May I have the envelope please?

Which Oscar nominated movie is the winner for your next travel destination? 

Los Angeles: It's hip, it's ethnic, it's Hollywood, it's Disneyland. From the Santa Monica Pier to the movie studios, LA is a happening place. 

Outer Space: If you can't afford the $250,000 ticket aboard Virgin Galactic, you can still  have an out of this world, night sky, experience viewing the Northern Lights from December to March. 

India: Fascinating, magical, old world, high tech, lavish architecture, beautiful people; that's Incredible India. It's a place once you experience, you will never forget and always want to return. 

Florida: Where it's always summer and you can have an international experience without leaving the States! The sounds and tastes of Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico fill the air. Do you like tennis, golf, diving, water sports? From busy South Florida; to polo ponies in Palm Beach; Orlando in the middle; to the gorgeous beaches on the west coast; Florida has something for everyone, every age.

New England: If you have never spent the fall in New England, you have never seen Mother Nature at her most beautiful. The dazzling fall colors, against the quaint New England towns, are a picture only nature can paint. 

CALL ME, LET'S TALK! 415 931-1945. 
PREFER TO EMAIL? INFO@WEMAKETRAVELEASY.COM

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Why Travel?

Last week I attended and spoke at the Book More Travel Workshop in Charlotte, NC. The purpose is to educate travel entrepreneurs on best practices to move your business forward. I always come away inspired and ready to take action. This time I realized that this past week was really a microcosm for all the benefits travel offers you, whether you travel for business or pleasure.

Travel Unites – I spent 3 days with colleagues from all over the US and Canada and a few who came from Israel, Norway and Japan. We shared common experience just like when you travel and meet other travelers along your way.

Travel Reconnects – I got to be with members of my mentoring group and we could share and laugh about past good times together. I stayed with my cousins (yes, it seems like I have cousins everywhere). You reconnect with loved ones, on a very different and deep level, when you travel together.

Joy – There was so much joy in all that we did together.  I felt so uplifted. You feel joyful when you see a 7th wonder of the world or experience a bucket list item you have dreamed about your whole life. Pinching yourself to be sure you are really there.

Education/Learning – Obvious for a workshop. And when you travel, you learn so much about the world: culture, history, nature, language, art, food, religions, the list goes on.

New Friendships – I made new friends with colleagues and suppliers. Traveling creates the space for new friendships with fellow travelers or people who live in other places.

Challenges – Travel always includes challenges, on all levels.  It is a way for you to rise to any occasion and often have great stories to tell when you arrive home.

Sharing – Sharing a travel experience creates bonds that last a life time. You create memories to be shared in the future, that bring the past to life again, for you to savor and enjoy.

Travel is truly a life enhancing experience on so any levels. 

Share the love; travel more.


Call me, let's talk! 415-931-1945
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Kiss Your Bag Goodbye

You are off on a trip.  Maybe it’s solo and you kissed your Sweetheart and the kids goodbye. You arrive at the airport to hand your bag off to the airline personal.  What happens now? Is this goodbye, never to be seen again? Or will it show up worse for the wear and/or damaged? Does this bring to mind the old American Tourister commercial with the gorilla baggage handler? Here’s what happens and what you can do to make sure your reunion at the other end will be a happy one.

Stacking thousands of bags of different sizes, shapes, and destinations is all in a day's work for an airline baggage handler. Here are some simple insider tips to keep your bag from being destroyed.

Have a bottom handle - The number one thing a bag can have to help is a handle on the bottom, between the wheels. Grabbing the bottom and top handles allows the baggage handler to easily place the bag on the bag loader or in the hold. It's not just nicer for your bag; it’s easier on their backs.

Pack it full and keep it contained - Baggage holds are not luxurious. Luggage is squashed and stacked. Bags packed full survive this better. Check that zippers are zipped. Open pockets dump everything out when picked up. When liquids are packed in the outside pockets around the luggage; if they don't fall out, they're crushed during luggage stacking and leak out everywhere.

Choose structured luggage - It Luggage brand advertises as the "world's lightest luggage". It's super lightweight because it's like a tent. There's no structure, and anything in it is more likely to be crushed or damaged. Duffels suffer from the same lack of structure. Your bag should either be cheap and you’re willing to frequently replace it, or very well-built and meant to last.

Four-wheels are it - Four-wheel luggage is easy because a handler put it down and push it off to a coworker or the baggage cart and it just glides there. Two-wheel luggage might be thrown or dragged to where it needs to be if they're rushing to get a plane out.

Downsize your luggage tags - Luggage and zippers are all potential FOD (foreign object debris), that need to be cleaned up all the time. Huge, hard plastic tags are the worst. They're easily destroyed and hard to clean up. Business card-style clear sleeves attached to bags are best.

Wrap strollers and car seats in plastic or bags - Straps on car seats get stuck on everything. Some car seats and strollers are pretty gross and baggage handlers don’t want to touch them either. If it's bagged, with straps inside, it's more likely to be handled nicely. Non-bagged items come off the plane last, allowing the loader to be shut off if it jams. That means you’ll have to wait the longest for that un-bagged car seat or stroller.

Don't worry about dirt - Having an expensive bag doesn't mean it’s going to be treated any better. No use complaining if your bag gets dirty. As far as handlers are concerned, a bag is designed to protect the contents, not itself.

Now you know what to pack your things in. If you need a great packing list, email me and I'll send you mine, as your Valentine's gift.

Call me, let's talk! 415-931-1945. 
Prefer to email? info@WeMakeTravelEasy.com

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Airlines' Eleven - A Movie Sequel??

No, not a sequel to the 2001 remake of the Ocean’s Eleven movie starring the ensemble cast of  George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García, and Julia Roberts. But it is a sequel to my last newsletter. Last issue, I re-posted about TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. I am very proud of the many of you, who have gotten the message and signed up for Global Entry.  Kudos to you, savvy travelers!

However, there is one piece of information that has not been understood by many. TSA is our US based security. It does not automatically apply to foreign carriers. I have had clients complain about an airline because they didn’t get TSA PreCheck on an international flight. That is because an international carrier would have to go through all the TSA security requirements, which, as you can imagine, is not an easy process. So most of them have not done that.

Good News: In September Lufthansa, became the first European airline to offer PreCheck. Since that success, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is adding more foreign carriers to the list to offer the service. Members fly (pun intended) through security at more than 180 U.S. airports. No need to remove shoes, belts, light jackets, toiletries or laptops.

Just recently, 11 more airlines, including international carriers Emirates, Avianca, and Virgin Atlantic (the first U.K. carrier to join TSA PreCheck) along with Spirit and two smaller carriers serving Florida and the Caribbean, Aruba Airlines and Miami Air International. The others are Boutique Airlines, a small, San Francisco-based regional line; Southern Airways Express, which operates a fleet of commuter planes in the South and Mid-Atlantic states; Sunwing, a low-cost Canadian carrier; Key Lime Air, a Colorado charter company that flies to Wyoming under the name Denver Air Connection, and Xtra Airways, a Florida based charter company. Xtra flew many of the charter flights to Cuba before commercial flights were granted permission in late 2016.

Until recently, Etihad Airways had been the only foreign airline to offer this perk to passengers (All of us, on the October India trip, were very happy to have. In addition, we  cleared US Customs, using our Global Entry, in Abu Dhabi. How cool is that!).

Other large international airlines are interested in joining the PreCheck club, but, the process is complicated: airlines must meet all TSA security requirements and upgrade their reservations systems to sync with the U.S. government’s Secure Flight prescreening system. It remains to be seen whether other heavyweights like British Airways and Japan Airlines will join in. Fortunately, most airlines in North America are compliant. Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska, Allegiant, American, Cape Air, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, OneJet, Seaborne, Southwest, Sun Country, United, Virgin America, and WestJet are among the 30 airlines offering TSA PreCheck.

TSA PreCheck does take some of the hassle out of airport check in. Now that there are more airlines that will offer it, where are you going to travel? 

Call me, let's talk! 415 931-1945. 
Prefer to email? info@WeMakeTravelEasy.com

Why Global Entry?

I hope you have made your New Year's resolutions and one of them is to TRAVEL MORE; to finally start working on your Travel Bucket List. 

Okay, that's great! Now have you gotten your Global Entry? Even if you don't have an international trip booked right now, that could be in your future.  Even if you only fly domestically, don't you want to waltz down that TSA Precheck lane, shoes on, no unpacking your carry-on and not walking through that bizarre x-ray machine? Of course, you do. For $15 more (for 5 years, that's $3/year) than just TSA PreCheck, you can have Global Entry waltzing too.

As a "Public Service Announcement" I'm re-posting the information on how to apply for Global Entry. It's really a great deal and fairly painless to do. Everyone who has done it has told me how thrilled they are to have it. Here you go:

By now, many of you may have had a chance to be randomly selected for TSA PreCheck when you have flown on a domestic flight.  You didn’t have to take off your shoes, your jacket, unpack your computer, and take out your baggies of liquids.  Then you walk through a metal detector, not the new machines with radiation exposure.  The line moves quickly and you are off to your gate.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could do that all the time? 

Well, you can for a relatively small price (depends on how frequently you fly) and 1 minor inconvenience.  It’s the US Global Entry program.  If you apply for US Global Entry you are then automatically approved for TSA Pre-Check and you have the added benefit of quickly going through customs when you return from an international flight.  

It was super easy in Miami coming back from Cuba, landing at JFK from London and recently clearing customs in Abu Dhabi on the way back from India.  Who knew we had US customs in the UAE? No line to wait on at all. There is a TSA PreCheck only program, but it has restrictions and you don’t get the international return benefit that comes with Global Entry.

So what’s the deal and how does it work? 

1.       First, you must be an honest and upstanding U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, Dutch citizen, South Korean citizen or Mexican national. Canadian citizens and residents may enjoy Global Entry benefits through membership in the NEXUS program.

2.       You apply online.  You must pay a $100 nonrefundable application fee (and be sure you meet the criteria in #1).  If you are approved the fee is applied to your 5-year membership ($20 a year for all these benefits!!!  This is the relatively small price).

3.       Now, this is the inconvenient part.  Once your application is reviewed, you will receive a message in your GOES account instructing you to schedule an interview at one of the locations. The centers are located at an international airport.  There are many all over the country.  SFO has one. 

4.       The interview is easy; you have an appointment, so no waiting a long time.  You answer a few questions, get your picture taken and get fingerprinted.  Your card will arrive shortly after that.

Now you have a Global Entry number and are a known traveler.  The next time you book a flight online, you can put that Global Entry number in the known traveler box and you are TSA Pre-Check for your flights.  The Global Entry link above does explain the program in more details.  However, if you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 415-931-1945 let's talk! Prefer to email info@WeMakeTravelEasy.com

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