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Business Travel Vacation Travel

Combining A Business Trip With A Family Vacation

Summer is just around the corner. Which means school break, barbecues and outdoor adventures are on the horizon. It’s also the time to start brainstorming and planning family vacations. But did you know that most working Americans rarely use up their paid vacation days? In fact, in 2016 the United States left 429 millions unused days on the table. With numerous studies showing this adverse affect on health, it’s important now more than ever to take a few days for yourself. That may be why a new trend in ‘bleisure’’ travel is taking off – combining an upcoming business trip with a family vacation.

Family vacation during a business trip?  You can’t be serious.

Now before you stress out about all the minor details and how it can be blown off course, read through our 8 tips to combine a business trip with a family vacation and keep it on track.

  1. You’ll ultimately be saving money. Your company is already paying for your round trip ticket and hotel room. It could save you a few hundred dollars or more by using this to your advantage. Bunk up in your hotel room and schedule your return ticket back for a few days later than planned.
  2. Use reward miles or member status to buy additional plane tickets for your family or other upgrades. You may even be able to upgrade to a larger room to more comfortably accommodate everyone.
  3. Define your schedule and any limitations. Let your family know your schedule beforehand and any pressing deadlines or meetings. Be clear that you’ll need space during that time and won’t be available. It may feel harsh at first, but setting expectations early will give you more breathing room later on.
  4. Find a place that caters to everyone’s needs. Look for a hotel/townhouse that provides room for you to work, but also area for kids to play. It could be a pool on-site or fun attractions in the area. Booking a vacation rental, if acceptable in your travel policy, may be a perfect option.
  5. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of kids club or babysitting.
  6. If attending a conference, see if they are giving away family-friendly promotions. We attended a conference recently that was giving away tickets to Disneyland.
  7. Stay a few extra days. Here is where you finally use some of that well-deserved personal time.  What’s the point of being in a new place if you can’t enjoy it, right? Stay in the same area, or adventure out and explore the region.
  8. Contact a leisure travel agent. It might be worth contacting a specialist for special pricing and additional offers. Our leisure division, Andavo Travel, can help point you in the right direction.
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Choice Humanitarian Travel News Vacation Travel

CHOICE Expedition – Tammy’s Story

Christopherson Business Travel is a proud corporate sponsor of CHOICE Humanitarian. In addition to voluntary employee contributions and matching program, Christopherson annually sends a group of employees on a week-long humanitarian expedition. Based out of Salt Lake City, CHOICE Humanitarian works in seven countries to help those in extreme poverty.  Using a village-centered approach, they work to improve quality of life through self-sufficiency.  This year, our group employees visited a small village in the Buena Vista region of Guatemala. Tammy Irvin, a corporate travel advisor from our Alabama office was selected to volunteer on this trip.

Tammy’s story with Choice Humanitarian

The CHOICE Humanitarian expedition to Guatemala is a trip I will never forget. This trip brought out so many emotions in me—laughter, sadness, heartbreak, and amazement. I cannot thank Christopherson Andavo enough for the opportunity to participate.

I arrived to the hustle and bustle of Guatemala City. It was a little overwhelming at first, but our trip leaders made me feel at ease. We were treated to a great meal at a local restaurant and a trip to the Market. Once the rest of the team members arrived, we went to our first stop, a resort called Rio Dulce. There, I met Amy, my roomie for the week and the other Christopherson Andavo team members, along with the other expedition participants. We enjoyed dinner together and had a great time relaxing at the pool.

The next day, we went on a boat ride and then boarded two small buses. I am extremely afraid of heights, so I was not looking forward to this part of the trip. We wound around the mountainous roads and finally, we arrived—to the “drop-over- the-edge-and-you-will-die point.” I got a few heckles, but my fear faded and I was fine.

Finally, we arrived at Sikaab’e. Sikaab’e is a vocational training school in the Polochic Valley. Sikaabe is Q’eqchi for “seek your path.” We were lucky enough to stay in their dorm for the week! The next day we began our work of digging trenches, building chicken coops, and painting the dorm. We took a day to visit with the women in a neighboring village and teach hygiene, while the men bonded with the local soccer team. Every day was an adventure. As the week went by, we slowly realized that you can disconnect, be unplugged, and you will survive.

In short, we ate, laughed, cried, made new friends we will never forget, and helped someone make it through one more day. The trip is actually helping me make it through one more day. I know it’s not what you have, it’s what you give—in whatever way you give it. I have never seen so many happy people—so many people that didn’t have much, but what they had, they were grateful for.

I have a million memories and for that, I am thankful.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

6 Tips to Relax While Traveling

Are you constantly stressed while traveling for work? Being away from your home and family can easily throw anyone off. Not to mention a completely different schedule than your daily routine. Whether you are new to business travel or an seasoned roadwarrior, many parts of the journey can leave you feeling anxious.  Knowing how to relax while traveling is an important but often overlooked variable of business trips.

Tricks to help you relax while traveling:

Plan ahead 

Visualizing where you’ll be, what you will be wearing and events you will be attending can establish a schedule and even control. Before you head out the door, spend a few minutes researching. Knowing the address of your hotel and where it’s located will eliminate a few harried minutes at the airport. Or if you are attending a conference, download the schedule beforehand and plan out which sessions you’d like to see. Going in with a game plan might just help keep you confident and ready for other experiences.

Don’t over-schedule yourself 

Speaking of scheduling your time, try not to overbook your day. Factor things like jet lag, amount of sleep, work deadlines, etc. before committing to additional plans.

Unplug

Though it can seem impossible, try to have a few intervals during the day to unplug from work. If you can’t do that, even 15 minutes before going to sleep can recharge you for the next day.

Wellness

Make sure to take care of your health while on the road to help melt away the stress. Take advantage of hotel wellness programs, hit the gym, or grab some healthy snacks to offset an unhealthy traveling diet.

Family Pictures 

If you are missing your loved ones at home, save pictures of them on the background of your phone or computer. Seeing your family members may bring a smile to your face as you go through long days of meetings.

Save time for a vacation 

Our last tip is to take a vacation when you are done with work travel. Whether a full vacation or just a weekend ‘bleisure’ trip can open your eyes to a new place. Connect with a travel advisor at Andavo Travel, Christopherson’s leisure travel division, to plan a trip for complete relaxation.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Add Wellness Travel to your Business Travel

I recently came across this article from our luxury travel consortium, Virtuoso, about new wellness travel trends.  I hadn’t heard of many of them (although plenty of our Andavo Travel advisors specialize in wellness travel), and found them fascinating.  Perhaps for a stressed-out business traveler, one of these wellness trends may be just the ticket for your next vacation.

Wellness Travel ideas for business travelers

Hygge

Pronounced “hoo-gah”, this Danish concept is catching popularity. Roughly meaning “the pursuit of coziness” – it’s an established time to curl up with a good book and hot mulled wine. In wellness travel, this could be stepping away from the chaos. Enroll in forest walks, classes in reading or writing haiku, watercolor classes, and alpine treks.

Conscious Eating

Sometimes the food is the highlight of a vacation. In our society of diets and fads, it’s easy to feel guilty about indulging, even when away. Conscious eating is less about sticking to a regime, and more about being mindful. The focus is instead on where food comes from, how it’s produced, how your body will respond to it, and if it’s the best choice for you.

 

Digital Detox

Staying connected is becoming more and more important these days. With emails, social media, news feeds etc, it can be impossible to get away. Hence, the latest in wellness trends, digital detox. Resorts offering a digital detox often ban technology in public areas, and some don’t offer Wi-Fi at all. Other places require guests to surrender their devices upon arrival, returning them only after the program or stay is complete.  They’ve found that guests sleep better and are more present  overall.

Mindful Meditation

Meditation is practiced around the world, but it has recently reached critical mass stateside, with apps zooming to the top of the Apple App Store best-seller list and pop-up, pop-in studios sprouting across the country to help busy people calm their minds.

Whatever the individual practice, the benefits of meditation are grounded in scientific fact: A recent study reported that mindfulness meditation provided a cure for pain relief, while devotees report reduced stress, clearer thinking, and diminished anxiety.

High-Tech Wellness

These spas blow the traditional spa out of the water.  Focused on identifying and addressing chronic health concerns,they use advanced technology to do it. Some use stem-cell biotechnology to help treat autoimmune diseases. Or full-day medical intakes that incorporate a body composition analysis, blood draw, and metabolic rate test. Vitamin deficiencies, allergies, and food intolerances can be spotted and treated, while more pervasive conditions have a chance to be identified and addressed through a combination of traditional and holistic treatments.

For guests suffering from persistent but vague ailments that have eluded diagnosis or treatment, high-tech wellness facilities are the perfect place to drill down and get to the root of what ails you.

Equine Therapy

Horses have long been recognized as therapeutic for those working through trauma or emotional issues. Many luxury resorts have started incorporating equine therapy programs as a source of creativity and connection. Some programs focus more on communication rather than riding. Popular as team-building exercises, they facilitate better listening and communication, while also reflecting human behavior. Other popular options include painting classes on the live canvas of the horse, to express emotions and center energy.

No matter how you de-stress, there is a wellness option out there for you. If interested if finding your own relaxing vacation away, please contact our Andavo Travel advisers.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

How to Turn Your Business Trip into Your Next Vacation

Have you recently taken a whirlwind business trip to an amazing destination only to be stuck inside for meetings? The views of sandy beaches or a vibrant city you have through the windows of your meeting room, hotel, or whirring by in a taxi should not be missed! Though it can be frustrating, don’t lose up hope.

Tips to turn your business trip that could turn it into your future vacation

Accommodations  

You get to see firsthand an accommodation option. If you have enjoyed your stay at the hotel then you may already have a lead on where to stay again. If not, ask around if people are enjoying where they are staying. You may find another option you did not know existed.

Networking

Networking is all about getting to know people but sometimes it is hard to come up with topics to get started. What is a more perfect way to start a conversation at a meeting than to ask if they have been to the city before or something fun they got to do there? It will give you some ideas and a great introduction topic.

Location

Location, location, location. We have all heard the phrase and it really is important! Does the location you are staying in hold some appeal for what you want to do at the destination? Or would you rather stay somewhere more central to activities you think would be enjoyable? Taking note can help decide where exactly you want to end up on your return.

You may be working but it does not mean you can’t be planning some relaxation for the future! Connect with a travel adviser at Andavo Travel, Christopherson’s leisure travel division, to plan a trip for all the things you missed seeing and more.

 

 

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Travel News Vacation Travel

London Vacation Recommendations

My family recently returned from an amazing spring break vacation visiting London and Paris.  Having visited these cities before, we planned the trip through the eyes of our teenage son- mixing culture, history, and Harry Potter.

Our Hotel In London

A great hotel in a convenient location was key to our itinerary. That’s why we chose  Anthenaeum Hotel and Residences. Recently renovated, it’s located in Mayfair overlooking Green Park. The hotel is also close to Buckingham Palace and St. James Palace. It was truly an excellent choice for us in London. The hotel rooms were quiet and provided five star amenities with beautiful views.  The onsite restaurant, Galivan, is the latest restaurant from Michelin star rated brothers, Chris and Jeff Galvin. It has an inviting atmosphere and delicious meals, including afternoon tea and all day dining.  We also enjoyed restaurants in charming Shepherds Market, which is just blocks from the hotel.

Events In London

Another great resource for this trip was our Virtuoso partner, Sincerely Paul.  Paul was my hero in locating sold out tickets in London. This included the critically important WB Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. He helped me avoid a near parental fail for not securing tickets months in advance.  We look forward to working with Paul on our next visit to enjoy additional experiences beyond the city.

Working in the travel industry has a few perks and in the case of this trip, that was working with exceptional travel professionals in our organization that directed my travel plans and put my family on course for a memorable experience together.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Why Business Travelers Should Take Vacation

I’m just going to say it. Americans don’t take enough vacation. I understand though, I’m guilty of the same thing. Maybe you’re vying for a raise or proving your worth as an underdog. Add on an economy bouncing back from a recession, and Americans often feel guilty for taking time for themselves. But, did you know that we as a nation left 429 million unused days on the table last year? That’s a lot. Also, those unused vacation days simply gives money back to the employer. That’s a total of $224 billion that goes straight back to the company’s wallet. That’s your hard-earned time!

This issue goes further than just getting what you deserve. Taking a vacation, or even just a few days off, can positively influence your health and wellbeing. And conversely, not taking time to relax can cause health issues.

How it affects your health

Overwork and heart disease is scientifically, quantifiably correlated. In a well renowned study analyzed in 1991 but beginning in 1948, found that women homemakers who took vacation once every six years or less had nearly twice the risk of developing heart attacks or fatal heart problems than those who took time off at least twice a year. Another research study, spanning 50 years and published in 2012, found that a ten-hour-or-more workday increased the risk of coronary heart risk by 80% in both sexes. The researchers correlated the health issues with prolonged exposure to psychological stress.

Not surprisingly, this psychological stress can also effect mental health. In 2012, data was collected and analyzed from another prolonged study called Whitehall II. The Finnish Institute of Occupations Health found that people who work more than 11 hours (compared to those working 7-8 hours a day) were twice as likely to have a major depressive episode, even without previous mental health issues.

Additionally, the same Finnish Institute in a different study found that people who work  55-hours-a-week, as opposed to 40 hours, demonstrated lower cognitive function, poor vocabulary and reasoning skills. Taking your deserved time off can save you from serious and lasting physical and mental health issues.

Taking vacations actually helps with productivity

Conversely, when you do take time off, you will likely return to work more refreshed and eager to get the job done. This is something that we’ve known for years. And mostly likely, so does your upper management. Happy employees, given time to relax and let their minds wander, are often more productive in the long run.

Larger companies are beginning to change their policies, ensuring their employees get the break they need. Arianna Huffington, from the Huffington Post, recently developed an opt-in vacation email policy. They had previously made it clear that no one is expected to check work email or voicemail during time off or the weekends. Even with this policy they found employees working away during their time out of the office. So they developed their own software that will automatically delete or archive all incoming email during their worker’s vacation time. Their email additionally will then send an auto-reply, asking the sender to either resend the email when the person is back in the office or ask them to reach out to someone else. Though this is an opt-in feature, and I imagine those that truly need it will never use it, it exemplifies the work-life balance attitude that American has lost.

Hopefully your workplace understands the value of taking time off. Not only does it lower stress levels, defend against health concerns and make your more productive in the long run, it’s your hard earned time! Find out more information or how to discuss these points with your workplace at Project: Time Off.

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Business Travel Guides Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Travel Packing List For Dummies: Use Carry-on Luggage For EVERY Trip

Passengers gathering at the gate prior to their boarding time is strange to me. My first thought is often, ‘why stand in line before you are called, cutting into time that could be used for work, a preflight meal, catching up on a phone call?’ But then I remember that these travelers, like me, are terrified of not finding a space for their bag on the plane. I pride myself on using the same international sized carry-on for every trip, no matter how long. In fact, I wrote a blog on my favorite packing tips a few years ago.  Since I wrote this, I’ve continued traveling for business and leisure and know even more about packing light. I’ve discovered a few easy tips that are especially helpful as we move into the cooler months.

Carry-on packing tips for business and leisure travelers

1) Invest in packing cubes. They not only help you separate your clothes, but they really do keep everything compact. They are especially useful for sweaters!
2) Boot season is upon us and while they look great, knee-high boots can take up an entire suitcase. If boots are part of your wardrobe, wear them on the plane to save space.
3) Try wearing items that you have packed a few times during the same trip. A scarf or tie can really transform an outfit, and nobody will even notice that you had worn it the previous day.
4) If you plan to use the hotel gym, invest in a good workout outfit that is made of nylon. This material gets really small when folded and you can even roll the items and store them inside your workout shoes.
5) If you buy your cosmetics from a mall department store, do so when you can get a promotional gift. The bags that come with these gifts are often the perfect size for travel and the samples are usually travel sized.

Overall, I’ve learned that even with the stressful pre-boarding line, carry-on luggage is the best option for plane travel. Especially if you have an established packing routine with usable tips and tricks.

Looking for more helpful tips on business travel packing? Check out our other blog posts:

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. We’ve worked passionately for more than 60 years to bring travel solutions to busy businesses. Learn more about our specialty travel technology or consultative services that save our clients time and money.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Create Memories and Celebrate Life’s Milestones with Travel

Cancun-Dec-2013-090
Cancun, Mexico

What do you get the guy who turns sixty and has more ball caps and tee shirts than he knows what to do with? How about a special trip to a sandy beach destination?

Of all the destinations around the world that we have visited, my husband’s favorite place to go is Cancun, Mexico. So, this past December, I made the arrangements for us to stay at an all-inclusive, adults-only resort on the fabled white sand beaches of Cancun. While the temperature in our home location of Salt Lake City was in the 20s and 30s, we were enjoying the sun and sand with temperatures in the mid 80s.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve traveled to Mexico in the first part of December, which also happens to be low season. One year we took the whole extended family: husbands, wives, and grandkids. It was a gift that replaced of a few years worth of Christmas presents, but we had a vacation of memories to share with our loved ones.

That trip to Tahiti for your 40th birthday, or an Alaskan cruise for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary: those memories will last forever.

Contact an Andavo Travel advisor today and take all the stress out of planning that memorable trip for your special celebration.

Andavo Travel is the leisure travel division of Christopherson Business Travel, providing clients with world-class service through excellence, trust, integrity, loyalty, family, community, and caring.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

15 Amazing Complimentary Travel Perks at Virtuoso Hotels

Local seafood is part of the tasting menu at Ecuador’s Casa Gangotena, a Virtuoso property.
Local seafood is part of the tasting menu at Ecuador’s Casa Gangotena, a Virtuoso property.

Christopherson Business Travel and the company’s leisure division, Andavo Travel, have been a valued member of the Virtuoso luxury travel consortium for more than 16 years. With nearly 9,000 elite travel specialists from more than 335 agencies in 25 countries, Virtuoso is the world’s most exclusive network of travel advisors. So exclusive, in fact, that only 1% of all travel agencies are invited to join.

Although we are an independently owned and operated travel agency, we have a world of resources at our fingertips through the Virtuoso network, which opens doors and provides access to sites and events not available to the general public.

When you book a Virtuoso hotel or resort through a travel agency that’s a Virtuoso member, you’ll get access to complimentary amenities, regardless of whether you are traveling for business or pleasure.

Quite often, these free amenities are daily breakfast, upgrade at time of booking (subject to availability), early check-in/late check-out (subject to availability), and one other individualized amenity of the hotel’s choosing. Curious about what one of those individualized amenities might be? Check out this Virtuoso article that outlines “15 Amazing Complimentary Travel Perks at Virtuoso Hotels.”

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

Destination Spotlight: Jordan

Now that the holidays are over, many people spend January and February planning out their vacation travel for the year with their Andavo Travel advisor.  May I recommend a visit to Jordan in 2016?  I just got back in December from spending a week in Jordan, where I toured all the great historical places the country has to offer. I was highly impressed and can’t recommend it enough.

My favorite spot was Petra which is a UNESCO world heritage site and was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007. This archaeological city in southern Jordan is famous for it’s rock-cut architecture. There are almost 900 different buildings, the Treasury being the most famous. You could easily spend two days walking around all the ruins as the area is very large.

When arriving in Jordan there is a visa charge of 40 Dinar or almost $60.00 USD. This visa charge is waived for people booked through a tour operator that stay at least three nights in Jordan. The airport is approximately 45 minutes from the city of Amman. I would recommend spending two nights in Amman where you can easily visit the citadel, amphitheater, and the ancient city of Jerash where you can walk among the ruins of the Greco-Roman city, Gerasa. It is sometimes referred to as the Pompeii of the Middle East because of it’s size and excavations.

We drove to Wadi Rum and took a jeep ride in the desert sands. We visited the site where TE Lawrence, a British archaeologist and diplomat, tried to help with the Arab revolt against Turkey. His experiences led to the making of the movie, “Lawrence of Arabia”. There we visited several Bedouin camps where you can spend a night in the desert and view the stars and then the next day ride out of camp on a camel.

The Dead Sea was our last stop before heading home. There are several resorts where you can spend time relaxing in their spas or floating in the Dead Sea. The main resorts are the Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa, Kempinski Hotel Ishtar, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, and Crowne Plaza Dead Sea where they have a huge spa area – one of the nicest I have ever seen. When you are at the Dead Sea, you put mud on your body before you get into the water. The black mud is rich in minerals good for maintaining healthy, supple skin – but they only want you to float around in the Dead Sea for 15 minutes due to the high salt content in the water, and they have someone there to remind you of that.

The country of Jordan has amazing Mediterranean food, jaw-dropping historical sites to visit, and warm, friendly people. I felt very safe while I was there and highly recommend it as a great destination to visit.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Tips for staying in shape while traveling

business travel fitness tipsHere we go again. The holidays probably added five or ten pounds and now it’s the New Year and all of us road warriors are back to traveling every other week. But how are we ever going to get those pounds off and stay in shape?

Here’s the answer: easy-to-follow exercise routines you can do on the road. They will not only help you stay in shape but keep you alert despite the stresses of business travel. With long haul travel especially, maintaining fitness will go a long way to staying fresh and clear.

Click Here for an In-Flight Fitness Workout

Click Here for 18 Exercises for Healthy Flying

Wishing you happy, safe, and healthy travels for 2016!!

 

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Give the Gift of Travel

What gift could be more unique and memorable than the opportunity to discover a fascinating part of the world? Give the special person in your life something they will treasure for a lifetime – the gift of travel.

Gift of travelHonestly, do you remember every gift you received for Christmas last year or for your birthday? I dare say most of us would not. But do you remember that last vacation you took with your family or friends? I am sure you do. Memories last forever.

Just imagine receiving a gift for a cruise, a fishing trip to Alaska, a perfect island escape, or an adventurous trek on the Swiss Alps. There are limitless vacation possibilities. A trip of a lifetime will be cherished and remembered forever.

Travel gift certificates make an ideal gift for any occasion such as an anniversary, a birthday, Christmas, retirement gift, graduation, or a wedding gift. They are great incentive gifts for a corporation to give to their well-deserving employees.

It is easy to purchase a gift certificate from Andavo Travel, the vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel. Call 866-327-7600 or email vacations@andavotravel.com to make your purchase. Then, our well-traveled, experienced travel consultants will make it easy and seamless for the recipient to plan their choice of vacation.

Give the gift of making memories.

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Business Travel Travel Technology Vacation Travel

Offline Apps for Summer Road Trips

Road trippers can still use these apps offline, saving on roaming charges or staying on the right road even when service isn't available.
Road trippers can still use these apps offline to save on roaming charges or when service isn’t available.

With summer winding down, now’s the time to plan those last minute getaways. In fact, I’m planning a wonderful road trip to Telluride, Colorado for a friend’s wedding this month. So in honor of the great summer road trip, I thought I’d share a few apps to help others on their way and enjoy their trip even more. Many of these suggestions also work offline, which is helpful when you hit a stretch of road without mobile phone service. Happy Travels!

1. Maps.me

Maps.me provides detailed, offline maps for mobile devices. It’s great for when you are in a dead spot.

2. Avenza

Avenza is another handy offline app with scanned maps of national parks, hiking trails, transit routes, and odd ball sites.

3. Triposo

Download your destination guide ahead of time from Triposo and you will have a slick offline travel guide to top attractions, places to eat and sleep, and local time and weather.

4. Overdrive and Audible

Need entertainment for the hours of driving ahead? Overdrive allows you to borrow eBooks, audiobooks, music, and video titles from your local library. Audible is a membership program offering monthly audiobooks from a selection of more than 180,000 titles.

5. Pocket

Pocket is an app that lets you grab stories, articles, videos, “or pretty much anything” you want to come back to read/view later. It also integrates with more than 1,500 other apps, including Flipboard, Pulse, and Twitter.

6. This American Life

This American Life is a weekly public radio show and is also available as a free weekly podcast–often the most popular podcast in the country, with around one million people downloading each week–and like audiobooks, podcasts are great for road trips.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Take a Vacation, Get a Promotion?

The Harvard Business Review, recently published the article, “Are the People Who Take Vacations the Ones Who Get Promoted?” by Shawn Achor.

The premise is this:

Too many people limit their happiness and success by assuming that taking time off from work will send a negative message to their manager and slow their career advancement. But new research, says that the exact opposite is true. Taking a vacation can actually increase the likelihood of getting a raise or a promotion.

Achor then lists four reasons why it makes good business sense to take a vacation. My personal favorite was No. 2, where explains that “to be truly engaged at work, your brain needs periodic breaks to gain fresh perspective and energy.” He follows up with this knock-out punch:

But not all vacations are created equally. Consider research that shows that the average vacation yields no improvement in people’s levels of energy or happiness upon returning to work. In these cases, it wasn’t the time away that caused the negative or neutral impact, it was the travel stress. In a study of over 400 travelers from around the world, Michelle Gielan from the Institute for Applied Positive Research and I found a strong negative correlation between travel stress and happiness. However, we also found that 94% of vacations result in higher levels of happiness and energy if you 1) plan a month in advance and prepare your coworkers for your time away, 2) go outside your city (the further the better), 3) meet with a local host or other knowledgeable guide at the location, and 4) have the travel details set before going. Smart vacations lead to greater happiness and energy at work, and therefore, greater productivity, intelligence and resilience.

At Andavo Travel (the vacation travel division of Christopherson Business Travel), we are a network of experienced travel agents who specialize in reducing travel stress. Let us handle the stressful travel planning, arrange for a local host or guide at your destination, and figure out those travel details before you leave. This just leaves you the task of preparing your work/company/coworkers for your time away. We can send you on a “smart vacation” so that you can return to work happier and more productive – and hopefully ready for that promotion!

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

6 Tips to Travel More

With the New Year now in full swing, most of us have resolutions we are working on. But usually by mid-year (and often sooner), half of us have will have likely broken one or more of those resolutions.

One of the top ten most frequently “un-achieved” resolutions is to travel to a new place. This goal is usually broken due to a lack of time and/or money. But there are ways to keep this resolution. Here is a list of six tips to help you travel more:

Top 6 tips to actually traveling more

  1. Make Time – A vacation doesn’t have to be a week or two long. Try instead for a getaway to a location you can get to quickly either in your car or via a short flight. Enjoy an overnight trip and enjoy the local sights.
  2. Extend a Business Trip – Often the sites of a city to which you travel for business can be very interesting. Since you are there anyway, adding a day or two can be easy. This can also save you money on airfare, and perhaps car and hotel. When possible, you can even have your family or friends meet you after your  meetings are over so you can enjoy the locale with others.
  3. Use Your Vacation Days – Work doesn’t go away. Intentions to get “caught up” before you leave may never happen. But if you put it on the calendar, you are more inclined to take the vacation. And to take it one step further–book it. Forces yourself to take the time off. You’ll be happy you did.
  4.  Start Saving Now – With automated bank deposits and transfers, there are many ways to set aside money for vacations. Determine an amount you can set aside and make it an automated saving. You won’t miss the money, and will have a nice amount when vacation time comes around.
  5.  Take a Staycation – During the recession, many people saved money by taking “staycations”–a vacation in their own town. Even with a stronger economy, this is still a great way to revisit your city and local sights that maybe you haven’t explored before.
  6. Look for Volunteer Travel Opportunities – Join a charitable organization or get more involved with your church. Many times they organize trips to help those in third-world countries and the cost of such trips are often paid for through fundraising. Plus, what a great way to see the world–while helping those in need.

Whatever your resolutions may be, I hope travel is on to your list. So many great places and opportunities await.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Traveling With Your Four-Legged Friend

traveling with petsI recently saw a bumper sticker that read, “It’s all About my Dog,” and oh, how I could relate! For me, it’s all about my pet Hank. Without me realizing it, Hank has slowly begun to control my life over the last four years and has somehow became a member of the family. People say pets become like children. At first, I didn’t believe this statement, but now I think it’s worse than that. My children have never kept me from taking a vacation, but every time we think about going out of town, the big dilemma is: Who is going to watch Hank and will they keep him at their house or will we be able to find someone willing to stay at our house because, of course, it’s better for Hank to be at ‘his’ house.

Luckily there are pet-care options when going out of town for a business trip or vacation. Should you choose to leave your pet behind, there are many services for dog sitters, either at your home or at an off-site location. If you do take your pet to an off-site location, you may want to slowly introduce them to the new surroundings so that when you go on vacation it won’t be a traumatic experience. If you choose to have someone watch your pet at your home, it goes without saying, be sure you do your homework to find someone you can trust, who comes highly recommended.

Additionally, there is the option of taking your pet with you. Many hotels–even upscale hotels–are pet friendly with a deposit. Your pet can even travel on the airplane, but be sure to check your airline’s policies for the size of your pet, time of year, and temperature of the cargo compartment if you have to ‘check’ your pet.

Your Christopherson Business Travel agent or Andavo Travel agent, depending on whether or not you’re traveling for business or leisure, will be happy to assist you in finding those pet friendly hotels and airline regulations. Happy Traveling … Ruff, Ruff.

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Business Travel Travel News Vacation Travel

Travel trend report: “bleisure” travel

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More and more business travelers are adding leisure activities and vacation days to their work trips.

The trend of mixing business and leisure travel, a.k.a bleisure travel, is becoming increasingly popular, according to many news sources and worldwide surveys. More and more business travelers are adding leisure activities and vacation days to their work trips.

According to Skift.com, 83% of business travelers say they use time on business trips to explore the cities they’re visiting. Another 60% of respondents said they’ve taken a business leisure trip, and 30% have added two vacation days to business trips. Six in ten respondents say they’re more likely to take this kind of bleisure trip today than they were five years ago, and 78% think adding leisure days to business travel adds value to work assignments.

For businessmen and women who travel frequently throughout the year, they use bleisure travel as a way to stay connected to their families.  Additionally, since the company picks up the business traveler’s flight, it can also save the family money on airfare.

Many travelers are unsure if their company has a policy on bleisure travel. Is it allowed? Encouraged? Discouraged? These are questions to discuss with your company before delving too deep. Simply ask if your company has a policy on leisure activities during business trips. As long as the traveler is not charging the company for their leisure activities, most companies don’t seem to mind.

If you would like to travel for business and pleasure on your next business trip, your Christopherson Business Travel agent would be happy to assist you with your plans. Or they may connect you with one of our vacation-planning experts at Andavo Travel, Christopherson’s leisure travel division. Either way, Christopherson has the resources and expertise to assist you with your next bleisure trip.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

Why do we travel?

Sometimes we are required to travel (in the case of business travel, for example), but sometimes we choose to travel as a leisure activity.  As a vacation travel consultant, I’m usually in the midst of preparing for my next journey. One of my latest trips was unforgettable! I traveled to Machu Picchu, Peru, where I found the Peruvian culture to be amazingly warmhearted and authentic. Machu Picchu was definitely the highlight, as it is archaeologically and visually breathtaking.

As I was preparing for my trip to Peru and managing my clients’ travel, it made me wonder what motivates a person to travel? Travel takes you away from the normalcy of everyday life, routines, and responsibilities. When you travel, you place yourself in an environment where you are unfamiliar with the surroundings. You maneuver your way through airports, hire local transportation, and find accommodations. You manage through climate, time zone, currency, and cultural differences. Travel takes you away from your element, but we all know it is definitely worthwhile. The new experiences and amazing adventures we encounter enrich our lives.

We arrange vacations to beautiful beaches and exciting cities. We choose to participate in activities we would never consider at home, such as taking a helicopter ride over a volcanic island such as Hilo, Hawaii, or maybe photographing the Big Five while on safari. We zipline though tropical Costa Rica, or parasail on famous beaches. Our travels may urge us to learn some of the local language, traditions, and rituals, or to study up on amazing wines.

Leisure travel is healthy; it de-stresses you. Travel allows you to be in the present moment, fully immersed in the new landscape, colorful cultures, history, and welcoming locals. I believe when you travel you become a richer person; you are more accepting and understanding of other cultures and people. I believe that when you travel you gain confidence. From the moment you touch down at your destination, you are interacting and connecting with the locals. You are faced with the unfamiliar, navigating your way through your destination, and having a marvelous adventure.

Everyone travels for different reasons. This is a big world and there are many ways to experience it. When you next get a break from corporate travel, and want to use up some of those vacation days, I hope you will contact me to arrange your next travel adventure!

Doreen Lopez is a travel advisor for Christopherson Business Travel’s leisure division, Andavo Travel.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

Downtime Redefined: Taking a Vacation Can Mean Any Number of Things

1404365196711I just returned from a family vacation in Puerto Vallarta with my husband and three teenagers (Yes, we survived!). My son just graduated from high school and as children get older, it becomes more and more challenging to get everyone together at the same time.

These days, vacations come in myriad forms. While we took the traditional family vacation, more and more travelers are taking a different approach. Here are a few examples: A “paycation” is when you moonlight as you travel. A “daycation” is a quick 24-hour getaway. A “praycation” is a religious retreat. A “bakeation” is a foodie’s holiday dedicated to sampling pastries (Yum!). Eco tourism (a.k.a. sustainable tourism) and volunteer tourism are also becoming popular options for many travelers. If nothing else, you can have a “staycation” where you stay home and enjoy free time and sightseeing in your own city.

Regardless of how you decide to spend your time off, Christopherson Business Travel has an expert team of advisors in their leisure travel division (Andavo Travel) who can assist you with making your plans. Learn more on their website, or contact an agent for support by phone 866-327-7600.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

US to Europe: Give Icelandair a Try

icelandairWhen researching flights for a recent trip to Europe, I found that Icelandair had the best options from Denver direct to Reykjavik. In fact, the fares are actually quite affordable any time of year, and additional savings can be achieved if you are willing to spend some time in Reykjavik.

Our flight from Denver to Reykjavik was six and a half hours and we had booked the Economy Comfort seating since this fare includes a meal and access to the Saga Lounge. We could order anything from the menu and the selection of entertainment was expansive. Passengers who take this flight in the summer will also enjoy beautiful scenery flying over Greenland, as the sun never sets on this flight. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, we found a beautiful, clean, and incredibly modern airport.

For our second flight from Reykjavik to London, we were upgraded to Business Class and were given the same amenities. The flight crew was incredibly accommodating and we landed in London feeling semi-rested and well fed.

For our return flight, we flew from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Reykjavik and found the flight just as pleasant. On this leg of the trip, we were able to enjoy a stopover in Reykjavik. We had booked a very short 36-hour stay, but will definitely stay longer next time, as the entire country seems to be incredibly organized and there is prearranged transportation for almost every activity.

Icelandair partners with Reykjavik Excursions and tickets are sold on the flight for an airport transfer which either includes a stop at the Blue Lagoon or goes directly to the city with hotel drop-offs. Both Reykjavik Excursions and Gray Line have a desk at the airport with regularly scheduled buses leaving for both the Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik.

We opted for the bus that stopped at the Blue Lagoon, since this attraction is much closer to the airport than downtown. These buses are also the best option for returning to the airport. They depart from downtown and all of the companies have an option for hotel pick up. But do keep in mind that Iceland is a very “on time” country and transportation runs on schedule to the minute.

By taking advantage of the 22 hours of daylight, we were also able to squeeze in a Golden Circle tour and some window shopping downtown during our short stay. It is important to note that the flight on Icelandair was perhaps the only affordable thing about our Reykjavik stopover, as we found that hotels, shopping and dining in the city were quite expensive. But even still–whether you are planning to vacation in Iceland or just stop over, Icelandair provides an affordable fare and great service when travelling to Europe.

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Travel Industry Travel News Vacation Travel

Virtuoso Travel Week: Agents shopping for your next travel adventure

Shopping’s never been more fun!  I’m excited to tell you that soon a whole contingent of Andavo Travel (the vacation planning division of Christopherson) travel advisors from across the country will be heading to Virtuoso Travel Week, the world’s largest luxury travel show, held each August in Las Vegas.

This event brings together the world’s leading luxury travel providers and travel agencies for a week-long, collaborative event where advisors shop cruises, hotels, tours and destinations for their clients. This one-of-a-kind event gives Virtuoso Member travel agencies and advisors the exclusive insider access they need to fulfill their clients travel dreams, turning ordinary trips into extraordinary experiences.

Do you have a particular adventure you want us to seek out for you? Perhaps you’re thinking of an African safari? Maybe you’re dreaming of cruising in a zodiac in Antarctica? Or biking through Asia? This is the perfect time for us to ‘shop’ for your next vacation, so give your Andavo agent a call and let’s discuss your travel interests.

For more info about Virtuoso Travel Week, view this 1-minute video:

Contact us today to start creating your next unique adventure.  www.AndavoTravel.com/vacations

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Travel News Vacation Travel

The perfect vacation won’t plan itself. Andavo Travel can help.

The world is a mighty big place, and vacation planning can sometimes seem overwhelming. That’s when it’s nice to have friends familiar with every corner of it. At Andavo Travel (the leisure division of Christopherson Business Travel), our well-traveled agents use first-hand experiences to customize vacations and have been orchestrating travel dreams to worldwide destinations for more than 30 years.

A screenshot of our Find An Advisor tool.
Find the perfect agent to plan your dream vacation with the “Find An Advisor” tool on AndavoTravel.com/Vacations.

Wondering how to find just the right Andavo travel agent?  Visit this new page on our website!

AndavoTravel.com/Vacations

Use the “Find An Advisor” tool to search for a travel agent that specializes in the interest or destination you’re looking for. Browse agent photos, bios, and recent blog posts to help you decide who is the best fit for you. We know you won’t be disappointed.

We are specialists in the art of travel. We save you time and deliver extraordinary travel experiences. We put our global connections to work to ensure that you receive the most advantageous pricing, access, upgrades, and amenities. Benefits that are simply not available to the general public.

Now, more than ever, the time you spend with family, friends and even yourself is your most valuable investment. We look forward to putting our passion for travel to work for you.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

“Summer loving had me a blast” … Disney Vacations from Andavo Travel

I think we’ve all heard that song at some point, and what a perfect reminder that summer is just around the corner!

Do you have your summer vacation plans set yet? Does your list of potential ideas include the words “Disney” or “beach”? Last summer my family did “Disney” and “Beach” in July and it was a blast for everyone, young to old.

Andavo Travel, the vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel, has been recognized as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for the breadth of knowledge and value we bring to you, the customer, when it comes to Disney vacation options. In fact, with this recognition, our team was awarded a limited-edition commemorative gicle’e painting, created by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Character Artist, Joe Kaminski.

Planning a Disney Vacation with Andavo Travel

“Time” is something we’re all lacking, so spend the time you do have getting ready for all of the fun you’ll have and allow our Authorized Disney Vacation Planners to take care of all the trip research for you.

Here it the information you should have ready when you call:

1) Which Disney destination you want to visit:

  • Walt Disney World in Florida
  • Disneyland in California
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Adventures by Disney
  • Aulani Resort, Hawai’i
  • Beyond Walt Disney

2) The dates you’d like to go (And are your dates flexible?)

3) How many in your party and their ages

4) The type of transportation you plan to use to get to your destination, i.e. Do you need flights?

5) Any special needs or services required

6) Plans to purchase travel insurance, for the various potential emergencies or unexpected situations prior to, and during, your vacation. It’s definitely worth the cost in the end.

Christopherson Business Travel takes care of your entire managed travel program. Now let Andavo Travel take care of your vacation plans. Contact Andavo Travel via AndavoTravel.com.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

What are your travel dreams? Take the Virtuoso Life Travel Dreams Survey and find out.

TravelDreamsWhat’s at the top of your travel wish list? Take the 2014 Virtuoso Life Travel Dreams Survey, and you may be surprised at the destinations you chose that hadn’t initially come to mind.

The questionnaire takes just minutes to complete. It begins by asking you to identify the travel personality that most closely matches yours, followed by a brief journey through the travel questions. Once you click “submit,” you’ll receive a summary of your answers; your own personal travel wish list to share with family, friends and your travel advisor.

PLUS, you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win one of these prizes:

Grand Prize: A 14-day cruise for 2 aboard Crystal Symphony from Bali to Bangkok on Crystal Cruises with air courtesy of Etihad Airways.

First Prize: One of five $1,000 cash prizes.

The deadline to enter is March 31, 2014.

Christopherson Business Travel is a Virtuoso member agency.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Business travel to Tokyo? Delta’s non-stop from Seattle to Haneda is the way to go.

Christopherson Business Travel’s Account Management team recently had a opportunity to visit Japan, flying Delta Airlines. Our team was so impressed with Delta’s business class.

Delta’s Non-stop Service From Seattle to Tokyo

On the outbound, non-stop flight from Seattle to Tokyo we flew Delta’s 767. The 767 is extremely comfortable for sleeping on long-haul flights and the flight attendants were attentive to our every need. The food definitely didn’t taste like airplane food (which is of the utmost importance to me!) I choose sashimi, duck confit, smoked and braised beef short ribs, and chocolate ganache cake for dessert. It was all divine–like dining on a gourmet food airplane (now that’s a concept). There were countless movie selections and the flight just seemed to fly by (pun intended).

Once we arrived at Haneda Airport, we cleared customs in record time and took a short, 15-minute bus ride to our downtown Tokyo hotel. I couldn’t believe how quickly that process went. I have flown to many different international cities where the entire first day day is spent clearing customs and getting from the airport to the hotel. It’s no wonder Haneda was named the World’s Best Domestic Airport at the 2013 SkytraxWorld Airport Awards held at the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Geneva. (And because I live in the amazing city of Denver, I must also say that Denver was voted #5).

Things to Do and Eat in Tokyo

In Tokyo, we had three full days of activities. We visited the Tokyo Tower, Imperial Palace, Ginza, Meiji Jingu Shrine, and Shinjuku. It was quite helpful that we had an amazing tour guide. The transit system is very efficient but it’s also very difficult to understand the signs. In fact, it’s almost impossible unless you are proficient in Japanese. I would highly recommend using a tour guide.

Of course, additional highlights for me included the two great restaurants. The first was Gonpachi Restaurant (where the movie Kill Bill was filmed). Gonpachi is definitely a tourist trap (which I tend to stay away from), however the food was excellent so I didn’t mind all the tourists. And they really have amazing food (have I mentioned that?).  Anyone visiting Japan must try it.

The other restaurant was Nobu. I have been to many of Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurants around the world, but nothing is like eating at Nobu’s in Japan. You truly can’t get more authentic than that.

Which Tokyo airport should you fly into–Narita or Haneda?

Our departure out of Tokyo was from Narita Airport. We again took a bus, but this time, it stopped at multiple hotels to pick-up additional passengers. The trip from our hotel to Narita Airport took one hour and forty minutes–much longer than the quick 15-minute bus ride from our in-bound flight. I, being in the travel business, wonder why more people don’t fly into Haneda? Perhaps it’s because Narita had been the only option for so long, we automatically think NRT (Narita), the only airport in Tokyo for as long as we can remember. But we need to think differently when flying into Tokyo. Haneda is a much better option if your business is taking you to downtown Tokyo.

Delta’s Lie-Flat 777 Seating

On our way back to the States, we flew Delta’s non-stop triple seven flight from Narita to Minneapolis. I must say the new lie-flat herringbone seats on the 777 are amazing. They really are 100% flat! Another great feature about these seats is that you do not have a neighbor, so just know–if you hope to do business or visit with the passenger next to you, it won’t happen in these seats. But in my opinion this is perfect, because you have a seat that lays completely flat when reclined, meaning you can actually sleep. We arrived in Minneapolis and it felt like I had only been in an airplane seat for a couple of hours–certainly not 11.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. But the biggest “take-away” for me, was that I want to get the word out about Delta’s non-stop service from Seattle to Haneda. I want agents to start thinking “Haneda” when flying to Tokyo and I want all of our clients to know about the Seattle-Haneda service. It is truly a wonderful experience and a great time-saver for business travels to Tokyo.

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Vacation Travel

Destination Highlight: Iguazu Falls, Argentina

I recently visited Iguazu Falls, prior to attending the Virtuoso Symposium in Buenos Aires. (Isn’t it nice when you can add some leisure travel to your business trip?) Iguazu Falls is on the border of Brazil and Northern Argentina, and consists of numerous waterfalls varying from about 200-270 feet high. It is divided into upper and lower Iguazu and is so large that there is no vantage point that allows you to view the entire falls at once, unless you are in a helicopter. The upper falls are called the Devil’s Throat, where about half of the rivers flow falls. The Devil’s Throat is about 270 feet high, 490 feet wide, and 2,300 feet long. It is incredible to see the amount of water flowing through it!

About 20% of the falls are on the Brazil side and 80% are on the Argentina side. The Argentina side takes you almost the entire day to visit, because of the numerous catwalks along the entire top of the falls. It also takes you to a great vantage point right in the middle of the Devil’s Throat. I did not visit the Brazil side, but it seemed that the Argentina side got you much closer to the falls overall and had a lot more to see, where as the Brazil side gave good panoramic views from across the river.

The best place to stay is the Sheraton Iguazu Resort & Spa. It is the only hotel inside the park. You can literally walk out the back side of the hotel and you are at the falls. The other hotels are in Puerto Iguazu, which is a small town about 20 minutes from the falls. The Sheraton is more expensive because of its proximity to the falls, but it’s still the best option.

We spent a day at Iguazu Falls and I believe it was the perfect amount of time. Two days would have allowed for us to take our time, but much more time would have been excessive. The only thing to see is the falls, but they are definitely worth the trip. Even though Iguazu is packed with tourists and far away from anything, it is still absolutely amazing and completely worth seeing.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Virtuoso Traveler Magazine: Relax & Recharge

VirtuosoTravelerAugustWhere do you escape to when it’s time for a respite, when you want to slow down and settle back, where you can turn off the smartphone and all the distractions of the world? From tranquil weekends at the spa to teeing up for a leisurely game of golf, the August issue of Virtuoso Traveler is full of travel ideas geared to help you relax and recharge. Cast your line in the rivers of the Great Smoky Mountains, saddle up in Montana, or set sail in Chesapeake Bay. However you prefer to unwind, your Andavo Travel advisor (the vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel) can remove the weight of planning by arranging all the details.

Enjoy this digital edition of Virtuoso Traveler magazine with our compliments.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Virtuoso’s Travel Dreams Survey Results Are In

VirtuosoLifeCover2The results are in. Nearly 8,000 people took Virtuoso’s Travel Dreams online survey to determine their travel personalities and share which destinations and travel experiences top their wish lists. In this issue of Virtuoso Life magazine, hot off the presses, Virtuoso shares the results. From Australia to French Polynesia, discover the top fantasy islands, where to set sail, cities that excite, favorite family vacations, and of course, top trips of a lifetime! And, new this year, they asked respondents to pick their travel personality. Are you the go-go type or someone who yearns to unplug and just be still?

Take a peek at this month’s issue of Virtuoso Life and see how your travel dreams line up.  And if you’re ready to make those dreams a reality, contact a travel advisor at Andavo Travel (Christopherson Business Travel’s vacation travel division) for assistance in planning.

Note:  If you’d like to receive a hard copy version of the award-winning Virtuoso Life magazine (published six times per year), simply fill out the form on this page for a free subscription – compliments of Andavo Travel.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Your Travel Photos Could Earn You Fame and Fortune

Virtuoso photo contest
The Virtuoso Traveler Photography Contest 2013
Deadline to Enter: June 16, 2013

As you may know, Christopherson Business Travel and Andavo Travel (Christopherson’s vacation division) are proud members of Virtuoso. Consisting of 7,200 travel advisors associated with over 330 agencies in 20 countries, Virtuoso is the world’s most exclusive network of travel advisors. So exclusive, in fact, that only 1% of all travel agencies are invited to join.

Virtuoso’s annual photography contest is underway, and you can win cash prizes just by entering your travel photography. Virtuoso wants to see pictures of how you make the most of your vacations. Send in your best shots that include you and/or your family and friends soaking in your favorite travel moments (see examples of previous winners above). We know that your Christopherson or Andavo travel advisors have helped design some amazing trips, so here’s your chance to brag. Four lucky travelers will win cash prizes, and win or not, your photo may appear in Virtuoso Life® magazine or on Virtuoso.com.

You may enter as many vacation photos as you wish anytime during this year’s contest period (deadline is June 16, 2013). Upload a couple of photos now, and a few later – the choice is yours.

Judges will be looking for image quality, composition, and creativity in addition to the requirement of you and/or your family and friends being in your photos. We know you have great landscapes and other interesting pix, but this contest is all about you and your travel experiences. These may include celebrations, simple pleasures, special moments, ultimate adventures, and/or the fulfillment of travel dreams. You’ll have a chance to title each image, to indicate where and when it was taken, and to tell us about what made it a special moment for you.

Show us what you’ve got! Put those hundreds of vacation photos to good use, and we’ll cross our fingers that you win.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Planning Multi-generational Vacations: Get on board!

Have you heard the term “multi-generational travel?” It’s big in the travel industry right now, and refers to the trend of going on family vacations that include grandparents, parents and grandchildren–you can even throw in aunts, uncles, and cousins while you’re at it! These trips are amazing for getting quality family time with extended family members, but can be tricky to plan with so many schedules, varied interests, and ages. May I suggest cruising as a solution?

The 2013 Virtuoso Luxe Report found that family and multi-generational travel are the year’s biggest travel trend, with river and luxury cruises taking the next two spots. The report also found that spending time and reconnecting with loved ones were among the top reasons motivating such travel. Not surprisingly, Virtuoso travel agencies like Andavo Travel have seen a lot of crossover in these trends, with more clients booking multi-generational cruises over the past three years.

Cruising lends itself well to families with a range of ages and interests. It provides the convenience of being able to travel together, of only having to unpack once, all while experiencing a variety of destinations together as a family. Another added benefit, especially if there are little ones, is that when nap or bed time comes, the stateroom is only steps away, while everyone else can stay put and finish their activity.

Imagine, for example, the challenge of family travel in Europe–the cost of going to multiple destinations by train or plane with the whole crew: grandparents, parents and grandkids. With cruising, guests can go off for the day, onboard or ashore, and do what they like. Then everyone can gather together again for dinner and talk about the day.

At Andavo Travel, Christopherson Business Travel’s leisure travel division, we book many multi-generational trips–not just cruises! And having an agency handle all the details for families, particularly those spread out across the U.S., can be a real time and money saver.

Contact us today and we’ll get started on your family trip!

AndavoTravel.com or 866-327-7600

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Vacation Travel

Four Seasons Resort Vail: An Experience that shouldn’t be missed

My career path has taken me to some amazing places around the world and I’ve been fortunate to stay at numerous luxury hotel properties. Because of this, I am often asked what city or resort I’ve enjoyed the most. This is a difficult question for me, and usually requires a really long answer. However, I can tell you, hands down, that my favorite brand of hotel properties is Four Seasons. And while yes, they have amazing locations, beautiful suites, and impeccable grounds, it is their truly amazing, dedicated service that places them at the top of my list.

Recently, my husband, two young children and I visited the Four Seasons Resort in Vail, Colorado. We were greeted immediately and checked in within 5 minutes. When we got to our room, our luggage had already magically appeared, and I thought, how did that happen so quickly?

Our room was also thoughtfully prepared, with attention given to every detail–from hand-colored pictures for our kids, to cookies and milk with their names written in chocolate sauce.

We really wanted to experience the resort so we ate most of our meals there and truly “hung out.” The meals at the Flame restaurant were amazing. We ate breakfast and dinner there, and the breakfast buffet was the best I have ever enjoyed. Just imagine–homemade omelets, Belgian waffles, fruit, charcuteries, and the most unbelievable pork belly bacon you have ever tasted. (I really wanted to find a way to bring that stuff home!) Olga, our lovely wait staff, seemed to never leave our side, even for the buffet.

During our outings to the hot tub, there was always staff around, offering hot chocolate or some sort of wonderfully-made snack. You could, quite honestly, make Four Seasons Resort Vail your single and final destination (although of course there are also wonderful things to see and do outside the resort, in and around the city).

Ski season is, of course, a great time to visit Vail and the Four Seasons Resort–their ski valets are first rate–but the off-season is just as lovely as well. And the Four Seasons is, in my opinion, the only place to stay, should your travels take you to Vail.

Christopherson Business Travel is a Four Seasons Preferred Agency. If you’d like to enjoy the same service and experience my family received, please contact one of our travel specialists today to make reservations at Four Seasons Resort Vail.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

Internet vs Travel Advisor for Booking Vacation Travel

why use a travel advisor

By now, most of our blog readers are probably convinced of the benefits of using a travel agency to book your business travel–the convenience, the technology, the assistance with making changes, help in tracking your unused tickets, etc., etc.

But do you feel the same way about using a travel advisor to book your vacation travel?  Or do you spend hours and hours doing research on the Internet, trying to find the cheapest flights, the best hotel for your budget and preferences, and planning activities to do once you arrive. Travel planning can be very time consuming and frustrating, and yet so many people continue doing it all on their own.  Why?

I love this list of the Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Advisor, written by Ruthanne Terrero, the Editorial Director of the Questex Travel Group.  It’s funny, and oh-so-true!

  1. You’ve Googled “Mexico vacation,” and come up with 17.8 million responses. Need a little help editing those choices?
  2. Remember when you used that obscure website to book your hotel, and when you got there you spent your beach vacation overlooking a parking lot?
  3. How many hours were you on hold with the airline when your flight was canceled because of a snowstorm?
  4. Did you really mean to spend your honeymoon at that resort whose one tiny pool was filled all day with 12 screaming children?
  5. Who knew that when you booked that “villa” in Tuscany, it would be a small room with a kitchenette and no air conditioning? Funny, it looked much better on your computer screen.
  6. No one explained to you that in July, its winter time in Rio, and so you showed up there with nothing but five Hawaiian shirts and three pairs of swimming trunks.
  7. How about the time you really needed a restful vacation, and you ended up in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and someone threw up on your shoes?
  8. Yes, I guess that hotel must have used a telephoto lens when they took a picture of those guest rooms that you saw on their website.
  9. I suppose contacting the Attorney General to resolve the fact that that Internet site has billed your credit card three times instead of once is the only route to take at this point.
  10. It was definitely odd that there were no cab drivers at the airport at 3 o’clock in the morning when you finally landed in Costa Rica, but booking a transfer to your very remote hotel would have been a good thing to remember when you purchased your airline ticket and hotel online.

If this list sounds at all familiar to you, it may be time to contact a travel advisor and see what a huge difference it makes in planning your next vacation. Andavo Travel has an amazing group of world-class travel advisors with years of experience.  You can pick one who has the destination specialty you’d like, here.

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Travel Management Vacation Travel

What to Do Once You’ve Booked a Cruise: 5 Things to Consider Before Boarding

before boarding a cruiseIt was 25 years ago that my husband and I took our first cruise for our honeymoon. Fast forward to February 2013 where we celebrated our 25th anniversary on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas that left Sydney, Australia for 11 nights. It was one of the best vacations I have had in years.

The only part of our vacation I found to be labor intensive was the pre-cruise planning of all the “extras” you might want to consider when embarking on a cruise.

It took time to review all the options the cruise line offered and decide which ones we wanted. Because this can take a couple of days to do, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to book these optional items; things can sell out. Of course, you can certainly wait and see what’s offered once you set sail. But for us, we found it beneficial to know what our cost would be months prior to departing and in some cases, we had certain portions of our trip pre-paid before boarding the ship.

If pre-planning sounds right for you, I suggest reviewing all the items your ship/cruise offers and then take time to research each, one at a time. Read reviews and decide what’s most important for you to experience while on your cruise. Here are a five items to consider:

  1. Dining – Cruises offer a great way to try different types of specialty foods or to have a grand dinner selected by the Chef and paired with wine. We enjoyed all the food we had on our ship and our dining experiences enhanced our vacation even more.
  2. Drinks – Cruise lines offer several packages for soda, water, wine and other alcohols. I could have done a better job in pre-planning this area. I only chose a soda package, but I should have purchased a wine package as well. We also pre-purchased water that was delivered to our cabin upon our arrival. This encouraged me to drink more water, knowing it was already paid for and I didn’t want to leave any behind.
  3. Excursions – If you decide to go with an outside vendor for excursions, be sure to double check their policy for situations where the ship arrives into port later than the scheduled pick-up time. Additionally, on some excursions you might not want to have the full experience, but just come along to watch. Ask ahead of time if this is allowed and if so, will you be required to pay the same as someone having the full experience?
  4. Other On-board Cruise Options – These items vary by ship–just be aware that with on-ship items such as pictures or spa treatments, there might be specials offered on different days while cruising that could be a better buy than pre-purchasing.
  5. Transfers To and From the Ship – Line up your transfers beforehand. If you don’t make arrangements for this, be prepared for long wait times for taxis. Also, because you don’t know what the weather will be like or if there will be delayed traffic, this is an especially important consideration for those who need to get to and from the airport in a shorter time frame.

In my opinion, the more pre-planning you do, the less stress you’ll experience on vacation. I’m already looking forward to our next trip where I’ll do even more pre-planning than this last cruise.

And if you’re interested in booking a cruise, I would encourage you to contact an Andavo Travel advisor. They are experienced, helpful, and professional, and can guide you through the maze of “additional cruise fees” with ease.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Take Advantage of Airlines’ Comfort Economy Seats

Many years ago I flew to Europe on British Air. My husband and I are both tall and we dread long haul flights crammed into coach seating, so I paid (at the time) a few hundred dollars more for the “premium economy seats” that allowed more leg room and more recline.

Since then, I’ve often wondered why our domestic carriers never had this option. You either had to “pony up” for business/first class or were crammed into coach – nothing in between.

But finally our air partners are offering that “something in between”–comfort economy seating. These seats offer extra leg room and extra recline not just on long haul international flights but on domestic flights as well. Domestic seats can be upgraded from $29 each way, depending on the itinerary. Or for an international flight example–Salt Lake City to Paris can be upgraded to Delta’s Economy Comfort seats for about $120 each way.

On a recent domestic flight where I had purchased the upgrade for my husband and myself, he commented, “These seats are great. I’d even pay a little more for these.” I just smiled.

After I issue air tickets for my clients, I review these options with them and get the seats they want so that perhaps they can enjoy their trip just a little bit more.

To enjoy the benefits of an experienced travel advisor (like more comfortable airplane seating), please contact Andavo Travel, Christopherson Business Travel’s leisure division.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

Tired of the Usual Hotel Experience?

 

For most travelers, one hotel is the same as any other. You get a bed, nightstand, phone, bathroom and a television. Sure, some hotels might offer a larger room, chocolates on the pillow, or perhaps a nice desk, microwave and small refrigerator. But generally, hotel rooms are pretty much the same.

But have you ever thought about staying in an unusual hotel on your next trip? Something out of the ordinary? Here are three hotels I think would be great places to stay, although they would probably be better suited for vacation travel, as they are located in cities far from your normal business travel hubs.

  1. The Molja Lighthouse in Aalesund, Norway is a 150 year old lighthouse with all the modern conveniences you would expect in a hotel. Although, the bedroom is upstairs and the bathroom is downstairs. But what can you expect? After all, you’re in a lighthouse right at the harbor entrance. Talk about the views!
  2. Looking for something unusual, but a littler closer to home? Try the Featherbed Railroad in Nice, California. They have nine individually decorated cabooses that overlook Clear Lake, with a own private beach and boat dock.
  3. Have you ever wanted to spend the night in jail, but without that pesky police record following you around for the rest of your life? Try The Old Mount Gambier Gaol in Mount Gambier, Southern Australia. It’s a prison built in 1866 and closed in 1995. Guests have access to the prison library, the chapel, and three courtyard areas and can spend the night in a cell or non-cell room. All rooms have modern conveniences, so no need to worry about staying in the types of cells we all see on T.V. And when you leave, (i.e. get paroled) you won’t have to worry about a criminal record haunting you.

Most of these accommodations don’t cost any more than a standard hotel room. So why not make it a bit more memorable?

For more information on these and plenty more, click here.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Prevent Business Travel Jet Lag

avoid jet lag while traveling for business
I just found an incredible website that I think all our business travelers will want to know about: Jet Lag Rooster.

According to the site, Jet Lag Rooster is a “free, simple, and effective way to reduce or prevent jet lag.”

You simply add your to/from destination, departure/arrival dates and times, and your normal routine for falling asleep and waking up. Then the site generates your “jet lag plan.”

Each customized plan provides a schedule of when to go to bed, when to wake up, and when to “get light” in the days leading up to your business trip. It even links to light sources to purchase if sunlight is not available or an option.

Figuring out how to avoid severe jet lag on business trips has just been made as easy as can be (and it’s FREE!). Try it on your next trip–especially when jumping several time zones–and let me know how it worked for you.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

Virtuoso’s Best of the Best: Your Guide to the Top Luxury Hotels and Resorts

Presenting the 2013 Guide to the World’s Best Hotel Experiences: Virtuoso’s Best of the Best Hotel Directory

This award-winning publication is THE guide to the world’s greatest hotels, resorts, spas, lodges and villas. Every property included in this collection is Virtuoso-preferred and inspected, and known for its unique setting, exceptional service and remarkable attention to detail.

And since Christopherson Business Travel and Andavo Travel are members of Virtuoso, when you book your stay through us for business or pleasure, you’ll enjoy exclusive amenities including preferred rates and availability, breakfast for two daily, room upgrades, early check-in and late checkout and complimentary extras that will make your travel experience extraordinary. Take a peek!

Virtuoso’s Best of the Best has received the following distinguished accolades:

  • Winner – Best Consumer Guide, WPA Maggie Awards, 2012
  • Winner – Best Consumer Guide, WPA Maggie Awards, 2009
  • Finalist – Best Annual/Directory, WPA Maggie Awards, 2007
  • Winner – Best Annual/Directory, WPA Maggie Awards, 2006
  • Winner – Best Annual/Directory, WPA Maggie Awards, 2005
Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Christopherson Business Travel Has a Leisure Travel Division


We all say it: “I’m too busy to go on vacation.” But the truth is, taking a break actually reduces stress which then makes you a better employee, parent, and person. It can also create job security because your company will realize how valuable you are when you are gone!

In a USA Today travel survey, the following question was posed: Which type of cruise would you most like to take? The results broke down as follows:

31%: Alaska Adventure
29%: European Riverboat
22%: Caribbean Mega-ship
11%: Caribbean small ship
7%: Mississippi Riverboat

Where would you like to go? Personally, I’ve taken a cruise to St. Thomas and a few other ports and found it very relaxing and enjoyable. So get out the calendar and make some plans. It will give you something to look forward to as you wade through the winter months.

And in case you didn’t know, Christopherson Business Travel’s leisure travel division, Andavo Travel, has an entire team of travel advisors who specialize in cruises and other vacation options. They are eager and ready to help you decide where to unwind and relax. Contact them here, to start planning.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Hotel Review: Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa in Rangiroa

I recently returned from French Polynesia where I stayed at the Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa in Rangiroa. The hotel is about 20 years old, but just completed a major renovation and reopened in March 2012. The property includes 60 villas and bungalows with exceptional style, scattered throughout a coconut grove, on the beach, and overlooking the lagoon.

I was able to spend two nights in a villa where I had my own private garden and plunge pool to enjoy; it even had an outdoor bathtub. The overwater bungalows are wonderful, but for a different experience–the garden villas are fantastic as well.

The island is known for great diving and we were able to take a day trip to the Blue Lagoon for an afternoon of snorkeling and swimming with sharks. Rangiroa is about a one hour plane ride from Papeete and well worth it!

The South Pacific is home to some of the most romantic island destinations in the world and the idyllic resort settings alone make it easy to escape.

When you’re ready to take a break from business travel and the cold winter weather, look no further than the tropical islands of Tahiti.

To book your own relaxing South Pacific retreat, contact an Andavo Travel advisor today.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

The Ten Commandments of Travel (+1)

As business travelers we all need a break, however we travel so much for work that the thought of another trip (even if it IS a vacation) makes many of us us want to sit down and just say NO! My advice? Take an organized tour or cruise. From the minute you step on the plane to the minute your journey ends, everything is taken care of for you. But first and foremost you must obey the Ten Commandments of Travel. They might not have come from God, but if you follow them, you very well could be treated like one. Enjoy!

The Ten Commandments of Travel (+1)

  1. Thou shalt not expect to find things precisely as they are at home, for thou hast left home to find things different.
  2. Thou shalt not take anything too seriously, for a carefree mind is the basis for a great vacation.
  3. Thou shalt not let other tour members get on thy nerves, for thou art paying good money to enjoy thyself.
  4. Thou shalt not worry. The person who worrieth hath little joy and few things are fatal.
  5. Thou shalt not judge all the people of a country by one person with whom thou had a problem.
  6. Thou shalt in Rome, do somewhat as the Romans do.
  7. Thou shalt be on time, for if thou art late thou shalt make thy own way to the next hotel.
  8. Thou shalt carry thy passport at all times, for a traveler without a passport is one without a country.
  9. Thou shalt learn to say “Thank You” in any language. Verily, it is worth more than gold.
  10. Thou shalt acquaint thyself with the currency of the land in which  you traverse, and thus thou shalt not be cheated.
  11. Thou art welcome in every land. Treat thy hosts with respect and thou shalt be an honored guest.

So let it be written–it’s not too late to purchase a gift certificate from Andavo Travel, Christopherson Business Travel’s vacation planning division. Certainly, nothing could be better than opening up a present full of vacation excitement on Christmas morning. Call our travel experts today! 801-327-7600 or 1866-327-7600

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Vacation Travel

Definitely Dubai

I recently had the opportunity to take a family vacation to Dubai over Thanksgiving and I’m happy to report it was an amazing destination–certainly worth the 24 hours of travel time if took to get there.

Few cities in the world have undergone such rapid change as Dubai. Having started out as a fishing settlement, then becoming a pearl-diving center, and later transforming into a vibrant trading port, Dubai is today one of the fastest growing metropolises on earth. The city is positioned as the nucleus of the Arabian Gulf region and has become known as the “gateway between the east and west.”

Home to about 1.9 million people from nearly 200 nationalities, Dubai is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. It is safe, clean, politically stable, with a modern infrastructure, and the sun shines almost every day. While the official language is Arabic, English is equally used.

Emirates Airlines is the official airline of Dubai and maintains one of the newest fleets in the world. The aircraft and in-flight service were excellent which made our 16-hour flight from Los Angeles to Dubai quite manageable.

Some of the highlights of our trip were visiting the following sites and attractions:

  • Burj Kalifa – the tallest building in the world
  • Burj Al Arab – the tallest, all-suite hotel in the world
  • Dubai Mall – the largest mall in the world
  • Ski Dubai – the only in-door ski resort in the world
  • Dubai Fountains – the largest fountain show in the world

Are you seeing a trend here? Dubai is very ambitious in their efforts to be record-breaking and staggering in their statistics. Even if your bucket list does not include a trip to Dubai, it is a destination worth paying attention to as they continue to make their mark in the world.

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Travel News Travel Technology Vacation Travel

A Travel Photo for Every Pinterest Lover

Are you obsessed with Pinterest? Andavo Travel (the vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel) is. And what goes better with beautiful, inspiring images than travel?! We can’t think of much, which is why the Andavo crew has been loving Pinterest lately. We’re organizing boards featuring some of our favorite hotels and cruise lines, the latest travel gadgets you’ll love, travel-themed home decor, fashion for the stylish traveler, and more. Follow any (or all!) of our boards on our Pinterest page here. Happy pinning!

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Business Travel Insurance Protection

business travel insurance protection On a recent trip to Southern California I hurt my foot which resulted in an emergency visit to the Urgent Care Center. I unfortunately spent the rest of my travels limping (and having to stay away from the beautiful beaches of Southern California), but luckily, I had previously purchased a TravelEx business traveler insurance protection plan that covered me with full emergency medical protection as well as additional insurance benefits. Any medical expenses I incurred outside of what my personal health insurance provider covered were completely taken care of. This was quite a relief since the medical bills reached well over $800 for this one hour urgent care visit.

TravelEx Business Travel Insurance Provides Peace of  Mind

The TravelEx Business Travel Insurance Program cost me $120 for a multi-trip plan. This was definitely a wise investment as it covers all my trips for an entire year and has provided great peace of mind. I would highly recommend this to all business travelers–whether traveling for work or personal vacation.  In addition to the medical coverage, the plan also includes, and is not limited to, the following:

  • Trip Interruption – $1,000
  • Trip Delay – $750
  • Lost Baggage – $2,000
  • Baggage Delay – $600
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation – $1 Million
  • Emergency Medical Expense – $50,000
  • Primary Rental Car Damage – $50,000

If you are interested in the TravelEx Business Travel Insurance Program, please contact an Account Manager at Christopherson Business Travel and they will be happy to help you select the business travel insurance best for you and your company.

 

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

San Francisco Luxury Hotels: Perfect for Business or Pleasure

our Seasons Hotel San FranciscoAndavo Travel (the vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel) recently held its sixth annual AndavoMart at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, CA. This annual event brings our travel advisors from across the country together for a weekend of hotel site inspections, networking, educational presentations, and travel supplier meetings—all part of our efforts to ensure that Andavo Travel’s expert advisors remain in the top tier of those booking luxury vacation travel.

The weather in San Francisco was incredible and it was easy to fall in love with that city!  Our Andavo advisors were able to visit and tour five hotels, and can now personally recommend which one might be right for you during your next stay–whether for business or pleasure. Given our connection with Virtuoso, a network of the world’s finest travel agencies, we are able to add the following complimentary amenities when you book through us.

Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
• Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
• Continental breakfast daily, for up to two in room guests
• One $100 lunch credit per room, per stay, in Seasons Restaurant

Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square
• Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
• Continental breakfast daily, for up to two in room guests
• US $100 Ghirardelli Square gift card per paid night (can be used at any outlet in Ghirardelli Square, or applied to your room rate if you’d rather)

Fairmont San Francisco
• Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
• Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
• $100 Food & Beverage credit, to be utilized during stay

Ritz Carlton San Francisco
• Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
• Continental breakfast daily, for up to two in room guests
• $100 Food & Beverage credit, to be utilized during stay

St Regis San Francisco
• Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
• Continental breakfast daily, for up to two in room guests
• Lunch for two in Vitrine restaurant, once per stay

Let an Andavo advisor pair you with the right property, based on their firsthand knowledge of these incredible hotels.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

The Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane: A Business Traveler’s Review

four seasons london On a recent trip to London, my wife and I stayed at the Four Seasons Park Lane Hotel. As we exited the taxi that transported us from London Heathrow Airport, the registration staff greeted us by name and we were immediately escorted to our pre-checked room, completely bypassing the check-in desk. Our luggage was then soon delivered to the room by another hotel staff member. The room was not only spectacular and comfortable, but the service was outstanding, and the attention given to us was exceptional.

During an interview with Charlie Rose, Mr. Isadore Sharp, founder and chairman of the Four Seasons Hotels, spoke about the driving principles of the company–deliver luxury and a quality stay, along with the best possible experience to guests. The company is able to accomplish this by focusing on four main aspects:

  1. Customer Service
  2. Location
  3. Brand
  4. Customer recognition

All Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts staff is trained to be service centric and customer focused, leaving little room for a disappointing stay. The Four Season Park Lane certainly delivered on this promise; our stay could not have been more pleasant!

Should your business travels take you to a Four Seasons Hotel destination, we invite you to let Christopherson book your stay so you can receive these added value benefits at no additional cost:

  • Personalized Greeting
  • Complimentary Room Upgrade (subject to availability)
  • Daily full breakfast for up to two in-room guests
  • Wi-Fi Internet Access
  • Spa Credit up to $100

Christopherson is a preferred partner with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and a Virtuoso member which enables us to offer services that add value to your trip. Call Christopherson Business Travel for more details.

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

Business Travelers: Plan Your Next Vacation with Andavo Travel and Virtuoso Traveler Magazine

Are you wondering where to go on vacation next time you get a break from business travel?  Do you love beautiful, glossy travel magazines that arrive in your mailbox full of exciting travel information and ideas? If so, we may be able satisfy that craving!

Through our partnership with Virtuoso, we have access to award-winning travel publications we will happily send to you – all complimentary! (Of course, our hope is that if you like what you see, you’ll give Andavo Travel, the vacation division of Christopherson, a call to assist you in planning your customized trip.)

Send us an email at vacations@andavotravel.com with your name and mailing address, and we’ll sign you up for a free subscription to Virtuoso Traveler, published six times per year, and informing today’s savvy travelers of insightful ways to explore the world in style. The trips featured are available only through a Virtuoso-accredited travel advisor – like those at Andavo Travel. And we promise not to sell your information, or use it for anything other than sending you Virtuoso Traveler magazine.

If you’d like to peruse a digital sample of Virtuoso Traveler before signing up, you can view the August/September issue here.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

How to Disconnect From Work While on Vacation

While most of us enjoy our time away from work while on vacation, there are many who find it difficult to be away from their desk for a variety of reasons.

One such reason is that while you may physically leave the office, mentally you’re still connected to the daily routines and rigors of work life. It continually consumes your thought process while away. But in order to enjoy time off, and to feel refreshed upon return, we need to leave work behind, both physically and mentally.

Certainly, in today’s hurried environment it’s difficult to ‘unplug’ from work. There are cell phones, laptops, easy access to e-mail, and a plethora of additional means for constant communication. But if we don’t unplug, then we won’t feel rejuvenated when we return. We will feel as though we never left the office.

In an article titled “How to Disconnect from Work and Enjoy Your Vacation,” Joel Garfinkle details how he went on vacation and completely disconnected from work. He explained how difficult it was, but how refreshed he felt when he returned. His advice? Don’t skip vacations. If you do, it can lead to a loss of creativity and have a negative impact on your work. He also gives three tips on how to disconnect while on vacation:

  1. Before your go, train your replacement. Make sure someone can do your job when you are away. Whether leaving for 2 weeks or a couple of days, someone should be there to step in while you’re gone.
  2. Don’t spend your entire vacation traveling. Checking in and out of hotels and driving all day to see the sights can be exhausting. You need to relax and unwind. Plan things to do, but leave a cushion of time just to relax.
  3. Don’t answer your phone. There are very few ‘real’ emergencies that can’t be handled by others. Especially if you’ve trained someone properly.

To read Mr. Garfinkle’s article and learn more about how you can unplug on your next vacation, click here.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

The St. Regis San Francisco Hotel: A Beauty

I recently returned from a weekend in San Francisco. I was able to visit the St. Regis at 125 3rd Street. This elegant hotel is in a great location, with the Museum of Modern Art directly next door, Union Square for shopping and theater, and the ballpark if you are taking in a Giants baseball game. The 260 guest rooms and 46 suites are beautiful, with lovely views. For suite guests, St. Regis’s Butler Service provides for any request.

As a Virtuoso agency you receive added amenities if you book the hotel through Andavo Travel.

Complimentary Virtuoso Exclusive Benefits

  • Upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily continental breakfast for up to two in-room guests, in our breakfast restaurant Vitrine or via in-room dining
  • Lunch for two in Vitrine restaurant, once per stay
  • 4pm late check-out, subject to availability
Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

London Olympics: Hotels Near Wembley Stadium

If you are visiting London for any of the Olympic events at Wembley Stadium, but need to stick to a tight budget, we’ve got some places for you! As it currently stands, there are roughly 110 hotels that are not only inexpensive and beautiful, but are also located within 5 miles of the stadium. Here are just five recommendations:

The Wembley Hotel – (0.7 miles from the stadium) – The accommodation is practical yet conveniently located nearby Wembley Stadium while also being a 3-minute walk from Wembley Central Station. The accommodation of this hotel are ideally situated near the conference center, exhibition halls, new stadium complex, and Wembley Arena.

Euro Hotel Wembley – (0.7 miles from the stadium) – This traditional facility is family owned and operated while being ideally located in close proximity to the stadium. It is also located in close proximity to the Conference Center and a short ride on the underground rail to the heart of London. Guestrooms all have the basic amenities of home and feature a simple breakfast room and a quiet bar where you can enjoy a relaxing drink.

Quality Hotel London – Wembley (0.2 miles from the stadium) – The hotel is only a 15 minute ride to central London via the Tube and a 5-minute walk to the Wembley Park Underground Station. For those individuals wanting to visit some of London’s more famous attractions, the hotel is located in close proximity to Big Ben, the British Museum, Houses of Parliament, the Science Museum, and the Tower of London as well as Wembley Stadium.

Bridge Park Hotel – (1.3 miles from the stadium) – The hotel is easily accessible to a number of businesses, entertainment centers, shopping malls, and tourist attractions. The hotel offers a convenient 24-hour public transportation venue to the heart of London as well as the Ace Cafe, Neasden Hindu Temple, and Wembley Stadium. Guests of the hotel can enjoy the on-site dining area, hotel bar, Internet Café, room service, and WiFi access. All of the guestrooms have been refurbished fairly recently.

Hollingbury Hotel – (1.6 miles from the stadium) – comfort, convenience, and hospitality highlight what this hotel features as well as being in an excellent location. Businesses, entertainment centers, and retail shops are all easily accessible from this hotel. The hotel is also located in close proximity to Madame Tussaud’s Museum, Oxford Street, the Science for Life Museum, and other attractions or sightseeing destinations.

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Vacation Travel

Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Exclusive onboard credits

Now is a great time to reserve a Regent Seven Seas Cruise through your Andavo travel advisor.  (As a reminder, Andavo Travel is the vacation travel division of Christopherson Business Travel.)

We have reserved space for our Andavo clients on five Mediterranean voyages throughout 2012 and 2013, and are able to offer you an exclusive onboard credit of $500 to $700 per suite! This credit could be used towards spa treatments, items in the sundry shop, for an upgraded shore excursion, etc.

And, because we are a Virtuoso member agency, you will also receive the following complimentary Virtuoso Voyager Club amenities:

  • Private cocktail reception
  • Onboard host
  • Exclusive luxury shore event

Why Regent over some other cruise line? Regent Seven Seas Cruises has the most inclusive luxury cruise experience, where you won’t feel “nickel and dimed” while onboard.

The following amenities are all included as part of your cruise fare:

• 2-for-1 Fares plus additional bonus savings
• FREE Roundtrip Air
• FREE Business Class Air Upgrades to Europe in Penthouse Suites and higher
• FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions
• FREE Luxury Hotel Package (includes 1-Night pre-cruise hotel stay in city of embarkation, transfers from hotel to the ship, breakfast and porterage.)
• FREE Beverages including fine wines and premium spirits
• FREE Pre-Paid Gratuities
• FREE Ground Transfers
• FREE In-suite mini-bar replenished daily
• FREE 24-hour room service and no additional charge for specialty restaurants

RSSC Destinctions:

• With an enviable staff-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.5 our mid-sized ships have a maximum capacity for only 490 or 700 guests
• All-suite accommodations, 97% with private balconies — voted the best at sea
• Up to four gourmet restaurants, including the iconic steakhouse Prime 7, plus haute French cuisine at Signatures, Continental dining at Compass Rose, casual indoor and outdoor buffet dining at La Veranda, our new Tuscan-inspired evening restaurant Sette Mari at La Veranda and the al fresco Pool Grill
• Canyon Ranch SpaClub®
• An enriching onboard experience brought to life through spectacular Broadway-style shows, fine arts, culinary demonstrations and wine tastings, knowledgeable lectures, wellness and family programs
• Wireless Internet access throughout the ship
• Elegant casual dress code. Formal and semi-formal attire optional on sailings of 16 nights or longer
• Enticing voyages to more than 300 ports around the continents, with access to visit more intimate ports than larger vessels

For reservations, please call an Andavo travel advisor. 866-327-7600.

Terms and conditions apply. Ask your travel advisor for details.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Business trip to Boston? Fitting in a little sightseeing is a must.

Boston.

It’s like a little bit of Florence with flecks of New York, sprinkled with some Seattle and spread out on the pages of a history book.

Aside from the timeless architecture and cobblestone streets lined with window boxes stuffed with flowers of every vibrant color—there is a story to go with all of it.

From Paul Revere to Ironside to the Boston Celtics to the Red Sox, there is history everywhere. (Granted the Celtics and Red Sox fall within the more recent history of Boston. But did you know that Babe Ruth started with the Red Sox before ending his career in New York?)

I would recommend staying downtown in the middle of it all. Don’t rent a car; the streets are impossible to navigate if you aren’t familiar with them. Just take a city bus tour. Then you can circle and listen and learn, and you can easily jump off to explore for a bit and then jump back on to get to the next stop. You can also follow the freedom trail—a  two to three mile trail marking 16 historical points. There are also bikes for rent and of course you can simply walk around aimlessly to take it all in.

You must also bring your appetite. The food in Boston is authentically Italian and the streets are filled with the scents of simmering oregano, melted mozzarella, and fresh baked bread. It’s as delicious as the portions are abundant. Oh, and for dessert Mike’s Pastry’s is a MUST. His freshly made cannolis are built as big as everything else in Boston and decorated with several toppings to choose from. But do plan on standing in line; one of the only crowded spots in Boston is Mike’s Pastry’s.

Needless to say, Boston is one of my favorite places and it’s a city everyone should experience.

 

 

 

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Andavo Featured in Salt Lake Tribune’s Lifestyle Section

The president of Christopherson Business Travel and Andavo Travel (the vacation division of CBT), Mike Cameron, was featured in a Salt Lake Tribune article recently, titled:

Salt Lake travel agent talks 2012 trends

By Tom Wharton
Published May 24, 2012

Categories
Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips Vacation Travel

World Travel Warnings

Remember the television series Lost in Space?  The one where a robot was always warning the Robinson family when danger was about to happen. Well, if that Robot were our warning source today for travel, repairs would probably be frequent due to the robot’s arms constantly waving!

But these days (in lieu of the robot) you can go the TSA website and immediately find countries where strong travel warnings have been issued.

Travel warnings are issued when long-term, protracted conditions make a country dangerous or unstable. This leads the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or, at the very least, consider the risk of traveling to that country. A travel warning is also issued when the U.S. Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.

The countries listed after the jump meet those criteria. Simply click on any country to find out why it’s not a good idea to travel there. Travel warnings will continue to be noted until the US Government feels it is safe to delete them from this list.

Mauritania 05/24/2012

Saudi Arabia 05/18/2012

Lebanon 05/08/2012

Algeria 05/04/2012

Iran 04/27/2012

Cote d’Ivoire 04/23/2012

Burundi 04/18/2012

Eritrea 04/18/2012

Mali 04/09/2012

Niger 04/06/2012

Kenya 04/04/2012

Chad 03/29/2012

Yemen 03/27/2012

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 03/19/2012

Syria 03/06/2012

Nigeria 02/29/2012

Colombia 02/21/2012

Mexico 02/08/2012

Pakistan 02/02/2012

Iraq 01/19/2012

Congo, Democratic Republic of the 01/12/2012

Sudan 01/11/2012

Philippines 01/05/2012

Central African Republic 01/04/2012

Republic of South Sudan 12/22/2011

Afghanistan 12/01/2011

Guinea 11/04/2011

Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of 11/03/2011

Libya 09/22/2011

Somalia 08/19/2011

Haiti 08/08/2011

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Travel Agents Rock. It’s True.

Following the recent trend of explaining why using a travel advisor is such an excellent idea, the New York Times published an article Friday, April 20, 2012 titled “Are Travel Agents Back?” The answer seems to be a resounding yes!
Excerpt from the article is below:
The complimentary wine and fruit platter was sent up to Jessica Griffin and her family moments after they strolled into their roomy suite. They were accompanied by a bellhop who placed their bags near a tidy crib made up with luxurious, high thread-count sheets for Ms. Griffin’s 1-year-old daughter.
The V.I.P. treatment at the Cheeca Lodge and Spa in the Florida Keys last month hadn’t come with an extra cost. In fact, Ms. Griffin said, she paid about $100 a night less than the standard rate for her room. And the deal wasn’t the result of hours of tedious online research either. She had finagled her savings the old-fashioned way: through a travel agent.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Baggage Battles – The latest in reality TV

Ever wonder what happens to all that lost airline luggage? I suppose it was just a matter of time before reality TV stepped in to tell us! The Travel Channel recently premiered the new show “Baggage Battles.”
The program involves people bidding on unclaimed luggage, hoping to find treasures left behind. Like the popular television program “Storage Wars“, folks are allowed to see a small portion of what might be in the luggage and then the bidding begins. I’m waiting for the person that lost that family heirloom to be watching and realize someone else now owns it!
All of this can be avoided if folks would just tag their luggage properly. That yellow string on the handle might help you identify your bag at the baggage carousel, but to the lost luggage people, it’s just another yellow string on a black bag. When traveling, have a name tag with your cell phone number (not home address) on the outside. Go one step further and place more information about yourself INSIDE the bag. Your name, cell phone number, flight information and even hotel names where you will be staying. I tell my clients all the time, DO NOT pack valuables or medication inside your checked luggage. These things need to either stay home or be with you in your carry-on bag. Happy Flying!
 

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Business Travel Vacation Travel

A Guide to the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games may be the greatest show on earth, but for travel managers, it’s creating quite a difficult situation as the search for reasonably priced business travel accommodations in London during the 2012 Summer Games is proving to be a grueling one.
The Olympics are scheduled from July 27-Aug. 12, a period when the city’s hotels are overstretched even during a normal summer. The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (which run from 29 Aug. 29-Sept. 12, 2012) has reserved two-thirds of the city’s entire 53,000-room stock for the event.
Are you ready? Here are some things to consider:
 
1. Act today!
If you’ve not acted yet, you must take immediate steps to have any chance of helping their travellers during the Olympics (July 27-Aug. 12) and Paralympic Games (Aug. 29-Sept. 9).
2. Review your London travel needs
Ask all departments to outline their anticipated demand for travel to London in July, August and September. Are meetings planned? How many of your travelers usually visit the city during this period? Are there any major corporate projects that will require trips into central London?
3. Consider imposing a blackout
Communicate across your organization that travelers should — or must — stay away from London during the Games.
4. Find alternative locations
If employees need to meet during the Games, but the location is flexible, direct them to cities elsewhere in the United Kingdom. If they need to be in London for daytime appointments, look for accommodation within an hour’s rail journey, in Oxford or Milton Keynes, for example.
5. Talk to your top hotel suppliers
Companies that must have accommodation for business travelers during the Olympics should talk to hotel suppliers with whom they have the strongest relationships. Some hotels are working very closely with corporate customers to accommodate regular clients’ needs.
6. Consider extended-stay properties
Some extended-stay brands are imposing only marginal increases on their apartments during the Games. They consider the Olympics an excellent opportunity to persuade potential corporate clients to try their product.
7. Remember the impact on air travel
Increased demand is tightening summer flight availability to and from London. Corporate agreements can really make a difference in getting seats for your travelers, so talk to your suppliers now.
8. Prepare for potential disruptions
At best, London will be a difficult city to move around during the Games, owing to the exceptionally high number of visitors and heightened security. If officials issue any security alerts, journey times could stretch even longer. Remind travelers to allow plenty of time between appointments and to create contingency plans for getting around London.
9. Keep everyone in the loop
Communicate your plans and protocols to everyone who will be affected and send updates as the Games get closer.
10. Take advantage of helpful resources
Check out the London 2012 ‘Travel Advice for Business’ site.
 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Car Rental Hidden Costs – Are they DRIVING you Crazy?

We’ve talked about this before, but I find that it’s always helpful to review the hidden costs of renting a car.
To begin, let’s say you’ve found a great rental deal for $20/day. Unfortunately that “great” rate doesn’t guarantee you a low-cost rental. Instead, upon returning your car, you find the price has skyrocketed and the bill now includes sales taxes, airport surcharges, insurance, and licensing fees. By the time all the extra charges are added on, the guaranteed result is a severe case of sticker shock … and a final cost double the initial alluring base rate.
So how can you avoid the shock of pricing overload? Here is a summary of car rental surcharges and a few tips for how to cut costs on your next rental.

Taxes and Airport Surcharges

Sales tax and airport charges vary considerably from state to state, and you won’t be able to avoid state and local sales taxes. Many local governments also charge fees to fund their own development projects, such as convention centers or sports stadiums, and some car rental companies also include a daily surcharge for economy recovery fees.
But avoiding airport charges is simple and something to always consider. You can eliminate airport concession recovery fees and customer facility charges by picking up and dropping off your car at an off-airport location. Weighing the possible inconveniences and the price of additional transportation to and from the airport against the concession fees charged by the airport location is, however, a must as doing so could save you more than 15% of your total price.

Insurance

This is usually referred to by rental companies as “collision damage” or “Loss Damage Waiver (LDW).” For an extra $25 – $30 a day, you can avoid liability for any damage to the vehicle, provided you’re not found guilty of gross negligence. Insurance is optional, although in a few states it is compulsory and built into the basic car rental cost.
So, before you purchase the extra insurance, check to see if your regular car insurance covers you in a rental car. Some policies do. Most credit cards also provide insurance if you pay for your rental with that card. Larger companies also include car rental addendums in their company insurance which also covers office equipment and the like. Keep in mind that limitations may apply to all types of coverage. If you’re not comfortable with the risk, consult with your insurance administrator or travel manager.

Gasoline Charges

Returning a car with an empty tank will create an extra charges to your bottom line.  In most cases you’ll want to fill up before you return your vehicle. However, car rental companies now offer the option of purchasing a full tank of gas when you first take the car, enabling you to return the car with as much or as little fuel as you wish.
Keep in mind that there is no refund for unused fuel, so you’d be paying a little extra for the convenience of skipping the trip to the gas station. Also, you may be able to find a better per-gallon price by shopping around on your own.

Drop-Off Charges

An extra fee is usually charged if a car is returned to a different location than where it was picked up. This fee varies by location. In some instances there is no charge, however you could pay more than $1,000 for picking a car up at LAX and dropping it of at JFK plus around $0.35 per mile.
If your corporation has a car rental contract make sure it notes a “one way” rate. The rates will be higher than your normal corporate rate but will save money in the long run.

The 24-Hour Clock

If you rent your car on Wednesday and return it on Thursday, most companies charge you one day only if you return it within 24 hours. Some companies will give you a 29-minute grace period before hourly charges kick in and after 90 – 120 minutes you may be charged for the full extra day. Some rental car companies are also now charging a late return fee of $10 per day.
Make sure you check the terms and conditions in your rental documents.

One Day Surcharges

Picking a car up only for one day will cost you more if those days are Monday through Thursday.  Because of the yield management process, it is more expensive for the car rental company if you pick your car up in the morning on Monday through Thursday and return it the same day. It eliminates the possibilities of another traveler needing that car for two or more days at a time. The one day surcharges are $5 to $7 over the normal daily rate and are “hidden” in the rate so you will not recognize you are being charged extra. Corporations can sometimes get this fee reduced or waived when negotiating a car rental contract.

Age Penalties

Renters under the age of 25 may have to pay additional fees of about $25 – $30 per day. Those companies who rent to drivers under 21 often charge much steeper surcharges. Those over 70 may also have to pay extra (if they’re able to rent at all).  Age restrictions vary by country and franchise, so be sure to check ahead.

Frequent Flier Fees

Car rental companies often charge a small fee when you request frequent flier miles for your rental. The fee varies by airline and can range anywhere from a few cents to $2 a day. Another choice would be to opt for the free day program instead of earning miles. There is not a charge for earning free rental days and are usually earned for every 15 days rented.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

South African Adventure Travel

I just returned from a trip to South Africa. I visited Cape Town, a city famous for its harbor and the well-known landmarks Table Mountain and Cape Point. The city has over 20 five-star hotels. We drove along the coastal road of the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, and then on to Simonstown to see the penguin colony on Boulders Beach.
This region is also well known for their wineries. We visited the village of Franschhoek, which is nestled amongst the mountains and can easily be mistaken as being in Switzerland.
Then we were off on an adventure to Kruger National Park where we stayed at Thornybush Waterside Lodge. We enjoyed an afternoon and early morning game drive in open Land Rovers. The reserve has 147 mammals including the “Big Five”, 1,134 reptiles, 507 birds and 336 trees.
Next we visited Johannesburg where we had a tour of Soweto and Pretoria, and visited Nelson Mandela’s home and the Regina Mundi Church – the site of many underground meetings of the then-banned political parties. The 15 hour non-stop plane ride on South African Airways from New York City was really quite easy with their award-winning comfort and service.
I would highly recommend a vacation to South Africa. The country has beautiful modern cities to explore, plus great opportunities to view animals roaming freely on their own land.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

“Animal Talk” About Frontier Airlines

Let’s talk animals.

Okay, okay … I know we here at Christopherson are headquartered in Salt Lake City, a major Delta hub, and not many of us fly Frontier, but they actually are a pretty cool airline. Let me tell you why.
Frontier has been around for forever, but after their merger with Republic Airways in 2010 they revamped their services and are actually quite competitive. Did you know that for a corporate discount they offer a percentage off their fares rather than classes of service? That means it’s so much easier for companies to calculate savings, plus one can avoid the confusing maze of classes of service.
Also, Frontier has more seat width than Southwest, they only have a 50$ change fee, and–hold onto your hats, folks, are you ready for this?–if you have a qualifying corporate contract Frontier will give you 20 Ascent Level Memberships to distribute however you want! This means same-day flight change fees are waived, free bags, early boarding, complimentary DirecTV, and 25% bonus early return mileage credit.
Plus, how can you pass up the menagerie of animals they have on their tails?
If you haven’t given Frontier a chance lately, check them out. I think you may be pleasantly surprised!

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Top 10 Hotel Safety Tips

Making sure our clients travel safely is always a priority for us at Christopherson. Here are 10 hotel safety tips (from SuperMedia.com) to keep in mind on your next overnight trip.

1.  Be aware of your surroundings. This includes when you’re in parking lots, public areas, elevators, or the hallway to your room. Have your key ready in hand before you get to your door so you’re not distracted as you look and fumble for it.

2.  Keep your room number to yourself. Most hotels these days no longer print room numbers on the keys. But don’t share your room number with strangers, and don’t display your key in public or leave it where it can get stolen.
3.  Avoid staying on the ground floor. This will leave you much less vulnerable to break-ins and other incidents.
4.  Identify a fire escape route. Once you’ve settled in, map out the nearest fire escape route. Remember, in case of emergency, always use the stairs, never the elevator.
5.  Secure your valuables. If your room has a safe, store any extra cash, plane tickets, and other valuables in there. And never, ever leave valuables in a car in the hotel parking lot.
6.  Don’t open the door to anyone until you use the peephole to identify them. Don’t assume it’s housekeeping or maintenance just because the person says so.
7.  Keep the doors and windows locked while you’re in the room. This includes any windows or sliding glass doors. Avoid propping your door open, even for a short time. If your door has an extra bolt or chain, engage that as well.
8.  Make it seem like you’re home. When you leave your room for the day or evening, leave the TV or radio on. It may very well deter a thief if they think someone might be in the room. Hanging the Do Not Disturb sign.
9.  Enter and exit the building through a main entrance. This will help you avoid unoccupied or deserted areas. It’s also a good idea to park in a well-lit part of the parking lot, even if you have to walk a little farther to get to your room.
10.  Keep your children in sight. Children should not be allowed to play by themselves on hotel grounds. This, of course, includes the swimming pool, the playground and other kid-friendly areas, as well as the hallways, elevators, and lobby.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Are you vacation deprived?

Did you know that 226 million vacation days will go unused this year, resulting in some 50 million Americans becoming vacation deprived?  A recent vacation deprivation study analyzed vacation habits across multiple countries around the world, and the results were interesting.
When asked, “How many vacation days, if any, do you receive from your employer each year?”, Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and Brazil all tied for first place with 30 days. Workers in the UK came in just below with 25, with Canada at 16, and the U.S. at 14. However, Japan came in last place with 11 days, which they used 6 of, on average.
According to the survey, most of the world’s work force likes to take a mix of short and long vacations during in the summer months, and beach locations won out over all others as the most preferred kind of holiday.
Clearly, we here in the U.S. are somewhat lacking in vacation days, so don’t let what you DO have go to waste!  Get thee to a beach and sun-bake that vacation deprivation away!
Wondering which beach to visit and where to stay?  It can be overwhelming.  Take a look at this collection of fantastic hotels and resorts in the Caribbean and Bermuda for a little inspiration, then give your Andavo Travel advisor a call.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Summer is Coming! Book Your Travel Now & Lock in Lower Prices

I realize that March has only just begun, but in the travel industry that means that now is the time to start planning your summer travel, a fact that is perhaps more true in 2012 than in previous years. There are a number of reasons why this is true:
1.  The airlines have continued to reduce their capacity over the last three years, so there will be fewer discounted seats on each and every flight. This means that everyone will be paying higher fares this summer. Also, when there are flight disruptions due to weather or other events, it will take longer to re-accommodate everyone since there are fewer seats to work with.
2.  There are signs that the economy is starting to rebound and travel is too. So the potential is that there will be more people flying this summer than the two previous summers. More people, mixed with the aforementioned reduced capacity, will result in crowded skies and higher fares.
3.  Fuel prices are on the rise. Given that airplanes gulp down vast quantities of fuel, the slightest change in price then results in higher fuel surcharges that the airlines then pass along to consumers to cover the cost. Depending on who you listen to and what happens in the world, the price of fuel may jump from 25% to 200% this summer. For example, when Iran announced that it was cutting off exports of oil to Britain and France, the price of a barrel of crude jumped roughly 25%. Within 48 hours of that, a number of international carriers announced that they were going to be increasing their fuel surcharges between 10% and 15%. If that situation continues to worsen, it is very likely that speculation will drive the price of fuel up sharply. If this happens, expect airfares to follow.
So what should you do? Plan ahead and lock your prices in now while they are lower. Once your ticket has been issued, the airlines cannot come back to you asking for more money. But if the price drops after you purchase the ticket the airlines will refund the difference, less their administrative fee. This means that the drop in airfare would need to be significant in order to make it worthwhile pursuing that refund. However, the potential for savings is fairly significant if the pundits are correct about the price of fuel.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

How to Reduce Jet Lag

It has now been five days since I returned to the United States from a recent vacation to Dubai (which was fabulous, by the way), and my question every day for the last five days has been: How do international business travelers do it? Because I have the worst case of jet lag!
Dubai is 11 hours ahead of my home time zone and my first few days back at work were “killer.” As I have sought to recover and get back on schedule myself, I’ve learned a bit more about what jet lag really is and how to reduce it.
MedicineNet has been a fantastic resource with their list of 12 tips for minimizing the effects of jet lag, which include: avoiding alcohol (which causes dehydration, disrupts sleeping schedules, and triggers nausea), moving around on the plane (which promotes mental and physical acuity), and changing your schedule as much as possible before leaving on your trip.
Many of their recommendations I already normally do, but some were good to add to my list. Perhaps some of them will help you too.
And my hat goes off to all those international travelers who have somehow figured it out better than me …. or have they? If you have any tips or tricks, please share!

Categories
Travel Management Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Take A Walk On The Vacation Side Of Life

Did you know that Christopherson Business Travel also has a vacation travel division, called Andavo TravelTwo brands under the same roof, and we here on the vacation side of life would love to assist you in planning your next vacation. Or perhaps you’re thinking of inviting the family along on your next business trip, to maybe extend your stay and enjoy a little relaxation? We can help with that too. Andavo Travel is a Virtuoso member agency and, as such, is chock full of excellent travel advisers. You can review some of our ranks across the country and choose the one that is just right for you.
How Andavo Travel can help you personally:

  • Avoid hours of internet research and price comparisons
  • Utilize our expertise: Our well-traveled advisers use firsthand experiences to customize vacations
  • Enjoy global connections: Personal contacts at 1,000+ airlines, cruise lines, hotels and resorts worldwide
  • Provide an advocate in case of flight cancellations, delays or lost luggage

How Andavo Travel can help a company:

  • Arrange groups, meetings and incentive travel
  • Plan company retreat travel
  • Reward employees with travel gift certificates, redeemable via Andavo
  • Offer discounts for a vast array of travel suppliers through our exclusive contracts
  • Participate in your employee health/benefits fairs

What is Virtuoso?

  • Virtuoso is a network of the world’s finest travel agencies
  • Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisers have global connections with the best travel providers, which means access to the best travel offers that consumers can’t get on their own
  • For Andavo and Christopherson clients, this means access to exclusive, complimentary travel offers:
  • Room upgrades
  • Meals
  • Limousine transfers
  • Spa treatments
  • Early check-in and late checkout
  • Subscriptions to renowned travel publications

Andavo Travel can be reached at 866-327-7600 or vacations@andavotravel.com.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Fact: Travel Agents Take Majority Over Online Bookings

Recently, I booked a vacation through my travel agency to an all-inclusive resort at Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. It was an amazing getaway and I loved every minute of it.

While on my trip I chatted with a few of my fellow travelers about their vacation planning and overheard a few conversations regarding this topic as well. What I found interesting was that all these conversations revolved around their travel agent, in one way or another. Whether it was that they chose this particular resort because their agent recommended it, or that they discussed their array of flight options–I was amazed! Not because I don’t see the value in travel agents (I work for an agency!), but because so many people think that booking online is the wave of the future. However, almost everyone I spoke with booked their vacation through a travel agent.

I took pride in this fact and find it to be great news for our industry. Now what we need to do is spread the word and let everyone know that booking with a travel agent is the definitely the best option!

In fact, here are three benefits to booking with an agent:

  1. You save money! Travel agents work hard to maintain strong relationships with travel suppliers. They also have access to the latest in computer reservations technology which allows them to help you find the best values and options.
  2. Agents are also your advocates. Your best interests are their priority and they will be there to help you through your entire planning process and help smooth out any hiccups you experience along your travels.
  3. You get personal service. A travel agent will answer your phone calls, take care of problems, guide your planning, offer suggestions, and share their travel/destination experience. That’s something you’ll never get from a computer screen.

To find an agent for your next vacation, click here. Or for your next business trip, click here.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Tips for Traveling with Children

Traveling solo can be tricky enough as you try to keep track of itineraries, juggle luggage, and arrive on time. Multiplying those efforts by 3 or 4 or 5, as you travel with your family can, at times, be hair-raising–particularly with young children.
Recently, MSNBC’s travel correspondents interviewed three globetrotting families to get their tips for traveling with children.
Their lengthy list of helpful advice included things like …

  • Pack less gear. If you do end up needing something, just buy it at your destination, but most likely you won’t miss all the extras you “think” you need.
  • Tie-dye shirts make children easy to spot in a crowd.
  • Don’t forget the life-jackets if your trip is near water.
  • Back-packs are easier to use than wheeled suitcases when trying to wrangle children.
  • Plan itineraries with flexibility and allow for fun–let kids be kids as you open their eyes to the world around them.

Each family also shared some of their more successful family vacations, as well as a few lessons they learned the hard way. Such expert advice goes a long way when it comes to creating enjoyable family memories, and we’d like to add 3 tips of our own:

  1. Plan age-appropriate vacations. While you want to help you children experience the wide range of cultures the world has to offer, don’t forget that appreciation and understanding will vary by age.
  2. Help them learn. Teach your kids a bit about the customs, language, and traditions of the city or country you’re in. You could even gear up for the trip by sharing tidbits about your destination every day during the week before you leave.
  3. Don’t forget the snacks!

While you’re at it, TSA.gov also has helpful information for traveling families.
And for additional guidance and worry-free vacation planning, we recommend contacting the expert travel advisers at Andavo Travel. Doing so, is definitely the first step to making family travel a breeze.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

A Travel Packing List for Dummies: What NOT to Forget

As a frequent traveler for both business and pleasure, I always seem to forget something in my suitcase.
On a recent trip to Denver I forgot more than usual, which really drove me crazy. Yes, I have a standard packing list, but when I’m in a hurry or when I think I certainly won’t forget anything because “I’ve packed a million times before,” it never fails—I still forget something.
When I returned home from Denver I immediately Googled ‘packing lists’ and was quite disappointed in the search results. So I decided to make my own and share it here in the hopes of helping anyone who, like me, tends to forget.
Of course, there are obvious items we would (hopefully) never leave at home, like say–clothing, so I won’t go through an entire packing list here. This list is simply designed to help you remember the frequently forgotten, or perhaps never-before-thought-of, items that will help make your trip a little nicer and a little easier.
Plus–many of the items on my list will keep you from spending extra money in those over priced airport stores!

Packing List Necessities

Item
Food/Water Almonds or other protein-packed snack. Did you know some flights don’t offer snacks?
Water Bottle, to refill & reuse. Just remember that you can’t go through security with a full water bottle.
Drink Mixes. The water in the drinking fountains at the airport isn’t always the best tasting. I like these “on-the-go” packets.
Fitness ALL of your work-out clothes. Treadmills and dress shoes don’t work well together, so don’t forget your top, shorts/pants, socks, underclothing, shoes, hair-ties, braces, etc.
Glasses Sunglasses. Cloudy weather at home doesn’t mean cloudy weather at your destination.
Reading glasses if you need them.
Eye drops and solution in case you wear contacts
In-flight items Ear plugs, if only to send the message that you’re not in the mood for small talk.
Reading material. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, you never know when your flight will be delayed.
Small bottle of hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes.
Money Corporate credit card, if you don’t normally carry it with you.
One dollar bills, to make tipping easier.
Hotel items Toothbrush and toothpaste. Complimentary from the hotel does not mean quality.
Slippers, if you’re afraid of hotel room floors.
Small First-Aid Kit. Keep yourself comfortable with some band-aids for small cuts or blisters, a couple Advil for headaches, and Tums for possible heartburn.

Not what you’re looking for? Try other tips from our packing list series:

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. With over 60 years of industry knowledge, we assist our clients with their varying travel needs. Contact us to learn how we can help streamline your business travel experience.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

What are your travel dreams? Tell us to win!

Open your mind to endless travel possibilities when you take the VIRTUOSO LIFE® Travel Dreams Survey. It only takes minutes to complete, but will leave you with a lifetime of inspiration. Plus, once you submit your survey you’ll be entered to win a dream vacation of your own.
Deadline to enter is March 31, 2012. Must be a valid U.S. resident to be eligible to win. Non-U.S. residents are invited to take the survey here.
Christopherson Business Travel is a Virtuoso member agency.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Pinkberry Makes Business Travel Better

At least according to me.  I know, I know, some people think frozen yogurt is SO two years ago and have moved on to gourmet doughnuts or macaroons as the next dessert trend du jour, but I’m still obsessed with Pinkberry.  That tart yogurt combined with the goodness of fresh fruit toppings – the only way to go in my book…
Anyway, since I think its tragic that we don’t have a Pinkberry where I’m based in Salt Lake City, I look at my business travel as an opportunity to get a fix.  That’s why I was so excited when I saw this Jaunted article letting me know exactly which airports have Pinkberry hot spots.  Its like they read my mind!  I just had to share; please read below.  And next time you’re on a business trip in one of these airports, take my strong suggestion and get thee to a Pinkberry for some fro-yo. 

Categories
Vacation Travel

Does a travel agent fly for you?

Contrary to popular belief, a travel agent won’t always cost more. In fact, it is possible you will pay less than booking a vacation yourself because agents might be aware of promotional offers and occasionally have access to exclusive deals. Some agents will charge a fee for their time in planning a trip. In general, however, using a travel agent will often cost about the same as booking it yourself, experts say. Read the complete article from Gregory Karp, Chicago Tribune for all the pros and cons…

Categories
Travel Management Vacation Travel

Lost or Stolen Photo ID?

Have you ever had your photo ID stolen while traveling by air? Or have you misplaced your photo ID and then had that ‘sinking stomach’ feeling when you realize it is required to board your flight? The TSA has provided us an answer to this problem on their website along with many other ‘what-if and can I’ scenarios.
For example:
Q.  If I lose my ID during travel, what secondary forms of ID will be accepted?
A.  Passengers who do not have a valid photo ID, such as State-issued driver’s license, should bring any ID or documents they have available to assist in verification of identity.  Passengers need at least two alternate forms of identification, such as a social security card, birth certificate, marriage license, or credit card. The documents must bear the name of the passenger. Also, one of these documents must bear identification information containing one of the following:  date of birth, gender, address, or photo. If TSA can confirm the passenger’s identity, they may enter the secured area, but they could be subject to additional screening.
I found the TSA web-page of FAQs very helpful, and most certainly hope that my photo ID is always with me.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Memorial Day Weekend… Travel, Honor or Both?

As many packed up and headed out for a 3 or 4 day weekend, was the meaning behind this most important holiday left behind?
Memorial Day was officially declared by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic when the country was still reeling from the tragedy of the Civil War and the loss of 620,000 soldiers. Many referred to this day as Decoration Day, as those grateful for the service of fallen soldiers would decorate their graves with flowers. Many women in the South, prior to the end of the Civil War decorated the graves of fallen soldiers and loved ones. Though Memorial Day was officially established and honored on May 30, 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War it was only celebrated by the Northern States. It wasn’t celebrated by the Southern States until after World War I when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died in the Civil War to honoring all Americans who had died fighting in any war.
This holiday is one that should be honored with grace and gratefulness. Those who have lost their lives in the service of our country are those who have kept the American Dream alive. We each have our own dreams, but is our freedom that allows us to live them. As times have changed and many more survive their service in the military, some with devasting physical disabilties, it is important that we remember and honor all those who serve to protect our priceless freedoms.
This Memorial Day weekend, we hope you took the time to decorate the graves of those who have fallen, thank those soldiers who have served and still serve. And, while vacationing or picnicking with your loved ones, take an opportunity to teach your children the meaning behind Memorial Day, and if you have family members whom you are honoring, do so by sharing their stories and memories. In my case, I will be honoring my father (World War II & Korean War) and two brothers (Iraq War) and am indebted for their service and grateful for their survival.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Summer is coming!

As we make our way through this wild spring, with snow in the Rockies and storms in the Midwest and East, it may be hard to remember that summer and summer travel is only a few weeks away. Most of the year, road-warriors make up the majority of travelers in the country. However, starting with the Memorial Day Weekend and generally not ending until Labor Day Weekend, there is another group of travelers that make up a significant percentage of those traveling: families on vacation. Every year these two distinct groups seem to collide at the airport. The challenges start with the TSA screenings and continue all the way through the journey.
Here are some suggestions that may help reduce these conflicts:

  1. Everyone should know what can and cannot be carried on and what has to be checked. For specifics, you should call your travel agent. Especially if you are traveling with odd sized or over sized items, such as bicycles, surfboards, golf clubs or pets.
  2. Everyone should know what the TSA will permit through the security screening. For details visit www.tsa.gov and look for the section on the right side of the page entitled “What to Know Before You Go”. It has a number of links to topics that address what you can and cannot take through security. It also has suggestions on how to get through security as fast as possible.
  3. Plan on things taking a little longer. Give yourself an extra 15 to 30 minutes when you are heading for the airport. While we all hate to give up more of our time to waiting at the airport, the extra time will make the process less stressful and may be the difference between making or missing your flight.
  4. Try to dress in a manner that allows you to quickly prepare for the screening process and then quickly move on afterwards. Slip on shoes, no change in your pockets, a watch that is easy to remove and similar actions will speed you through security.
  5. Make sure that you follow the rules concerning liquids and gels. Find out how much you can carry on and how it has to be packaged. The TSA is very strict about contents, containers and amounts.
  6. If you are taking electronics through, be sure that you are familiar with the rules and guidelines on how to pack them. If you are taking a laptop, be sure to remove it from the laptop bag.
  7. Plan on things not going perfectly and always have a backup plan. This means if for some reason you get delayed, you know what options you have to pursue. Or if you booked your trip through Christopherson Business Travel, know the number to call your agent. Your agent will help you find alternatives and can work with the airlines to get you re-accommodated on another flight.
  8. Always remember to pack your sense of humor and your patience. You will need both of them more times than not.

Now those who travel all the time may feel like that this is all old news. But based on my last couple of trips, I would venture that a number of people could stand to brush up on a few of these points. We were all new to traveling at some point, and experienced travelers need to remember that when encountering less experienced travelers. And inexperienced travelers need to take responsibility by planning ahead and learning what is necessary to make life easier on all concerned.
Happy Travels!

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Don’t Wait to Buy Your Summer Vacation Tickets

About this time of year the internal nagging question starts…  “Should I buy my plane tickets now or wait a little longer to see if the fares will go down?” After reading numerous articles written over the last few months — if you are going to buy — buy now!!
According to a Los Angeles Times article, the average price for a domestic airline ticket last summer of $302 will increase this summer to $390, that’s up 15%. With fuel prices expected to increase and airlines decreasing capacity, again, consider what your budget will allow, check prices, and buy–NOW.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Listen up — cell phone restrictions state by state

From state to state cell phone usage and texting while driving restrictions differ. So … if you happen to reside in a state where there are no bans, and are accustomed to these laws, you might want to check out the following websites to know what you might be up against when venturing into “unknown territories.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offers updated info and stats. Nine states presently ban this altogether–check to see if your state is one of them. Another site, GHSA , offers additional info.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite

Here’s some news to make your skin crawl: Bedbug infestations will explode this year, particularly in the summer, experts say. The bloodsuckers are already entrenched in the city and, like cockroaches, tend to thrive in July, August and September, said Jeffrey White, a research entomologist for BedbugCentral.com.
“I firmly believe that this year is going to be worse than last year,” White said at a recent bedbug seminar. “If we combine the seasonal trend, with the bugs getting more and more embedded in our community, that allows the bugs to make that resurgence all the more stronger.”

Here are 8 tips when looking for bed bugs:

1- Inspect hotel room mattresses, bedding, furniture and closet hangers for signs of infestation.
2- Never put clothes in hotel drawers or on a hotel floor.
3- Travel with resealable bags large enough to hold clothes.
4- Use dissolvable laundry bags when traveling. The bags can go straight from your suitcase to the washing machine.
5- Check your laptop. The bedbugs are attracted to the heat and body oils on the computer.
6- Periodically inspect headboards and under the bed for signs of bedbugs. “After they’ve fed at night, they go and hide in the cracks and the crevices of the headboard and wait for you to come back to bed,” said Gemma Holmes, owner of the Nashville-based Holmes Pest Control.
7- Check the alarm clock on your nightstand, along with electrical outlets. “It’s a warm spot,” Holmes said.
8- If in doubt, after a trip don’t bring belongings in the house. Treat them for bed bugs first.
Though a bedbug’s bite is thought not to spread disease, the thought of having your blood sucked while asleep can be psychologically devastating, White said. “I’ve seen people completely emotionally crumble from dealing with it,” White said. “People just need to be educated. It’s not going away anytime soon.”
“The big problem is not getting bit, it’s bringing them home,” said Adam Greenberg, president of BugZip, a $10-$20 plastic covering that shields luggage in hotel rooms might give you more peace of mind than you think.
My advice would be to ask the hotel when the last time they treated for prevention of bed bugs. If they look at you with a blank stare you might want to turn and run the other way. Not all hotels that don’t treat for bed bugs have them but upon arriving home and finding you brought a few new friends with you, don’t be “bugged” about it. You have been warned!

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Hotels Reimbursing for Checked Baggage Fees!

With the dreary forecast of rising airfares and additional and increased ancillary fees, I was pleasantly surprised to read that hotels are coming to the rescue.  I recently saw that two hotel chains are offering a program in which they reimburse you for your checked baggage fees.  The Kimpton hotel chain and Intercontinental Hotels are offering programs for a limited time that allow you to submit proof of fees for reimbursement.  There are some restrictions and minimum night stays, but this is a great way to recoup some of your expenses and enjoy a little extra spending money.  Check out their websites for additional information!

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Shopping for Business Travel

Who says business travel products have to be all-black and boring?  If you haven’t shopped for travel products at Flight 001, get thee to their website ASAP.  Their tagline is “modern and innovative travel products” and I love how they organize shopping on their website by “pre-flight, in-flight and arrival” products. I have gotten many a Christmas present checked off my list by shopping at this site.
Pre-flight is colorful, fun luggage; functional toiletry holders; funky passport covers; retro luggage tags, etc.  In-flight is crazy patterned neck pillows; eye masks; travel games; and my personal favorite – the Red Eye Pak, which includes a Flight 001 eyemask, soft ear plugs, lip balm, 1 LA Fresh hydrating lotion towelette, 1 LA Fresh Dental Refresher, chiclets for popping your ears, and a bookmark – all packaged in a reusable clear zip-top pouch.  Arrival products are maps; small, light-weight umbrellas; adapters and more.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Trek to the Lost City: Luxury in the Andes

Embark on an unforgettable journey across the unspoiled Peruvian mountain tops on Ker & Downey’s Trek to the Lost City: Luxury in the Andes. This 12-day trip begins in the Sacred Valley where you acclimate to the mountain air and experience the ancient allure of Ollantaytambo before setting off on foot with professional guides. Hike for five days through the picturesque Andes, welcomed to luxurious lodges by night and isolated vantage points by day, with Machu Picchu and historic Cusco the final destinations on your remote path.

Hotel Monasterio

Hotel Monasterio derives its name from its original purpose as a 16th century monastery. Though the architecture of the hotel, indicative of the colonial period, has not been significantly altered, the hotel features entirely modern facilities, helping to make Hotel Monasterio one of the finest hotels in the world.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Cambodia Charitable Tour – 6 Days / 5 Nights

On this six-day charitable Cambodia tour, you will not only experience the wonder of Angkor Wat and the rural beauty of Battambang but also have the opportunity to visit and support several local charities. Flying home, you will be left with fond memories of your travels and the smiles of the Khmer people.
Touching down in Siem Reap, you will spend the first three days of our Cambodia package tour visiting the majestic temples of Angkor. With your expert guide, learn about the history and discover the hidden alcoves of monuments such as Angkor Wat, Bayon, Banteay Srei and Ta Phrom.
During your stay in Siem Reap, there are opportunities at every turn to visit a locally-run charity. Among these is The Landmine Museum, where you can learn more about the ongoing efforts to demine the country and support victims of these unexploded ordinances. Sala Bai Restaurant is another fantastic option. By dining here you not only enjoy delicious fresh Khmer cuisine, but also help in the vocational training of underprivileged children.

Tour Duration:
6 Days / 5 Nights
Tour Operates:
Year Round / On Demand
Tour Price:
Available upon Request

Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs. The Cambodia Charitable Tour includes:

  • Accommodation in half twin/dbl room with daily breakfast at selected hotels in Siem Reap and Battambang
  • English-speaking guide during trip
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits (3 days Angkor pass)
  • Tuk Tuk ride for half day during the visit at small circuit in Angkor
  • Public regular speedboat from Siem Reap to Battambang
  • Transfer by overland from Battambang to Siem Reap
Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Next time – Consider Shipping Your Baggage

After reading up (Googling) on the possibility of shipping luggage, I decided to seriously consider this for my next vacation.
All baggage shipping services end up using FedEx, UPS, or DHL so going directly through them will save money. With FedEx you can go through a “what-if” scenario to estimate the cost involved. A home delivery 2-day service for my average bag, (normally through Delta $25), estimated on the FedEx calculator at $22.92! This was for a trip from SLC to Castle Rock, CO, dropping off at the Salt Lake Airport FedEx office a few days prior. Not bad. For the pros and cons take a look at www. SeatGuru.com. FedEx also has some great information.
The airlines are also encouraging travelers to consider this possibility.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Whale Watching on Maui

If you were in Maui right now you very likely would see a humpback whale. Maui is your gateway to some of the best whale watching in the world.
The waters off of West Maui and South Maui are shielded by the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala, creating calm and clear waters for high visibility. Humpback whales are also drawn to the area’s shallow waters, less than 600 feet deep, making Maui an ideal spot for the most spectacular whale watching.
Expert guides take you to the best spots to observe whales playfully surfacing, tail slapping, or blowing spouts in the air. Regulations prohibit boats from approaching within 100 yards of a whale and you should never swim with or touch whales.
Lahaina Harbor is home to a wide range of whale watching tours. From charter boats to passenger rafts, a stroll past the whale watching kiosks lining Lahaina harbor reveals a variety of whale watching options. During the peak of whale watching season between January and early April, the pier is abuzz with activity. Tours last roughly 2 – 4 hours long and some even offer early bird specials.
But you don’t have to go on a whale watching tour to spot whales. In fact, there are plenty of areas on Maui where humpbacks can frequently be seen from the shore during whale season. The scenic McGregor Point lookout west of Maalaea and the beaches of Kaanapali, Kihei and Wailea are also great spots to see whales.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

New St. George, Utah airport opens today, January 13, 2011

It is an exciting day for St. George and the Zion’s National Park area of Utah. After 20 years of setbacks and controversy, the new St. George airport officially opens today.
The old airport had its charm and a unique experience as planes landed atop a plateau overlooking St. George. But the plateau provided limitations of a short runway and no option for expansion, limiting air service to the region.
The limitations are now things of the past. The new airport is considerably larger, and its runway can accommodate much larger aircraft such as 737’s and bring more services to the area. SkyWest plans to increase services in St. George by 16% tomorrow and another 30% on March 1 when they begin offering daily flights to Los Angeles.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News Vacation Travel

The Perfect Holiday Gift

Still looking for that perfect holiday gift? Running out of time and short of great ideas? Most likely, you would have to think a while to remember what gifts you received last year. This year, consider the gift of travel. That’s one gift that won’t be forgotten!
The vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel is called Andavo Travel, and our Andavo consultants can suggest a number of great destinations for a wonderful getaway. You might consider a weekend getaway to look forward to during the winter months ahead. Or maybe it is time to plan a cruise. If you can’t decide, you can give a gift certificate for travel and do the planning later.
Contact an Andavo Travel specialist by calling 866-327-7600 or emailing vacations@andavotravel.com.  Happy holidays!

Categories
Vacation Travel

Special Dinner at the One & Only Palmilla!

I just happen to be staying at the One & Only Palmilla last week when the hotel was hosting a special dinner to benefit the homeless in Los Cabos. Jean-George Vongerichten of the restaurant Market, (he operates several restaurants all over the world) was there along with the wine maker from Caymus Winery, Chuck Wagner.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Travel Insurance? You bet!

I first have to explain how angry I get when some so-called ‘travel guru’ for a national television station or major publication tells travelers that, in essence, purchasing travel insurance is a waste of money. Horse-hockey! They go on to explain that this is just another way for the cruise line, travel company or travel agent to get more money out of you. Let me explain just how wrong they are, and nothing can emphasize my point more than personal experience.
You’re thinking to yourself, why would a travel agent need to purchase travel insurance? Well my situation is much like many people’s. I have aging parents and I travel a lot. My initial reason was to purchase insurance to cover out of pocket, non-refundable costs that would be a total loss should a situation arise that I have to cancel my trip and stay home to care for my parents or other immediate family member.
Just this last April, I was three days from my trip to Cancun, Mexico for my niece’s wedding and I end up in the hospital with appendicitis! I contacted Delta Vacations and let them know that I wouldn’t be traveling and then contacted Travelex Insurance to start the claims process. Within a few weeks I had the refund of my trip!
Buy travel insurance! It protects against unforeseen events prior to leaving. It also protects you while you are traveling (flight delays, lost baggage, medical issues.) You’ve invested a lot in your trip, go one step further and protect that investment!

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Home for the holidays…your’s or mine?

According to a special holiday edition of the HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report, about one in five people (22%) say relatives overstay their welcome after a day or less. Some saying their family members wear out their welcome as soon as they arrive. Another 29% say relatives overstay their welcome after just a few days. About a third say their relatives never wear out their welcome.
The report also found men (11%) are more likely than women (3%) to want to show relatives the door as soon as they arrive, while women (41%) are more likely than men (32%) to say relatives never overstay their welcome. And who are the most welcomed guests during the holidays?  Fathers and fathers-in-law!
Holiday hosts are most annoyed by guests leaving their belongings all over the house. But it’s not just holiday hosts that suffer; guests also feel the pain of sharing cramped quarters. According to the report, travelers who’ve stayed with relative’s during the holidays say the worst sleeping situations they’ve endured are sleeping on a sofa or futon (28%), sleeping on the floor (21%) or sleeping on a roll-away bed (14%). One guest even had to sleep in the bathtub!
Whether you are entertaining guests or traveling to a relatives home this holiday season, here’s hoping you enjoy the most wonderful time of the year no matter the circumstance.
Christopherson Business Travel wishes all a delightful holiday season with loved ones near and far!

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Four Seasons Hotel Denver Grand Opening

The newly built Four Seasons Hotel Denver recently opened with great fanfare and celebration! The newest luxury property in Denver is located right in the heart of the downtown theater district. The property glows as a landmark at 14th and Arapahoe.
Urban chic design subtly reflects the natural beauty of Colorado, and oversized windows thrill the eyes with Rocky Mountain views. Guest can enjoy fine dining at the EDGE Restaurant; relax in the spa sanctuary or take a swim in downtown’s premiere heated rooftop pool for resort-style ease. Four Seasons will pamper you with exquisite accommodations and personalized service.
For both business and leisure travelers looking to make your Denver stay feel effortless and exhilarating, Christopherson, (a Virtuoso Affiliate), is able to offer special rates and a variety of value-added services during your stay. Just another way Christopherson Business Travel and Andavo Travel bring great value to their clients.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology Vacation Travel

Is your company holding a health or employee fair?

Representatives from Christopherson Business Travel and our Andavo Travel vacation specialists would be happy to attend! Give us a table at your event, and we’ll give your attendees:

  • Information about our business travel management options and integrated technology
  • Travel ideas for their next vacation
  • Our expertise at crafting travel dreams to worldwide destinations
  • Beautiful brochures to take home for further inspiration

Or we can arrange for a travel fair to be held at your office, featuring our travel specialists, plus your preferred hotel and car vendors.
Many of our fantastic clients are already taking us up on this offer, and I attended the Sinclair Health Fair a few weeks ago at their corporate office in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sinclair Health Fair - This Way!

It was fun to see their offices and all the Sinclair memorabilia they had on display.
Sinclair collectibles

Sinclair collectibles

Sinclair Benefits Fair Room Overview

Our Christopherson Business Travel / Andavo Travel table

David Russell of Christopherson Business Travel and Collette Peck, one of our Andavo Travel vacation specialists, did a great job manning the table.
Contact Laney Williams, Marketing Manager, for more information on health/benefits/employee/travel fairs:  email or 801.327.7758.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Big Savings for flexible getaways for honeymoons or family vacations!

Get that family vacation, honeymoon or best friend vacation booked today!

Flexible Getaways make it easy for friends and family to get together for a vacation. This program is ideal for groups of 10 or more people who want to vacation together at the same resort, yet need flexibility with their travel dates, flights, or length of stay, or who may even be traveling from different cities.

Destinations that are available: Participating resorts:
Bahamas AZUL hotels, by Karisma
Dominican Republic Barcelo Hotels & Resorts
Hawaii El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels, by Karisma
Jamaica Iberostar Hotels & Resorts
Las Vegas MGM MIRAGE Resorts
Mexico Palace Resorts
Outrigger and OHANA Hotels & Resorts (select hotels)
Real Resorts
RIU Hotels & Resorts
Sandals & Beaches Resorts

Clients can save up to $200 per booking! In-destination services such as welcome signage and more.

Call us @ Andavo Travel 866-327-7600 and we’ll make your vacation dreams come true!

Categories
Vacation Travel

Micato Safaris

I recently returned from a Safari to Kenya, which was coordinated by Virtuoso, Micato Safaris and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. The experience was amazing and included:

  • Multiple game drives through the Maasai Mara National Reserve
  • A hot air balloon ride over the African countryside
  • Meetings with some Maasai Elders and a visit to their village
  • Mountain bike riding at the Mount Kenya Safari Club

We stayed at the three fantastic Fairmont properties in Kenya:

  • Fairmont The Norfolk – in Nairobi
  • Fairmont Mara Safari Club
  • Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club

The trip was capped off with a visit to the Micato AmericaShare project in Mukuru. We got a chance to meet some of the children and see firsthand how Micato is helping this poor African community improve itself through:

  • Education
  • Community Outreach and
  • Economic Development

I made several observations:

  • Micato has built a first class Safari business in East Africa. There is good reason that they have been named “World’s Best Tour Operator and Safari Outfitter” by the readers of Travel+Leisure an unprecedented seven times.
  • The owners, the Pinto family, are actively engaged; we even had dinner at their home
  • Micato is doing the community a great service with their AmericaShare Non-Profit organization
  • Fairmont Hotels has an amazing set of Kenya properties; the quality and service can’t be duplicated
Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Agency Affiliation and Why It Is Important to You

Sometimes agents receive calls from customers who ask for extremely difficult/bordering on impossible requests. Depending on the agency you work with you may be out of luck.
As an example, a client decides at the last minute he wants to go to a popular destination, such as Hawaii during the Christmas to New Years week and wants to get the greatest value. He calls his agent and gives the agent the details including dates and budget. If he is working with a smaller agency, he may find that the hotel he wants is sold out and nothing is available nearby. Or he may find that the price is really high for a very disappointing lodging.
If he calls an agent at Christopherson Business Travel or Andavo Travel, he will be pleasantly surprised by the benefits derived from our affiliation with BCD and Virtuoso, two large travel consortiums. BCD specializes in corporate travel. Virtuoso is an exclusive consortium that specializes in upscale travel, both for leisure and business.
By being affiliated with BCD, Christopherson Business Travel is able to offer its’ clients access to special rates from a variety of airlines, car rental companies, car services, overseas phone services and lodging. In addition to the discounts on lodging, we are able to offer the last room availability at more than 4000 hotels worldwide. That means that even when one of those hotels is showing sold-out to the average agency, we may still be able to get you a room.
With Virtuoso, we are able to offer a variety of services that add value to your trip. As an example, here’s what you would get on a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico from a regular agency vs. CB Travel or Andavo Travel:

Booking through a Regular Agency:

Booking through Christopherson Business Travel or Andavo Travel:

  • A Stay at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
  • A Stay at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
  • + A room credit ranging from $150 to $400 per night, depending on room type
  • + Daily full breakfast for two, either in room or at any of the restaurants on the property
  • + Lunch for two once during your stay, up to $85, including gratuity
  • + Complimentary upgrade of the room, based on availability at time of check in
  • + Complimentary high speed internet

This means that you get a credit each day of $150 to $400 that can be used at the spa, the golf courses, for meals or for any other services offered at the resort. Plus you save the cost of breakfast everyday, which is a $50.00 value. In effect, you are saving between $200 and $600 a day by booking through our agency. These features are not available to anyone but clients of Virtuoso affiliated agencies.
This is just another way that Christopherson Business Travel and Andavo Travel bring additional value and benefits to our clients.

Categories
Vacation Travel

South America Small Group Journey’s

Our new South America
Small Group Journey…

Never more than 16 guests. Guaranteed
For the first time ever…From Easter Island to Iguassu
12-days from $6,599 including Easter Island, Santiago, Chile ’s Wine Country, Puerto Varas, the Lake District, Bariloche, Buenos Aires and Iguassu Falls

  • Add roundtrip air for only $300 from MIA or LAX
  • Extensive Small Group sightseeing with never more than 16 guests… Plus our innovative “Make your own Wine” experience in Chile ’s Colchagua Valley and other unique experiences not available to larger groups
  • 5-star hotels like the Ritz Carlton Santiago and the celebrated Llao Llao Resort in Bariloche

Travel without compromise… This pioneering and innovative itinerary uniquely includes both Easter Island and Iguassu Falls! You’ll experience two of South America’s most rewarding and fascinating destinations with our signature value and uncompromising quality. Enjoy our new 5-star eco-lodge on Easter Island and top hotels like the legendary Llao Llao Resort and the Sheraton Iguassu – the only hotel in Argentina’s National Park! And from wine making in the beautiful Colchagua Valley to a boat adventure at Iguassu, our unique excursions promise richer, more thrilling experiences every day.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Kentucky Derby Packages: May 5 -8, 2011

Time to book that once in a lifetime trip!

This is your year to go to the Kentucky Derby with all its mint juleps, designer hats and Southern charm traditions.

Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY: May 5 – 8, 2011

2011 Kentucky Derby Standard Travel Packages Include:

  • Reserved Seating to the 137th Kentucky Derby (Saturday)
  • 4 days/3 nights First Class Accommodations in Louisville
  • TARC Transportation Passes for Roundtrip Event Transfers
  • Reserved Chair Seating for the Pegasus Parade
  • Commemorative Gift Package
  • Custom Ticket Holder and Lanyard
  • All Taxes and Service Charges
  • Expert Travel & Concierge Services of an At-Your-Service Desk™

We can even get you 1st floor to Millionaires Row seating! Call for details.

Andavo Travel 866-327-7600

Let us help plan your next big sporting event trip!
Super Bowl, NBA finals, 2012 Olympics!

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Calling All Travelers: Important Travel Safety Info

During a recent Utah Business Travel Association monthly meeting, we heard from an interesting, attention-getting guest speaker: Kevin Coffey. Kevin has been a detective for 20 plus years and is an expert on travel safety via air, rail, and car, including hotel stays and international travel. I quickly realized what a great resource Kevin and his websites could be for Christopherson’s clients, especially business travelers.
I am pretty savvy when it comes to traveling, but I learned some new and important information. During the lunch meeting, Kevin even set-up a fake scenario with a tray of dishes crashing to the floor to show our group first-hand how purses and laptops can be taken without the owner even noticing. It all happened in a matter of seconds during all the chaos of people trying to help.
To learn more about travel safety for your upcoming trip, or if you are updating your company’s travel policy, check-out Kevin Coffey’s websites. It could save your life.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Forts and Palaces of India Tour

Suggested Itinerary-at-a-glance

  • Day 1: Arrive Delhi  / Leela Palace Kempinski New Delhi
    Day 2: Delhi  / Leela Palace Kempinski New Delhi (B)
    Day 3: Agra / Oberoi Amarvillas (B,D) -Taj Mahal
  • Day 4: Jaipur / Rambagh Palace (B,D)  –  Amber Fort
  • Day 5: Jaipur / Rambagh Palace (B,D)
  • Day 6: Bikaner / Gajner Palace (B,D) – Wildlife Sanctuary
    Day 7: Bikaner / Gajner Palace (B,D)
  • Day 8: Jaisalmer / The Serai Desert Camp (B) – tented luxury camps
  • Day 9: Jaisalmer / The Serai Desert Camp (B)
  • Day 10: Manvar / Manvar Desert Camp (B,D)
    Day 11: Jodhpur / Umaid Bhawan Palace (B,D) – Menranharh Fort
    Day 12: Jodhpur / Umaid Bhawan Palace (B,D)
  • Day 13: Udaipur / Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur (B,D) – Lakeside Retreat
    Day 14: Udaipur / Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur (B,D)
  • Day 15: Depart Udaipur (B)

Activities and Adventures Included in Forts and Palaces:

  • Full-day guided tour of Old and New Delhi
  • Tours of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
  • Full-day tour of Jaipur including the Amber Fort
  • Guided tour of Jaisalmer’s Golden Fort
  • Camel trekking, dune hikes and desert activities
  • Tour of Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur
  • Guided tour of the City Palace in Udaipur
  • Boat ride on Lake Pichola

Please call Andavo Travel for current pricing (866-327-7600.)

Domestic and international airfares are additional.
Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Virgin Galactic Space Travel One Step Closer to Reality

History was made on October 10, 2010 when Virgin Galactic’s space ship VSS Enterprise completed her first manned solo glide and landing at Mojave Air and Spaceport in California.
Click here to watch footage of the historic flight.
Virgin Galactic is now well on the way to becoming the world’s first commercial space line – and Christopherson Business Travel / Andavo Travel are playing an exclusive role in bringing the wonders of space travel to clients through our partnership with Virtuoso. Virtuoso is the exclusive retail travel group in North and South America currently taking reservations for Virgin Galactic.  Deposits start from $20,000. 
Probably not a part of your 2011 travel management program, but it’s fun to consider the possibilities…

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Small Inns of Spain

Are you the type of European traveler that likes to stay away from the ‘big hotels’?  Small inns and paradores of Spain are perfect for the traveler who wants a more local experience.  Spanish paradores are hotels for luxury accommodation in castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries and other historic buildings.  Many are on small winding streets with only pedestrian traffic, and can have as many as thirty or as little as a dozen rooms. Often these inns take on the distinct style and ambience of the local area, with local tiles and hand-carved windows and doors.
Sounds incredible, right?  Let me help you with your travel plans to Spain! I have traveled there and am Spanish Tourist Board Certified.  All rooms that I book are ensuite and many include breakfast.  The tapas bars, cathedrals and main sightseeing are all minutes away from the front entrances.  The average double room rate for these fine establishments is often about 100 Euros per night, but because of the inns’ small size the rooms need to be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Spain is still one of Europe’s hottest destinations. The sights are well preserved. The food and wines are some of the best in the world. And the traditions still remain that give it that old world feel.  I would love to help you explore Spain, with all its small inns and paradores.
Collette Peck  collette.peck@andavotravel.com  801-327-7609

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Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Airline Passenger Rights

I found this USA Today Travel article to be interesting.  Passenger rights while flying is such a hot topic, as so many of us have experienced a flight delay or other flight situation (previously unregulated), with no recourse.  This article describes the new regulations that may help passengers strike back!