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.
Even the most seasoned travelers sometimes feel confused about travel insurance — what’s out there, what it covers, whether or not they need it. Even as a veteran travel agent and a licensed travel insurance broker in New York State, I am frequently speaking with my travel insurance suppliers to make sure my clients receive as much coverage as possible.
While coverage and policies vary from state to state, of course, to get started let's break down the types of travel insurance coverages available.
There are five main types of travel insurance. What you might need depends largely on what kind of trip you’re taking, what kind of traveler you are, and how frequently you travel. The five main types are:
1) Trip cancellation and interruption (full or partial reimbursement for a trip you need to cancel prior to departure, a trip that gets cancelled because a tour company or resort goes out of business, or a trip that gets cut short for a wide variety of reasons)
2) Medical (for health issues that occur outside of your normal coverage area)
3) Evacuation (due to disaster, dangerous weather, political emergency, or medical emergency)
4) Baggage (reimbursement for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage)
5) Flight insurance (also called “crash coverage,” this is basically a life insurance policy that covers you while you’re on the plane, in the event of a statistically-rare crash)
Travel expert Rick Steves explains the way they generally work is like this:
“The various types are generally sold in some combination — rather than buying only baggage, medical, or cancellation insurance, you’ll usually purchase a package that includes most or all of them. If you want just one type of coverage in particular — such as medical — ask for that (though it might come with a little cancellation or baggage insurance, too). ‘Comprehensive insurance’ covers all of the above, plus expenses incurred if your trip is delayed, if you miss your flight, or if your tour company changes your itinerary.”
HERE ARE SOME TIPS WHEN PURCHASING TRAVEL INSURANCE
Your Health Insurance Will Probably Not Cover You On Your Vacation
Just because you have health insurance at home does not mean that it will cover you on your trip. You need to check the ins and outs of your particular health insurance policy. It may cover you while you travel, but many do not. In fact, some insurance policies don’t even cover health emergencies experienced on foreign-flagged vessels — which is what most cruise ships are. Check with your provider, ask your travel agent for suggestions, and of course direct any insurance-related questions to the provider. As Steves puts it, “Before purchasing a policy, ask your insurer to explain exactly what’s covered before and after you get to the hospital.”
The Best Practice Is To Purchase A Third Party insurance
Avoid purchasing travel insurance from the company that’s also hosting your trip. The reason for this? If that company goes out of business, chances are, so does their insurance. There are major travel insurance companies that will provide all the insurance your need.
What Is The Best Travel Insurance Coverage?
Some companies offer comprehensive coverage that can serve as your primary coverage while you’re traveling. What does this mean, and how can it benefit you? It means that the insurance company will pay first, regardless of what other insurance you have. They don’t even inquire about additional insurance, saving you tons of paperwork and out-of-pocket expenses. TravelGuard and Travelex are two such companies that provide these policies as an option.
Do You Really Need Travel Insurance?
Weigh the cost of the trip with the cost of insurance. If you just bought a $79 ticket for a quick weekend in Chicago — is it worth it? Maybe, maybe not. If, however, you’re headed out on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that you’ve been saving for for months.
Confused about travel insurance? At Million Miles Travel Agency has a New York State licensed travel insurance broker that can guide you through the process of purchasing the travel insurance product that works best for you and your travel needs.
Contact us today.
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.
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.
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!).
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.