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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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Five Reasons to Spend Your Tax Refund on Travel

Five Reasons to Spend Your Tax Refund on Travel

It’s that time of year again & I say it’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year because you now have that tax return in hand and can now take that AMAZING trip you’ve been dreaming about all year!!

Yeah! Your taxes are done! (Or in my case, they’re almost done!) According to the IRS, the average taxpayer receives a tax refund of $3,000, which is just the right amount of money for an awesome overseas trip, flights included!

You’ve worked hard all year, and probably haven’t used much of your work leave (approximately 41% of American workers do not take planned time off from work), and you’ve got a sweet tax refund coming. Here are 5 reasons why you should spend your tax refund on travel:

You Can Afford It: There are many all-inclusive itineraries (includes airfare, airport/hotel transfers and an all-inclusive resort stay) that you can choose from for as little as $3,000! Thanks to your refund,  you can afford that vacation you have been dreaming about.

More Bang For Your Buck: Flights to Europe from major U.S. cities are WAY down.  This is due to the introduction of several transatlantic low cost carriers reintroducing actual competition into the market. As for many destinations, the U.S. dollar goes a long way. The U.S. dollar is also running strong against the Euro, so it’s a great time to visit Europe.

Experiences, like travel, make you happier than just “stuff.”:  Experiences make you happier than stuff: Studies have shown that the happiness that comes from purchasing stuff like clothes or TVs fades pretty quickly, but travel creates special experience that provides you with lifelong lasting memories. So, take that tax refund and go experience a new destination that you have been dying to explore! Just remember to actually experience the destination directly and immerse yourself in the culture.

Save for that BIG trip: You’ve been fantasizing about going to Australia or Asia, but you really need at least 2 weeks to really enjoy it and experience it the way it is meant to be experienced.  There’s no way you’re sitting in coach, and $3,000 just isn’t going to cut it for that BIG trip. So….Who says you have to spend your tax refund right away?  Why not create a travel savings account and start saving! You can even book your trip now with a small deposit and utilize a payment plan system.

You have a travel agent to help you: If you have no idea where to start in planning your tax refund-fueled escape, or you are overwhelmed by all the options you see on line, no need to worry, Trasformativa Travel is here to help you plan and book your Dream Travel Experience!!  We do all the research, planning and booking and we find you the best value for your budget. Send us a request for a complimentary planning session and we’ll get started right away.

Here’s hoping you get a great big tax refund this year!

Happy traveling!!

 

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.

 

U.S. Department of State Launches New Travel Advisory System for International Travelers

New US Department of State Travel Advisory System for International Travelers

Every time the US Department of State Issues a Travel Advisory, travel lovers everywhere go NUTS. Finally, the government has come up with a new and more simplified alert system. While the Department of State is only trying to keep us in the know and make sure we travel safe, I always tell my clients, no matter where you are traveling, practice the same (if not just a little more) safety measure that you would at home in an area you know potentially might put you at risk (ie; a dark parking lot outside a store, a shady looking character hanging around); just be alert. In addition, I would never suggest to my clients that they travel anywhere that was unsafe, or that I myself would not travel to at any given time.

So, with that, here’s what the Department of State has done….

On January 10, 2018, the United States Department of State introduced a new travel advisory system for sharing information with U.S. travelers.

Instead of travel warnings and travel alerts, every country will have an overall Travel Advisory level, with levels of advice ranging from 1 to 4.

A U.S. Department of State press release offers the following descriptions for each level of advice:

Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time.

Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

Level 4: Do Not Travel

This is the highest level, due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

A Level 4 travel advisory is not a ban on travel, but advice. North Korea is currently the only country under a geographical travel restriction.

While an overall travel advisory level will be issued for every country, levels of advice may vary for specific locations or areas within a country. For instance, the Department of State may advise U.S. travelers to “exercise increased caution” in a country, but to “reconsider travel” to a particular area within the country.

The travel advisories will also provide clear reasons for the level assigned, and will be updated based on changes to security and safety information. Risks, conditions and circumstances will be indicated with icons:

C: Crime
T: Terrorism
U: Civil Unrest
H: Health Issues
N: Natural Disasters
E: Time-limited Events
O: Other

Additionally, U.S. embassies and consulates will now issue alerts to replace the current emergency messages and security messages. The alerts will inform travelers of specific safety and concerns in a country, such as weather events.

The State Department has come to recognize that sometimes their various documents were not readily understood and needed to make it more accessible and understandable to people.

So…… If you are in the process of thinking about your upcoming travel plans for 2018 and have questions about the destinations you are considering, please contact me, I would be happy to share all the information I have from my in country partners, as well as from the Dept. of State.

 

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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Changes in Travel for 2018 and Why You Should Use a Travel Agent Instead Of Booking Online

Changes in Travel for 2018

 

Changes in Travel for 2018 and Why You Should Use a Travel Agent Instead Of Booking Online

Changes In ID Requirements For Air Travel

Changes for travel in 2018 are important to pay attention to, and by using a travel professional to help you plan and book your next travel experience will ensure that you are informed about the proper requirements for travel and ensure that you have a great travel experience from beginning to end.

Changes For ID Compliance For Air Travel will become effective January 22, 2018.  Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, like TSA, from accepting licenses and identification cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these standards.  (Read my full Blog Post to make sure your ID will be compliant in 2018).

 

And for 2018 – Here’s Why You Should Use A Travel Agent Instead Of Booking Online

Travel agents make travel less stressful

When booking a vacation, destination wedding or honeymoon, the last thing a traveler should have to do is worry. Your Special Event should leave you with lifelong pleasant memories. A travel agent is vital in planning these special events as we take the worry off of you so you can focus solely on your big day to come and what you shall pack and just show up.  We do all the planning for you.

We save you money…

As a travel professional, I have access to special discounts, upgrades and promotions not available on line that I pass on to you. These perks can often save you an additional amount or provide you with a dining or spa credit that wouldn’t be available by booking on line.

We save you time…

A survey in 2016 of more than 1,200 consumers, showed that nearly one-third spent in excess of four hours, over multiple days, planning their own vacations. As a travel advisor I create custom itineraries, pulling together flights, transfers, accommodations, tours, meals and exclusive excursions based on your preferences — so you can spend your time on other things.

We don’t charge hidden fees….

A new client of mine told me about a previous experience using an on-line hotel app for a stay in New York City, and told me that the prices that were listed did not include taxes and fees.  This client was  charged an additional $121 in fees for the weekend upon check in, an expense she wasn’t expecting, that put her well over her budget for the trip.

Many agents don’t charge fees at all, and those who do are up-front about the cost.

We advocate on your behalf…

There have been many stories on the internet about travelers booking with a well known on-line booking agent, where traveler’s vacations were cancelled due to overbooking.  Customers were spending  hours on the phone with their customer service department and walked away with only vouchers for the booking agent and reservations in a lower category hotel, which did not even equal the total value of their cancelled vacation.

I feel for this family because they suffered such a horrendous experience. Not only were they left with no refund but also a cancelled trip. That would never have happened if they used a travel agent. Using an on-line booking agent is putting you at risk and can be a setup for a disaster. During peak seasons to find out your trip is cancelled and have no refund is the worst news, but on top of that, trying to scramble to plan something at the last minute is even worse.

We provide personalized attention…

On-line booking agents provide a one-size-fits-all service, not taking into account all the moving parts and variables that are in play.  As a professional travel advisor, I tailor these services to my clients’ individual needs. If you have concerns, I’ll talk you through them and put your mind at ease. Need a hotel that can cater to your allergies or a special dietary need? A professional advisor I have personal relationships with the resort and hotel brands I sell and can speak to hotel managers to make sure it’s taken care of.

Despite all the on-line booking agents, travelers are desperate for a real human voice on the phone. Travelers want travel advisors who are truly dedicated to their needs and will receive genuine customer service and someone willing and eager to sell them what they want.

We offer insurance…

From guaranteeing your hotel is available to knowing if the excursion company is legitimate, booking through a professional travel agent ensures travelers will not get duped. And we provide insurance for medical emergencies and trip cancellations to protect your investment.

We’re here for you 24/7…

As a travel professional, I am on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for my clients. I’m right there with you throughout the booking process, during your travel and follow up afterward. If you were to book on line and had to contact the booking agent’s customer service department, you likely will be wading through a chain of people to hopefully get to the one who can help you. One such customer, said she spent six and a half hours over three days speaking with Expedia’s customer service department.

We are specialists…

As a travel professional, I have a personal understanding of your interests and insight into specific destinations and segments of travel, such as Transformative Travel Experiences and Group Travel Events to destinations such as Jamaica, Mexico and Europe.  I spend time getting to know my clients so I can make recommendations tailored to what you want to do and to ensure that they have a great experience and an amazing trip that will send them away with lifelong memories.

 

So, when you are ready to plan those 2018 travel adventures, contact me, I would love to create an unforgettable travel experience for you.

 

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 Best Holiday Travel Tips

10 Best Holiday Travel Tips

It’s that time of year again, when we hear how grim the upcoming holiday travel season will be. Yes, planes, trains and roads will be crowded, especially now that the economy is perking up. And there’s always the chance that snowstorms will gum up the works. But your holiday travel fate is partly in your own hands. Here are 10 holiday travel tips — some new, some time-tested — for headache-free traveling during this busy season.

1. Don’t Travel on Peak Days
There’s no getting around it. Peak travel days are the worst!  You’ve heard it before, but it remains true that traveling the day before and the day after — whether by air, rail or road — greatly increases your chance of travel woes. Consider adjusting your dates by even a day.

2. Leave Lots of Extra Time
Depart from home far earlier in the day than you would at any other time of year, whether you’re starting a road trip or heading to an airport or bus or railway station. Wouldn’t you rather not be panicked if you run into traffic congestion, crowded public transit or long security lines? Relax and read or listen to music while you wait for your plane or train; take a restful pit stop if you’re driving. Or…  Call a cab or Uber and be dropped off and picked up right outside the terminal.

3. Rethink the Airport Experience
An airport is no longer just a transit hub to be rushed through. Many terminals are amenity-filled malls, some with terrific art exhibitions, shops, restaurants and even spas and yoga rooms. Arriving three hours before a flight is a lot more pleasant when you know you can browse, savor a glass of wine, exercise or get a massage.  Holiday travel season you can always expected to be hectic, but with a little careful planning these tips can help you navigate and save time.

4. Reserve Airport Parking
Airport parking often fills up during the holidays. But at many lots, especially private ones, is a short shuttle ride from the terminal. You can pre-book, sparing yourself a mad scramble to stash the car before your flight takes off.  Or….. even better take a cab or Uber for drop off and pick up right in front of your terminal.

5. Avoid Airline Ticket Counters
No need to wait in line if you print out boarding passes at home, pull them up on your smartphone or get them at an airport kiosk. If you have an e-ticket, carry a printout of your itinerary in the event your electronic device fails. And if you’re checking bags, use the skycaps at curbside (remember to tip them generously, it is the holiday season).

6. Pack Light for Air Travel
Take only a carry-on bag, even if it means leaving an outfit or two at home. That sacrifice will save you time on both ends of the trip, and if your flight is canceled it simplifies scoring a seat on another flight.

7. Have a Backup Plan
You can’t predict travel snafus, but you can be prepared for anything. If you’re driving, know alternative routes so you can adjust if traffic is bad. If you’re flying, know the alternative flights and connecting cities to your destination in case of delays or cancellations.

8. Bring Provisions
Take snacks, games, books, magazines, portable music or DVD players and other diversions to pass the time if your flight is delayed or you’re stuck in traffic. (This is vital, of course, if you’re traveling with kids.)

9. Turn Your Phone Into a Travel Tool
Sign up with your airline to receive flight status updates on your phone, or load your smartphone with mobile travel alert apps . Before leaving home, make sure your phone is fully charged and holds all the numbers you could possibly need, including family, friends, hotel, airline, rental car agency and credit card companies.  Also, make sure to pack and extra battery or charger.

10. Think Twice About Holiday Gifts
If you’ll be traveling by air, ship presents in advance or shop online and have them delivered to your destination. If you do take gifts along, make them small and packable, and don’t wrap them beforehand: Even if they’re in checked luggage, security personnel may need to open them for inspection.

I hope these holiday travel tips will be helpful if you are traveling during the holiday season.

 

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.