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Monthly Archives: July 2017

Pick A Travel Agency

Ask around!

The best way to find a good travel agency is through word of mouth. Ask your family and friends who they’ve used and then ask them about their trip. How did they travel? Where did they stay? Was their trip enjoyable? Getting a few referrals from friends helps you to know in ahead of time what to expect from a particular travel agent and helps you weed out the good from the not-so-good as well.

Are you a member?

Many clubs and organizations offer travel services for their members and many corporations have established relationships with travel agencies that their employees can use. “Members only” travel plans frequently offer the best values.


Shop a couple of experienced firms. Travel agencies come and go like any other businesses. The ones that stay in business add experience and know-how to each trip they plan. Make your first inquiry with a travel agency a listening experience; judge how well the agent listens to you and how comfortable they make you feel.

A good travel agent will ask you to outline your trip. They’ll ask where you’re going and why, how you’d prefer to travel, how long you plan to stay, and what your travel budget is. Be open and honest with your answers. A good agent will readily put together a sample itinerary that describes availabilities in transportation, accommodations, and estimated costs.

Vacation in RV

Here are few myths and truths about vacationing in a recreational vehicle.

Myth: Getting your own RV and using it for trips and vacations will save you money. Sorry, but by the time you buy/lease/rent your RV, you probably could have flown first class and stayed at 4-star hotels. There may be exceptions such as an inexpensive tent trailer or used slide in camper for your pickup, but for the most part the extra cost and expenses (gas, insurance, etc) usually are more than any savings which you may have.

Truth: RV’ing is fun! Getting the chance to see more of the country and being in a relaxed mode can make your trip or vacation way more enjoyable experience.

Truth: Your family bonds will strengthen. This certainly has been true for me. Since everyone should be involved in the decisions, a feeling of teamwork and togetherness is enhanced.

Myth: Your family bonds will strengthen. Unfortunately, discord can happen if not all traveling members are on the same page. Did one member of the family really just want to go to Disneyland and back while the others preferred the more leisure approach? It’s best to work these issues out in advance.

Myth: There’s no planning involved. Unless you have more time on your hands than most, RVing requires just as much planning as any other vacation would. There is nothing more frustrating than pulling into an RV park late in the day with no reservations only to find them full. There is a ‘freedom from worry’ idea that RV merchants will promote that is, to say the least, overstated.

Myth: Since you are on your own schedule, nothing can spoil the trip. Unfortunately, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. In addition to the possibility of vehicle problems (engine, transmission, etc), there are numerous systems that may cause delays or, worse, cancellations of your plans. These include your water, electrical, heating/cooling and other that may cause you problems. The best solution is to become familiar with your RV before you embark on a long trip. That investment in time will pay off handsomely.

Truth: You have more control over your trip. While things can go wrong, they usually don’t. The result is that your trip will probably go as expected and you aren’t subject to airline delays, lost hotel reservations and other things over which you have no control.

Low cost Flights

“Flying Low-Cost wastes time.”

Low-Cost websites are so quick and easy to use. You instantly browse and book. None of the to-ing & fro-ing you can have on the phone to your Travel Agent. Check-in takes no longer than traditional economy class. Some Low-Cost Airlines even let you take all your bags into the cabin, so Check-in is quicker, and you don’t do Baggage Reclaim on arrival.

“I need Punctuality!”

Time is money! Low-Cost Airlines know it. That’s why they close check-in promptly, and won’t wait for latecomers. It’s also why some allow you take all your baggage with you into the cabin. Not because it saves you time at the carousel, but because they save time & expense on baggage handling. As a result, the best Low-Cost Airlines are amongst the most punctual in Europe.

“I need convenient Flight Times”

Many routes now have more Low-Cost Flights than Traditional. Don’t assume. Arm yourself with information!

“Low-Cost Airlines don’t fly to Major Airports”

Some do & some don’t. This is one of the Low-Cost Airlines’ strengths, Choice! Remember, not all your clients are clustered conveniently around major airports. How many times have you taken an onward flight, train or hire car to get to your destination? You may well have been able to take a single, direct Low-Cost Flight, saving you hundreds of pounds, hours of travel, and maybe even a hotel bill. If only you’d known!

“Flying Low-Cost gives you a “Cheap” Image”

Okay, I confess, when I first started using Low Cost Flights, I used to hide the fact. Then I realised how many of my fellow passengers were people like me and my clients, small – medium Business Owners. These guys accept, and even expect that cost-effective Professionals fly Low-Cost where it makes sense. You impress these guys by meeting them on Low-Cost Flights!

Romantic Italy

When I was not modeling, I had the opportunity to study regional Italian cooking at what are known as agriturismi. This is the Italian word for country farms that are also bed and breakfasts serving meals produced from the fresh foods grown and produced in many different regions of Italy.

Generally tourists tend to know about the popular and crowded places that can be very impersonal. Traveling by car and foot throughout Italy has provided me with windows to some of the most spectacular venues.

Norm: You mention that you have a great deal of experience of staying in bed and breakfasts on organic farms in Italy (agriturisimi). Could you tell our readers something about these B&Bs and why you consider them to be appropriate as romantic or honeymoon destinations?

Maria: The agriturismi, aside from being great places to learn about Italian foods, tend to be some of the most romantic vacation spots in Italy. They are usually located high up on a hill with breathtaking views of a town. If located in a city like Rome, they would be found away from the principal areas. Consequently, they are usually situated in peaceful, serene and picturesque settings. What could be more romantic than staying on a vineyard, and being able to take a peaceful walk picking a fresh piece of fruit to munch on while your walking?

Moreover, staying in an agriturismo you are guaranteed to always have an abundance of the best quality freshly prepared foods. No doubt, this is far superior to eating at restaurants that cater to tourists and which often are very pricey.

All- inclusive packages are generally available and in most instances will prove to be much more economical than a stay in a hotel.

Norm: Why would you consider Italy a good choice for a romantic getaway or wedding and honeymoon destination?

Maria: Italy is beyond doubt one of the best places for a romantic getaway or honeymoon- not only because of the variety of breathtaking beauty and romantic views surrounding you, but also the Italian lifestyle.

Italians love romance, their songs are all based on romance and about love. People love to see couples walking hand in hand or arm in arm. Even just the simple ritual of eating a meal has a romantic feel to it. When you sit down to eat dinner at a restaurant or even at a bed and breakfast it is meant to be a long, drawn out ritual. In other words, an activity that is shared and enjoyed between two people, and not something over with in 10 minutes.

Take for example picnics in Italy. If you opt to have spontaneous romantic picnics, you have access to some of the most romantic locations in the world. Moreover, at your disposal are a variety of fresh bread and pizza at the local forno (pronounced for-noh), as well as cheeses found in local cheese shops or supermarkets.

Even some of the major cities such as Rome, Milan or Florence, all have their quiet venues, where you can savor your food and enjoy the romantic ambiance.

The center of Rome has the Villa Borghese, and of course, if you don’t mind the noise and crowds, there are the Spanish Steps.

Not to omit the Coliseum and the Roman Forum that are popular areas for impromptu picnics.

If you are in a small town, it is certainly not difficult to find a beautiful view in a quiet place. One word of advice, please always remember to respect the property you are on and clean up after your picnic.

Norm: Why have cooking classes in Italy become so popular?

Maria: Actually it is a new trend and my own company has received many requests to put together these packages for couples. In fact, I am working with a journalist on an article that will shortly appear in February 2005 in Women and Fitness Magazine. Of course it is themed around St Valentine’s Day. Anyways, it is a trend for couples to take cooking classes not only in Italy but also in the USA. What better way to share a wonderful experience and create something together, and then enjoy the romantic experience of eating what both of you just created?

It is time that Americans catch on to what the Italians have known for years- that cooking is a wonderful romantic experience. It is non-threatening in that you can be creative at your own pace together- and then partake in a romantic meal together. It can be a prelude to watching a romantic movie. You can even go shopping together at a local fresh food market before you cook the meal. So it is a wonderful romantic trend and it is becoming more and more popular.