Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Almost That Time Of The Year Again --- FOOTBALL SEASON!

It's Almost That Time Of The Year Again --- FOOTBALL SEASON!
My throat is dry and scratchy. I can feel my heart palpitating and my blood pressure is going up (fortunately, it's NOT a serious health condition). It's from yelling on the sidelines; on my couch, or at my favorite Sport's Bar - it's Football Season! While the beginning of football season marks the end of long, sultry summer days, family vacations and mosquitoes (thank goodness on that one); it is a whole different ball game (pun intended). Tailgaters, beer (preferably Stella Artois or Blue Moon), hot wings and yelling...lots of yelling.

Anybody who has gone to a live football game can attest to the rush of adrenaline that you get just by pulling into the parking lot of your favorite college, professional, or heck, even a high school football stadium to see your favorite team play. I've been extremely blessed in my life that I have been to my fair share of high school, college, professional (including Canadian league) football games. While I love the sport, it's also the shared camaraderie amongst all of the fans for both teams and the electricity in the air that keeps me excited and energized throughout the entire football season. It's great to be at your favorite bar, or at home watching a game, but there is nothing like being at your favorite game. Whether I am watching the guys run onto the field completely smashing one another to smithereens in beautiful Southern California weather or blistering cold New England weather, there is nothing quite like it.

Even though it's only preseason, and most people I speak to detest preseason. I am the exact opposite. It's like having that pretest or quiz that you know doesn't mean anything in respect to your grades, but can play a huge part in how you feel about yourself when you score a 100% on the "practice" test to get your mind working to take the "real" tests later in the year. Preseason is the ultimate practice test because it's the first time the guys are on the field playing against other opponents. For some of the guys they are rookies, and it's their first time on that field, and for others they are veterans and it's just another day in the office - or is it? I believe that no matter how many times they've been there before, it's always an exhilarating feeling to step onto that field and see the hundreds of thousands of people who've come to watch them play. I just can't imagine that getting old. Maybe we should ask Brett Favre; obviously he can't quite let it go either!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where In The World? Top 5 Reasons Why People Don't Travel

Where In The World? Top 5 Reasons Why People Don't Travel

I often wonder why some people don't travel, or say they don't like to travel. I love to travel, so it's always interesting to me when I meet or hear people talk about not wanting to go anywhere; especially not outside of the United States.

This is not a scientific experiment, nor is this something I read about elsewhere; these are my own assertions based on speaking with countless people over the years. Here are the top 5 reasons that are spoken or unspoken as to why they don't travel:

  1. "It's too expensive!" --- OK, I hear that one quite often; especially when it's dealing with a far away destination like Bora Bora, etc. My answer to that one is - plan. If someone really wants to go somewhere, they will pinch every penny and save every dime to get where they want to go. It has to be a priority; if it's not, then no, they won't be going.
  2. "Why do I need to go to abroad, when I have everything here?" --- I believe it's called, "broadening your horizons," but hey, that's just my take on it. Honestly, there is NO better education than travel. The good, the bad and the ugly.
  3. "I don't speak the language at all/or very well." --- That's an easy one actually, unlike a large majority of us from the United States, a lot of people from other countries usually DO speak multiple languages, and oftentimes they speak English very well. Also, most countrymen like to see you try, even if you butcher their language. They appreciate you trying, and it also gives them a good laugh, see, that's an ice breaker right there!
  4. "I have no idea where I would want to go?" --- Again, that's a simple one. Pick a place, anyplace, and then make it your goal to get there. Set a date and make it happen. I have a friend who would spin the globe, and wherever her finger landed when it stopped spinning, she would go visit that place. I think that's actually pretty cool.
  5. "What if I don't fit in there?" --- Who says you fit in here? Just kidding. Seriously though, there is always some fear or trepidation when you are going to unknown territory, but that happens right here in the U.S. I know tons of people who don't want to go to the East/West/North/South, because they have "heard" __________(fill in the blank) about going to that State, and they don't think they will like it. Hey, what's the worse thing that could happen? You go somewhere you completely don't like and guess what? You never have to go there again. I think that ones pretty simple.

All in all, most of the objections (barring finances) are based on fear. Fear of being different; getting lost because of a language barrier; fear of eating the wrong thing...just fear. Most places are great. Do you have to do some research? Absolutely, but that's part of the fun and anticipation. Also, when you work with a Travel Professional, they assist you in navigating the unknown terrain and the answering some of those questions so you won't be on your own!

So, go ahead, spin that globe - I dare you!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Protect Your Investment!

Protect Your Investment

Interestingly enough, this conversation did take place in a lobby. I got into a conversation with a woman and she began discussing serious health issues that her husband had endured, and that the vacation they had been planning was not to be had - at least for the time being.

I inquired if they had purchased travel insurance for their trip, as from our conversation, it was a pricey vacation they had been planning (in excess of $20,000.00). She indicated that they had purchased insurance, but had failed to get their airline tickets insured with their package; therefore they would lose that amount of money, but would be able to get their deposit back for the trip. I told her that was good, and while they did lose out on the airline tickets (which they would be getting a credit for; with heavy penalies being assessed) at least they had insured the bulk of their vacation.

It's always curious to me that people are willing to lay down several hundreds; oftentimes, thousands of dollars for a vacation, but feel they don't "need" to purchase the insurance. I liken that to gambling in Vegas. Sure, they are hedging their bets that nothing bad will happen, but as Murphy's Law works - anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Why would you spend all of that money and not protect your investment? I mean, that's what it is - an investment. Taking a vacation is a lot of money; especially when it's a family vacation, or a "once in a lifetime" trip that may never happen again.

Thousands of stranded travelers found out JUST how important travel insurance was when they were stranded in Europe during the Iceland volcano eruption. Contrary to what people may think, travel insurance is not an exhorbitant cost. Sure, it can run a few hundred dollars if it's an expensive trip, and many other variables that are taken into consideration; however, given the alternatives, I would say that spending a few hundred dollars for a $2,500 or more vacation is money WELL spent. Then again, this is my business, so it makes sense to me. I've said it once, and I'll say it again, insurance is one of those things you don't want to pay for, but are SO thankful to have when you need it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Part 10 Of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

Part 10 Of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

There is a big difference between "being on vacation," and "going on vacation." The "being" is great, the "going" is not. Between all of the newest and cutest (sarcasm) TSA requirements; country requirements, and just plain getting prepared, there are a lot of important components in respect to traveling; especially if you are going abroad.

Working with a Travel Professional can afford you a peace of mind, because if there is something that goes awry while you are traveling, there is someone in your home country that is accessible to assist you while you are away. If you lose your passport, or need a phone number that may not be readily accessible while you are traveling abroad, you have a "go to" person who can take some of the worry away. Vacation should be a time of fun, reflection, downtime and rejuvenation. The worse thing that can happen on a vacation is for something bad to happen, and then you are forced to spend hours on the phone with someone who may, or may not speak your language, thus cutting into your vacation time. A Travel Professional can take some of that burden off of your shoulder so you can do what you went away to do and that is - enjoying your vacation.

  • Business Concerns - If the airline you are scheduled to use goes on strike or bankrupt while you are traveling, your travel agent can work to find you alternate travel means while you continue to relax at the hotel.
  • Transportation in Smaller Countries - Travel agents can arrange all your transportation and travel needs, especially in those smaller countries where you may not know if cabs or van services are safe.
  • Group Hotel Reservations - Travel agents can help to keep everyone in the group on the same floor at a hotel.
  • Charter Private Boating Trips - Travel specialists can help you to avoid paying top dollar for chartered snorkeling or fishing trips for large groups. They can often find great deals for large groups who want to do personalized tours.
  • Immunizations That May Be Needed - To enter certain countries you may be required to obtain certain immunizations first. Your travel expert can advise you on the steps you need to take.
*Source information provided by ASTA