February 5, 2016

Fantasy Friday...Hotel Il Pellicano




How about a little daydreaming on this February Friday? Let's head to the stunning Hotel Il Pellicano on the Tuscan Coast of Italy in the height of summer...divertiti!



February 2, 2016

Keeping Calm When Your Flight Is Cancelled


What do you do when you get the airport and you see this:


Every year thousands of flights are cancelled due to bad weather, often stranding travelers for days.  Nobody ever wants to be one of those caught in the middle of such a travel nightmare, but when it does happen, you can make your life SO much easier by following a few simple tips. 

Plan Ahead

Follow the weather before you go - and keep an eye on your airline's web site. Travel waivers for weather events are often issued days in advance - you can either make the decision to cancel your plans, decide to go earlier to avoid the bad weather or postpone it until a later date.

Buy Travel Insurance

Why add to the stress of a having your vacation de-railed by bad weather, only to also have to worry about losing money on your vacation. A good travel insurance policy will compensate you for significant travel delays, as well as for any hotel nights you may miss out on because of any delay or cancellation.  And, if you are stranded because of weather, they may be able to help you find a hotel or make alternate plans. Always keep you policy number and the insurance company's phone number handy while you are traveling. 

Fly In A Day Early For Cruises

If you are taking a cruise, NEVER plan that an airline will get there in time to make the ship.  When you book your cruise, always plan to fly in a day early so you don't miss the boat!

Call Customer Service Immediately

Have the phone number for your airline saved on your phone and call them immediately when you hear your flight has been cancelled. Do not wait in the customer service line. If you are traveling with others, have them call as well and the first one who gets a person on the phone can make the changes. 

Know Your Rights

If you flight is cancelled because of weather, the airline will likely not do anything to assist you. But, if they are in any way responsible (mechanical issues, personnel situations, etc.) they should compensate you for hotel expenses and meals - just don't expect to be staying at the Four Seasons!

Be Prepared

In addition to having your airline's phone number on speed dial, make sure you have other travel apps that might make handling your delay or cancelation easier - Hotel Tonight for finding a hotel quickly, Gate Guru for killing time stuck in the airport, or Flight Aware to keep track of delays on other flights in the area. 

Carry-On

When hundreds of flights are cancelled, thousands of bags are also in limbo.  Knowing where your bags are at all times is one less stress to deal with in a situation like this. And, you will be able to be a lot more flexible with standing by on flights that open up if you don't have to worry about checking your bag. 

Be Patient and Kind

Everyone is in the same boat and getting angry or yelling is not going to change the situation. As much as you would like to, it will not help. These are the days which are best handled with the utmost of patience. And, remember  the situation causing the delay or cancellation is not the fault of the airline employee at the counter.  Yes, they can sometimes be difficult to deal with, but being kind to them will help your cause a whole lot more than kicking and screaming! 

And, if you booked your flight through me... :)


Whew...aren't you just ready to hop on the next flight? Flying these days is probably the hardest part of traveling, but just think of how much fun have when you finally get to your destination!

For more travel tips, check out my Travel Tips Page.


January 28, 2016

Just Booked...The Trianon Palace in Versailles


Good morning! Can you even believe the week is almost over? Time flies when you keep busy! 

Before I move on to today's post, I also want to share that today I am also over at The Enchanted Home  talking travel tips and secrets with Tina, one of my favorite bloggers and my dear friend. AND, she is also hosting a surprise travel related giveaway. Please come join us to say hello and enter to win!

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Lately, I have been suggesting to my clients, particularly families, who are visiting Paris that they start or end their trip with an overnight in Versailles or in the beautiful town of Chantilly, which is very close to Charles De Gaulle airport. It helps to give you a little sense of smaller town life in France rather than just staying in Paris.

 

The Place of Versailles is a "must see" stop on the itinerary of many visitors to Paris. Why not spend a little more time and stay IN Versailles? Not at the palace itself...although plans are in the works for a luxury hotel inside the palace gates to open at some point. Until then, the next best thing is the Trianon Palace, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel right next door to the palace. 


On Saturday evenings during the summer months all of the fountains are illuminated and there are spectacular fireworks in the gardens of Versailles. How amazing would it be to enjoy an evening at Versailles and then just stroll next door to your five star hotel, rather than having to head back to the city?


And if you have ever spent a long day exploring the grounds at Versailles, you can only imagine how welcoming it would be to unwind in their gorgeous indoor pool or at the Guerlain spa in the hotel.

  Imagine having this view at breakfast!  

The Trianon Palace is the first Waldorf Astoria property in France. The hotel restaurant is run by chef, Gordon Ramsay, who has garnered two Michelin stars here. 



What hotel are you dreaming of this week? 

(all photos via Waldorf Astoria Hotels)

January 25, 2016

A Month by Month Guide ~ Where To Travel


 

It seems that everyone always wants to travel to the same places at the same times...Europe in summer, warm weather destinations at the holidays and for Spring Break, New York for Fashion Week, etc. As such, prices are off the charts and places are incredibly crowded.  Why not think outside of the "traditional travel destination" box?  While school schedules and holidays may play a large part in when you travel, there are many places where you can travel during those times and still avoid sticker shock and teeming crowds. Here is a month by month guide of where to go and when for the best value...

 January

 Getaway on a Caribbean cruise...quite often prices for cruises in January are 50% off peak rates.  If cruising is not your cup of tea, many Caribbean resorts also drop rates after the holidays - it is still high season, but you will likely find some bargains compared to December. 

February

  Avoid Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day if at all possible (this year they are on the same weekend, making that a bit easier). While much of the US is experiencing winter conditions, head south...Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans (just be sure to avoid Mardi Gras!), San Antonio and San Diego are all beautiful places to visit in February - it might not be warm enough to hit the beach, but it is usually beautiful weather for sightseeing. Or, bundle up and enjoy great deals in New York, Washington, DC or Boston.

March/April

 Between Spring Break, Easter and most people desperately to escape the cold, any place offering warm weather will be a hot spot in March and April - along with the requisite high price tag. As much as you think you want to pay top dollar for that Caribbean vacation, think instead about traveling to Europe. Spring is a fabulous time to visit many southern European countries without the crowds of summer. And, if you really need a warm weather vacation, consider Hawaii - it is not as popular among Spring vacationers as the Caribbean or Mexico.

May


New England in May is glorious - hit Nantucket, Newport or Cape Cod before school lets out and you will have the beach to yourself! This is also a great time to visit California's coastal areas. 

June

 
Start summer off with a Caribbean glow - June is a perfect time for that Caribbean or Mexico vacation as rates are a fraction of what they are during high season and the weather is glorious.  Resorts that are reserved for rock stars and billionaires are within the reach of mere mortals during the off-season.

July/August

 These are the months when most families take vacations together - seaside resorts and European cities are packed. Why not check out your favorite mountain retreat in the summer? Hiking, golf, fly fishing and just soaking in the scenery replaces skiing in the summer months.

September

Early fall is the ideal time for visiting Europe...the summer crowds are gone and the weather is still sunny and warm in much of Europe, particularly Mediterranean regions. 

October 

November is a great time to visit many parts of Asia, particularly Hong Kong, Shanghai or Vietnam - the monsoon season is over, the climate is more temperate, but the holiday festivals have not yet begun.
November
 Back to Caribbean and Mexico, the temperatures are more moderate than they have been since Spring and the hurricane season has ended. Avoid Thanksgiving and you will find a lot of good bargains.  Disney in November (other than Thanksgiving weekend) is a good bet too!

December

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is far and away one of the best times to travel to avoid crowds and keep your costs low. Unless a city is known for its holiday events, such as New York City, deals are abundant during these three weeks. If you MUST travel between Christmas and New Years, consider Europe - holiday traditions such as Christmas Markets are common and off season prices are reasonable. Best places for Christmas - Rome, London or Madrid. 

What is on YOUR travel calendar for this year?

For more travel tips, check out my Travel Tips page.