Summer is coming to an end and it’s time to start the conversation about holiday travel! Imagine: no dishes, no cooking marathons and no holiday decorations to put up… Who wouldn’t want to share that with their special someone?
But the gift of travel is no easy gift. There are lots of things to take into consideration. Can your special someone take the time off work, where do they want to go, do they have a current passport, should you apply for visas, are they okay being away from family or should the entire clan join you? What will the weather be like in your destination, what are travel times to get there and, finally, do you want it to be a surprise or will your giftee help in picking the right place and activities?
Let’s start with when you’d like to travel. December and January might be cold where you currently live, but there are some tropical paradises awaiting your arrival. Hawaii, the Bahamas, the South Pacific are all great places to get your winter tan. Prefer the snowy whites of Canada, Switzerland or Vermont? All you need to decide is if you’re bringing your own skis or renting them there…
There are ample vacation options available, from ocean and river cruises, to all-inclusive beach resorts, hiking and expedition trips, private jet adventures – and yes, while some resorts and cruise ships are sold out by now, there are still plenty of nice options available.
Looking to travel later this spring or summer? There will be more availability and in some cases you can still get early booking discounts. Many summer cruise itineraries offer extra amenities like ship board credit, free beverage packages or pre-paid gratuities. Hotels currently offer free room upgrades, daily breakfast, spa treatments and more…
Consider travel time when picking a destination. While flying can be all the fun needed for some, others prefer to spend time in destination. If you’re looking for a quick three- or four- day getaway, you might want to focus on destination with non-stop flight options to maximize your time in destination. If you have seven to 10 (or more!) days, you can consider more exotic options that require layovers and maybe even a pre or post night to your trip.
Did you know that most foreign travels require your passport to be valid for six months past your return home date? If you’re planning on gifting International travel this year, make sure your giftee’s passport is up to date. If you don’t know, or don’t have the ability to check on that, maybe book a trip further out, for the coming summer perhaps.
You should always check the connecting airport cities. Just because it doesn’t snow in L.A. and Jamaica doesn’t mean there won’t be a blizzard at Chicago O’Hare that will delay your flight by hours or days… While a routing through Miami might cost more, the likelihood of flight cancelations and delays will be much lower, thus getting your vacation off to a good start.
Also check on visa requirements. While many countries don’t require U.S. citizens to get a visa ahead of time, some other will deny you entry. If your gift of travel is supposed to be a surprise, stay away from visa requiring destinations. This is especially important on cruises, as some ports of call may have different requirements.
Disneyland is quite popular for families with small kids, while others prefer high entertainment cruises. Kids’ clubs, easy dining, a variety of shows and many activities in port tend to offer something for everyone. With older kids, all-inclusive, adventure tours and expedition type trips are more popular. Consider an all-inclusive ski trip to the Alps, a Christmas Market Cruise on European Rivers, an Expedition to Antarctica, kayaking in New Zealand, diving in Tahiti, surfing in Maui or white water rafting in Costa Rica as just a few popular options we’ve seen this year.
Many people will ask for time off during the holidays. Make sure your giftee can in fact take time off for the dates you are booking. Carefully check terms and conditions of hotels, cruise lines, airline tickets and tours. Only a handful of them will allow date changes without penalties. A big item to consider here is travel insurance. This way, you protect your investment and your relationship.
If you just can’t decide, consider buying a travel gift certificate. Many travel agencies like ours issue them. You can pick the amount you want to spend on the trip and your giftee can pick the fine details.
For inspiration, please join us at our 4th Annual Northern Arizona Wedding Expo on Oct. 18 from 5-8 p.m., at the Doubletree by Hilton Flagstaff. Meet with renowned cruise lines, hotel chains, tour operators and get the inside scoop on all things travel.
Should you need some additional guidance, reach out to your trusted Travel Consultant. While online booking engines only know answers to the questions you ask, a travel consultant knows which questions you should be asking. QCBN
By Daniela Harrison
Daniela Harrison is a Travel Consultant for Avenues of the World Travel in Flagstaff AZ.
For questions, or to make reservations, she can be reached at:
Daniela@avenuesoftheworld.com or 928.556.0853