Most of us got wind of the latest restrictions for travel to Cuba from the Trump administration early last week. With a swift and broad stroke, all cruise travel originating from U.S. ports was banned as was the "People to People" tours under which U.S. citizens could visit this island nation. There was a caveat in that if you had already purchased some component of your trip by June 5th, either flights or hotel for example, you could be grandfathered in and still proceed as scheduled. For those that had been dreaming of going to Cuba or were planning on visiting in the near future but hadn't acted on it yet, you may have felt that you missed your window of opportunity.
We all talk about how we'd love to get away, yet over half of Americans don't take the time off they've earned. The research conducted by Project:TimeOff shows that we leave 705M unused vacation days on the table annually, 212M of which were forfeited!
The Project:Time Off Coalition is comprised of organizations committed to changing the thinking and behavior of Americans about vacation time. As part of a national movement, coalition members understand that putting our wasted days to use will provide a $236 billion boost to the economy, and, more importantly, improve the health, happiness, and careers of overworked Americans.
Whether it's the feeling that you'll return to a greater workload or that your employer will question your dedication, there's many excuses for why we delay taking our much-deserved time off. When interviewing managers, Project: TimeOff discovered that the majority (91%) of them WANT you to take your vacation days but just wished you had told them about it at the beginning of the year.
Neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's are becoming increasingly prevalent. Alzheimers is the 6th leading cause of death and the only one in the top 10 without a cure. So when LifeWorks wellness resort in Montana approached me to experience their program focused on brain health, I was more than a little intrigued. Headed by Dr. Rob Velin, a neuropsychologist and former research professor at University of California San Diego, and based strictly on science and research-driven programs, LifeWorks’ mission is to help their VIPs lead healthier lives, specifically by increasing and protecting their brain health.
The program focuses on 7 pillars: Advising (life coaching), Adventure (exploration and activities leveraging the natural surroundings), Conditioning (fitness), Movement (yoga, mindfulness, meditation), Nutrition, Neurofeedback and Virtual Reality/Mixed Reality (to increase neuroplasticity and manage stress). This holistic approach to wellness provides the tools for the intervention and prevention of neurological diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
It’s that time of year…Virtuoso Travel week is right around the corner in August! It’s the most anticipated gathering of luxury travel providers in the world and for the first time in the history of the event, it is sold out. It’s also my annual opportunity to connect with the upper management teams for the top hotels, cruise lines and tour operators globally and act as a buyer on my clients’ behalf.
This week-long event in Las Vegas is the epitome of speed dating between luxury travel advisors and suppliers. We “switch partners” every 4 minutes for 4 full days, learning about the latest updates from tourism boards, hotels, resorts, cruise lines and tour operators. We then have the opportunity to set up appointments specifically with those we’d like some extra time.
As someone who’s keenly interested in ensuring I continue to partner with the best and most innovative companies, I want to reach out to you to find out what’s on your bucket list for 2019. Have you been dreaming about a magical rooftop dinner in Paris overlooking the Eiffel Tower? How about exploring the riches of the Mekong river on a luxury river cruise? Are you stressed out, burned out and needing to find a wellness resort to help you connect with yourself and nature? Milestone birthday or anniversary coming up? Girls’ trip or family vacation on the horizon?
Whatever is on your mind or on your radar for the coming year, please send me a note to let me know so I can prepare to collaborate with the best of the best for you!
Virtuoso Travel Week is a maddening week of appointments, dinners and cocktail events but one I come away from having learned so much about luxury travel and deepening my relationships with the people that help me provide you with elevated travel experiences.
I look forward to hearing from you and learning more about where you’re headed in 2019!
When most people think of Tahiti, they imagine a newlywed couple snuggling on the deck of their overwater bungalow watching the sunset. While this is certainly true, the islands of Tahiti offer so much more than a romantic escape for couples.
I just returned from the Four Seasons resort in Bora Bora with my multigenerational family group (think infants to grandparents) of 42 and it was the most amazing vacation for all. Yes, we were in the iconic overwater bungalows and yes we saw breathtaking sunsets and even a rainbow or two, but we also experienced so much as a family. It started with a private group check-in and breakfast at the Otemanu Pavilion especially for our group. That evening we enjoyed a special private welcome dinner on Otemanu beach complete with local musicians and Heiva dancers. The dancers were wonderful in getting the group to join in and setting the stage for a week of fun and relaxation ahead.
There’s a National Coffee Day, National Nail Polish Day and even National Donut Day. So why not have a day dedicated to our health and well being? That’s exactly what Belgin Aksoy Berkin, owner of Richmond Nua Wellness-Spa, created in Turkey back in 2012. Now officially celebrated in 100 countries and 5000 locations on the second Saturday in June, Global Wellness Day is dedicated to living a healthier and better life. It’s a day to focus on creating healthy habits, reducing stress, and connecting with yourself and loved ones.
Most of us lead frantic lives, running from work to home, trying to balance our responsibilities with our businesses and our families. We put ourselves last, promising to take a break as soon as we close the big deal, as soon as we launch the next project, as soon as we… All of this increased stress can lead to physical ailments-obesity, hypertension, sleep disorders, and so much more.
For most people, India is an exotic destination filled with tigers, temples and the Taj Mahal. While this is true, India is also a very diverse land with varying terrain, cultures, food and languages (there are 22 official languages spoken in the sub-continent). The North with its palaces and deserts is vastly different than the South, which has lush tropical foliage, beaches, and towns which reflect their Dutch and Portuguese influences. It’s as if there are a multitude of “countries” within India’s borders.
Every time I go to India, I try to explore a different region. During my most recent trip, I ventured to Rishikesh, in the heart of the Himalayas. Although only a 45 min flight from New Delhi, Rishikesh is a haven for the nature lovers and the active adventurers. The air is fresh, the waters of the Ganges are crystal clear and you’re surrounded by the beauty of the lush mountains. It’s also the birthplace of yoga, so of course you’ll find a plethora of instructors, schools, and swamis. The International Yoga Festival is held here every March and brings in 2,000 attendees from over 100 countries.
I’m pretty adventurous myself, but I’m not in my 20s any longer so I wanted to ensure I came back home in one piece! My first priority was safety and picking a tour operator with a great reputation and a solid track record, so I selected Aquaterra Adventures and the Atali Ganga resort.
I just returned from an amazing 2 week trip to India. Before I left, I was in a frenzy trying to juggle client trips, my own travels and be present for my family. I always felt like I was on a hamster wheel, constantly trying to balance my business needs with those of my family, leaving no time for taking care of myself or having a moment to reflect.
I had also been reading about the benefits of morning routines, yet as much as I tried to get up an hour early to do yoga, meditate, exercise and prepare for my day, I just felt overwhelmed and frustrated. So when the opportunity to visit Ananda in the Himalayas came along, I was eager to experience this world-renowned international wellness resort for myself.
With more and more of us living in close proximity to our parents and still having kids at home (the Sandwich Generation if you will), the rise in multi-generational travel seems inevitable. Instead of just taking our nuclear families on vacation, we are opting to enjoy time away with our parents and our children together. This is a fantastic way for grandparents to spend more time with the grandkids and to enjoy the company of their own children as well.
Depending on how active and healthy grandparents are, there are a variety of options for taking the entire clan on a break. Cruises and beach resorts seem to be favorable for aging seniors who want to unpack once and have a variety of options to enjoy. However, if grandparents are fairly fit and ready to be on the go, a custom itinerary focusing on the desires of each family member may just be the ticket. The key is to find balance between together time and time for each family member to do what they please. Here are a few options for multi-generational travel that will suit most everyone’s needs.
Summer travel is right around the corner and while many may dread the long lines at the airport and the endless waiting in security and customs lines, I have learned how to breeze through these areas so I can focus on the journey ahead.
With my own trip to India coming up in the next week, I thought I’d share some tips to make getting through airports less of a hassle via the various Trusted Traveler programs (including TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry) as well as CLEAR and VIP Meet & Greet Services offered at many international airports.
The goal is to get you from the curb to the gate as quickly as possible and to ensure your time is spent enjoying a cocktail or a spa service rather than waiting in long airport lines.
Join me through my stories as I travel the world. I hope the experiences and photos I share will inspire each of you to be travelers as well and to go explore this incredible world in which we live.