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. https://alwaysharriet.wordpress.com/testimonials

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, hahouse@alwaysharriet.com 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 www.alwaysharriet.com or https://aluxurytraveladvisor.com/virtuoso-wanderlist

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 dt.com email, that is me. My alwaysharriet.com will continue to be my primary email address. Well, now you know why. So when you see the changes, know I am learning!

www.dt.com/personaltravel 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. hahouse@alwaysharriet.com

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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Over twenty years ago my son-in-law suggested this for my webpage. What is the meaning behind it? Two fold now three fold.

First, clearly always call Harriet when you need travel assistance. Yesterday I made a simple airline reservation for someone who had spent an hour and lots of frustration. Simple or very complex, air only or a detailed itinerary, this is what I do. Just call/email me. AlwaysHarriet

Second, there is a man friend I say always to!

Third now, You will always get the same service from me as you have come to expect. Some of you may have heard Vista Travel was sold to Direct Travel. The full transfer will be 1 January. Direct Travel is a huge company, a new client was concerned, will we become impersonal. Nothing will change in my service to you. You may receive some extra benefits when booking cruises or hotels. Like any business, large companies can offer better buying power. As an independent contractor, as we are called, I will give all the benefits of the big and the service of the small. I will have more backup support to provide even better information and service.

So, I promise AlwaysHarriet will be there for you. I did not know if I was going to continue after the past few years, but clearly I will. There are a lot of I’s in this newsletter. It is YOU that is most important. Call/email. 2023 is getting busy. Despite all the issues with the cruise lines, they are very much back. Booking for 2024 are being taken.


Check out www.alwaysharriet.com, scroll down and read ‘what they are saying about Harriet’.

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Real ID (Identification)

Effective 3 May 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or anther acceptable form of ID like a passport. To find out more about your state program, google “real ID and then your state.” Do not wait.

Passport update.

Forget the long lines and the even longer waits. You will soon be able to renew your passport online.

The U.S. State Department started a pilot program last month where you could sign up to renew your passport online. Now, the agency plans to accept another batch of applications in October before rolling out the program more widely in 2023.

It’s not clear how much time the online process will really save. But you can look for updates on the state department’s travel website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/have-passport/renew-online.html

Remember many countries require the passport expiration date to extend 6 months beyond the date of departing the country. For example, if you are returning to the USA on 1 January, your passport needs to be valid until 1 July.

Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card.

You must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to travel to the United States by plane. Only limited exceptions apply. Carry your card with you. I keep mine in my passport.

PS People feel that money spent on experiences and creating lasting memories is better spent than on the cheap (sometimes not so cheap) thrill of purchasing something new. That feeling always fades quickly while the joy and memories of experiences from all of your adventures will last you a lifetime.

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Travel and the Calendar

What calendar comes to mind? The Roman calendar – January to December; the school calendar – September to June; Seasonal calendar – spring summer fall winter; the Lunar calendar – every 28 days; government fiscal calendar – July 1 – June 30; religious calendars. There are so many ways to organize our lives.

Two calendars most affect travel: School and Seasonal. School first because so many lives are directly or indirectly effected by the school calendar. When you can take time away or not depends on school calendar. School vacations during the academic year greatly effect travel. If you have not planned for your Holiday or February breaks vacations, it may be too late. But the weeks after or before will probably be much available to plan. Always best if you do not travel during school breaks. It is not only busy but more expensive.

Seasons clearly effect travel. Once I had a couple who wanted a ski holiday in June. Too late in the northern hemisphere and too early for the southern. There are destinations around the equator that are all year round. Otherwise we need to know the season. That does not mean one cannot travel to a destination that is consider off season. In fact, it may be the best time to travel. I have been to both Paris and Rome in January. I often traveled around France and Italy in early November. Put on a jacket or light rain gear and enjoy.

Whatever calendar your life revolves around, I am saying is now is the time to plan… Come next summer, we in the travel industry expect a huge influx as China begins to open, especially in Europe. Traveler beware. Plan ahead.


As if you needed any more excuses to take a vacation! A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health’s Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that followed 12,000 men over a 9-year period who were believed to have a high risk for coronary heart disease concluded that taking a vacation every year significantly reduced your risk of dying due to heart disease. They found that people were 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease and 21 percent less likely to die from any other cause. Feel free to use this the next time you request a vacation at work.

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The world is a book.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” Saint Augustine.

Of course there are those who want to read the whole book in just a few weeks or days! Not taking the time to enjoy and reflex on the experience. We quickly forget countries are unique, that is why they are countries. Even here in the USA, though we are one country, we are clearly distinct states. One would never consider traveling the entire eastern coast in a few weeks, except to get from one end to the other.

So I would never travel all of Italy or any country for that matter in just a few days. You all know how much France and Italy are dear to me. Though because I have clients to serve, I can never take more than a long week to travel. So I do one small region at a time. And often return to favorite places along the way.

No matter how many days and times I have been to Rome, Paris, Florence; I still have new places there to learn and enjoy. Most major cities take many many days. And the countryside, well ‘that is a horse of a different color’. If you live in western Massachusetts or eastern Washington, you are very different from the state’s major cities. Same is true in Italy or France, or any country for that matter.

Do not forget the rural regions. What I love about the countryside, is the pace is slow. Time to reflect and learn from where our food and water comes. My next trip to Italy, will be the Po River Valley; water and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto, Pasta – tortellini, balsamic vinegar and risotto! I could eat along the river for weeks. The mountains to the north and south make the valley eco-system most unique from the rest of Italy.

Yes, the world is a book, just remember there are chapters and paragraphs for subjects to change, same as with travel.

PS a side note: As the summers will remain hot, think about a cool weather summer holiday. I am getting several emails for 2023 from cruise lines doing the northern European countries. I have seen some very interesting itineraries. Let us talk soon as plans are beginning for 2023.

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