Stumped about what to get the traveler in your life? Blow them away this holiday season with these unique gifts
When it comes time to buy a travel-loving friend a gift, it’s easy to feel stuck on what to get. Journals are great — but not all travelers are journalers, and those that are often have at least a few blank ones on hand. Here are unique takes on classic ideas for the various kinds of travelers in your life.
For the foodie: send delicious global flavors right to their doorstep. Try The World with top chefs from Argentina to Morocco and assembles gorgeous boxes filled with curated delicacies from each country. Delivered every month, each box contains descriptions for how to use the tasty and exotic flavors in your own recipes.
For the well-accessorized: customize a favorite map to make cufflinks, bracelet, or pendant. Have a special place you want to commemorate? Maybe the place of a first date, or a favorite childhood destination? This can be a beautiful and deeply personal way to show your traveler that you know what matters to them most.
For the crafty commemorator: check out this simple, beautiful way to re-trace steps and wonderful memories with a map and thread. The maps can be titled, as well. Imagine a wall decorated with these minimalist representations of adventures!
For the traveler who has everything and wants to give back: Why not make a donation to a favorite cause in your traveler’s name? You can choose organizations that support environmental stewardship, advocate for people in crisis, promote education, or help bring beauty.
For the traveler who’s always up for adventure: I’ve written before about how experiences pack the biggest punch, happiness-wise. At Experience Days you can give the gift of a lifelong great memory to someone you care about. Try everything from hang gliding to art lessons throughout the United States. What a great surprise for honeymooners or a friend’s next big adventure!
For the gadget-junkie: this funky, color-coded 4-in-1 adapter is perfect for the tech-savvy traveling family and will help ensure everything stays running smoothly. For the hardcore gadget-junkie, what about these stylish vests, hoodies, and jackets with interior pockets (for men and women) to hold everything from smartphones to keys to water bottles?
For the photographer: If your friend is never without their smartphone or camera, why not make it easy for them to create beautiful, lasting photo albums, calendars, or prints of their best shots? At Artifact Uprising, they can connect directly with their Instagram account and assemble their most gorgeous memories.
And as always, if you want to take your gift to the next level, you can always talk to us about planning anything from a romantic getaway to a fresh adventure with old friends. Give us a call or send us an email today and let’s Get Busy Livin’!
When it comes to taking a cruise on a river or ocean, it’s pretty tough to go wrong. Both offer incredible views, luxurious amenities, and the opportunity to explore interesting ports.
But each one comes with its own unique perks, and depending on your specific needs for your next trip, you might find that one is a slightly better fit than the other. So what are the major differences?
One big difference can be summed up in one word: intimacy. River cruises tend to be much smaller (190 max vs. up to 6,200 on the largest ocean cruises), and as a result, you’re much more likely to be interacting with other passengers and crew members.
That smaller scale translates to all areas of the river cruise. You dine on a regular schedule at tables with other passengers (wine is included in the price of the cruise). Instead of 50 different things to do on board, amenities tend to be more modest with river cruises — think libraries, a workout room, cultural programs, and free Wifi vs. ten kids’ playrooms, glitzy Broadway shows, and a skydiving simulator. There tend to be fewer kids on river cruises, making them popular for couples seeking quiet and relaxed time together.
You stop almost every day at a new port with river cruises, often for walking tours through quaint towns with little tourist traffic, and you’re always in view of land. With ocean cruises, you can go days without seeing land, and ports of call and excursions tend to be more exotic and high-adventure.
Because of their larger size, ocean cruises offer plenty of options for many ages, from young kids to octogenarians, and they are often more able to accommodate a wide variety of special health needs. For this reason, they tend to make the best option for multi-generational family gatherings that include young children. For the traveler who is into high-octane adventure, ocean cruises provide a wide variety of activities on board, as well as exotic and more daring day excursions.
River cruises do tend to be more expensive per person — but that price also includes more things. Ocean cruises have a lower sticker price per person, but you are often charged extra for alcohol and other amenities.
When you’re getting ready to plan your next on-the-water trip, here are a few questions to consider:
As always, I’m here and would love to discuss your next cruise or any other adventure you have in mind. We can look at all the moving parts of your upcoming trip — what you need, what you want, what your dream is — and together we can come up with a cruise you and your loved ones will remember fondly for the rest of your life. Call or email us today and we’ll make sure you Get Busy Livin’!
We all want to get the most bang for our buck when planning our vacations, and we all want to find great deals while we’re traveling. It’s wise to keep an eye out for potential savings or good deals on unique items when we’re exploring other states, cultures, and countries.
The problem, of course, is that scammers know we’re looking, and they’re looking for us, hoping that we’ll fall for whatever they’ve cooked up.
Here are five of the most common scams — and some easy tips to help you or someone you love avoid becoming the next victim.
IN THE MAIL
You come home from running errands and grab the mail. In the stack, you see a postcard or “official” looking envelope declaring that you’ve won a luxurious trip to a fun and exotic location.
Why it’s a scam: Often these scams use vague language by offering free airfare, but give no real, concrete information about the trip — and here’s the catch — or the many, many fees you will be required to pay that can often add up to thousands of dollars. In addition, these “free trip” solicitations are often lead-ins to lengthy sales pushes on time-share investments.
How to avoid becoming a victim: If something seems too good to be true, it likely is. Jennifer Karchmer, a staff writer for CNNMoney, says, “Before you pay for any travel package, get all the details in writing, including the total cost and refund policy.” If a company isn’t willing to do this, head for the hills and don’t look back.
In this scenario, you receive an intriguing email that invites you to visit a website. On the site page, you’ll be invited to fill out a form in order to be entered for a chance to win a free vacation to a popular destination like Florida, the Caribbean, or Mexico.
Why it’s a scam: Magically, when you fill out the form, you will then receive an email congratulating you on being a winner — and prompting you to call an 800 number, at which point you will be asked to give your credit card number to “hold your spot” and claim your prize. You will likely never hear from this company again after that phone call.
How to avoid becoming a victim: Never, never, never give your credit card information over the phone unless you know the company you are dealing with (like your bank, or a company that you make purchases from often and know their track record).
OVER THE PHONE / TELEMARKETERS
Your phone rings (usually during dinner) and you are enthusiastically informed that you’ve won a free cruise or trip. Like the promotional postcard or mailer, the language they use will be intriguing but extremely vague — words like luxury, exotic, five-star, once-in-a-lifetime — and the pressure will be strong to make a decision immediately.
Why it’s a scam: Reputable travel agents do not need to use such heavy-handed tactics. They will gladly outline any details you ask for — timing of the trip, any associated fees, allowances, total costs, restrictions, and refund policies. They’ll take the time to walk you through everything. They will not ask for credit card info over the phone on a first call, if ever.
How to avoid becoming a victim: Above all, listen to your gut. If something seems fishy, pay attention to that and confidently say, “No.” Karchmer’s advice: “Request that your phone number be added to their ‘do not call’ list and get off the phone as quickly as possible.”
The Better Business Bureau (which allows you to check the reputation of any real business) offers these five simple Scam Red Flags:
Salespersons who use high-pressure tactics, like demanding your credit card number before explaining all the conditions of an offer.
Postcard or fax promotional mailings that require you to pay a fee or to purchase membership in a travel club, in order to claim a vacation or travel prize.
Low rates on air travel requiring you to purchase an additional ticket for a companion.
Offers by companies attempting to subvert U.S. postal authorities by requiring a messenger or courier to deliver the travel package to you in exchange for your payment.
Companies that require you to wait at least 60 days before taking your trip.
In any of these situations, it is perfectly acceptable for you to flatly refuse and exit the conversation immediately. It’s your money, and your time: you get to choose to spend them wisely.
And of course, if you want to avoid the scams altogether, you can always call or email us to start planning your next big adventure.
Planning your next trip? Check out this map from United Airlines to see the latest travel restrictions
Planning ahead during COVID has become increasingly difficult, closures and travel limitations are changing on a weekly basis and it’s hard to keep track of, even for us! Luckily United Airlines has provided an interactive map for you to stay up to date on the latest.
This map lists everything from whether or not entry into a state is allowed, to potential quarantine measures, testing requirements, and even mask mandates for all 50 states. On top of that, the color coded features and additional menus can provide even more information from state specific rules to restrictions unique to each area.
We’re hoping providing this puts some of the power back in the hands of our favorite people, the travelers! There’s a piece of planning your own dream adventure that’s immensely satisfying. From discovering new activities to seeking out new and incredible destinations, there’s always a new vacation to dream about.
We know deciding on your destination is only half the battle, and when you’re ready to take that next step we would love to hear from you. Whether it’s making the actual travel arrangements, or helping you round out your vacation to include more than just your original goals, we’re happy to help!
Give us a call or send an email today and let's Get Busy Livin’!
And for our New York friends, we have good news! Governor Cuomo announced today that six states — California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and Ohio — have been removed from New York State's COVID-19 travel advisory. The Northern Mariana Islands have also been removed, however, Puerto Rico has been added. For the latest NY information The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are available at forward.ny.gov.