Starting your travel journey.

Starting your travel journey.

Starting your travel journey does not have to be fancy or extravagant. I’m often asked where would be a good place to start traveling? There are plenty of options, from the Caribbean and Mexico to Europe and Asia, or even a cruise. The answer lies within the individual and what they are looking for from travel. However, there is some guidance I’d like to share if you’ve never traveled before.

Start with a staycation if possible. It is one of the easiest ways to get to know what to expect when you travel away from home. It also gives you some experience in knowing what you like, and what you don’t without spending money on airfare.

A staycation allows you to learn about the hotel check-in process.  Many first-time travelers are unaware that the hotel check-in times are usually afternoon or later. This often leaves first-time travelers with a wasted day of idling in the hotel lobby with their luggage waiting for their room to be ready. A savvy traveler plans out arrival times based on hotel check-in or arranges with the hotel for early check-in or luggage storage.

A staycation goal is to mimic a vacation setting, so it allows a non-traveler to assess what accommodations the hotel has to offer. While this might not be ideal on a planned overseas trip, many “staycationers” want to enjoy the benefits a hotel might offer that they do not have at home. This allows them to experience what they might want and not want in a hotel stay.

Another benefit of a staycation is that it often includes dining out at a unique or different restaurant. This allows non-travelers to consider what they might like from their dining experience. Many unique restaurants are not about the value, and if you are looking for value, then a more named restaurant might be a better choice. It can be frustrating while on vacation to go out to a nice restaurant and come back to the hotel to order room service because you’re not quite full.

Finally, a staycation gives you options that you might not have on a paid vacation. You might want to stay with a friend or two, which will let you know if they will make for good travel companions. You will also most likely have transportation or know your way around the city so that your options for entertaining yourself are much more plentiful.

These are my ideas on beginning your travel journey, and they may not be appropriate for everyone. However, the only way to start traveling is to do just that, and if a staycation is your start, then enjoy. What started your travel journey? I’d like to know.

Travel is more than a physical journey.

Travel is more than a physical journey.

Many people will tell you that they want to travel and have spent years saving or planning for travel yet have not done it. Traveling is more than a physical journey; it takes a lot more mental effort than most people realize.

If you have yet to travel and have a strong desire, ask yourself why not? Often people that have finally made an effort to travel will forever be travelers. I have yet to find someone who has traveled and said, “never again.”

Travelers become addicted to the people, places, and experiences they have while traveling. They become more open-minded and able to challenge their beliefs and strengths. Many think travelers focus more on the destination. Still, at the core, the destination is never satisfying because they want to go somewhere else, they set a new goal, a new destination, and it never ends.

Travel goals mean little if a traveler does not consider the process of achieving the goal. Just like setting a plan to lose weight or getting through a job interview, mental preparation is often the key to success.

To achieve your travel goal, here are five questions to ask yourself,

  1. Why do I want to travel?
  2. Where do I want to go?
  3. When do I want to get there?
  4. How much effort am I willing to give?
  5. What do I want to achieve by traveling?

I am sure that finding the answer to some, if not all, of these questions, will put you on a path to start traveling as you desire. The only way to start traveling is to do just that, start. Let me know if you find value in this piece; I’d like to know.

Why I Stayed at the St Regis Aspen.

Why I Stayed at the St Regis Aspen.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, when planning a trip, there are many considerations. For me, staying at top tier hotels and resorts is an essential part of ensuring I have a pleasant travel experience. Here are the five reasons why my stay at St Regis Aspen, Colorado, did not disappoint.

1.Service was outstanding. When I landed at the airport, there was a hotel representative in baggage claim who took my bags, and I did not have to struggle with luggage from the airport to the hotel. At check-in, I was welcomed with an acknowledgment that it was a birthday trip. The hotel provided complimentary champagne that was delivered to my room the night before my birthday. I was presented with a box of macaroons and truffles at breakfast the morning of my birthday. From the front desk, the hotel staff, to the concierge, everyone seemed to know who I was and why I was there and made an effort to make sure I had a wonderful stay.

2.Car availability. The hotel offered a BMW 7 series for a 4-hour test drive period free of charge upon request as long as it was available. Usually, this service is provided once per stay, but due to COVID, it was available upon request and availability. I was able to use the car service twice during my stay, which was great considering I did not have to worry about car rental or parking.

3.Breakfast credit. Due to COVID and dining restrictions, the hotel offered a breakfast credit to dine in the hotel’s modified outdoor dining tent. I could have a full breakfast every day of the trip before my day of activities and a nice fluffy blanket to keep you warm while dining.

4.Airport shuttle. The hotel provided a shuttle service to the airport every thirty minutes, and the hotel personnel loaded my bags onto and off the shuttle from arrival to check-out. I did not have any concern with carrying my luggage to and from the hotel.

5.Heated pool and steam caves. After a day of snow activity, it was a pleasure to sink into the heated pool at the end of the day. The ability to be in the pool in the middle of winter with snowfall was an incredible experience and one I would thoroughly recommend.

Are there any hotels you love? I’d love to know, so drop me a line.

My Birthday Trip to Aspen, Colorado.

My Birthday Trip to Aspen, Colorado.

With the realities of COVID travel, I decided to travel to Colorado for my birthday celebration. It was as fulfilling as any of my international destinations, so I encourage you to try exploring within the US as much as you desire to travel internationally. Here are some highlights of my 5-day 4-night trip.

After I planned my trip, the hotel notified me that the COVID restrictions had changed for Aspen and Pitkin County not to allow indoor dining. Also, a negative COVID test was necessary before travel. I considered canceling my trip as the thought of testing, and outdoor dining in the winter was not my idea of an ideal trip, but I’m so glad I chose not to.

My stay was at St Regis Aspen, and I planned to arrive mid-afternoon as many hotels post that the room may not be ready until afternoon. My room was ready upon arrival, and my reception was as expected for a St. Regis property. A hotel representative met me at the airport who tagged the luggage to my room, so I did not struggle with luggage.

Day one was for checking in, getting set up in the room, and exploring around the hotel. I was not too fond of the first room assigned because of the obstructed view and, upon request, was moved to another room right away. The concierge recommended an excellent restaurant for dinner, and even though it was outdoor dining, it was an enjoyable experience with the heat lamps.

Day two was my birthday, and I scheduled morning snowmobiling and an afternoon dinner. Since there was also an 8 pm curfew, dinner had to be early to be back at the hotel before the deadline. The hotel arranged transportation to and from the snowmobiling location for a fee. However, it was private transportation, and the driver was accommodating with great tips and ideas. I chose to go to another county, Basalt county, to have an indoor dining experience for dinner. The hotel offered a BMW 7 series car with a 4-hour test drive window, and I took advantage of it as the restaurant was less than 30 minutes away.

On day three, I chose to go for a snowboarding lesson on Snowmass. Again, I took advantage of the car from the hotel and drove to Snow mass, which was also less than 30 minutes away. Snowmass was all that I pictured Aspen Colorado to be with snow falling, gondola rides, and ski lift experiences. The heated pool at the hotel was a great end to the day.

Day four was set aside for writing content for my blog and relaxing after snowmobiling and snowboarding lessons. It was an excellent way to relax before leaving the following day.

Overall, my trip to Aspen was an incredible experience, and my stay at St. Regis, all I expected and more. The staff was excellent, and I received complimentary champagne and truffles from the hotel to mark my birthday. The hotel also offered a breakfast credit in their modified outdoor dining space and blankets to make dining a pleasant experience.

I did not anticipate a winter vacation being so wonderful, but I encourage you to give it a try. Have you been to Aspen? Let me know if your experiences were as good as mine or ask me any questions you may have.

COVID Impact on Travel(dated content).

COVID Impact on Travel(dated content).

Even though we spent most of 2020 living with COVID and its impact on travel, it has become clear that 2021 will not be much different than the last year. The choice to travel or not will continue to be a personal choice. Here are my 5 tips on traveling during the COVID pandemic. Please note that this content is date sensitive to the fluidity of the virus and constant governmental changes. This content is also more appropriate for North American travelers.

1.International travel has been impacted significantly with COVID realities. Many countries have locked their borders and restricted travel to entering foreigners. Due to the prevalence and high numbers of Americans who have contracted the virus, some countries will not allow entry to those with a US passport.

2.In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets regulations and offers guidelines for people to wear a mask, stay six feet apart and avoid crowds. The latest CDC order (dated January 12, 2021) for all passengers arriving in the US and the necessity of negative test result goes into effect on January 26, 2021. Travelers also need to be aware of travel restrictions, even from state to state. When traveling, the mask suggestion is relatively easy to follow. However, it can be difficult for travelers to stay six feet apart and avoid crowds, particularly at an airport or airplane.

3.In many cases, with domestic and international travel, proof of a negative COVID test is required. Many places require proof of a negative COVID test before arrival. Travelers need to be aware of these requirements as often the request is for testing “no more” than seventy-two hours before arrival. Therefore, even if you may have taken and received a negative response from your test, if not within the timeline specified, it may not meet the requirements. These regulations are often passed on to the airlines to ensure their passengers are compliant, so please check with your particular airline before travel.

4.There are different types of COVID testing available. Each traveler should do their research on testing requirements. In general, there are two types of testing, a Rapid test and a Viral test, also known as an RT-PCR test. As stated in the name, a rapid test gives results quickly, while a viral test may take twenty-four to forty-eight hours for results. An appointment for testing is often required, along with proof of identity and insurance if applicable. To be sure you meet the travel specific COVID testing requirements, travelers need to plan accordingly.

5.When requested from officials, travelers must demonstrate proof of a negative test result or face consequences that may include a mandatory quarantine at their own expense. Travelers may also face significant personal fines.

The realities of COVID and its impact on traveling has been significant. However, for many, traveling is a part of life and may be necessary. As with all travel, travelers should stay informed and plan accordingly. Have you had any experiences traveling since COVID? I’d like to hear.

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