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So it is April 1st and a day of foolery! There are several different versions of the origin of this day and one dating back to 1392.  Whatever the reason, it gives us a day to laugh!

And after the long week I have had, laughing is good!   There is something to be said about having a day like this as spring is around the corner and dreams of a vacation loom.  For me this day is the first day of the countdown to a milestone birthday this month!

The jokes and pranks are spreading world-wide and hopefully in good taste :) 

Here are a few outrageous ones that I found on www.wikipedia.org from over the years that had me laughing!

Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to “reduce the country’s debt” and renamed it the “Taco Liberty Bell”. When asked about the sale, White House press secretary Mike McCurry replied tongue-in-cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would henceforth be known as the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

U2 live on rooftop in Cork: In 2009, hundreds of U2 fans were duped in an elaborate prank when they rushed to a shopping centre in Cork believing that the band were playing a surprise rooftop concert. The prank was organised by Cork radio station RedFM. The band was in fact just a tribute band called U2opia.

Trips to Mars:  Expedia  ran a prank on 1 April 2009, offering flights to Mars. This was internally known as Project Dawnstar.

Scratch and Sniff:   In 2010, British newspaper The Sun run an article about its new “Scratch and Sniff” paper, providing a sample of plain newspaper. This led to a lot of readers sniffing the paper in an attempt to smell the scent.

Whatever the joke or prank – take it light-heartedly today.   Luckily April Fool’s Day only happens once a year!

Have a favorite prank to share?

Happy Travels!

 

 

Wow!  March Madness is upon us with college basketball teams getting ready to compete for the national title and bragging rights.

But I believe there is other March Madness in the air too!   Spring breaks, celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, pollen in the air, warm sunshine, and lots of cabin fever blues to be shed!

Even here in the South it has been an interesting and long winter season.  Spring couldn’t come soon enough – minus the pollen though. I know it is crucial to the success of a wonderful blooming spring but does it have to cover everything in sight?!

Personally, I’ve been busy planning last-minute spring break vacations for families who decided it was time to get away.  The cruise ships and resorts will be at capacity for the next few weeks!

But on a much sadder note the madness could not have been predicted when an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.  Mother Nature at her fiercest.   My prayers go out those in need.

Do you have March Madness fever?   Hope you find a cure – even if it is getting outside for a moment, taking a deep breath and enjoying the sunshine!

Happy Travels!

Is that sunshine I see?

 

Happy New Year to everyone!  My goal is to write more on this blog in 2011.

So it is Day 5 of being snowed in (more like iced in).   While the family time has been wonderful – great crock pot meals, watching movies, playing games – the gray days have not been so nice.    But there is sunshine today which brightens my day and we are going out later today. 

But during this time I’ve had time to get organized for the year and begin to think about adventures that are to come for 2011.    A big birthday on the horizon, some summer time fun, maybe a trip to see the leaves change.

What’s on your horizon?  There are some wonderful new cruise ships on the seas now, great resorts opening in the Caribbean and beyond and some fabulous new shows in Las Vegas.  You name it, there is a travel destination in mind!

So dream big in 2011!  Make this the year to enjoy travel with friends and family.   Start checking off items on your Bucket List.  Simply travel.

Happy 2011 and here is to happy travels!

Oh sunshine, it is so nice to see you today!

It’s been too long since I posted on this blog!   Life certainly gets in the way.   During my hiatus I was blessed to travel with some family members on a 7-night cruise.   While being with family and escaping to tropical destinations was wonderful, the service experience before the cruise and while onboard was disappointing.  It seems this particular cruise line has cut corners (even for a new ship) that greatly impacts the satisfaction of their guests.  Without going into boring details, I will say that our family will think twice before sailing with the cruise line again.

This situation was one of few lately that makes me doubt if customer service is alive and well.    Polite tones of voice, finding answers to questions, not getting disconnected, actually following up when promised, doing what you say you will do.   These are not outrageous requests for a customer.  Correct?

This is indeed a busy time of year and everyone seems to be a little more stressed, over worked and simply crabby. Maybe we should all take a deep breath.   We could all use a ray of sunshine every now and then too.  I think what I have learned from the events of the last few weeks is that I don’t wish these stresses on my customers.   I smile more often when talking to my clients now and have been reminded of why I love what I do.

So thank you cruise-line-that-shall-remain-nameless (unless you ask me directly) for reminding me that human connections and customer service (yes it is alive!) are more important than the bottom line!

May you and your family have a happy holiday season!

Happy Travels!

 

Things are busy this time of year as we prepare for the end of the year.   Travel specials are plentiful like the season.

This is also the time of year when the leaves are changing and the air is getting crisp.  Football is in full season.  Apples are ripe and pumpkins are ready for picking too.  This is my favorite time of year!  

Along with this season, comes Halloween and Thanksgiving before winter sets in and Christmas is here before you know it.  Whether you take a hay ride with the family at your favorite pumpkin patch or sip apple cider at a bonfire while making smores, this is the season to explore the outdoors.   Maybe take a road trip to New England or the Great Smoky mountains for leaf watching or make your favorite Halloween costumes from scratch.  Travel local or travel far and wide.  One of my favorite fall memories is a Canada/New England cruise out of Boston we took years ago.

Whatever you choose, enjoy this season as the weather cools and winter nips at your heels.  Spend time with the ones you love and be thankful for each day you have together.    Enjoy the season!

Happy Travels!

 

Business has been steady this time of year and there have been a lot of questions lately on documentation for travel – particularly for cruises.  So I thought I would share a few tips and requirements for taking a cruise. 

 This is the kind of information that is not always clear to even the most experienced cruisers, who may have sailed with different documents in the past.  So as a quick reminder – all U.S. citizens must bring one of the following WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) compliant documents in order to sail on a cruise that departs and ends from the same U.S. port:

  • Valid U.S. Passport
  • Passport Card
  • Original or legible copy of a Birth Certificate (issued by the Department of Vital Statistics)
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Trusted Traveler Program Membership Card (i.e. Nexus Card, Sentri Card or Fast Card)
  • A Consular Report of Birth Abroad

Copies of the following will NOT be allowed by a cruise line:

  • US Passports
  • Naturalization Papers

Originals, or copies will NOT be allowed by a cruise line:

  • Baptismal Certificates
  • Hospital issued “Certificate of Birth”

It is always recommended that all guests travel with a passport (valid for at least six months beyond completion of travel). Although a passport is not required for U.S. citizens taking cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port, traveling with a passport facilitates your disembarkation experience. It also makes it easier for you to fly from the U.S. to a foreign port should you miss your scheduled embarkation or need to fly back to the U.S. for an emergency.

By taking the time to familiarize yourself with these requirements and asking your travel planner questions, your overall cruise experience will be that much more enjoyable!

Happy Travels!

It’s been a long week already as I attended the funeral of my granddaddy.  A funeral of a loved one always puts things into perspective about your own life as well.    He looked so peaceful at the viewing.  In my mind I replay the playing of Taps and the folding of the flag from his coffin as we said our final tearful goodbyes on a hot South Carolina afternoon.   But then I remember all of the wonderful things my granddaddy represented and the love story of him and grandmother.   I find that I draw my sense of strength from him and my sense of humor as well.   I have grown into a successful and family focused person partly because of him.

It was a journey back to the past for me and all the good times shared with him.   The rides on the riding lawn mower, the family reunions, his love of sweets and a game of golf or going to feed the ducks at the lake. 

The day brought smiles as well. It was the coming together of family from all over the US over a meal before the service.  It was the gentle reminder to me from my grandmother after the service to keep the memories alive of granddaddy.   It was the innocence of my son’s face as he watched and heard in awe the 21 gun salute at the grave side service.

These memories along with others from the past will always be in my heart.  I have traveled all over the world but nothing feels more right than when you come back to a place where you have such fond memories.

You are dearly missed Granddaddy but I know you are at peace now.  Thank you for the memories.  Oh and….”Hot Dawg!” – you always made me laugh when you said that :)

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