Why Now Is the Best Time to Book Future Travel

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With many people not able to leave their homes and travel restrictions all over the world, you may be thinking why should I bother evening hoping for a vacation. You may also be at the point in your quarantine where you just need something to look forward to. Something to get excited about. Booking a trip during such uncertain times can seem pointless at the moment. But we at STW believe now is the best time to book future travel – with some conditions.

img_0839 Before we get into why now is the best time to book future travel, we wanted to share a couple of things to consider when you start the planning process.

First and foremost, you need to assess your comfort level. Safety takes a top priority and everyone has their own comfort levels, needs and health considerations to think about when looking at planning a vacation. By discussing with your travel companions and learning what a healthy, fun vacation looks like…you should be able to settle on a trip that will leave everyone excited.

Maybe international travel is out of the question this year. Maybe you would rather embark on a road trip, rent an RV for the first time, or take a cross country train ride, there really are so many options that can fit within anyone’s comfort range. Do what works best for you and your travel companions.

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Do your research. When you finally decide on the type of trip you want to take before you choose your destination make sure you look into what current travel policies they may have in place. Some states have self-quarantining polices or travel restrictions that you will need to adhere to. Most travel agents or advisors will be able to provide you with this information however, you will always want to do your own research so, that you know ahead of time – what you are getting in to. Who knows, maybe travel will be un-restricted and all will be well. Also, we suggest checking weekly since updates are constantly evolving.

So, now that you have taken the time to assess your comfort level and do some research, let’s talk about why now is the best time to book future travel.

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Booking policies are more flexible than they have ever been before. Many of the top airlines, cruise lines, resorts, etc. completely understand the internal debate one may have when committing to any future vacation. So, because of this, they have made their booking policies much more flexible and consumer-friendly.

  • Airlines: book now, change flight later with no fees
  • Cruises: relaxed cancellation policies and booking options into 2022
  • Resorts/hotels: flexible cancellation policies (some are offering free cancellation up to 24 hours before a trip) plus, book now – pay later options

Related: Book Now – Travel Later – Hot Deals

Suppliers are now becoming smarter about helping customers through these uncertain times. But, always be sure, no matter how great the deal sounds to check all the terms and conditions to ensure your protection.

Other steps you can take to be sure you are protected

  • Invest in trip insurance
  • Consider self-insuring for less expensive trips
  • If you have miles, use them to allow for even easier flight cancellations

And to really make sure that you are prepared for your future travel, consider hiring a travel agent or advisor. They will save you time doing all the research for you, negotiating the best cancellation policies, and supplying you with the many options available to protect your future vacation.

Bottom line

If you are one of the explorers that had to put your travel on pause, we are right there with you. However, there is no reason to continue the wait-and-see approach for planning. Now is the best time to book future travel and we are here to help you!

Are you booking future trips now, Where are you looking to go? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy planning,

Sara

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Top 3 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

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Going on vacation is meant to be a relaxing experience. An escape from our daily lives. Our way, to getaway. However, planning for a trip is not always easy. There is a lot of time that goes into researching different destinations, resorts, and airlines to not only find the best price but, also to make sure all your needs are being met.

Not to mention all the activities you’ll want to book to fill up your time while on vacation!

That is where working with a travel agent comes in very handy. Many people thought that the internet would be the end of agents when all the booking sites and digital tools came into the market. However, that was not the case, and here are a few reasons why.

KNOWLEDGE

A travel agent is a trusted advisor. We take the time to learn what our client’s needs and wants are and then help not only help them find the perfect destination but, plan an intricate itinerary that allows the traveler to just enjoy the journey.

Agents also spend a lot of their free time studying different locations and cultures, learning best practices and the latest industry trends, and taking certification classes. This is all to make sure that YOU get the most unique and best service possible.

This is especially important now as we are all faced with the uncertainty of how life will get back to normal after the pandemic. We are in constant communication with our suppliers and associations to stay up-to-date with the latest news around travel guidelines and regulations.

CONNECTIONS

Of course, you can spend hours on Google and all the travel booking sites looking for what you may think are the best deals but, did you know travel agents get access to unique packages and discounts that are not published to the public? This is because of the relationship they have developed with the supplier. Every month, we get notified of a wide variety of travel discounts. In fact, click here to see our latest BOOK NOW – TRAVEL LATER deal ending May 31, 2020. 

PROBLEM SOLVERS

Here is the thing, nothing is perfect. No matter how well you prepare and how organized you think you are – things can still happen. Luggage may get lost in transit to your destination, your airport transfer may run late, your flight is delayed, the list goes on and on. However, all of these unfortunate situations you may find yourself in, become less stressful when you are working with a travel agent. Because of our connections and knowledge of the industry, we are ready to help resolve any issue and get you back to enjoying your vacation.

So, are YOU ready to start planning your next vacation? We want to hear from YOU.

Happy planning,

Sara

My 3 Week Packing List for Europe

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On Saturday, I begin my 3-week long journey in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, and Vienna. To say I am excited is an understatement. However, I did find myself struggling with what to pack since my first 2.5 weeks abroad is a vacation and the remaining time is for a work event.

This schedule means, not only do I have to pack for various temperatures but, also a few outfits for business casual meetings. All this while only using a 29″ suitcase – no more than 40lbs.

Here’s the plan.

  • Stick to mostly solid colors that can be interchangeable.
    • 2 long sleeve blouses
      • It is cooler in London than some of the other locations I am traveling so, I want to be prepared for that and those milder nights on the town.
      • Blouses are also great to match with dark denim jeans and heels for work
    • 2 pairs of denim jeans
      • 1 light pair for a more casual outfit.
      • 1 dark to pair with a blouse or dress top for nights out and/or work
    • 2 pairs of shorts
      • Denim or casual materials for site seeing and hot days
    • 3 – 4 summer shirts
      • Mix tank tops and short sleeve shirts
    • 2 Kimonos
      • I am a kimono queen and love pairing them with tank tops for added sun protection or to dress up an evening outfit.
    • 2-3 summer dresses
      • A mix of maxi and casual
      • Can be dressed up with the right pair of shoes and a cardigan
      • Perfect for casual sightseeing and evening dinners
    • 1 light jacket
      • Should be rainproof
    • 1-2 cardigans
      • For chilly evenings or to dress up an outfit
    • 2 bras
      • One white, one black
    • 4 pairs of socks
    • 1 swimsuit
    • 2 pairs of athletic pants
      • For the dual purpose of working out and sleeping
    • 1 comfy sleeping shirts
  • Stick to 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of comfortable walking flats, 1 pair of heels and 1 pair of flip flops (for hostel showers).
  • Accessories: backpack (duals as a purse), small wristlet that fits in a backpack but, can also be used alone, light jewelry (nothing too flashy) such as 1-2 necklaces, watch, 1-2 bracelets, rings, 1-2 sets of earrings
  • Utilize compression packing cubes to save space within my suitcase
  • Travel Towel
  • Universal Adapter
  • Pack travel laundry packets to do quick washes in sinks, if needed

What do you think about this packing list? Do you have your own go-to items that you want to share? Leave a comment and let me know!

Happy exploring.

XoXo,

Sara

Solo Trip to San Diego for Twenty Days

I grew up hearing about how amazing San Diego was from my dad. He was stationed there when he returned from Vietnam in the 60’s. Every once in a while he would throw around the idea about moving with my mom but, that was not happening. When he passed away in June 2017, I had my first trip to San Diego planned just one month later for work. It didn’t take long for me to realize my dad was 100% accurate as to how breathtaking and fun it really was. In 2018 I had another trip, February 2019 another and eventually in early March I decided to get an Airbnb (check out how I selected my short term home) for 20 days to really immerse myself in all things SoCal had to offer.

March 30, 2019: I boarded my plane from cold and snowy Buffalo, NY to warm and sunny San Diego, CA. This would be the start of my 20 day solo travel trip to “America’s Finest City”.

I want to start off by saying this was not a vacation. I was living, working and going to the gym like a local. I found a gym in Hillcrest where I was staying and after a few days really started getting into a comfortable routine. An important thing I want to share about solo travel is that you have to be disciplined when doing a trip like this. It can be really hard to get into the mindset that you are not on vacation while traveling solo for extended periods of time and keep motivated when it comes to work. With the sun shine and warm weather – far different than how it was back home – it was a constant struggle. Discipline and the fact I enjoy my job really helped. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t find my self bringing my laptop and my hot-spot to the beach or an outdoor patio to work on days where I just had to get into the sun.

Weekend One: Before I checked into my Airbnb I mostly explored the area of La Jolla. It was overwhelming how happy I already was to be there. My dear friend and I biked along the coast, explored a sea cave that was 145 steps down the cliff, laid out on Windansea beach and saw sea lions. It was beautiful and the perfect way to start out my next few weeks of solo travel.

After a couple days, I checked into my new home in Hillcrest. When I arrived I was greeted by two of the kindest people Christina and Curtis plus their adorable dog Chewie. I immediately felt comfortable and like I had always lived there. Going into an Airbnb, especially solo, you always get a bit nervous because you never really know who your hosts are. Boy did I luck out. The place was so cute and quaint. 

The first couple days I spent time exploring Hillcrest. I wanted to really focus on getting acquainted with the neighborhood and the people. Along the way I found the cutest little restaurant Chocolat. It became a regular stop during the week when I would go to different locations and work remote.

During the work week I pretty much stuck to a routine of getting up at 6 am for remote work, taking a mid-day break to venture to the gym and find a spot to post up at for the remainder of the workday followed by an occasional dinner on the town with my friends. Some of my favorite restaurants are: Rustic Root, Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant, Rockin’ Baja Lobster, Sear Sucker, Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers, Henry’s Pub. 

Over the next couple weeks I was able to see so much of San Diego. I didn’t hit everything on my bucket list but, hey – there is always next time (check out my San Diego bucket list).

Weekend Two: The main thing I wanted to do was see dolphins and I did it. I have loved dolphins my whole life. I have a ton of figurines and even a tattoo. On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon my friend and I took a whale watching cruise with Flagship Cruises . Although we didn’t see any whales, we saw so many dolphins (video at the bottom of this post).

Weekend Three: The finale.

Stop 1: Historic Old Town is one of my favorite parts of the city so, on Saturday my friend and I made the most of our day exploring the shops and street vendors, eating delicious Mexican food at el Antojo and visiting La Casa de Estudillo. We also stumbled upon Semper Fry a Veteran owned, family run business making and creating unique and delicious hot sauce. I got their Spicy Avocado and Kalamata Olive flavors.

Stop 2: Drinks and lunch at Hotel Del Coronado’s Sheerwater and Babcock & Story Bar

Stop 3: Petco Park for a Padres vs. Reds game

Stop 4: Out on the town visiting Trailer Park After Dark , Craft and Commerce, Noble Experiment 

My time in San Diego was one of the best experiences in my life and seeing it come to an end was bittersweet. Not only did I explore as much of the city as I could and find more to love but, I was also inspired to start the Solo Travel Woman tribe and invest more into my world of travel.

I want to thank all my friends, old and new who live in San Diego and were a part of my journey. The love I have for each of you is deep.

I know in my heart that leaving San Diego was not forever. It was just a see you later.

Until next time…happy exploring.

XoXo,

Sara

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Videos:

Solo Travel Woman Tribe

Solo Travel Woman is so much more than this blog and my explorations. It is bigger than that. 

Solo Travel Woman is about the empowered and independent woman is who is not afraid and will no longer be held back from exploring our beautiful world. It is for the woman who likes immersing herself in other cultures, tasting global cuisines, visiting museums and galleries, hiking the tallest mountains, sleeping in a tent or a luxury hotel, and one who doesn’t see an end to her journey.

logo_transparentSolo Travel Woman wants YOU to become a part of the tribe. Whether guest blogging on our site, becoming a brand ambassador for our new STW Shops Solo Travel Woman line or just embracing your inner explorer we would love to connect.

If you are interested in joining the tribe email solotravelwoman@gmail.com with TRIBE in the subject line.

With all that being said, as you read above we mentioned our new STW Shops. Yes, we have officially launched our own eCommerce site. Not only does it have Solo Travel Woman clothing and accessories (images below) but, also other travel items such as luggage, tech gadgets, outdoor supplies and much more. 

For our grand opening we are running a 10% off sale from now through 11:59 p.m. ET April 30th. Use code GRANDOPEN at checkout.

Happy exploring!

XoXO,

Sara