It's been a different week.
The ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors) Global Convention was fascinating as I learned really for the first time of the important advocacy issues facing my industry. Also one of our wonderful Gifted Travel Network colleagues won the ASTA Travel Entrepreneur of the Year. Congratulations to Ashley Metesh-McCoy for her award and for the amazing work she is doing in providing military spouses with a robust training program to bring them in to the travel industry.
Today the blog was all set for another 5 highlights from Virtuoso Travel Week when my back went in to spasm at around 8am and I ended up on the floor unable to move. At 10am I was resigned to missing the deadline of posting for the first time in 209 weeks.
But after an ambulance visit to the ER and a plethora of drugs, I am just about functional again, and have changed this weeks theme accordingly.
Here's the less than exciting but essential topic of Travel Insurance with a few other suggestions for you under the headline of...You Just Never Know. If it reads a bit trippy at any point, it's the drugs!
Top 5 You Just Never Know Ideas
1. Travel Insurance (#1)
I am due to fly to Delhi (above) on Monday and right now it's probably less than 50% that I am going to be fit enough to make it. Even the awesome lie-flat beds of Qatar Airways will likely not save my back from further damage. This could be the first trip I would claim for with my travel insurance policy due to illness, and right now I am very thankful I have that option as this is one of my more expensive trips of the year as it includes a business class "mileage-run" ticket. 4 years in to our business and given what we see on our clients trips, we absolutely recommend travel protection insurance for every trip you make.
Top tip - look at Annual Travel Policies if you travel a lot. Their coverage can be lower than trip specific policies, but it's still a good value investment. Ask your travel advisor to provide options for you.
2. Travel Insurance (#2)
I've possibly written about this before (the drugs are blurring my memory), but our own honeymoon almost exactly 24 years ago (above) is a perfect example of why you should take travel insurance. We traveled from England and were completely oblivious to the notion of "hurricane season". Well, day 2 of our honeymoon we were informed that a big one (Hurricane Luis, above) was on the way and our beachfront villa with floor to ceiling glass windows would be boarded up. They ran out of plywood before getting to us, and we had to move in next door with a crew of 4 - bikini model, make-up artist, hair stylist and photographer. Our air conditioning unit was in the roof and was sucked out, quickly filling the whole villa with a foot of water. Electricity went out. We lived on gummy bears, found in the housekeeping closet, for 36 hours. it was genuinely scary and on emerging, the beach had eroded so much that a 20 ft drop off now existed just 3 ft from our back door. The resort did really well evacuating us on one of the first flights out of Anguilla. We landed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, looked up at the flight departure board and decided that Phoenix would likely be the driest destination to aim for. From there the honeymoon turned into a road trip - Sedona, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. Rather a long story I'm afraid but the moral is - take the coverage (which we luckily had!).
3. Get Comfortable Exploring Early
This is not for everyone I know, but I can honestly say that taking our kids on our adventures from a fairly early age (around 7+), may be the best idea we had for their development as well as channeling them to be rounded, grounded world-wise individuals. Opening your children's eyes to the different cultures of the world (above in a Thai school), showing them how safe foreign countries actually are and thus preparing them for a lifetime of adventure was a mission of ours that we would repeat again for sure. I'd like to share a Virtuoso review we received this week from a wonderful client who we worked with for many months to create a special SE Asia itinerary including an extended stay in Siem Reap (above), as the Hong Kong troubles forced a mid-trip change of itinerary. The appraisal moved me, makes me proud of what we're doing and demonstrates exactly the passion I feel for every trip we book. Thank you JP, for allowing me to share this here with you all.
Expert Care, Compassion, and Counsel By: JP Reviewed on: 28 Aug 2019
John and Helen go above and beyond in every way. John personally spent a lot of time helping us with our itinerary and our planning to ensure that our family of 5 would have the best round-the-world experience. As travelers with young children, he customized options to meet our interests. When we offered suggestions of our own he integrated our requests into an overall trip that would show us the best of each country’s history and culture while helping us keep our children entertained and happy. He found things that we would have never found on our own. When we once voiced concern that we didn’t know that we could shuttle our young children around to all of the amazing events and activities he had offered, he listened and produced an even better itinerary so we had just the right amount of relaxing downtime. Our end result: we were comfortable, safe, and thrilled with each location we visited, and all five of us have left with indelible, life-changing memories due to John and his care.
4. Your Health
Aside from recommending travel insurance in case of ill health either prior to or during your trip, we simultaneously think that no trip should be delayed, put off for another year, or shelved unless there are extraordinary reasons. This is particularly true if you are aiming for a multi-generational experience. With a group, the odds of someone not being able to make a trip obviously increase with age. Commit early to these type of trips and the Top Tip - ask your travel advisor about Group Insurance Plans as these can save you hundred of dollars, especially for the older travelers.
5. New Places
This is really my personal travel theme and despite having to repeat some conference locations over the years, our real discovery trips have been varied and many. We love to enjoy different vibes, cultures, and of course food and we highly recommend stretching you and your family to new limits through the carefully crafted right choice on destination.
2018 - Australia/New Zealand, Yellowstone, Sri Lanka, Maldives (above), Peru, Chile, Argentina and China
2019 - Danube river cruise, Thailand, Singapore ( below), India (fingers heavily crossed), Tahiti, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
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