RECESS TIME AT ANY AGE

What did “recess” mean to you?

Recess time

Recess time

As a child in grade school in the 1940′s, recess was that much-anticipated time of the day.  We could hardly wait.  Running, playing, flirting, or just getting out of the class room.  I grew up in Southern Idaho where we were outside most of the year.  Even in the winter, recess meant making snow angels or forts, or just running and running.

Time to flirt

Time to flirt

Little did I know that some day my “recess” would be a one week vacation that we would plan for all year long.  We made the most of every holiday and weekend to stretch that week to its limits.

Grown ups need recess, too. 

What dreams do you have for travel?  Maybe you have read books about far away places or adventures that you would one day like to see.  Well, the bell is ringing and it is recess time.  Start with one and let me help you get the best value for your travel dollar.  Read about some of my travel experiences and dust off that suitcase of dreams.

The Big Bad Wolf of Travel

Do you remember the story of Little Red Riding Hood?  

When RRH got to Grandmother’s cottage and looked at “grandmother” in bed, she really thought it WAS Grandmother. Yes, there was the deal with the teeth, ears and nose. But wasn’t it Grandmother’s cottage, Grandmother’s bed and, in my book, Grandmother’s night cap? So, it must be Grandmother!!

Just like in the travel industry, there are many wearing “travel agent” signs around their necks. They may have business cards and pretty displays or flyers, but they are as phony as the pretend Grandmother in the bed.

I was thinking of her the other day as I talked to one of my travel suppliers. He had come across a phony web site for travel. Looked like a good site, had the right color and pictures, but when he dug deeper, the “specials” were not valid. Since this vendor also offered the same hotels, he called the hotel and asked for the same price. The manager told my supplier that price did not exist for anyone. Upon further investigation, nothing on the site was legitimate. The personal who made the site was probably on a beach someplace laughing his head off at all the credit cards he was gathering for non existant trips.

Then there are the people selling “memberships” and posing as travel agents. Their spiel sounds like a great vacation. But when you add on the cost of the membership and “oh by the way” that price isn’t there anymore, but we do have XXXXX”, well what kind of a deal was that?

But the most awful of all, is that the person selling that membership is probably a dental hygeniest or some other profession. I asked one of those one day that I came across what happens if the client gets to the hotel in Hawaii and the pool is under renovation and their room looks out over the garbage cans? Her reply was “makes no difference to me. They bought it on my web site just like Orbitz or some other company.” I said to her then you take no responsibility for making sure that client has the best trip possible. She said “No, doesn’t matter to me.”

It was at this point I came unglued. I think of the scores of times I wake in the middle of the night thinking about something I needed to do for a client. Or the hours I spend on the phone making sure all the dots are connected. I often say I am like a juggler with a bunch of balls in the air. If one ball falls, the rest all come tumbling down.

I am working with client’s emotions and hard earned money trying to get them the best value for their travel dollar. I take my responsibility very seriously.

Being in business FULL time since 1996, having the highest certification given in the travel industry of CTC, Certified Travel Counselor (I couldn’t begin that process till I had worked full time in an agency for 5 years and it took me 3 years to complete that certification), and ECC from Cruise Line International Association (which took me 17 years to achieve and included travel all over the US to take classes as well as a time at the University of Miami).

Don’t take a chance of becoming one of the victims of the above scams. Talk to the real Granny on the Go who is helping you see the world before you leave it.

Get Out of the Office and Into Adventure.

All alone in the wilderness

All alone in the wilderness

Calling all CEO’s, Managers, Executives and anyone else in corporate America (or anyplace else in the world).  Do you have staff retreats, sales meetings, incentive trips, board meetings, officer’s retreats?  You need to take a look at the following awesome way to make those meetings more interesting and profitable.

Warm & sunny Mexico

Warm & sunny Mexico

Nose to nose in Alaska

Nose to nose in Alaska

Uncruise Adventure Cruises – The Perfect Venue for Corporate/Incentive Travel

 

There’s a whale of a new venue in the world of corporate and incentive travel: Uncruise Adventure’s luxury yacht cruises in the wildlife-rich waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Hawaii and the passages of the Pacific Northwest. Each of the four yachts, provide “luxury in the pursuit of adventure” exclusive yacht cruises for just 12-40 privileged guests.   
The majestic outdoors

The majestic outdoors

The itineraries provide exclusive active adventure without sacrificing comfort. Each Alaska Inside Passage itinerary brings you close to glaciers, bears, whales, forested islands and on extended stays in Glacier Bay National Park, a World Heritage Site (park restrictions allow only 12 people at a time to hike into the forest or on to glacial ice with the park ranger and onboard naturalist). In Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, guests experience exceptional views of nature’s marvels such as blue, gray, humpback, pilot, fin & orca whales in one of the world’s richest marine environments..

Travel in casual elegance aboard five mega-yachts, the 145-foot, 36-40 guest Safari Explorer, 120-foot, 22-guest Safari Quest, the 112-foot Safari Escape and the 105-foot Safari Spirit, both of which carry 12 guests. Uncruise Adventure Cruises are expedition style yacht cruise vacations provides an alternative to traditional large- and small-ship cruises by taking guests into areas that are not accessible to larger ships, and on excursions, and to activities that are exclusive, private, and unavailable to most other travelers. The yachts travel only during the day so guests miss nothing along the way. They anchor every night in pristine coves or dockside in small villages so guests can explore by water and on foot. Daytime cruising to secluded coves, islands and seldom-visited areas yield unique opportunities to experience, by kayak, launch or on foot, a rich variety of wildlife and local cultures. All Uncruise Adventure Cruise’s yacht cruises are inclusive - premium wines and liquors, shore excursions, activities and on-yacht meals are included in the price of the cruise.  

CRUISE IN COMFORT

The staterooms feature TV/DVD players, private baths, some with Jacuzzi tubs, Tempurpedic® memory foam mattresses and heated tile bathroom floors. The line’s flagship yacht, the Safari Explorer, offers Commodore Suites featuring a separate sitting area and a sliding glass door overlooking a small balcony. The Safari Explorer also offers an overall spa influence with complimentary massages from an onboard masseuse, yoga classes and a sauna. All the yachts feature an on-deck whirlpool spa.    

A MEETING IN THE WILDERNESS

For corporate meetings, each yacht provides the necessary A/V amenities – big-screen TV with DVD/VCR player in the salon for presentations, indoor and outdoor meeting space, and full sound system with cordless microphones. Meetings may be scheduled at any time because of the yacht’s flexible itinerary. 

Companies may choose a full-yacht charter or by-the-cabin pricing. The inclusive price includes airport to the yacht transfers, all food, beverages, activities, crew, fuel, fees and taxes. The line’s yachts are American-hulled and American owned-and-crewed, corporate meetings can be tax-deducted.

 
Safari Spirit

Safari Spirit

Call me to take care of all the bookings to wherever your imagination takes you. 

“CRUISING DOWN THE RIVER…”

See the sites from a different perspective

You may be too young to remember that old song.  But, like many songs of yesteryear, it was about romance.  Well, traveling the world on river cruises is still romantic today, but also full of history.  Rivers were the freeways long ago and much of commerce in Europe still goes down the rivers.  For the traveler, it is an easy way to see the interior of many countries.  You unpack once, your meals are prepared for you, someone makes your bed and cleans the bathroom and you get to have a live history lesson.

Where do these cruises go?

  1. Many countries in central and southern Europe
  2. China
  3. Egypt
  4. United States
  5. Russia
  6. Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos

What are the vessels on these rivers?  For the most part they are barge-like vessels-long and flat so they go under bridges.  One part are the cabins and the other part are the public rooms.  In France you can rent small self-drive barges on the canals.  These come with bicycles.  Tie up anywhere, ride into town and get your cheese, bread and wine and you are set.  The barges come in various sizes so take a family or some friends.

Let’s look at some of the more common rivers in Europe.  From Amsterdam on the Rhine connecting to the Main through Germany connecting to the Danube though Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. That whole stretch takes 30 days but the sights are wonderful.  Everyday you are in a different city with a tour guide visiting the major sights.  Or you can break it up into smaller segments.

Holland at Tulip Time is beautiful.  Starting in the cosmopolitan city of

Charming Holland

Charming Holland

Amsterdam, visiting the little villages of Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Veere, Middleburg and the port of Rotterdam as well as the diamond city of Antwerp ending in the Unesco city of Bruges in Brussels.  A trip full of charm and history with many exciting tours including Keukenhof Gardens to see the picture-like acres of flowers.

The legendary Rhine and Moselle Rivers from Amsterdam to Basel with its ancient villages, vineyards and castles.    The enchanting Danube from Budapest to Passau will enchant you with the hilltop villages and regal cities.  Always stopping for tours of these.  Visit Eastern Europe along the Danube to the Black Sea.  Cities long hidden are now open for touring.  Their ancient archeology, charming villages with tours most every day.  A river cruise during November and December will be highlighted with stops at

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

Christmas markets.  Celebrations, music, and arts and crafts are everywhere.    Adding on pre or post stays in other cities away from the river make these trips memorable.

Russia

Russia

Looking North to Russia a cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow or visa versa on the Volga, Svir and Neva Rivers is the best way to see Russia.  No hassling with visas and their restrictions.  The cruise line takes care of that.  You get priority touring to sights that you would have to wait hours to get into.  There is safety staying with the tour group that might be an issue if you were on your own.

The Douro Valley

The Douro Valley

In Portugal cruise the beautiful Douro Valley from Lisbon to Porto.  Old world flavor through the vinyards, natural beautiy and history.

France has one river, the Rhone.  Cruise from Ares to Chalon-sur-Saone.  You are crusing through the heart of Provence and Burgundy.  Go a few days early and stay in Marseille with a rental car and travel the coast.  Then stay a few days after and take the train to Paris.  That is a 3-4 day “must see”.

The Nile in Egypt

The Nile in Egypt

Cruising the Nile in Egypt.  Most definitely the Nile was the highway in Egypt.  There are many classes of river boats on this river.  All the way from bare basic to 5* luxury.  You definitely need an expert to help sort it all out.  All the major sights are stops along the way.  Then there are add ons that are “must see”.

 

China and the Yangtse River

China and the Yangtse River

In China the Yangtse River is the only cruising river.  This is not a long cruise so adding pre and post must be included.  The sightseeing in China is old, but there is wonderful shopping in Beijing and Shanghai.  Or add on Hong Kong and Macau.  You will need someone who has been there to give you the best information.

Riverbarging in Mid America

Riverbarging in Mid America

The United States has some wonderful rivers for cruising.  The main waterway north and south is the Mississippi River.    Many tributaries from her are the Ohio River, the Cumberland River, the Tennessee River and the Illinois River.  You can cruise on a barge, must like the ones in Europe, on any or all of these river.  From 4 to 10 days will take you through the heartland of the US in comfort with history around every corner.

On the West Coast of the US, you have small ships that take you into the Columbia and Snake Rivers with the history of Lewis and Clark who explored all the way from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean.  Fascinating history of this great land.   Sail from San Francisco into the wine country of Napa Valley with stops along the way at award-winning vineyards.

Columbia/Snake Rivers

Columbia/Snake Rivers

Let’s not forget the amazing river cruise on the Amazon River in South America.  There are many ways to see this huge waterway with it’s rain forest and vast assortment of wildlife and sea life.  This is a wild and tropical place, far from the cities and population.

Call me to give you the best River Cruising experience of your life.   Cruise & Tour Planners is the expert on river cruising around the world.

TRAVEL AGENT TRAINING SCHOOL

Travel School

Is the Bell Ringing for Travel School?

Is it time for Travel School - Cruise and Tour PlannersThe school bell is ringing, you had better hurry in to your favorite seat and not be late.

You may not have gone to the kind of school I went to, but I remember the panic I felt that I might be late for class.  And if it was the geometry class with all the senior football players, well I felt sick.

Then I remember grade school and having to cross the railroad tracks.  There was always a train blocking our way, so we crawled under the connections.

It’s a good thing Mom never knew.

Times have certainly changed.

Now you can go to school wherever you are…on your lap top.

My online travel agent training school  has a seat for you, and you’ll never be late!  That seat could be:

  • You can get travel agent training anywhere - Cruise and Tour PlannersAt the beach
  • In a boat
  • In the mountains
  • In your office

It’s your choice!

Isn’t that fantastic? Technology has made it so much easier to follow our dreams, to explore and to learn.

Come and learn Basic Training to become a Profitable Professional Travel Agent.  The classes are fun, affordable and short.  But you will learn the whole industry and be ready to open your own office and be profitable.

Another option is to get the manual “Become a Home Travel Agent” at amazon.com or the ebook at kindle.com.  Now you have a choice.  No excuses for not learning.

See you in class and don’t forget your BIG crayons and round end scissors.

I Can Do It Myself!!! Thanks, anyway.

There are a lot of ways to see the world, but not all of them are right for you.  Just because Aunt Suzie or neighbor Jim traveled a particular way, doesn’t mean you should.

No matter what I say, some people just want to “do it themselves”. I think that is where the lumber yards and hardware store came up with the “Do it yourself” slogan. It is almost like a 2 year old wanting to dress themselves!! Just in our nature to be independent.
If that is you and you like to book your own travel, well go right ahead. But know this, if you are on your own, it can can expensive and uncomfortable.

Call me, a Certified Travel Professional to give you peace of mind 866-367-7657

How Do You Know When You Need a Vacation?

Growing up my Mom had rules.

They weren’t hard rules, but none the less they became so engrained in me, that to this day I can hear her voice telling me to correct what I am “thinking” of doing. Mom was a school teacher and had a knack of knowing even what we were “thinking” of doing.

One rule was to tuck your shirt tale in. The “fashion” these days is to leave your shirt tale out. Even business men who are wearing sport coats and buttoning them, have their shirt tales out. Horrors. Last Sunday our pastor, who is a very smart dresser in shirts and ties, had his shirt tale hanging out. And this was not a sport shirt tale. It was a long shirt tale. You used to be able to tell if it was to go in or out by the cut on the sides. Curved goes in, straight goes out. Seems easy enough. Well, Mom, things have changed.

Canning. Every summer all my life we canned. 200 quarts of peaches, 200 quarts of pears, and hundreds of pickles, beets (yuk), carrots (double yuk), beans, peas, sourkraut (triple yuk) and even beef at one point. All the neighborhood kids lived at our house and they all helped. It was hot in Southern Idaho in the summer, but we turned the garden hose on and played and worked. Mom was so good at getting us to work.

My job was to make the salad for every dinner. Usually it was cut up lettuce with bananas and mayonnaise. Horrors. But sometimes we had jello with fruit cocktail. We always had potatoes because Mom was Irish and you never ate dinner without potatoes. Most always mashing with a ricer (I still have it). Nice and fluffy with milk and butter.

Somtimes Daddy would be gone in the evening and we had rice. If you have read my previous blogs, you know my Dad was a POW in Japan during the 2nd WW and we NEVER ate rice when he was home. But, yea!! we got rice for dinner with butter, sugar and milk.

Colors. Mom was big on what goes with what. Pink does not go with red. And red would never go with purple. Now we have the Red Hat Society. Mom would have loved them. They just have fun and laugh a lot. But red hats with purple clothes?? Please!!! On a cruise ship one time my husband began joking with some of these ladies. They were hugging him and having their pictures taken with him. I am sure they thought he was their son or grandson. One morning they all come down to breakfast in their night clothes, with their red hats.

House rules. Oh my, I can hear her all the time. You always make your bed every morning. And you mitre the corners, always. I know Mom wasn’t in the army, but for some reason she had that rule. My husband has never figured that one out. “It is just a few short hours and you are back in it” he says. Well, Mom always said….. Once a week you strip the bed, wash the sheets, and put them back on. No need for 2 sets, they are hung on the line in the summer and dry quickly in the Southern Idaho summer. Or in the winter you lay them on the oil stove in the dining room and they are dry and scorched at the same time.

Timing. Mom always did everything the same time, every time. She baked bread and rolls the same day every week. She did the laundry the same day every week. She sent Daddy to the grocery store the same day every week.

For the last 53 years, with only exceptions for when we were away from home, I would strip our bed on Saturday morning, wash the sheets, put them in the dryer (because I don’t live in S. Idaho anymore) and remake the bed.

Now comes the need for a vacation. Oh yes, travel agents need a vacation. After all the stress of making sure YOUR vacation is as good as we can make it, we need to escape with our cell phones and lap tops!!

Last Wednesday, which is always the day in the middle of the week I do the laundry, I yanked the sheets off the bed and gathered the laundry to go down stairs. My husband came into the bedroom, looked at the bed, and said in his gentle kind voice “What day is this?” I replied “it is Wednesday, why?” Then he says “why did you take the sheets off the bed?” At that point I dissolved into laughter.
That was when I KNEW I needed a vacation.