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Planning for Serendipity

“People don’t take trips, trips take people” ~  John Steinbeck

There’s a word for happy accidents, those series of unplanned events leading to good memories: serendipity.  I am convinced the best trips are those in which we allow serendipity to go along for the ride.  On a trip to World Travel Market several years ago, I did something I do with some regularity and never with regret. I had always wanted to go to Glastonbury.  It was on my “someday” list. On the spur of the moment I decided it was now someday.  I checked out of my hotel and left London without any plan other than having a destination: Glastonbury. Read the rest of this entry »


It’s been six months since March, when the Coronavirus came down hard and much of America went into lockdown. Doctors and epidemiologists have had millions of cases to observe and analyze, and a consensus has developed about how to stop the spread of the virus. Along with it, people have learned how to protect themselves, and strategies are emerging for how to travel safely in a world in which the Coronavirus is present.

Even during the days of the strictest protocols, people were allowed to avail themselves of “essential services,” such as going to the grocery store. Early on, it became clear that the most effective means for stopping the spread were wearing masks, physical distancing, washing hands, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Wearing masks is at the top of the list and the most important. Read the rest of this entry »


Start with travel advisors who are desperate for cash flow. Add suppliers who need a healthy distribution channel to calm wary travelers. Muddy the waters with commission recalls of $50,000 or more. And suddenly, the industry is abuzz with talk about paying travel agencies their commissions earlier in the cycle.

This being 2020, it’s no surprise that just as some applaud the idea, others call it a huge mistake. But in the space between, suppliers and advisors are Zooming about ways to make their payment policies fit the new reality.

“We’ve never had a program that pays advance commissions to travel advisors until now,” says Stephanie Mirando at Collette, which last week guaranteed $100 to $200 in commission on every reservation booked in 2021 for travel starting after May 1. Like a fee for service, advisors can keep it even if the trip is canceled. Read the rest of this entry »

How Has COVID-19 Changed Travel Insurance?


In normal times, insurance is one of the quietest sectors of the travel industry. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, travel insurance has become one of the most dynamic products for a travel advisor to sell, and it’s worth an update here.

Some countries have begun offering comprehensive medical coverage to encourage more travelers to visit their destinations. Suppliers are insuring the cost of cancellations through totally flexible cancellation policies, as well as their own vacation protection coverage.

For example, the week of August 10, Portugal launched a travel insurance program for inbound international travelers that will cover medical, surgical, hospital and pharmaceutical expenses. Spain’s Canary Islands is doing the same. Read the rest of this entry »

We will be hosting a cruise aboard Windstar’s newly renovated Star Legend roundtrip from Miami at the end of 2021. Up to $150 per person savings if you join our group – and a $100 shipboard credit. Dates are December 9-19, 2021 with rates beginning at $3,059 per person. See details below.

Windstar Cruises’ 10-day Jungles & Jewels of the Central American Coast itinerary sails roundtrip from Miami and takes passengers through the Caribbean to the East coast of Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Get Creative in Tricky Times

Are you still wearing your hair the way you did after high school?

Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every single day?

While there’s comfort in sticking to habits and styles that work, the thing I’ve found in this pandemic is that trying something new and different works NOW.

Who would have thought that our industry would be turned upside down? Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes a little Pooh can clear things up

Getting lost in the woods can be scary. 2020 started out pretty decently for the travel industry—wave season was underway. Bookings were solid. Suppliers were flush. And then COVID! 2020 went to hell in a handbasket and 2021 (if we are honest) is not shaping up to be much better. Face it, we are deep in the woods. Welcome to 2020 and Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. Read the rest of this entry »

Elvis Has Left the Building

Not long after starting my training firm, The Wealthy Travel Agent, I received a call from my friend Richard Earls, publisher of Travel Research Online (TRO), asking if I would write a column on luxury travel. I immediately agreed. Over time, it morphed into one that advocated sound sales-based business practices with luxury travel as the product of choice – but could be applied to any model.

I don’t want to be that person who overstays their welcome. Read the rest of this entry »


Until late 2020, it’s unlikely that U.S. passport holders may be permitted to travel on “real” cruise ships. The ships are banned from U.S. ports and U.S. passport holders are not permitted to sail from European, Australian, or the ports of most other nations. On the few ships that attempted to sail from European ports (without Americans onboard) over the summer, nearly all of the cruises terminated early when COVID-19 appeared among passengers or crew. This was despite everyone being tested within a few days of boarding the ship. Read the rest of this entry »


With the Covid-19 pandemic persisting throughout this summer travel season and into the fall, many Americans have decided to social distance while hitting the road to rediscover America’s natural wonders. The road trip has long been an American past time and given the ongoing restrictions from the pandemic, a road trip that traverses America’s iconic wide-open spaces has become an essential experience in 2020 and will continue in 2021. Read the rest of this entry »


In a normal year, with the summer holidays over and kids returning to school, college and university, some of the UK’s annual September festivals offer you the possibilities for some late summer, GB-bound business in 2021. The Virtual International Agatha Christie Festival was introduced this week and; with the huge interest in Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and other great detective novels, movies and TV series; you could use this to generate interest in a tour customised to meet your client’s favourite characters.

There’s a great Whisky Festival in Scotland, an international Three Day Event at Burghley and the world’s greatest Jane Austen Festival in Bath; and, for garden lovers, the RHS Wisley Flower Show takes place at the same time as the Leeds Castle Festival of Flowers. Read the rest of this entry »

You’re Okay!


You did not get this far by accident. Granted, today’s challenges are unprecedented but challenges, in and of themselves, are not new. We have come a long way over time, and we have always managed to overcome what seemed (at the time) to be insurmountable obstacles. Today is no different. We shall prevail.

I suppose today’s message can be summed up by reminding you: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Read the rest of this entry »


While the numbers of people suffering the worst of COVID-19 have dramatically decreased, much of the world is still cautious about travel in the near future. Poland is no different and, as mentioned in a previous article about their #CityWillWait and #PolandWilllWait campaign, it has created the first issue of Poland: Online Site Inspection – created to keep the Travel Industry updated on spaces for meeting and event planners. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan Shultz-Gelino is the Vice President of Trade Relations for American Cruise Lines. She has been with American Cruise Lines for over 20 years and has worked in Sales and Marketing for over 30 years, beginning her career with the Whirlpool Corporation in Benton Harbor.

During her tenure with American Cruise Lines, Susan has led American’s sales department to record numbers. In 2014, she was integral in expanding American’s U.S. sales force to the Line’s Salt Lake City, Utah office. In 2018, Susan formed a team of Business Development Managers, positioned throughout the U.S., to assist American’s growing network of Travel Advisors. She now oversees all trade partnerships and group sales. Read the rest of this entry »

La Fortuna and Arenal in Costa Rica

There’s a reason that La Fortuna remains one of the most visited areas in Costa Rica. Simply put, it is paradise. This small town, located in an area named the same, is a fortune of relaxation and allowing the richness of life to wash over the traveler. With a magnificent volcano as a backdrop, La Fortuna’s lush natural surroundings and laid-back atmosphere lets the traveler settle into a worthwhile vacation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Greater Zion and Bryce Canyon Country are pleased to announce their new destination partnership with AmericanTours International (ATI).  Explore and enjoy wide-open spaces in two of the most beautiful and popular national parks in the USA. These two parks are a contrast in beauty and are both top-rated by Michelin.

Read the rest of this entry »