Travel Chronicles

Hello Explorers!

I just got off the phone with Wilma from Fredericksburg, Ohio and she wanted to know how to be the best prepared for using her money in Europe.

During a trip abroad, I recommend the use of an ATM Bank Card for obtaining foreign currency while in Europe as this typically offers the best exchange rate and they will shoot out the cash in the local currency! ATMs are found in abundance in Europe as they are in the States and many ATM cards can be used as debit cards to make purchases, but don’t forget to notify your bank that you will be traveling in Europe. They may need to set you up with a different pin number that will work with the machines in Europe. It is always a good idea to carry a bit of cash on your person as many places will not accept credit cards for small purchase or on-the-go lunches. As a general rule, you should really only keep enough cash on you for about 2 or 3 days so that you don’t have a large amount that could get lost or stolen during your journey, plus you don’t want to have a lot of money to exchange back to US dollars at the end of your trip.

I also suggested that she bring at least two working credit cards such as Visa or MasterCard because they are typically accepted everywhere. Again, I reminded her to contact her charge card company to notify them that she is traveling to prevent them from suspecting fraudulent activity and freezing the account. American Express and Discover should NOT be the only credit card option because they are not widely accepted.
When notifying your banks regarding your travel plans, also check if there are daily limits with withdrawal amounts or number of transactions.

As a precaution, she made copies of her credit & debit cards to keep in her suitcase, with the emergency numbers for the banks so that she can contact them in the case of an emergency. Great idea Wilma!

Since traveler checks, personal checks and American Express & Discover Cards are not good options for your travels, Wilma was glad that she called BEFORE the trip to make sure that she was prepared ahead of time. This alleviated any money-related stresses from her tour, and allowed her to enjoy the great sights & scenery without worry.

I hope Wilma’s questions will also help with your future travels!

Happy Travels!

Your Travel Agent

 

21-day Hawaii by Train and By Ship

 

21-day tour featuring Honolulu, Lahaina, Ensenada, and more…

A Hawaiian Luxury Vacation without having to fly! Onboard Amtrak from Chicago you travel across the country in comfort with sleeper cabins and food service pre-paid. You then overnight in Long Beach on the Queen Mary, before setting sail on a two week cruise vacation aboard Princess Cruise Lines that will visit four of the Hawaiian Islands.

Tour pricing starts at $4,395 p.p.d.o. if booked by 9/30/2014.

Rate applies to the following  departures: March 1, 2015

6-day Yellowstone in Winter by Snowcoach

 

6-day tour featuring Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, and more…

The solitude of Yellowstone in winter is so compelling and inspiring, it defies words. Pillars of steam drift across the snow-crusted earth creating a scene of fantasy and imagination. See, live and experience this Winter Wonderland for yourself!

Tour pricing starts at $1,295 p.p.d.o. if booked by 9/30/2014.

Rate applies to the following  departures: January 24 & February 7, 2015

13-day Patagonia: Journey to the End of the World

 

13-day tour featuring Santiago, Punta Arenas, Buenos Aires, and more…

Explore the thrilling and unspoiled vastness of the Patagonia region on this journey to the end of the world.

Starting in the lively capital city of Santiago, jump right into the fun of this tour by heading to Santa Rita Winery, where you’ll learn about the wine-making process and taste, blend, and bottle your own wine to take home with you!

On your tour of Santiago you’ll be surprised at how a city of so many people can be so well kept and vibrant—a city packed with local parks, artwork at every turn, and European-style squares.

On to Puerto Natales, your home base for exploring massive and scenic Torres del Paine National Park. Jagged peaks, glistening green waters, glaciers, and powerful falls set the stage. You’re sure to glimpse some of the wildlife here, like guanacos, foxes, birds, and if you’re lucky, the elusive puma.

Cruise on Seno Ultima Esperanza to visit famous glaciers, only accessible by boat; visit Chile’s largest natural reserve; and even trek through a cold and unspoiled rainforest on this day of unspeakable scenic beauty.

Tour pricing starts at $4,609 p.p.d.o.

Departures Available: March through December, 2015

9-day Holland, Luxembourg & Belgium

 

9-day tour featuring Amsterdam, Keukenhof, Luxembourg, Waterloo, and more…

For those who wish to visit the Benelux countries at a leisurely pace, this is the perfect vacation. Enjoy three nights in Amsterdam and Brussels and a 2-night stay in Luxembourg.

Special highlights have been included like an Amsterdam canal cruise, the Rijksmuseum to see Rembrandt’s masterpieces, a major diamond center, the Royal Delft Pottery Factory, the world-famous bulbfields of South Holland, Keukenhof Flower Park during spring time (departures April 4-May 16; departures May 23-September 26 visit the world’s largest flower auction, in Aalsmeer instead), and the Anne Frank House.

A special stop has been included in Nuenen, the “Van Gogh Village,” where Vincent Van Gogh lived and worked for two years, to visit its museum. Also visit the fascinating Bastogne War Museum, and see the American Memorial of the Battle of the Bulge and the grave of General Patton in Luxembourg.

In Waterloo, your special Lion Hamlet Pass gives you access to various sites to relive the famous Battle of Waterloo. In Brussels, visit Grand’Place, and enjoy a full day at leisure with the possibility to visit Antwerp.

An excursion to Bruges features guided sightseeing, a canal cruise, during which you can try Belgian chocolate bonbons, and a traditional lace demonstration.

A farewell dinner with wine has been included at the lively Chez Léon restaurant—the perfect way to celebrate the success of your vacation.

Tour pricing starts at $2,279 p.p.d.o.

Departures Available: April through September, 2015

12-day Treasures of Italy Tour

 

Venice, Italy

12-day tour featuring Milan, Verona, Venice, the Tuscany Region, Pisa, Florence, Rome, and more…

So many of the famous sights that you’ve seen in pictures are found in this storied country . . . the Roman Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Square, the Duomo in Florence, Pisa’s Leaning Tower, the Canals of Venice, and fashionable Milan. This is the very best Italy has to offer in a 12-day tour.

Tour Price $2,390 p.p.d.o. if booked by 9/30/2014

Rate applies to the following departures: September 15 & October 6, 2015

15-day HEART OF EUROPE® Circle Tour

15-day tour featuring Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France and more…

Going on its 54th year, our signature tour remains as popular as ever. This itinerary offers seven countries, enchanting cities, spectacular scenery, and lots of local flavor. It is an ideal choice for first-time travelers to Europe or anyone desiring a taste of the Old World at a great value…

Tour Price $2,590 p.p.d.o. if booked by 09/30/2014. 

Featured Departure Dates: All 2015 dates!

Travel Chronicles

Hello Explorers!

As I promised, my next conversation with Delores is chronicled below. We were now discussing her suitcase and how she should pack.

“The first step,” I advised “is to make sure that your suitcase size fits within the requirements of the tour company and airlines. In most cases, the Tour Company has more stringent rules about size because there is less room on the motor coach than there is on the airplane. The standard weight is 50 lbs. for a checked piece of baggage, and 15 lbs. for a carry-on. Even though they say 50 pounds, really you should only pack it to about 40 so that you have enough room after your purchases and mementos so that you don’t exceed the limit on your way home.” Delores checked her suitcase measurements and her baggage fit within them if she didn’t use the ‘expand’ feature on the suitcase. I told that would be fine, but be sure not to ‘expand’ it later on the tour because if everyone did that, there wouldn’t be enough room on the bus for everyone’s luggage by the end of the tour!

“As for your carry-on bag, you really need to know what the bus requirements are. The airlines usually will allow you to take another small suitcase to but in the overhead bins. This is not the case with the European buses. Usually your carry-on bag is supposed to sit underneath the seat in front of you because the motor coaches don’t have overhead compartments.” I told Delores that she shouldn’t push the dimensions for this piece either, because it would just mean that she would have to carry it on her lap throughout the whole tour or be required to ship it home.

In the end, she used her regular ‘un-expanded’ suitcase for her checked bag, and she purchased a small flexible duffle bag/backpack for her carry-on. Since she followed the outlines by the Tour Company, she didn’t worry about her luggage at all once she started the tour because part of the benefit of an escorted tour, is baggage handling. Her preparation ahead of time, allowed her to enjoy the tour to the fullest extent!

Happy Traveling!

Sincerely,

Your Travel Agent

15-day New Zealand Cruise & Auckland Highlights

 

15-day tour featuring Sydney, Melbourne, Milford, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, and more…

Sail across the Tasman in Luxury on a 12 night cruise which allows you to do as little or as much as you choose as you enjoy the attentive service that is second to none. Finish in style with an extended stay in Auckland – a cosmopolitan city with vibrant sophistication.

Tour pricing starts at $3,668 p.p.d.o. if booked by 9/30/2014.

Rate applies to the following departures: November 3 & 27, 2014 and January 27, 2015

10-day The Greek Island Hopper

 

10-day tour featuring Athens, Piraeus, Mykonos, Santorini and more…

This vacation offers the best of Athens: guided sightseeing including a visit to the Acropolis plus a high-speed ferry crossing to Mykonos for a three-night-stay, a high-speed express ferry crossing to Santorini for a three-night-stay, and a flight back to Athens. Special highlights are: in Mykonos, a visit to the Church of Agia Kiriaki, a visit to a local pastry shop to taste Amygdaloto, and dinner at a local restaurant; in Santorini, a walking tour, a taste of the local ouzo, and dinner at a local restaurant.

Tour pricing starts at $1,794 p.p.d.o.

Departures Available May through September, 2015