It is December! How many of you have not traveled since the pandemic began? I missed my cruises, the excitement of being on the ship, the excursions, the shows, the elegant dinners, walking around and meeting new and fun people, the pool, the gym, going dancing, taking some interesting “classes,” waking up in a new port, shopping, breakfast in the room, (I avoided the buffet, so I wouldn’t overeat 😜). I even miss the casino, the massages and mani-pedis, why not?
I can see myself getting onboard again and enjoying every bit of the cruise once we get the vaccine. I have so many more countries on my bucket list to explore. Thirty-four at least to be exact! My goal is to get to 120 – so you do the math of how many countries I have already been to. I couldn’t add any on my list this year from the 3 cruises we missed. Right now, exactly now, we were supposed to be taking one starting in Singapore and ending in Dubai.
Hopefully next year!
Travel will come back even better and stronger than before. People need to get away so badly. I hope all Travel Agents/Advisors are ready to take care of all those bookings. Smart travelers will not make the arrangements themselves. They need a good and experienced advisor to hold their hand. There will also be so many first-time travelers going places, especially to Mexico and The Caribbean. Watch my prediction!
This is the reaction of a human being, to celebrate life after a pandemic, after a difficult year. The world is a big party and we all need to celebrate by embracing new cultures, old cultures, speaking HELLO in other languages, and feeling alive again!
It’s almost Thanksgiving, can you believe it? We’re supposed to go around our smaller tables and say something we are thankful for – and I would add, something we’ve learned to cope with during such a difficult year.
In my case I am thankful for my family’s health (so far 🙏) and I am learning to be patient. I truly thought that patience was a gene I was born without.
I have had to learn to let so many things go this year. Sure, I cried when almost no one was watching, but I would wear a happy face and tell everyone that only God knew why He was doing certain things. Inside, I sometimes felt as though my heart was smashed into little pieces.
As I am writing this blog, I am sitting outside in my car. We don’t have electricity in the house today or tomorrow because they are changing the electrical power on our block. I am currently waiting for the results from a COVID test I had yesterday. Results are supposed to come in 24 hours, but who is counting, right? Almost 25 hours and the clock is ticking, but I have gotten no email or text message.
I got my iPhone upgraded from 8 to the new 12! Awesome right? NOPE! WhatsApp doesn’t work well, and I have friends, family and “partners in the travel business” all over the world, and that is the best way to communicate with them. The way WhatsApp is behaving is very strange. It seems to pick and choose certain messages, senders, and receivers. Otherwise it says: “Waiting for this message. This may take a while.” That means NEVER!
Rosana, take a deep breath, pretend to enjoy the gene you were born without. Pretend you have PATIENCE- and remember that 2021 is coming soon. And no, don’t let your depression and anxiety tell you that next year could be the same or worse! Be your own best friend, be kind to yourself, and think that the worst is almost over.
If you needed to hear that, good! If you didn’t, thank you for your kindness to me!
Have you thought how about how flexible your mind is and about your attitude towards change? I was talking to my personal trainer and discussing how many people have gained weight during this year.
I am not judging anyone, we all know that eating more or less has to do with how we deal with our feelings. Some, I believe fewer than average, eat less during a stressful time. It is a matter of control, they can’t control their environment so they control their food intake.
On the other hand, most people eat more to avoid dealing with their real feelings, trying to “fill up” the emptiness of what they feel inside. Unfortunately, food intake is not going to fulfill their feeling of emptiness.
The real winners are the ones who can express how sad, unhappy, frustrated they feel, and name their feelings (hopefully without “hurting” others physically or emotionally) and deal with their real feelings and use food only for nutrition. Easier said than done!
Food is one easy way to see how people deal with change. Another sign is withdrawal. Suddenly a friend disappears,with no calls, no texts, no nothing. That can indicate serious depression, or another mental illness. PLEASE REACH OUT! If you can’t, reach another common friend. Some people may need help and mental health is very important especially in these hard times. Don’t judge, don’t think about the differences you may have had in the past, just be kind and reach out, for them and for yourself!
Today I went to have breakfast at the same restaurant I have been going to for a while, with the same awesome waiter. The restaurant had the same number of patrons, but because it was windy at the beach, they changed the serving area slightly. I noticed the waiter seemed a little lost. Not the same smile or regular charm. Well, this small change of venue really did a trick on him. At the end, when we went to pay our tab he seemed a little embarrassed and told us that he hoped that next week we would be in the same place as we’d been every week before. This little change was overwhelming for him. Be sensitive! Not everyone experience changes the same way. Try to step into other’s shoes and ask yourself how would you feel.
No matter what your life is about, when you love what you do you don’t need to “work” a day in your life. Just get inspired and become more and more creative. The excitement comes so naturally that ideas flow easily and you can feel your adrenaline pumping.
Does this sound familiar?
Yes? Great! I am so happy for you! You are on the right path and you know that no matter what, the light is at the end of the tunnel (some have longer tunnels than others!)
No? No problem! While there is a will, there is a way. I believe that – not only because it has happened to me but also because I have had the pleasure of guiding many people to their success, especially in the travel business which is my true passion.
If you are passionate about travel and you believe 110% that to travel well a person needs an advisor, then you can be a successful travel agent/advisor.
I have never met a successful person that can sell something he/she would never buy.
I have heard that some incredible salespeople can sell ice to the Eskimos but those are the ones who truly believe that their ice is much better than the ice that is available for free.
My point is that if you are passionate about something (in our case, travel) and believe in the power of the knowledge of an expert, and know you can be that person, it is only a matter of time that you will succeed.
Like doing anything else, don’t rush, don’t cut corners, and don’t overdo. Build your business with a solid base and enjoy each and every step!
Good luck and remember I am a message or an email away, rooting for your success and ready to answer your questions!
We have just started November of 2020. When the lockdown started in March, who could have imagined a year like this? So much has been lost! People’s lives, businesses, celebrations and so many other losses that we will learn of in the future – what a devastating year we’ve had.
I could write about all the bad things that have happened to me and to people I know, but I choose to write about all the things we’ve learned, focus on the blessings, and take 2020 as a Sabbatical year, even though I wasn’t asking for one.
Did you notice how, suddenly, the world seems so much closer when you can have a conference or meeting by Zoom? How many more virtual hugs you can get from all around the world, from friends and family, when before you were only counting the real hugs from people around you.
Even small celebrations can be shared with cousins in Australia, with distant friends in Morocco and family around Italy. Instead of 150 guests, you have 200 meaningful people happy for your celebration. Life is worth being celebrated – despite Covid.
I applaud those who took the time to learn a new skill, started a new business, started or wrote a book, or created something new. If those people could do that during 2020, they understand life in a simpler and more resilient way. They took advantage of a Sabbatical year to become a better person.
For those who didn’t, guess what? The good news is that this year is not over. Most of us even get one more hour on Sunday! We still have time to learn and make from 2020 a better YOU!
In last week’s blog I spoke about some international places that I recommend for Travel Lovers. Some of you commented about other places like Tanzania and Egypt. I like them a lot and I would recommend them as well.
I was really hoping for more input from you, travel experts, about other places you recommend to your clients.
Now, I want to suggest some places in the US for those who are Travel Lovers but feel safer staying in the country; maybe traveling by car or RV, or flying a shorter distance. Here is my list and again, I appreciate your input.
PARK CITY/DEER VALLEY:
Top ski destination in general, and Deer Valley always limits the number of people on the mountains.
Great properties to chose from with residential/villa-style feel.
Easy to get to with direct flights
Quick and easy flights
Great for getting out in nature (what people are looking for if you live in a city)
Good option for active families (particularly skiers)
Aspen is very popular right now. Most lively and luxe options in Colorado.
Drivable from both San Francisco and Los Angeles
Great hotel and villa selections (particularly homes on the lake)
Family oriented destination
Florida is an alternative for those looking for warm weather but not wanting to go to the Caribbean.
I would love to hear other options from you. Travel lovers are always looking for safe options to continue enjoying life. They truly understand that life should be lived to the fullest and every day is a gift.
We are at the end of October of the very long and infinite year of 2020, (it seems like we started this year 5 years ago!) and I want to address Travel Lovers.
Based on my personal opinion that it is better to travel safely than to be home miserably, I want to mention places that Travel Lovers can take advantage of and have a good time. Croatia is still a great choice where cases of Covid are very low. Travelers need proof of a hotel reservation. In Croatia, they can also book a cruise from Katarina Line from April to the end of October. They have over 60 vessels and have been family owned since 1992. Cruises visit Dubrovnik, Split and many other towns. People there are very friendly. Croatia is located in Central and Southeast Europe, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It borders Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the southeast, and Slovenia to the northwest. Traveling via border to those countries is open (please always confirm prior to travel date) and most of those countries are using safety measures for Covid 19.
There are countries in South America open for Tourism like Brazil and Peru. Even though the cases of Covid are still higher, using a good DMC in those countries will assure the safety of the trip.
As I believe, life is to be lived safely, and to be enjoyed humbly. For Travel Lovers, there is always a safe way to enjoy life: trusting the work of an exceptional travel agent/advisor who will match you up to an exceptional DMC in the foreign country.
I want to talk about the situation with travel now, and in the near future. How are your clients behaving with booking trips now? Are they booking travel for 2021 or 2022?
I know many people are scared to travel because of Covid. Meanwhile, there are incredible deals on flights, future cruises, and many countries are now opening for tourism.
When approaching your clients and asking if they are ready to book a trip, take the time to listen carefully to their answers. Pay attention to their concerns. For example, if they say that they are not ready to buy a ticket to London for New Year’s because they don’t know if the airline will still be in business, or if London will be hit with a third wave of Covid, those are real FEARS and the easiest way to address them is by offering travel insurance.
Anxiety on the other hand, can be much more difficult to deal with. The person sounds more vague, with no acceptance of any ideas. An anxious person can’t explain their reasons not to book a trip, but with every suggestion there is a reaction of overwhelming negativity.
I am not trying to be a therapist here, but I am making sure that once you, the travel agent/advisor, listens carefully to your client and understands that you are dealing with fear, you can offer tools so your client can book a safe trip and have something to look forward to. Meanwhile if your client is having anxiety, it may better to send a nice card that says, “Thinking of you” and let them find a good therapist and/or psychiatrist to help them get through these hard times.
We know that many therapists and psychiatrists are now working overtime. It is undoubtedly a very tough time for many people.
I am not judging your clients. I am just making sure that travel agents/advisors can be successful during this time by listening carefully and helping those who have fears and by respecting and giving space to the anxious ones. Know they will come back to you later when they are ready.
I have over 800 followers and over 4,700 “friends” on my Facebook. It is not private, and anyone who googles or finds my name can check me out and read my postings and weekly blogs.
After I left my tour company with over 25 years of experience in travel, I decided to give back – or pay it forward to all the travel agents I have served (both the ones I knew personally and the ones I didn’t) by offering guidance and cheering them up.
Truly, this has been a blessing for me. Every week I think about what I should write (especially now, during the pandemic). I get messages and emails from travel agents/advisors and DMCs from other countries telling me how much they appreciate my enthusiasm and guidance.
This is a tough time for everyone. Not only for businesses, but many people, including me, are going through personal problems. A smile, a message, or even a “like” on a post or on a blog makes a great difference in someone’s day.
A “like” makes a great difference in someone’s day.
I have often heard people say that they like certain posts, or that they’ve seen a post. Why not click a feeling under it? That is the only way I/we know you’ve read it.
During this Covid period I have been stressing the importance of using travel experts, giving tips on how to build your businesses stronger, and create a bigger clientele by promoting how good you are.
Now (if you haven’t started already) it is time to show your prospective and regular clients where they can travel and feel good about it.
Before I give you the list of countries that you can offer them, let me make two observations:
1) I see that the younger generation is very protective towards their seniors. When Covid started, my husband and I became very protective of my 90-year-old mother in law. She is very independent and got very depressed from being confined inside her home. She told us she would rather go to the supermarket and take the risk of dying even after taking all the necessary precautions, rather than being miserable at home all the time. We listened to her wishes and going to the supermarket makes her very happy, and so far, she has been very healthy.
Keep this in mind when talking to your clients. If they take the proper measures, they can enjoy life and be happy, despite their loved ones worrying so much.
2) If you haven’t heard yet, there are flights and cruises to nowhere for those who want to just “put their toes in the water” but are not yet ready to go swimming. Check those out, see where they are available, and maybe you have the kind of clients interested in that.
Now, a list of countries where US citizens don’t need to quarantine. This list can change at any time, so make sure it is accurate before booking your clients.
Where US citizens can visit with no testing or quarantine required
Note that though a test isn’t required, you may be tested upon arrival (randomly, or if you’re showing symptoms) and asked to isolate until you get your results. If you’re sick and do need to quarantine, it may be at your own expense.
Brazil (health insurance covering Covid is required)
Dominican Republic (passengers will be randomly selected for a breath test)
Maldives (confirmed hotel required)
Malta (only if you spend 14 days in an approved country first)
Mexico (travelers must arrive by plane)
Tanzania (health screening may include a test on arrival)
Where US citizens can visit with a negative Covid test and no quarantine required
Testing rules are all over the place. Some countries require a negative test from the last 72 hours while some allow tests that are five days old; some require a test before you board, and others test on arrival. In some countries, a single test is all that’s needed and in others you may need to be tested again depending on the length of your stay. Bottom line: check each country’s requirements carefully.
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Costa Rica (only visitors from select states are allowed)
Croatia (with proof of booked accommodation)
Kenya (travelers from California, Florida, and Texas must quarantine for 14 days)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Turks and Caicos
Additionally, Belize, El Salvador, and Namibia have announced plans to reopen soon. Unfortunately, at this time there’s no word on when other countries, including those in the EU, may begin welcoming Americans again.