I had the opportunity to sit down with Megan Chapa of Travel Radio Podcast again. This time we spoke about little things every traveler can do to travel more responsibly.
I'm excited to announce that I have joined Pledge 1%, a philanthropic movement dedicated to making the community a key stakeholder in every business. Pledge 1% empowers companies to donate 1% of product, 1% of profit, 1% of Equity, or 1% of employee time to improve communities around the world.
I first heard about this movement several years ago at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference and thought it was a wonderful idea. As I started my own travel business, I've been quietly donating a percentage of my earnings to various organizations that inspire me throughout the year. Now I've decided to officially make the pledge and join the PledgeOne movement. Not only will I donate 1% of profits, I'll also donate 1% of my time volunteering in the community and will use an additional 1% of profits towards travel experiences for deserving individuals.
To experience as many attractions and museums as possible at the destinations you visit, you often must stick to a strict schedule. While this is ideal for checking boxes off your to-see list, it leaves little room to be spontaneous. Which is a shame, since spontaneity can lead to magical moments you would have never experienced on an over-scripted vacation.
Here are four tips to add a sprinkle of spontaneity to your next travel adventure:
Location, Location, Location - Many of the tour operators we work with know the importance of staying at a hotel that’s located in the heart of your destination. With numerous attractions, restaurants, museums and public transportation options within walking distance, a new adventure awaits every time you step out the hotel’s front door.
Rank Your "Must-See" - Put a value on all of the attractions you think you “must see” and rank them. Then delete some of those that fell to the bottom of the list. This will free up time better spent to see where the day takes you.
Sight See Early - Once you have your list of “must see” attractions, make it a point to visit them early in the day. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to spend your afternoons however you want.
Enjoy a Plan-Free Day - Several cruise itineraries feature a day at sea, where passengers have no choice but to relax and let the salty ocean breeze gently guide them from activity to activity. On your next journey, be sure to plan one of these plan-free days for yourself. Your spontaneous spirit will be better off for it!
I had the opportunity to join Megan again on the Travel Radio Podcast to talk about my recent trip to Cancun. I visited about a dozen resorts and found three of them to be a notch above the rest. All for very different reason.
On this episode we talk about:
If you’re itching for a fresh new destination to visit this winter, browse our top picks for an unforgettable far-flung escape.
From traversing the rolling red-hued sand dunes of the Gobi desert on camelback and sleeping under the stars in a luxurious yurt tent, to experiencing pristine alpine forests, ancient monasteries and enlightening museums, you will discover that Mongolia’s secrets are well worth investigating. This country is not just a step off the tourist path; it’s a leap back in time to a destination far from the trappings of the Western world. A place where spectacular Naadam festivals showcase amazing feats of horsemanship, dancers spin in a flash of vividly colored garb, and throat singers croon just as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. No visit is complete without a stay in a traditional yurt, which come in a surprising range of styles to make the most nomadic traveler feel right at home.
By definition, a remote destination is not easy to get to. That’s why for spellbinding scenery unrivaled by the most exotic destinations, the extra time spent traveling to the more remote areas of the Alaskan outback—oftentimes requiring a combination of shuttles, chartered flights and float plane transfers—is well worth the journey. The wild corners of Alaska can be daunting to explore. Layers of steep mountains, razor-toothed pines and rushing rivers dominate the expansive landscape, making it simply too vast to conquer on foot. From the air, though, the possibilities are endless. To access the state’s numerous remote refuges, take a flight safari deep into the Alaska Range for a private backcountry ski trip, or settle onto a sandbar to explore land that scant few have ever stepped foot on. It doesn’t get more remote than that.
While most tourists enjoy the view from their bus tour of Ireland’s famed Ring of Kerry, others sneak off to the peninsula’s western shore in search of one of the most isolated and historic places in the world: the Skellig Islands. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the two rocky peaks of Skellig Michael and Little Skellig rise majestically from the sea, boasting sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantic horizon. Over 600 hand-carved steps ascend the peak of Skellig Michael, towering nearly 750 feet above the crashing waters below. At the summit sits an oratory surrounded by a curious cluster of beehive huts. Ferries depart Portmagee Marina from May to September, anchoring briefly on the rocky shores where barking grey seals welcome the adventurous as they begin their ascent.
Looking for something new to download on your e-reader for your next big trip? Browse our favorite travel-themed titles for a healthy dose of wanderlust.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – An Andalusian shepherd boy sets off on a journey from Spain to Morocco and finally, Egypt. What he experiences is not just an incredible adventure, but symbolic of the nature of life itself.
The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton – This philosophical examination of why and how we travel goes around the world and throughout history to describe, in poetic detail, the pleasure of anticipating a journey, the magnetic allure of the exotic and the value of observation.
Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald – A woman who vowed never to return to India again returns to India again. The resulting story is one of discovery and adventure in this land of beauty and chaos.
Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steeves – Nearly every day we’re hearing of another disaster in a far-off land. But is this really an accurate depiction of the world’s destinations? One of the most renowned and experienced travel guides debunks the myths of “dangerous” destinations.
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts – This is more than a how-to manual on independent travel (which needs good travel agent advice just like any other form of travel!). It’s also an essay on experiencing the world in your own unique way.
As a certified Good Travels Advisor, I'd like to take some time as we head into the holiday season to share some tips we can all follow to become more responsible travelers.
During my time in the Peace Corps, I learned quickly how even a short time in a foreign land can affect the lives of the people you meet. I lived in Bratsigovo, Bulgaria, a small town near the Rhodope Mountains in Eastern Europe for two years. While I spent a considerable amount of time integrating into the community and local way of life, I saw other volunteers visit for as short as a week. They still left a very indelible impact on the people they met, especially the children they encountered. I spent much of my time helping children translate letters to these volunteers so they could continue to keep in touch.
So no matter how long or short your stay, click here and consider these 4 tips.
Part one last week featured a three day trip recap exploring Machu Picchu. Part two is even more exciting, a little wild and of course culinarily adventurous.
What animals will you see?
What is "bush meat"?
What snake will you annoy? How do you know if that snake can eat you?
Is it safe to swim in the Amazon?
How many types of water are there in the Amazon?
You will just have to listen to find out!
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to take an incredible journey to Machu Picchu and explore the Amazon on a river cruise. I spoke with Megan about the trip in this two-part podcast. We talk transit to Peru through Panama on a regional carrier, some wild cuisine (possibly your pets), a bus trip to the top and an abandoned city 9,000 ft above sea level.
Click here to view the detailed itinerary and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Click play below to hear all about it. Be sure to listen next week for Part 2 and find out what is considered a "small" Anaconda...
It’s no secret that people tend to travel during the holidays, but for most, it’s not always the relaxing “travel” we hope for. From hours-long road trips to Griswold-esque disasters, holiday travel can be very stressful. We suggest starting a new family tradition, one that allows everyone to relax and simply enjoy the holiday spirit: cruising. Setting sail together gives your family everything you love about the holidays—the feasts, the time together, seasonal décor—without the hassles of preparing for every detail and cleaning up afterward.
Plus, the cruise ship gives your family plenty of space, activities and adventures to have the times of your lives, all while taking you to one exotic locale after another. The halls are decked, the holiday feast is prepared by a Michelin-starred chef, and the jolly man himself is onboard handing out gifts galore. Plus, your family can enjoy special shows and a choir of heavenly voices singing carols around the tree.
Sharing my travel experiences and insights