TALES of a Traveler
Settle in and stay for a while. May you be inspired for your next adventure.
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I love all things Disney, and souvenirs are no exception! Just the mention of the word and I envision myself browsing gift shops looking for the perfect item to bring home. However, while many trinkets call my name, I buy very few things at the parks. Instead, my favorite souvenirs are free ... or should I say, included.
You see, my favorite Disney souvenirs are character photos.
One very magical aspect of our trips to Disney is saying hello to Mickey and his pals. Over the years, we have met hundreds of friends, in many variations of costumes. In the process, we have created precious memories with conversations had, the antics that took place, and the mishaps that occurred. (Yes, Donald, we know you didn't mean to poke MJ in the eye!)
It's National Travel Agent Day! For me, that means many emails from various suppliers, expressing gratitude for the work that I do. I am thankful to be part of such a dynamic industry, doing a job that I love and look forward to daily. I truly believe I have the best career in the world. However, as I reflect on my business, I realize that many people still don't really understand my role as a travel planner. As such, here are 5 things your travel agent wants you to know.
1. My Services are Complimentary Yes, free. No charges, no service fees, no hidden costs. I have tried and tried again to make this known, telling anyone who will listen, posting it on social media, etc. Yet, not a week goes by when someone doesn't comment that they thought I charge a fee. Or, sometimes I'm in dialogue with a potential client and she asks me when I will be sending my bill. Friends, suppliers pay me to help you. I don't charge a cent.
While I have been privileged to explore many places, there is much more of the world that my heart longs to see. I venture to say I'm not alone. Most people I know have a list of places they'd like to visit, and experiences they'd like to have, but they aren't quite sure how to afford it. Today, I'd like to encourage you that it may be more doable than you think, by offering 10 simple ways to save for vacation. These aren't magic money makers, but a way of looking at your life and refocusing your priorities.
People could easily look at me and say, "Of course you can travel a lot, that's your JOB!" While that is true, it still requires resources, and a focused effort on my part to save what we need. My husband has a fabulous job, and I contribute with my business. However, we live in San Jose, which Business Insider calculated to be the 6th most expensive place to live in the world. Therefore, while we are financially stable by all definitions, we don't have excess cash to throw around. We make choices in our everyday lives which allow us to take some incredible trips. By sharing some of my strategies with you, I hope you'll be encouraged that you, too, can save up for that dream trip.
Let's face it: as parents of little ones, a vacation sounds completely magical. An opportunity to get away from the normal routine and escape the responsibilities of home for a few days would be delightful. The thought of it is enough to carry us through those sleepless nights or toddler tantrum episodes. That is, the THEORY of family travel sounds wonderful. Reality, however, may seem a bit daunting. After all, there's so much gear. And unpredictable schedules. And eating habits. And mood swings. Need I go on?
Today, I'd like to encourage you that enjoyable vacations ARE possible for parents with little ones. All it takes is some good decision making and adequate planning. To help set you in the right direction, I have a few helpful hints and tips to share.
Without further ado...how to travel with little ones and LIKE it:
Location, Location, Location
Yes, I recommend you choose one, and only one. (Two at the most, if you are feeling ambitious!) With so much gear to haul, and settling in to occur, you don't want to spend multiple days packing and unpacking. That's more time spent working and less time enjoying your destination.
If you had asked me 12 years ago whether or not I am a "cruise type" I would have given a resounding "No!!" After all, I don't like crowds or feeling cooped up, and I get wretchedly seasick. Then, a good deal on a Disney Cruise enticed me to give it a try. Since then, I have been hooked, cruising a dozen times, becoming a travel agent, and passing the cruising bug on to fellow travelers.
When sharing my passion for cruising, the question I get asked the most frequently is, "So, why do you like cruising so much?" A truly simple question, with many answers. In response, here are the top 10 reasons why I LOVE cruising...(in no particular order).
10. Seeing a variety of places, while only having to pack and unpack once. Packing isn't fun, and items never seem to fit back in a suitcase quite the same when moving from location to location. The fact that I can enjoy time in a fabulous destination, go have dinner and enjoy some evening entertainment, then wake up the next day in a completely different destination is irresistible.