Travel Think Tank

These are a few of my favorite things….

It’s Christmas time and the air is filled with the excitement of the season. Lights are strung, trees stand at attention ready for Santa’s big arrival! The kids are a little out of control with the anticipation of all that the next two weeks offer. I love Christmas and my time with my family. It never disappoints. I love to laugh, love, and share with them especially as they grow up and start forging their own way in this world. As with anything moms deal with, I always seem to find myself over analyzing what I could do differently or better than before. I know, I know I shouldn’t but, I do! I’m always looking for ways to be creative with the holidays but my kids have brought up a very good point: “Mom!” they say “we never know what to get you!”

Fair enough!

Kids want to give just as much as they want to receive. I must admit, I am one of those moms who falls in the “put me last” category-as most do, but, the kids have a point. How are they ever supposed to know what to do if we don’t help them along? Maybe the thing I need to do is put their gift giving ahead of their gift getting. And in the end, isn’t that what we are always trying to teach them? So, here’s my idea for the busy, put-myself-last, creative holiday moms out there:

Create a simple list of a few of your favorite things!

Here is mine:

1. Bumble bees

2. Maps

3. Christmas ornaments that come with a story or meaning

4. Travel books

5. Polish pottery

The list is open to any interpretation but at least it gives your young gift givers a place to start! So, post your list, cozy up with you kiddos and have an evening with problematic Maria! She is very clear on her favorite things!

One of my favorite things is my travel tree with ornaments from all my travels.
Family Travel Hub, Travel Think Tank

Patriotism as a Global Citizen. How travelers can honor those we love on Veteran’s Day.

Veterans Day is here. In our family, it is the kickoff to our holiday season. The holiday seems iconically American. However, Veterans Day started off 102 years ago as Armistice Day which marked the end of WWI and as the world started healing from The Great War, each nation involved created there own version of remembering. This makes the concept quite Global rather than quintessentially American and a great way to expand our horizons both patriotically and historically. Our own holiday evolved from commemorating 11-11-18 to honoring all who serve and have served. But make no mistake, there are plenty of countries that honor those who serve in their own way. I am lucky and grateful for the Veterans in my family. My dad, my husband, and a bevy of other relatives all served at one time or another. I even spent some time in uniform myself.

Finding our Ancestors for Veteran’s Day

One way other countries honor the military sacrifice is to remember the fallen. A great example of this is what you can find in France. This summer, I had the honor of meeting two veterans while I visited and the experience was life changing. My mom and I hopped into a sporty euro rental in Belgium and made our way west across the French border to an area out in the middle of nulle part- that’s French for nowhere. We were stopping to visit Private First Class Thomas McGovern. His address is one I can share: plot B, Row 18, Grave 11, Somme American Cemetery, Bony, France.

Somme

Thomas is my great, great uncle and died in the famous Battle of the Somme on September 27th, 1918. Visiting the cemetery is quite amazing. The superintendent escorted us out to the grave, among impeccably manicured grounds and explained to us the play by play of the battle and exactly what fate my uncle met. He produced a small container of sand from Omaha Beach to rub across the marble stone so that Thomas’ name was easily read. There, in the summer sun out in the French countryside, I became the first family member to come and pay my respects to him. I was all at once proud, connected, elated and humbled. It was a once in a lifetime experience!

Muesse-Argon

As our journey continued, I had someone else to check in with. The next day, we drove out to the Meuse-Argon American Cemetery to meet, for the first time as well, John McGovern. He is Thomas’ brother and, by heart breaking coincidence, he also perished on September 27th- just 46 days shy of the armistice. The cemetery that he rests in is shared with 14,000 other brave boys who put on a tin hat and stepped up to fight in an unknown world. Again, the sand, again two flags of pride and solidarity, again emotions that make one grateful and awestruck.

So on this Veterans Day, I say thank you to all of you who have served. I appreciate you all. And I encourage you put on a bright red poppy and

The American Cemetery at Omaha Beach, Normandy.

The American flag flying over Omaha Beach.

seek out those veterans who may not be as close as most. They may be just the thing for you and yours to learn so much about your own family and how they contributed to the greater good. There are 26 American Cemeteries overseas with over 130,000 brave Americans who are hoping a family member might visit. If you are interested, start your research with the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Poppies represent the spilt blood of the many lives that fought for liberty.
Family Travel Hub, Travel Dreaming, Travel Fun, Travel Lifestyle, Travel Think Tank

So, ummm, what exactly is a travel coach?

A travel coach can be just what you are looking for to help plan your next adventure!

In the age of internet immediacy, today’s travelers can have tickets in hand for anywhere around the world within minutes just by clicking a few times. With Apps like Expedia, Trip Advisor, Hopper, and Booking, it seems like the age of the classic travel agent is coming to a close- or at least finding a new definition. But what was it about a classic travel agent that made them so helpful? Sure, they hard booked ticket after ticket and tour after tour but perhaps that wasn’t the only service that they provided. Perhaps it was was something so much more important.

Perhaps, the local travel agent offered peace of mind. Think about it, a customer happily walked out of a travel agency with paper tickets embossed with their name on them and a clear plan on how their vacation was going to play out. If you think about it, it was kind of win-win. But, time marches on and technology pushes us forward. The question now becomes not so much “what do I do?” but “is what I’m booking worth it?” Enter a travel coach!

Questions that plague the modern traveler range from: Will this be fun? Will my kids like it? Is this really the best activity to spend my time and effort on? Or: Is this website (or top ten list) really the best that this city has to offer?

It can be overwhelming to think that we are getting ready to spend our hard earned money and all too fleeting vacation time on a destination that needs to live up to everyone’s expectations. That overwhelming feeling can make even the most efficient personality feel indecisive! No bueno. So what strikes the right balance between self planning and good, experienced advice? This is where travel coaching can help!

Coaching is a four part process:

1- Intake- this can range from a quick survey to an in depth conversation that allows a traveler to express their likes and dislikes and travel dreams.

2- Research- now it’s time for your coach to put together suggestions and tips to match your intake and perhaps introduce a few new suggestions that you hadn’t thought of. This can be general itinerary suggestions or specific activities depending on where you are in the planning process.

3- Consultation- time to meet and pour over travel dreams and delights

4- Final Revisions- based on step three or the fact that you are moving from the dreaming phase into the planning phase, this step adds in any pertinent revisions and contains more up to date and specific booking information.

More importantly, here are three things that you should not expect from travel coaching:

1- Don’t expect a budget monitor. While any coach will put your budgetary concerns at the top of their list assist a customer (that’s just good business), don’t expect a coach to scour for hours to find the best price on a particular activity. In today’s travel world, look for apps and the web to keep you up to date on that. Do expect that a travel coach will let you know when to buy a city pass or not based on your chosen activities.

2-Don’t expect to just get run of the mill travel ideas. Do expect you likes and interests, diet and lifestyle will be well thought out. Travel coaches LOVE scouring the books and crannies of a city to find all the fun stuff that doesn’t just sit on the surface. (Conversely, it is prudent to remember how important it is that those icons of travel are icons for a reasons).

3- Don’t expect a long, drawn out experience. Instead, travel coaching is a quick, efficient, and inexpensive way to explore travel opportunities and feel out the right trip of a lifetime. Travel coaching can be a great way to choose two or three destinations and sort through their options to choose the best one for you!

Okay, I get it and I’m interested! Can we cut to the bottom line, please? Our services come in three tiers:

Continental Destination Analysis: {$80.00}. This is for the traveler that knows that they want to go to a particular area like Europe or Australia. But don’t know where to begin after that dream. We’ve got you covered! Let’s chat over a hot cup of tea and get started!

Dreaming of Destinations: {$50.00}. This option is for the traveler that has already narrowed down the big trip to two or three places. You want to either sift out the excess or link them together cohesively. If you are a researcher of your dreams, this is a good option for you!

Pre-planning Primers: {325.00}. This for the traveler with tickets in mind and they are ready to start filling in the calendar. Lists with activities, transportation choices, sleeping accommodations and sincere advice on a specific trip are what you’re looking for. You’ve got the vision and you are ready to execute! Let’s do it!

*Travel coaching is one aspect of TGC’s commitment to the global citizen. Please be sure to follow our blog on Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, we have lots of great activities for kids at our Teacher Pay Teachers Store. For great travel inspiration, links to interesting destinations and experiences, as well as other aspects of TGC’s global vision. We appreciate your time and interest in bringing the global experience to life.