2020 Summer Olympics
If you’ve watched NBC at all this week, you have probably heard them hyping their 2020 Olympic coverage for next July. And if you’re like me, the first thought that runs through your head is…I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo; the Olympics would be the perfect time to go!
Actually, summer is not the ideal time to go to Tokyo. That’s when the Olympics are, though, so if I’m going to scratch two items off my bucket list, I will have to go next summer. I’ll keep you posted on my plans to go to the 2020 Olympic Games, but for now, I thought it might be helpful to share a little bit of my research in case this is a trip you might like to consider for yourself.
The 2020 Olympics will run July 24-August 9 in Tokyo. It has been more than 50 years since Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964. Some of the venues will be “heritage” venues and some will be newly constructed.
70% of tickets are reserved for Japanese residents. That means there aren’t a lot of tickets available for US residents, and some events are already sold out. However, Globe Travel may be able to help if you are going to be live and in person for the 2020 Summer Olympics. There are some reputable ticket resellers who work with travel agencies and who may have availability. Tickets won’t be cheap, but for an event this special, you knew that.
If you go to Japan next summer, the Olympics probably won’t be the only thing on your itinerary. There are tons of other great sites for visitors to see and experience in order to more fully understand and appreciate the Japanese culture. A mix of ultra-modern and ultra-traditional, Japan has something for everyone: from skyscrapers to temples, the world’s busiest intersection to serene gardens, and Hello Kitty to samurai warriors.
Other things to do in Tokyo include enjoying a kabuki performance, going to an American institution—Disney—at Tokyo DisneySea, riding the notoriously efficient trains, singing karaoke, and learning to play the traditional Japanese Taiko drum.
Kyoto is the traditional heart of Japanese culture. Although it is a modern city, this is also a great place to find shrines and temples, as well as geishas in tea houses.
Mount Fuji is the highest volcano in Japan. Fortunately, it has been dormant for more than 300 years. Well photographed, it can be seen from all around and has inspired artists around the world.
Kanazawa is also a traditional city where you can get a glimpse into the lives of samurais and geishas, as well as view one of the most beautiful gardens in all of Japan.
In Hiroshima, you will find the Peace Memorial Park, dedicated to peace after the atomic bomb destroyed the heart of the city in World War II.
For more inspiration for your visit to Japan next summer, check out this article for first-time visitors. Then give us a call and we’ll help you make your Japan dream trip happen, including tickets to some Olympic events!
So you’ve decided to do a self-drive vacation in another country...First of all, congratulations; you are brave. Secondly, before you actually rent the car, make sure you’ve done your research and know what the requirements are for the country you will be driving in, as well as some of their rules of the road.
You will always need to have your passport and your US driver’s license with you when you are driving in another country. In some countries, you may also need an International Driving Permit, which you can get at a AAA office. As long as you don’t need assistance from the police, you will likely never need to show your International Driving Permit, but it will be a real headache if you don’t have one and later discover that you should have one.
Just as in the US, damage to a rental car can be quite costly. And your US coverage will probably not cover you while you are driving internationally. The car rental company will generally offer to sell you a collision damage waiver (CDW), which is not insurance but can reduce the cost to you if you have an accident and bring the car back looking very different than when you took it. Make sure you understand your options (there are usually a few of them), what the CDW covers, and what the costs will be if you are involved in an accident.
Another option is to use credit card coverage. Many US credit cards come with some rental car coverage in case of an accident. Research whether your card includes this, as well as what it covers, and what could invalidate the coverage (so you don’t do that!). Make sure you have a copy of the information about your credit card coverage with you when you go to the rental counter in another country. It will help if you have documentation to prove that you have coverage so that you avoid the rental agent insisting that you need their CDW.
A final option is to add rental car insurance to your travel insurance policy. You’re smart and you’ve been reading this blog, so you know how important travel insurance is when you are travelling internationally. Look into this as an option.
By knowing what is required in the country you will be driving in, as well as your options, you can select the best coverage for your needs.
Don’t Go There
Know where you can and cannot go with your rental car. Some rental companies prohibit you from crossing borders or travelling in certain areas within a country. Make sure you understand what is prohibited according to your contract.
Study some of the local laws and understand local road signs. Don’t forget to do all the same things you do at home: buckle your seatbelt, lock your doors, and don’t leave anything visible in the car that might attract thieves.
Do your research and be prepared for your road trip. It will definitely be more fun if it is legal and safe.
It is the middle of summer, which means that this is the most popular time of the year to go to Alaska. While it’s pretty much too late to plan a trip to Alaska this year, I thought it is a good time to write about Alaska so you can start thinking about whether it should be one of your 2020 destinations.
While you can fly to Alaska, the most popular way to see the 49th state is to go via cruise ship. There are both large and small ships that go to Alaska, so whatever type of cruise you like to do is available in Alaska. The real consideration is how long you want to stay and whether you want to do only a cruise or a cruise + land tour.
The two most popular cruises are one-way along the Inside Passage between Seattle/Vancouver and Anchorage and round trip along the Inside Passage, which generally starts and ends in the Seattle/Vancouver area. Both one-way and round-trip cruises include stops in small villages and larger cities, as well as time spent cruising through the glacier areas where you can see glaciers up close, watch them calve, and hear the booming cracks as they fall into the sea.
If you decide to do a cruise + land tour, you will do a one-way cruise along the Inside Passage and spend a few days seeing land highlights such as Denali (the tallest mountain peak in North America) and Canada’s Yukon. The cruise is generally a week, and the land portion can be anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks. Most who do a cruise + land tour spend a total of 11-14 days. You can also decide whether you want to do the land portion first or the cruise portion first.
Most Alaskan cruises have about 3 ports in a week-long cruise. The activities to do in port are endless. I like to say that an Alaskan cruise is a “doing” cruise rather than a “seeing” cruise. There are so many activities. Here’s how I generally think of them:
* Outdoors activities. These are for people who love experiencing nature and who will appreciate the especially-pristine nature of Alaska. Activities might include small boat rides to Misty Fjords National Monument or glaciers, zip lining, canoeing/kayaking, hiking, biking, or trekking on a glacier.
* Wildlife activities. There is such diversity of wildlife in Alaska. One of my favorite things is going whale watching. You can also go fishing or birding, or go on a wildlife safari to try to see some of the area’s bigger wildlife like moose and bear.
* Cultural activities. These are for people who are interested in learning more about the region and all that makes it unique. Learn about the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800s, travel the narrow-gauge railroad that took some of the early miners to the Yukon, meet some of the First Peoples and learn about their way of life, and—my absolute favorite—visit a musher’s camp and play with puppies.
If you love scenery and nature, consider a trip to Alaska for 2020. It has something for everyone, whether you stick to a cruise or whether you venture farther into the state and do a cruise + land tour. Take in the majesty of the mountains, breathe the crisp air in the pristine forests, and enjoy all the fresh salmon you can eat. That is Alaska!
Contact us about your 2020 cruise to Alaska. We can help you find the right cruise line with the right itinerary for both land and sea.
What better way to make memories with children and grandchildren than to travel together! Globe Travel advisors help a number of families plan multi-generational trips that offer something for everyone, no matter their age. In this post, we help you consider what might work best for your family and offer some tips that we’ve found help to ensure that everyone has a memorable trip.
The first step is to decide what kind of trip is going to be best for your family and where you want to go. There is no formula here. It depends on your family’s interests and the ages of everyone going on the trip. It can help to have a theme for the trip, such as family history or practicing a foreign language or holiday shopping.
We find that cruises are often popular choices for multi-generational trips. They cater to all age ranges and lifestyles. I especially like Alaska for multi-generational cruises. There are also some vendors, such as Disney, that specialize in the something-for-everyone trip. When you talk to a Globe Travel advisor, we will help you zero in on a destination and an experience that will enable you to make the best memories.
Once you’ve chosen your destination and experience, here are a few tips that will help to make this trip go smoothly:
* Don’t try to do everything together all the time. Strive for a combination of all-together time and small-group time each day. Allow the group to break into sub-groups doing different activities. Then come together once a day, maybe for dinner, to talk about your day and share your experiences. This technique works especially well on a cruise, because people can choose different excursions based on what is age-appropriate and of interest. If you’re on an Alaskan cruise, for example, teens might love to go zip lining with adventurous adults, kids might enjoy seeing sled dog puppies with seniors, and animal lovers of all ages will enjoy whale watching.
* Children are an important part of this experience, and they should be included in activities. Yes, you can take advantage of a cruise line or a resort’s youth programming so that adults can have an occasional evening out. But no one should be “babysitting” children on vacation. When adults (such as grandparents or aunts and uncles) feel like they have to watch children so that parents can have fun, the vacation can become a lot less fun really quickly and can lead to feelings of resentment.
* Plan some downtime. Avoid overscheduling everyone. Allow for some spontaneity. And consider the energy levels of everyone in the group for the activities that are planned.
* Find reasons to celebrate your family. Maybe it’s a birthday, anniversary, or graduation. Whatever it is, find something to celebrate together. After all, togetherness and reconnection and the whole reason you planned this trip, right?