Making Roman Footsteps

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.  Did you ever wonder what that truly means?

When I visited Rome a few years ago, it was my first trip to Europe and I was very excited to see what everyone was always talking about! My first experience was stepping out of the hotel with my husband and walking to the Spanish Steps nearby.  We were at the top and looking down, I was amazed at all the people, mostly, sitting on the steps, having lunch, meeting friends or loved ones, laughing and talking.  Just taking in the beautiful sunshine.  No rushing around.  No hustle and bustle.  We walked down the steps into the neighborhood to grab a slice of pizza. Rounding the corner, the smell of fresh garlic being sautéed and fresh bread baking.  I closed my eyes and drank it all in.  I was in Rome!  And we’re going back there October 9th!

Imagine exploring ancient Rome through the Circus Maximus Palatine hill with a stop at the Colosseum. If you close your eyes, you can hear the roar of the chariots and conjure up Roman soldiers sparring with lions.  Standing at the top of the Colosseum, you’ll get a tingle up your spine as the reality of the history that happened below begins to hit your senses.  It’s truly amazing. . .

Enjoy your first afternoon on your own exploring or we can arrange an optional tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel so that you skip the long entry line and discover the artistic masterpieces inside, including Michelangelo’s famed ceiling. When I saw the Sistine Chapel for the first time, I stood in awe trying to capture all of into my memory.  You CANNOT take any pictures of it as the flash from your cameras has been causing the deterioration of it over time.  The Security Guards are on their game in guarding this beautiful artistic buffet, so don’t even try to sneak it in.  They become quite offended.  This is their history and heritage and you need to respect it.

In the evening, we begin our culinary adventure on a walking tour of Campo dei Fiori, Trastevere, the historical Jewish Ghetto, and Piazza Navona. During tonight’s tour you will meet vendors, taste local specialties and live the ambiance just like a Roman.  Rounding out the night’s fun, a stop at a famous local Gelateria for delicious artisanal gelato.  And I can assure that what you thought was gelato in the United States is nothing like true gelato in Italy  So many flavors and combinations and so little time!

This is the first of the culinary “footsteps” we’ll be taking beginning on October 9th of this year . . . stay tuned for our next stop on this 10 day tour! Ciao! 

 

 

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!