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Different options to protect your travel purchase

image of a desk with passports and travel insurance form

Other than a non-prepaid rental car, pretty much every travel purchase has a cancellation penalty tied to it.  Even the most flexible hotel reservation typically asks for 24hours notice or risk losing one night or full stay. Most are much more restrictive. Some travel products like a custom-designed tour package or a cruise require an immediate non-refundable deposit.  There are different ways travel suppliers help us minimize losses, especially at these uncertain times in travel.  I want to briefly introduce you to them.

a desk with a few passports and a travel insurance application form

 

Cancellation Fee Waiver or Travel Protection Plan

These are usually plans that are provided by the tour company or the cruise line and they are the ones who offer you the protection and the administrator of them.  If you’ve reserved a Hawaii/Mexico package or a guided tour such as Tauck or most major cruises, they offer a policy where you can change your mind and get either a refund or a future travel credit.  Some allow you to do that up until a day before departure, some require you do that before you pay the final payment, which is usually 60 to 90 days out.

These plans are most flexible as they come with cancel for any reason benefit. Some offer money back refund, not just travel credits. And the cost of them is not based on age or other personal information.

Thus, they are usually quite reasonable in cost.  They do require you to buy at the time of your deposit payment. I love these plans the most. But the downside is that not all travel companies offer them.  In fact, very few do.  Since Covid, I’ve tried to use only tour companies that offer these plans, but most important is that they will offer a product that fits your travel wishes and need first.

 

Full travel insurance policy

These policies are underwritten by a real travel insurance company.  They not only provide you reimbursement for prepaid non-refundable expenses, but they also offer medical coverage during travel and assist with lost or delayed luggage, lost passport, or other personal belongings. The costs of these policies are based on the non-refundable trip cost and traveler’s age. Some policies offer children coverage for free. They only offer benefits or cover a claim if you have to cancel due to an emergency such as illness, injury, accidents, or extreme unforeseen events. Some do not even provide Covid-19 coverage.

While some offer policies where they call “Cancel for any Reason” or “Cancel Anytime” flexibility, they still have restrictions such as not covering international travel restrictions and fear of travel.

There are also many other nuances with these policies.  For example, there are pre-existing medical conditions exclusions or single supplement coverage exclusions.  Some policies offer you primary or secondary coverage, which then determines which insurance provider you file the claim with first if you have multiple insurances providing coverage such as your health insurance or homeowners policy.

Credit card insurance policies

You may also wonder whether the insurance policy that comes with your credit card offers sufficient coverage. It depends.  Some cards offer good policies. Some do not.  It does take efforts to evaluate all the options and weigh them as the best fit.  That’s what travel professionals can do for you! That’s what I do for you each trip. Everyone’s risk tolerance is different.  I will always try to answer your questions to the best of my ability.  It’s always a pleasure to serve you!  Click the Plan a Trip button to schedule a call today to talk about your travel needs!

Why you should put Fiji on your radar

People kayaking in the waters of Fiji islands

I want to share why you should put Fiji on your radar for your next family vacation or romantic getaway! I am so excited that Fiji is reopening. I know many of my West Coast clients are not too excited about Hawaii anymore as it’s so close and been there often.  Lately, you also hear about the overtourism there. Mexico doesn’t appeal. The Caribbean is too far.  Tahiti is not family-friendly ( although I disagree! ).   Fiji in the South Pacific plans to open the borders again on December 1, 2021.  Just in time for the holidays. The Fijians have been getting ready for the last year and a half. They have prepped well and have health and safety protocols in place and now an 80% vaccination rate as well. 

Some quick facts about Fiji:

No visa is required for US or Canadian citizens.
English is the official language.
Tipping is not customary.
Their currency is Fijian Dollar FJD

Fiji is a year-round tropical destination.  It is a 10hrs flight from Los Angeles. 2 meals, 2 movies, and a quick nap and you’ll arrive in paradise.  Once you arrive, you will really feel a sense of relaxation like no other.  It is a place for visitors to reconnect—with nature, with their loved ones, with themselves.  There are no nightlives or high rise or lots of shopping. It’s a place to disconnect from every day and reconnect with your family and loved ones.

Royal Davui Sunset-Plunge-Pool-Villa-Livingroom
pc: Royal Davui resort

There are 2 large islands with multiple little ones.  Most vacations I plan either have clients go straight to their island resort and spend a week enjoying water sports and some hikes offered on that island, or they stay in Viti Levu, the large island you arrive on, which offers much more tours and cultural activities when staying along the Coral Coast.  Another fun way to see the country is to combine a resort stay with a 3-day island cruise.

Fijians are very friendly and many families take advantage of their resort staff as full-time nannies while parents enjoy R&R.  Or enjoy tours like river tubing, ATV, zip-lining, golf, sailing, diving, kayaking, and more. It’s a place for adventures.

Some resorts are brands you’re familiar with—Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental, but most are luxurious independent resorts offering a very delicious travel experience. Instead of bungalows or hotel rooms, you stay in bures. There are garden bures and more popular beachfront bures. Steps from the warm water.  Some properties also have overwater bures where you can just jump into the water and snorkel and swim just like Tahiti.

Fiji is a great place for divers and nature lovers.  While she has some very luxurious 4, 5, and 6-star resorts, they are not overdeveloped. They are conscious of sustainable tourism. Some islands are small enough that you can take over the entire island with your own party.

I like Fiji as a destination because it exudes the no worry vibes.  You arrive.  You relax at the resort. If you choose to do some tours, drivers pick you up. No need to worry about driving or GPS.  It’s a place with great hospitality and for some much-needed sun & fun, but learn about a different culture that is unique.

beachfront resort in Fiji
pc:JeanMichelCousteau Resort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been immersed in more training the last few weeks and onwards because a lot of resorts have done renovations and upgraded their experience and I always try to stay up to date!  If I can help share more about Fiji or help you plan a nice family or romantic vacation, pls go to the Plan a Trip page to get started!

Why I recommend Guided Vacations for your next Family Vacation

The biggest benefit, I say, is to have someone on the ground with you, taking care of everything for you. If you’re are reading this blog, chances are your desire to travel the world is high. Some of us have put our passports away for almost 1.5yrs.  We long to travel but feel unsure still if it’s safe or how things will be the same or not.  Our desire to travel remains high. Though I’ve planned a lot of custom-tailored independent travel, I do feel that guided, escorted vacations are going to be your best friend and can elevate your travel experience especially in the next year or 2 as we get the pandemic under control.

Many people have misconceptions about guided tours.  Thinking you will be stuck on the bus all day? Or that your schedule is so rigid and you have to go to tourist sites one after another all day long? Or that you’re staying at boring hotels and eating standard American dishes? Perhaps thinking you’ll be fighting for space with 50 other travelers?  Please think again. Or be informed.

Guided vacations are so much more in tune with the demands of travelers. Since Covid, a lot of tour operators are running small group tours of 12-16 guests. Even better, gather 6-8 friends and form your own private group with discounts built-in.  Everyone is either tested or has been vaccinated before they can sign up so you can feel comfortable with your travel mates.

There is a lot of leisure time built into the itineraries.  There are also choices.  Some tour companies now offer a few options for each city—maybe you want to go to a museum with a guide, or you want to go do a round of golf instead, or you want to have free time and do some shopping, these are all possible.

Transportation is almost always door-to-door service and you don’t have to stand in lines to get admission tickets. And now with the pandemic, they have special team handling and being on top of the travel entry requirements.  If anything changes, they’re on it.  They figure out the logistics of getting your Covid test done before returning to the USA.  And if anything becomes an issue, they’re responsible to help you with the next steps.  Can you feel the peace and security that can come with this? I say it’s priceless!

See this other long list of benefits:

All-inclusive pricing:  you have your lodging, your meals, your tours all budgeted in advance.

Exclusive experiences: because of their connections and network, you have privileged experiences… such as an after-hours visit to the Sistine Chapel or King Tut’s tomb with your own group vs in a room packed with hundreds of others.  Or having creative dining experiences that you cannot buy on your own.

Flexibility: it’s not as rigid a schedule as before.  Lots of free time and also choices of activities.  Some tours travel between cities using trains or flights or even yachts!

Guides and Tour Directors: Your best friend!  They really are so passionate about their work and care about you.  I often have clients who sign up with whatever tours their guide does next.

Destinations:  there is a tour for almost every destination.  It’s especially great for places where you feel you can have more hand-holding due to the language barrier or difficulty of transport. Egypt, China, Africa, S. America area is great for guided tours.

Pricing:  there are a variety of tour companies and each has different programs.  Whether you need something affordable or very luxurious with extraordinary experiences, I can find something that matches.

Great Company: Guided tours are great for solo travelers to meet others, families wanting to meet other families so kids have same-age companions, and also great for multi-generation travel!  Imagine taking your family of 12 everywhere!

There are so many tour companies and within each, so many tour options. Take advantage of my service and knowledge to help select the right tour for you.  Plus, I can arrange airline tickets and offer insurance recommendations.  Get in touch and get started planning your next trip!

More USA Travel Ideas

American flagged suitcase to represent some US Travel Ideas

I know many more countries are opening their borders this summer and we are hitting record numbers in air travel.  Yet, many people still have hesitation to travel cross countries and want to wait a little longer.  Maybe you don’t want to be on a long flight with mask on, or you don’t want to worry about getting Covid-tested to return home and to deal with the “What if” situation. What else can we do here in the US?   Here are a few quick family vacation ideas.  I hope it serves.

Rail Travel:

Rocky Mountaineer Trains are operating a brand new routing in the US starting in August.   This is a luxury train experience and I don’t know if it’ll still be available next year! So take advantage of it if you’ve always wanted a nice train service with beautiful sights along the way.  It’s a quick trip. Find more info on this link: https://www.bit.ly/RockyMountaineerPromo

Amtrak is celebrating 50 years and is also another great way to travel the country.  Whether you’re interested in Glacier National Park or catching the foliage in New England, this can be a great experience. Ditch the rental car and hop on board.  You can have private rooms, some even with private bathrooms.  There are some good dining offered too.
Check out some offers here: https://www.amtrakvacations.com/vacation-types/famous-routes

Biking and Hiking Trips:

Backroads has lots of great ideas if you want to stay in the US and stay active during your vacation. Not all of their trips are challenging. In fact, many go at an enjoyable pace. You get to visit cities and towns and enjoy nice meals and companies and have a friendly trained guide to escort you for a few days of hiking or walking. Bye maps, phones & GPS. There are different adventures for families, for couples, even trips tailored for olden teens or young adults.   Check out this trip for Washington San Juan Islands for inspiration: https://www.backroads.com/trips/WPSI/washington-hiking-tour#Overview
What I highly recommend to make it more fun is to find a few friends or family to form your own private trip! You get to pick your dates and travel with those you love to spend time with.

Cruising Lakes & Rivers of America:
I’ll be watching closely for the resumption of Great Lakes Cruises.  I think with the CDC now allowing operations of cruises from US ports, this cruise might still return this summer? Or Fall? And hopefully, vaccine administration will pick up faster with our northern neighbor, and that we can travel to Canada again. That will help open up this lovely cruise itinerary and allow us to explore the Great Lakes cities and towns in a different way.  Check out the options here: https://www.victorycruiselines.com/cruises/great-lakes-cruises/

If lakes are not your cup of tea, check out the river options. Mississippi, Ohio, and Columbia Rivers. I especially like the Columbia River cruises due to the scenery.  You don’t have to wait for Canada. You can go this summer!  http://bit.ly/ColumbiaRiverCruise

Well, I covered bikes, trains, and cruise-mobiles. Feel free to call or schedule a chat to brainstorm ideas for your next trip!  Enjoy the freedom of being able to travel freely again now that the pandemic is under control here in the US.  And if you would like more tips and updates like this, please subscribe to the newsletter!

Top 10 Travel Ideas You Can Use Now

excited little traveler sitting on suitcase with arms extended

A lot of my clients are feeling that we’re finally seeing the end of the tunnel. After all, it’s been a full year of extremes. The pandemic hit so sudden and changed our lives in so many ways. Many are truly feeling a big relief and freedom from getting the protection of the vaccine and are ready to travel again.

Here are some of the many ideas that you can consider. I might come back with part 2 next time!

1. Iceland   Iceland's waterfalls Iceland has announced it will open to all tourists who have been fully vaccinated or have been previously infected with Covid. They will not need to quarantine or test. Iceland has had very good control of the disease cases. If you travel a little beyond Reykjavik and the usual waterfalls that attract tourists, you’ll see there are so many vast landscapes and adventures to experience and be very socially distanced and feel safe. I plan many custom-tailored itineraries so do connect if you are interested. OR I can find you the right tour. The short distance from the US makes it very attractive, no?

 

2. Greece Though still fighting a surge in cases, Greece believes they will have it under control by mid-May as more citizens get vaccinated. picture of Santorini GreeceStarting May 15th, they will allow travelers who have been vaccinated, had Covid-19 antibodies or a negative covid test to enter. You can experience all the historical culture, the food, the beach. Cruises here, unlike Iceland, will resume. Celestyal Cruise line, a preferred partner of our agency, is worth checking out. I also have other travel partners who can whisk you off to a remote island if you prefer to stay away from the usual Mykonos, Santorini, or Crete.

 

 

3. Alaska   Alaska without the large cruise ships guests will be the perfect place to visit! And there are no testing requirements to return home as you’re still in US soil. You will need a negative Covid test result to visit but I think it’s worth it. I can design a land-based touring itinerary for you and you will be able to see the glaciers, the polar bears, and bald eagles in natural habitat, and how about dog sledding on ice or glacier trekking for those who want real adventures? If you still want to cruise, my clients always rave about Uncruise Adventures. It may be the only cruise player this season. It’s a small ship and will clear CDC requirements to operate.

4. Caribbean Cruises   Crystal Cruises led the pack and announced it will resume sailing in June with a 7 days Bahamas itinerary to ONLY fully vaccinated guests. They prioritize safety for crew and guests and this is what their loyal guests want to start cruising again. You ask, they give. Then, other cruises like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity will follow as well. For Royal Caribbean, adults must be fully vaccinated and children will need a negative Covid test to board.  This will be the first time medium and large size ships will be sailing since last March.

5. Galapagos   Combine a Galapagos cruise with a visit to Ecuador and you’ll have a full itinerary of culture, nature, and wildlife for sure.a pair of blue footed booby from Galapagos There are small yachts and small ships perfect for navigating the islands and you’ll have an experience just like pre-pandemic. If you’re interested, hurry because of the small size of ships and large demand. Don’t miss the boat!

 

 

 

6. Africa.   If you can handle the long flights, you’ll enjoy an even more untouched Africa. Many of my colleagues have traveled and returned and had a fantastic experience on their safaris. My recommendation will be to Tanzania and finish with a beach escape in Zanzibar. Other countries are requiring negative tests and can be tricky over there when you travel from one country to another.
Here’s a wonderful itinerary to consider: https://africantravelinc.com/safari/discover-the-wonders-of-tanzania

Arenal Volcano Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano Costa Rica

7. Costa Rica

a great destination with a diverse array of activities. Whether you want to visit the coffee farms or hike to the volcanos, zipline across the rainforest, or bird watch in the cloud forest, then finish with a beach escape in the Pacific coast in a luxury resort or private villa, Costa Rica will not disappoint. You have so much space and the Ticos are so friendly. This is a top choice for families with teens.

 

 

 

a Jungle Lodge in Belize, the Blancaneaux
PC: Blancaneaux Lodge, a Cappola Family Hideaway

8. Belize  another fabulous sort of off-the-radar Central American country. This small country is full of natural attractions such as pristine beaches, lush tropical rainforests, Mayan ruins, challenging cave systems that you can explore, and the second-longest barrier reef in the world! I love combining a jungle & reef itinerary and introducing my clients to the numerous eco-lodges in the jungles on treetops! An amazing experience for couples or families with teens.

 

 

9. Disneyland   After a year-long closure, Disneyland is reopening its doors in June. Combine with a stay at the Disneyland Resort or the Grand California resort and you will have kids showering you with hugs and kisses all the way. Invite the Grandparents and let’s visit The Happiest Place On Earth.

 

10. Kauai     Kauai is finally relaxing quarantine requirements. Starting April 1, you can visit just like other Hawaii islands with a negative Covid test from a trusted testing partner. The islands are still trying to figure out if they will lift that requirement for fully vaccinated travelers. The lush jungles, the Waimea Canyon, and of course, the lovely beaches that Are Hawaii. How can you resist? All the resorts will be welcoming with open arms. And don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Hawaii Guide to your right.

Na Pali cliffs coastline, Kauai, Hawaii
Na Pali cliffs, Kauai, Hawaii

There are at least another 10 ideas I can offer. So, feel free to call, email or schedule a time to chat to get started with planning. Make up the year lost and save it with a family vacation that you know you want.

Hit the Plan a Trip button above and let a travel expert help take care of you. From brainstorming travel ideas, to planning the perfect itinerary and making all the reservations, we are with you all the way. We’ll even deliver your travel itinerary and documents in a digital app.

We will be just a text away when you travel.  The peace of mind… priceless!

 

How will Covid Vaccine Passport Get Us Back to Travel Again

Sample covid passport

I know many of us are just sick of the cold, tired of being indoors and of not having traveled for so long. Things are looking up.   People are feeling more confident and a lot more comfortable now with traveling now that they are getting vaccinated.  Although it is not 100% safe from getting infected, if we continue to practice safety protocols, I think it is really the key to getting back to normal.

On Feb 22, UK has announced their plans to reopen travel.  It may come as early as May for international travel.  Europe though is still struggling with a slow roll-out of the vaccine so it remains to be seen whether they will open by this summer. But countries are still figuring things out and planning for it. A lot of talks are happening around a Vaccine Passport.

sample covid passport which is showing a digital image of a covid 19 vaccine with QR code and a check box for vaccine taken

What is a Vaccine Passport?

It’s a proof that the holder of it has been vaccinated against COVID, and will allow them to travel freely between countries again. It will not be a passport book.  It will be in the form of a digital certificate.  An app that people will download to their mobile device and can be checked quickly by each countries’ customs and border control officers.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has plans to have it ready in a few weeks, named the Travel Pass. Countries will need to enroll and participate. But it will streamline the verification process if they have this as a standardized certificate.

 

Concerns about Vaccine Passport:

While it seems like a good idea, there are obstacles.  Funding, security of such passport, as well as other ethical concerns. Will this be discrimination because not everyone is able to get vaccine due to medical reasons, not by choice?  So, maybe it will be a proof that someone has a negative COVID-test, instead of a vaccine.  Plus, not all countries are having a successful rollout of the vaccines due to supply. This creates a sense of inequality.

Suppliers requiring Vaccine for traveling?

Some cruise lines have already said they will only accept customers who have been fully vaccinated starting July 2021.  Most are requiring crew members to be vaccinated.  The US cruise lines include American Queen Steamboat and Victory Cruise lines that does a lot of US river cruises as well as Crystal Cruises, which is a luxury cruise line. They said it’s the peace of mind their guests are asking for.  But other cruise line are taking a wait and see.  There are cruises in Germany and Italy that has been operating safely without much incidents even without vaccinated guests.

Some countries allow visitors who are fully vaccinated, but not yet for US visitors!   

There are countries jumping ahead of the vaccine passport, and allowing travelers to enter when they are fully vaccinated, waiving requirements for quarantines and negative COVID-test.
These include Iceland, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Seychelles, and Thailand, to name a few. But there are still restrictions for US travelers.  Yet it offers a glimmer of hope!

How do you feel about this concept of Covid Vaccine Passport? Share a comment with us!

Why you should consider Tauck tour and cruises for your next family vacation

a brochure cover from Tauck tours with some lake and mountain scenery

Tauck has been around for over 95 years. They are a family owned tour company. Started with a local tour in New England.  Their commitment to service has won them a loyal following and they have greatly expanded their tour offerings across the globe and now also offers their own river cruise ships and have chartered small ships to different parts of the world with a showcase of interesting itineraries.  Whether it’s their land tours in Europe and Africa or the very popular family river cruises for multi-generational groups, Tauck products have consistently win the highest mark from my clients. They truly excel in all aspects of a tour.

Many of their guests are repeat guests.  Most enjoy traveling as a group with other like minded travelers and who enjoy cultural explorations and traveling with ease.  When tours started canceling last April due to the pandemic shutdown, over 80% of their guests have chosen to rebook the exact same tour with them for a year later.  And for those who did not rebook, got all their money back.  That isn’t the case with all travel / tour companies. Many chose to hang on to the guests’ funds.  It is a testament to Tauck’s strong financials and integrity.

a large family all wearing berets posing in front of Eiffel Tower in Paris during their Tauck tour
pc:Tauck; Tauck Family Adventures in Paris

Tauck has won Travel & Leisure’s “World’s Best” list for 23 consecutive years.  What made Tauck so popular?

  1. A wide presence, offering tours everywhere. You can choose to travel all 7 continents with Tauck if you love their consistent service.
  2. Exclusive access. Tauck’s long standing relationships have gained them partnerships with suppliers and museums to create unique experiences built in to their itineraries.  For example, they have exclusive after-hours access to the Sistine Chapel so you’re visiting with your own group of 40 or 20 fellow tour mates and not packed with the general public of thousands.
    They have special lunch in castles or exclusive performances arranged for their guests that turns every trip into a trip of a lifetime.
  3. Tour directors and local guides are their true assets. Their tour directors not only ensure a seamless travel experience, but their knowledge and caring attitude fosters a deep connection with guests.  Sometimes, I get requests to do the next tour with the same tour director wherever he/she is assigned due to their thoughtful, personal service.
  4. Great value. Tauck is not about spending as little as possible. But about giving you the best they can give for your money.  Quality hotels & ships, exclusive access and experiences, and itinerary planning that showcases the best a destination has to offer so that everything you should see is already included in the tour price and nothing extra to offer on tour.  In addition, gratuities are included in tour price so you don’t have to stress about getting local currency during tour.

You’ve heard from me and my clients’ feedbacks. Would you like to hear from Tauck directly?
This Thursday, 2/4/21, at 3pm PT, or 6pm ET, will you please join me on this virtual live presentation with Tauck? Hosted by Steve Spivak, Vice President of Global Sales and Partner Relations, the event will cover the current status of travel and what you can expect this year, along with great destinations to consider.  Here is the link to register.
https://tauck.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VWcu3823SE2-e_G0YvphGw
If you have another commitment, you can register and they will send you a recording afterwards. But if you can attend live, there will be opportunity for Q&A.

Space is Limited! Register now by clicking the link below:

Thursday, February 4, 2021 3:00 PM PST

https://tauck.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VWcu3823SE2-e_G0YvphGw

Maybe I’ll see you on Thursday! And of course, if after the presentation and you are interested in finding out more about joining their tours or need help selecting an itinerary, I’ll be honored to help.  email me, call me, or click the plan a trip button up on top!

Here are a few of Tauck’s popular tours:
America’s Canyonland

Danube Family River Cruise and Tour

Galapagos Island Family Tour and Cruise

All other guests favorites

If you’ve missed this event and would like to be notified of future opportunities, please sign up for our newsletter!

New CDC Travel Requirement for entry to USA from international travel

image of items needed to travel during pandemic--mask, sanitizer, passport, and negative covid test

image of items needed to travel during pandemic--mask, sanitizer, passport, and negative covid test

On Tuesday, 1/12, the US CDC announced that it was adding a mandatory COVID-19 test requirement for all inbound international travelers, regardless of where they are coming from. Starting on Jan. 26, all air passengers will have to get a viral test within three days of their flight to the U.S. and bring documentation of either the test (can be electronic) or documentation that they were infected and recovered, to their airline. Airlines, according to the CDC rules, must then confirm the negative test for all passengers before boarding, and any passenger without the documentation must be denied boarding. While this is the strictest requirement US has issued since the pandemic started, it generally puts the country in line with a lot of European countries who have seen recent case surges and implemented the same requirement.

I have been working on some travel requests for Mexico and Costa Rica for example, as they do not require any testing before traveling.  Now, with this requirement, it puts another roadblock to travel. Where will travelers go get tested? Will they get test results back in time?  What if they tested positive?  Where will they quarantine and how will the cost be paid for? Those were just some of the questions that were jamming travel forums and started a wave of panic phone calls.  But it’s not the end to it all.

Within 48hrs, many of the resorts in Mexico and Caribbean have come up with plans to help travelers get tested in the resort.  Antigen tests are usually free, and the PCR tests are offered free at some resorts or reduced rates at others.  AND… some have dedicated space for quarantines. Some resorts even offer you extended free stay if you tested positive.  Bottom line: If you are ready to travel, there is nothing that can stop you.

Traveling in this new day and age is not the same as the past anymore.  There are constantly changing travel requirements.  We may soon see mask mandates for air travel by the Biden Administration.  Each country has their own travel requirements to protect their citizens.  Some require a test to enter. Some require you to re-test a few days after arrival.  Some require you only stay in certain quarantine resorts, or use certain approved tour providers.  Yet others, many others, require you to have specific travel insurance that will cover expenses for flying home on a medical jet or expenses to stay in destination if you need hospital care or extended hotel stay.  And now, US wants you to get tested when entering.

All I can say is, Please, do yourself a favor and use a travel advisor to plan your next family vacation.  Let us help you navigate all of these overwhelming and confusing travel requirements. It doesn’t have to be with me. But if you work with me, I have partnerships with travel consortium which provides a daily updated dashboard for me to review which country requires what to enter and leave.  I have travel suppliers who not only put together travel packages or custom itinerary for you, but also be available to provide assistance 24×7 in destination should you can’t reach me.  It will not only save you time, it will also make sure that someone is watching out for you and be there to guide you if something just changes suddenly.

So, be brave.  It’s ok to keep planning your vacations.  And if you missed my last newsletter about why NOW is the time to plan 2021 and even 2022 vacations, you can find it on my blog or use this link: https://www.bravobeachvacations.com/why-you-should-start-planning-2021-and-2022-vacations-now/

2021 travel planning with airplane, book, sunglasses and palm trees

 

 

 

 

 

Or, you can also plan some domestic travel and put some happiness back to your calendar.  There are so much to see! Oh and let me remind you, Hawaii does not require another test on return to mainland.  It does require you to get a negative Covid test to travel to Hawaii, but not depart Hawaii! However, it is starting a new Mandatory Contact Tracing requirement if you are visiting Maui.  And for more information about Hawaii, don’t forget to check out our Hawaii travel guide.  We try our best to keep it updated.  You can get it free on the right side bar.

Why you should start planning 2021 and 2022 vacations now

20221 and 2022 vacation planning

Traveling in 2020 has become a very difficult decision for many of us.  It is very personal for sure. Some of my clients are ready to travel.  Some wish to travel but still hesitate due to health and safety concerns.  But with the recent rollout of the vaccine and an estimate that many will be vaccinated in spring and summer and throughout 2021, hopefully, it is the good news we have been waiting for.  Looking at trends, travelers are optimistic and ready to travel again …. and if you’ve not started putting 2021 or even 2022 vacations on your calendar, I suggest you better start taking action right after the holidays.  Here are a few reasons why:

funnel for 2021 and 2021

#1. Demand will be high, and supply will be low!
A lot of travelers have transferred their 2020 vacation to the exact same plan but a 2021 date.  They already have a seat! Yet, a lot of tour companies and hotels will be subject to limited capacity to still provide social distance for guests.   They’re also going with smaller group size as that is preferred now. As people start getting vaccinated and ready to travel, any remaining seats will be filled very quickly.  Don’t miss the boat!

#2.  Travel companies and cruise lines are ready… for months already

Every sector of the travel industry has a safe travel protocol in place. They’ve spent months developing those plans and getting the supplies and staff training they need in order to start providing the tours and experience travelers have been so hungry for.  They are committed to your health and safety. Many are just waiting for international borders to open and without asking people to quarantine.  It’ll be easier to travel.  Airlines have started providing Covid testing to passengers before they take off. Airports will have rapid testing centers.  Multiple airlines have formed alliance to set up “digital health passports” to aid travelers to more easily comply with travel restrictions for traveling overseas. Hotels and resorts now provide contactless stays and have elevated cleaning protocols.

River cruises and cruise lines are still pouring over the CDC manual to comply with new guidelines and most plan to start sailing again in April and beyond, if not sooner.  Some will provide testing to their guests while onboard. But again, they likely cannot have 100% capacity so, you will need to reserve early.

#3 Flexible change policy and small payment commitments

Many airlines have eliminated change fees for domestic AND international travel. Tour companies and hotels and cruises are doing the same.  They understand that uncertainty and disruption is still out there and they are doing everything they can to make you feel comfortable.  I’ve never seen such low deposit requirements.  Most also postponed the final payment due dates so you really have a very low commitment needed to put some happiness back to your calendar.  Great peace of mind offers.

 

excited young traveler sitting on flying suitcase with arms spreadout like wings

#4   2021 and 2022 schedules and itineraries are published

There are some exciting new itinerary options and many are already at full capacity.  Most have begun to offer small group tours or very attractive private tour discounts. Maybe you’d still like to be close to home. There are new USA tours, new ships, new resorts.  I’m especially excited about a new Rocky Mountaineer train itinerary in the Southwest through national parks. Ask me about it if interested, but hurry.

There has been studies that confirm people derive more happiness from anticipation of a planned vacation than the vacation itself! Wouldn’t it make you feel so good to have a plan locked in place and something wonderful to look forward to?

Reach out when you’re ready and I’ll be so honored to help you with your next vacation. I’ll help you understand all the travel restrictions, supplier terms and policies, and put together a plan to protect you with the right travel insurance.

Christmas Holidays River Cruises Virtual Vacations

River cruise along Danube river

As we all know, this has not been an easy year with the pandemic. Many travel plans canceled and postponed.
I know many of us dream of traveling again.  International borders remain closed for most countries in order to control the pandemic.
I wonder what I can share to cheer you up and keep your holiday spirits high.

River cruise along Danube riverViking River Cruises is doing a series of 12 days of Christmas virtual vacations that features Christmas traditions around Europe and the World.
You can sign up and watch them over zoom during the live broadcast, or you can register and they will send you a recording if you can’t make
the time.  You can still view at your convenience.  Maybe have a watch party with your friends.

Here are a lists of them with a quick descriptions and sign up links.  You can use our agency info for the invitation!
Bravo Travel, Los Altos, CA — your advisor: Debby Leong  

I hope you’ll find these 12 days of Christmas events enjoyable and keep dreaming!

Reservations for 2021 and 2022 cruises are open.  When you are ready, please contact us and we can help you find the best cruise, the best itinerary and
arrange everything for you!  Put some hope and travel dreams back to your calendar!


Discover British Isles Explorer & Christmas Traditions of the UK
Dec 7th, 2020  12:00PM PT

Immerse yourself in the British Isles, with overnight stays in Bergen, Norway, and Greenwich, England. Discover Scotland’s legendary Highlands and Western Isles and the capital of Edinburgh. Visit the Shetland and Orkney Islands and contrast modern Belfast with traditional Dublin. Witness Welsh culture in Snowdonia. In England, visit maritime Liverpool, see historic Dover and enjoy a tour of London.
Sign up : https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5ylL1X7wTEKKyyRNy31ktw

Experience the Romantic Danube & learn about Christmas in Hungary
Dec 8th, 2020 12:00PM PT

Visit Budapest’s Castle District and cross the famous Chain Bridge. Explore Göttweig Abbey, one of Austria’s most revered monastic centers, and make dumplings with Wachau Valley apricots. Visit historic Salzburg. Spend two days in Vienna, and celebrate the city’s musical heritage at a concert featuring works by Mozart and Strauss. With medieval towns, grand cities and stunning scenery, this 8-day journey on the “Blue Danube” is one you are sure to love.
Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NKKZFer1SPOw3um-bH9t-Q

Discover the Danube Waltz and Christmas in Austria
Dec 9th, 2020 12:00PM PT

Soak up soothing steam at a Budapest thermal bath. Learn to waltz at a Viennese dance school. Savor Austro-Hungarian cuisine in Vienna and Budapest. Admire the Wachau Valley’s beauty. Explore lesser-known Central European cities like Bratislava and Passau. Witness daily life in an abbey on an exclusive visit to Göttweig. This 8-day itinerary reveals the best of these places, while cruising leisurely through spectacular scenery.

Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_caHVt9h5TfG3-557Y99h-Q

Explore Paris & the Heart of Normandy & Christmas traditions of France
Dec 10th, 2020 12:00PM PT

Explore Giverny and visit the beautiful gardens and charming farmhouse where Claude Monet lived and worked, the setting that inspired many of his masterpieces. Trace the footsteps of Joan of Arc in Rouen. Walk hallowed ground at Normandy’s American Military Cemetery and World War II beaches. Savor Normandy cuisine. This 8-day cruise along the Seine River celebrates history, art, food and customs in the country’s most dazzling urbane and pastoral settings.

Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6-TolZcNT3ar4w5JMqIFeg

Tour Viking Homelands & Christmas traditions of Norway
Dec 11th, 2020 12:00PM PT

Sail the clear waters of Scandinavia and the Baltic on this 15-day cruise. Enjoy overnights in cosmopolitan Stockholm, majestic St. Petersburg and scenic Bergen, and explore charming historic city centers in Tallinn and Gdańsk. Visit Helsinki, Berlin and Copenhagen and witness breathtaking scenery from your ship as she glides through majestic Norwegian fjords in the legendary homelands of the Vikings.

Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Hy6t9J08QduQFOR9zhLNjg

Experience the magic of Europe’s Christmas Markets
Dec 14th, 2020 12:00PM PT

A Viking holiday river cruise is pure magic. From Nuremburg to Vienna, Germany and Austria light up with Christmas markets offering hand-carved toys and ornaments, spicy glühwein and aromatic gingerbread. Celebrate an Old World Christmas on the Danube or Rhine.

Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UVc4PpRSRT2B_ew383ZonQ

Experience Bordeaux and learn about Christmas in France
Dec 15th, 2020 9:00AM PT

Discover the ports, vineyards, farms and forests of Aquitaine, once Europe’s richest kingdom. See Bordeaux’s fountains and cellars. Hunt for truffles in Périgord, and create your own personal blend of Cognac at the Camus distillery. Savor France’s finest oysters fresh from the bay at Arcachon. Sip Saint-Émilion, Médoc and Sauternes in their own ”terroir” on an 8-day cruise through Bordeaux—a region synonymous with fine wine and finer living.

Sign up : https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_p99HqCn8QZqo4-7nka6vMA

Discover Tulips & Windmills & Christmas in the Low Countries
Dec 16th, 2020 9:00AM  PT

Admire the genius of the Dutch Masters at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Explore Hoorn’s seafaring heritage, Arnhem’s World War II history and Antwerp’s Renaissance splendor. See colorful ribbons of farmland as Dutch tulips come into bloom. Sample Belgian beers and chocolates. Step into the Middle Ages in Bruges. Roam Keukenhof Gardens, the world’s largest floral park. The best time to see the Low Countries is spring, and the best way to see them is on our 10-day cruise.

Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jn_hZMsMTDy-W5auAo08XQ

Sail West Indies Explorer and learn about Christmas in the Caribbean
Dec 17th, 2020 12:00PM PT

Set sail on a roundtrip voyage from San Juan to explore the colorful Caribbean. Start deep in the heart of the Caribbean and avoid the long sea days associated with most Caribbean cruises—allowing you to visit more ports and spend more time discovering rich island cultures. Immerse yourself in the British, French and Dutch cultures of the Lesser Antilles as you cruise azure waters from Tortola and St. Lucia to Dominica, St. Martin and St. Thomas.

Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RE6xN9Z-TnamuBkncCe1zg

Sail Passage to Eastern Europe discover Christmas traditions of the region
Dec 18th, 2020 9:00AM PT

See Bucharest’s 3,000-room Palace of Parliament. Make banitsa bread with a home cook in Vidin. Explore Belgrade’s Ottoman and European treasures, including 6th-century Kalemegdan Fortress. View the Danube’s towering Iron Gate. Visit a Croatian family’s Osijek home. Witness Hungary’s daredevil Puszta horsemen. Behold Budapest’s grandeur. Once hidden behind the Iron Curtain, the eastern Danube still has secrets to reveal on this enriching cruisetour.

Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WhTtaXZUQsmVBRnKvwkmdA

Discover Christmas along the Elbe and German Christmas traditions
Dec 21st, 2020 9:00AM PT

Linger longer with multi-night city stays as you explore the historic sites along the Elbe and Vltava Rivers. Experience Berlin’s modern chic, Dresden’s baroque castles and Prague’s architectural gems. This journey offers a rich blend of traditional hotel stays, Viking ships showcasing their elegance as fine floating hotels, and scenic excursions. Unlike our traditional cruises, every night is spent in port, providing an opportunity to experience enriching Viking evening excursions.

Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hlmYQFUtQyipSGcWP08Dug

Experience the magic of Europe’s Christmas Markets
Dec 22nd, 2020 9:00AM PT

A Viking holiday river cruise is pure magic. From Nuremburg to Vienna, Germany and Austria light up with Christmas markets offering hand-carved toys and ornaments, spicy glühwein and aromatic gingerbread. Celebrate an Old World Christmas on the Danube or Rhine.

Sign up: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WTF64E7yTY2rm1WKEUcHNA

Again, I hope you’ll enjoy these virtual vacations.  Please contact us if we can help you with your next river cruise vacation.
Allow us to take care of all your travel arrangements so you can fully enjoy the experience.  Click here to get in touch!