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Blend In With The Locals

One of the things I stress to anyone I talk to about travel – client, potential client, friend or family – is how important it is to blend in with the locals when you travel.

Travel should not be about standing out in a new city, town, state, country or continent. It should be about immersing yourself within that destination. Leaving behind any preconceived notions and prejudices and just being there with your whole heart and soul. Standing, walking, dancing, eating – all side by side with the people who call the destination you are in, home.

You may be thinking “I love this way of approaching travel Thia – but how does one blend in with the locals? What do you suggest?” Well, my friends – you’re in luck, as I have plenty of thoughts on how to do this. And you can check them all out below, where I have listed for you just a few of the many ways that blending in with the locals can be accomplished. Let’s take a look.


Learn The Language

Image by Oli Lynch from Pixabay

You’re going to a foreign country that you have never visited before. They do not speak English – or whatever your native tongue happens to be. If you want to blend in with the locals, you don’t have to do anything drastic like feign an accent – but you should take the time to learn their language. And no – I don’t mean a full on three- or four-week Rosetta Stone course. Just the basics will do. Hello. Good-bye. Please. Thank you. You’re welcome. Start with common pleasantries and manners. You will want to add more of course – based on what you are going to be doing while you are there. For instance – if you will be taking public transportation you may want to learn how to say different phrases than you would if you were renting a car and driving on your own the whole time. Or if you are planning on taking a class or learning a new skill while there, as opposed to just say – touring museums and monuments – there will be different words and questions you’ll want to familiarize yourself with. Do them that courtesy and they will be more likely to embrace you and receive you warmly.

Know The Customs and Etiquettes

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One thing you want to avoid at all costs while visiting a new destination is insulting the locals. And one sure fire way to do that is to disrespect their customs and / or rules of etiquette. Therefore – be sure and read up on such things prior to travel so that you have a good grasp of what goes and what are no-noes. For instance – in some cultures it may be disrespectful to tip – no matter how great the service is or how much you feel that it is not right to not leave a gratuity. This is something you are definitely going to want to know beforehand to avoid insulting your waiter, taxi driver, bellman, etc. Each foreign land we visit will undoubtedly have a set of written rules – regarding customs – and unwritten rules when it comes to etiquette. Take the time to learn what they are prior to traveling.

Follow Suit When It Comes To Clothing        

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Now don’t take that literally – I am not advising you to wear a suit – I am advising you to dress like the locals. Do the research. Check out the current styles. For instance – find out if most restaurants are laid back and casual dress is no problem or if you need to pack something more formal when dining out. Is it a country known for its modest approach to dress? If so – then tone down your wardrobe. One sure fire way to stick out like a sore thumb when you are in a foreign land is how you do – or don’t – dress. And if there is a customary piece of clothing that one or both genders wear that you do not have access to at home – take extra money and purchase it while there. Trust me – it could make a big difference in how you will be received.

Don’t Be The Tacky Tourist

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We all know who I am talking about. They have a camera and a video recorder hanging around their neck, a backpack with maps sticking out of it and a book of foreign languages in hand. Yes – I said you need to learn the basics of the native tongue – but you don’t have to waive the book around while you are out in public as if to loudly proclaim “I didn’t do my homework.” And – electronics have come a long way – you can downsize to an all-in-one camera / video apparatus that is not the size of a professional photographers – i.e. – that’s more discreet. Or – just use your phone. Most of them these days have cameras and video recording features with high enough quality to capture your memories just fine. And yes – a backpack is a great place to stash the maps and the language guide – but they can be neatly stowed inside. No need to broadcast them.

Change Your Currency

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Again – you are in their country. Do not expect them to take your currency or worse don’t put up a fuss if they don’t. There’s a reason why there are currency exchange booths before you even leave the airport (although I don’t recommend doing it there – but that is another blog). And that brings up another point – carry cash. It doesn’t have to be huge amounts – take what you need for the day and leave the rest in the safe at the hotel. But don’t depend on your credit card – especially in more remote destinations. And for heaven’s sake – once again – do not act like it’s the end of the world if they don’t take credit cards.

Eat What They Eat

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Skip the chains and head for the locally owned restaurants and diners. Better yet – check out the food truck scene if they have one because it’s hard to get any more authentic than food truck fare! And so you are not totally surprised when you look at your first menu – do some leg work and check out what the most popular dishes are. That way if you are presented with something you cannot fathom eating – instead of making gagging noises or otherwise voicing your disdain – and thus insulting your server and the locals dining around your – you can quietly opt out of ordering it.


You see my friends – it’s not hard to blend in with the locals. Perhaps you have already been taking a few – or all – of these simple steps to prepare for your journey into unknown territories. And remember, when you book with Thia I will make sure to assist you in finding out all you need to know prior to travel so that you can blend in with the locals beautifully and get the full cultural immersion you desire. Have a place in mind? Contact me today and let’s start curating an amazing adventure for you!

Yours in travel,



An Interview With Thia

Note: This week’s blog is written by Carole Peck as Carole Peck. I approached Thia with a blog topic idea where I would interview her so that she could introduce herself to new clients and get reacquainted with existing clients. The video that I wrote this from can do more justice to Thia’s passion, charm, soulfulness and warm, inviting personality than my words could ever hope to achieve – although I did my best to try to convey the beauty that is Thia in the blog entry below. Enjoy!


This week I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Cynthia “Thia” Brounno to discuss a variety of topics including her decision to enter the travel industry, her favorite type of trip to plan, why she should be your go-to travel advisor and much more. As she was speaking, I found myself mesmerized by not only her words – but her tone, her gestures and most importantly her passion. And yes – I do mean passion for travel of course – but also her passion for people in general – from those she plans the trips of a lifetime for to the those who reside in the destinations her clients visit. For Thia it’s obviously not just about providing her clients with an amazing vacation – which that she certainly does – it’s also about making sure they come away from that vacation with a new appreciation for the destination, its culture and most importantly, its people.

Whether you have used Thia to curate your travel experience in the past or you are discovering her for the first time – I guarantee you are going to so enjoy her! And you’re definitely going to want her to put your next adventure together. That being said – here is a synopsis of – as well as my take aways from – what was for me, a super fun and inspiring interview.

Question #1 – Let’s get right to it – how long have you been in travel and what led to your decision to take on the role of travel advisor?

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Listening to Thia discuss how she got into travel leaves one with no doubt that it was a path she was meant to follow. One of the youngest of six – the second to the youngest to be exact – she got the opportunity to travel and see much of the world due to the line of work her parents were in. She explained that they pretty much divided up the trips so that everyone got the chance to go – so perhaps the three oldest would go on one, then the three youngest on the next one and so on. Although she did jokingly admit she got to go on a lot of them when maybe it wasn’t her turn, because being the second to the youngest baby in the family, all she had to do was cry. Which you know was probably a foreshadowing of what her future career path would take. The fact she always wanted to be included in those journeys speaks volumes. Her life from an early age was consumed by travel and for the past decade she has been installing her love for it in others. For Thia, travel is a lifestyle – not a career – and it has always been that way – long before Thia’s Travel Services opened its doors ten years ago.

Question #2 – What is the most important piece of information you need to get from your clients before you start researching their vacations?

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Thia’s answer to this was spot on and that answer was:  What is the reasoning for you going on this trip? Why are you travelling? The need for this knowledge prior to starting the actual planning process is due to the fact that people travel for so much more than just that yearly vacation to get away from the real world for some rest and relaxation. Although that is one of the reasons and a very popular, and dare I say, much needed one for most of us. But they also travel for a myriad of other reasons. Some travel for medical purposes. Some travel for business and then turn those trips into what is referred to as bleisure trips – mixing in some personal travel before, during or after the business part. Some travel for family reunions, destination weddings or vow renewal ceremonies. Yes, I could go on and on as the reasons one plans a trip are endless and individualized to each and every client that reaches out to her. For Thia – knowing the ultimate reason behind the journey for that person – or the end result they are hoping to get out of the journey – is the key to making it a success.

Question #3 – What is your favorite type of trip to plan?

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So, confession time here. In the interview I actually misread my notes and asked her what her all-time favorite trip or itinerary was that she had put together for a client. However, my intention was to ask the subtitle of this section – what is your favorite type of trip to plan. But almost as if she were reading my mind, she redirected the question and asked if she could generalize that answer – which is what I was going for anyway. (Clearly, we make a great team.) Her response was that she loves, loves, loves planning family trips. And you know, the way that she explained how she goes about it is a great indication of the kind of deep, personal thought she is going to put into your trip. She explained first that she thinks about the children and what excited her at that age and what she wanted to do. She literally puts herself into the equation – drawing on how she learned to travel and how to appreciate people, land and culture. She also always requests to speak with the children one on one and loves taking that time to talk with them to see exactly what their interests are to help her plan an itinerary that is going to be as wonderful for them as it is for their parents and / or grandparents. With a thought process like that its no wonder that Thia has so many satisfied clients of all ages.

Question #4 – Where is one place that you think everyone should have the opportunity to visit at least once in their lifetime?

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Thia was quick to ask if she could have two answers for this particular question – which of course I agreed to. Her first choice was so passionately expressed that it gave me chills and cemented the fact that Africa should be on my bucket list. And not just one place in Africa – as she enthusiastically explained – the entire continent is phenomenal – north, east, south and west and everywhere in-between.  Her excitement about the culture and the warmth of the people came across oh so powerfully as she gushed that this is one continent that is not to be missed by anyone who has the opportunity to travel.

The second destination which definitely surprised me is the good old USA.  And she noted – which I totally and completely agree with – that we tend to take the United States for granted because we live here. To further her point, she went on to say that just because we live in the same country – what I see and experience here in the northeast from landscape to traditions to weather, for instance, is completely different from say someone who lives in California. Which are just two of 50 amazing and unique states at our disposal. Not to mention the different cities and towns in each. And Thia noted that one of the positives that came out of the pandemic was the fact that she was forced to stop traveling internationally and that gave her the chance to start exploring her own back yard – for which she is oh so grateful.

Question #5 – What do you want people to know about Thia? Why should people come to Thia to get their adventures curated.

Ok, full disclosure here.  How she started out answering this one floored me. I have been working with Thia for about four months now and had no idea, but this woman speaks eight different languages! Yup – eight – including English, of course, along with four Nigerian languages, German, French and she’s currently in the process of learning Spanish. So, as she ever so eloquently stated – “Thia understands you when no one else does.” I just love that!

Her second reason was a quite powerful and once again personal one. Thia explained that she understands the need to get away, to experience the world around us, to refresh and rejuvenate – even if you are working to make that happen on a limited budget. She has firsthand experience with budgeting getaways into your finances, as she has been a single mother for quite some time. And she is more than willing to help you work towards the perfect vacation with what you can afford. And you can tell she not only sincerely means that, but that she will do everything in her power to make it happen for you.

Her third point was that she does not just plan a vacation – she goes on vacation with you.

Meaning that she doesn’t just book your vacation and run so to speak. She charges a retainer – which most advisors do now – and may I say rightly so. Part of that fee is that she is with you before, during and after your trip. She will be accessible to you the entire time she is planning it, while you are there and when you are on your way back. When you call Thia’s Travel Services – the person who booked your flights, hotel, transfers, tours, etc. – that is the same person who is answering the phone. Which means she knows how to answer your questions or where to get the answers quickly if she doesn’t have them. Personalized service in this day and age is so incredibly important. And when you use a small, local business you get that personalized service. Just ask those who were traveling or about to travel when the lock down occurred last March. I guarantee you will get two completely different stories of how those trips ended up from those who booked on their own as opposed to those who used a travel advisor. Travel advisors like Thia are worth every penny. I promise.


While that concluded my questions – Thia took the opportunity to end our interview with one oh so touching and inspirational thought (or perhaps mantra is a better term) – “the journey itself is my home.”  She passionately implored that whenever you go on a trip to make that journey your home. In other words – don’t compare where you are from with where you are. Enjoy that journey – make it a place where you can embrace, appreciate and admire the people and the land for just what they are and in the simplest form. Oh, my heart.

See what I mean? What a joy it was to speak to this woman. If you haven’t watched the interview yet please do, as I know if you have not fallen in love with her from this overview, you will after seeing her speak so eloquently about travel and her passion for all it has to offer us. In her words – she is not just a travel expert – she is a travel enthusiast. Do yourself a favor and contact Thia when you are ready to book your next travel adventure. You won’t regret it.




How Travel Changes You

Travel is a very personal experience that affects each individual differently. And the type of travel, as well as the reason one travels, has a huge impact on that. Sometimes it excites or enlightens and sometimes it relaxes and cures us. It really all depends on the who, what, where and why of it. But one thing that I can say for certain – that for the majority of us who travel for the love of travel itself – is that it changes us. And those changes can be barely noticeable or completely life altering. I would also say – that for the most part – that change is positive. Which is why I am putting this down in print – to encourage those that travel religiously to keep doing so and to urge those who rarely see past their own city or even neighborhood – to incorporate travel into your life in any way you can.

So, what are some of the ways that you can expect to be changed by traveling? There are far too many to list here but I would love to touch on some of the most basic, yet important changes that I have experienced or that others have shared with me as changes that have occurred in their lives thanks to a particular trip. Read on to see three main reasons how travel changes you and feel free to add yours in the comments below.

It Breeds Self-Confidence

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Anytime you leave your comfort zone you are ultimately adding another layer of confidence to your persona. And traveling is almost always taking you out of that zone – because you are going to some place you have never been before – in other words – you are going into the unknown. The unknown can be scary in certain scenarios but in travel it is exhilarating. It is arriving in a city, town, country or continent where you may not know a soul. You may not even speak their language. But you go there anyway, and you show up with itinerary in hand and you see, smell, taste, hear and feel everything you came there to. And whether you are traveling solo or with a group – the experience is entirely of your doing. You chose the destination, you got on the plane, you left your little corner of the world and conquered a new corner. And whether or not you considered it as such before – it takes confidence to travel. And once you do – it will breed more confidence. Not only to journey to other new places – but in so many other aspects of your life as well. And who couldn’t use a little bit more self-confidence? A boost in self-esteem is a welcome change no matter who you are.

It Humbles and Inspires

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There are many destinations – some of the Caribbean islands that I have visited in particular come to mind – that surprise visitors upon arrival. And by that, I mean that you go there – prepared for the sprawling resort with the swim up bar, the oceanfront view, the fine dining and the white sand beach – yet at times the first thing you notice is not even close to what your final destination is going to look like. The ride from the airport to your accommodations often takes you through the reality, the real world, the everyday life of its inhabitants. In some cases, its no where near as pretty or perfect as that all-inclusive you are headed to. The poverty and lack of modern conveniences can be startling – but in so many of these places when you look closer you will see that the people there are smiling.  When you take the time to talk and interact with the locals – you will not hear complaining. You will hear tales of how they make it work. You will see pride in the job they do – whether it is creating handicrafts to sell to the tourists or serving you drinks by the pool. And how can that not humble and inspire you? When you have the means, the opportunity to travel to their homeland and stay in fabulous hotels – no matter how little you think you may have otherwise – you are there on vacation. This is their reality. And they are making the best of it and are probably enjoying life more than a lot of us who have so much more. It not only humbles me – but inspires me to do better – to be better. Instead of bartering I will pay extra for that trinket. Instead of complaining that I didn’t get enough hand towels I will leave a larger tip for housekeeping. And once I am home – I will continue to do better. And that is a change that everyone can be proud of.

It Makes You More Appreciative

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Gratitude. Thankfulness. Appreciation. Three especially important attitudes in my life. And anything that causes a swing from not being grateful for – or even just taking for granted something that we should thank the universe for each and every day – is a change for the better. After all, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough. – Anonymous.” Once you start traveling the world – or even the country – and possibly even other parts of your state – you start to see that no matter how bad you may think you have it – someone always has it worse. And that does not have to be depressing. Because like I noted above – you will also find that most people who don’t have what you have – are still happy and enjoying life. And that is for the simple fact that they appreciate what they do have. When you are grateful, when you are appreciative, when you are truly thankful for what you have – life becomes a blessing. Because the more things you appreciate the more you find to appreciate and the happier and perhaps even more important – the more content you will become. And whether you realize it or not – being happy and content is pretty much what all of us aspire for everyday of our lives. Any goal we may have or the intentions we set – are always with the end result being that these goals or intentions will bring to us happiness and contentment. And that is a change for good.

My friends I want you to know that travel is a blessing in so many ways – for the changes discussed above and so very much more. I sincerely feel travel is that important and that change is good for the soul. And I want you to know that I am always here for you to help you decide where you would like to go to next to experience some of these and other changes that will truly enrich your life. Contact me today and let’s get started on creating the perfect vacation for you in 2021.

Yours in Travel,



Why Is Travel Important?

So, when I sat down to write about why I feel travel is important it dawned on me that if I asked ten different clients of mine why they felt travel was important – I’d more than likely get ten different answers. And none of them would be wrong. Travel – and why it’s important to take the time to do so – comes in all different shapes and sizes depending on who you are and what you personally hope to get out of it. To some travel is complete relaxation. To some it is exhilarating activities. To some it is total cultural immersion. To some it is a history lesson. To some it is – ok – you probably get the idea by now. The importance of travel in your life is dependent you – on why you travel or what drives you to travel. That being said – I do have my own ideas on why travel is important for us as society as a whole. And those reasons can actually be conveniently listed in such a way that they spell out the word itself – TRAVEL. Read on to discover just six reasons why it is so important for all of us to get out there and explore the planet!

T – Transformational

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Oh dear, the opportunities that travel presents to us to be transformed is an overwhelming topic to say the least. Through travel we are taught how people in other cities, states, countries and continents live – up close and personal. When we visit a new destination, we are being invited into the everyday experiences of the residents that live, work and die there. And depending on the destination it can be enlightening to the point that it changes us and our perspective on life. Or it can be as simple as seeing locals washing their clothes in a nearby creek that reminds us not to have a meltdown when the clothes that were washed and dried – in the very convenient modern appliances that exist in our homes – remain in the basket unfolded. This awareness makes us more compassionate, more understanding and I believe – simply better human beings overall.

R – Relaxation

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Look – there is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that you like to travel to just get away from it all, sit on the beach with a book in one hand and a pretty frozen drink in the other. That is why God made all-inclusive resorts – lol. We live in a stressful world. A world that doesn’t always view life as I believe it should be – which is a journey to be taken one day, one minute, one second at a time. Instead, we are bombarded with ridiculously busy schedules and deadlines and are sometimes labeled as lazy if we just decide to put our feet up for a day and sit on our couch with a bowl of popcorn to just chill and Netflix. Why? Because there are bills to be paid, cleaning to be done, activities the kids need to be driven to, elderly parents to care for – the list goes on and on. So – under no circumstances should you ever feel any guilt over wanting to just get out of dodge and do nothing but unplug and relax. It is just that important to your mental health. Traveling to relax is nothing to be ashamed of – it is just as important as all of the other reasons – well – that travel is important!

A – Activity

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You know another thing that is good for your mental health? Activity. And exercise is a huge part of my life for that very reason. But most of you don’t travel to do your crunches on the floor of your hotel room (although if you do good for you)! Active travel is simply something that gets you moving outside of your typical everyday fitness routines. I am talking hiking volcanoes, zip lining through a forest canopy, biking through national parks, kayaking infamous waterways, snowshoeing at a ski resort or perhaps learning how to tango! Being active increases your energy, gets your endorphins pumping and elevates your mood. Physical fitness is a great way to ensure a longer and healthier life and a trip that includes some aspect of being active makes that travel important for your overall well being.

V – Vacation

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Ok this one is cheating a bit because vacation is travel – but that means that if travel is important then so is vacation! As a family or even just a couple – taking a vacation together – i.e. traveling – is an awesome way to spend meaningful time together. From planning itineraries, to trying new foods, to discovering how other cultures do things, to revisiting history – it all brings you closer together.  And – apart from that bonding experience – perhaps it will even give you a new understanding of what’s important to each other and bring about a new appreciation for your traveling companion(s). Now should you be a solo traveler – as so many are these days – taking a vacation can actually net you the same benefits as traveling with others – the only difference is – you are finding out all of this about yourself. And getting in touch with your innermost thoughts, feelings, beliefs, likes, dislikes and more is an incredible thing. Yes – travel is that magical.

E – Economy

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Travel is super important for the economy – and my gosh nothing like this past year to make that so apparent to anyone who isn’t in the travel industry. Just ask those whose businesses and livelihoods were affected by the world pretty much being grounded for months and months. It really brought to light how far reaching the effects of traveling – or the lack there of – can go. The dollars you spend pretty much from the start of the planning process to the preparation for the trip to the trip itself are far reaching. Without travel spurring us to contribute to the economy jobs are lost, homes are foreclosed on and savings are depleted.  And then of course there is sustainable travel which is huge – especially for those in locales where it is a means of being independent as well as for providing for their families. When you buy local handicrafts or hire a local guide to show you around you aren’t just contributing to that town’s or village’s or city’s economy – you are contributing to the well-being of a specific individual and their family. It’s that important.

L – Living Classroom

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You can read about it in a textbook. You can google it on the internet. You can watch it on tv. But there is nothing – nothing like being there in person. What am I referring to? All aspects of travel – you name it. Architecture, monuments, religious institutions, rainforests, glaciers, pyramids, national parks, ancient ruins and so, so much more. Being there – seeing, feeling, breathing, touching it is like stepping into a larger-than-life lecture hall. Hearing about it from a local who was there or whose ancestors were there – you will learn ten times more then you could ever learn any other way. The importance of learning about the past, learning about the environment, learning about atrocities that were committed, learning how things were built – is immeasurable as it helps us to not only not repeat past mistakes – but to be inspired to forge new paths. Amen.

And so, my friends – this is just a sprinkling of why I feel travel is very important. I would be so interested to hear what makes travel important to you, please leave your comments below. And be sure to contact me to get started on planning wherever it may be that is important for you to see and experience next.

Yours in travel,



We Spent 2020 at Home – Can We Spend 2021 Exploring the World?

So here we are – three weeks into 2021, eyes and ears wide open for any bit of news regarding the possibility of being able to travel this year after being grounded for almost all of 2020. And if we can travel, will options for destinations be limited? Will we truly be able to go back to the business of exploring the world or will we be confined to our own borders? What is travel going to look like? Will it just go back to the way it was pre-pandemic? Or look a little or even entirely different?

Yes – these are all valid questions that not only have I heard from my clients and potential clients, but my fellow travel advisors, our partners and even from my friends and relatives – oh and from myself. Like you, I have questions. But possibly unlike you – I know where to find the answers and aim to provide you with the most up-to-date reliable information that is out there at any given time. 

What Will Travel Look Like?

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Of course, no one knows for sure what lies ahead as far as travel this year, but it is already shaping up to be much more promising than the travel landscape of last year. Numerous international destinations reopened after being subjected to a global shut down in the better part of 2020 – with more opening their borders up as the weeks go by – our horizons are certainly broadening, even if the ways that we have to go about our journeys are quite different in look and feel. From hand sanitizer dispensers every few feet, to masks being required for entry to pretty much everywhere other people are, presenting negative COVID-19 tests, health screenings, mandatory quarantines and more – it sure looks a heck lot different than it did one short year ago.

Thanks to two approved vaccines with a third one looking hopeful – the demand for travel is on the rise, bucket lists are being pulled out, suitcases are getting dusted off and bookings are coming in. Yes – emphatically yes, we are going to be able to travel in 2021 and the majority of you whom I speak with are more than ready to travel – whether it be by just dipping your toes in or diving in headfirst.

That being said, we do need to be prepared for the ongoing changes and updates regarding CDC requirements until we beat this creature called coronavirus. Thankfully, all sectors of the industry have loosened their cancel and postponement penalties which is a huge win for the consumer. It boils down to yes – go ahead and book that vacation you didn’t get to take last year, and if necessary, you can reschedule it without the costs and hassles that used to come along with doing so. Be rest assured my friends I will be the one who will be verifying with each of my partners exactly what their process is so that you will be well informed before putting any money down.

Where Can I Travel To?

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As of this writing, traveling internationally is still tricky thanks to the recent CDC mandate that everyone arriving in the United States must present a negative COVID-19 test to enter or re-enter as that includes US Citizens. Many major hotels and resorts are working to make this as easy as possible for its US visitors by obtaining tests that will be available to their guests prior to their departure either for a nominal fee or some even complimentary. And although that may be just a handful right now – I am confident that it will become a more widespread practice as time goes on. Meaning that international travel is not out of the question by any means. It simply depends on your comfort level, where you want to visit and the availability and access to testing to ensure a smooth trip back home.

The other option is exploring our little corner of the world until we can once again come and go freely without the COVID-19 cloud hanging over our heads. With fifty states that offer pretty much any type of landscape, climate, activities, cuisine, wellness, culture and history that means your options are plentiful. And my friends, sometimes the treasures we find in our own backyards are the ones that we cherish the most.

Trust Your Travels to Thia!

As always, I am here for you – to guide you, to reassure you, to offer you options you may not have considered in the past – and most importantly to keep you informed. From start to finish you have my unwavering support and guidance no matter what your comfort level may look like right now. Whether it is heading to an open Caribbean Island for wellness and peace in the warmth of the sun or visiting a spa after a day of skiing at one of the amazing mountain resorts in the US – I am here to make sure you have the experience of a lifetime. Contact me today to get started on planning your next adventure!

Yours in travel,



Travel in 2021

Typically, when we are on the cusp of a new year, we take the time to reflect on the past year’s joys and sorrows, milestones and missteps, wins and losses. The start of a new year fills us with enthusiasm and a determination to make it the best year yet. We make resolutions, we set personal and professional goals, we welcome January 1st armed with our date planners ready to fill up those pages with what we love to do the most and well … we do it.  

Unfortunately, 2020 resulted in a lot of scribbled out plans in our date books thanks to the arrival of the pandemic. And right up there on top of the list of what had to be cancelled and / or postponed just so happens to be my love and my passion – travel.

As an inhabitant – and adventurer – on this marvelous planet first – and a proud member of the travel industry second – I – along with many of you – have faith that we have turned a corner heading into 2021. Thanks to the arrival of not one – but two – vaccines that have turned on that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. And even if it’s just a flicker for now – it’s destined to glow brighter with each passing week. 

Now, neither I nor anyone else can 100% predict what it’s going to look like post-pandemic. But I have no doubt there are going to be positive changes – and a lot of them – overall in humanity itself – and in so many areas – including my beloved travel community.

So, as we enter 2021 with much hope in our hearts for the world – let’s start the discussion of what changes we can expect and just exactly where we want to go once we feel safe doing so again!

What’s Going to be Different?

Honesty – as I stated above – I feel that it’s going to be nothing but positives that come out of this ordeal as far as travel is concerned. We already know that airlines and hotels have taken their cleaning practices up a hundred plus notches – Amtrak too. And cruise ships are hard at work developing their new safety protocols for when they return to the oceans and rivers where they long to be again. The way I look at it is that it’s brought a new standard – a new level of cleanliness and safety – that was needed long before 2020 and that is now here to stay.  

I also believe that my brothers and sisters in our travel advisor family will be playing a huge part as not only your trip planner extraordinaire – but as your go to source for safety information on the transportation and accommodations you choose, for the protocols that have been put in place within the destinations you are traveling to, for the cancellation and / or postponement penalties for every aspect of your journey and so much more. And speaking of cancel penalties – we are already seeing much more lenient policies being rolled out by all sectors of travel – which is a huge plus for all of us!

The Bucket List

I believe that more and more people who have not made travel a priority in their life before the pandemic may be changing their minds about how important it is to see, feel and experience as much as possible in this great big world of ours while we are still here and able to do so.

But so many get overwhelmed when deciding where to go first. And that my dears is why I am here – to assist you in discovering where it is that your heart is leading you.  And one of the ways that I am helping many of you to do this is through a new community I have formed on Facebook called The Bucket List by Thia’s Travel Services. Here I am assembling a group of passionate travelers sharing our adventures and experiences and introducing each other to fabulous destinations with the goal to create a bucket list together – to expose each other to what’s out there waiting for you to discover it.

Staying Positive and Planning While We Wait

So, when it turned 2021 last night at the stroke of midnight everything did not miraculously return back to normal – or even to a “new, new normal” – as if someone had waved their magic wand. Yes, we have vaccines and yes – numbers are coming back down in some of the hardest hit places – but COVID-19 is still here, and we still have a way to go before the vaccine is distributed to enough people to start experiencing that all important “herd immunity.” 

Now I’m well aware that sometimes staying positive is easier said than done but I find one way to accomplish this is simply by looking at how far we’ve come.  Look at how we met 2020’s surrealness with a resolve to make it to 2021. As a society we’ve become more resourceful than ever, we’ve come together to help one another, we’ve applauded, praised and most importantly appreciated our essential workers and so, so much more.  My gosh that puts a smile on my heart just typing it! 

Baby steps. There are going to be down days along with up days but that’s normal whether it’s 2021 or 2011 or 2031. One thing we can be positive about is that travel will be back and better than ever. And I would be honored to help you start the planning process. Let’s get the discussion started – contact me and together we can give you something else to look forward to in this brand new year.

May you all be blessed with a year of health, happiness and travel.

Yours in travel,


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