Friday, April 22, 2011

My Travels! I Do Them All For You! Hmmm. Maybe!

This has been an amazing couple of travel months.

Since early March I have travelled more than I likely ever have in that short a period with more to come next week.

First it was our trade show trip to Chicago for the Travel Goods Association major buying exhibition. With my daughter, who is the buyer of many of the Journeys products, we also turned the trip into a tourist vacation as well.

We took in a hockey game, a play, a Second City Revue, fine dining, and for Hilary a trip to Oprah's Harpo studios (and store of course).

Then my wife and I spend a week at the fine Barcelo Resort in Manzanillo. Transat Holidays, who are the only tour operator serving that region at present, bagged a good one with that.

Then, we were honoured as one of the Top25 Canadian agencies (not bad out of about 600) on the amazing Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam. We were treated like royalty by all; and the ship really is worth finding an itinerary to book your vacation.

Then last week, kidney stone and all, I went with Hilary to the big Canadian Luggage Leather, and Handbags Association show in Toronto.

Nothwithstanding we spent too much money on product, especially business cases, the memories of winning Retailer of the year for 2010 last year made it particularly gratifying.

Next week we head off again, firstly to the Swiss Canton of Ticino which borders Italy and includes the beautiful area around Lugano, UNESCO heritage sites, mountains, fishing villages, Italian food with a Swiss influence, and lots of everything to do.

Finally we end our couple of month travel extravaganza on board the Silver Seas Silver Wind, after a short stop in Florence, to cruise from Venice to Rome with stops in Dubrovnick, Split, Sicily, and Sorrento.

That takes us to the May long weekend where we will head out to the Beautiful lake of the Woods Sioux Narrows area to open up our summer cottage.

And I do it all for you. For the columns in the Winnipeg Free Press. For my weekly radio show on CJOB, and for the travel stories I write for you to read.

Well I guess the last paragraph is a big bit of a stretch. For me travel is part of a happy addiction. I love the discovery of people places and cultures.

Buying for Journeys doesn't feel like work at all. And finding the newest products that make travel more convenient, comfortable, or safe has always been a thrill for me.

I love sharing stories with people who have been to places I haven't, and comparing notes with those with whom we may have crossed the same paths at different times.

And I really like having a retail store and travel agency where we help send nice people to nice places.

If you have never been to our store it is Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre at the corner of Donald and Wardlaw in Winnipeg.

Our website is http://www.journeystravelgear.com/ . We sell quality travel products including travel clothing, swimwear, travel accessories, luggage and virtually everything a traveller needs.

And we give free shipping to our online buyers.

Safe Journeys to all as I head out on the road on more time. Just For You! Hmmm!

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posted by That Travel Guy @ 6:23 AM  |  0 Comments

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why does Aeroplan Want to Steal Your Points?

The lastest Aeroplan announcement must be very discouraging to their members.

As at the end of December of 2013 any points that have been sitting in an account over 7 years, even if the account is active, will be erased. Stolen, evaporated, lost, gonzo!

Now certainly 7 years is a long time for someone not to use the points they have accumulated. But think about how difficult it is to raise points if you are not a big spender.

I went to Sobeys today and got a couple of points for the groceries I bought. The points I received wouldn't get me outside Winnipeg's perimeter highway.

And many people don't save points for that trip to Toronto using just 15,000 points. They are saving them for their trip of a lifetime which could in fact take half a lifetime to collect, especially now that Aeroplan will charge more points for many of the popular overseas flights.

And as they are collecting they better not drop dead or the hard earned points could disappear if they aren't used within a year after the member's death by the rightful heirs.

And remember Aeroplan has actually improved this area of points transfer. Up until a short time ago the heirs couldn't even use them without paying a hefty transfer fee which still is the case if the points are not used in that first year.

Don't get me wrong. Aeroplan is a good program for many.

As a collector I have used the points many times even though I have been frustrated with the lack of flight options on many other occasions.

The other irritant is they seem to want to put few low point seats on flights but are quick to offer loads of flights for rediculously high point values.

I do know many who have travelled around the world on points. And by a careful planning strategy involving booking point trips virtually one year in advance, they have been able to grab the available seats early. The early bird worms the trips it seems.

The rest of us pay the price, accumulate more points, and then hope like heck the policy police of Aeroplan to find yet another way to swoop down and steal them from our nest egg.

Please post your comments and experiences. I will be happy to talk about them on my radio show and perhaps even in my column in the Winnipeg Free Press.

And if you travel you will find the latest in travel products at http://www.journeystravelgear.com/

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posted by That Travel Guy @ 3:47 AM  |  0 Comments

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Toronto and the Luggage Show! For Us it Was Business Cases!

We, my daughter and I that is, have just returned from the big Canadian Luggage Leather Handbag and Accessories Show in Toronto.

It is Canada's biggest event of its kind. After researching new products at the Travel Goods Association in Chicago a few weeks ago, this is the show where we really spend money buying products for our customers in the year ahead.

The show brought back fond memories since this was where we were accorded the honour of RETAILER OF THE YEAR for 2010.

This year we approached the show with definite objective in mind in addition to ensuring our luggage collections were of the quality and variety our customers would appreciate.

We had concluded our business section was lacking in total scope and were determined to try to offer the best business case collection available in the marketplace.

We believe we will have achieved that distinction once all the orders are filled and displayed in our new Journeys Business area.

We have interesting options for both men and women but really made sure we were adding cases women would feel are both practical and fashionable. Here my daughter Hilary, the buyer of swim and clothing lines, was invaluable.

While in Toronto we also met with the wonderful people at Tilley Endurables and will be adding a huge selection of their spring and summer product, and will be advertising it over the next few weeks.

There are some great new styles in the collection and Hilary was quite excited to be adding to our depth as we get into cottage and automobile travel season.

It is back to work for us now but it is always a special few days putting the next 52 weeks in place for our clients during that time.

We try to put most of the products online as they come in. You can see them at http://www.journeystravelgear.com/

We offer a free shipping program for deliveries anywhere close or far in North America.

And you can call our 800 number to talk to us about questions you may have about product.

Have a warm and satisfying summer!
posted by That Travel Guy @ 5:42 AM  |  0 Comments

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Home After A Week on the New Nieuw Amsterdam!

                                  
What a treat!

It would have been honour enough for Journeys/Renaissance Travel to have been recognized as one of the Ensemble Travel Groups Top 25 agencies for the third year in a row, but to be hosted in the Royal fasion we were by the organization, the Holland America Cruise line, and the many suppliers we work with who not only help sponsor the trip, but came along for the cruise as well.

Westjet Airlines provided exceptional prices for airfare to help get us there, and companies like RBC Insurance and so many others made the week a genuinely special one.

There was one problem however. After working hard for weeks to lose some weight the meals and never ending cocktail parties certainly regenerated what was a disappearing waistline.

                               
We dined in two of the specialty restaurants while on board in addition to the main Manhattan dining room. Both the Tamerind Asian style restaurant, and the Pinnacle (great steak) restaurant really were supurb.

Half Moon Cay, Holland America's own island made for a fun day with the group, and seeing tree areas I neveer visited before was a bonus.

Watching some of my fellow travel agents from both the Top25 U.S. and Canada try their hand (ofr was it faces and bodies) on the Flowrider in Grand Cayman was, let's say interesting and leave it at that.

the Nieuw Amsterdam really is my kind of ship. I tend to preferr smaller ships and this one, even at over 2000 passengers was never crowded because of the many areas and options available to everyone.

We took in a culinary demonstation, the various bars and lounges, the nightly shows, and of course the casiino.

If you are interested in the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam I will be pleased to spend as much time with you as you wish.
Call me at 204 942-5000 or 1 800 859-6354.



                                

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posted by That Travel Guy @ 11:25 AM  |  1 Comments