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.

Leave a comment

Air travel in the future

Air travel will be different in the future.


After a year like 2020, it’s a safe bet to say that air travel will never be the same again. In an industry that was impacted at every level, countless changes have already occurred in order for airlines to adapt and survive.


There’s also renewed hope that the outbreak could soon wind down: Federal officials have approved a vaccine. Here’s a look at what the future of air travel holds—next year and beyond.


1. Long-haul flights will see new innovations


From virus-sniffing dogs in airports to new apps that process travelers’ COVID-19 information and contact-tracing from airlines, the air travel industry is getting creative in order to restart long-haul flights. Delta, for one, is set to restart flights to Europe with a new test regimen, while new apps will make vaccination status and test results easier for border officials to read.


2. Business travel will get a reboot


One of the most important parts of airlines’ recoveries will be winning back business travelers. But this valuable sector of passengers won’t settle for the same old premium cabin. Before they get back onto planes, business fliers want to see major adjustments like seats that are more spacious and private, fare classes with added perks, and lenient loyalty program policies—to name a few.


3. Vaccines are already making a difference


A vaccine is on the horizon, and travelers are already feeling more optimistic about flying next year: Flight search site Skyscanner reported that U.S. bookings for economy round-trip flights jumped up 9 percent on the heels of the first positive vaccine news. Airline CEOs, including those at Qantas Airways and Delta, have already hinted that they will soon require their passengers to be inoculated before flying.


4. New planes will change the airline experience


As post-pandemic recovery starts to take shape, experts say that the established trend of airlines eschewing larger double-decker planes, like the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, will accelerate. Instead, carriers are opting for nimbler and efficient jets—and even investing in some futuristic designs like a “blended wing” aircraft. Smaller planes won’t mean less comfort: Expect to see wider seats, larger windows that are able to dim, and more spacious overhead bins.


5. Booking will remain flexible


Passengers have been afforded more flexibility during the crisis—and they will be loath to give it up down the line. Fortunately, U.S. airlines seem to have already recognized this fact and have gone to work nixing inconvenient change and cancellation fees. Flying standby on the same day and putting frequent flier miles back into loyalty accounts are becoming free benefits, too. But the jury is still out on whether seat selection or baggage fees will see the chopping block.


Conde’ Nest Traveler

Leave a comment

A very good New Year to you!

A FRESH START: We made it. 2020’s over and 2021 has begun. There’s a long way to go before the pandemic is defeated, but with the vaccinations underway, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, the runway is in sight, the train is approaching the station.


The next few months may seem like the last but in time the vaccine will be distributed and people will become inoculated. So I do believe that by mid-August travel may begin to resume. Surely domestic travel will be safe to explore unknown destinations. If it is an island you wish to visit and still stay within the USA here are a few suggestions. https://www.travelawaits.com/2560021/quaint-us-islands-to-explore


Soon Europe will open slowly for American citizens. European Travel Commission is a Brussels-based collection of national tourism organizations that promotes travel to Europe; it has been working with European governments to find ways to open to more international travelers. EU leaders initially agreed that member countries should not independently lift travel restrictions before it’s been decided upon in a coordinated manner. Meanwhile as long as individual US states have their own COVID-19 policies, opening up the USA to and from travelers will be most difficult.


Before 2022 arrives, cruising may resume. I am already receiving marketing emails for 2022 sailings. When cruise lines do resume service, it will be on select cruise ships and not all at once. They will sail at reduced capacity and from homeports. A handful of cruise lines have resumed sailings on a couple cruise ships in the Mediterranean and out of Singapore. Cruise lines will be able to resume sailings out of U.S. ports when they receive approval from the CDC.


Meanwhile we need to hold tight for a few more months. But I am encouraging you to begin plans. When the world does fully open there will be many wanting to travel again, me included. Therefore, I do suggest you begin this new year with hopes and plans for tomorrows.


For now, I may not be answering the office telephone so do send me an email of your thoughts. If you do leave an office message I will pick it up in short order, just not immediately. Where and when have you been thinking of traveling? There are so many exciting plans we can arrange together. 

Leave a comment

Food on your mind


Italy boasts a wealth of postcard-perfect coastal towns, each with its own panorama of breathtaking ocean views. With their rows of colored houses blanketing the dramatic cliff faces, the towns are easy on the eye from the sea, too.

Part of the Cinque Terre National Park (comprised of five villages) in Liguria, Manarola is reputed to be the most colorful city in the world. With its vibrant buildings jostling for space, the town that is famed for its Manarolese dialect resembles an artist’s palette. Every year, visitors flock here to hike between the five villages, with numbers soaring in peak season. I went in the off season of November. Much was closed, but I could enjoy the whole experience, with a great guide.

Not matter where you are in Italy there are great tasting foods. When in Italy, here are some of the foods enjoyed!!
In addition to being the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany is central Italy’s most important wine region—and the country’s sixth largest wine-producing region. If the wine begins with a B it surely is delicious.

So here is to Italy.. Salute for food, wine and olives.. Of course I also go for the art, architecture, history, culture, rolling countryside, snowcapped mountains, opera, shopping and its friendly people!!
Happy Thanksgiving to all. 
Leave a comment

With caution!

I am beginning to offer airline reservations for the short term. Let us say until early January. I am not as concerned about the airplanes, but the airports can be congested. Mid December I am planning on going to Seattle. Midweek travel and first class are my best options. Many of the airlines are keeping a middle seat empty, but no guarantee. I look regularly at flights and many planes are very empty. With two weeks or so of travel, we can explore the best flights.


The travel experience looks a little different now, and I am here to help you arrive prepared.


In recent months, several states and countries have adopted new guidelines that may be applicable to your trip and we are continuing to monitor the latest safety and security protocols to ensure you have the latest information. Learn about self-quarantine, COVID-19 testing, health screening, documentation submission, app downloads, and additional information from your local airports of origin and destination. Here is a short list of restricted states. https://www.cntraveler.com/story/state-travel-restrictions-during-covid-19


Keep in mind


The travel restrictions are updated based on current information. Here is a quick glance of restrictions on the Delta website. https://www.delta.com/us/en/travel-update-center/flying-what-you-need-to-know/coronavirus-regional-restrictions?mkcpgn=EM_MKTG_TRAN_CL_201110_AA900803_A01A_P0_requirements


In addition, some countries have imposed temporary entry requirements, such as limiting entry to citizens, permanent residents, and select visa holders, or restricting to essential travel. We recommend you check directly with your destination’s embassy or immigrations office to confirm whether you are eligible to travel. In general, I am not recommending international travel. Please also confirm any requirements for connecting airport destinations if applicable to your itinerary as additional restrictions may apply. Additional global travel regulation information can be found through the U.S. Department of State. If you are traveling, learn your destination requirements. This website may be helpful. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html


As I said to my daughter-in-law, ‘our mental health is as important as our physical health.’ They are very inter-related. Hugs are essential as well as distance and masks. So, with extreme caution we can and will celebrate this festive season.


Do let me know how I can assist you. Best way to reach me is by email hahouse@alwaysharriet.com as I do not check the office messages very often. Stay well, stay safe.

Leave a comment

Shift the dates

Moving our typical holiday travel to February, April, or October can redound to your benefit in the form of lower rates, more space, and more flexibility. Not to mention that it allows you to shop for flights that will not just be cheaper, but likely filled with less anxious fellow passengers. It also lets you design a holiday to be whatever you wish it to be. Want to spend the morning surfing with your brother before having a huge picnic on the beach? Have Christmas in July. Want to blow off cooking entirely? An all-inclusive in the Caribbean next Easter. Come next summer Europe may be open for that wonderful exploring.


Family traditions are hard to change, but if the most important part of the tradition for your family is simply being together, it does not matter when you do it. So why not make it a little easier on yourself. After the last eight months, you deserve it. Remember, we need to get the countrywide daily numbers below 10,000 before we will be able to travel comfortably.


Meanwhile I continue to take interesting webinars. Have learned a great deal about rail travel in Europe and North America. And an excellent tour operator. One webinar on Rome I learned about places I have not been, despite my many visits. One of my favorite travel experiences is to go someplace I have already been. Feels like home! For now, I am watching movies, no matter how bad, if the setting is in a favorite location!! I stop the movie to figure out where it is, on what city street, or at which museum or hotel. We can still travel in our minds!


Stay well, stay safe, and call your friends. We all now need more connection.

Leave a comment

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer

What is sustaining me all these months is the memory of all the marks that have been made on me. I remember the conversations with complete strangers in a foreign language. And yet we shared thoughts and pleasures. Some of the things that made me richer also made me much poorer! A great Michelin star meal here or there, a wonderful private guide, and the four-star hotel! But no, they also made me much richer. It is the memories that sustain us. Let me hear about your favorite memories that made you richer.


Keep up the good work! We will see the end of this pandemic. Continue to help make it sooner. Remember the newsletter 28 – 3. We may still be at three, but the game has a long way to go. Other pandemics are history, we read about them, and we will read about this one too! Stay well.  

Leave a comment

Back to the Basics – Air Travel

It’s been a while since you purchased an airline ticket. Whether you book on your own or contact me, here is some basic lingo!


Types of Flights


For most people traveling by air, the only thing that matters is that your flight is safe, on time, and as fast and simple as possible. The simplicity of a flight depends on the stops. A stop occurs whenever a plane lands, and there are different types. A connection is a stop that occurs when the passenger gets off a plane with the sole purpose of boarding another plane. A stopover is a planned break in a journey. Stops count as stopovers whenever the traveler stays at a domestic location for more than four hours—or, for international flights, 24 hours—unless no flight to the destination is available on that airline. If such a flight is available, you must take the next available flight to avoid paying for a stopover. Often, extended stopovers cost more money.


Types of Journeys


No matter the type of flight, you always will take four basic types of journeys:

• A one-way trip is a journey from an originating city to a destination city, with no return to the origin. The journey may be made on one or more flights and may or may not require you to change planes.


• A round-trip is a journey that returns to the city where it began, without additional stopovers. Thus, the ultimate destination is the originating city, with the same route used going and coming.


• A circle trip is like a round-trip except that the route on the return trip differs from the route on the outgoing trip. The journey involves two or more stopovers and returns to the originating city.


• An open-jaw trip is like a round-trip except that you either: (1) returns to a city different from the point of origin, or (2) departs for the return trip from a city other than the original destination.


As you can see, air can be complex. Let alone involving more than one carrier. Some work together and others do not!


THE TRAVEL INSTITUTE 

Leave a comment

Turn off the Pause Button

Slowly in the weeks to come I will begin to reopen my business. There will be a very new business plan. As the past several months have shown the travel industry, all of us; suppliers, agencies and consultants, and clients that the old model does not work. First, the old model was just too relaxed. As a result, we all got hurt during this pandemic. With better details and guidelines, we can all have a better travel experience. A new model is mandatory if I am to continue to be able to provide you with the level of expertise and service you have come to expect and deserve.


The travel industry will never be quite the same. Most, but not all, travel companies I book for you pay me commission for the service I provide for them, but no longer enough for the service I provide for you. So, the business model is changing. More to follow in weeks to come.


For those of you most eager to travel there are some bright spots in the industry. A few countries are opening to US travelers with restrictions, especially for tests. Many states are still requiring a quarantine upon arrival if you are departing from highly infected state. Caution is most advised and learn the restrictions before you depart. We are all learning to live with the virus. Yet we need to remain vigilant. To fully open our country and others for US traveler, the USA numbers need to get down. Currently the USA has about 40,000 new virus cases a day, we need to get that number down to under 10,000. If you want to travel it is up to us.


WEAR THE MASK, STAY DISTANT AND USE THE WIPES. We are all in this together. Until all co-operate, none will be safe to travel.


Meanwhile, begin to plan and think about the future. Click on the Wanderlist icon and dream. Fall of 2021 and 2022 are not that far away! Stay well.

Leave a comment

The VIP Lounge

If you do not have a membership or credit card that gives you access to the VIP Lounges, when this is all over, do get one, even if you travel only occasionally. They are clean, comfortable, and most relaxing.


But the VIP Lounge I am referring to is a column in the Sunday Boston Globe. A celebrity is interviewed about their travel preferences. Of course, I read it each weekend. I like to rethink my travel wishes. Maybe you will too! Questions like Favorite destination, (Florence), Favorite food or drink while vacationing, (pasta and a Nebbiolo), and Aisle or window (aisle). What are your preferences?


But my favorite is Where would you like to travel but haven’t? Often the answer is someplace I have traveled but then I get to get my own answer. For now, when we can/may travel again I would like to find a friend or two and experience Sicily. I planned the trip years ago, but then could not go. I often imagine that trip. Want to join me?


Another question ‘one item you can’t leave home without when you’re traveling? Most of you will respond with electronic items, me none of them. But I cannot imagine being without a book.


Guilty pleasure when traveling? Truth be told, I have two and often arrange both prior to leaving home. I like a massage right away to get rid of all those airplane aches, sometime a pool will do. This gets me into a holiday mood! My greatest pleasure is a Michelin star restaurant. An elegantly delicious meal served in a foreign place is my idea of a great holiday.


Lastly, Best travel tip. Make plans. You may have lots of ideas, knowing the details is most important. Then make space for spontaneity, life happens while you are living it. Let the journey be your guide.  

Leave a comment