Ladies, we all know what coming in a few weeks, right? Guys, think hearts, chocolates, and overpriced but oh so necessary flowers a/k/a Valentine’s Day. Consider creating a really special valentine, a romantic getaway!
In the January/February issue of PRIME Magazine KC, I wrote an article about romantic getaways. It’s on page 46—-just in case you want to read on…
New US Passport Laws go into effect June 1, 2009!
You may recall the fiasco that ensued when people suddenly realized they needed to have a passport to travel to destinations that previously only required a certified birth certificate, etc. Our Senators and Representatives even had appointed staff members whose sole function was to assist you in expediting your passport application through the issuance process. Next, Congress delayed the implementation date of the new law requiring valid US Passports for travel in the Western Hemisphere by auto or ship. Anyone traveling by air has needed a passport for quite some time.
Now Congress and the Department of Homeland Security are at it again. The latter wants the law implemented some time this summer while the former slipped some verbiage into an omnibus spending bill requesting the law not go into effect until June, 2009. Now, add in the reaction of the countries/islands you are planning to visit and you get total confusion. Many small Caribbean countries are unaware of the proposed delays and are currently requiring travelers to carry a valid US Passport. In short, you can get several different “opinions” on whether you’ll need a passport for your travel and the catch is that this is not a multiple choice test.
I can assure you from experience that within the US and in countries abroad I’ve received different answers to what seemed to be simple questions. For example, when flying internationally, how many carryon bags can a person bring? Oh, and what constitutes a carryon bag? Since the suspected bomb assembly scare occurred in London, the Brits have banned travelers from carrying more than one “carryon” (Is a purse a carryon? It depends on the agent checking you through security, the agent checking your boarding pass, etc). Now we are allowed to carry 2 bags in Great Britain. The problem is that sometimes these changes in law don’t filter to the “Powers that be” at airports who actually can keep you from boarding a plane.
I’ve heard people explain that they aren’t planning to leave the US in the foreseeable future. If I could accurately foresee the future, I’d pick next Saturday’s Powerball numbers and retire! Why wait until you’re ready for a vacation outside the US, then find that you need a passport and because of the beaurocratic nightmare of the passport process, you won’t be able to secure one?
Other things to consider for those of you smugly gloating because you already have a passport: When does your passport expire? Most countries require you to carry a passport that is valid for AT LEAST six months after your travel dates. How many blank pages do you have in your passport? Many countries require Visas and that you present a certain number of BLANK Visa pages in your passport.
So, do yourself a favor—get a Passport or renew your Passport today!
On Sunday, September 16th we’ll celebrate Great Getaways’ 15th anniversary at an Out-of-This-World Bash at ARTichokes, 10557 Mission Road. In addition to delicious food, fine wine, award-winning musicians, you’ll meet Carolyn Wincer of London, England, Director of Astronaut Sales for Virgin Galactic; Dean Johnson, Executive Vice President of Creative Leisure International, purveyor of luxe vacations; and Cathy Larson, Director of Sales for Holland America Line. Also, be sure and say hello to Heidi Denecke, winging her way to join us from the Ritz Carlton Kapalua, Maui; Susan Huston, Director of Sales for Crystal Cruises, and Becky Powell, Business Development Manager for Virtuoso.
We invite you to preview our items that will be available at our Silent Auction to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. We hope you’ll bid on items to create wonderful memories for you and hope for those whose memories have been erased and lives forever altered! Click below on “Let us tempt you”
LET US TEMPT YOU!
I am here attending Virtuoso’s Annual Travel Mart, a conference of travel consultants and vendors, where we share trends, ideas, new products, and ways to help your dreams become reality. This is an intense week—Great Getaways has 774 one-on-one appointments with execs from cruise lines, tour companies, hotels, resorts, and, of course, space travel (Go Virgin Galactic!!!) over a period of 4 days. Every 4 minutes from 8:00 AM through 4:00 PM we have a 4 minute meeting with a vendor. It’s like speed dating on steroids—resulting in the mating of wonderful vacation ideas with you, our client!
Yesterday we had 2 keynote speakers, Dewitt and Terry Jones, the former a photographer for National Geographic and the latter, his brother, the founder of Travelocity. What an amazing combination of talent!!! In fact, they spent a significant amount of time talking about turning imagination into “imaginaction”. Have they been reading Great Getaways tagline or what??? You don’t remember our tagline? Okay, one more time, then of to bed to dream of wonderful vacations— our tagline is “Imagine…Create…Experience!” Sweet Dreams from the Bellagio! Ciao!
I know you wake up every morning and rush to read my blog—which has been frustrating to you, of late, because I’ve only been blogging about once a week! Anyway, I’m sure you recall the blog entry of June 10th (Party! Party! Party!) where I invited you to Great Getaways 15th Anniversary Bash at ARTichokes in Mission Farms, 10557 Mission Road. If you don’t remember that entry, I’ll wait right here while you go back and read it…
Now that you’ve refreshed your memory, let’s continue: 15 years is a big deal in the travel industry! Companies come and go; some ideas that sound good thrive while others fade. Our industry has weathered all sorts of events, some unfortunately of our own design. Those of us who have grown and prospered are the ones that have returned to our roots; we are NOT order takers or glorified reservationists; we advise; we counsel; we use our vast pool of experience to benefit you and the journeys you take.
On that note, I once again invite you to join us to celebrate our anniversary, to share your own memories of a life well lived, and to create some new ones. My mother has so many memories of her many journeys around our world, but, unfortunately, many of those memories have been stolen from her by the insideous disease, Alzheimer’s. As I’ve watched Mom’s lapses of memory, her increased irritability and confusion, I grieve the loss of the mother I remember. She was so active, organizing reading groups and book clubs long before Oprah made it trendy; she followed the stock market, daily charting her investments; she went to the theater regularly and supported her favorite restaurants (Don Roth’s, The Cheesecake Factory, and The Bagel to name a few); and Mom was passionate about politics—that is, as long as the politician was a Democrat! (I still remember the birthday card I gave my mom that said, “Some said you’re so old, you voted for Lincoln” and inside it read, “But I know you’re a Democrat!”).
That vibrant woman has departed and what I see now is just a shell that houses glimpses of the woman that raised my brother, sister and me.
So, it is with great honor that we will have an amazing silent auction at our 15th anniversary celebration in support of the Alzheimer’s Association! Feast your eyes on some of the goodies that could be yours if you are the highest bidder:
A Mediterranean Cruise courtesy of Celebrity Cruises; 3 nights at the chic Azul Blue in Mexico courtesy of Creative Leisure; 3 nights at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua, Maui; a 3-night Mexican vacation courtesy of Classic Vacations; an original painting by Becky Pasha, one of the owners of ARTichokes, an orginal piece of artwork by Richard Stern (www.sternartworks.com); a selection of books courtesy of Rainy Day Books; tickets and a parking pass to a 2008 Royals game courtesy of David Wolff and Nancy Hipsh; haircolor and styling by Kim Jegen of Beauty Escentuals; and more!
So, come party with us (casual attire, of course—comfort IS important!), enjoy the food, the music, the art, and the event, and bring your credit card or checkbook! I promise you’ll have an out-of-this world good time!
Gasoline to drive to the Celebration: $5.00
Money for Babysitter $25.00
Bidding on the oodles of luxuries in support of Alzheimer’s Association: Priceless!