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AS THE WORLD SHUT DOWN, I WENT TO WORK

AS THE WORLD SHUT DOWN, I WENT TO WORK

Back in March, many travelers who “booked their own travel online” would have heard a message like this “Your call is important to us. All our representatives are currently assisting other customers. Your estimated wait time is two to three hours.” When they finally were able to speak to a live person, in many cases, they were not offered much help.

Did I have this message on my phone message? NO – I was available 24/7.

What the pandemic has taught us is that having a Professional Travel Advisor help plan your trip has made our value more apparent.

I, along with all the agents at Trasformativa Travel worked tirelessly around the clock to get our clients home safely, applied for refunds or credits for future travel and helped them rebook a future trip. We truly served as an advocate for them and did everything we could to help protect their travel investment.

It required long, tedious hours, and no earnings. It was the most challenging time of our career. My obligation was to take as much worry away from my clients as possible. As much as I wish I were making sales instead of refunding trips, I had to do the right thing for my clients. My focus was on walking clients through all their options to postpone versus cancel so they could make the best decision for themselves. I made it 100% right for each and every one of them!

Despite the impact the Coronavirus has had on the travel industry, I am remaining optimistic about the future of my business. I’m focused on preparing for the surge in travel I know will come when my clients feel it’s safer to travel. I know it will take some time for the travel industry to fully recover and that travel will look a little different, but I know travel agents will play a huge role in the industry’s resurgence.

I have been reading some recent horror stories of travelers “booking it themselves”. For example, being denied entry to countries such as Greece because they had failed to fill in the (Passenger Locator Form) correctly. Others have arrived to find their hotel closed or changed without prior notice. Why inflict that kind of stress on yourselves when someone like your Trasformativa Agent is here to guide you through?

With guidelines and policies varying by destination and supplier on an almost daily basis, it can be a lot to process by yourself. Travel agents will be key to helping travelers navigate this new world and provide guidance on safe destinations and activities. If clients who are going to travel want to know they will be safe, that’s what we are here for. It’s our mission to ensure everything is in place, protected and safe. When it goes wrong, you have someone advocating on your behalf to protect your travel investment.

Please contact Your Trusted Trasformativa Agent with any questions – We are truly here to help!

 

 

 

TRAVEL IN COLOR – NOT BLACK AND WHITE

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training Events,  Autism Travel, Girls Getaway

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

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To Travel Or Not To Travel In 2020

To Travel Or Not To Travel In 2020??

We know many of you are eager to travel; so are we!!  However, we are recommending to our clients that they not travel right now (especially internationally) because we just can’t offer or guarantee the pre-Covid-19 experience that we strive to provide to all our travel customers.

Currently our agency isn’t selling any travel for 2020 at all, because as travel professionals, we feel it isn’t right to encourage anyone to risk their lives or well being just to take a trip.  However, for those travelers who are itching to go somewhere, we are providing options (and some great specials) for travel in 2021.  With relaxed cancellation and refund policies through our preferred tour operators, Plan Now – Travel Later, is a great option to satisfy your travel blues.

As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, the growing uncertainties about how long it will last, what aspects of travel are safe and what the travel experience will be like puts focus on the fine line that we as travel advisors and travel suppliers are walking between keeping our businesses afloat and risking long-term damage to our reputation and our customer relationships that we have built over the years by selling the wrong trip, or selling too soon.

This was made more evident recently with the cruise industry, which made headlines anew last week as passengers on several of the first ships to set sail since the pandemic began testing positive for Covid-19, despite recording negative tests just before their departure. There has been some criticism that the cruise restarted sailing too soon.  Most cruise lines are currently halting sailings untli the end of October when they will once again re-evaluate whether to resume cruising at that time.

While we would love to get back on the road as soon as possible, as we know you all do, we at Trasformativa are taking an increasingly cautious approach as the crisis has dragged on and uncertainties have mounted. Travel protocols are constantly changing, flights continue to be cancelled, and obtaining Covid test results in a timely manner for travel authorization, are just a few of the stumbling blocks we are seeing on an ongoing basis.

We are in constantly in contact with our preferred tour operators and Tourist Board representatives and ask that they be vocal, and honest, about whether it is safe, or not for our travel customers to come to their destinations.

While many guided tour and group travel companies and cruise lines have officially pushed back start dates only through the fall, conversations about restarting is increasingly focused on 2021; and when in 2021 is still a question mark.

What we are telling our travel clients who call us and are eager to travel, as many Caribbean islands are opening again to tourism, we are telling everybody, don’t push it, because we would hate to make a booking only to have to cancel or rebook it down the road; or even worse….. have a bad travel experience.  As we say at Trasformativa, You Can’t Return A Bad Vacation!!

We know you are itching to travel, as we are still fielding a lot of calls, but we’re also encouraging our travel customers not to book now because we know our clients.  Our clients expect a certain level of experience when they book a trip with us, and we don’t want you to be disappointed and not have the experience that you are expecting or hoping for.

The thing is, it’s not about something or a destination being open. If our customers are going to spend all this money, they don’t want to spend it for a different experience than they are expecting. You don’t want to walk around the hotel in a mask. You want to use the spa, and you don’t want to sit in the restaurants or at breakfast at the hotel and it’s not that enjoyable experience you want it to be.

While some travelers are opting for a domestic destination this summer, they have a good time, but it wasn’t the experience they wanted for the money they spent.

So…Be Patient!!  TRAVEL WILL RETURN!!!  For now, while we are obsessing over when we can travel again, right now we can and should be using this time to plan future travel and possibly booking travel and taking advantage of the great deals that are out there right now.  Again, with relaxed cancellation and refund policies in place, what have you go to lose???

 

 

TRAVEL IN COLOR – NOT BLACK AND WHITE

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training Events,  Autism Travel, Girls Getaway

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

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The Coronavirus Diaries Of A Travel Agent

The Coronavirus Diaries Of A Travel Agent

Right now, I should be at the very apex of my busiest season. I should be answering multiple inquiries each day, booking dozens of flights, Caribbean resort stays and incredible trips across Europe. However, the only calls I am getting are to cancel upcoming trips, cruises and flights. The finer details of, say, a romp in the Maldives should be top of my mind. Instead, it’s the coronavirus.

I feel really bad for people that chose to book online right now. The global coronavirus pandemic has upended the travel industry, sending customers into a panic as they race to get refunds and reschedule upcoming trips. For travelers who booked their vacations with online booking agents such as Expedia or BookIt.com, the experience is compounded with frustration and anger as they struggle to get a hold of someone on the phone, and worry about potential money lost.

A press release came out from BookIt.com, who essentially shut down their entire operation, leaving their employees with no jobs and their customers to fend for themselves to cancel or rebook upcoming and/or future vacations, or even worse….. figuring out how to get home if they are currently traveling..

On social media, customers who booked with Expedia complained of excessively long call times and being unable to get through to a representative, leading to travelers being unable to make any changes to their travel plans or start refunds. Some people said they could not get a hold of someone for as much as 24 hours and one person said they called over 30 times. At one point, Expedia said “we are currently experiencing technical difficulties and can’t take your call right now.” What kind of customer service is that??

While airlines and hotels are issuing refunds for bookings made through advisors, those who booked online have to have their cancellation first go through Expedia; Good Luck!!

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Well I can tell you, IT IS!! Our office has canceled and/or rebooked dozens of trips in the past few weeks, and it’s heartbreaking for us and for our business. But we are not a toll-free number for our clients, we are your friend and advocate, and we are working around the clock to do everything we can to protect our client’s interest. Instead of our clients wondering how to cancel or rebook their trip, and spending hours on the phone on hold to accomplish this, it is us, your Trusted Trasformativa Agent doing this for you. If you were actively traveling during the midst of the coronavirus chaos, we were on the phone with our tour operator creating an exit plan for our clients.

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started warning about coronavirus spreading in the U.S., the calls and emails of travel requests just shut off. Less than two weeks ago, I was so busy I could barely type fast enough to make all the reservations I needed to. Today, I’m writing this newsletter instead. I wasn’t an agent when 9/11 happened, but I’ve heard stories from older colleagues about the uncertainty and fear that surrounded travel and the sudden cessation of business in our industry. What’s happening now feels like what they’ve described.

But never fear…. this too shall pass and the travel industry will once again BOOM!!! Going forward I’m educating my clients on exciting destinations for future travel, and posting pictures of those destinations on my social media outlets, to peak some interest. And….. once we are free to travel again, the airlines, resorts and hotels are going to be offering FANTASTIC Specials and Deals for travelers to make up for the lost tourism during this pandemic. So…. give us a call and let’s make a plan so that we can jump on those deals when they are announced.

And remember, the next time you are planning your next travel adventure, be sure to book with your Trusted Trasformativa Agent, Your Partner In Travel!!

Stay Healthy!!!

 

TRAVEL IN COLOR – NOT BLACK AND WHITE

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training Events,  Autism Travel, Girls Getaway

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

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5 Top Reasons To Travel To Croatia In The Fall

Croatia is one of my Travel Bucket List items, and I am planning to cross it off my list in 2020!!  From the beautiful Game of Thrones scenery and incredible beaches to the homegrown wine and unforgettable culture, there’s a never-ending list of reasons to visit Croatia.

1)  Croatia is a bargain, even in high season. In fall, prices on everything from accommodations to food drop even more, stretching your travel dollar even further.

2)  The weather is still great, but the crowds are (mostly) gone so you’ll sometimes get that sense of having an entire town almost to yourself.

3)  The freshest food is in abundance, and the new wines have just arrived, making Croatia a food and wine lovers paradise. Mediterranean traditions and seafood are significant to Croatian dishes, while its proximity to Central Europe means it benefits from the region’s filling comfort food. For wine lovers, Croatia’s Dingač is a favourite red wine, while Malvazija is a great white wine.

4)  Greek, Roman, Slavic, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian monuments are waiting for you to explore, along with over 1,200 islands dotted with small yet majestic towns.

5)  Truffle season is in full swing from mid-September to early November. The county of Istria is famous for truffles. Its forests boast three types of black truffles, and the Motovun forest is one of the most important areas for white truffle hunting in Croatia.

Remember Trasformativa Travel specializes in customized itineraries and are your one-stop-shop that can assist with accommodations, international airfares, and everything in between. If you are looking to visit Croatia, give us a call or drop us an email and let’s start planning!!

 

TRAVEL IN COLOR – NOT BLACK AND WHITE

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Retreat Group TravelCulinary & Vineyard Group TravelWellness Travel Retreats, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training EventsCorporate Wellness RetreatsTeam Building RetreatsFitness Retreats, Yoga & Meditation RetreatsJuice & Cleanse Retreats, Spirituality Retreats, and Autism Travel, Girls Getaway

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

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What To Know About Traveling During This Upcoming Hurricane Season

Traveling During Hurricane Season??  This is what you need to know!

 

While we are all closely watching massive Hurricane Dorian, I thought it was important to provide you with some important information if you’re thinking about booking a trip for this fall to the Caribbean or the Southern part of the US, then you need to take into consideration that you will be traveling during hurricane season. While this might not impact you in any way whatsoever, if it does, things can get hairy and you need to be prepared. Here’s everything you need to know about traveling during hurricane season.

 

Hurricane Months

Hurricane season is considered June through November, but hurricanes are most likely in August, September and October. These months apply to destinations in the American South (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia), as well as the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, North Coasts of South America and East Coasts of Central America.

Now, the good thing is the likelihood of you being caught completely by surprise by a hurricane is slim to none. You’ll likely know weeks in advance if your destination is threatened by an oncoming hurricane. Once you have notice of it, you can then respond accordingly by taking the appropriate actions with your travel providers.

Hurricane Destinations

However, if you want to be particularly safe, there are Caribbean destinations that are much less likely to be hit by a hurricane. The ABC Islands — Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao — are very unlikely to be hit. They lie outside the Caribbean’s hurricane belt, so the likelihood is always low. Other Caribbean destinations that are generally safe include Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.

 

The Pros Of Traveling During Hurricane Season

While you might consider traveling during hurricane season to be a little risky, there are actually some perks. Because it’s considered risky traveling during hurricane season, you can often find better deals on flights and hotels, as carriers and properties lower their rates to attract travelers during a season that might not be desirable to everyone.

When you’re booking that great deal, though, try to pick a destination and length of stay that you can do later on in the year, in the event that your trip is canceled due to a storm. You want to make sure that you can still take the trip you paid for if you’re delayed.

The Cons Of Traveling During Hurricane Season

Of course, there are cons to traveling during hurricane season.  It means you might get caught in a hurricane during or right before your trip. You’ll then have to decide whether to call it all off or go ahead anyway. In many cases, you can go ahead anyway, unless the storm is severe.

If it’s just a Category 1 hurricane, you might want to consider risking it. However, be prepared to get a lot more rain in your destination than you would normally.

Protecting Your Investment.  While traveling during hurricane season can be less expensive as far as flights and hotels, the downside is that you’re absolutely going to want to buy travel insurance for this trip, which will increase your overall cost, but it’s a minimal additional expense when you have a couple of thousand dollars riding on your trip. Even if you’re someone who generally turns down travel insurance, this is the one time you won’t want to do that.  I am seeing many posts from fellow agents who have clients traveling who declined insurance for their trip, and now while Dorian approaches, they lost not only what they paid for their trip (that they won’t get to take), but a lot of aggravation and stress of trying to get back home with so many flights being delayed or cancelled.

You may even want to consider investing in evacuation services (which are very often included in your travel insurance purchase) if you’re really worried about the possibility of a hurricane hitting your destination. After all, if you decide to risk it and head out on your trip in the face of a Category 1 hurricane, and then that Category 1 unexpectedly turns into a Category 4, you might be in trouble. Hurricanes are unpredictable after all.

Make sure when purchasing your travel insurance that you check the policy, as well as the hurricane policy of your actual travel providers. You may have some level of coverage on your travel credit card as well. Know what is covered and what is not, so you can plan accordingly.

Another con to take into consideration is that you may just end up having to stay longer in your destination. In the aftermath of some hurricanes, flights are at a premium and an airport may be closed.

Packing For A Storm

If you are going to be traveling during hurricane season, consider traveling light. In the event of a bad storm, you’ll want to just have a carry-on bag that you can easily take with you wherever you might need to go to catch a flight. However, you’re going to have to pack a few extra items in that carry-on bag.

It’s recommended that you bring along some necessities that will come in handy in the event of an emergency.  Pack items such as solar-powered phone chargers, a flashlight, first-aid items and extra toiletries will be invaluable in a crisis. Likewise, you’ll want to have some cash on you in the event credit card transactions are impossible due to power outages.

When you arrive in your destination, you may also want to stock up on some non-perishable food items and bottled water.

Should I Travel During Hurricane Season?

But of course!!  While the cons above seem like a lot, you don’t have to avoid traveling to potentially affected destinations during hurricane season.  Me and my group of 9 ladies are heading to Jamaica the end of October.  We know the risk; however, we’ve purchased travel insurance and will be optimistic that we have no problems. Try visiting places where the likelihood of you being impacted is low.

 

TRAVEL IN COLOR – NOT BLACK AND WHITE

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Retreat Group TravelCulinary & Vineyard Group TravelWellness Travel Retreats, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training EventsCorporate Wellness RetreatsTeam Building RetreatsFitness Retreats, Yoga & Meditation RetreatsJuice & Cleanse Retreats, Spirituality Retreats, and Autism Travel, Girls Getaway

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

Top Five Holiday Travel Tips

Our Top Five Holiday Travel Tips for 2018

Traveling over the holidays can be notoriously busy, expensive and stressful, but don’t let a that get you down; we have the Top Five Holiday Travel Tips to make this years holiday travel EASY and STRESS FREE (well, almost stress free). Whether you’re heading home for the holidays or escaping to a relaxing getaway, you can ease some of your travel headaches travel with some peace of mind with a bit of foresight and some simple travel planning.

1. Travel late in the day

Most of us may think waking up a little earlier to hit the road or catch a flight would be helpful to avoid crowds, but everyone else has the exact same idea. By traveling at night, you’ll find that the roads are less congested and airports are much less crowded. Remember, the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year to travel so be smart when making arrangements!

2. Be prepared

With a little preparation, there’s no need to stress out over potential bumps in the road (both figuratively, and literally). If you’re driving, make sure you have a roadside assistance service provider in place. Towing, lockouts, tire changes, and jump-starts are all covered, and never paid for unless you use them; with this back up protection, such inconveniences don’t have to be a major setback. If you are flying or traveling internationally, it is imperative that you have a Travel Insurance Plan in place to protect your investment, and to assist and reimburse you with unforeseen incident such as delayed or cancelled flights, lost or delayed luggage, just to name a few covered items.

3. Download travel apps

Taking an extra couple of minutes to download helpful travel planning apps which can help assure you’ll be cool, calm, and collected before and during your travels. Our top picks? GateGuru will keep you up-to-date on flight statuses and security wait times, while GasBuddy allows you to find the cheapest gas prices along your route and maps directions directly to the gas station.

With the unnervingly high costs of the holidays, saving in the smallest ways can offset some your year-end expenses.

4. Plan for children

Coming together with our family for the holidays can be the most joyous time of the year, but you want to arrive at your destination with your sanity intact. Prepare for long car rides with fun travel-oriented games and bring a portable battery charger for electronic gaming devices; on planes and in cars, you won’t have access to power outlets (many newer planes are now equipped with power outlets)..

Even if you don’t have kids of your own, given the holiday season, it’s likely that you’ll be around families traveling with them at one point or another; on planes or long car rides, ear buds can make the difference between a stressful trip and a and relaxing one.

5. Travel on less popular days

While some schedules may not allow for flexibility, try to avoid making trips on high-travel days, like the day before and after Christmas, and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Inflated hotel rates and high numbers of car accidents can all be costly and cause unexpected delays.

If you’re flying, taking into consideration the possibility of severe weather delays is even more of a reason to depart a day or two earlier than usual. A little extra vacation time never hurt!

I hope these travel tips are helpful in making your holiday travels a little less stressful.

Safe Travels!!

TRAVEL IN COLOR – NOT BLACK AND WHITE

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Transformative Travel Options

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Retreat Group Travel, Culinary & Vineyard Group Travel, Wellness Travel Retreats, Incentive Travel Reward Programs, Destination Training Events, Corporate Wellness Retreats, Team Building Retreats, Fitness Retreats, Yoga & Meditation Retreats, Juice & Cleanse Retreats, Spirituality Retreats, and Autism Travel,

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

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9 Things You Should Never Pack in Your Checked Bag

9 Things You Should Never Pack in Your Checked Bag

So….  I had a client who traveled to Europe the beginning of this month and the airline lost her luggage!!!  Not just for a couple of hours or a day, for her whole ten day trip!!!   She still had a fabulous time, but what a nightmare.  Even though I was in contact with the airline baggage department daily, sometimes multiple times, my poor client did not get her bag back until she returned home.  So, now I am in the process of putting in her claims so that she can recoup what she had to spend to replace those items.

With that said, here are 9 tips to follow of What NOT To Pack In Your Carry On Bag.

Jewelry and Valuables

Of course, it’s not probable that your checked bag will be lost by the airline. Opt to take less expensive jewelry, not items that cannot be replaced.  While only only about .012 percent of passengers’ bags are reported damaged, lost, or delayed, you don’t want to happen to fall in that .012 percent.

Most carriers require passengers to submit claims forms when bags are lost. The airline will then tally the depreciated value of the contents of your missing suitcase, and if your claim is accepted, that is, the airlines will pay no more than $3,300 per passenger for bags lost on domestic flights. All in all, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive compensation equal to the full value of your lost possessions.

Identification, Passports, Boarding Passes, and Essential Documents

All necessary documents, whether they’re work or insurance papers or other sensitive information, should be kept with you in your carry-on bag. However, if you must check them, another solution is to back them up. If you plan to put papers of importance in checked luggage, keep copies (either hard photocopies or copies on a flash drive) on your person. And any documents that include sensitive or private information should be kept out of your checked luggage altogether.

Cash and Credit Cards

All checked bags are screened electronically, but select checked bags are opened by TSA agents and screened by hand. When packing a checked bag, be aware that a security agent, a stranger, may be rummaging through your things at some point. There have been reports of TSA workers stealing electronics, money, and other valuables from passenger’s luggage; however, such occurrences are rare. But as a precaution, your cash, checkbook, and credit cards should be kept with you in your carry-on bag.

Laptop and Electronics

Take it from the TSA,  Electronics should be packed in carry-on luggage because they are typically fragile, expensive, and more prone to breaking if transported in checked baggage.

Lighters, Matches, and Flammable Items

The TSA has a handy checklist of prohibited items on its website that you can refer to for prohibited items. Items of note include lighters, matches, and flammable objects, which anyone going on a camping trip (or travelers who smoke) might need to pack.

Lighters without fuel may be packed in checked luggage. However, lighters with fuel may only be packed in checked luggage if they’re in a Department of Transportation-approved case.  Matches are prohibited in checked baggage and flammable items, such as paint or liquid fuel, should be avoided as well.

All of Your Clothes

If your luggage disappears into the mysterious black hole of missing checked bags, you’ll thank me later for suggesting you put a clean pair of underwear and some socks aside in your carry-on bag. An entire outfit is recommended, just enough to get you through a day or two at your destination in case your airline loses your suitcase. Other daily essentials, tooth brush and key toiletries (though liquids must be in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces), and whatever else you might need if your bag gets lost should be placed in your carry-on as well.

Medications

I’m going with a theme here…. If you can’t live comfortably without it, don’t pack it in your checked bag. You know the old cliche, “better safe than sorry,” should be lingering in the back of your mind when you’re organizing your luggage. Accordingly, prescription drugs are best kept on your person.

Passengers are permitted to bring liquid medications onto planes, even if they exceed the 3.4-ounce limit for carry-on liquids. But you’ll need to officially declare your oversized liquid medications when going through the checkpoint. Tell a security officer stationed at the checkpoint that you’re carrying liquid medications, and hand them over for inspection. It’s also helpful if you have a doctor’s note or a medical ID card, but it’s not required. The TSA also suggests that travelers label medications to facilitate the screening process.

Breakable Items

Don’t blame it all on the baggage handlers. However, I’ve seen how some baggage handles just toss my luggage into the pile.

Fragile items should always be packed in your carry-on bag. If you just have to bring home that wonderful bottle of red wine you picked up in Italy, use a product like the VinniBag, which will protect the contents of your bag in case the bottle breaks.

Food and Drink

According to the TSA, flyers should avoid putting food and beverages in checked bags.  Bottled drinks are likely to explode or crack in transit, thus ruining that cashmere sweater tucked away in your bag. And if your flight is delayed or your luggage gets lost for a while, your packed food might spoil.

As well, If you’re traveling internationally, you may be prohibited from bringing food to your destination. Each country has its own rules about what kinds of foods can be brought across borders. Check the embassey website of the country you’re visiting for more information.

TRAVEL IN COLOR – NOT BLACK AND WHITE

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Retreat Group TravelCulinary & Vineyard Group TravelWellness Travel Retreats, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training EventsCorporate Wellness RetreatsTeam Building RetreatsFitness Retreats, Yoga & Meditation RetreatsJuice & Cleanse Retreats, Spirituality Retreats, and Autism Travel,

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

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10 Travel Tips For A Smoother Vacation

10 Travel Tips for a Smoother Trip

Travel is full of major decisions, like what destination to visit, your budget, and when to stop waiting and finally book your trip. Well, beyond the big picture, it’s the little things that can make a trip easier and less stressful. Just follow these simple 10 tips to smooth the way on your next vacation.

1. Park with your car nose out

If you return to your car to find a dead battery, a broken window due to thievery or any other potential problem, with your car’s nose parked out, you will have easier access to the battery, and/or easier hook-up to a tow truck.

2. Leave time to get to economy lots

Quite often, these lost are found in parking lots that are off-airport  property.
Transport from these lots to the terminals run regularly, but you invariably want to give yourself up to 20 to 30 minutes to ensure a timely arrival to your terminal.

3. Pack essentials in your carry-on
Recent statistics show that, on average, at least one bag on every flight is lost or delayed. If there’s anything in your bag that you can’t live without, pack it in your carry-on. This is especially true of items that are not easily or inexpensively replaced, such as running shoes or a lightweight raincoat.

As well, you’ll get through airport security faster if you pack your carry-on more efficiently.

4. Know your hotel information
If a) your luggage is lost or delayed; b) you miss your connection and will be late checking in; or c) you are going to a destination you’ve never visited before, you will want to have complete contact information for your hotel on your person. Before you leave home, print out the hotel’s name, address and phone number, and program the latter into your cell phone. (Don’t worry though, when you book with Trasformativa, we provide you with a printed copy of all travel documents, as well as electronic version)

5. Exchange your currency in the destination you are visiting
Exchange your US currency at the hotel of your destination rather than at the airport, as their rate is normally better.  However, many destinations in the Caribbean are happy to take US Dollars, so no exchange is necessary.  However, when traveling Europe, you will want to exchange your US Dollars to the local currency.

6. Save your boarding pass
Do you usually toss your boarding pass as soon as you step off the plane?  DON’T!!  Your boarding pass contains encrypted personal information that you would not want someone else to obtain.  This can also serve as proof of travel if your airline fails to give you the proper credit for frequent flier miles,and can also be useful as a receipt for tax purposes, especially if you are self-employed.

7. Know when to use — and when to skip — the skycaps
Skycap upside: You check-in at the curb, lose the bulky luggage and head straight to your gate.

Best to use if you are running late and will otherwise miss your flight; however, if time is tight, there’s no guarantee your bag is going to make it onto the plane.

Skycap downside: They don’t give you a seat assignment, and they cost a few bucks. (Don’t forget to tip!!)

You will not get your seat assignments, can’t make any special requests, get credit for frequent flier miles, and cannot address any problems with the flight such as delays or cancellations.

8. Get your seat assignments ASAP
Every minute you let pass without a seat assignment is another minute that someone else is selecting your coveted aisle or window seat Your best bet is to check in online or choose your seats at the time of ticket purchase.  (When you book with Trasformativa, your seats are assigned at the time of deposit/booking.)

9. Mark your bags with an easily recognizable item
We all buy our bags at the same stores and from the same manufacturers, so that black roller bag of yours is one of many. The result,  an endless stream of nearly identical bags on the baggage carousel. The solution: mark your bags by tying a colorful ribbon (Mine is Purple from the Breathless Resorts), stitching a unique patch or putting a large sticker on your bags will make it easily identifiable.  (When you book with Trasformativa, we give you a pre-travel bag that contains some colorful luggage tags to affix to your bag.)

10. Remember your flight number
This may seem like a no-brainer, but knowing your flight number can make your life easier in small or foreign airports that do not list the full names of destination airports, or list by flight number alone.

I hope these 10 travel tips will make your future travel adventures easier.

Have you booked your summer vacation or fall getaway??  Now’s the time!!

TRAVEL IN COLOR – NOT BLACK AND WHITE

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Retreat Group TravelCulinary & Vineyard Group TravelWellness Travel Retreats, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training EventsCorporate Wellness RetreatsTeam Building RetreatsFitness Retreats, Yoga & Meditation RetreatsJuice & Cleanse Retreats, Spirituality Retreats, and Autism Travel,

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

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Travel, The Ultimate Transformational Experience

Travel, The Ultimate Transformational Experience

In my opinion, Travel is most definitely The Ultimate Transformational Experience you can have.  Traveling to a far away destination, immersing yourself in the culture of that destination changes you; it excites the mind and feeds the soul.  It’s an experience you will come back to time and time again in your mind and just sigh.

Trasformativa is all about the Transformational Experience – That is the translation of our business name (Trasformativa – Italian for Transformative) and the model behind our tag line – Travel In Color – Not Black and White.  We ensure that all our clients with have a truly Transformational Travel Experience.

It’s all about the Cultural Immersion, and that’s what we do.  We make sure you have an authentic experience.

Eat The Food

When I traveled last year I took a day trip to Port Royal in Southeastern Jamaica and dined at Gloria’s Seafood Restaurant, which is infamous in Jamaica for it’s open air dining room overlooking the ocean and amazing fresh Jamaican seafood dishes.  Port Royal was once the largest city in the Caribbean, functioning as the centre of shipping and commerce in the Caribbean Sea and was destroyed by an earthquake and accompanying tsunami on June 7, 1692, and sunk the majority of the city.  Some of the ruins of the old city are still there which I toured on my visit.

See The Sites

And not just the touristy ones, but off the beaten path) – While in Jamaica, I might set you up with my friend, Neville, who will take you on a locals tour of Montego Bay. Or, if you are in Italy, I’ll set you up with my friends at Parmagolosa to take you on your privately guided culinary tour of Parma where you will go to a working family farm and see how Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is made by hand everyday; and to see my dear friend Allessandra at Medici Ermete Vineyard to taste balsamic vinegar and their beautiful wines.

Talk To The People

There is no better way to immerse yourself into the culture of your destination than talking with the locals.  While on a recent trip to Jamaica, my husband and I took a cooking class to learn how to make authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken.  YUM!!!  After the class we started talking to the chef’s assistant, Bo Bo. When asked if Bo Bo was his real name, he proceeded to tell us that ALL Jamaicans have a nickname, and that most people will call you by your nickname rather than your given name.  So….. when there is an important event like a wedding, and they put the announcement out in the paper or send out invitations for the wedding, they need to include both the person’s nickname and given name, because some people may only know them by their nickname, like Bo Bo.  You would never know this bit of information if you didn’t talk to a local.

So don’t just show up, be present when you travel and immerse yourself in the culture of your destination and you will be glad you did.

 

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Retreat Group TravelCulinary & Vineyard Group TravelWellness Travel Retreats, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training EventsCorporate Wellness RetreatsTeam Building RetreatsFitness Retreats, Yoga & Meditation RetreatsJuice & Cleanse Retreats, Spirituality Retreats, and Autism Travel,

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

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It’s Never Too Soon To Plan Your Spring & Summer Getaways!!

It’s Never Too Soon To Plan Your Spring & Summer Getaways!!

Quick, look out your window and what do you see? It’s probably dark or gray from clouds and most likely cold. The trees have long since lost their leaves and there might even be snow on the ground depending on how far north you live. Whatever you see, it’s a lot different than the view of the beach, blue skies and ocean or a view of a European Countryside!!  It’s time to plan your spring and summer getaways!!

Now picture yourself in the middle of this sunny beach, soaking up some rays, splashing in the surf and snoozing in the sand or leisurely walking through a vineyard in Italy. That relaxing scenario is not as far away as you might think really, just a few months in fact, until the spring and summer seasons, and you can make that daydream into reality by booking your travel reservations now rather than later. Here are the top five reasons you should reserve your spring or summer travel plans today:

Flight & Lodging Availability:

The sooner you book, the more flight and lodging options you have to choose from. Wait too long, and you will be left with the leftovers from the early planners.

Added Incentives:

Hotels, cruises, and airlines want you to commit early, so they sometimes bundle extras on top of their vacation packages. When booking a resort package, you may receive resort or cruise credits to spend on site, category upgrades, free nights, dining credits, or other great offers. It pays to book early.

Low Deposits & Payment Options:

When you book in advance (through your trusted travel agent), you have the option to put down just a small deposit and pay the balance at a later time. This gives you the ability to secure your reservation without paying in full, and then take the time to save for your trip while knowing you have secured the best value for your vacation.

Peace of Mind:

The whole purpose of taking a vacation is to rest your body and unwind your mind after a long, chilly winter, and what better way to relieve the stress than booking early. The pressure to plan your vacation will weigh on you heavily all winter, so why not give yourself one less thing to worry about and book now? The peace of mind will go a long way toward helping you wait for your departure date.

Anticipation:

It gives you something to look forward to during the chilly winter months. Winter can be dreary, and it’s not uncommon to develop some feelings of cabin fever when you’re stuck inside all day. Having a trip set in stone can help provide some motivation when you’re scraping the ice off your car or shivering through your morning commute.

Trasformativa Travel is here to help you start planning your spring and summer getaways.  Don’t delay, because the Early Bird surely gets the worm when booking your vacation early.

 

Remember…. It’s Never Too Soon To Plan Your Spring and Summer Getaways!!

 

 

ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL

Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Retreat Group TravelCulinary & Vineyard Group TravelWellness Travel Retreats, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training EventsCorporate Wellness RetreatsTeam Building RetreatsFitness Retreats, Yoga & Meditation RetreatsJuice & Cleanse Retreats, Spirituality Retreats, and Autism Travel,

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.