Do Good, and Travel


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

On the last day of 2019, most of us are thinking about what we can improve on in 2020. Some are planning on making some New Year’s resolutions, others like me are dreaming about new places to visit in the next year. A lot of travel entrepreneurs are also counting on making their businesses better and stronger, and figuring out how they can promote themselves to get more clients.

Here is my suggestion for 2020. It is something that involves all of the above, with the addition of “Doing Good.”  Are you ready to hear this?  I promise it is simpler than you expect and much easier than a New Year’s resolution. The more you promote this idea, the more prospective, great clients you will get to think that you are awesome!

I have been doing this for many years. It is easy and fun! When I travel, I bring with me my older (in very good condition) tennis shoes and shoes. I also purchase t-shirts from Target, Walmart and Costco (very colorful and inexpensive). At the end of the trip (or even during the trip) I leave them behind, with a note that they are intended to be given to those who need them.

I’ve learned that even on cruise ships, some people who work there collect these “treasures” and send them to third world countries to help those in need.

When traveling, especially to third-world countries, check with the tour operator to see if they can recommend a church or school where they accept donations. Ask people to bring along school supplies or anything else they are willing to donate in their suitcases.

These are great acts of love, and at the same time, the traveler is making space to bring home souvenirs and presents in their luggage. I am able to travel on all my land tours with only a carry-on by “doing good.” I end up having enough space by leaving my old “treasures” behind, and bringing awesome memories back, and I feel good!

It is such a simple act, but if you multiply the number of travelers per year by the number of shoes, pants, shirts and everything else, can you imagine how much good we can do?

Just remember to leave a note, otherwise hotels and cruises might put your “treasures” in lost and found until you complain.

Here’s to an awesome 2020 of doing good and feeling even better!

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So many questions…


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

When helping clients to prepare for their trips, how much of your own common sense do you trust, how often do you check google, and/or when do you ask your tour operator/tour provider questions?

My question comes after working with different sizes and backgrounds of groups for so many years and noticing that they love to question everything. They ask the most basic to the most intriguing and intrinsic questions.

In the beginning, and honestly, based on my own insecurities, I turned in all of the groups questions to my providers. Over time, I realized that they were, for lack of another word, too “lazy” to research any kind of question, or giving them the benefit of the doubt, “insecure“ and asked questions such as what  kind of luggage to take to a country like France?

What is the expectation of an answer a travel agent could possibly give? To tell the client a brand we suggest, despite the budget or taste of the client? Using common sense, luggage is luggage; we can recommend a Rimowa but it is very expensive, and some people prefer soft luggage rather than hard and not expandable.

Others ask how much a bottle of water costs in South Africa, for example. Really? What size of bottle? Are you planning to buy inside the hotel or in a shop like a 7/11? Are we talking about fancy brands of water or flat, regular, good water?

How many questions can we be subjected to and believe the client is really serious? When is it time to introduce the client to google, or suggest they use their own common sense? When are we not crossing a line and being taken as “rude” by setting limits?

I guess I’ve got more questions than answers on this subject. I think probably checking your own common sense is a good idea before trying to confirm what is the right answer. Try to avoid feeling abused or abusing the provider, and letting them think WE don’t know anything.

Thank you for reading my blogs. I hope I can inspire you, make you think about different things, and I even look to you to give me some answers.

It is December 24th and I am so blessed to have you in my life! Thank you for being on this blessed journey together with me.

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Show and Tell

VintageflightDear Travel Agents/Advisors,

Have you ever thought about how much the world has grown in the last 60 or 70 years? In 1950 there were 89 countries in the world. In 1960 it grew to 145 and now, almost 2020, there are 193 counties recognized by UN, and even 197 by some definitions.

My point in this is to say that even though not ALL are countries where travel is recommended, we have so many more choices than our parents had. Also, traveling in the 60s was more expensive and more difficult compared to nowadays (so many series on Netflix or in movies everywhere love to show how elegant it was to fly in those days).

Many people don’t stop and think about how much easier, flexible and affordable travel has become, because now it is so much part of our lives; basically, anyone can travel.

Through the years, many countries we once could not even imagine visiting have become places we would gladly visit. Also, unfortunately, a few countries that were once so wonderful to visit, are now not safe. For example, I used to sell Margarita Island in Venezuela. It never made it off my bucket list.  Now I regret it didn’t, I don’t know when it will again be a safe country to visit.

Cuba, on the another hand, made my bucket list as soon as it was possible to visit.  I went by a cruise visiting only Cuba, and it was very interesting. I feel very fortunate to had visited there.

I collect memories. I know there are too many choices; so many more countries to choose now than in my parents’ times. My goal continues to be visiting 120 different countries in the world. It is a great task since I fall in love with many countries and visiting only one is not enough. I have been to many countries more than once, (but I count them only once in my 120 goal!).

My husband knows me well, every time he wants to give me a gift, he books a trip for us. We have trips booked through November 2021. Our life is planned around our trips and not the other way around. We talk, dream, think and breathe trips, and all our family and friends know that.

To beautiful memories, since that is all we can take with us in this life! Amen!

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Is Laughter the Best Medicine?


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

If you ask me if I think laughter is the best medicine, I will always say that yes, it is.

It is much easier to laugh when life is good, on a sunny day at the beach with a pina colada, and it is much harder to even imagine even showing our teeth when problems and life get the best of us.

Honestly, I am more of a realist than an optimistic person, but I truly believe that dreamers and those who believe in the powers of a unicorn are the ones who will have the best life.

So, I have been doing more of that. Laughing at everything, even at my own mistakes. After all, we don’t take anything with us from this life when we’re gone, so we better enjoy every minute and not try to dwell on the negative.

Being angry and hating, as I have said many times, is like drinking poison but expecting the other person to die. Many people know about hatred, jealousy and other sick feelings. But, they hurt ONLY the person who has those feelings. Unfortunately, or fortunately (it depends which side you stand), they will not hurt the person intended.

So, what is the best way to live a life where you can grow and show how your life is as fulfilling and almost perfect like you see on Facebook? Laugh as loud as you can! Trust me, it is contagious. Others will feel better and you will too. Problems won’t be solved but the way you see and approach them will make them more tolerable.

To life and to laughter!

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Recreating Memories

celebration-3414774_960_720Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

We often meet clients who want to recreate an experience, or even a whole entire trip they have taken before. They had the best time and want to have the same wonderful time again. They ask for the same hotels, the same tours and even make sure to have the same tour guides.

As a travel agent/advisor we want to please our clients and make their wishes come true, but most of the time it is impossible to recreate a first impression.

I have learned to explain to my clients that they should compare this experience to the best surprise birthday party. Even if we invite the same people, have the same food, in the same place, and recreate every single detail, at least 2 things will be different: the surprise effect will not be the same, and we are a year older and more experienced, and a little different than we were the year before.

My advice is to try different hotels, experience different locations in the same country, and create new memories. Then, the client will be exposed to new adventures, like a brand-new surprise birthday party.

I just did that myself with Japan. In October last year we had an amazing time on a cruise all over Japan. Less than a month later, we booked another one for November this year. We used the same cruise line, but we made sure to enjoy different tours, and again we had an awesome time. We are talking about going again in a couple of years during cherry blossom season and experiencing Japan in a different way.

When a client asks to recreate a memorable trip, tell them about the surprise birthday party. I am sure they will relate to that and will look forward to creating new memories!


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