By April Cole
They have said “It’s all about who you know,” and that’s the reason why we started the Travel Partners section of Kaanect. We don’t don’t just promote providers because we think they’re good; we refer clients to our travel partners because those providers are exactly who we trust to create epic travel experiences for ourselves too!
Just this past month I hired Brooke of Tumbleweed Travel to help me plan a last-minute RV trip through the Southwestern U.S. for my family. I was incredibly busy with work and life, and knew we wanted to get away during the kids’ fast-approaching winter break, but I simply did not have the time to put together a trip.
I love researching where to stay and what to see along the way, and I have a fair bit of experience planning trips 😉 But I also know myself and know that I would have spent far too much time researching every option and wondering if I was picking the best sites and best routing for this road trip, and I knew that working with someone who knows the region better than I do would ultimately create a great experience for my family.
I emailed Brooke and asked if she ever planned trips for people who already have an RV, but need help with all the rest, and she said she absolutely does. I was so excited! I gave her my dates, where we were hoping to go, the length of my RV and the number of people traveling, and then left everything in her incredibly capable hands.
Within a few days she sent an amazing itinerary that outlined the routing, places to see along the way, as well as all the nitty gritty details and the bookings for the best RV parks in each location. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
I can honestly say that her planning was better than I could have done on my own. She adjusted the direction of travel to allow us to stay in the better RV parks, and the routing which we took minimized overall drive time.
We started by driving from Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas and spent a night at a cute place off the strip with a hot tub and a pool - which was perfect after the long leg of driving that day.
The next day we went from Las Vegas to Sedona, with a planned stop at the Hoover Dam and the Road Kill Cafe on Route 66. As my son was a huge Pixar “Cars” fan, Route 66 was a highlight that day!
We then spent two nights in Sedona. Brooke offered some planned touring options, but we opted to plan our own hiking adventures those days. We explored a few different spots, and really loved checking out a few of the vortexes Sedona is known for.
Next, we went to the South Rim Grand Canyon and stayed in the park. The RV park was a 1 mile walk from the rim - but you also had the option of taking the park bus that picked you up right at the park. As it snowed while we were there, we opted for the heated bus most of the time 😉
While it snowed while we were there, we weren’t sad about it. We were the only people at the canyon most of the time, and the canyon covered with a few inches of snow was one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen.
After two nights at the Grand Canyon we were slated to continue on to Zion National Park. We were all really excited to head to Zion, and this was something Brooke recommended we add, as it added a new location and it shortened our drive on the way back home. But, after three nights of snow and four big humans in one small RV, we decided to leave on a high note and cut out Zion and went back through Vegas again. This change was a last-minute decision and Brooke was quick to help us make the changes to our reservations.
So we went back up to Vegas and spent time in the warmth and played in the pool. Then we added in some quirky art activities, with a visit to Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart exhibit.
Then we journeyed home, stopping at everything strange and fun along the way - The Car Forest, Clown Museum and a fireworks stand that let you shoot fireworks right on the spot. (Living in fire-prone California, we were excited for this!)
All in all, I could not have done this trip in the time-frame I wanted without Brooke's help. She made the booking easy and fun, and I highly recommend you work with her and Tumbleweed Travel. If you have your own RV or trailer or if you’re looking to rent one, she can help you create a great trip, and better yet, great memories with your family on the road.
by Kevin Roberts of Cranky Concierge
We’re sure you’ve seen or will see the news of the omicron variant’s emergence along with the subsequent reactions by governments around the world. We are monitoring what rules countries are putting into place, and if you’re impacted, we’ll let you know. But today, we’re writing to address the latest testing change for entry here in the US, something that will impact most of our clients. Today, President Biden released a statement that indicates how the US plans to move forward into the winter. You can view it in its entirety here but the primary change affecting travel is a change in testing timelines. Here is exactly what it says:
“Strengthening global pre-departure testing protocols: Early next week, the United States will tighten pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers to test within one day of departure globally, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. This tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the Omicron variant.” [emphasis added]
While the gut reaction may be to panic -
We view this as a positive sign that the US is not planning to close borders to foreign travelers again. Instead, they are simply tightening up the testing requirement from 3 days prior to 1 day prior. A quick reminder: the US does not currently require PCR testing which could have a much longer turnaround time to get results. There are test kits you can even purchase before travel and bring them with you, so barring future changes, this shouldn’t be a big hurdle for travel.
If you want to keep up to date on changes, our friends at Sherpa continue to be a great resource to find and keep up with COVID-related travel restrictions. It provides information in a clear way and links to the source material so you can confirm accuracy.
We are looking forward to helping many of you with your holiday travels this year!
Original blog post can be found here: Cranky Concierge Blog
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We have all been looking forward to being able to travel back to our favorite countries in Southeast Asia and as the region slowly opens up to tourism, we know everyone is wondering, how safe is it to travel? Is the Covid situation under control? What are the vaccination rates like?
No one wants to put a country's population at risk, and there are many things to consider, so we hope the numbers below can bring some clarity and help in your travel planning.
Cambodia is currently reporting very low infection numbers, which is attributed to the country’s successful vaccination campaign. The vaccination campaign has received praise around the world and not only does Cambodia have a higher vaccination rate than its neighbors Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, but it is now one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.
Covid Case Numbers
Confirmed new cases as of November 6, 2021: 73
3 infections per 100K people reported in the last 7 days
9% of peak
Please note that the Cambodian government does not have an accurate census of the population which throws off their vaccination percentages (which is why the reported numbers are sometimes greater than 100%).
Adults 18+: 100%
Children 12-18: 98%
Children 6-11: 102%
Children 5 and under: 51%
Covid infections are decreasing in Thailand and are at their lowest since Thailand entered their 3rd wave of Covid in April 2021. The government is aiming to have 70% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of November.
Covid Case Numbers
Confirmed new cases as of November 6: 8,467
81 infections per 100K people reported the last 7 days
37% of peak
Thailand started the vaccination of children ages 12-17 in October and plans to vaccinate 3 to 11 year olds at the start of 2022.
Adults 18+: 46%
Laos is currently experiencing its worst Covid wave with new infections reaching new highs every day. The vaccinations are going slowly and the country is dependent on donations from COVAX. At the current vaccination rate, the government’s goal is to have 50% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of the year.
Covid Case Numbers
Confirmed new cases as of November 6: 960
89 infections per 100K people reported the last 7 days
The Lao government are currently only vaccinating adults and no decision has been made on vaccinations of children.
Adults 18+: 39%
The "new normal" began in October 2021 and Vietnam is feeling its way into post-pandemic life. Daily cases are increasing mainly outside the main cities as the movement of people has increased, but new infections are less severe amongst those vaccinated. As more people are vaccinated daily the trend should show numbers begin to decline again within the next couple of weeks.
Covid Case Numbers
Confirmed new cases as of November 6: 7,491
41 infections per 100K people reported the last 7 days
47% of peak
Vietnam is rapidly picking up the pace of administering vaccinations to its population now that there is an increase in vaccine deliveries arriving and being made available. Until September the focus was on vaccinating the 18+ adult population. From October there is now a proactive push on vaccinating 12 to 17 year olds. The decision around ages up to 11 years old is still pending.
Adults 18+: 29,8%
The decision to travel to a country that’s still being majorly impacted by the Covid pandemic is one to be thought through. If you’d like some help planning your trip or simply deciding if now is the right time to go, consider a one-hour Travel Coaching call with one of Kaanect’s Southeast Asia specialists.
IC Bellagio was born out of just such a passion for Italy. And it is that passion that drives us to travel throughout the country year in and year out searching for experiences that will bring travelers closer to their Italian dream. We pride ourselves in crafting a personalized journey for each and every traveler.
An award-winning destination management company for Italy, IC Bellagio offers bespoke travel experiences, chauffeur driven tours and transfers and exclusive villa rentals for the discerning traveler. From Italy’s rich history to its design-focused present, with a whole host of offbeat, non-Googleable experiences in the mix, IC Bellagio prides itself on providing the unpredictable – whatever your whim.
About IC Bellagio:
IC Bellagio knows the power of being a good listener. Clients are encouraged to share their dream tour of Italy, along with all their pet peeves and must-haves. After all, the more we know, the better the chance we can exceed the client’s expectations. No off-the-rack solutions here: every itinerary is tailor-made to fit all clients’ curves and edges. And we welcome feedback after the trip as well, making sure to follow up on every detail – both the good and the bad. After all, IC Bellagio is not only committed to maintaining their high standards, but also pushing ourselves to reach even higher. Clients want to work with destination specialists who get it – true professionals with the deep understanding that comes with twenty years’ experience in the industry. IC Bellagio creates bespoke itineraries for thousands of clients every year. Valuable client feedback coupled with regular on-site visits and personal relationships with suppliers across Italy means IC Bellagio really knows what will work for any client. IC Bellagio prides itself on communication that is straightforward, precise and efficient. Right from the word go, clients feel confident in the professionalism and inspired by the enthusiasm of our team. We provide quick, clear responses to any queries and the kind of on-the-ground, real-time service that can only come from working from inside Italy. Each client traveling with IC Bellagio has a personal Guest Ambassador on direct dial. That means 24/7 access to a real human being who speaks the client’s language and can handle anything that comes up during the stay. They provide that extra special touch, making a welcome call upon arrival and checking in throughout the trip. And if an itinerary changes, an emergency arises or clients just need a sympathetic ear, the Guest Ambassadors are always just a phone call away. A lot of energy, passion and expertise goes into seeking out unique experiences for IC Bellagio’s clients. All of our guides and drivers are trusted partners we have worked with for many years. That means the destinations and activities we sell actually live up to the hype: from a private fashion show in one of Milan's couture ateliers to hiking a Via Ferrata in the Dolomites.
Over 30 years ago we encountered Africa and fell in love with its awesome beauty. Ever since, we’ve been spreading the word, sharing our passion so that your clients can also experience the best of Africa. In the best possible way. This means matching their individuality to a unique blend of places and experiences that fulfill their dreams and extend their horizons. It also means fighting to protect these fragile places and working with others who share our values. We are committed to playing our part in conserving the remote places and amazing wildlife of Africa and to helping its people to thrive. We work in partnership with highly respected NGOs including TUSK and Send a Cow and each year we give at least 10% of our net profit to these and other causes. We also strongly prefer to use safari camps and lodges which have effective conservation programs and which operate in collaboration with surrounding communities.
Africa Exclusive is one of the world’s leading safari specialists. We personally know Africa’s finest safari lodges and camps and its most accomplished guides. For 30 years we have created extraordinary, unique safaris for our discerning clientele. Each holiday is expertly arranged to exactly meet each client’s requirements and interests. Born from a passion for Africa’s wildlife and wild places we remain under the inspired private ownership of our founders.
Travel Philosophy: To inspire your "well way of life, lifelong."
Travel Specialty: Wellness
About Canyon Ranch:
Canyon Ranch is a collection of Wellness Resorts & Retreat with customized programming to prevent and overcome medical professional burnout and inspire guests to pursue their “Well Way of Life”. At Canyon Ranch we meet our guests where they are and help them optimize their individual performance with evidence based wellness programing in areas of: Health & Performance, Mind & Spirit, Nutrition & Food, Fitness & Movement and Spa & Beauty. You will learn tools to continue life wellbeing. Choose your destination: All-inclusive Canyon Ranch health resorts in Tucson, Arizona and Lenox, Massachusetts offer a full-immersion experience of our world-class integrative health and wellness services. In fall 2019, Canyon Ranch debuts its first wellness retreat in Woodside, California. Three- and four-day holistic retreats for like-minded individuals or groups are guided by Canyon Ranch philosophies. Canyon Ranch aims to inspire people to make a commitment to healthy living, turning hopes and intentions into the highest enjoyment of life through fun and unique activities, wellness presentations and wellness services.
Learn More About Canyon Ranch - Blog:
Confession time: I have always found traveling stressful. That’s right, from that first solo trip to Australia at 7 years old to a quick flight to LA to speak at a conference at 41, I have never been a relaxed traveler. I think this is partly why I’m a good travel coach…I haven’t sailed through life, breezily boarding flights while laughing about the ones I’ve missed, heck no, I go over packing lists, I arrive at the airport way earlier than necessary and I sit at the gate doggedly waiting for boarding to start, refusing to let my kids leave to get a snack in case they aren’t back in time! When I coach people with travel fears and worries I can relate! Just because I’ve done it a lot, doesn’t mean It's smooth emotional sailing!
Over the years I have learned not to change my behavior completely, but at least to laugh at myself and rein it in a bit. Then COVID! Entry requirements, tests needed, full flights with not even 6 inches of distance let alone the 6 feet we’ve become used to.
The first time we travelled was to Hawaii after Christmas for a week break in a villa on the beach. All eight of us! Eight flights that kept changing based on updated schedules and what worked with testing, eight required negative COVID tests done 48 hours before we traveled, eight people packed and wearing masks and eight people to keep safe and entertained AND masked for an entire flight. A week before we left I had gone over my mental checklist and prep list so many times it had become a mantra and I called my sister to tell her it wasn’t worth it. This was too much. My directive as a mother was to keep my kids safe, yet here I was jumping through burning rings of fire in an attempt to possibly put them in harms way. She laughed and told me she would see me there…she is not an anxious traveler. And she was right. We got eight flights booked, we got eight negative COVID tests and we got eight people fed, entertained and masked to Hawaii. Then we picked up the rented minivan, got to our villa and remembered how fun family and pools and vacations and travel all are!
Today my two older kids and I arrived in Belize. While Hawaii was during the pandemic this trip is post (I feel that word is being used loosely) pandemic. Less anxiety right? Heck no! Masks are still required and while I’m vaccinated my youngest isn’t and every cough on the full planes find my eyes on him, making sure his mask is up. While three was definitely easier than eight, we still had to get negative tests and proof of vaccination and packed and entertained and masked.
But then we arrived and like every trip I’ve ever taken in my life, it was worth it! To be out exploring again, to be adventuring! To be living in the world!
So I did the mental checklists, I jumped through the hoops and we made it! But as a travel coach I feel the collective anxiety of my fellow American travelers and the fear of the post pandemic world. We’ve spent a year sheltering, protecting ourselves and our loved ones and then it seemed as if overnight the world opened back up and we are encouraged to skip back out into it. And we should…guides, drivers, hotel staff, they all desperately need us to get back out there. And I encourage you to go, but I also want to recognize the anxiety of it, the added stresses of the testing and masking and no six feeting! This is an anxious time, we are all struggling to come to terms with what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained and what the next year will look like. It’s okay to admit that travel is scary and it’s okay to feel that anxiety. If now isn’t the time for you and your family that’s okay, if it is the time, that’s okay too. I’m owning my anxiety, I’m declaring it worth it and I am giving myself grace to return to the world and myself. But what's a coach without some tips for getting through it.
Cranky Concierge is the world's premier air travel assistance company, and we wouldn't travel without them. They'll help find the best options for the specific situation, make the reservations, then work to help should schedule changes cause any issues. They're also proactively monitoring our flights making sure we get to where we're going. If we run into flight-related trouble, we can rest easy knowing they're on the case and are working on getting us back on track.
Cranky Concierge recommends keeping these things in mind when looking at airfare:
Of course, they'll be doing that for you, which is why we highly recommend them and encourage you to work with them to secure your airfare. We've arranged for our clients to have special pricing, which is available at http://crankyconcierge.com/kaanect