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Airlines

While its completely understandable that so many people are concerned about traveling due to the coronavirus outbreak, I feel it’s really important to put everything in perspective. Even though there’s no one-size-fits all answer to this current predicament that’s literally affecting the entire world now, using a common sense approach is essential, as it’s too easy for some to let fear and/or their emotions get in the way of their ability to think clearly during this particular time in traveling history.

I want everyone to know that there are still many places they can travel to, as many places are still considered to be safe. So for those who want or need to travel at this time, it’s really just a matter of figuring out what places are still safe to travel to. This requires travelers to keep on top of all travel news related to the virus, making it essential that they educate themselves well. This is simple to do, as those who still want to go on with their travel plans at this time just need to keep on top of all travel advisories, as they can change at any given moment.

How to Protect Oneself

There are a few things travelers can do to protect themselves, as it’s necessary to avoid being exposed to the virus in order to prevent one from getting ill. The best ways travelers can protect themselves from getting the virus is to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, not touch their face, wear a mask if it makes them feel safer, and maintain at least 3 feet in between them and anyone who is exhibiting any signs of the virus, like coughing and sneezing.

The CDC has posted the following questions for travelers, which will help them make a final decision on whether or not they should travel during this outbreak.

  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going?
  • Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?
  • Are you or your travel companion(s) at higher risk of severe illness if you do get COVID-19?
  • Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you get exposed to, or are sick with, COVID-19?
  • Do you live with someone who is older or has a severe chronic health condition?
  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you live?

Important Coronavirus Facts

Because I feel it’s so important for travelers to understand everything they need to know at this time, I thought it would be beneficial to make a list of facts to help travelers determine what they should do regarding traveling at this particular time. While all travel-related facilities are indeed taking great measures to reduce the risk of anyone getting diagnosed with the virus, it’s still necessary for all travelers to take matters into their own hands by doing everything possible to protect themselves from the virus, as there is no vaccine as of yet.

The list of facts below are beneficial for any traveler, as there’s so much information on the Internet and on the news nowadays, it can be difficult for travelers to understand what is fact and what is fiction.

 

  • FACT: The State Department has issued a Global Level 3 health advisory, which means that those who live within the United States are encouraged to reconsider any travels to other countries that have confirmed cases of the coronavirus. A Global Level 4 advisory, which has not happened yet, is the level that prevents travelers from taking part in any type of travel. So traveling is still an option.

 

  • FACT: Transportation facilities are taking extreme measures to clean high-touch areas often throughout the day, minimizing the risk of someone getting the virus when traveling by bus, train and airplane. Special attention is also being placed on cleaning areas where staff work, like check-in counters. They have also provided travelers with more hand sanitizing locations, encouraging travelers to use them often.

 

  • FACT: It’s an option for travelers to check in for their transportation travels using their cell phone. This is a good idea, as it means they don’t have to touch any self-service kiosks in order to check in for their reservation. And instead of handing over their phone to one of the agents or baggage handlers for identification purposes, they can simply hold on to their phone and show them the information.

 

  • FACT: Hotels are also responding to the outbreak, as they’re increasing the frequency of how often the clean any public areas. They’re also training employees on new ways to clean, helping to minimize the chances of any hotel guests being diagnosed. This includes cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting all areas of a hotel, including any food areas.

 Bottom Line

It’s up to travelers whether or not they want to travel during this current outbreak. The above facts should help travelers make the right decision, as these factual pieces of information are in place in order to help travelers make the right decision. All travelers are definitely encouraged to use a common sense approach when making their decisions, vs. letting their fear or emotions take over. If the decision to travel has been made, then it’s essential for all travelers to buy a travel insurance policy.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

Croatia by Sea

by JuJuB

Thinking about taking your next trip somewhere in Europe? How does cruising the coastline of Croatia sound? Croatia is located in Southeastern Europe, and includes more than 1100 miles of coastline right along the Adriatic Sea. There are more than 1200 islands along this coast, ranging in size from small rocky islands to larger yet still private islands. Directly across the Adriatic Sea is Italy.

About Croatia

Why is Croatia becoming a top vacation destination amongst today’s travelers? Croatia is a unique European destination that simply offers some of the most interesting and beautiful scenery. The Mediterranean country is one that emits an old-world feel, as there are many Unesco World Heritage Sites that exist here, and accordingly one of the top reasons why many travelers choose to visit the ancient country. The Roman architecture is very well preserved, which is very exciting to those who enjoy exploring old architectural buildings.

Why Visit Croatia’s Coastline?

The fact that Croatia has one of the most gorgeous coastlines in all of the world makes booking a cruise to enjoy its coastline a must! The ability to explore the beauty of Croatia via its coastline is something every traveler will enjoy, no matter what their age. And because the area tends to experience a mild climate all year long, travelers can book a cruise with one of the cruise lines that travel up and down the gorgeous coastline of Croatia any time of the year.

There are both small cruise lines and large cruise lines available to view the beautiful country of Croatia by sea. Discovery cruises offer travelers the ability to learn about Croatia’s fascinating history, including the reasons behind all of the many castles and cathedrals that exist in Croatia. Luxury cruises that explore Croatia’s coastline tend to lean towards relaxed luxury travel vs. high end luxury travel.

Sailing cruises are for travelers who are looking for excitement, romance, or a little of both! The world’s largest full-rigged sailing ship is available for travelers who want to experience a different type of cruising. Large cruise ships, local cruises, and day cruises are also available, making it worthwhile for any traveler wanting to explore Croatia’s beautiful coastline to look into all of their available options.

Katerina Lines offers coastline itineraries of Croatia, and offers travelers a large number of Croatian coastline itineraries. There are many different types of itineraries to choose from, which means there’s a perfect itinerary for everyone. Examples include itineraries based on relaxation, bicycling, hiking, young fun, and simply enjoying the beautiful coastline.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

Argentario: Italy’s Hidden Gem

by JuJuB

Considering taking your next vacation in Italy? Italy has a lot to offer travelers! The friendly people, the gorgeous countryside, the fantastic array of delicious food options, the cobbled walkways, the history, the architecture, the plazas, the museum’s and the church’s are just some of the allure that makes Italy a top vacation spot.

Argentario Italy’s Hidden Gem

Monte Argentario is located in Tuscany and is one of Italy’s most exciting hidden gems! While it used to be an island, it’s now connected to the mainland via sand bars. Visitors will not only enjoy exploring the seaside as well as mountainside opportunities, they will also enjoy the inclusiveness and privacy this hidden getaway in Italy offers. Nearby islands include Giannutri and Giglio, allowing for a fun and exciting day of island hopping.

Additional things to do and explore here include visiting the lagoons, golfing by the sea, taking a walk through the village, shopping in high-end boutiques, enjoying cheese and wine tasting opportunities at local farms, signing up for relaxing massages, going on a boat tour, visiting the 17th century Spanish Fortress, renting a canoe to explore the coastline, going swimming or diving in the crystal clear blue waters, going mountain bike riding, visiting the nature reserve, and participating in one of the many local events that take place here, i.e. parades, firework shows, treasure hunts.

Popular destinations include Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano and Cala Piccola. Popular attractions include Cala Mar Morto, Riva del Marchese and Cala del Gesso. Popular restaurants include the Sandwich Club, La Vivienda and Gourmet Con Gusto. July and August are busy months, as there are lots of festivities and events taking place during this time. Fall and spring are the best times for vacationers who are looking for a little more privacy to visit this hidden gem.

Is Monte Argentario the Next Positano?

Monte Argentario can be compared to the vertical town of Positano. This well-known and popular city in Italy was formed in the 19th century and became even more famous in the 18th century when it developed into a major port and trading hub. The beach in Positano is absolutely spectacular and one of the largest located on the Amalfi Coast. Once road construction made it easier to access the Amalfi Coast, these beaches have become a popular vacation spot amongst all types of vacationers, including famous artists, actors and celebrities.

The many similarities between Positano and Monte Argentario has many people wondering if Monte Argentario is the next Positano. What do you think?

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

 

Why it’s Important to Take an Annual Vacation

by JuJuB

When’s the last time you took a vacation? While many people tend to think that taking an annual vacation is a luxury, taking a break from one’s normal routine is actually recommended for a well-balanced life. Just like choosing the right foods to eat and exercising on a regular basis, taking a vacation every single year should be on everyone’s list of things to do as it can help them live a truly happy and healthy life.

January 30th is National Plan a Vacation Day, a great reminder for those who work hard all year long that it’s time to plan a vacation!

Reasons why it’s important for everyone to take regular vacations

Remember how exciting it was to have some time off when going to grade school, high school, college? Not only did you get the entire summer off, there were also many breaks when you didn’t have to attend school, i.e. spring break, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas. But once you get started on your new career path, this tends to change. It’s now easy for you to get caught up in your workload, which is one of the reasons why many workers will put off taking a vacation, because they don’t want to fall behind or lose their competitive edge.

Even so, the many benefits that come with taking an annual vacation are not to be missed and for that reason should be a part of everyone’s yearly calendar of things to do. The following is a list of the top reasons why it’s important for everyone to add taking regular vacations to their calendar.

 

  • Vacations are good for your health and well-being. Everyone needs a break from the pressures of everyday life. A vacation allows for the resting and relaxation, giving your body the ability improve and mend itself for better overall health.

 

  • Vacations improve relationships. Vacations are the perfect time for bonding! Whether it’s a couple or a family, doing fun and exciting things together while on vacation supports togetherness and therefore is invaluable.

 

  • Vacations allow for a refocus. Studies show that when someone is so involved with their work that they don’t make time for much of anything else, they will often experience memory problems and focusing problems. Taking an annual vacation allows them to refocus so they can return to work more energized.

 

  • Vacations make you happier. Vacations are a time for fun and relaxation, which means no stress and no worries. When there’s nothing to stress or worry about it’s hard to be anything else than happy.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

Small Group Travels to Europe are Best

by Tammy

Thinking about planning your next trip to Europe? Great! A European vacation is able to offer travelers a number of unique and exciting things to do, giving them memories that are easily going to last a lifetime. When you choose to take your next vacation in Europe, you’re going to get to experience all of its rich history and fascinating culture, which is one of the main reasons why Europe is still a top vacation destination. If you’re wanting to get a group together, be sure that it’s a fairly small group, as small group travels to Europe are best.

A European Vacation

The history, the culture, the splendid cuisine, the exciting nightlife, the charming villages, the lovely ambiance and much more are all to be found when vacationing in Europe! Because there is so much to do and see when in Europe, the following is a list of some of the more popular things to do or must see attractions when vacationing  in Europe.

 

  • While Paris, Rome and Florence may be crowded, they are a must see and accordingly are well worth the visit!
  • The Swiss Alps are a perfect vacation stop for travelers who enjoy winter sport activities and small charming towns.
  • The Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is a must see for its sheer beauty, a perfect place for nature lovers.
  • The European architecture includes many styles and is absolutely spectacular, making it a good idea to schedule in some tours of famous architectural buildings.
  • European museums are many and include some of the most impressive collections worldwide.
  • Eating musts include – tapas, pizza, cheeses. Drinking musts – wine.

Why Small Travel Groups are Best

Why are small travel groups best when traveling to Europe? Because small group travels allow travelers to explore their destinations in a much better fashion when compared to large travel groups. Smaller traveling groups are simply able to better enjoy seeing and exploring all of the many sights there are to see when vacationing in Europe. Small groups allow everyone to get to know each other. When there are too many people in a group, it’s easy for travelers to get lost in the crowd.

 

Small group travel benefits:

  • See things the way locals see them – more intimate – places are more easily accessible – can make new friends – has access to places larger groups cant go, like small, local restaurants – impact of small groups is smaller, important when visiting smaller European villages.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

Global Entry Do I need it?

by JuJuB


Seems the buzzword of the day is “Global Entry.” Everybody is talking about this new way of getting through the airport faster, but is it worth it for me to apply?

First, let’s define this buzzword of the day: According to the website, Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports. Global Entry cards are issued to Global entry members who are U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and Mexican nationals.

What does all that mumbo jumbo mean? The whole idea behind this program is to move travelers along a little faster. Its members skip the line and head directly to a kiosk where they put their fingerprints on a scanner for verification, get a receipt and keep going.

As a travel agent who travels often, I figured I would finally apply for Global Entry. First, there’s a whopping 30-page questionnaire, a background check, an appointment that took about three months to get and, finally, an interview.

Now, you should know that they do not approve everyone. For example, if you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense or have charges pending, including outstanding warrants or if you are subject of an investigation of any kind.

If you  just want to apply for Global Entry simply because you want to get into a shorter line at the airport, sign up for the TSA pre-check instead. Global entry is just for ease of customs.

Keep in mind, however, that Global Entry isn’t permanent, so think about if this is what you really need before you cough up the $100 bucks that you need for your application fee. You need to renew your credentials in five years, so if your passport expires sooner than, you are still good you just have to add the new credentials to the new passport.

If you violate the terms of the Global Entry just once, you will never be approved again. Violations include smuggling livestock, smuggling anything really and lying about how much to declare, get it?

On the cover there is a little gold square bar like the chip that is on your credit card. Protect this little gold square bar more than anything when you traveling overseas. Identity theft is definitely an international issue right now.

That’s it, in a nutshell.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

image source: Copyright: <a href=’htww.123rf.com/profile_toonartist’>toonartist / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

 

Longest Direct Flights

by JuJuB


This coming March, Qantas Airlines is set to launch the third-longest passenger flight in the world, from Perth to London.  The flight will take approximately a whopping 17 hours! According to Qantas, it will be the first regular passenger service to directly link Australia with Europe when it begins.

 “When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops. Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce in a statement.

Talk about a game-changer. Years ago, there was no such thing as a direct flight like this or checking in to the airline online or instantaneous mail, but today so many things are possible. 

“This is a game-changing route flown by a game-changing aircraft. Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before, so the opportunities this opens up are huge.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners used on the route will carry 236 passengers across Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabins. Could you take a flight that’s this long?

Forbes magazine recently did an article on the top five longest flights in the world, ranked by distance:

1. Delhi-San Francisco: This Air India flight took a little longer than 14 hours.

3. Dubai-Auckland: Flying via Emirates, this flight takes a quick 16 hours 35 minutes.

4. Dallas-Sydney: This is a 15 hour flight

5. Singapore-San Francisco: Could you do 16 hours, 20 minutes on this flight?

Back to the Perth to London flight: The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners used on the route will carry 236 passengers across Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabins. It will be the longest Boeing Dreamliner flight in the world. Qantas was the first to operate the world’s largest passenger aircraft (A380) on the world’s longest route (Sydney-Dallas) in 2014.

Digital Trends magazine once talked about these long flights and how the connections are awful and spending 16 hours in a confined space with hundreds of other people, takes its own toll on the mind and body. These flights have in-flight entertainment (IFE) and some of flights are adding Wi-Fi. There are amenities like power outlets or smartphone app-based activities. If you’re booked on one of these flights load up on movies and books to pass the time, don’t forget to get up and walk around and make sure you combat jet lag.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

How do I travel Solo?

by JuJuB


I have noticed a huge trend in Solo travel, and for all age groups. How can I start when I want to travel solo and  when it comes to getting the best deals?

Firstly, good for you for keeping up with travel trends! The fact that you are aware that there is a big trend going on when it comes to traveling solo means that you are doing a great job. Congrats!

Solo travel is definitely not a trend to ignore. Whether it’s a millennial who is seeking adventure travel, someone who is recently divorced and wanting some alone time, or seniors looking to check off their favorite traveling destinations from their bucket list, placing a focus on helping solo travelers meet their goals is going to be well worth your while.

Because many people are willing to travel to some of the world’s best vacation destinations solo, solo travel is indeed a great focus for all travel agents. While some may think that this particular travel group isn’t worth putting a focus on because it’s only one person, quite the opposite is true. Solo traveling is a trend that is definitely here to stay!

Know that you may want to be one of those solo travelers  who truly want to travel by themselves, others are more than willing to travel with other solo travelers. That’s why Elite Travel is now choosing to accommodate solo travelers by offering smaller accommodation options.

The fact that solo travel can cost more makes it important for you to be able to find the best travel deals especially  looking to travel by yourself. We have done the research  for you  and will be able to find a few travel destinations that don’t charge more for solo traveling.

Exodus Travels is a great example of a partner we use that places a focus on getting solo travelers to travel together to certain destinations, which was initiated by solo travelers requesting this option. Teeming River Cruises is another example as they offer a solo traveler the option to pay the double rate and then contact their waitlist of same sex singles who are willing to room with someone else.

Elite Travel Group

image source <a href=www.123rf.comprofile_soloway’>soloway / 123RF Stock Photo</a&gt;

 

Greece

by JuJuB

Known for its black sand beaches, exquisite landscapes, ancient ruins and crystal blue waters, Greece is the ultimate vacation destination. However, if you’re looking for more unspoiled locations of Greece instead of its jam-packed tourist destinations, then pack your bags and head to either Nafplion, Hydra or Spetses.

Nafplion is all about the romance, especially if taking a step back into a medieval time is romantic to you. This seaport town in the Peloponnese is only a two-hour drive from Athens, the country’s capital. There is a waterfront, small streets and historic buildings as well as restaurants, shops, and cafes. Enjoy a tour of the Karonis Distillery and, when you’re done, lounge out on Nafplion’s main beach, Tolo or Karathona. If you’re looking for a little Nafplion history, check out the War museum too.

The island of Hydra is built in the shape of an amphitheater and also feels like a step back in time with its stone mansions and cobblestoned streets, but mostly because cars are banned here. It’s about the donkeys for public transportation, so be sure to take one of the donkey rides available to you.

The stone mansions are owned by some of the island’s VIP families (Voulgaris, Kountouriotis, Tombazis, Kriezis, Bountouris etc), and many now are the homes of the island’s museums. Throughout the town, you can visit the old gunpowder store, shops and cafes. Cars aren’t allowed, but yachts are more than welcome since Hydra is considered a yachting paradise. You can also take the laid back attitude of the Greeks and just relax on the beaches of Hydra – Mandráki, Bísti, Vlychós, Spiliá, Limnióniza, Hydronéta, or Ayios Nikolaos.

And finally, there’s the island of Spetses with its beautiful beaches. Many travelers visit for the Armata Festival, which is a re-enactment of a naval battle and its burning of a boat, which happens annually in the second weekend of September. In addition to the donkeys in Hydra, Spetses boasts horse-drawn carriages that you can ride through its narrow cobbled streets. There’s so much to see, including The House of Bouboulina, named after a heroine in the 1821 War of Independence and The House of Hatzigiannis Mexis, which holds relics from the same war and the Cathedral of Ayios Nikolaos. Relax on Spetses’ many beaches and take in all that Greece has to offer.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

Traveling with infant tips on the plane

by JuJuB

Dear Tammy: The kids are back in school, but that doesn’t mean that the younger ones are traveling with mom and dad. I have many clients who are traveling during the off season. I would like to give them some healthy travel tips and tips on traveling with infants on a plane. What do you recommend?

Tammy: I think it’s awesome that you want to provide your clients with some tips on how to stay healthy while traveling and how to care for their infants while traveling. Tell them that it’s important to ground themselves when they, or their children, or not feeling well, whether it’s a cold, sinus infection or flu and wait to fly until they feel better. If they must travel, ask about over-the-counter medicine for the symptoms. They may want to take a medication for sinus congestion or aches and pains, but be aware that the medication can cause drowsiness.

It’s important to address ear pressure too. Changes in cabin pressure can cause painful popping in the ears, especially for children. Chew gum and have the child chew gum to restore the balance of pressure during takeoff and landing. For infants, bottle-feeding during this time can be helpful.  Eardrops are also available to help ease the pain.

Whatever your mode of travel, have each child pack a bag filled with their favorite treats, cards, electronic games, a book, notebook and pencil and more. They should also pack a surprise gift or two for the plane trip to keep the children entertained.

Children can also suffer from jet lag, so it’s important to build in some time to adjust their nap schedules. Consider adjusting their nap schedule back a few hours.

Make sure to carry any special medications in your carry-on that your child may need, just in case your luggage is lost.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, when traveling on an airplane, a child is best protected when properly restrained in a car safety seat appropriate for the age, weight and height of the child. Children who weigh more than 40lbs can use the aircraft seat belt. The car safety seat should have a label noting that it is FAA-approved. Belt-positioning booster seats cannot be used on airplanes, but they can be checked as luggage (usually without baggage fees) for use in rental cars and taxis.

Keeping in touch with your clients and providing great travel tips is a great way to be a thoughtful travel agent. Nice job.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

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