I am always looking for more ways to be happy. Sometimes it is by eating my favorite foods, listening to my favorite music, or.......... traveling?
We know that travel comes with a host of great benefits: you get to spend time with people you love (or be away from the people you love lol); you get to see new things and try new things; you get to relax away from the pressures of work and everyday life; you get the thrill of realizing dreams you may have had for years and years.
As it turns out, travel is the best way to spend your money. Of all the things you can buy, the experience of traveling gives you, by far, the most bang for your buck. All these great elements of travel have been proven to make people happier.
And even more than that, every part of the travel experience — before, during, and after — is more satisfying, more enjoyable, and has longer-lasting positive effects than buying stuff.
In 2003, Thomas Gilovich published his landmark study called “To Do or To Have? That Is the Question” – a study that, more than a decade on, continues to influence social psychology and the study of what brings us true contentment.
Gilovich looked at how economic choices affect well-being and analyzed the differences between experiential and material purchases on human happiness. His unexpected discovery has changed the way we look at our buying habits: Across the board, doing things makes people way happier than having things.
The reason for this is that we get to live and re-live the joy of experiences. Buying an expensive TV or even a new car gives a momentary spike in good feelings that lasts for a few days. But when you take an amazing trip, you get the memories and the good time together — and every time you think of that trip, or you see something that reminds you of it, or you look at the picture on your desktop, your brain registers those joyful times and releases mood-enhancing chemicals that make you feel like you’re re-living the happiness of the experience itself. It stays with you, and you get to access it whenever you want.
It’s not like we need another reason to start planning that dream trip — but another study out that Gilovich co-authored has found that even the anticipation of experiences outdoes the lead-up to material purchases. People waiting in line to get tickets to an event are happier and more excited than those who are waiting in line to buy something.
So, even something as boring as waiting in line is more fun when it’s connected to your travel experience. But it makes sense when you think of it, doesn’t it? You’re waiting to, say, get your passport photo taken, and associated with that time are thoughts of where you’re going to go, what you’re going to see, and all the adventure that awaits. When you’re planning that trip with your agent, you get to make progress, take steps towards realizing your dream, and each step is actually a part of the adventure itself.
As travelers, we know the many positive benefits of getting out and seeing the world. And now we can feel even better knowing that those benefits continue to improve our lives, long after the trip is over.
Are you convinced? Ready to start taking the steps towards your next travel adventure? To contact me click here now!
With Labor Day approaching and back-to-school shopping complete, the realization that summer is over may be heavily weighing on you. Although autumn is a beautiful time of year marked by crisp temperatures and nature’s beauty, we sometimes cannot help feeling down by the end of summer. Those feelings can be easily erased by booking a vacation for fall.
Autumn is an ideal time to travel, as it is marked by comfortable temperatures, less crowded tourist attractions and more moderate travel costs. Throughout the world, different countries have the most to offer at the most fair price when the calendar turns to September. Our New York travel agents have compiled a list of some of the best travel destinations for fall 2019 to help you decide on your upcoming travel plans.
Bavaria, Germany. Germany, home to the Oktoberfest, is an incredibly popular fall travel destination. In Bavaria, located in southern Germany, a visitor can enjoy Oktoberfest, numerous wine festivals and romantic outings, including hiking in the Alps, horse drawn carriage rides and over two dozen historic castles. In addition, the backdrop of snow dusted, forest lined mountains is an autumn scene from a movie.
Beijing, China. Beijing is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China year round, as it is home to the Great Wall of China. Outside of its vast historical intrigue, this monument is the perfect location for autumn sightseeing. Although the hike may be grueling, the view from the top is breathtaking in fall with the orange, red, green and blue sights of forests and mountains in the distance.
Budapest, Hungary. Budapest is an ideal international travel destination for autumn. With temperatures lingering around 70 degrees, exploring Budapest’s vast history and destinations will be as comfortable as it is exciting. For natives, autumn is marked by annual food and drink festivals and football (soccer) season. It is also the perfect time to explore Budapest’s winding streets and the nearby, renowned wine region. Budapest is also known for its lively music scene, where you can be sure to see both local talent and the world’s most popular musicians.
Nara, Japan. Nara is home to a vast deer population; according to legend, a god arrived in Nara on a white deer. Spotted deer, regarded as a heavenly animal, have roamed the town since. Against the backdrop of colorful fall foliage, watching the deer frolic is especially enjoyable; you can even feed them with food purchased from street vendors. Nara is also home to popular tourist spots including Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, palaces, museums and gardens.
Patagonia. September in Patagonia marks the beginning of their spring and hiking season. In October, you will see flowers blooming and birds chirping, a happy change to New York’s impending winter, with average temperatures around sixty degrees. These comfortably cool temperatures yield the perfect weather for Patagonia’s countless outdoor adventures, from hiking to sailing.
Piedmont, Italy. Other than its historic landmarks, Italy is most often travelled to for its food and wine, which reaches its peak season in October. Autumn is fall harvest time for Italy’s vast vineyards and is also the time of year in which food festivals celebrating favorites such as chocolate and truffles take place. In Piedmont, a traveler can enjoy unlimited delicious meals and bottles of renowned wine while taking in the autumn sights of the Alps along hundreds of trails.
Puigcerda, Spain. A small village full of unique shops and restaurants, Puigcerda is the capital of the Cerdana region of Spain. One can take in the sights and smells of autumn by walking through the quaint village and the surrounding hiking trails. Puigcerda Lake and Schierbeck Park are two of the best places to capture fall.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. September is the perfect month to visit Rio de Janeiro; autumn temperatures range from mid-70s to mid-80s, so if prolonging summer is on the wish list, this could be the perfect travel destination. The crowds are smaller this time of year, providing ample space to relax on Rio’s pristine beaches. Because Carnival is not during the fall months, travel costs are a fraction of the price.
Every year, summer must come to an end. But that does not mean that the fun associated with summer must end as well. By booking a fall vacation - whether to a warm destination where summer can be prolonged or a destination that fully embraces all that autumn has to offer - you can continue to have fun and explore new worldwide destinations.
Million Miles Travel Agency’s premier travel agents in New York are just a call away, eager to get you on board a plane to your new destination; contact us today to book your fall 2019 vacation.
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.
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.
A key part of how I work is getting to know the travelers I work with. My philosophy is it's your vacation so it should be about finding a destination, accommodations, and activities that suit you.
I am my own worst client because I want to go everywhere however the the tricks I discuss below helped me clarify where I want to go and I hope that it will help you too.
There are, of course, thousands of possible trips out there. There are plenty of great trips to choose from — and then there are trips that are great for you. Being honest about what you want and need and getting to know your own personal travel profile can save you from the but-it-looked-great-on-paper trip disappointment.
Here are a few simple things that can help you better understand your unique and personal travel profile:
Make a quick list of the twenty most fun memories you have of trips you’ve taken in your lifetime. Notice if there are any themes. While you don’t necessarily need (or even want) each vacation to be a carbon copy of things you’ve already done, you can use those larger themes to guide your planning of future trips. That way, if you decide to step out a little from your comfort zone, you’ll at least have a solid idea of what makes the most meaningful moments for you. Is it time with friends or family? A certain type of weather or geography? Certain activities? Quiet time? When you can build some of these elements into your travel, you’re more likely to come home energized and restored.
What do you like to do to relax, unwind, have fun, or re-energize when you’re not on vacation? Do you like to be still or active? Quiet or surrounded by crowds? Scheduled or free-form and spontaneous? Simplicity or luxury? Inside or outside? These might seem like silly questions — but you’d be surprised how often people book vacations that are filled with activities or set at a pace that they otherwise don’t really enjoy. It’s possible that you’ll love a week of biking in Tuscany even though you’d never go cycling at home — but more likely you’ll be tired, saddle-sore, and wishing for a car. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try new activities every now and then; there’s plenty of room for new adventures on trips. Just make sure that you incorporate new activities in small bites — say, an afternoon bike tour with plenty of stops — to see if it’s something you’d genuinely like more of.
What is the purpose of your trip? What do you want to take away? Part of what makes travel so amazing is its capacity to broaden and deepen our cultural, relational, and emotional horizons. Are you looking to create tons of new memories with your kids? Are you hunting for the perfect gift(s)? Maybe you’d like to immerse yourself in a new culture and language, or do a service-oriented trip that allows you to give to others while you’re getting an invaluable adventure. Plan your trip around the kind of experience and emotional takeaway you’re looking for.
Do you prefer to be in control, or are you happier when someone else is at the helm? This can be a huge factor in overall enjoyment of a trip. Sometimes people think they’d love to be in charge of everything — but when faced with the reality of hundreds of details that need taking care of before, during, and even after a trip, the fun gets sapped right out of the vacation. When you work with me, you can create the best balance of autonomy and assistance in order to maximize the fun, adventure, and relaxation on your trip.
When you take a little time to get to know how you travel best, your vacation can be more than just fun; it can actually be fulfilling. And you can come home refreshed, energized, and brimming with great new memories.
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.
Lover of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Always looking for the best places to eat wherever I go.