom upgrades, port charges, land programs, gratuities, Intra-Asia airfare and roundtrip airfare are additional. Other restrictions apply. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California. CST#2065452-40. SAVE250/SAVE500/SAVE750/2FOR1LAND. V18OCT17SI

Our Best Offer Yet – U By Uniworld

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IT’S BACK.

Why was Uniworld named the “#1 River Cruise Line” in Travel + Leisure’s 2018 World’s Best Awards? It might have something to do with our one-of-a-kind floating boutique hotels, such as the newly renovated S.S. Beatrice and award-winning S.S. Joie de Vivre. It could have also been due to our delicious farm-to-table comfort cuisine or choice of carefully curated experiences or outstanding service or all-inclusive amenities.

No matter what the reasons were for receiving such an honor, one thing’s for sure: we want you to come experience an ultra-luxurious Uniworld river cruise for yourself—for less.

SAVE UP TO 30% ON SELECT CRUISES WITH OUR BEST OFFER.*

 

Our Best One Yet Promotional Flyer

*Our Best Offer is valid for new, individual bookings on select 2019 itineraries and departure dates only, made between 11/1/2018 and 12/31/2018. Offer applies to full-fare bookings only. All fares and savings CST #2075415-20 listed are in US Dollars. Fares featured are for cruise or cruise/tour only, per person (unless otherwise noted) based on double occupancy. Rates for single guests are available upon request. Rates and savings
vary by itinerary, departure date and category of accommodations. Offer is not combinable with any other promotional offer. Offer is capacity controlled and may be modified or withdrawn at any time. Other
restrictions may apply. For complete details, general information, and terms and conditions applicable to all Uniworld trips, please visit Uniworld.com.

 

Calling all Nature Enthusiasts & Adventure Seekers – Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

 

Stay longer at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo – it’s on us. Book two consecutive paid nights at our hillside paradise and we’ll offer you a complimentary third night to continue enjoying the very best of Costa Rica.

All offers are subject to availability at the time of reservation. Offers are not valid in conjunction with any other offer or contract and do not apply to groups. Rates are per room, per night, vary by arrival date and/or length of stay, and do not include applicable taxes, Resort service charges, levies, gratuities or surcharges unless otherwise noted. Early departure fees may apply. Rates are subject to change.

 

****All offers are subject to availability at the time of reservation. Offers are not valid in conjunction with any other offer – unless specified otherwise – or contract and do not apply to groups.

Rates are per room, per night, vary by arrival date and/or length of stay, and do not include applicable taxes, Resort service charges, levies, gratuities or surcharges, unless otherwise noted. Early departure fees may apply. Rates are subject to change.

Contact us via our request for information page Request for Information Link

Stay 4, Pay 3 in Sonoma

Stay 4, Pay 3 in Sonoma ~ Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
 
Book at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa and receive your 4th night free.
 
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is one of the few hotels in the United States to feature natural hot-springs mineral waters flowing directly beneath it, filling its pools and spa. (The Bathing Ritual is a must, as are the signature Kur treatments.) Many of the guestrooms offer fireplaces and balconies or patios. Play the 18-hole championship golf course, available to hotel guests and members only; join a water yoga class or daily guided morning hike; or follow one of the concierge-designed tours of Sonoma. Enjoy complimentary wine tasting in the living room–style lobby before your dinner at Michelin-rated Santé restaurant.
 
Book at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa and receive your 4th night free.
 
Here is the perfect guide to spending four days in Sonoma.
 
Day 1 : Be a wine enthusiast – Go visit a few of the many local wineries in the area. Don’t forget to grab your wine country inspired picnic basket which can be provided and prepared by our Sante Restaurant Chef’s. The day is complete with an elegant dinner in our Michelin rated Santé Restaurant.
 
Day 2 : Pure Bliss at Willow Steam Spa – 40,000-square-foot spa with ancient thermal mineral springs in all 5 of our pools. 30 different treatment rooms, with treatments ranging from Sonoma Organic Lavender Kur & Facial to our Chardonnay Olive – Oil Sugar Polish.
 
Day 3 : Be a tourist – Go take a stroll at Sonoma’s downtown Plaza. It offers a glimpses into American small-town life. Visitors can stroll the historical Plaza, sit at a sidewalk café, shop trendy boutiques, or laze in the park taking in the “Sonoma vibe”. There are also many great winery tasting rooms downtown where you can sip and stroll.
 
Day 4: Repeat day 1! It’s all about the vino in wine country. For the golf enthusiast, take a swing over at Sonoma Golf Club. A members only club that Fairmont guest get access to golf at Sonoma Golf Club.
Contact us via our request for information page Request for Information Link

Join Hurtigruten in Iceland & Fly Free

Our 12-day expedition begins and ends in Reykjavík, and circumnavigates the entire country of Iceland in between. Book before November 30, 2018 and you can fly for free!

During May and June of 2019, you’ll have four opportunities to join us as we spend 12 full days exploring this island nation, home to fascinating and dramatic geological features, as well as a tremendous amount of wildlife. You’ll explore some truly astonishing landscapes—spectacular waterfalls, geysers, hot springs, lava fields, and even active volcanoes. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Vatnajökull Glacier, the largest in Europe. And, if you book your trip before November 30, 2018, you’ll get to fly for free! *contact us for all promotion details.

Sailings:

Travel Dates Product Name Ship
18 May 2019 – 29 May 2019 MS Spitsbergen
29 May 2019 – 09 Jun 2019 MS Spitsbergen
09 Jun 2019 – 20 Jun 2019 MS Spitsbergen
20 Jun 2019 – 01 Jul 2019 MS Spitsbergen

 

Body Holiday – St. Lucia

Are you in need of a pre-Christmas restorative break, a #bodyholidaymaybe? This December, we have space between December 7th through the 27th at Body Holiday in St. Lucia. Exclusive rates just for booking with Wheels Up Travel with Odyssey Travel. Body Holiday also presents Leon Taylor and Colin Jackson, both Olympic Athletes who motivate you to get in shape before the holiday indulgences.

In addition, if you book before November 30th, you will receive $150 in resort credit. Just another wonderful perk for booking with us.

Contact us today via our website link to book your Body Holiday Adventure. Request for Information Form

#bodyholidaystlucia #wellnesstravel #wheelsupadventures #odysseytravel#virtuosoamenities #luxurytraveladvisor #yogi #olympictrainers #track#runner #hurdler #sprinter #getinshape #start2019offright