“I Can Do This On My Own”????

You’re planning this summer’s European vacation and undecided as to whether you should call your travel agent or not.  “I can do this all on my own.  I don’t need a travel agent or a tour company.  How hard could it be??”  Tell us what you think after you see this video . . .

Need we say more???? This video hits the nail directly on the head, especially when it comes to traveling to a country you’ve never been to!  Let your travel professionals take the stress out of planning (and traveling) to all those places on your bucket list.  You’ll be so glad you did!

 

 

What Are You Waiting For??

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On January 2nd of this year, we lost a very dear friend of 30+ years.  We went to his house for a New Year’s Eve Party, just as we had done alternately for the last 25 years, only to hear from his daughter that her mom was following him in the ambulance on his way to the ER.  They thought he had the flu and just needed fluids.  He had endocarditis, a strep virus that was attacking his heart, producing multiple heart attacks, strokes, and then organ failure.  He was a very young, active 75.  And we are all devastated by his loss.

You’re now asking “WHY is she sharing this sad story with us?”  And my question to you now is “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??”

What is keeping you from taking that bucket-list vacation?  What is holding you back from going somewhere that you’ve always dreamed of?  Is it that you don’t want to plan too far in advance, what if something happens?  That’s what trip insurance is made for!  (It isn’t just for medical reimbursement anymore.)  Is it that your kids are still young and in school?  You only have 18 summers of your life to travel with your kids while they are young (and possibly still want to travel with you!).  That’s not a lot of summers in the grand scheme of things. And with the help and guidance of a professional travel agent, you can plan those trips that will give you and your family the memories of a lifetime, without all the stress and worry.  The Agent takes that worry and stress away from you and will be there through all of it with you, as well as waiting patiently till you get back to regale the beautiful and funny experiences you shared!  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???

Are you waiting till you retire and can travel with your spouse or significant other without having to worry about returning to work?   What happens if you retire and like so many other people we hear about, suddenly fall ill and can’t travel?  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???

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My point for all of this is that life is way too short to dream about all the places in the world you’ve always wanted to go to and NEVER making those dreams a reality.  If you keep waiting, you may never get there.  And I can assure that there were places our friend would have loved to go to, but kept putting off for various reasons.  Life has a funny way of smacking us in the face with reality, so why not take the plunge and plan that bucket list trip???  Call your travel consultant and let them show you how easy it is!

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???  ENJOY LIFE, MY FRIEND!!  LA DOLCE VITA!!

Packing 101 – Did you forget something?

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Packing for that family holiday trip to Grandma’s or Aunt Josie’s?  Or maybe you’re getting away to an island to escape the holiday rush? Boarding a cruise ship to let all your cares float away? Beginning the year by checking off a country on your bucket list?

No matter where you are heading, you will definitely want to print out the packing list contained in the link below.  It is the ULTIMATE checklist for packing.  Even if you don’t need everything on there, once you’re back from your trip, cross out what you didn’t need or use and keep it for your next packing adventure!  Either way, GET AWAY, and enjoy life!  Happy Holidays to all!

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Merry Thanksmas!!!

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Merry Thanksmas! Grab Some Sweet Deals in the In-Between Holiday Time.

Have you ever considered a non-Holiday holiday? With November, December, and January stuffed with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, sometimes it doesn’t occur to people to take a break around this time.

But in the travel industry, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the week after New Year’s, are considered “dead weeks,” with a big drop in demand. And in the travel market, a drop in demand = a great time to grab a fantastic deal on a trip. So if you have some flexibility in your holiday plans — or better yet, if you have adventurous family members who would love an unusual way to spend this time together — then put us on the hunt for some fabulous last-minute bargains and pack your bags.

Go off-peak for bigger savings. The days right before and right after major holidays tend to be the busiest (and most expensive), so opt for off-peak and you can save considerably, sometimes 25-50% off.

Off-peak savings also apply to destinations, not just travel times. Consider this advice from Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations:

Cities that regularly host conventions can be good places to find last-minute hotel deals over the holidays. Sometimes you can find a last-minute deal in cities like Orlando or Las Vegas just because there are so many hotels to fill and no conventions going on (at this time of year).

And for beachside lounging, don’t limit yourself to Florida. Consider sandy (and cheaper) spots in other warm destinations along the Georgia and Texas coastlines, including towns like Tybee Island near Savannah and Galveston. Many hotel rooms in Galveston sell at or below $100 per night in November and December.

Consider a vacation rental. Especially at resorts, prices can be as steep as the slopes. If you’re willing to drive a few extra minutes, you can often rent a larger space for much cheaper. There are hot deals available on luxury apartments, homes, condos, and cottages. Other advantages: your own space, more room for larger families or groups, no noisy hotel patrons to keep you up. (For help scouting out the perfect space for your family or group, schedule a phone chat with me by replying to this email.)

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Don’t rule out Europe for a pre- or post-holiday escape. TravelChannel.com author Valerie Connors says, “During the winter, roundtrip flights to Europe can be as much as 20% cheaper than during summer months, when hordes of travelers descend on popular European cities like Paris, London and Rome. In winter these same cities can be blissfully quiet, with short or no lines to enter major attractions like the Louvre or St. Peter’s Basilica.” Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

Don’t be afraid of traveling during the Holiday season — when you know where the deals are, the holidays can be better than ever!

Working with a Travel Professional is one of the best ways to get the most value on your dream vacation!  We would love to help you plan your perfect getaway this Holiday season.  Fill out the comment section below to schedule a “Let’s Get Acquainted Session” with us today. Or visit our website, http://www.skylandworldtravel.com for more vacation ideas to start your year off right!

From all of us at Skyland World Travel, we wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!!

 

 

 

 

 

Do I REALLY NEED Travel Insurance??

We hear it many times when consulting with clients about an important family vacation, a couple’s weekend, a business trip, etc.  “Why spend the extra money?” “What if nothing happens, and I don’t use it?”  But what IF something does happen?  What IS the plan?

From AIG Travel Guard, here are the top 10 reasons why you need travel insurance:

  1. “It’s 10 p.m. and you and your immediate family arrive at the airport for a connecting flight, only to find that your flight has been cancelled. Who can assist you with finding new flights to get everyone home?”
  2. “Your bag was lost with your insulin inside. You need help to locate your bag as soon as possible and have your emergency prescription filled. Who do you call?”
  3. “Your first visit to Europe, and your passport and wallet are stolen. Where do you turn for assistance in obtaining emergency cash, and how will you get your passport replaced?”
  4. “You’re involved in an accident and adequate medical treatment is not available. Who will help coordinate a medical evacuation?”
  5. “If your sister-in-law becomes seriously ill and you must cancel your trip, what happens to your non-refundable deposits or pre-payments?”
  6. “You arrive in Jamaica and your luggage doesn’t. If it’s lost, who will help you find it? If it’s delayed who will reimburse you for covered necessities? If it’s stolen, who will reimburse you for its contents?”
  7. “Your cruise line, airline or tour operator goes bankrupt. Who will pay for your non-refundable expenses? Who is able to assist in getting you to your destination?”
  8. “You’re walking down a street in Rio and twist your ankle. Who is able to assist you in finding an English-speaking physician?”
  9. “Three weeks before your scheduled arrival, a terrorist incident occurs in the city to which you are planning to visit. Who will reimburse you if you want to cancel your trip?”
  10. “You are at a beach resort in North Carolina, and you are forced to evacuate due to a hurricane which has made your resort uninhabitable. Who can assist you in being evacuated? Who will reimburse you for your lost vacation investment?”

These questions are answered simply by contacting the 24 hour toll free number for the insurance company to get the help you need as quickly as possible.  And, of course, contact your travel agent so they can assist you as well. They always have shortcuts and tips to help you. Please be sure to discuss the coverages of the policy with the insurance company, because each policy does not automatically include “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage and that is very important.

So, do you REALLY NEED travel insurance??  Absolutely!

 

 

 

 

 

The Airlines Best Kept Seat Secret

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Hate being squashed in economy seats ? Why not try Premium Economy? For those in the know it’s like an airline’s best kept secret.

Premium Economy is a small cabin in front of economy – these are the people already relaxing in their seats, drink in hand while everyone else is struggling past with their luggage.  You are on a flight from New York to London, approximately 6 hours, plus all that time sitting on the plane before you take off and the extra time taxiing around the destination airport when you land.  If your Premium Economy seat costs round trip an additional $500.00, here’s how you justify the cost: You work out how many hours you are on the plane, say 7 to London and 8 coming back, so 15 hours . Take the cost and divide it by the number of hours on the plane and at approximately $33.00 an hour it is money well spent. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have had these cabins for years. And they always sell out.

Here’s what you get:

  • Advance seating, as soon as you book, at no additional cost on most airlines;
  • First on the plane;
  • Only five or six rows in your cabin;
  • Lots of overhead luggage space as there are fewer seats. The configuration is usually 2,3,2;
  • Wider seat, much more recline, often a lumbar support and a footrest;
  • Blanket, pillow and nicer headphones;
  • A drink as soon as you settle into your seat;
  • Complimentary newspapers;
  • On night flights, they include an amenity kit, with socks, eye mask, toothbrush toothpaste and a pen; and
  • Hungry during the flight? A tray of snacks and goodies in the galley , just for your cabin.

It’s a win-win situation, especially if you get delayed waiting to take off , so that is even more time watching your movie. You arrive relaxed and refreshed, having had a comfortable flight, and are already enjoying your vacation!

 

Have Coffee, Will Travel

 

Join us on December 5th at The Coffee Potter on Schooleys Mountain Road in Long Valley at 3:00 p.m. for a brief presentation by our tour operator, Maria DiRocco, on our upsoming tour to Sicily next spring.  Come in, grab a seat to hear about this fabulous tour and have a cup of coffee on us! Please contact me if you’d like to reserve a seat!

Jill@skylandworldtravel.com

 

 

Buon Giorno, Sicily!

 

 

On my first visit to Italy, I tried to drink in all the sights, the smells, the sounds of this amazing country.  There is so much to see and do and get lost in that you would need many trips there and even then, not engage in all of it. From the best pizza I ever had right at the foot of the Spanish Steps to picking beautiful lace tablecloths in Venice, it was an experience I’d do over and over again.

My mother-in-laws’ family is from Sicily and so, it is with great pleasure that I am hosting an eight-night trip to Sicily in May of 2018. We are working with a fabulous team to ensure that our clients enjoy the essence of what the Sicilian Coast offers.  We will be enjoying lunch at an organic farmhouse with an olive oil tasting to follow.   A visit to a chocolate boutique in Modica to sample these fine chocolates.  Explore the Valley of Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Agrigento. Enjoying the island of Syracuse on our way to gorgeous Taormina, where we will have a cooking class at our hotel and prepare our own dinner, as well as explore the slopes of Mt. Etna.    This is an all-inclusive vacation, including airport transfers, round trip air, land and travel insurance.

La Dolce Vita!!!

We will be having an informational gathering about the tour locally in Hackettstown on December 5th.  Please fill out the comment card below to reserve your seat in advance.  Or you may contact me directly at jill@skylandworldtravel.com.  We hope you can join us and experience the true Italian way of life!

 

 

 

 

Travel Tips for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum

 

As a grandmother of a child with autism, I thought I knew a lot about traveling with children on the Spectrum. But it wasn’t until I completed my certification training to become a Certified Autism Travel Planner through IBCCES, that I saw for the first time what my grandson experienced during his everyday activities. It was truly inspiring and eye-opening. That said, I’d like to now share with you tips to make your family vacation plans much less stressful and help you make those beautiful and special vacation memories a reality!

Some general travel tips:

– Make and stick to (as much as possible) a schedule for your travel plans.  This way the child knows what to expect and will find comfort in being on a routine.  Go over the schedule ahead of time so everyone is on the same page.

– Make time out for sensory friendly activity.  Inquire with the airlines or the airport about a sensory friendly place that the child can go to calm down should the need arise.

– Make a go bag with sensory friendly activities with items such as an IPAD or IPhone, noise-cancelling earmuffs, headphones with music, sunglasses, hat, chewing gum, weighted blanket, lap pad, fidget toys, silly putty, worry stone, bottled water and healthy snacks.

– Have an exit strategy.  Sometimes, no matter how well you plan, things just become too overwhelming for your child.  Establish a signal, something simple so as not to cause a scene and let the staff know about it in the event that they can assist if you need help.

– Your resort should have 24 hour closed captioned security cameras to insure the safety of your child.

As for airport travel, the TSA will allow a person with autism to be screened without separation from their group.  You should ask for a consultation with a TSA official before hand to advise of any concerns you may have and to let them know of any medications, sensitivities or required accommodations.  The TSA also offers Wings of Autism, which allows a practice run of the required security screening process so the person with Autism will know what to expect.  This practice run includes security screening, obtaining your boarding pass, boarding the plane, deplaning, leaving the airport. You can also request “silent boarding”at the gate, giving you priority boarding and the ability to get the family settled before everyone else boards, avoiding any sensory overload.

Taking a cruise can be exciting and yet overwhelming for people with sensory processing issues.  Consider taking a shorter cruise first to ease everyone into cruising, and be sure to discuss with your travel agent about proper sensory activities and excursions, as well as any dietary restrictions or sensitivities. This way a safe menu can be worked out, as well as them approving food brought from home.  Request express boarding to avoid long wait lines. Also, speak to the maitre’ d regarding being placed in a quieter area of the restaurant. Pack a go bag similar to the previous one suggested but add water shoes, sunblock, Dramamine or bracelets and sunglasses. And for your peace of mind, request (in advance) a phone to carry while on board so you can have contact with the dining room and the Kid’s Club at all times. You should keep your confirmation of your advance request to show when embarking the ship.

There are many resorts and cruiselines with staff specifically trained to make your child with autism feel comfortable, safe and happy while on vacation   All Beaches (family inclusive resorts owned by Sandals) resorts are Certified Autism Centers and their Kid’s Clubs are autism friendly.  You may also request a Beaches’ Buddy for your child for the entire trip or just for a few hours.  Karisma Nickelodeon Resort in Punta Cana is also Autism friendly with specially trained staff.  They offer (with advance notice of arrival time) having your child’s favorite Nick character waiting in the lobby to welcome them, as well as a private meet and greet with a Nick character for your child with autism free of charge.  They have a beautiful sensory-friendly aqua park and can accommodate any dietary needs.

Please contact our office to discuss any questions or concerns you may have and to allow us to help you get to that fabulous family vacation with as little stress as possible. Or you can contact me directly at jill@skylandworldtravel.com.