Vacations are about having fun! Even life with all its responsibilities should have some fun. Even though I am not able to get on a flight ever week, I still love exploring Brooklyn: from the statues and fountains to the food trucks at Smorgasburg. I encourage you to find something new in your neighborhood in the upcoming week.
Now let's talk about your vacation. Do you feel that you have gotten yourself stuck in a vacationing rut?
Maybe you try out different places, but they all kind of seem the same. Maybe you find the planning exhausting. Maybe you stress out over small things so that your energy gets sapped. Maybe you cram too many things into too little time, and you come back more tired than when you left. Maybe you bring work with you, even when you say you’re not going to, so that you wind up giving away precious vacationing hours to your job.
I’m going to be bold and say: This is not what a vacation should feel like.
Here are 5 secrets to becoming a Zen master of vacationing.
Trust me — you’ll never regret taking these on.
1. Move a little bit every day you’re on holiday, especially if your job is the kind that has you sitting at a desk all day long. This isn’t about working out; it’s just about doing what your body and brain want you to do, which is move around a little. Lounging is great — there should definitely be time for lounging — but only lounging for days on end has an ironic de-energizing effect on the body. (It’s part of why desk work can be insanely exhausting, even though you technically didn’t do anything physical all day long.) Whatever your level of mobility or fitness, pick something to do every day that gives you a burst of activity: walking, swimming in the ocean, a bike ride, playing with your kids, morning yoga or stretching. If you have some physical limitations, plan ahead and find walker- or wheelchair-friendly spaces to explore, even if it’s just for 20 minutes each day. Your body and your brain will thank you. Activity actually helps boost your body’s ability to fully relax and soak up the restorative purpose of vacationing.
2. Get present to real, peaceful, natural beauty. You might not be the camping type. Or the sporty type. Or the outdoorsy type. That’s 100% okay! You don’t have to hike the Grand Canyon to sit in total awe of it. Even the biggest, loudest city has peaceful places to just be in the presence of natural beauty. If the weather’s nice and you have the option, sit outside for your meal or pack a picnic. Just soak in your surroundings and the view; pay attention to light, sounds, sensations, and smells.
Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser and business author, recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review about a CEO friend of his who swore by intentional time in nature to up his business game: “Before retiring from the CEO role, John would try to take these breaks just before his global partners’ meetings because he found that his ideas, initiatives, and even speeches would become much more focused, rich, clear and powerful as a result—even though he didn’t spend any time actively working on them!” We can’t underestimate the power that being in nature has for bringing out the best in our thinking and seeing.
3. Cultivate your appetite for “different.” This one can be challenging — but it pays huge dividends when it comes to creating vacations that are full, satisfying, and memorable. This is less about booking some extreme trip and more about being willing to approach every trip as a learning experience, to being open to the possibility that every vacation can actually make you a better person. Seek out conversations with interesting strangers. Learn some phrases in a new language and practice them and see what happens. Try new foods. Take in a performance that features local music or dance. Take the risk of not knowing and being willing to ask. As Fernández-Aráoz observes, “The world’s most productive people are deeply curious and collaborative and constantly seek out new acquaintances and allies — even when they’re on vacation.”
4. Put your money into experiences, not things. Again, this one can be challenging. We’re taught in our culture that having more stuff will make us happier, even though research has proven this over and over again to not be true. Vacations in and of themselves are experiences — so that’s one step in the best direction — and getting a few small things to remember your trip is certainly not a bad thing. But keep an eye out for ways to maximize your experience of each moment within your holiday. When the moment comes to decide if you want to blow a ton of cash at the duty free shop or a souvenir shop — ask yourself what kinds of experiences you could buy that will be with you forever and that will continue to bring you happiness long after they’re over.
5. Treat your vacation like a vocation. Notice there’s only one letter that separates the time you spend relaxing, re-energizing, and reconnecting and the thing you were born to do. The word “vacation” comes from the Latin vacare, which means “freedom from obligation and duty, release, to be free and at leisure.” The word “vocation” comes from the Latin vocare, which means “to call” — as in, your personal calling, your purpose, the things that bring you deep joy and bring out the best in you and everyone around you. Think of the joyful energy you would put into your calling — the intention, the planning, the attention to detail, the gratitude. Consider the other word we frequently use for vacation — “holiday” — and note that it means “holy day.” It’s okay to approach your upcoming trip as something that can hold a bit of magic, because it just might. As Fernández-Aráoz writes, your vacation can be the thing that actually brings you back better than you were before — better for yourself, your family and friends, your work, your life.
If you’re looking for ways to maximize your traveling experiences, but you’re not quite sure how to get there, I’d love to help! If planning stresses you out, I can be your best ally. I love this work and can help connect you with the places and experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime. Let’s talk today — you can reach me by clicking here to schedule a consultation.
Living and working in New York City, I am used to a city with lots of amenities. Going to Dubai however is another experience. There is a level of glamour, opulence, and extravagance that is on another level.
Dubai is known for extravagant shopping, present-day design, and an enthusiastic nightlife scene. Dubai is the most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. This beautiful city is a cosmopolitan oasis of ultramodern architecture and luxury lifestyle. Here are some amazing facts worth knowing about Dubai:
1. The police force in Dubai spends more on every one of their supercars than what it costs to send a child to college in the USA.
Dubai's police force drive vehicles which amaze travelers and show how "advanced" the city is. The Ferrari FF ($500,000), Lamborghini Aventador ($397,000) and an Aston Martin One-77 ($1.79 million). Many of the amazing supercars you see here in the United States were originated in Dubai. Dubai police officers drive Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and even Aston Martin’s regularly. The Police use supercars so they can catch any criminals in a potential car chase. This allows police to catch and arrest criminal in a more timely manner.
2. Approximately 85 percent of Dubai's population is foreign
Estimations show that around 15 percent of Dubai's populace are Emiratis, while the other 85 percent are expatriates. The greater part of the laborers working in Dubai moved to the United Arab Emirates from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Emirati nationals are far outnumbered by expats in Dubai. The majority of the population is Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Asian and Western.
3. Up to this point, Dubai had no addresses, no postal divisions, no region codes and no postal framework
Because of the rate at which Dubai has been developing, it never built up a standard address framework. Rather than an address line on a mailing mark, citizens could just draw a guide or work out particular guidelines. Dubai is still a growing city that is rapidly changing. This is a nice little fact that most people don’t know about the governmental structure of Dubai.
4. Home to the World's Tallest Building
Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Dubai is known as the city of sky Skypers because there are currently over 400 skyscrapers throughout this growing city. Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest building in the world with a height of 828 m (830 m to tip) and 163 floors. Burj Khalifa is also home to the world’s highest restaurant, highest mosque, highest nightclub, and a variety of historical landmarks for tourists to explore!
You’re getting ready for your next trip. The suitcase is open on the bed, and you’re going down the list of everything you’ll need to take with you.
Sandals? Check. Wind breaker? Check. Sunscreen? Check.
Duct tape? Wait….what?
1) You read that correctly. A small roll of duct tape takes up a tiny bit of space, but can save you in tons of different ways. Patch a tear in your shoes, jacket, or trusty bag. Baby proof a hotel room in ten seconds by covering outlets and taping drawers shut. Hem your pants. Use as a bandage in an emergency. The list goes on and on.
Here are four more things that should become part of your regular packing list:
2) External USB battery charger. Nothing is more exasperating or panic-inducing than finding yourself lost and needing to pull up that email with directions, or that map to your hotel, or make a phone call — and having your smartphone conk out on you. Save outlet space in airports, hotels, train stations, and other oft-traveled places. Always have a way to charge up your phone, tablet, or other USB powered electronic device, even if there are no outlets available.
3) The humble safety pin can be an amazing asset. Aside from the usual functions — holding your pants or shirt together, for example, when you lose a button — they also can serve to bundle small items like jewelry or keys, to keep everything organized and in one place. Discretely place a pin on the inside hem of a slip or satin jacket lining to eliminate static cling. Use them to attach easily-lost things like mittens to the zipper or hood of your kids’ jackets.
4) A few strips of chamois (or other absorbent fabric) in different sizes. You can keep them all in a zip-lock bag (along with a couple of other bags for temporarily storing used cloths until you can wash them) — but having different sizes helps for different situations, and it’s best to choose fabrics that are also quick-drying. Small squares for cleaning glasses. A washcloth for bigger spills or for freshening up at a rest stop. Use a bandana-sized piece to tie back your hair or, when dampened, tie around your head on a hot day to keep cool. A long, narrower strip can serve as an emergency belt, hair tie, ace bandage, or even a way to tie a bag closed if a zipper breaks. They even make fantastic travel towels, because they roll up into a compact size, suck up the liquid, and dry completely in no time at all.
5) My contact information. As your travel agent, my job doesn’t end when your trip starts! It’s not common, but sometimes complications arise while you are traveling, and I am always available to you to assist with sticky situations you might find yourself in. (This is, of course, just one of the many perks of working with a travel agent!) Before your trip, you can make a “favorites” list in your phone of all trip-related contact info — my number and email address, hotel, car rental, reservations, etc. — for easy access. That way, I’m always just a call away.
To find out more about the benefits of working with me and to plan your next trip, contact me today to schedule an appointment. Click here now.
One of my bucket list goals is to attend all four of the Tennis Grand Slam events (Australian Open, Wimbledon, French Open, and the US Open). As I write this article, I have only attended one. Not for lack of trying, the Grand Slam events are at a set time of year and I always find myself committed to something else or just plain unable to go.
I am sure that each one of you reading this article has a bucket list country or event that you want to attend but just thinking about the price tag for such a trip can lead you to sadness because usually the price can be prohibitive.
What if I told you that you can have your bucket list trip if you implemented one or more of the travel strategies:
1) Plan (Way) In Advance:
Time is your friend when booking travel. Contrary to popular belief, the best deals come not with last minute deal but with early booking bonuses. Cruise schedules come out two years in advance. Hotel rooms usually become available 1-1.5 years in advance. If planning for a large group you should think to book as soon as the schedule became available. Planning in advance allows you to have the lowest prices and allows for your pick of rooms. For example, I have booked a 7 day/6 night Southern Caribbean cruise for $600 per person when initially booked 1.5 years ago when the schedule initially came out. The same cruise cabin is currently selling for $950-$1000 per person. The price almost doubled!
2) Embrace The Shoulder (Season):
What is the shoulder season you say? To explain what the shoulder season is we first need to define two other terms, the high season and low season. The high season is the most popular time to travel to a destination. The high season is usually when you will have the best weather or when a particular attraction is available. The downside of the high season is that prices are typically high and the crowds are usually huge. The low season is usually the least popular time to travel to a destination. The low season is usually when the weather is not the best or when popular attractions are not available. The shoulder season is the sweet spot between the high and low season. The great thing about the shoulder season is that the weather is still great but the crowds and the prices go down. My favorite time to travel to Europe is during late September/early October. The weather is not as oppressive and I was able to attend all the sights without the hordes of crowds.
3) Think Off Peak:
As most urban and suburban residents know, rush hour is probably one of the worst time to travel. It seems like the entire city is heading to one location and you feel like a sardine trapped in a tin can. However if you are one of the lucky commuters doing a reverse commute, you probably have a stress-free commute with nothing but clear roadways (or empty train cars) to contend with. Think about your travel plans in the same way. If you are an adventurous traveler (and you purchase travel insurance) how about a Caribbean vacation during the summer or Europe during the winter. There are tips to avoid the worst of the weather but think about traveling to a destination during low season you will not only find great deals but less people.
4) Six Is An Important Number When It Comes To Flights:
You don’t want to wait too long to book your flights but conversely you don’t want to book too early. If you are planning a vacation to a destination serviced by low cost airlines like Jetblue or Southwest it is best to wait until you are within six months of your travel time. Low cost airlines usually put out their airline schedules six months in advance so while you can purchase a vacation package earlier if you want to save a bit of money on your flights, hold off on booking the flights until the schedules for the low cost carriers are out.
Are you ready to start planning an incredible experience for yourself or your whole family? Contact me today and let me help you get there! Just click here.
If you have ever planned a group vacation that has fallen through you know the frustration of many travelers that want to go to one of those wonderful places that make up our great world but can never find even one person to go with.
Prior to starting my travel agency, I worked as an attorney for a company that had a very generous paid vacation policy (5 weeks specifically). The problem was that I always wanted to travel but no one was ever available. So I figured out a way to travel "solo" without actually being alone.
1) Take a tour with a supplier that works with solo travelers. I love G Adventures (I'm a total fan girl). I love them because I was able to travel solo but with the comforts of having things organized and done for me. You won't be stuck on a bus and will have the opportunity to do some activities with a group while also being able to branch out and do your own thing its the best of both worlds. There is no single supplement so you don't have to pay extra for traveling alone unless you want a room to yourself. If you are looking for a great tour check out our weekly travel deal.
2) Cruises are notorious for being difficult for solo travelers. To travel on most cruise lines as a single person you can sometimes have to pay up to 200% of the cabin price (basically double the amount) if you are a cruiser there are some solo friendly options: some cruise lines such as Norwegian and Royal Caribbean have cabins on specific ships designed specifically for solo travelers without the single penalty, other cruise lines such as Riviera River Cruises have specific sailing dates for solo travelers, and there are entire companies that deal solely in catering to a single cruiser.
3) Find a travel group that caters to solo travelers (shameless plug coming up). Million Miles Travel Agency is in the process of designing travel that will cater to solo and group travelers alike. These groups are set to travel starting next year. There will be mix and mingle receptions, roommate matching, and free time so you can do your own thing while having scheduled activities if you want to sightsee with the group.
If you are looking to plan your first solo adventure or looking to find a travel group that fits you, schedule a consultation with me and we can find a tour or put together a custom itinerary perfect for you.
Dread airport lines? Try these tricks to get ahead of the pack.
We all know how it is. Any mention of the state of airport travel today — especially the lines and the TSA — will inevitably elicit groans of frustration, eye rolls, and a raft of stories of security nightmares.
It’s true in many ways that traveling by plane in 2019 lacks much of the glamour and carefree effortless elegance of, say, 50 years ago. We live in a different world with much more complex problems that need to be addressed.
But since you have to go through the lines and security no matter what — how about making it as painless as possible? Here are some easy tips to help you breeze through your next security screening and stay at the head of the line.
1) Don't Check A Bag: Want to avoid the crazy lines, don't check a bag. Ask for some packing tips to avoid the hold up of waiting for bags especially if you have to make connections.
2) Get on the list: The TSA has a trusted traveler program called TSA Pre® and the US Customs and Border Protection has Global Entry. Both programs are worth their weight in gold. They are available in most airports across the country and both can cut your time through security screenings by 90%. It has perks like not requiring shoe or laptop removal for a speedy trip through security so yeah for that also.
3) Download the app: Are you like me that got TSA Precheck instead of Global Entry? Do you not want to go through the minor hassle of getting TSA PreCheck or Global Entry even though I am a frequent international traveler?
Introducing Mobile Passport . This app allows you to complete the customs questionnaire upon re-entry to the US. You snap a photo of yourself and you go through the special line for mobile passport users right next to the Global Entry line and you won't have to wait in the long lines for re-entering the US and it's FREE (sorta). They know have two programs the Basic Plan and the Plus Plan. If you are not a frequent traveler, the basic plan will work just fine. If you are a frequent traveler or just like the additional bells and whistles the Plus Plan is $14.99 per year with a 7 day free trial period.
4) Splurge on a meet and greet: Going to the Caribbean during the high season? Want to avoid the lines that can take up to an hour to get through? Splurge on a meet and greet with fast track through customs. This is a very popular perk. I frequently use this service when traveling to Jamaica. Having the ability to walk past the long lines awaiting entry into Jamaica is worth every penny. Plus after zipping through security there are cocktails and food waiting in the lounge while you wait for your resort pickup (that's a triple win!).
Lover of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Always looking for the best places to eat wherever I go.