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Do I Need a Passport for My Trip?

In my 30-plus years as a travel professional, I’ve been asked many questions about passports. The most common question is, “Do I need a passport for my trip?” Personally, I think every US Citizen should have a passport. I have seen too many people miss out on an amazing last-minute travel opportunity because they aren’t prepared. If you are over 16 years old, your passport book is good for 10 years from the time you get it, so the pro-rated cost is only about $15 per year. This is certainly an excellent value considering the authentic adventures that it makes available to you. While it can be somewhat laborious applying for your first passport, you can simply renew by mail every 10 years. How is a passport different from a passport card, and do I need a passport to travel to Canada or Mexico? Passport card example – from the website for US Passports and International Travel A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies your identity and your citizenship. Only the US Department of State and US Embassies and Consulates have the authority to issue or verify US passports. Most foreign countries require a valid passport to enter and leave their borders. All US citizens traveling internationally by air must present a valid passport to reenter the US. To cross by land only into Canada or Mexico, you may use a less expensive passport card, but if you plan to get a passport card, why not go ahead and get the real thing? For more information on how to apply, read: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/apply.html Do I need a...

Should You Buy Travel Insurance for Your Next Trip?

These last several weeks, it has been heartbreaking to witness the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria across the Caribbean, southern Texas, and Florida. This hurricane season more than any other, I’ve been feeling prompted to write a post about whether you should purchase travel insurance for your next trip. People often ask me, Should I buy travel insurance for my vacation? My answer is almost always yes. Travel insurance protects the investment you have made for your luxury vacation or honeymoon from the unexpected. And trust me, after more than 30 years in the industry, I’ve been witness to a surprising array of difficult situations that my clients could not have foreseen. During an international trip, there are plenty of things that can go wrong, from severe weather or lost luggage, to an unexpected illness in the family or a missed airline connection. With so many variables and a handsome investment on the line, it is prudent to arrange for the convenience that travel protection provides. Damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 Fortunately, the majority of the time, you won’t have to use it. But here’s the thing: Emergencies happen when you least expect them. My clients who planned to honeymoon in the US Virgin Islands certainly did not plan for category 5 Hurricane Irma to play a part in their marriage celebrations. Thankfully, however, they were fully covered, so paying for a lavish, bespoke honeymoon in the Virgin Islands that they didn’t get to enjoy was NOT in the cards! In fact, as long as you purchase the insurance before a hurricane or tropical...

Four Reasons Luxury Travelers Are Choosing River Cruises

One of my clients recently told me how much she yearned to experience her next international trip aboard an ocean liner. She’d shared this idea with her husband, and he immediately scoffed at it, saying that he didn’t intend to spend his downtime with a hoard of partyers, sleeping in a pint-sized room on an enormous ship, while simultaneously attempting to combat seasickness. My client wanted me to give her ideas that she could slip into her husband’s ear about the luxury rooms, breathtaking views, and unique itineraries that only an ocean cruise could offer. What I told her instead was that I might have a better solution, one that could appeal both to her desire to cruise in an opulent setting, and his stipulations for a more discerning group of fellow travelers, spacious accommodations, and—perhaps most importantly for her husband—the complete absence of motion sickness. What I suggested was a luxury river cruise. I described my go-to selection of hand-picked cruise lines, which offer signature river cruises as a unique and relaxing way to experience the world. I asked her to imagine gently cruising along the Rhone or Yangtze River in their luxurious floating hotel, sailing past castles and ancient ruins. Just as I’d hoped, this caught her fancy. If it appeals to the culture-loving luxury-seeker in you, too, here are four more reasons to choose a river cruise for your upcoming vacation: Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways ONE) River cruise ships are smaller and more private than ocean liners, so they offer highly personalized service and amenities, with intimate dining and entertainment options, along with spacious staterooms and...