Update for all travelers + blamping

TGIThursday!  What are your plans for the Leap Day weekend? 

I thought it important to begin this newsletter by addressing the Coronavirus as it relates to travel.  A key benefit of working with a travel consultant is that we closely monitor travel-related global concerns and inform our clients.  Here’s our commitment to you with these types of situations:

  • Proactive Communication:  If we are concerned that your trip may be affected, we will proactively discuss the facts and your decision points with you so you can make an informed decision.
  • Continuous Monitoring:  Media coverage is often hyped, and our network resources focus on the most current facts from reputable, unbiased sources; in the case of the Coronavirus, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) websites are two such sources. 
  • Travel Insurance:  If you purchased travel insurance, you may be covered depending upon the plan and situation. I always recommend and offer travel insurance (over “protection” plans), and for clients who want additional coverage, CFAR (Cancel for any reason) insurance provides good protection (up to a 75% refund for a non-covered cancellation reason). Plan coverage varies by carrier and plan type so it’s important to read the details of the plan you are purchasing and review when something occurs. 
  • Your Resource and Partner:When you have questions or concerns, we are here to help you!

As mentioned in my last newsletter, I spent last Thursday and Friday at the Pierre Hotel in New York City meeting many incredible Virtuoso preferred partners who offer extraordinary travel experiences ranging from immersive volunteer trips for families and groups where you won’t skimp on comfort to “blamping” experiences. Uncovering hidden travel gem experiences for my clients is one of my very favorite things to do, and below I share a few discoveries from my meetings last week….

Me to We in Kenya

Me to We

When I met with Me to We, the representative was very specific about their experiences NOT being voluntourism but true volunteering with measurable local impact.  Me to We started as a charity and grew into offering travel experiences.  When you travel with them, you gain new perspectives, learn from their community partners and deepen your understanding of the culture, social and environmental issues. You’ll also speed the completion of community projects, boost the local economy and create skilled job opportunities for local workers.  Kenya, India, and Ecuador are their destinations, and you can add a Me to We experience to a safari, Galapagos, or India itinerary.  Check out this short video that illustrates why these trips are a true bucket-list check https://vimeo.com/freethechildren/review/239644682/95c6ffb0c7


Have you heard of “blamping?”  It’s defined as where biking meets luxury camping, and you can blamp in Mexico’s beautiful Baja California peninsula.  By day, you’ll bike on varied terrain on the Agua Blanca and Salto trails.  By night you’ll rest and rejuvenate in your luxury tent with endless views of the stars in the nighttime sky, Sierra Cacachilas mountains, glittering Sea of Cortez and nearby Cerralvo Island, commonly known as Isla Jacques Cousteau.  Bikes, gear, and delicious cuisine are included!  Add on a couple of days in a resort by the sea in Cabo (we love Le Blanc for adults), and you have yourself a perfect vacation – active and relaxing!  This experience is customizable for couples and adults. 

Air New Zealand

News flash — Air New Zealand will begin three direct flights per week from Newark Airport (EWR) starting on October 29th this year!  Flight time is expected to be 15 hours 40 minutes northbound and 17 hours 40 minutes southbound.  This addition is a game-changer for people in the New York Metro area who want to experience the magic of New Zealand.  Check your calendar – if you have 10 or more days this holiday season (when it’s summer in New Zealand), this trip is THE ultimate gift!  The Kiwis will roll out the red carpet for you and your family allowing you to design a custom itinerary full of unique experiences, like taking a boat ride through a cave lit up by luminescent glowworms. 

Acqualina – Miami

Acqualina Resort and Spa On The Beach in Miami may not be on your radar, but it should be if you want an extraordinary Florida vacation – for couples and families alike.  Guests enjoy three oceanfront pools just steps from the beach, three restaurants including Il Mulino New York, a gorgeous 20,000 square foot spa, and for kids a marine-biology inspired program including a sea turtle experience in collaboration with Miami Dade County’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program.  I was told by their representative that if you’re into fishing, they can arrange a sportfishing-culinary excursion on a yacht where you can learn to prepare your catch with a chef once back at Acqualina.  And spa lovers – your Virtuoso amenities include at $100 spa credit!

Inspired and excited to learn more?  I can be reached by email susan@hiddengemtravelconsulting.com or phone/text 203.247.3396. 

Hidden Gem Tip:  Elevated travel means designing your itinerary to include experiences that speak to your passions creating those WOW moments.  Since many of these experiences are “ungoogleable,” we are your key to open those doors. 



Referral bonus:  Do you know someone who would benefit from my services? Forward this email and have them mention your name during their complimentary consultation. You will receive a special perk! They may also sign up for this weekly newsletter and access our free Hidden Gem guide at  www.hiddengemtravelconsulting.com.

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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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