Stress Free Entry Tips

Vacations are meant to be enjoyable, relaxing retreats from the normal, everyday way of life.  Every traveler anticipates having a wonderful time away from home, exploring new places, eating exotic foods, viewing new and interesting places and things.  All these and more help to make up the most memorable time spent on holiday.  However, there are instances when because of poor planning and lack of foresight, your expectations for a fabulous trip can become unhinged.  It is therefore imperative that with careful itinerary planning you cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s especially when you want to attend a specific attraction.

There is no frustration like turning up to an attraction or event only to find tickets have been sold out minutes before you arrived, or the attendance quota for the day’s activity have been met.  What is a traveler to do to avoid such disappointments?  Well, here are a few simple tips you can implement into your travel plan before reaching your destination.

Internet Research – This part of the planning is key to making an informed choice of where and when to attend a particular activity.  In the research look for the best days and times to attend your activity.  Knowing the peak times will help you to decide how far in advance you will need to purchase tickets and arrive ahead of the crowd.   If free days are offered, quota amounts may be enforced and should be considered.  Therefore, I strongly recommend that you note the following:  opening and closing times, days of operations, free days, if any, entrance fees and discounts for seniors, children, veterans, and differently-abled.

Online Purchase – Almost every sightseeing activity will have a ticket booth on location.  However, where crowds are usually the norm, it is only wise to pre-book and pre-purchase your ticket before the event.  Many official tourist sites offer online services to select time and date of event ticket.  Confirmation numbers are provided to claim tickets at location, if a print option is not given.   Another possibility to secure tickets would be to ask your hotel concierge to reserve the booking and pay for the event via your hotel.  Again, communicating your event needs with the hotel management would help to offset any frustrations and stress in attaining your bookings, seat or entrance.

Always walk with a print copy of your confirmation, or, take a photo of the confirmation/ticket and keep in your smart phone.  Keep a copy of your online dialogue if you used a third party to make reservations.  Having your credit card with you is another way to verify bookings.

Crowd Avoidance – This may be impossible at times.  Sometimes as the crowd builds before doors open, you may find multiple lines, some pushing and shoving if people are not respectful.  If you have the time to spear, become familiar with the location a day or two ahead of your event.  First you want to know how to get to the destination without delay.  Then you want to see what the entrance activity is like, smooth transition or a bustle, is there one or multiple entrances.

Check Ticket Information – Whether tickets are purchased online or via a third party, it is very important to go over the details carefully.  A common mistake people make usually occur around the month and day selection.  Confirm receipt and validate if necessary.  If tickets are purchased months in advance, maintain a line of communication with management in the event of a cancellation, unexpected delay or postponement.

If you take these simple measures to gain entrance to an activity or event, then you will be sure to alleviate some of the needless stress that many encounter on vacation.  At the entrance sight you will be able to present your ticket.  Remember to always keep your confirmation number or credit card receipt handy if asked for further proof of purchase.  Doing all these things will help to ensure your memories are happy ones without a hint of misfortune or disappointment.

Community Peeps, have you been turned away from an activity/event/location just because you did not pre-purchase your ticket or were stuck in a crowded line?  If you have visited places like Machu Picchu, Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Galapagos, and other popular destinations then you will concur that it is best to have your ticket in hand, ready for easy entrance.  Also, these easy steps may be applied when traveling on long-distant buses, ferries, and attending entertainment parks.  Share in the comment box below your experience securing entrance to a must-see event or activity.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Itinerary Planner


Accommodation Types

These days there is no shortage of options when one considers where they will lodge during their holiday.  Once upon a time, the main housing choice were hotels, but not anymore.  Hotels had three main categories: budget, deluxe and luxury.  Well, times have changed, and the options have become more prolific.  Hotels still serve up the majority of rooms to the public, but based on the purview of the millennial traveler, other entities have become more interesting, affordable and readily available.

Hotel types range from capsule to boutique, from motel to bed and breakfast, from resorts to luxury estates.   Each offer varying nuances that may appeal to the occupant’s taste, desires and needs.  It is interesting to note that within the last 20 or more years the rise of room availability includes, but are not limited to entities such as:  AirBnB’s, Couch-surfing, House-sitting, and Glamping just to name a few.  For the adventurous traveler, these accommodation types are worth exploring.

My travels have taken me far and wide and even though my friends tell me when it comes to sleeping that I can sleep on a rock, I can still remember experiences where the  accommodations were unique.  I recall staying and enjoying the amenities of a traditional riad in the old city of Fez, Morocco.  Entering the riad through the heavy doors from the street, I was surprised to find intricate artistry, delicate stonework, carpentry, and arboretum that could keep one intrigued for the length of their stay.  The layout included an interior oasis of greenery, sculptures, and fountain.  Artifacts, whether old or new lined the perimeter.  The posh riad had two upper levels and my room was on the very top.  Even from that height, looking down below, the beauty of the residence was not lost, especially as the evening light cast soft shadows across the floor, in subduing and romantic hues.

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Another interesting sleep-away was in the Merzouga dessert.   After riding on the desert limousine (camel) for about an hour, we arrived at a U-shaped group of Berber tents, covered in what looked like blankets.  It was to be my sleeping quarters for the night and even though I was skeptical that I wouldn’t sleep a wink, I fell asleep in no time at all.  The blankets were the warmest everrrrr, and I didn’t want to move from under them in the morning.  The accommodation was basic.  Shoes had to be taken off at the tent doors to avoid trekking sand onto the rug covered floor.   Bundles of mats, blankets and pillows were heaped to one side of the tent. Candles were the only light in the pitch darkness, but it was cozy.  After eating a sumptuous tagine meal, I asked to use the bathroom thinking their must be one in one of the other tents, the guide pointed out to the sandy landscape and told me to pick any spot.  Their one caveat for the group requesting bathroom privileges, was to walk a distance away from the tents to do their business.  Well, one thing I learned is, when you are all in it together, you either overcome the shyness, or you quickly forget your bathroom longings until better facilities are available.  After a night of peaceful serenity,  at the crack of dawn we headed back to civilization.  One of the first request on everybody’s list was a bathroom break.  Albeit the inconveniences of the accommodation, it was one of the sweetest sleeps I had while on vacation.

Goreme, Cappadocia – Hotel in Turkey – Traveltineraries

One other type of odd accommodation that I experienced was in Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey.  The hotel was a cave.  The walls of the room were the natural rock, as were many of the houses in the area.   The room was cool and comfortable.  Not very large but the bed was comfy.  Stories on the dangers of inhaling the microscopic dust that falls from the rock was not a deterrent for my stay which was not very long.  Besides, this form of housing is still used by the local residents today.   It was a unique experience sleeping at the cave hotel.

Besides hotels and hostels, there are AirBnb residences.  They give that home away from home feeling.  The guest is not limited to just one room.  The amenities are broader and there is freer access to coming and going without interference.  Couch-surfing is another option one may consider, especially the overnighter or cash-strapped traveler.  It’s level of uncertainty and possibly inconvenience can be a put-off for the tripper who wants to explore and may find their only accommodation far from the action they intended to experience.  Glamping on the other hand is a glorified or luxury form of camping.  These different types of lodgings are by and large stimulating and intriguing to the explorer traveler.

Other respites I’ve enjoyed include a penthouse in Caracas, Venezuela, luxury hotel rooms in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, India, more recently a luxury suite in Denpasar, Bali, and in other places where the US dollar is worth its weight in gold.  Choosing where to rest one’s weary head may be first driven by cost, preference or package.  Whatever the choice, the options are always increasing, and the hospitality industry planners are always working to accommodate their guests.

Community Peeps, please share with me some of the interesting accommodations you’ve had and what made them special to you.  As an itinerary planner, I am always searching for unique, interesting and affordable places to stay and to recommend.  You may write your experience (recent or eons ago) in the comment box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Itinerary Planner

Benign Surveillances

Whenever I travel, one of my favorite pastimes is to people watch and I’m sure it is safe to say it is the same for you too.  Touring and sightseeing popular places give me the ability to do just that.  Unnoticed by others, I would observe their antics, behaviors and mannerisms while I rest.  Some of the best places I have done this include, but are not limited to are the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain in Rome, Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Las Ramblas, Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell in Barcelona to name a few popular venues where there is heavy foot traffic.

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As I study tourists whom I meet, I have found they are inquisitive by nature, and want to know all about me.  What makes me tick?  Who am I?  Where do I come from?  What makes me special?  These and many more questions may be on the minds of those you meet as you travel also.  Whether I travel with strangers in a group or meet locals for the very first time solo, we want to exchange information about each other.  We want to get to know who the other is.  From the moment residents lay eyes on you, they too can tell that you don’t belong, you’re a foreigner and that you do not fit into their regular mold.  What brings them to these conclusions?  Mostly the way you dress, your accent or language is a big give-away, and certainly your wide-eyed stares and interest in unfamiliar things and surroundings. Whatever the identifiers, you can tell from the quizzical looks, smirks, finger points, or other gestures, that they have burning questions on their minds about you.  Some may even muster enough courage to ask you questions outright.

Throughout my international travels though, there is one question that I have been asked repeatedly – Where are you from?  Sometimes I hesitate to give an answer based on who is asking or the context from which it is asked.  Other times, I readily respond either giving a long or short answer.  Besides nationality, there are other burning questions like:  Are you traveling alone? Where do you live? Can I touch your hair?  Case in point, I recall traveling on a long distant bus from Vietnam to Cambodia and on that trip, I endured finger pointing, stares, some ‘who-are-you’ smiles and even one passenger as she was going down the aisle dared to touch my hair.  It was long ride and I was the only black person on the bus, so I stood out like a sore thumb.  I wasn’t afraid but I felt as though I was a novelty (or maybe a celebrity 🤣) to my fellow passengers, and they had never seen a real life black person up close.

I get it, they want to know more about me, and judging from my differences, they can’t tell whether I come from a particular country of Africa, Jamaica or Wakanda😂.  If I say I live in the USA, my non-American accent begs additional questions, so I give more explanations.  Many times, when I call my island home by name, they don’t know where in the world it is.  However, if I mention Rihanna a knowing smile takes place.

Community Peeps, people watching is a relaxing, non-intrusive activity that one can engage in to past the time on their journey.  Is it an activity you like to participate in?  What are your thoughts about these benign surveillances?  You may have more questions than answers, but always remember while you are watching someone, another, somewhere maybe watching you.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Airport Tchotchkes

Airports are amazing places to enter.  It is as if you step into a little city bustling with people scurrying in every direction or just leisurely strolling from store to store. A diversified selection of store types line the halls from end to end, intermittently punctuated by seating areas and departure gates. Browsing the shops is an activity for people engage in to pass the time during unexpected delays, and for those who either arrive with ample time to spare before departure, in between flights, or on long layovers.  Passengers are seen browsing brand-named stores, souvenir shops, gift shops, magazine/book stores and, if so inclined, may even receive services like shoe-shines, massages, spa treatments, etc.  It is also the place where diners may enjoy cuisines of their choice at the many restaurants and familiar fast-food eateries nearby.

I love to wander in and out the stores too, admiring the goods, but with no real intention to purchase anything.  Hardly would my travel budget allow for the extravagance of airport spending.  Some stores carry high-end products with a price tag the cost of a round-trip ticket to a different destination 😀.  Seriously, the costs of the items even with the duty-free conditions still can be outrageously pricey, and then there’s the tchotchkes.

The displays are succinctly arranged to catch the eye of the late shopper, and travelers who wander up and down the hallways.  The offerings at the wide range of stores appeal to shoppers for various reasons. Some may be last-minute decisions, or the “I had no time to shop” reason.  So then, whom do you think would be more likely to shop at the airport? I pose the well-to-do, the business traveler, or the wanna-be big spender who buys irrespective of price tag.

Honestly, I don’t think the majority of those who make purchases at the airport go there with the intention to do so.  Granted, duty free discounts on items may sweeten the deal, which the retailer hopes will help to draw prospective consumers in.  The price markup of most goods is usually two to three times higher than those in regular stores.  The reasons for the high prices may be debatable, but one can only guess a factor may be because of the prime real estate.  Whatever the reasons, I am often amazed at the offerings, and the brisk sales that occur in the stores.

Though I am not a big spender, don’t have deep pockets, or a last minute shopper, (I purchase my souvenirs/gifts before coming to the airport) I do confess to airport spending a few times.  Not because I saw an irresistible item and couldn’t live without it, but mostly to get rid of spare change, especially if most of the leftover currency is coin and maybe a few bills.  The balance of cash usually affords nothing more than a few ‘sweet’ treats from the confectioner’s aisles.

Community Peeps, are you an impulsive airport shopper? Is purchasing airport tchotchkes before boarding your flight a favorite pastime?  Share your experiences on airport shopping in the comment box below. If you’ve bought something on vacation you simply could not resist, but which you regret now, talk of it too in the comment section.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Itinerary Planner

Crossed Lakes, Rivers and Seas

The main attraction on a customized itinerary is the sightseeing.  Getting to the place of interest and adventure may mean using different paths other than driving the open road or flying the clear blue skies.   Cruising along waterways is an option that holds lots of fascination and wonder for the traveler.

Recently I was watching a movie and recognized a place, landmark buildings and a hive of boating activity, that instantly made me recall my experiences there.  Some things trigger memories, good or bad.  Thankfully, it was a good memory, and hence it provided the inspiration for this post.  A scene in the movie was along the waterfront of the Bosporus Strait in Istanbul, Turkey.  I can still remember the strong smells emitting from the Spice market nearby as I walked in wide-eyed amazement at the range of spices displayed in the vendor stalls.  Also, walking the underground tunnel to take a boat ride on the Bosporus and watching the ships sailing up and down the channel.

Reminiscent of the many places I’ve visited, I realize I’ve crossed lakes, rivers, seas, some well-known and others not so famous. Each holding their own fascination and unique appeal. Whether the bodies of water are man-made or a God-given part of nature, tourists are often drawn to enjoy the benefits. Some may gather on the banks to worship, to swim, to enjoy the ebb and flow of the rippling waves, the peaceful serenity, or just to witness the awesomeness and power of these natural wonders.

Famous and unique waters I have cruised on, swam in, twinkled my toes in as I walked along the banks, spent refreshing moments near, or just simply admired includes:  the Dead Sea in Israel, Ganges river in India, Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia, Lake Mead in Arizona, Sea of Galilee in Israel, Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong, Mekong Delta in Vietnam, Thames River, London and the Rhine in Germany just to name a few.  Here are some photos (credits within photo edit) of these places.

Community Peeps, the adage holds true – “all rivers run to the sea,” but time and space would not permit me to mention or showcase everyplace I have visited.   Maybe you can comment on your experience at one of these locations or mention one that is not here.  I would like to know of new and interesting places so please feel free to talk of your favorite water-hole in the comment box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Safety A Priority

Have you ever heard this saying, “The more things change the more they stay the same?” It is certainly true of the safety information process when we fly.  From the time you enter the airport to the time you board the aircraft; many savvy changes have been adopted to replace the ones we used many years ago.

We have seen upgrades to first and business class and even to coach.  Some for the better.  Others?  Well…  You might probably be sprinting ahead thinking of all the changes that have occurred.  I suggest these: seating, baggage, boarding, TSA processing, etc. just to name a few.

One protocol that remains no matter how quickly the TSA lines are navigated, what boarding letter (A – E) assigned, what seat assignment given, or how well the two allowed pieces of luggage are stowed away, is the practice of –  the safety demonstration.  It must be done just before take-off.

Believe it or not, flying is not my favorite form of travel.  Unlike driving my car, I am acutely aware that once I leave the ground I am no longer in charge.  Therefore, attention to details and any safety instructions given becomes paramount for me.  In the air, I trust that God will take me to my destination safely, but I pay strict attention to the Captain, Co-pilot and stewardesses whenever announcements are given while taxiing.  However, to my dismay, many times I witness others preoccupied with all the on-board attractions/distractions.  Hardly are the safety-cards in the seat pockets reviewed (this observation is not a blanket statement) as the cabin crew go over the safety regulations, but many are busy making themselves comfortable, chatting, eating, etc.

Even though most airline carriers are hi-tech and use the immediate seat-back screens to get their safety messages across, a stewardess must still stand in the aisle to demonstrate the process.  From my observations, it seems what’s more important is flipping through the in-flight menu/catalog, looking out the window and generally not paying attention to the safety spiel.

Yes, it may be rote for the frequent flyer, but one that they certainly cannot afford to ignore, no matter how often they fly the open skies, and one that the infrequent flyer can’t dismiss.  I cannot tell whether the technology is a more effective way to grab the attention of the traveler, but what I can tell you is I hardly ever see the safety cards in the seat pockets removed and reviewed by fellow passengers.

How seriously do you follow the instructions?  Do you look around for the exit doors when pointed out?  Do you check under the seats to see if the life-vest is there?  Granted, the seating process becomes a bit harried at the end to prepare for the take-off.  It is not the opportune time to poke around or pull the seat up to find the life-jacket, thereby delaying other passengers from sitting.  However, you might find paying close attention may make the world of difference in an emergency.

Community Peeps, do you pay attention to the stewardesses’ safety methods?  Do you prefer the directives given via in-flight entertainment screen or by person?  Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.  In closing, I think it is still a good idea to pay attention to the safety guidelines and demonstration, and be able to identify where the exit doors are if necessary.  What are your observations?

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Itinerary Planner



Affordable Love

With Valentine’s day looming, thoughts of romance and candlelight dinners for two are all that may be on the mind of the person who is on a tight budget and can barely afford to spring for dinner, but who wants to carefully plan a surprise for their sweetheart.  The task of making the day special isn’t made any easier by retailers for those couples who wish to express their loving sentiments to each other.  Red and white theme displays, gifts of chocolate, long-stemmed roses, cards, jewelry and other memorabilia strategically placed throughout stores, I’m convinced, are there to capitalize on the emotion – love.

Some couples may have more financial latitude than others.  They may go to greater lengths or adopt signature ways to impress their sweethearts and celebrate their love.  One such way would be to fly away to a destination of their choosing, particularly, a remote island.  Jetting off to an island on any given day is wonderful, add in romance and it is a match made in heaven.  A weekend of bliss, fun and frolic would be a priceless treat of devoted attention for the surprised partner.  Cupid’s arrow strikes again.

Therefore, it is necessary to recommend pointers to help the cash-strapped or deep-pocket traveler on how to cover all their bases before they leave.  After all, who knows, either type of traveler may suffer from the same effects of cupid’s arrow (love has a way of doing that) and may forget pertinent to-dos for the trip.  While it may not be the intention of the partner who is doing the surprising to overlook specific niceties, they may find themselves ‘surprised’ and in a predicament if they fail to plan.  For sure, Murphy will be the uninvited guess who says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

So as not to obfuscate the details of the trip and to get started, you should follow these basic tips for your day or weekend de amor.

Write down everything, including thoughts that pertain to making the day special and memorable.  Make a checklist which will help to keep you on track.  Tick items off once completed.  Keep a list of contacts and share the itinerary with a family member or a close friend.

Days ahead of the adventure, secure passports in carry-on bags, double-check that tickets, car service and other arrangements are confirmed.

Pack an overnight case or weekend bags.  Keep them out of sight.

Day of departure to airport, pick up partner.  Blindfold (optional).  Brief on a ‘need to know’ basis.  Just before pulling up to the airport entrance, go over the immediate details of the trip.  Board flight with a mindset that you will enjoy every minute (attitude is everything) of the surprise get-away.

Community Peeps, have any of you been surprised on Valentine’s day with a trip by your loved one?  What was it like?  Please share the surprise experience in the box below.  We would love to go down memory lane with you.  Keep the intimate details to yourselves 😍.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Itinerary Planner

Questionable Comportments

Vacation is supposed to be the time you spend relaxing, exploring your surroundings, and letting your hair down in a positive sense.  It is the time you have long waited for, saved monies to splurge, eager to execute the customized itinerary, to sample new cuisines, and other interesting prospects.  However, vacation is never a time, whether at home or abroad, to behave badly, lose your common sense and sound judgement.

If you people watch while on vacation, you will observe many types of behaviors played out that you can rightfully assume wouldn’t normally happen at home.  Being the “fly on the wall” would probably help to bare out what I am saying about two news articles I recently came across which spoke of vacationers who made poor choices and had to pay a price for their decisions.  You may have a lot of questions, like I do, but the bottom line is this, because one is in a foreign land, or in a place where they cannot be easily recognized, does not give them the liberty to behave in a reckless manner, that may cause harm to self or endanger the life of another.

While inebriated with alcohol or some other mind-altering drug, the tourist who thinks they are having a grand time under the influence, may have lost the capacity to be in full control of their mental faculties.  Inhibitions are loosened and what would be considered sport becomes offensive.   Still liquor, believe it or not, is not the only incriminate to be considered for some egregious behaviors but also, peer pressure.  Yes, adults experience peer pressure too.   A visitor wanting to impress friends, might decide to show-off in an instant, but looking back in hindsight, they would see it was foolhardy and detrimental to their well-being.  Also, because of their so-called ‘success’, they could influence others to follow suit and do the same lunacy.

Two examples come to mind as I talk on this matter.   A visiting family to New Zealand recently caused a stir.  The account of the family’s audacity, disrespect and disregard for the people, property and laws of the island-nation rippled out from the community onto international territory via social media and news headlines.  Their obnoxious conduct preceded them as they traveled from city to city.  Local authorities and hospitality workers were alerted to be on the look-out for them (bad news does not lack a carrier).  Read about the whole incident here.

Another traveler on board a cruise ship decided to jump in front of laughing friends from the balcony of the ship into the aquamarine waters below.  While the depth of the water is not questionable, or their ability to swim since they jumped, I wonder if they considered the possibility of lurking sharks nearby, or the strong undertow currents that could have drag them away.  Those possibilities may or may not have entered their thoughts.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that a dare-devil stunt like that should not be acknowledged as brave or ballsy by those who watch the video but flat-out absurd. Read about the jumper incident here.

Videotaping with the hopes of ‘going viral’ seems to be another reason people do what they do these days.  But why risk life or limb just to be viewed repeatedly?  Are the bragging rights worth the trouble?  So, what type of tourist are you?

Community Peeps, there are many types of travelers, but only one standard of behavior expected of all tourist.  To obey the rules and carry yourself in a manner that is acceptable and respectful to the host nation.  Have you witnessed questionable comportment of those you travel with?  Please share your thoughts on the subject in the comment box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Itinerary Planner


Win or lose?

That’s the biggest question I am contemplating after a customer contacted me with a recent travel request.  Travel Itineraries exists mainly to sell bespoke itineraries to persons who have little to no time in pulling together interesting attractions/activities of places they are about to visit.  TI appeals to the business person, timid traveler, first-time traveler, solo traveler, budget traveler and anyone who does not want to deal with the stress of researching, picking and choosing attractions, sites and adventures.  A prolific travel site,  TI is capable of planning from soup to nuts an itinerary that will give lasting memories for vacationers.  In a nutshell, this is what I say on the Itinerary Request Page to introduce my travel planning skills to potential customers, “Do you like to travel, or better yet, travel often but can’t find the time to build a detailed itinerary that will be engaging and enjoyable?  If that description sounds like you, don’t worry or stress.  I can plan a bespoke itinerary that will ensure you cover all the basics of a great trip: things to do, places to go and sites to see.   Interested?  Fill in the form below to get started.  Just do it.”  Also, it is a place where you can read a blog of my adventures on foreign and local soil, tips, recommendations, ideas and news related to travel.

Last week I received my first sale of the year from a new visitor to my website and was excited to start the year off with the request.  As I read the customer’s specifics, I quickly realized the buyer did not understand what Travel Itineraries was all about.  They already had their plan and wanted me to map it so they could save time and gas.  At first, I considered plotting the route but eventually decided against it because that is not what TI is all about.  Obviously, their lack of clarity surrounding my services was no fault of their own, and I regretfully made an apology, offered a refund and referred them to a travel website that could better support their particular need.

Why then do I ask win or lose? I could look at the situation as just another experience.  But in my humble opinion, there are three invaluable lessons I can definitely learn from dealing with the shopper.

  1. AWARENESS – While the prospect may have had some misunderstanding concerning TI’s services, it reminds me that more work can and should be done to bring about awareness, clarity, highlight services and skills.  TI should grasp every opportunity to enlighten its readers/viewers of its capabilities in its many forms and formats via technology.
  2. NEW IDEAS – Innovation will keep TI fresh and relevant.  If customers are asking for certain services, then I should consider how I can possibly accommodate and market to them by tweaking and improving offerings as needed.  Who knows, a bright idea may lead to other avenues, though not originally a part of the plan, but one that will broaden TI’s perspectives and scope.
  3. REFERRALS – While I would like to meet the needs of all potential clients, there are times when I will have to say no.  However, the rejection should not be given without offering a recommendation of help.  To suggest another travel related company to the client as an option is just a way to say I network with other travel businesses, and I am familiar with the industry players.  There are other travel partners in whom I take delight in recommending their services especially if I have used or know of them personally.

Community Peeps, overall I would say it was a win-win.  I was happy to refund the money and to redirect the client.  They are referred to as client because of their response to my actions.  I believe I have won their respect and I hope in the future they will consider TI for their tailored travel itinerary.  Do you think so too, or do you think I lost?  I am interested in knowing.  Please comment in the box below.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Plight, Fight or Flight

I don’t know which is worse, the effects of an impending snow storm or the effects of the government shutdown on airports and other entry/exit points.   Neither one is a favorite action for the traveler who may have planned a bespoke itinerary months ago and are eagerly looking forward to executing their trip down to the last detail.  Now, it might be looking like a toss-up in the face of uncertainty.

Today begins a three-day holiday weekend (Martin Luther King holiday) and the forecast indicates the Northeast will be blanketed with lots of white, fluffy powder from the sky.  Also, today marks the 28th day of no work and no pay cheque for federal workers, the longest closure in history.  Both conditions will indeed serve up the same impact on the besieged traveler.  Both acts (weather and shutdown) will cause delays at airports.  The predicted bad weather may snarl traffic, hinder flight take-offs and landings at most area airports.  The federal work stoppage may cause long wait times for processing, increase security vulnerability, and close unmanned stations due to personnel no-shows.  Whilst heavy snowfalls are not an anomaly at airports during the winter season, the impact of the shutdown is.  TSA and other pertinent airport workers are working without pay, sick-outs have been reported and processing times have become more extended.  What does it all mean?  How should one handle the situation?  Cautiously.

The same plan you use to handle the snowfall interruption, may be adopted to manage any delays with your ground procedures.  Before leaving the sanctity of your home check local news for updates.  Plan ahead.  Arrive early for your departure.  Be prepared to spend more than average wait times to be processed.  In either situation, be patient and empathetic to those serving you.  After all, they may be overworked, and stressed about their circumstances too.

Community Peeps, I may not have the perfect solution to these problems.  Also, I understand how difficult and disappointing it would be if you had to cancel your trip due to either situation.  However, neither issue compares in scope to the plight, fight or flight of government workers who face job loss, and tough times making ends meet for their families due to no pay.  Neither settings offer a good start to even the best tailored vacation itinerary possible.   So, what would you suggest?  What tips would you give to the traveler in these circumstances?  Please share your thoughts on the matter in the comment box below.  I would like to hear from you.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

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