Thursday, April 5, 2012

Visiting China

I have a niece who after graduating college this last year went to teach English in China for a year.  She has fallen in love with her job and the people and has decided to sign a second contract.  Most people would think- wow what a great opportunity.  You should go and visit while you have someone you know in the area.  China has never been on my personal bucket list.  Viewing pictures of the Great Wall was enough for me.  I even told my niece she would have to meet me in Hawaii which is my favorite destination.

As a travel agent China is one of those exotic destination that I sell occasionally and usually only when the client comes to me asking for advice on China.  River Cruising is always popular, but some want to add a more in-depth tour of the country.  I have many vendors that offer wonderful packages but I am always looking for something new and different.

I receive and read many travel publications, attend seminars,webinars and travel trade shows.  At these functions you talk with other travel professionals.  In recent months I have been hearing wonderful things about Wendy Wu Tours.  I knew they were very popular in Australia and the UK, but they were just starting to break into the American market.  I had heard of them, but didn't know much about the company or it's product.  A few weeks ago Dave and I were invited to a trade show that offered a Wendy Wu seminar.  To our surprise after the seminar, Dave and I were both ready to go to China with Wendy Wu.  There were so many places to see and things to experience that we think it would take us more than a week.

Wendy Wu has an amazing product, is willing to customize, includes almost everything (even Visa's)  and offers more bang for your buck than many other tour operators.  If you aren't into a group tour, they offer the same itineraries with your own private driver AND tour guide for a very reasonable price.  They even work with clients with limited mobility.  They have adapted to the American market and are on their way to being a major competitor.  Check out their Facebook site for pictures and videos

So instead of waiting for client to come to me about traveling  to China, I will be seeking out clients to experience the wonders of China.

Friday, January 27, 2012

To Ski or Not to Ski

I spent some time in high school and college on the slopes, but not enough to fall in love with it. I think the snow is beautiful, but I'm not willing to spend a day going up and down a mountain. I have a lot of clients that love to ski and can't wait to head west for their winter vacation. Their pictures are beautiful and make me wonder if I didn't give skiing enough time!

It's actually become a lot easier to take the family on the winter ski trip. Condos are available so you don't have to eat out every meal. More and more vendors offer free lift tickets for kids with paying adults and some even offer free equipment rental for kids with a paying adults. These incentives are making the ski vacation for the family a better value. With the airlines charging for each bag, the equipment rental adds more value to the package. Ski schools are at all the resorts offering packages for all ages.  They want you to succeed and they want you to come back. It's a great time to get the entire family away from the electronics too. I don't thinking the average person is skiing down the mountain while updating their status on Facebook or sending out a Tweet. 

I live in Maryland. In the winter months the average high is about 42, the average low about 23. We average about 2' of snow in that same time period. Which really isn't bad compared to some places.  The key word is "average." After several weeks of wind, below freezing temperatures and sleet or freezing rain or snow, I am ready to head to the sun and warmth of Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii. I want to lay on the beach and soak up that sunshine. I need to feel the sun's rays all the way to my bones!

There are so many warm weather options. You can go to small boutique resorts, all inclusive resorts, private villas, condos, B & B's or just a regular hotel. You can stay on the beach or up in the hills. What ever you want, we can find it. There are always last minute deals for two, but families or groups need a little more planning time. There are many places in Mexico and the Caribbean that offer children 12 and under stay for free. Sometimes there are "eat, stay and play" promotions for kids. From the East Coast we have non stop or charter flights to Punta Cana, San Juan, Jamacia, and Mexico.

We really are lucky that we have so many airports (BWI, PHL, DCA & IAD) nearby. These give us the opportunity to choose the mountains or the beach, but also the best price!