The REAL ID deadline is looming and most Americans aren’t prepared. Here’s what you need to know: as of October 1, 2021, if your driver’s license or government-issued ID isn’t REAL ID-compliant, TSA cannot accept it as official identification. Of course, passports will always be considered an acceptable form of ID, and domestic travelers under the age of 18 aren’t required to present identification, but for those of us who are used to flying with just a driver’s license, as of October, those licenses must be REAL ID-compliant.
How do you know if your license is REAL ID-compliant? REAL ID cards have a special marking in the top right corner. The symbol varies by state, but most are a star. If your ID doesn’t have one of these markings, it will not be accepted as proof of identity by TSA.
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to apply. Millions of Americans still don’t have theirs, which means as the deadline approaches, wait times will soar. Requirements vary by state, but all involve an in-person visit to a DMV as well as the presentation of documents such as birth certificate, proof of address and social security card. For more information, visit https://www.dhs.gov/real-id.
2020 Has been a tough year for everyone. The pandemic has brought about many different hardships that many of us never thought would come about and it’s easy to sink into despair and feel helpless and even a little bit hopeless sometimes.
Instead of focusing on the difficulties, we should focus on the things we can be grateful for. Be it family, your partner, a roof over your head or even your beloved pet, being grateful for what you have is a great way to deal with the difficulties we are all facing. Another way to overcome despair is to make plans for the future. While many of us must stay home and be far apart from friends and loved ones, making exciting plans for the time when the virus is no longer a threat can help ease the anxiety and loneliness.
This is why I decided to put together this Gratitude Giveaway. One major thing that has been taken away from us at the moment is traveling to wherever we dream. While we may not be able to fulfill all our wanderlust right now, it wouldn’t hurt to think of where you want to go and what you would do once we can go on adventures again. To help you with making those plans and dreaming-up your next vacation, I am giving away $200 in travel credits to one lucky winner!
Other prizes you'll have a chance to win include:
Here’s how it works:
This contest will run from November 9, 2020 to November 20, 2020. The winner shall be picked randomly.
The travel credits are not applicable towards airfare and must be used in a single trip, they have no expiration. You can see the full official rules here.
"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance." Eckhart Tolle
Life can be tough when so many scary and sad things are going on in the world. But a little gratitude, a hopeful spirit can help us look forward to brighter days ahead.
My host agency, KHM Travel Group recently compiled some great information about the health benefits of traveling. It was too good not to share.
Set your out of office reply and crank up Pharrell’s “Happy” – it’s time for vacation!
Ok, maybe not exactly. But chances are good that even reading that sentence, your brain experienced a tiny, momentary spike in happiness. In fact, recent studies emphasize that travel can change our brain’s chemistry and improve our mental health.
The mental health benefits of travel indicate that our vacations aren’t just something we could do, but something we should do to ward off anxiety, depression, and self-doubt.
1. It brings us joy
According to a Cornell University study, even planning and anticipating a trip can be a mood booster. 2020 might have temporarily interfered with our visions of poolside lounging or urban exploration, but having positive things to think about is key to our mental well-being. Once we arrive in our destination, even if it’s just a quick drive from home, those fluttery feelings of fulfillment of having reached our goal kick in.
2. It relieves stress
91% of Americans say that they see a vacation as a chance to “hit the reset button” on their stress and anxiety. A separate study of 1,500 women found that those who traveled twice a year were less likely to suffer from chronic stress and depression. Why? Travel allows us to focus on ourselves and brings us back to the things we find most meaningful in our lives, which we tend to ignore when we are running on tight schedules and to-do lists.
3. It’s a workout for our brains
Not only are we more physically active when we travel, but our minds are more engaged. Much of what we do during the course of our daily routines we do without thinking, but on vacation, we’re constantly exposed to new surroundings and information. Immersing yourself in a new place enhances creativity, which in turn helps us develop new long-term neural connections, according to Psychology Today. In short, traveling lets us flex our brain power!
4. It gives us confidence.
Facing unfamiliar situations and stepping outside our comfort zones can be thrilling, but they can also test our patience. Learning how to adapt, even if it’s just to a new form of transport for a few days, makes us more emotionally flexible and resilient. When we go back to our normal lives and are confronted with a challenging situation, we can draw on the times we’ve successfully navigated a tricky travel situation and use these skills to quash our insecurities.
For our brain, a vacation is like a room without a roof. It makes us happy. Even short trips, like a weekend getaway, sustain weeks of lowered stress and feel-good vibes.
Contact Matt Travel about the mental health remedy you need for your next vacation.
Are you a planner or do you prefer spontaneity? Do you make to-do lists to tackle each day or do you take things as they come? Does having a color-coded calendar system bring you joy or make you anxious?
Some of us rely on itineraries and plans to bring order to our daily lives. Others see planning as a lot of work and not too much fun. When it comes to travel, a little planning can go a long way. That’s where the professional expertise and experience of a Travel Advisor is a must.
I’ve worked with both types of clients, the planners, and the spontaneous types. They both want a vacation that checks all of their boxes, and it usually starts with what’s on their bucket list.
Speaking of bucket lists, when was the last time you revisited your travel bucket list? If it’s been a while or you don’t yet have a bucket list, ask yourself these questions to get started:
Your bucket list can be as long as you want. Once you’ve put all your ideas down, go back and star or circle the top 3 to 5 items on it that are your top priorities. After that, set a goal for when you’d like to cross that experience off your list!
Click here for a handy worksheet to help you create your bucket list!
I’d love to see what you come up with. Maybe you’ve always wanted to do a sunset horse-back ride along the beach in Puerto Vallarta. Or you’ve always wanted to take a river cruise through Burgundy & Provence and taste local wines.
Let’s plan it now, so you can make it a reality in the future. I’m currently planning trips for 2021 and for 2022! Not sure which of your bucket list items are doable right now, or when you want to travel? I can help you understand your options so that you can feel safe and comfortable with your future travel plans.
Here’s to shortening your bucket list (so you can add even more to it later!)
I hear from people every day how much they want to travel again. They want nothing more than to escape the monotony of their hometown, explore a new destination, dive into exciting cultures or simply relax at a resort. Good news: I'm here to help guide you to available travel options.
As a travel professional, I get insider information from colleagues and travel companies every day. So, I know which countries are currently welcoming visitors, which resorts provide you with both safety and indulgences, and how to take advantage of flexible deposits and cancellation policies.
That’s my job — to be your go-to, trusted resource about everything travel. Today I'm focusing on Mexico, where thousands of Americans have traveled to enjoy the beaches, resorts and culture over the past few months. If you haven't heard, I moved to Puerto Vallarta a few weeks ago and am loving it. In November I plan on visiting Playa del Carmen.
I'm ready when you are to help plan your trip to Mexico or beyond. Now, more than ever, having a trusted travel advisor by your side is invaluable. Don’t just take my word for it — here’s what some of my recent clients had to say about my service.
TAKING FLIGHT – THE STATE OF AIR TRAVEL
Even though airlines have reduced the number of flights and seats in response to current travel restrictions, they are still taking off daily and landing in many of the destinations you want to be in. Each airline is instituting its own level of safety protocols, which may include:
ALL-INCLUSIVE ESCAPES WITH ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES
Each resort chain is going above and beyond to ensure that your stay exceeds expectations, in both luxury and cleanliness. Discover how two all-inclusive all-stars have implemented enhanced safety measures, and see which locations are currently open.
Click here to read more...
WORK FROM PARADISE
Replace your virtual background with actual paradise.
If your work from anywhere or distance learning situation needs a change of scenery, consider taking an extended break at an all-inclusive resort or temporarily move to an island paradise.
Click here to read more...
Look out for future posts on how I'm doing in Puerto Vallarta. Until then, feel free to contact me about any travel questions you have.
I spend a lot of my time talking about travel. Over the last few months, the conversations I’ve had about travel have been hopeful and full of dreams for future trips. In fact, one of my favorite questions to ask is, “where in the world would you go?”
Hearing the responses is so fun: Cancun, Italy, Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, Nepal… the list of places sparking our wanderlust goes on and on. Those of us who love the experience of travel often have a list like this in our heads all the time, and it’s only gotten longer as we’ve had more time to dream about destinations over the last few months.
I turned this question around on myself and asked, “where in the world would I like to go?” I asked my partner, and it became a larger question. Where in the world would we like to live? What I find even more interesting than asking “where” is asking “why.” Why do you want to go?
For me the answer to this became yet another question. I was living in one of the most expensive places in the world. If both my partner and I could work from anywhere in the world, why did we remain in Silicon Valley where we grew up? We couldn’t find an answer to this question that satisfied us, so we picked up and left. A month and a half later we sold our house and now we’re living in Puerto Vallarta! We’ll stay here for at least four months. After that, I’ll be asking more questions again. =)
This isn't my first time living abroad. I joined the Peace Corps after college and lived in Europe for two years. It was actually my first time abroad and it was an incredible journey. You can read all about that experience here. Ever since then, I've dreamed of living abroad again.
I’d love to hear your where AND your why for your next trip or long-term stay. Many travel partners I work with are offering special discounts for long-term stays so reach out if you have questions.
When it comes to travel dreams, I want to help you make them a reality.
Complimentary room upgrades, late checkouts and free nights — hotel loyalty programs can have some spectacular perks. Of course, these programs are designed to reward frequent guests — road warriors are often the beneficiaries of executive lounge access and complimentary breakfasts — but what about those of us who spend more nights at home than in a hotel? Don’t dismiss the benefits of these programs just because you’re an occasional traveler.
Rule Number One: Whether you’re staying for two nights or 20, always enroll in your hotel’s loyalty program. Enrollment is free, easy and often comes with its own set of perks, such as complimentary Wi-Fi and late checkout. These alone are worth the effort.
Rule Number Two: Do your research. These days, large hotel chains often incorporate many smaller brands. Marriott, for example, now includes 32 mini-brands, including W Hotels and Ritz-Carlton. Hyatt’s extensive portfolio, meanwhile, includes Andaz and Thompson Hotels, among many others. Knowing which brands share a common loyalty program will enable you to earn points faster.
Rule Number Three: Even if you don’t travel enough to earn elite status, your rewards can still be valuable. Don’t have enough points for a suite upgrade or free night? You can still use them for other things such as dining, movies and lounge access. Many programs also allow you to pool or transfer points to friends or family members, which is an easy way to reap big rewards faster.
There are two questions I keep hearing again and again from my devoted cruise clients:
Unfortunately, no one knows the full answers yet, even the top cruise executives. The members of the Cruise Line International Association have voluntarily suspended U.S. cruise operations until October 31, 2020. A few cruise lines have a small number of sailings for November and December scheduled to depart as of right now.
Whenever cruising officially resumes, your safety will be paramount. Expect some changes to help ensure the health and safety of everyone on board, such as pre-boarding testing, social distancing measures and procedures to handle infected passengers. To develop and implement plans that work for all passengers and crew, cruise lines have been working with the world’s foremost epidemiologists, virologists and public health and risk management experts. In addition, cruise lines are communicating with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which ultimately decides whether ocean-going cruise ships can sail in U.S. waters.
I have some clients who are putting down deposits for cruises in 2021 and 2022; in fact, a number of cruise lines report their bookings for next year are outpacing booking activity at the same time in 2019. Expect availability to be slim for 2021 cruise dates and possibly 2022 as well. I am here to answer any and all questions you may have about 2021 and 2022 itineraries, the numerous special offers that are currently available, travel restrictions and cancellation policies.
If you are ready to travel soon, Mexico and some of the Caribbean islands are welcoming visitors now for land based travel. In fact, as I write this I am in Puerto Vallarta for an extended stay. I'm surprised how similar the policies are here as they were back in San Jose. My colleagues who have traveled to these destinations recently have been beaming about the safety precautions in place at various airports and all-inclusive resorts.
Please contact me for more information and all your questions!
Spyware, malware, ransomware, data breaches and identity theft — cyberattacks are on the rise, and they’re only becoming more sophisticated. Every email, every public Wi-Fi network, every free charging station is a potentially catastrophic encounter, and business travelers are particularly vulnerable.
With such potentially devastating consequences, how do you protect yourself? Staying up-to-date with cybersecurity best practices is essential. Here are our top tips for keeping your data safe while traveling.
We may not think about it often, but the United States is a vast country ready for us to explore. We are so fortunate to have such incredible landscapes right outside our doors.
From redwood forests in Northern California to the deserts and canyons of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Our country is home to natural wonders that people around the world travel to that we overlook or forget about. Have you seen Niagara Falls in person? Have you explored Mammoth Caves in Kentucky? Have you explored the lesser-known parks, beaches, and landmarks that are a quick drive away from you?
Click here for a recent podcast I hosted with a 50-year native of Napa Valley. We discuss insider tips and experiences when traveling to this famous region.
I admit: I don’t always think about these places as my first vacation idea either, but remember that any change of pace and scenery is a wonderful thing. There are many places in this country rich with history and beauty that I haven’t had the chance to visit. I’d love to help you cross those states and landmarks off your travel list.
The following are a few ways you can learn some fun facts about the U.S.A. and find inspiration for your next U.S. trip!
After you're done reading, let me know what you found most interesting!
I understand that you may not be ready to set off on a trip just yet. Your safety and level of comfort are key to having a fun and relaxing vacation. Let me be your resource. I’m always on the side of my clients, working hard to make sure you are taken care of every step of the way.
When you are thinking about your next trip, whether it’s ASAP or for 2021, let me help you navigate the changes and regulations in our new world of travel.
Sharing my travel experiences and insights