HOW Did You Miss Your Flight, Again?
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
You got to the airport in time (At least 90 minutes prior) – Check
You worked out how to do the self-check in (after peeking at the guy ahead of you complete the process first) – Check
You printed out your own baggage tags and actually put them on properly (Wow-this is incredible) – Check
You took out all the coins from your pockets, took off your belt, took out your computer, your kindle, put your liquids in little plastic bags, took off your shoes (why did I wear sandals…and no socks…Gross!) and eventually got through the TSA security – Check
You put your belt back on, your shoes back on, packed your computer and kindle away, whew, put your boarding pass in your purse so you wouldn’t lose it – Check
Found the Starbucks ….. Sayyyy Whaaat!!!!
Oh…My…Stars…THE LONG LINE! It’s longer than the one you JUST got through with TSA security. In fact…this line doesn’t seem to ever end. Sheesh!
It’s ok, I have about 45 minutes 'til my flight and they never leave on time (right?). Can I possibly make it through the line so I can get my Venti Flat White, with a double shot of expresso? Or…do I board the plane and drink their crappy coffee? (ok, ok…it’s true, I have been called a "coffee snob" and this time is no different). No crappy coffee on the plane for me…I will WAIT for My Starbucks!
So I guess you can say I like to gamble (hey…I once got married in Vegas-Baby)! So I waited, and waited and waited. Would I miss my flight for a Starbucks latte? You- Betcha!! I can’t imagine the plane would leave without announcing my name once…or twice “Jenifer Campbell…report to Gate B-6 immediately. Your flight is about to depart for Raleigh-Durham International!”
Would they leave without me? Nah…or, would they?
Finally, I reach the front of the line, quickly spout out my coffee order to the cashier, then begin to pace back and forth at the pick-up stand…waiting for My Venti (Extra Shots) Flat White from the coffee barista…looking at my watch, and hoping time might slow down temporarily…After all- who actually would pay ($5+) for their Starbucks and then leave without grabbing it? Also, I don’t want to be that last person boarding the plane with my “5-Bucks” (as I dearly nickname it) with Everyone on the Plane knowing the Real Reason I was late boarding (yup...Me and my COFFEE from Starbucks)! Finally my name is called from the barista (Thank God), I grab My Venti (Extra Shots) Flat White Coffee, a stir stick and shove one organic sugar in the raw, quickly into my Flat White (hey the sugar should melt a little as I book it to my terminal and can always stir it later)…and then I RUN LIKE HELL to get to my awaiting plane.
After all, I really don’t want to be “THAT GIRL” with the Starbucks, who kept the entire plane waiting! And guess what…I had plenty of time…even if I boarded nearly last in line.
Bumped from a Flight? Make the Most of Your Time
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
Sometimes all the planning in the world can be done and yet it’s not going as you planned. Did you get bumped from a flight? You can try to make the most of it, call us for ideas on how you can plan for those unplanned occasions.
Easy, those pesky airlines overbooked your flight. What does this mean to you, you won’t get on the plane. They do this to avoid empty seats. They are gambling that roughly 10-20% of those booked travelers won’t show up, have a connecting plane delay, etc. Or, someone who’s been bumped or is on stand-by for the exact flight is waiting at the desk to board, their only goal is to jump into your seat and leave you (stranded) at the airport.
What’ a voluntary bumping?
When the airline offers you money, hotel room, cash incentive or future flight credits, to get you to not fly and give up your seat. This is their way of negotiating with those whose schedules may be flexible.
What’s involuntary bumping or denied bumping?
This happens when the airline cannot get any volunteers to take another flight. Now the Department of Transportation has been recently promoting changes to the compensation prices. If you stand your ground and they can’t get volunteers the extreme bartering takes place. They won’t hold the plane for you, they’re counting on you missing that flight.
This past spring my son and I found ourselves in this EXACT situation with Southwest Airlines!!! Grrr! We ran like hell, rounded the corner from TSA and sped to our gate, only to see our plane backing up and the doors closing for good. We had missed the flight by 1 minute! JUST 1 MINUTE! Immediately my Travel Consultant skills kicked into action as I tried to negotiate the plane being turned around (Yeah…I actually thought it was possible for me to accomplish this HUGE Feat). So…when this failed…we were reluctantly placed on stand by. Stand-by after stand-by meant an Entire Full Day spent at the Fort Lauderdale Airport…waiting on a plane! Well, after the last plane departed for Raleigh at 8 p.m. and we weren’t on board…this exhausted and stressed mom broke down in tears at the terminal (yeah….I really did!). The Southwest airlines representatives gave us the name of the nearest hotel and promptly booked us on the next early a.m. flight for 6 a.m. Dang! Wish they could have done so earlier in the day.
So who’s fault was it? As I battled (firmly) that we had arrived to the airport 90 days prior (slightly give or take), waiting to get our bags checked in and then waited forever at TSA- Southwest would not budge. Surely they saw we had checked-in and were on the way…couldn’t they have waited 1 minute for us?!? When I gently informed the TSA rep that our flight was leaving in about 10 minutes and could we please, pretty please jump ahead…he assured us we’d make our flight and to wait right where we were, in line. Well, we didn’t make it! This was the incredibly frustrating part, my not being able to control the outcome-much as I tried to do so.
So how do you make the most of your time:
We did so a bit creatively. We spent the larger portion of the entire day together (which, if you have a teenager, is a true blessing in disguise). We ate a super high priced “gourmet burger” and fries with a coke for about $40 at the airport at one of those “to go” restaurants. We ate dinner together at the local Denny’s (his first Denny’s experience and I bet NOT his last). We stayed in a noisy airport hotel and then got up early, early, early to board a plan…finally headed home- paying for an Uber ride at 4 a.m. to the airport!
Life as a travel consultant, never fails to be an interesting journey (even for a fairly seasoned traveler, such as myself). But what I’m most interested in, is helping you plan Your Next Amazing Vacation. Why? Because You deserve it!
There’s an App for That!
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
So, I have been wondering, how many apps do you have on your phone? Just yesterday I deleted 3 apps I wasn’t using, because the storage was getting full on it. I counted and right now I have exactly 32 apps on my phone. Say What? WOWSA- that’s a lot for me. Some I hardly use…so every so often, I decide to delete some to save the storage.
Some of my favorites include Facebook (what better way to keep up with friends and family), LinkedIn and Instagram…just to name a few.
One of the cool apps for travel would be Lounge Buddy- which tells you which airports have the best lounges. If you don’t have the frequent flyer numbers to get in, some will allow you to pay a small fee to use their service while at the airport.
So, here we have a few strange ones that I needed to blog about, why? Cause they’re hilarious!
Sit or Squat- Are you kidding me? Where’s the closest Bathroom! Sit or Squat lists thousands of restrooms all over the world! Wow!! It’s no wonder that Charmin has developed the app. But, don’t post reviews like some other users did…as most involved “Number 2” and apparently they’ve grown tired of the poop jokes! Lol!!
Lobby Friend- This one allows you to meet up with others staying in your hotel. Woah! To me, this one is just super weird. Guess cause I’m a female and couldn’t imagine meeting a complete stranger at the bar downstairs in the lobby area! But hey, you might like that!
Sunscreen- For only $1.29, this UVI app will detect your current location, it will set a countdown timer to alert you when it’s time to slather yourself up for more sunblock. That way you can sit back, relax and soak up the rays without and worries.
To bad there’s not an app for when you take a long overnight flight, so you can sleep like a baby, have an actual shower and a nice, hot breakfast in the morning before you land….oh wait…there is such a thing…it’s called Emirates First Class!
Life Changing Travels- Part II
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
Life Changing or "Transformational Travel” is not merely a break from the day-to-day routine, it is a truly life changing experience.
It’s that unique, inspiring vacation/trip that will impact You for the rest of your life! One that changes your own perceptions, perspectives, attitudes, and perhaps even your behaviors. Your time will be spent learning first-hand about the people and land. Most your times might involve an intimate, personal settings. Visiting (even staying) with the locals and understanding what it’s like to live there is a large part of the journey. You may see and learn more than anything that’s been found on the pages of a history book or in a classroom setting. Your life may just change during the process! Your opinion about yourself and the world we live in, may alter you in positive ways (we hope). Wherever you go and whoever you meet, helps you make better decisions. You truly feel the country and begin to truly become a real part of it. Many of these transformative traveling experiences could look like activities you want to see or sights you want to visit. However, its important to immerse yourself completely amongst the local culture to become fully educated about their lifestyle and land.
When I spent a year as an Exchange Student to Germany (while in high school) I was exposed daily to the lifestyle of Germans. I learned the study habits of students around me (hyper focused, sports and extracurricular activities took last place in their lives), school and grades were the TOP Priority. The food was amazing and daily meals were enjoyed together. The main meal was at lunchtime, and when (if) there was dinner, it was a simple meal, such as a ham and cheese sandwich, light snack, or no meal at all. And then there were the locations I visited…imagine being one of few people who had the honor of tearing down the Berlin Wall when it fell in 1989 (yes that was me- I was there)!! And I learned the impeccable work habits of Germans (always striving for perfection) always working hard until the task is thoroughly completed- and completed well. This has helped me form positive working habits that I’ll keep for a lifetime.
When I left Germany after that year abroad, I was very fluent in German, dressed German, and Yes- I even acted German! Going “home” was hard to adjust the first few weeks. Since then, I have been back about half a dozen times, and to this day…it still feels like going HOME to me! One day, one of my dreams, is to again live and work in Germany for at least 2-3 years. I truly hope I can one day (soon) make this a reality for me.
Yes! You can say that travel changed me for the better. These experiences made me a better person and I am so thankful and feel super blessed to have had this opportunity.
What life changing vacations, or transformative travel have you experienced?
Life Changing Travels or Transformative Travel-
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
Just Imagine...a girls’ getaway, a historical trip or perhaps a trip to help with missions into a third world country. These are types of transformative travel. Transformation Travel is simply defined as “any travel that inspires people to make changes in their life, whether big or small.” Think the girls getaway is only giggling, dancing and gossiping…well, think again. These times can refresh you, relax you and give you a new perspective on your life.
How does travel fit into your overall goals in life accomplishments? Is this a solo trip to the beach for reflection? A trip to the mountains with the guys for fishing and hunting (and bonding)? A family reunion to bring loved ones together again to increase family ties? Or, a romantic honeymoon to connect with the love of your life and build memories to last a lifetime. Could a trip to ride all the biggest and baddest roller coasters across the country be transformative- well, it depends on who you ask! Whatever “Transformation” or Life Changing Travel looks like for you- we’ve got ya covered.
In fact, just this past week we’ve been planning a week long last minute girls’ getaway to the wonderful San Francisco California area, to visit the Redwoods, drink some classy wine on board a wine and dinner train in Napa Valley, then off to an evening cruise on the water to glimpse the Golden Gate Bridge, up close and personal.
Has travel moved you? Share with us below:
5 Travel Tips to Save You Money While Traveling!
Written by Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
It’s so very fun to splurge from time to time, especially when you’re on vacation. However, the following “extras” are actually huge rip-offs that may not be worth it in the end.
1. Save Your Money- Don’t get Charged for Excess Baggage-
Most of the time, you won’t wear everything that you pack anyway. When you’re preparing to leave for sweet vacation, you may think that you need 4 outfits for every day. In truth, though, most of your clothing will go un-worn and you’ll pay high fees for extra luggage. If you can wash your clothing at your hotel, this will help you pack less.
2. Never Enter Unmarked Cabs-
Never, ever get into an unmarked cab. On top of being a rip-off, they’re also not safe. Unmarked cabs are infamous for charging extra high rates, taking longer-than-necessary routes, and giving you the wrong change back. Try to travel in pairs, avoid going alone in a cab ride, if possible.
3. Avoid “Tourist Traps” when Dining-
When traveling, eat like a local instead of like a tourist. Tourist-heavy areas come with high prices. Talk to the locals to find out where the best restaurants and eateries are that offer a bit of a local flair. Ask your hotel representative or concierge when checking into your hotel.
4. High Taxes on Alcohol-
Some countries carry extremely high tax on alcohol, which is a good reason to skip over those super cocktails when dining out. One drink can cost more than $15 (watch out on the cruise ships too- for these pricy drinks are there as well)! To keep costs down, try to stick with water (if it’s safe depending upon which country you are in) or order a virgin drink. I personally suggest a smoothie or fruit juice which will keep you healthy and full of energy while you are traveling and seeing the world!
5. Avoid Pricy Hotel Rooms in Major Cities-
By staying smack in the center of an exciting, thriving bigger city, you’ll likely pay big bucks for a tiny room. Instead, consider staying just a few short blocks away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds or on the outskirt of the city. Lodging rates will likely go down and room space will possibly expand.
Save your money for those “must see” places while you’re traveling. And Always remember that sometimes a travel “detour” or delay can be a fun memory in the making! HAVE FUN OUT THERE!!
Wow Air is Done- By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
As the news spread this past week about WOWAir being out of business, I couldn't help but remember our trip to Germany and back, how super duper basic the flight was, and the mix-up taking us days to get home...although being "stuck" in Germany is NOT something I was complaining about at all.
WOWAir going down, reminded me of the thousands of passengers that were stranded trying to get home. I wondered how these passengers plans might have changed if they had purchased travel insurance (thus protecting them from losing their money) and helping them get home on another airline expeditiously. Or, had they purchased their flight through a travel agent, just by contacting this agent when their flight was cancelled, would have sent their travel agent scrambling but assisting them in securing the next available flight (on another carrier) but saving them time from having to do so on their own.
Two Things Learned:
1) Use a travel agent and
2) Purchase travel insurance.
You never know when life, and HUGE Obstacles, can come your way.
How to Pack Like a Pro- By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
Always pack Flip-Flops!
They’re cheap, lightweight and keep your feet sanitary. Who wants to be walking on bare floors in a hotel room or shower floor that’s not sanitary. That’s just gross. Wear them down to the pool, the hot tub or simply around your hotel room.
Don’t forget the Lotion!
Flying, traveling and moving means your skin can become dry. Imagine the cabin pressure in a flight and the changing climates. They can do a real number on your skin. Always carry your lotion so you can lather up all over.
Your Luggage Must Haves-
That oh so Slinky Little black dress! Who knows when you’ll have that last minute chance for a spontaneous night on the town. Having your black dress handy with some slinky black shoes (lightweight) means you’ll ALWAYS be prepared for whatever (or whomever) comes your way!
Bright Colors Win-
Purchase brightly colored chargers for your devices. They make finding them easier! While you’re at it, have various interchangeable plugs, so you’ll always be able to charge up your devices wherever you find yourself.
Pack Outfits Together-
Pack your outfits (complete with shoes on the bottom of the bag) all rolled up, so that your clothes stay neat and never get wrinkled. Also, another great idea, plan your wardrobe around one or two of your favorite colors. Then pack similar colors together, so you only need to pack two pairs of shoes max. It’s always a good idea to use shoe bags, plastic bags, or your shower cap turned inside out, so your shoes keep the dirt off your clothes in your bag.
Layer or Repeat Outfits-
Pack one simple outfit you can layer, and wear it more than once. Obviously you’ll want clean undies and socks, but consider wearing an outfit twice (if your tempted to over-pack like I do).
Keep Essentials in Your Carry-On-
Always, always, always pack your overnight personal items into your bag you carry on. What would happen if your bag was lost, sometimes it happens and you may need your pj’s and medicines, etc. Don’t pack these essential items in your checked bag.
Purchase Unique Luggage-
Avoid the always present (on every...single...flight...) black luggage. It’s soo very hard to find this in the baggage claim area, with the other 200+ people on your flight. Consider a brightly colored bag, and even colorful ribbon on the handle, in order to separate your bag from the rest of the pack!
Many of us in our small group will soon be traveling through the stunning, gorgeous, golden landscape of Tuscany, dotted with impeccably beautiful olive and fig trees. We will visit a typical Tuscan village in the rolling hills of the countryside and perhaps enjoy a glass of luscious, local Italian Wine. We will stroll through the iconic cobblestoned streets, where locals will greet us with a warm smile.
Doesn't this sound like a dream come true?
With ONLY 2 spaces left, hurry!
Details can be found on our Website.
I know, I said it before, but to me it bears repeating! I only have a little over a year left with my teenage son, Austin, so I want to maximize the amount of quality time we get to spend with each other. One way this Mom can capture his undivided attention, is to plan fun trips together where we get to see new countries, within Budget, having a BLAST!
Our next trip happens to be Spring Break 2019, taking a cruise together! We are flying out of Raleigh to Miami, stay in a hotel, then board the amazing Allure of the Seas, out of the Stunning Miami port, for an exotic 7 night trip to Puerto Rico, Labadee (Royal Caribbean's Private Island) and then on to very beautiful St. Maarten!
Neither of us have ever been on any of the Largest Ships at sea (Aside from Carnival's Vista last Christmas Break) so we are both super excited to see what this LARGE City at Sea has in store for us.
Some of our options we cannot wait to experience are: Aquatheater, Zip Lining across the highest ship decks, Ice Skating at Sea, Flow Rider Surfing at Sea, Dancing, Exciting Broadway Type Shows, Tons of Awesome Restaurants, Comedy Night, and soooo much more! With a little over 3 months away, we're already counting down til our Vacation at Sea.
Does this sound like fun and you'd like to JOIN US? This is our Special Group Cruise we've organized for our very own Friends and Family! Check it Out!
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