Vision Travel/ Lush Life Sunday Ezine

September 13, 2015

Executive Producer, and Luxury Travel Advisor 

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Welcome to my weekly Sunday travel  newsletter. 

I gave a couple of presentations at Ottawa's 55+ Lifestyle show this weekend, and shared "5 Reasons to Work with a Travel Advisor."
As my client, you would know this already, but, a refresher is always good. (As one of my old actuarial colleagues used to say, it goes without saying, but it goes better having been said.Thanks for having said it.)

Here's the list of 5 reasons. 

1. Personalized Planning
2. Global Expertise & Connections
3. Value for the Money
4. VIP Treatment
5. Peace of Mind

It's all about the VALUE! So, let's look at the 5 reasons, one by one.

#1. Personalized Planning
When you collaborate with me as your VIrtuoso travel advisor,  your trips will be tailored to your needs,

*As your Travel Advisor, I represent you (not the suppliers)
*I schedule a complimentary consultation with you.
*I review what's important to you, and your travel history
*I explain the value in working with me, how I can help

*I am your travel masterchef - I have a host of ingredients available to me to prepare any meal. Sometimes you feel like a Big Mac, and sometimes you feel like a gourmet burger. So I can  combine the travel supplier "ingredients" to  prepare the travel experience "meal" to suit your needs and appetites each time.

#2. Global Expertise & Connections
As a Virtuoso advisor, I have relationships with people  around the world who can arrange experiences  that make a trip truly extraordinary. I leverage that global expertise, and my connections, to help you.

I go to Virtuoso Travel Week every year, and have 5 years in a row. It is the most important week of my year. It's where I make connections, and research your travel experiences. Here's just a sample of the people I met in Vegas this year.
Dan Mahar, CEO of Tauck.

Lesa Bain, VP Lindblad Expeditions.

Travel Channel tv host, Don Wildman

famed travel writer & Ted speaker, Pico Iyer.

Edie Rodriguez, CEO Crystal Cruises

Jon Carroll of Quark Expeditions

Thomas Lennartz & Jason Hillier of Arctic Kingdom

Rajini Pilay, Waldorf Orlando.

#3. Value for the Money
As your Virtuoso advisor, I have access to the same  (and often better) pricing than you can find online, and can secure special perks you can't get yourself. 

And the best perks for booking with me, as a Virtuoso travel advisor are:
a. exclusive Virtuoso hotel partner amenities
>that you only get by booking through Virtuoso advisor
>access to Virtuoso discounted rates
>always includes breakfast for 2 each day
>an additional resort amenity (such as food & beverage, or spa credit)
>an upgrade if available on check in
>also early check in, late check out if available

b. Virtuoso Voyager Club
>is a fantastic loyalty program to VIP cruise clients
>Virtuoso Voyager Club host onboard 
> program is on over 400 sailings of best cruise sailings
>an inclusion of special amenitie incl onboard reception, special shore event

c. VAST = Virtuoso Active & Specialty Travel
>growing area in travel that go far beyond "fly 'n flop" trips
>access to new and innovative travel experiences
>emphasis on active adventure, and immersive & sustainable travel

#4 VIP Treatment
As a Virtuoso travel advisor, I can get you exclusive access to events, private tours, and other extras.

Ask my clients who are touring the Crystal Symphony in Montreal in a couple of weeks, or the family who did the private tour of the Tower of London, another who received personalized cupcakes and drinks for their children at hotel check in, or those that got upgraded from a lead-in room to a suite. My connections work to VIP my clients. You cannot VIP yourself. 

#5. Peace of Mind
In addition to saving you time and money,I (or members of my team) am  available 24/7 before, during, and after your trip; so you can relax and have fun.

With Vision Travel, I (and therefore, you) have access to:
>International Air desk - available to assist you (emergency # 24/7)
>our fantastic relationships with suppliers
>and our best Virtuoso partners

As your Travel Advisor, I am:
>Your advocate
>There to represent your interests
>serve as someone to call when things go wrong
> and always follow up afterwards

If you work with a financial planner for your finances, you should be working with a travel advisor for your travel plans. Your holiday time is your most precious asset.

Let's talk!  Let me curate your travel dreams - whatever is right for you!   

Best regards,
Crystal Cruises & Shepherd's Fashions
September 14th at 6:30 pm at Shepherd's Fashions 

You can still join us tomorrow, but please rsvp here!

As we prepare for cooler weather, our minds turn to vacation planning.
So, how can we plan a fabulous wardrobe and a bucket list trip easily and comfortably?

On September 14th, join the team of experts from Lush Life, Shepherd's, & Crystal Cruises; and we'll help curate your travel dreams.

September 14th, 2015
Fashion Show 6:45-7:15 pm
Travel Presentation 7:15- 8:00 pm
Shopping & Consultations 8:00-9:00 pm  

"BEST OF THE BEST" in Travel & Fashion

Solo Woman Travelers 
MYTH - "It's Unsafe for Women to Travel Alone"  

One of the biggest questions I get from my solo female travelers. "Is it safe for me to travel alone?"  And, yes - it is! With guidance and consideration.

The reality is that in some parts of the world, it is the case that it might be unsafe for women to travel alone. But - not on the active vacations that I recommend, or with the suppliers I recommend. (And if you're not into active adventures, cruise lines, such as Crystal Cruises above, is absolutely fantastic for solo women travelers! Did you know they even have gentlemen ambassador hosts for single women to dance with onboard every sailing? And that's in addition to having solo friendly rates.)

More and more Canadian women are discovering the freedom and fun of travelling on their own, whether it's on an indepedent active holiday, or more popular, I must admit - one of the hundreds of small group excursions we offer.  You get to travel alone, but you'll never be lonely.  I wish I had a nickel for every time I gave a travel presentation, and had a woman in the audience say to me, "I didn't know I could do that."

The stats came out loud and clear this summer:
  • 63% of over 100,000 bookings made by Intrepid Travel last year were made by women.
  • 54% of travelers considered affluent by a MMGY Global study are women.
  • 65% of clients booking adventure trips on are women.
  • 66% of US women polled by have vacationed without her partner.
  • 53% increase in demand is what Small Luxury Hotels noticed for single female bookings between 2011 and 2012.
We've entered the era of the female traveler. 

Over the past few years women have tipped the scales and have become the majority of travelers in a number of categories. There are a few factors in play here. Just because women are booking more travel, don't be tempted to think that it's because they are holding the credit card for their partners. This increase is a reflection of a contingency of women traveling alone.

I've highlighted 3 travel trips with my partner Exodus that I've booked for single woman travelers this month. (And yes, Exodus has over 60% of their travelers being single woman travelers as well. It's the new trend!)

Having just participated in the 55+ Lifestyle Show with Exodus this weekend, I have a 10% off offer with Exodus on all their trips, save polar, for the next couple of weeks. Remember, the 10% offer applies to solo travelers, families, or any combination of travelers. Contact me to take advantage of this fantastic offer. 
Lycian Activity Week        
Kayak, canyon, walk & bike the beautiful Turquoise CoastA

The endless coastline, canyons and rivers of southern 
Turkey are the playground for adventures on land and sea. 
On this trip th ere are days of canyoning, cycling, SCUBA diving and sea kayaking, plus visits to the impressive Saklikent Gorge and Patara National Park, with its Roman ruins and glorious beach.
Ther e is also a free day to enjoy more of the local delights or, for the more adventurous, optional paragliding. The beautiful scenery and laid-back atmosphere in Kas make it a fantastic base for the week.
October 19th has been designated a solo departure, and has availability. (Other departure dates are available.)  Pricing starts at $1255 p.p.for the land portion.

Remember that I have a 10% off offer with Exodus because of their support at the 55+ show this weekend. Contact me for details.
Walking the Amalfi Coast        
Walk the stunning Amalfi Coast & Explore Ruins of Pompeii

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most dramatic and beautiful coastlines in Europe. Mountains rise steeply out of the Mediterranean far below and picturesque towns nestle neatly in isolated coves. While walking the Amalfi Coast we follow mule tracks and old paths through hillside villages, lemon groves and beautiful deep gorges, we descend from our rural base on the Agerola Plain to the towns with their narrow streets, whitewashed buildings and fascinating churches, monasteries and cathedrals.  Away from the trails there is plenty of time to partake in the traditional Amalfi pastimes of sampling incredible food and wine, as well as enjoying the Mediterranean climate. 

This walking holiday in Italy would not be complete without seeing the incredible Roman remains beneath the volcanic cone of Vesuvius. In 79AD the two Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were engulfed in volcanic ash and pumice when Vesuvius erupted, preserving the buildings and leaving a unique insight into the day-to-day life of the average Roman citizen. Saving the best till last, we complete our week with one of the world's great walks, the 'Walk of the Gods'.
There is availability on their October 31st date. Pricing starts at $1730 p.p.for the land portion.(Other dates are available.)

Remember that I have a 10% off offer with Exodus because of their support at the 55+ show this weekend. Contact me for details.
Trekking in New Zealand        
Explore incredible landscapes, predominantly on foot

New Zealand epitomizes contrasting scenery and culture and is an ideal country for adventure travel. 

Explore both islands as you weave your way through New Zealand on this active trip, visiting all the main highlights and many off-the-beaten-track attractions. Maximize your time in out of the way places and yet still marvel at the iconic destinations. Enjoy true wilderness campsites followed by comfortable lodges. Trek through Jurassic-like rainforest, hike along a glacier, climb up volcanic peaks and enjoy fish and chips on the beach. It's this mix which makes New Zealand extraordinary - it's majestic but down to earth, otherworldly yet reassuringly familiar. A range of activities from whitewater rafting to sea kayaking and glacier walking complement the hikes superbly and keep this tour as diverse and exciting as the landscapes traveled!

Remember that I have a 10% off offer with Exodus because of their support at the 55+ show this weekend. Contact me for details.
Special Offer with Emerald River Cruise 
Christmas Markets 2015 - Special Offer   
If you have availability to travel, I have a special and exclusive show offer of 2 for 1 Christmas Markets with Emerald Waterways, the 4* partner of Scenic River Cruises 5 * product.

This special offer requires bookings to be made before September 20th, and it's only on select cruises, with the offer being inventory controlled (in other words, there's a limited number of cabins, and once sold, it's gone.) (Other categories may be available for the 2 for 1 offer).

I have category D stateroom Christmas Markets of Europe 15 days Amsterdam to Budapest departing November 28, 2015 with pricing starting at $2030 CDN per person.

I have category D stateroom Rhine-Main Discover Christmas Markets 8 days Amsterdam - Nuremberg departing November 28, 2015 with pricing starting at $915 CDN per person.

I have category D stateroom Delights of the Danube River Cruise 8 days Nuremberg-Budapest departing December 5, 2015 with pricing starting at $1115 CDN per person.

If you'd like to learn more, call me!  
Let's Collaborate        
Work with a Virtuoso Travel Advisor   
The concept I like to promote to my clients is a  lush life I craft travel experiences that contain magic and wonder for the whole family (or a subset).

I've been doing this for about 9 years, but before that, I was an actuary.  I dealt a lot with conventional return on investment (ROI) before, and I deal hourly with  return on life (ROL)  now. It's as if I went from being a true actuary to a  happiness actuary .

I love that my whole role is about helping you  build memories . Whether it's a "fly n' flop" beach holiday, a Galapagos expedition, a family reunion safari, a family bonding/ biking trip with university-bound kids, or a couples' wine -themed river cruise, I focus on what you want to bring home from each trip .   It's all about  the experience .
Value is more important than price. Let's set up a complimentary consultation, so I can start helping create your Lush Life.  


Sheila Gallant-Halloran
Vision Travel/ Lush Life