Right now we are really lowering our carbon footprint by staying home. However, our world is an amazing place! When you are traveling the world in person again, there are many ways to travel sustainably. Some ideas include:
1. Travel off the beaten path. This can take you to some amazing finds that you haven't seen in 1,000 photos already. As a bonus, you avoid overcrowded spots!
2. Take public transit. In many places this is the best way to go. You don't have to worry about the traffic, you can live like a local and interact with locals, and you cut down on your carbon footprint. Being able to enjoy the sites around you instead of watching the road is nice, too!
3. Pack reusable items such as cups, straws, and shopping bags. Reusable cups and straws are great when you are at a resort on the beach. Shopping bags are amazing when you go to the local markets.
4. Look for accommodations that actively work to reduce their carbon footprint. These accommodations may use sustainable energy, compost their excess food waste, have an effective recycling program, or maybe are Rainforest Alliance Certified.
When you are ready to travel again, let me know if these are things important to you and I will seek out accommodations that have the same goals in mind!
How do you travel sustainably?
This month on Facebook I have been talking a lot about Iceland. Is this on your bucket list? What do you want to see? I know for me, I want to see the Northern Lights, which requires a visit in the fall/winter/early spring. But then again, I want to see the waterfalls and the opportunity to explore a glacier. I guess two visits are on my list! Here are several ideas of what you can see when you visit Iceland.
Whale Watching Tour – There are many tours available that allow you to see whales as well as puffins. You can engage with Naturalists and experience rare sightings that will leave you in awe. It is best to whale watch in the summer months, preferably April through September. Minke whales are the most common in Iceland. Follow the instructions carefully and be safe.
Blue Lagoon Spa – This mineral-rich attraction is minutes from the Keflavik International airport. There are many spa options available due to the geothermic forces and many natural elements. The lagoon is human-made and renewed every two days with fresh water. You can easily access the site via car or bus.
West Fjords – Located in a famous peninsula, the Fjords are breathtaking. You need to plan well and leave time to explore all this area has to offer. They have great attractions. You can visit a myriad of unique sites, such as the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum or the famous Látrabjarg cliff. There is much to experience in this mountainous, remote area. You will have options that will keep you interested while on your expedition.
Skogafoss – The perfect place for you to get a shot with a double rainbow, Skogafoss, is the most scenic fall in Iceland. With a drop of over 60 meters, the view is spectacular. There is also a legend of gold that lies within the falls. Take your chance and search if you dare…
Silfra - Silfra is an amazing diving spot located in Thingvellir National Park. It is the crevice between the tectonic plates in North America and Eurasian continents. It is the only place in the world where you can dive between two tectonic plates that shift roughly 2 cm every year. The shifting of the earth creates new caverns and tunnels. There is plenty of wildlife to see on your dive/snorkel. The three main dive sites are; Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral, and Silfra Lagoon. The maximum depth is about 207 feet. The water is the purest in the world, and you can feel free to take a sip while diving.
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) – This site is at the top of many lists. However, you need to know the best possible location to view this wonder. Thingvellir is by far the finest area to see this wonder. Be sure you check the weather so that you have a combination of dark and partially clear skies. Thingvellir is a national park, as well as a historic site. It doubles as a great tourist selection for you to see a rare vision as well as gain some insight into the history of the land.
Holuhraun - This is a relatively new site that you can visit located in the Highlands of Iceland. You will need a 4WD to reach the landscape, and be sure you get a high-quality vehicle that is equipped to travel on the unique terrain. Holuhraun is the newest formed lava flow from a volcano that lasted from August 2014 through February 2015. When peering into the rifts of the lava, you see many beautifully vivid colors. While driving along the sand, you can still see steam in certain areas. It is a geological wonder to behold. Be careful and stay on the marked paths, and to wear gloves when handling any lava rocks.
Reynisfjara Beach - This beach is gorgeous and an absolute must-see! With its rare black sand and basalt columns, there is much to explore on this volcanic shoreline. The black sand is lava that cooled once it hit the water, and the sand is more like various small stones. White sand and red sand beaches (Westfjords) also exist in Iceland. While on Reynisfjara, you can see Gardar, which is a basalt cliff that resembles a staircase to heaven. It is a natural pyramid and was formed by columnar jointing. There are many basalt columns throughout Iceland, but this is by far the most exceptional.
Party in Reykjavik – This small town has the best party spots in Iceland, hands down! There are multiple bars and restaurants to choose from. None of the businesses charge a cover, and the music is fantastic!
Seljavallalaug – This natural pool is one of the oldest in Iceland, and you will surely have a memorable experience when visiting. The water is not that hot because it does mix with colder water.
Planning your time and what you absolutely must see is so important for Iceland. While the country is not large, it does take time to truly explore all that it has to offer. You will likely want to plan at least 7-8 days to get the most out of your trip.
And when you are ready to start making those plans or need ideas of where to start, I am here! Let’s start making plans to explore this amazing country!
There are many people that have come to me and said, “Why would I use a travel agent? I’ve never used one before.” I would love to take an opportunity to tell you how a travel advisor works and why we are important, especially in times such as now.
If you have planned your own vacation before, you may have felt overwhelmed with the number of choices, stressed about researching all the choices, and invested a lot of time. On average, people planning a vacation look through about 140 travel sites, spend about 23 hours researching, and overspend by about $495. Wow!
Booking online: Many people that book themselves online do not realize they are using a travel agent. These sites (Travelocity, Hotwire, etc.) are online travel agencies (OTAs). It’s like you pay them even though you are doing the work of booking your vacation. Not only that, but if you have a question about what to do on your vacation (excursions, tours, etc.), you are on your own to find all this as well. Some people think this is worth it because…
Travel agents are expensive. This is a MYTH! Travel agents/advisors often do not cost extra. In fact, because of connections with travel suppliers, they are often able to save you money (in addition to precious time!) on your sought after travels. There are sometimes exclusive offers through agents that you are not able to get directly.
Whether you book yourself online, through a company direct or through a personal travel agent, a commission is built in. Therefore, regardless of how you book, you are still paying the same amount (sometimes more if you aren’t aware of all the discounts). Why not get customized planning on your hard-earned vacation?
Please note, some travel advisors do charge a planning fee, especially on complicated trips. When considering a travel advisor, be sure to ask if they have fees. Even when fees are charged, you will find the savings in time and stress and added value in personalized expert advice you receive.
Customized planning: This is a key benefit of working with a travel advisor! We know the questions to ask, where to look to find a trip best suited for your desires, and extras that may be available to you. Travel advisors help you take several hundred (or thousands) or options and narrow it down to the best ones for the wants and needs you have for your vacation. They get you a full package so that you have all you need from the time you get to the airport until you arrive back home.
However, this does not mean you lose control of planning your travel! Quite to the contrary, a travel advisor enhances your planning, allowing you to be as involved (or uninvolved) as you wish. It is always advisable to research your next destination and learn more about it before you go.
Expert advice: This advice can vary based on where you want to go, what you want to experience, and/or your traveling companions. Travel advisors research many destinations in person, through trainings, and with their travel partners. Use their knowledge to make your trip the best it can be!
Flexibility for payments: Planning with a travel advisor for a trip a bit in advance allows you to take advantage of specials with lower deposits and payment plans. This can vary based on your travel dates and the plans you have chosen. However, this usually provides a nice way to pay it off as you go without adding interest.
In summary, travel advisors save you time, stress, and often times money on your ideal travel. This is valuable when you are planning a vacation for yourself, family, and especially with a big group! Working with me as your travel advisor includes my customized service to find great options for your travel desires, helping you plan your time while on your vacation, and offering flexible payments if you would like to plan ahead. I strive to offer you the best value for your desired vacation. My services extend beyond travel planning to include support after booking, while traveling, and any unresolved issues when you return.
This means in times such as now, my services to you are even more important. If you had a Spring Break vacation planned, I hope you were able to get your travels refunded or credited for the future without much hassle. I heard from a several people in my circle of friends that getting their vacations changed or refunded was not easy! It took them several hours and, in a few cases, days to get through and talk to someone that could help.
My clients only had to contact me to get their reservations moved or cancelled. No waiting on hold for hours or being transferred to different people. They were able to talk with me to know all their options and figure out what was best for their reservations. I took care of the rest. It is horrible that so many amazing trips have been cancelled or delayed. My heart breaks for those affected. However, it was great to know that I could make the process as painless as possible for my clients.
How does a travel advisor do that?
These are just some of the many benefits of using a travel advisor. Maybe it’s time for you to consider hiring a specialist for your next vacation post-quarantine. I would love to discuss the benefits of a travel advisor with you further and help you make your next dream adventure a reality! Contact me to schedule a phone consultation or tell me what you are looking for in your next adventure!
Stay safe and let’s plan ahead to when we can all roam around the world again!
How are you all holding up right now? I hope that with all the challenges that this quarantine brings that you have been able to find a silver lining. Maybe you are connecting more with nature. Hopefully you are able to cherish those you live with, but find it hard to spend time with due to busy schedules. Maybe you are starting a new self-care routine with more meditation, prayer, exercise, or whatever makes you feel your best. During these uncertain times, it is so important to take care of ourselves. I hope that you and your loved ones are well.
There will be many things that we’ll get back in our lives and the ability to move around freely and begin traveling again is certainly one of them. Travel can be a great way to reconnect and bring families back together after weeks (months) of uncertainty.
Here are four ways that travel can rejuvenate family dynamics and help them to re-explore the world.
There’s truly no better feeling than getting to explore new destinations with the ones you love. Whether it’s your biological family or the people you choose to call family, travel can help bring these relationships closer together. While it most definitely is not the time to travel right now, it is a perfect time to start daydreaming and planning your next big vacation. Reach out to me if you’d like some destination inspiration and unique ideas for your group.