UPDATE…Where can I travel in the US this summer?

July 15th, 2020 / blog / 0 comments
High-density areas should be avoided for obvious reasons including airports, if possible.  What about a road or bicycle trip this summer, or mountain lodge stay?  Updated July 13th, this source for state-by-state guidelines may help you decide where to go: Travel & Leisure.  Or call us! We’re happy to help give you ideas and plan a trip closer to home.
Travel Safely!

A MESSAGE ABOUT CORONAVIRUS AND TRAVEL

March 15th, 2020 / blog / Comments Off on A MESSAGE ABOUT CORONAVIRUS AND TRAVEL
Gateway Destinations continues to closely monitor the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak worldwide. As always, your safety and well-being is my top priority. As the situation continues to evolve, I understand that you may have concerns about your current and future travel plans.

On March 11, President Trump banned foreign nationals from many European countries from entering the U.S. Additionally, U.S. citizens arriving from these countries must fly in to the U.S. through 13 airports for screening and possible quarantine.  

Here is the full Department of State notice with the countries impacted and further details.

 The U.S. Department of State also issued a Level 3 Global Health Advisory advising U.S. citizens to “Reconsider All Travel Abroad” for the present time. The full text of that statement can be found here. Both of these were followed by many short-term cancellations of cruise and land itineraries.

I know that the decision on your current and future travel plans is a very personal one, but I wanted to let you know that I am here to discuss any questions you may have and options that may be available to change or cancel your travels. If you are considering canceling, it is also important to contact your travel insurance provider to assess coverage. As you may have heard, most policies are not covering “Fear of Travel” due to Coronavirus.Additionally, I have been working closely with cruise lines, tour operators, hotels, and other travel service providers to promote your interests and many have changed their cancellation and or payment options to allow you more time to make your decision in this rapidly changing situation. It is important that you consider all factors when making such decisions, but your health and comfort level are paramount. Again, I am here to discuss and to help you ascertain all the options and factors you should be considering.  I encourage you to periodically check my Gateway Destinations Facebook page as well as I am updating it with information you may find helpful.

We all hope the situation stabilizes and resolves quickly, but while it is evolving it is important to refer to verified information sources. As recommended in my communication last month, please consult the following resources:

Thank you for trusting me as I planned your past travels.  I look forward to helping you navigate the current situation so we can hopefully plan extraordinary adventures worldwide again in the near future!

Avoid Getting a Cold or Flu on an Airplane

January 15th, 2020 / blog / Comments Off on Avoid Getting a Cold or Flu on an Airplane
With cold and flu season here, here are a couple of simple tips to use when flying commercially to minimize your risk of getting sick:
  • Stay hydrated – drink 8 oz. of water per hour
  • Wash hands often – use soap and hand sanitizer
  • Avoid using the tray table or restroom on short flights (otherwise, wipe down with sanitizer)
  • Avoid touching your face (especially nose, mouth & eyes)
  • Choose a window seat as less traffic moves around you who may be sick
  • Keep air vent open (but dress warmly!)
  • Load up on Vitamin C & consider adding a Zinc supplement and probiotic
  • Consider wearing a mask (especially if your neighbor is sick)

Stay healthy and Bon Voyage!

What Should You Do in Case of Flight Delays Due to Weather?

December 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on What Should You Do in Case of Flight Delays Due to Weather?
As we know, Mother Nature can disrupt our travel plans especially if flights are involved.  Being “in the know” is your best defense.
  • Check the weather in your destination AND en route (e.g. connecting airports) starting several days before you depart.
  • Sign up for your airline’s notifications (text or email) and download their app so you will be notified immediately in case of a flight delay or cancellation.  Some airlines will automatically reschedule you or offer you an earlier,  later, or a different route to avoid the weather problem, which may be able to be done on their website or mobile app avoiding a lengthy attempt by phone.
  • If taking the trip is not critical, you may want to consider cancelling it if your flight is disrupted and instead, taking the airline’s full refund which they are obligated to do.

How Far in Advance Should I Make Travel Plans?

November 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on How Far in Advance Should I Make Travel Plans?
I often get this question and have to say that it varies with your destination and travel dates but the quick answer is well in advance, especially if you are traveling to Europe.  Demand for Europe is at an all-time high so preferred hotel and cruise space fills up quickly.  Consider at least one year in advance and up to two years for a river cruise to obtain the best pricing and desired cabin location.  Popular ocean cruises should be reserved 8 – 10 months in advance for best pricing.  If a better price comes along later, rest assured I will be notified through my Cruise Tracking program and will reach out to the cruise line to request that this savings be extended to you.
Flights can’t be purchased until 11 months before travel and pricing can vary considerably based on the time of year and week (and other factors).  Rule of thumb is if you find a good price for your flight, buy it because it will likely increase!

Do You Need CLEAR or TSA Pre-Check, or Both?

October 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on Do You Need CLEAR or TSA Pre-Check, or Both?

Have you been noticing CLEAR being promoted in your airport lately and wondering what it is all about?  It is simply a way to expedite confirming your identity and may be handy for frequent air travelers but it comes with a hefty price tag – $179 per year.  It does NOT replace TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry but can be used in conjunction with either one.  Simply go through the CLEAR line first and have your identity checked biometrically (fingerprint or iris scan), then go to the front of the regular security line or TSA Pre-Check line (if you also have this service as it will read it on your boarding pass).  There is no need to show your driver’s license or passport during this process.

What is Signature Travel Network?

September 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on What is Signature Travel Network?
Gateway Destinations has appreciated its affiliation with Signature Travel Network since its inception in January 2007.  But what are the benefits to you as a traveler?  Here are just a few…
  • Offer over 1,000 premium and luxury accommodations worldwide that have been personally visited and approved by an STN executive – include daily breakfast, complimentary room upgrade and early check-in/late check-out upon availability, and at least one additional value-added amenity.
  • Collection of vetted and financially stable Destination Specialists and Tour Operators offering expertise in all destinations and types of travel.
  • Highly competitive cruise pricing and Signature Travel amenities included on many sailings as well as “Cruise Track” service to watch for subsequent promotions after booking.
  • Informative travel information on a complimentary basis such as The Travel MagazineUltimate Experiences and Ultimate Values online magazines.
What does all of this mean to you?  Peace of mind that you are in good hands!

Is Travel Protection Worth the Cost?

August 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on Is Travel Protection Worth the Cost?
Not really clear about the benefits and if buying travel protection coverage is worth it? The primary benefit is to cover medical emergencies while traveling abroad including doctor and hospital costs – even emergency dental costs, and medical evacuation costs to receive appropriate care.  These costs can even exceed the cost of your trip as they are often not covered by your medical plan at home (and not by Medicare).  Can you afford to lose the cost of your trip if something arises that causes you to cancel your trip or return home early – perhaps to attend to an ill or injured family member back home?  Trip Cost Reimbursement and Interruption is the other primary benefit of travel insurance. Numerous other benefits such as compensation and assistance for a delayed flight, delayed or lost baggage, assistance with finding suitable medical care, language translation and re-scheduling your return flights are all very helpful when something disrupts your travel plans.
Gateway Destinations works with several highly-rated companies to provide the best coverage at affordable prices – call us to find out more.

Rush Passport Service

July 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on Rush Passport Service
Running out of time to renew your passport before your trip?  The Department of State is currently taking about eight weeks to process an application through the normal channels. There are several US passport offices that will process passport applications or renewals on a rush basis – call 1-877-487-2778.  You will need to show proof of travel plans; a Western Region office is located in Tucson.  More information can be obtained at:  US Passports in a Hurry.
Alternatively, FedEx has teamed up with RushMyPassport to process new applications or renewals on an expedited basis. This service comes with a hefty price tag but is convenient – stop by any FedEx office.  You can also have your passport photos taken there

Tipping in Europe

May 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on Tipping in Europe
I am often asked how one should tip while traveling in Europe. The short answer is tips for service are not expected like they are in the U.S.  The locals complain that Americans over tip and spoil the system for them!
  • Restaurants:  A few coins for a simple lunch (normally less than 10%); 5 – 10% of your bill for a nice dinner with very good service and NO tip for just a quick coffee!  (Don’t automatically calculate 15 – 20% of your bill as servers earn a good salary and “service” is often included in your bill in most EU countries).
  • Taxi:  Round up to the nearest Euro
  • Private Transfers:  5 to 15 Euros for a private transfer (up to 4 passengers; more than 1 hour)
  • Private Guided Tours: 10 Euros per person for a Half Day and 20 – 25 Euros per person for a Full Day guided tour as these are professional, often licensed individuals so a reasonable tip is warranted when good service is provided (more if you are traveling solo). Group tours (not private) would be less.