Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community… and happy Spring! I’m just back from a 3-week business trip to Europe and enjoyed seeing signs of spring everywhere I traveled. Given I’ve just returned, I’ll keep this week’s newsletter short. First, I’ll share an important travel PSA and then a few highlights from my trip.
The Department of State has announced longer passport processing times due to high demand, “as of March 24, we are processing routine applications in 10-13 weeks, and expedited applications in 7-9 weeks.” Note that this timeframe doesn’t include time in the mail. Read all about it here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/passports/passport-processing-updates.html
If you have plans to travel internationally this year, please get your passport out and look at the expiration date before you begin planning your trip. As a matter of process, I always ask my clients to do this ASAP during our initial consultation call. It’s very easy to overlook when you’re in the excitement of thinking about a trip.
The last three weeks were a whirlwind of new experiences and valuable learnings all of which will benefit you 😊 A few highlights (some of which you saw if you followed my Instagram stories):
*Vienna, Austria: a favorite European city for culture. I toured hotels and met with my local partners who specialize in travel to Austria and Germany, as well as other places in this area of Europe.
*Budapest, Hungary: did you know that it’s actually two cities (Buda and Pest) separated by the Danube River? The architecture, history, and culture are truly amazing. I was able to experience this city in full while attending a conference/expo. Teaser – I also enjoyed a very special dining experience with an amazing celebrity chef. More to come in a future newsletter!
*River Cruise Expo: if you know nothing about river cruising but are intrigued by small, boutique ship travel, stay tuned because I earned what equates to certification in this style of travel. It’s becoming very popular, even for families.
*Paris, France: what an interesting week to be in Paris with the protests! It was still an incredible week, and the news exaggerated the level of disruption for tourism. I toured hotels, tested guides/tours/experiences, and updated my restaurant recommendation list. With Paris and France being top destinations, plus the upcoming Olympics in the summer of 2024, the timing was perfect.
*Group Travel: I focused on small group travel for part of this trip and received some highly specialized training to uplevel my skills and knowledge. Small group sizes typically range from 8-30 people, and these trips are often custom-tailored to the group with perks. Types of groups include family groups (ex. multi-generational trips), interest groups (ex. wine lovers), sports groups (golfers or the latest – pickleball players), or company incentive trips (ex. top producers).
More on all of this to come. In the meantime, email me if you’d like more information on the above, and enjoy a few photos from my trip…