Here’s to the future!

We’ve locked down, canceled trips and spent countless milestones – birthdays, graduations and honeymoons – cooped up at home. But with an end in sight, it’s time for a do-over. Time to dream again. To book that cruise (2022), map out an epic road trip, or plan a family reunion. To remind ourselves why we travel in the first place – to celebrate ourselves, one another, and the world.


Usually at this time of year I begin planning your holidays for summer, fall and winter. It is not too early. We may never know again, world prior to 2019, but that does not mean we cannot go out and explore it. We need to be responsible and respectful, and we can go.


To where will your first journeys be? Some questions you can ask yourself to help decide.


If you could eat anywhere right now, where would it be?


What is the place you are most fixated on visiting next?


Your favorite place in the world for a return visit?


What picture have you seen you want to see in person?


Make a wish list of 20 places and priorities. Sometimes it is the twentieth idea that becomes your first priority. If you are looking for a family outing, have everyone make a list and then explore what overlaps. Included in your list will be a budget. Some places cost a lot less than others. The Grand Canyon is most reasonable while the Galapagos can be expensive. But then I can usually move a budget up or down in most locations.


So time is of the essence if you want to travel after September 2021. Now is the time to plan and execute. Let us talk soon.  

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Updated policies

Consumer Disclosure Notice. 2021


AlwaysHarriet.com under the umbrella of Vista Travel Inc. is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality travel service and advise available. In this era of global uncertainty, I strongly recommend that you use a credit card to pay for all your travel plans. As always, I urge you to purchase travel insurance. If you choose not to take insurance, your signature denying insurance will be required. There are several travel insurance companies, I primarily use Travelex. Please do select the one that is best for you. Many companies offer different levels of insurance with different premiums based upon the coverage you select. Please read all carefully.


For detailed personal itineraries, there will now be an upfront nonrefundable deposit. This amount will be based on the number of travelers, days of travel and the details being provided. This may be paid with a personal check to me. The customary fees for airline/hotel/car reservations will continue and be charged upon purchase of tickets. This fee may vary with the destination and number of travelers. While airlines may not charge a change fee, I may, depending on the situation.


Lastly, please note, each tour operator and airlines have their unique policies. Some are allowing cancellations with no penalty while others are allowing payments to be forwarded to a future date. The travel industry, while still recovering from near collapse, is very fluid. Until the world is vaccinated, rules and regulations will constantly be changing.


Please remember I am your advisor, it is important for you to know what your plans entail. Double checking and asking lots of questions is most important. You all need to know what is happening on the ground where you wish to travel. I recommend you check before leaving the USA with….. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/


What you knew yesterday may not be true today. We all need to keep on top of our changing world. Remember ‘none are safe until we all are safe’.


Meanwhile as Rick Steve’s says “Keep on Traveling”!  

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The best way to predict the future is to create it

The best way to predict the future is to create it.” —Abraham Lincoln

This is a favorite Lincoln quote of mine. After this past year, thinking we can create anything seems very remote. We create in so many ways. Among them are our thoughts and dreams. We all can make them.


CNN on Sunday nights has a show “Searching for Italy” with Stanley Tucci. The show has gotten my thoughts and dreams going. I so enjoy reminiscing of my past sojourns. I have experienced much of Italy. But not three regions: Sicily, the lake district and the Po River Valley. Years ago I planned to go to the Po River Valley, but went to Piedmont instead.


Now, I probably should no longer drive by myself in a foreign country. So what did I do? I went on line to check out the Italian rail service. And I started to create my future. Trains run between the small cities; Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna and then connect with Florence! Or go north to Padua and Venice. What a journey this will be… the Valley has the best balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, prosciutto, soft wheat pasta and of course the beef!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgjWOo7IqQY&list=RDCMUCwiTOchWeKjrJZw7S1H__1g&index


Did you know the Valley fog creates these wonderful flavors? Food and art, and bit of shopping, what could make a better cool weather holiday. I am thinking October 2022. Who would like to join me?


If we start saving now, we could put together something special to look forward to!


Where would you like to know next? The world will open one day and we need to be prepared. Stay well. 

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The fresh outdoors is waiting for you.

Slow Travel in some ways has complemented the slow return to regular travel. It’s allowed us to connect more with where we live and dig deeper into the connections we have or discover things we may never have before.


Experience what the United States has to offer, from the Alaskan wilderness (there are great land options) and rugged coast of California to the sweeping landscapes of Wyoming and temperate rain forest of the Pacific Northwest and more. There are also the Blue Ridge mountains to the White Mountains in the east. Then in the middle, there are the Hot Springs and Big Bend. So many beautiful national parks country-wide. All can be a lot of outdoors in the clean fresh air.


While the vaccine rolls out globally, travel restrictions are still in place and we can’t quite return to normal. In the meantime, start gathering inspiration and connect with us to plan your next domestic getaway.


Breathe deep. The air of the Pacific Northwest has restorative powers (if you ask me). The landscapes and communities in Washington & Oregon lend themselves to adventure and unforgettable experiences, whether it be cycling between wineries in the Willamette Valley or kayaking in Puget Sound among orca whales. A feast for the senses and the soul.


Experiencing California starts with unparalleled coastline and gets better from there. Lover of food & wine? Tuck in to a getaway in Napa & Sonoma. Need time in the sun? Bike Santa Barbara and stay beachside in award-winning hotels. It’s all about knowing the local secrets.


Big adventure awaits in Hawaii, no matter what island. Exploring the depths of the tropical nature while recharging in the most exclusive resorts. Traveling with family, friends or on a honeymoon, itineraries can be customized to suit any occasion and activity level, whether you’d rather be hiking an active volcano or parking yourself in a beach cabana.


The American Southwest transports you to another world: red rocks, gravity-defying landscapes, and a slower approach to living. Glamp perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon, experience the illustrious desert-style luxury of Amangiri, or immerse yourself in the Colorado mountains – staying in what was once a gold rush mining town.


Maine will always be worth the trip. The islands and coastline of rugged granite and spruce paint a stunning backdrop for your visit; whether biking, hiking, or checking into a historic property to recharge.


I can go on and on from each state or region of the USA. Let me customize your planning experience that ensures your ideal itinerary is infused into ”the joy in your life journey through the art of unique travel experiences.”


Edited from Butterfield and Robinson  

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What do you do?

A friend was surprised when I described to her a detailed itinerary I arranged for Spain and France. I asked her, ‘what do you think I do?’ She wondered if my clients knew? She thought I did mostly airline tickets. Actually airline tickets are a small but necessary part of my business. They come with the entire package. I am an agent for tour operators, airlines, hotels and resorts and car services. I am also a consultant/advisor for you, my clients. My primary job is to learn what you would like to do and find the supplier that meets your needs. I have personal relationships with many suppliers and as a Virtuoso Agency (I work under the umbrella of Vista Travel) I have access to special rates and information with their suppliers. There is much I can do that is not available to you on Expedia or other online programs. I have over thirty years of experience and travel knowledge, plus colleagues with even more. In these Covid days, that are not going away anytime soon, having someone on your side throughout your entire trip gives great peace of mind. And hassle free.


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


If you have been vaccinated or will be soon, and new deadly variants have not arrived, now may be the time for you to take that holiday you have been dreaming. We will continue to wear our masks, stay distanced and wash for a very long time. But that does not mean we cannot travel domestically and responsibly. I talk to everyone I know who has been in an airport and on a plane to learn about the experience. They are saying they were clean and comfortable.


So time to venture a bit. Where would you like to go?   

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No Matter where it’s going

Yesterday while cleaning out a drawer in my desk, I found this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1830-1886) I think we are all ready to take a train (there were no airplanes or cars when this poem was written!)


The railroad track is miles away, And the day is loud with voice speaking, Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day, But I hear its whistle shrieking.


All night there isn’t a train goes by, Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, But I see its cinders red on the sky, And hear its engine steaming.


My heart is warm with friends I make, And better friends I’ll not be knowing, Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, No matter where it’s going.


I do believe we are all ready to take that train to someplace. Many of us have not left town for many a day. So to begin dreaming and planning is a very good idea. As the past two months have mysteriously passed, so will the next two or three. And you will wonder why you did not plan your safe holiday.

Certainly domestic travel will be open for business come this summer. We will all keep an eye on the rest of the world as to when it will be open to us all.


Meanwhile stay safe, the pandemic is not over. Just a few more weeks. You can do it. The prize will be well worth the wait.  

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Getting Ready

There are clearly mixed messages about when to travel. https://whencanwetravelsafelyagain.splashthat.com/ is very interesting if you have the time. I do believe by the autumn the world will begin to open. You may want to keep an eye on the country you would like to visit by going to https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/world.php As you can see, most of the world is closed and need proof of a covid test or vaccine. Summer is coming, which last year had much lower transmission, mostly because we are all more outdoors and the windows are open. So I do think domestic travel, at least, will be ok in a few months. I am actually planning on two family visits. I will have had my second vaccine inoculation by then. Still we need to follow the rules! Double mask in crowded environments, like the airports, stay 6 feet or more from others, wash your hands often and keep a window open when possible. You set your own personal boundaries. I do not share an elevator for example.


The Covid and Variants are here to stay. We need to learn to live with them. We will be wearing masks and follow the rules for a long, long time. That does not mean we cannot travel. But we do need to remember, it is travel that caused the pandemic.


So let us begin to travel and travel responsibly! We are all connected.


Daily I am receiving emails for 2022 travel, especially the small river boat cruises. These are always popular, comfortable and relaxing travel. If you wanted to go in 2020 and are not comfortable with 2021, then you clearly need to plan for 2022 now. Just think of all the people who have not traveled in over a year.


Another reason to plan now is the travel industry is not very busy and now we have time for your special attention.

There are so many domestic places to travel responsibly. Alaska by land and any of the National Parks. The Rocky Mountaineer or Amtrak long hauls. There are many safe places to go. Let us talk now.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, means a special day to share with your loved ones.


Recently I read a true story about a son who took his mother on an airplane ride. She lived in northeastern Alabama and had never been more than 20 miles from her birth place. So a flight from Atlanta to New York City was quite the experience. Now that is love!


Here from “All Over but the Shoutin’” by Rich Bragg.


We sat in first class, in the front row. That was when my momma asked me the first of what I estimate to be one million questions.


How big was it? How many people rode on it? Where did they sit? How many pilots did it take to fly it? Did I reckon they was any good at what they did? Were we moving yet? Could we feel it move? Had I ever flown in this plane before and did I reckon it was a pretty good one? Would we see a movie? Would we be flying over water?


Was it supposed to make so much racket just rolling on the ground? How did the man flying the plane know where to go? How did he keep from getting lost above the clouds? How high would we fly?


What keeps us in the air? “ (edited)


How many of you have had similar questions, even when it was your 10th flight?


I remember a flight years ago, going from Pittsburgh to Roanoke Virginia in a very small plane. I just kept telling myself I was on a bumpy road! ‘Cause it sure was a bumpy ride!

Do you remember your first flight or a one with a story you would like to share? Flying in a metal tube 30,000 feet above the earth is not very comfortable in anyone’s mind.

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We are getting closer

As January is over that means we are closer to summer and the fall. And with the warmer weather and more vaccines we will be able to move about our country and the world. This week I have been planning for a client, a belated honeymoon and it is so much fun to use my brain and creativity.


You may not have a belated honeymoon to plan, but how about a belated holiday! So few of you have been outside your community for 10 months now! So maybe you can begin to think and plan, not just think about tomorrow morning!


Surely, some places will be safer than others. The more outdoors the better for sure. Going to a resort and staying put may seem like home, but others will be catering to you. Whether it is skiing a favorite mountain or walking a beach, you will be outdoors breathing fresh safe air! There are interesting biking and hiking tours in many wonderful places. They are designed for all levels of activity, ages and families. What a grand way for a family to connect.


Major city holidays may be on hold for a bit longer. There are secondary cities, with fewer people and tourism. Instead of Paris, Bordeaux, or instead of Brussels, Bruges. Every country has secondary cities that are wonderful to explore. States are the same: Albany instead of New York City, Worcester over Boston. They all have interesting museums, shopping and entertainment venues. So think outside the box and begin as we are getting closer to opening.


I am not ready to suggest a cruise or African safari, but we can plan safe and interesting holidays. Maybe not for March or April, but surely for the fall. Now is the time I usually make plans for two seasons ahead. With all the proper precautions we can do it together. Where would you like to go and when? Let us do it together!

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The gift of being unsure of what to do

The title is of a very long Boston Globe article, Sunday 17 January.


We all have a great deal of uncertainty in our lives. The Pandemic has just heightened our anxiety. We do not know when we will be free to move about, without the fear of getting the virus. But all indications that when the sun comes out in the late spring, we may be fairly safe to begin planning moving about. It’s all up to us: to our wearing the mask and getting a vaccination.


Of course travel is never certain. It is the uncertainty of it that makes it exciting. It is what stimulates our juices. Travel gives us an opportunity to grow. To think and act outside the box.


So I think if we begin to think and plan a fall holiday our January blues will subside. We can address our uncertainties and learn what we can do safely. Think about all those uncertain feelings you have and set them aside. Say, ‘yes I can’. I am saying make reservations that are flexible. As we all gather together we can make the travel and hospitality industry alive again. A 2020 Economic Impact Report shows how crucial the Travel & Tourism sector will be to kicking start the US economy. The sector contributed 8.6% towards the U.S. economy, more than $1.8bn in GDP, and supported more than 10% of all jobs in 2019. And this does not include all the bi-products of travel like restaurants and shopping. It may take a while but planning needs to begin. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We may still be in the tunnel but we need to look forward to the light. And when we come out of the tunnel we will have a plan for travel.


How may I help you design your holiday? As I am not very busy now, it is a great time to begin your plans.

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