Slow Travel

Slow Travel… edit from Caroline Bologna

In the rush of day-to-day life, we don’t always have the opportunity to slow down and move at our own pace. Even on vacation, there’s an urge to visit, do and taste as many things as possible in a new destination or multiple destinations.

I’ve heard countless times how exhausted people are when they come back from their vacation and feel like they ‘need a vacation from their vacation,’ and that’s because many times we pack so much into a very short amount of time. We want to see everything, do everything, and not waste a minute.

There is, however, another approach to globetrotting that many seasoned tourists recommend: slow travel. But what exactly is slow travel, and how do you take full advantage of this kind of trip? Below, travel experts break it down.

What exactly is slow travel?

Slow travel is about quality over quantity. It is also about immersing yourself in the local culture. Traditional vacations often involve seeing as many things as possible in a short time. While there is nothing wrong with that, it can feel very superficial. It can also feel overwhelming and not like the ideal relaxing vacation.

As the name suggests, slow travel generally entails slowing down and savoring each moment, rather than rushing to check off bucket list items.

Slow travel may mean different things to different travelers, but I define it as staying in one place for longer and going deeper into the local culture. It’s taking the time to make real connections with locals versus jam-packing a schedule full of tours. Slow travel doesn’t necessarily require long stays in one place.

Slow traveling isn’t necessarily about the number of days you are spending in a place. You can slow travel with just a few days or with a few months ― it all depends on the level of connection you would like with your destination, allowing you to gain a deeper appreciation of the culture and understand the local environment better.

Slow travel is a meditative approach to traveling that allows people to stop and smell the roses ― quite literally.

It’s about being fully present in the moment and experiencing the sights, sounds and sensations around you without distraction ― letting the experience unfold at its own pace and without expectations. Slow travel doesn’t have a strict definition or certain mandatory elements, such as using slower modes of transport or sticking to a single city or country for a certain amount of time, but rather is about the compassionate awareness one brings to being a visitor in a destination.

Slow travel is a more mindful approach to tourism that fosters deeper connections.

What are the benefits of slow travel?

When you travel at a slower pace and not so rushed, you naturally immerse yourself in the culture and place that you’re in and really try to get to know it on a more personal level.

You talk with more locals and do more ‘off the beaten path’ activities, and not just things you see on Trip Advisor. Also, when you do start to talk with the locals more, usually they want you to have the best experience and will show you some of their favorite spots which naturally leads to a more immersive and personal experience. A local guide can also help in a local experience.

Getting to know locals and their culture and lifestyle more intimately and authentically will create rewarding experiences and memories you can carry with you long after your return home. You may even make deep connections and friendships that lead you to return in the future.

If you want to really unplug and relax without the stresses of traveling, then slow travel may be for you. You get to unpack your suitcases less, take fewer planes, trains and automobiles and just relax in a destination.

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Changes are afoot

Changes are coming — and I will not be able to help.

A bit of history. For many years, a flight reservation was a difficult task. (We used a book the size of a very large telephone book! Had to find what flights connect with another!! Many pages to turn!!) As air travel became a viable transportation option in the early 40s, thousands of people became ticket buyers. With the growing number of customers, carriers had to overcome numerous challenges to make booking fast, convenient, and operationally easy. Twenty years or so down the road in the 60s, the whole booking process could be accomplished in minutes – through a travel agent. Fast forward to today – and previously unimaginable – travelers enjoy fully automated ticket booking, reserving and paying for flights using smartphones. The assumption is—all travelers can, and want to, use a smartphone to make their own reservations.

Currently, the Global Distribution System (GDS) is a primary reservation tool for travel agents. GDS is a network that enables travel agencies to access travel data, shop for and compare reservations options, and book travel. What is so great about the GDS is, I can switch from one carrier to another with just a few strokes on the keyboard. I can quickly compare price and availability. See which hotel rooms are available and at what price. All fast and easy so you do not need to do the work.

But now, American Airlines is going to withhold 40 % of their flights, to be booked only on They have signed a new long-term agreement that will provide customers more opportunities to experience modern retailing with direct access to American’s content, including elevated offers and ancillary products. What they do not say is what the effects are on you and travel agencies. They will be offering fares not in my GDS. Now the client will have to do their own research to learn if they can find a fare and availability I cannot offer.

AA makes it sound so good, but in the long run, if you have difficulty using the online platforms and prefer to use a travel advisor, this all may not be in your best interest. And if United and Delta follow I will be out of business and you will be on your own. You may find I am booking away from AA; you might want to do the same.

Open if you want to learn the whole story!!

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Double check schedule changes

Airline schedules change regularly, and not only because of the weather. The airlines use a complex matrix called ‘Airline Scheduled Planning’ to fix flight timings. They use a software and feed in the historical data for a flight’s departure, arrival and block time for each specific route on a specific day. The software analyses this data and suggests a schedule for that flight. Flight schedules are mapped out several months in advance by the schedule planning teams at the airlines, so factors like bad weather, runway construction, or other unexpected events will affect departure and arrival times. 

When do airlines make their flights available for sale? US airlines typically open their booking window around 330 days in advance, but the early bird in this case doesn’t usually get the worm. I have known schedules to change significantly.  

Where ever or how you book your airline flights, double check. I regularly monitor all the reservations I make. I also get a message from the airlines when there is a schedule change, but not always cancellations. If there is a significant change I let you know immediately, if it is only minutes I usually wait until 14 days prior to departure. For sometimes, there are several changes, and I do not want you all to get confused with which is the correct itinerary.

Also, within 24 hours of departure check your schedule. Suddenly the pilots or flight attendants may not be available.  I once was sitting on a plane to depart for Seattle and a flight attendant was drunk from the night prior. We had to wait 12 hours until the carrier brought in an extra flight attendant.  

Last week a client called letting me know there were ice storms in Dallas. Changed his JFK departure to allow for five hours in Dallas; thereby unlikely to miss his connection.  The following morning, the first thing I did was check his flights. Called him, and when he answered the cell phone he said he was already half way to the airport. I said turn around as your flights are cancelled. He had not double checked. He got out two days later and got to stay three days longer!  In the end it was easy for him. But having double checked might have made it even easier.  

How to double check? First go to the airlines website, put in your confirmation number (letters and numbers) and your name, and your flight will come up. If this does not work for you, call or email me any time. There is also a 24-hour number on every itinerary. You can call it too!  

Any way you double check, DO double check.  Flying is unpleasant enough, airports are crowded enough, so help yourself along and double check!

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Savvy Traveler

Be a Savvy Traveler.

This list is in no particular order. Actually the last three may be the most important. Flying is no fun these days, so do whatever you can to make it most comfortable for yourself. Of course the first step is to call/email me!

  1. Bring your own headphones.
  2. Do not hesitate for a free upgrade.
  3. When entering the security check, head to the left checkpoint. Most people go right.
  4. Don’t forget to bring a portable charger.
  5. Bring wet wipes and hand sanitizer.
  6. If you don’t like turbulence, book an early morning.
  7. Bring Your Own Spare Ziploc Bags.
  8. Check-in 24-hours before your flight.
  9. Take a photo of your checked luggage.
  10. Find the best seat on the plane when you check-in
  11. Always check your flight’s status before heading to the airport.
  12. Bring an Empty Water Bottle

Jeff Weise, Investing Magazine

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Where are you going this year?

Clearly the airline disruptions this winter have also been anything but normal. If you book on your own, you are on your own. Not just cancellations are causing the disruptions but significant schedule changes. Some of these changes are not easy for me, so I cannot imagine the time and energy one needs to spend when on your own.

How much are two hours and lots of frustration worth to you? I bet a lot more than my fee. It may be seem easy at first, but….. that snow storm will come eventually to the northeast. When one region of our country has a major weather pattern, it effects the entire network of airline flights. Not only do air planes get stranded on the tarmac, but also pilots and flight attendants get stranded. Nothing is where it needs to be, when it needs to be there! And of course this says nothing of the passengers. Today, most planes fly very full. So if a flight or many are cancelled there are few seats to accommodate the stranded passengers. This is when you hear about the disruption on the news!

I cannot make airplanes be where they need to be, nor the pilots and flight attendants, BUT I can help you find seats quickly and easily. Check out my blog and you can read several stories, where I helped resolve an unpleasant situation.

I not only plan and create interesting itineraries, but I resolve situations that need resolutions! A little fee can go a very long way.

“As you move through this life you leave marks on the world, however small. And in return life – and travel – leave marks on you.” Anthony Bourdain

Where are you going this year? How may I assist you? Just an fyi.. Europe is going to be very busy this summer, so do try to go in the spring or fall. Also, plan ahead your tours, restaurants, tickets, hotels and resorts. This will not be a summer to wander carefree. Again, how may I assist you?

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Happy New Year

One of my favorite musicals is Cabaret. “life is a cabaret old chum.” It is your life so come and let us play. Where would you like to go in 2023. Cruises are even booking 2024. The world, except China, is open for you. Yes, we still need to travel responsibly, but we always have.

Life and travel are an adventure. It is for you to explore. Where are you going? England, France, Italy, Greece, South Africa, Kenya, Equator, Chili, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii……… Do these places get your mind and heart going? There are so many ways to explore. There are: Guided tours, group tours, on your own, planned individual itineraries (my specialty), cruises: which is your preference to travel? Different places suggest different modes of travel. The Tahitian islands are best seen from a ship, like the Paul Gaugin, while Italy can be a unique personal itinerary.

What can you see yourself planning this year? Just imagine yourself fulfilling your lifelong dream. If not now, WHEN?

My new company, Direct Travel has lots of benefits for you all. They are a Virtuoso company, like Vista. Therefore, there are hotel upgrades and cruise specials. So call and learn what is best for your adventure.

PS here is an example of our benefits.

Windstar Wanderlist offer

Pick Your Perk Offer for bookings made by February 28, 2023 to any destination that Windstar cruises any dates.

Pick Your Perk — Clients can choose ONE of the Following Offers:

Up to $1,000 Onboard Credit per Stateroom or Suite OR One Free Easy Stays Hotel Night, pre- or post-cruise, including gourmet breakfast, Wi-Fi and transfer to yacht OR Free Upgrade to All-Inclusive Fares for Premium Suites Guests.

Yacht Club Members: Receive 5% Additional Savings, plus, refer a New-to-Windstar Guest and Receive Additional $100 Shipboard Credit.

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Festive Travel Gifts

Festive travel gifts… hear me out. The Gift of Travel is always the perfect size and is one that continues to give long after the recipient has returned home with memories that last a lifetime. But you do not need to give the entire travel plans. There are so many little things we can arrange for your family or friends that can make a great deal of difference. For example:

A private transfer from home to airport and return. Or a transfer at the other end. Boston, locally I can offer services of the company I personally use, most reliable and affordable. Outside the area there are several good services.

A day pass to the airline of choice’s lounge. Let me tell you they are wonderful. Clean, mostly free beverage, food to go.. and more.

A transfer from your airline or credit card points as a gift. Many of you have millions of miles. A free offer of a ticket or giving miles into their account is always most appreciated. Credit card points can also be used for hotels.

A onetime planning fee I often charge for a large complicated itinerary. This way they can get the best service.

AND for you. ‘Not so fast – we may have exactly what you need for that very last minute festive client.’ I get this kind of email daily now. There are rooms available if you are flexible and really want to get away. It is 4:20 pm and very dark outside. I want to get away! But just been.

So give me a call, 617-876-6007 or email me, and we can design a very merry festive gift certificate!

People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

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For much to be thankful !

For much to be thankful! Not just the weather to be thankful, but all your business. Some of you have been with me for over 20 years. The newsletter seems to be a good reminder I am still in business. More than 50 percent of my contacts regularly open this newsletter! The industry average is well below, close to 35 percent. And I know it is not always the same people who open. So I am most thankful for your following.

What you would like to read? Would you like more on destinations? On cruises? On adventure travel? On what is happening in the travel industry? Would you like the newsletter shorter or less often? What are your thoughts?

Next week 22 -29 November I will be off my desk with limited access. But I will be checking in. Email will be the best form of contact. I also will be on Seattle time so I will not be available in the early hours! Not that I am normally!

For emergency call the main number 617-621-0100 and anyone can assist you.

Meanwhile we are thankful for so many things, let us remember them. Enjoy family and friends. Peace be with you.

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There are still options

Think it is too late to plan something for the next two months? The options available may not be the lowest fares or prices, but they are available. Would you still like to travel someplace during the festive seasons to come? Do you need ideas?

Maybe thinking about a cruise vacation? Enjoy a sophisticated yet relaxed, adults-only cruise experience with Virgin Voyages. If you are looking for a classic, premium cruise voyage, join Cunard/Azamara/Paul Gaugin or Regent on the adventure of a lifetime. Viking Cruises offers worldwide destination-focused itineraries by river, ocean, and expedition sailings. In general, there are now so many cruising options. They have returned! So plan ahead if not for the holidays for this coming spring.

To help you with creative ideas, I plan unique travel itinerates in Europe. Do you like to explore small towns and city neighborhoods, know where to eat and sleep, or how to get museum or train tickets? I do all that and more for travelers!

Or maybe you want to stop the world and get off on a warm relaxing island. The Caribbean and Pacific islands offer so many options; beaches, diving, mountains, waves or calm waters. You can sail for a few days from an islands. And then there are the options of all-inclusive or a la cart, adult only or for families. For multi generations resorts have both option conveniently near each other.

There are more ideas for you. Check out my webpage or

Whatever your last minute thoughts are, NOW is the time to plan. I am here for you.


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Life begins at the end of your comfort zone!

This is a philosophy I have lived by much of my life. Learning to scuba dive (160 dives), driving in France and Italy by myself many times, became an independent contractor (self-employed), ran for public office just to name a few. But now life is really challenging me.

Those of you who know me well, know the computer is often not my friend. The language and lingo are so strange to me. My reservation system, I am excellent. All the rest I hire someone. I write the newsletter, but do not send it to you all.

You may also know Vista Travel became a Direct Travel Company. They are very large; one of the largest in the country. You may work for such, and many do, know there are computer safe guards. Lots of new skills for me to learn. Clearly beyond my comfort zone! You may notice a few changes in the itinerates or invoices. You may see a email, that is me. My will continue to be my primary email address. Well, now you know why. So when you see the changes, know I am learning! As you will see from the webpage, is a most sophisticated company. This is the leisure travel side; they also have a large corporate division. I will remain an independent travel advisor. So you will continue to receive very personal attention. My strengths are in land arrangements, especially in Italy and France. My airline reservation skills are quick and offer the best fares for your needs. My information. Unchanged.

Harriet H. Ahouse, Travel Advisor, 617-876-6007, 617-621-0100-main office. If you require after hours’ assistance, please call 800-373-9169. There may be a fee.

Vista Travel/A Direct Travel Company and Virtuoso Member

I work with busy, successful, curious people who want to master the joy in their life journey through the art of unique travel experiences.”

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