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.  

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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!


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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.

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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.  

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Talking Points

Many of you may hear me talk about all the emails I get daily. It is 9:30 am and I have already 54. Some are political and one is personal, from my sister. The majority are mostly for me to tell you what is happening here and there. A new hotel in Chile or a tour in Croatia. Who knows what all will be when we can travel? I am not interested in encouraging your traveling anywhere right now. We all need to stay home so we all can travel again. Meanwhile I continue to take webinars on how the industry will change and destinations you may like to explore.

The Boston Globe has a section called Talking Points. It is amazing how much is about the travel and hospitality industry. Today alone; “Lufthansa to cut more staff, sideline more jets as travel ends with summer; Cruise industry looking to test all guests and crew in order to set sail again; Airbus unveils three designs for hydrogen powered planes; And lastly for today’s Talking Points.. Whistle blower says more changes needed to retooled 737 Max.” Do you have any idea how many 737 Max planes there are grounded? At least 387!

Beyond this section are articles on the west coast wildfires and how they hurt tourism, Hurricane Sally and more are destroying beaches and property, Deaths due to the Pandemic pass 200,000 keeping US citizens within our borders, the airline industry, hospitality, and travel agencies in dire economic straits.

It is a wonder I still get out of bed and read the paper! We will survive! We will travel again! We may experience a tour in Croatia. Meanwhile we do need to stay home, always stay distant and wear our masks outside our homes.

PS Last Friday I did my 5th and 6th domestic tickets since the first of March. It was fun to use my brain!   

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New Beginnings

Several times a year we can begin anew, depending on your faith and activities. September has both a new ’school’ and faith renewals. Though we all know this year’s will be most different,we can still begin anew.

Though I may not be ready to fully open my business, little windows may begin to let in the fresh air. The festive holidays are not far away, and several places are open for business. This may be a time for the family to come together. A few of the Caribbean islands are allowing travelers. My favorite St. Lucia is one of them. Resorts are eager for business and have extensive cleaning and health measures in place.  Many resorts have villas to accommodate multi-generational families. 

As Europe is still not open for Americans, we need to continue to extend our plans until 2021. We can travel within the USA with restrictions; states are different. Ski season is soon upon us and the southern states have warm weather. So, we can make some plans for a winter holiday. We just all need to be most flexible. Airlines are being flexible by allowing changes without a fee. Many hotels and resorts have reduced their cancellation policies. Each and all are different so careful decisions are important. This is where I can help you understand all the red tape. And help make the changes if need be.  

So, let us begin to look out the window and let in fresh air. That does not mean today but soon. The festive season will not be as crowded this year so maybe a great time to go out. Plus, we do not need to celebrate a holiday on a particular date this year, maybe we can go early or late.  The middle of December and January are low times in the season and often less money. If you have students learning online… well they can learn from St. Lucia!  

Call and let us begin to travel again together.  Stay well and stay safe.

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As the world begins to reopen to international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, we face a new dilemma.

As communities around the globe begin to open after months of lockdown, and it appears we can travel to select destinations, many of us travelers are wondering whether we indeed should travel. After sheltering in place to protect our health and be responsible citizens, how far do we go in opening up ourselves?

COVID-19 has certainly not been beaten. We have made some progress with treatments but still have no vaccine. The virus remains a mystery to us in many ways. But we have also learned that asking all nonessential workers to shelter in place brings enormous personal and economic costs. The unemployment rate in the United States has ballooned, with certain communities and sectors of the economy hit particularly hard. The U.S. leisure and hospitality industries have lost over 50 percent of their jobs in the past months, and in countries that are more dependent on travel and hospitality, the impact has been even worse.

I am a huge believer in travel as a force for good in the world. Travel is responsible for approximately 10 percent of global GDP and spreads wealth across the globe. And as we all know, the benefits of travel go far beyond economics. Done right, travel fosters creativity, cross-cultural understanding, and empathy in both the traveler and the host. Of course, I want everyone to be able to experience all those benefits as soon as we can.

The question of whether we should travel has become very personal. I am a big believer in trying to act out of caution rather than fear. Caution, to me, implies responding to rational concerns. Fear implies responding to emotions. If you or someone close to you is vulnerable to COVID-19, you are going to be especially cautious. If you have been staying home out of a sense of civic responsibility, then you may feel ready to travel as soon as restrictions are loosened in your community.

I think travelers’ first step from sheltering in place is to travel in their communities and regions. And as we take even those first, small steps, we will need to be sensitive. We will encounter people who we think are being overly cavalier and others who are more cautious than we are. After sheltering with mostly like-minded people, this will take some getting used to. We will likely find ourselves in some uncomfortable situations. This will all be part of the process, for us as individuals and as a community. We are starting to incrementally spread out and seeing what happens. As I mentioned above, there are still so many unknowns: Will infection rates jump? Why do some communities have lower rates than others? We should learn from all this.

Once you are comfortable within your own community, you can decide what is most critical for you as you travel farther from home. At this time of heightened sensitivity, I can be especially helpful. What you are comfortable with and uncomfortable with. I can research the situations in the places you are considering and speak to the hotels in person to help reduce unpleasant surprises.

While we were sheltering in place, the travel and hospitality industries responded quickly to reset their operations to deal with our new world. We should all expect more touchless interactions, more plexiglass, and masks, more and better cleaning, and so on. We also need to ask our hosts what their expectations are of us as their guests. Of course, not everything can be worked out in advance, and we must be respectful of each other as we face new challenges. But when a good host welcomes a good guest, our travel experiences can be as rich and fulfilling as ever.

We are each going to have to go at our own pace, and of course we need to pay careful attention to what local officials are saying about the rules for visiting a destination. But if destinations are open to respectful visitors, then we can be open to visiting.
Where are you thinking of going? We can certainly think!!

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Museums of Note

In just about every city there are several cultural institutions. Many celebrate our black history. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati are excellent examples the story of the Black people’s struggle, pain, and triumphs.

There are smaller museums with big stories to share, where you will rarely have to worry about crowds. There is almost always a passionate curator, steeped in the local lore and legends, ready to tell stories you will not hear elsewhere. At these smaller Black history museums, the intimate lessons of the past are priceless.

Alexandria Black History Museum, Virginia

In the heart of the Parker-Gray Historic District, the Alexandria Black History Museum is in a 1940s structure that was originally the Robinson Library, the Black community’s first public library. Inside, you’ll find stories like that of Ferdinand Day, the first Black chairman of a public-school board in Virginia, who helped desegregate higher education. Then there’s Lewis Henry Bailey, who was sold from the Alexandria Slave Pen—part of the headquarters for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States, Franklin and Armfield. When Bailey was emancipated in 1863, he walked from Texas back to Alexandria and went on to found five churches and two schools. “We tell the deep, wonderful, untold stories and hope mistakes and horrors aren’t repeated,” says museum director Audrey Davis

Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture, Mississippi

This Natchez museum starts in 1716 and works its way to the present via art, photographs, documentaries, books—including those of native son Richard Wright—and more. The city’s legacy includes Forks of the Road, the second largest slave market in the South; the Rhythm Nightclub fire, where more than 200 Black people died; and the Parchman Ordeal, where hundreds of civil rights protestors seeking equal voting rights were rounded up and put in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman in 1965. The museum is unique in its Civil War history: “People come here to start their ancestry search,” says Bobby Dennis, chairman of the Natchez Association of African American Culture. “They can access our log, pull up names of soldiers, and then go to the Department of Defense for records. This is a major step in finding information, because many records of Blacks were destroyed or hidden.”

Black American West Museum & Heritage Center, Denver

At this museum, you’ll learn about the Black Cowboys and the Five Points neighborhood of Denver. From the 1920s to 1960s, Five Points was called the Harlem of the West because of its rich Jazz history, restaurants, and nightclubs. The neighborhood was frequented by the likes of Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, and Ella Fitzgerald. Then there’s the story of “Stagecoach” Mary Fields, the first Black postwoman in the U.S.

Other interesting museums, but I do not have the space to detail are:

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Charlotte, North Carolina

Jack Hadley Black History Museum, Thomasville, Georgia

Chappie James Museum of Pensacola, Florida

African American Museum and Library at Oakland, California

Whether you are black, white, or brown, museums tell our history, even art museums tell history. So now, it may be a good time to explore your local museum or go check out one of the above.

Conde Nest Travel 

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And the Beat Goes On

This is rough. The world has not opened back up as we had hoped it would by now and so, basically, all future travel has become aspirational. Domestic travel has gotten complicated because some states are not welcoming folks from other states with open arms because of COVID-19. And maybe you had mapped out a fabulous road trip only to learn that none of the restaurants or bars in the places you’re going to will be open when you get there.

This is beyond exhausting. One day recently, a colleague said to me so earnestly, “You know what I did last night because I was so mad at the world? I went out into the parking lot and screamed at the moon.”

Screaming at the moon, however, is sounding pretty good right now, unless you’ve just given into the universe and are enjoying your summer as others have for years, by growing tomatoes, going to the beach or lying out on a chaise lounge in your backyard. Sometimes you have just got to let it go. Edited from Ruthanne Terrero

Patience I am told. Most of you know I am unemployed since March and everything got cancelled. I can live with that, what I need more patience is for those who are not following health guidelines. The longer this virus spreads the longer we cannot travel safely, and I cannot go back to work. Some say I need to set a travel tone and go someplace in an airplane. I love what I do for you all and want to continue doing so, which requires me to continue sheltering. My children would have a fit if I got into an airplane. Two clients that have been in an airport and on a plane say they were comfortable. And yes, there is a slight up tick in traveling. It is still well below 80 percent of last year. If the planes are crowded, it is because there are so few planes in the air.

As much as I would like to tell you about the latest promotion and openings, there will be plenty of time for that when the time comes. You all can help make that time to come. Help your friends and family stay safe. Set an example and wear the mask, wash your hands, and stay home as much as possible.

All for now, stay safe so we all can travel again. Peace, Harriet
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Make Your Bedroom Feel Like Your Favorite Hotel

Part of the joy of staying in a fancy hotel is the bed: the fluffy pillows, the soft linens, the mattress that seems to conform to your body from the moment you lie down. The first thing most of us do when walking into a hotel room is stretch out on our new throne. Then there are the other amenities that make you feel pampered, from the delicious-smelling toiletries to the thick, cozy robes you find inside the wardrobe, that you wish you could bring back home. And of course, you can for a cost!

When you are not on the road, it can be nice to add some of that luxury into your everyday life. In time of lock down, maybe now is the time to pamper and custom your bedroom like a luxury resort.

First think about the linens. High count Egyptian cotton sheets or bedding with high-quality, but more affordable, bed and bath items are available, including silky Sateen and crisp Percale sheets. Big white fluffy towels are always a treat.

A mattress makes or breaks a bed, so if you find one you like, it’s worth the investment. Is your mattress 20 years old? Yes, time to replace.

When it comes to the number of pillows on your bed, the more, the merrier. A medium-to-firm support pillow made of a mix of feather and down, or if you need a hypoallergenic pillow, some are made with 100 percent recycled fiber fill.

The luxury linen lines also makes robes. Bathrobe, which is thick, heavy, and feels downright luxurious. It’s made with cotton terry and has two deep pockets for you to slide your phone, headphones, and snacks into while relaxing with your morning cup of coffee.

If you’ve been padding around the house barefoot, it’s time to invest in a good pair of slippers. Maybe you even have a pair from that favorite luxury hotel.

Of course, then there are all the beauty products. Go find some you like or arrange a few of the bottles you already acquired from that favorite luxury hotel!!!

Close your eyes and PRETEND FOR NOW. STAY SAFE.
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