Making It Happen


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

In my last blog I mentioned that this week I would be talking about cruising. But some recent posts really hit a nerve with me, and maybe you too, so I decided to address them first.

On Facebook, I have seen a few different “legal” companies offering their services to sue the cruise lines on behalf of those who had to stay longer on cruise ships because of Covid-19. Seriously? They are all “Sponsored” ads. I don’t know who I should be more upset at – those “companies,” or at Facebook for allowing them to advertise such a disgraceful advertisement. In times when everyone is hurting, only vultures would try to benefit from the situation.

Something else that really hit a nerve with me was people responding negatively to postings that were intended to uplift people and give hope to those who need it. Seriously? If you don’t have anything nice to say, just keep your fingers in your nose, LOL!

This pandemic is such a difficult time for all, it’s so scary. Most people, I believe, are wondering if this can happen to any of us; it doesn’t seem to matter how old or how healthy we are. Others believe that it can happen ONLY to the old and/or people with previous health issues.

I spent a few days debating whether or not if I should share a very personal story. Finally, I decided – why not?

I was 26 years old, living in the US for over a year, married, with a healthy two and a half-year-old son. I was very healthy, in good shape, a non-smoker, ate only healthy foods, when I got pregnant in March. I was having a great second pregnancy until the end of August when I started to have bleeding and contractions. My second son was born prematurely – 14 weeks early and he weighed 1 lb. 11 ounces. He died 3 times in the NICU, but that stubborn kid came back.

At the same time, life was hell. My 50-year-old mom was dying of colon cancer in Brazil, and my father-in-law found out that he had a deadly cancer.

What were the odds that a 26-year-old, healthy young woman would have such a preemie baby? I don’t know.

To make this story short, after 3 months in the hospital, when it was almost time to bring my baby home with an apnea monitor, we went to buy him some preemie clothes. We stopped at McDonalds to feed our 3-year-old. I saw a blond woman there with the biggest smile on her face, with a baby only a bit older than my own baby who was still in the hospital.  For the first time in my life I felt jealous – of her with her baby, and I was very angry with God. I looked up and cursed God because she had her baby and I didn’t have mine. The lady walked close to me as she went to leave McDonalds and THEN I saw that her smile was big and genuine, but also that her baby had no arms.

I knew then and there the lesson God was sending to me.

Talking about this still brings tears to my eyes, but I promised myself that I would always try to see the positive in every circumstance, and to cheer up everyone I can.

This too shall pass! As what I went through did! Life will be beautiful again, and people will travel and plan and dream.

Cheers to you!

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Travel: What is Next?


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

This shall pass! We all know that – some can say it out loud, others just whisper, and most can feel it in our guts.

Leisure travel works for people the same way as Prozac work in the brain. It brings happiness, and even though travel is temporary, the more trips you take, the happier you feel.

So, what will happen with travel businesses after this Coronavirus pandemic passes?  We cannot expect that travel will go back to the way it was before Coronavirus. Like 9/11, many things have changed to protect us. Coronavirus will be a new reality until they find the perfect vaccine against it, and make sure there is no more risk of contracting this awful, deadly virus.

In my opinion and experience, people will travel in private tours or very, very small groups of less than 10 people. So, there will be a bigger opportunity for tour guides and local guides (even people who know places well, and speak different languages, but don’t have a certificate as a tour guide). Different qualifications will bring different prices. This will also bring more minivans and more jobs for drivers and drivers/guides.

I expect more places will check people’s temperature, including hotels, restaurants and even museums and other public places where there are many people together. Places will advertise how safe they are for people, and prices will vary based on that as well. A 5-star hotel will advertise rooms that are completely virus free, restaurants with all-inclusive buffet but servers at each station, and tables arranged more separately. The travel industry will definitely need to hire more people to serve those who are going to be starving for a safe trip, and that is great news.

My advice to you, travel agent/advisor, continue learning, try to specialize in private tours or very small groups. This is time to connect with your clients and new prospective ones, making sure they are safe, and tell them that soon you will be offering great deals on private tours or group tours of less than 10 people. Let them dream again and have something to look forward to.

Do not feel sorry for yourself, put your energy in getting ready to satisfy a huge number of clients starving to travel safely very soon.

Next week’s blog: Cruising!

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Travel Safe – Part 2


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

In my last blog I talked about being safe and traveling safe. I focused on beach vacation and how to be careful with “friendly” locals.

I promised to tell my own experience in Costa Rica over 15 years ago.

Before I tell you about my bad experience, I want to say that I have been to Costa Rica at least 6 times and felt safe most of those times, but I feel strongly about sharing this specific incident. Somehow, I blamed myself and despite my expertise in travel and giving others guidance and tips, I had to learn from that experience, and forgive myself.

As many of you know, I was born in Brazil and came to the US 32 years ago. Over 15 years ago, I went on a very special FAM trip organized by an airline, which included the very top people from that airline.

No need to say that everything on that FAM trip was perfectly organized. On our way back to the airport, we stopped at a nice hotel for a very special breakfast. The organizer told all of us to feel comfortable and leave everything on the bus since the driver would be watching the bus and we wouldn’t have to carry things with us.

I left my camera, together with my Brazilian passport and my green card (I wasn’t an American citizen then) on the bus. I wasn’t the only one; many more left their American passports on the bus, together with laptops and other important personal property.

During breakfast we spotted the bus driver at another table having breakfast as well. By the time we went downstairs, we had all been robbed. Many carried their passports with them, so they were ready to leave the country. The American individuals went to the American Embassy and got new passports right away and were able to leave the country.

Me? Well, I had to go to the Brazilian Embassy to get another passport. There they asked me for a Brazilian birth certificate or ID (I didn’t travel with other Brazilian documents).  So, they wanted to send me to Brazil. Luckily, I was able to get someone to go to my house and fax my birth certificate. I had to stay an extra day in Costa Rica. I got my Brazilian passport and then had to go to the American Embassy for a special permit to get back into the US until I got my green card.

Lesson learned! No matter WHO tells you that someone very reliable will watch your personal documents or important property, DO NOT leave them behind. Carry them with you!

Costa Rica is a safe place, but not everyone is to be trusted, unfortunately.

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Be Safe, Travel Safe


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

Today I met a dear friend and we talked about where it is safe to travel. We were not talking about Coronavirus, but safety in general. We shared stories about unsafe experiences we have had or heard of in different parts of the world, and what can be done to feel safe.

Here are some ideas:

When going to a beach anywhere in the world, it is fine to bring a cellular phone, some local money, and if you really need it, bring only one credit card (leaving a copy of this credit card or the information from this credit card on a piece of paper in the safe of your hotel). It is fine to bring the magnet key for the hotel, but it should not reference the room number.  If you are going with a friend or more people, divide all of the belongings into few bags (more bags than the number of people is preferable) and leave them all around you. Take turns going into the water and the one who stays with the bags keeps watch over all of the bags.  Even with all of this caution, there is still a risk that pickpockets can come very fast and steal one bag. The chances that one pickpocket will take all the bags is very low, especially if they are not grouped together.

Important advice – don’t run after the pickpocket. He/she could have a knife or something that could hurt someone. They are usually very fast and know the area better than the tourists. Remember that being pickpocketed can happen to anyone, so be vigilant, don’t wear jewelry and don’t leave your belongings on the beach unattended. Also do not believe that any “nice” couple or older person next to you will be honest and watch your belongings for you.

Another time to be cautious is when traveling alone, especially to a foreign country where you do not speak the language fluently, and do not know your surroundings very well. Unfortunately, I had to help a traveler who went to another country by himself (yes, many more men do this than women). “Friendly” locals came and invited him for a drink and to chat. It sounds like so much fun making friends with locals, and experiencing the country with them, but these people are con artists. They slip a pill into a drink and the tourist wakes up the next day in his room totally robbed. How did I learn about this? When the travel agent called my tour company to get help changing the airline ticket.

In my next blog I will write about my personal experience being robbed in Costa Rica.

These are not normal situations, but it is important to understand safety in any place where people travel.

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Travel and the Coronavirus


Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

How are your clients acting regarding Coronavírus for trips they’ve already booked?
Are they scared?
Trying to cancel?
How are you addressing this issue?

Let me start by saying that each case should be addressed individually: by how old the client is, how healthy they are, which country they will be visiting, and even what kind of travel insurance they purchased.

Age is a big factor for Coronavírus and/or any flu. The elderly have a harder time, and most deaths are among older people and those with low immune systems, and those who are already sick with other health problems. Younger and healthy people have a greater chance of full recovery after being exposed.

Caution is a must ANYTIME and ANYWHERE. Honestly, the signs that say “wash your hands after using the toilet” are not for entertainment or decoration on the wall. Then use hand sanitizer, and if they dry your skin, use hand lotion to treat your skin nicely. Washing hands is more effective than wearing masks to prevent Coronavírus, or any kind of flu.

How does the virus spread around? By someone with the virus sneezing and/or coughing without covering their mouth or nose (a mask is a good way to protect others if the person with the virus is wearing one). Airborne fluids can land on the face of another person and there is a good chance that germs will be spread, especially if the hands come into contact with the fluids.

I am not a doctor, but I strongly believe that the more we learn about the facts of Coronavírus, sparing the fears and myths and misinformation, the better we all can continue enjoying life. Remember that the virus is now in the US and Canada as well.

There are very few UNSAFE countries, most are as safe as the US or Canada.

With regard to Travel Insurance, fear of Coronavírus is not covered, unless the client purchased a policy with CFAR (cancel for any reason) which most people don’t purchase because it is expensive.

My philosophy of life is – you only regret the trips you didn’t take. Find an excuse to travel and enjoy life to the fullest.

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @ travelwithrosana
Blogs @www.