One of our favorite travelers here at Globe Travel is someone who racks up a lot of miles this time of year: the Easter Bunny! The travel consultants at Globe Travel will neither confirm nor deny that we sometimes give him a little bit of travel advice for his journey.
Whether you fly, drive, or hop to get to your destination this holiday weekend, we wish you a very happy Easter!
Investing in Experiences
I was listening to the radio a few days ago, and they were talking about the cliché that money doesn’t buy happiness. But then there was some discussion about the exception—when money does buy happiness. According to research, your money buys happiness when you spend it on experiences, not on things.
That really resonates with us here at Globe Travel, because we know that spending your money on a travel experience buys you more than “a trip.” It gives you memories, time spent with loved ones, and perhaps a new perspective. Stuff comes and goes, but your memories stick with you forever.
So what memories do you want to make through travel? It’s actually the perfect time to think about planning a family holiday trip. Maybe this year, instead of exchanging gifts, you’ll decide to travel and have unforgettable experiences, together. If you start planning now, you’re more likely to find the sunniest condo on a secluded beach, the ideal cabin on a cruise ship, the coziest ski lodge. Anticipate the joy of your family. Imagine the endless smiles and laughter. Seems like money well spent, doesn’t it?
To read more about how experiences like travel are the best way to spend your hard-earned money for maximum happiness, check out this article.
What's Better Than a Cruise? A Wine Cruise
Here in Charlottesville, we enjoy beautiful vineyards and delicious wines in our backyard. Now imagine expanding your backyard to some of the best wine-making regions in the world. You can do that on a wine-themed cruise. Catering to wine enthusiasts, a number of cruise lines, especially river cruise lines, are now offering wine-themed cruises. I generally think about them as having one or more of these focus areas:
1. Regional wines: These cruises focus on the vineyards and winemakers of a specific region, such as Bordeaux (France), Douro Valley (Portugal), and the Middle Rhine (Germany). These river cruises give you the opportunity to sail through areas with beautiful vineyards and picturesque villages. They include visits to vineyards where you can wander the grounds, enjoy the views, and sample local wines straight from the makers.
2. Wine experts: Many cruises will have special guests who are wine experts sailing for a specialty wine-themed cruise. Whether they are winemakers, sommeliers, vineyard owners, or wine educators, they bring a unique perspective through seminars, tastings, and conversations that is sure to enhance the trip for wine enthusiasts.
3. Food and wine pairings: Some cruise lines have an extensive wine selection, and give their passengers an opportunity to sample very specialized wines from around the world, expertly paired with culinary creations from the chefs.
Many cruises actually offer more than one of these features on their wine-themed cruise. For example, you might be traveling on a river cruise that highlights a specific wine region, while also having a wine expert aboard to enhance the experience.
When you combine your love of wine with a cruise, you get all the joys of a cruise experience: waking up in the same bed every morning, unpacking once, arriving in a new destination each day, and impeccable service. You also get to enjoy the wine experience without having to make any arrangements or plans: no need to find a driver, figure out how to get to a winery, or research the local wine specialties. All of that is taken care of for you. All you need to do is enjoy!
So let us know what kind of wine cruise you are interested in, and we can find just the one to match your interests. It’s a great way to combine your passion with wine with your passion for travel into one unforgettable experience.
It is finally starting to warm up, and we are finally starting to see some sunshine. Yay! In honor of the start of spring, here are some springtime images from around the world.
Where are you going next?
Japan: cherry blossoms
Alaska: whales return
India: Festival of Colors
Belize: walking palm tree
New Orleans: Jackson Square azaleas
Vienna is such a fascinating city: European with a bit of old-world imperial opulence and Baroque flair. There is something here for everyone, including museums, palaces, green spaces, and some of the best coffee and music in Europe. Austria’s capital, Vienna is situated on the Danube River, which means that it is not only an easy destination as part of a trip to Europe, but it is also a frequent stop for river cruises. So you could spend a day here on a river cruise or maybe a weekend here as part of a longer trip to the region.
One of my favorite places in Vienna is Schonbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Habsburg family. The incredible size of and the beautiful furnishings inside this palace are simply stunning, as are the gardens.
Another of my favorite places is the Spanish Riding School. I have to admit that I’ve been to Vienna twice, and I haven’t seen the Lippizanner horses perform either time. These horses are trained in classic dressage skills, putting on a show where they practically dance with the music. While I haven’t seen them perform in person, I have seen the horses in their stalls. And I’ve seen the facilities there. This is not a traditional horse barn or riding ring: there are some seriously grand chandeliers!
To really enjoy Viennese culture, a visit to a coffee house is a must. Coffee houses have a long history in Vienna, and spending time in one, chatting with friends and enjoying coffee and cakes and strudels, is a delightful way to feel very Viennese. Grab a paper, savor the aroma, and settle into the elegance and the ritual that is unchanged over the past hundred or so years.
That’s just a start of things to enjoy in Vienna. There’s also the Prater amusement park with its giant ferris wheel, dinner in a wine tavern on the outskirts of town, a ride around the historic city in a classic horse-drawn carriage, a snow globe museum (Vienna is where snow globes were invented), and of course music. Vienna is the music capital of Europe. They’ll be celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020.
Details and Recommendations
Getting There: You can fly direct to Vienna from Dulles. Or, a nicer way might be to take a river cruise. Crystal and other cruise lines offer river cruises that start and end in Vienna. Spend a couple of extra days pre- or post-cruise to see more of Vienna’s sights.
How Long: If your river cruise only stops for a day in Vienna, well, enjoy it. But if you can spend about 3 days here, you won’t be sorry.
Don’t Miss: Having a slice of Sachertorte in a coffee house. Sachertorte is a uniquely Viennese pastry that is a chocolate layer cake with apricot jam between the layers and dark chocolate icing. If you can enjoy your Sachertorte in a coffee house with some music by a Baroque ensemble, that will make it even better.
Contact: Globe Travel at 434-296-0171 to help you incorporate a visit to Vienna into your next European vacation.
European Union Travel
There has been a little bit of confusion this week about Americans traveling to the European Union. Some news outlets have been reporting that US travelers will need a visa beginning in 2021. That’s not correct. Let’s clear up some of those misconceptions. Here’s what we know…
Americans will not need a visa to enter European countries that are in the Schengen Zone (most, but not all, EU countries). However, Americans WILL need to take an extra step before they travel to the EU: getting authorization to travel via the new European Travel and Information Authorization System (ETIAS). This extra step is a security check, preventing people who may be a security threat from entering the EU.
Getting ETIAS authorization will be done by completing an online form before traveling. The ETIAS system will check the data against Interpol and other security databases. Most people will immediately receive authorization to travel. If an initial scan through the ETIAS system finds a hit with one of the security databases, your application will be processed manually.
When the system is implemented (expected to be 2021), citizens from more than 60 countries will be required to use it. These are all countries whose citizens are able to travel visa-free to the EU. The ETIAS authorization is good for three years or until the expiration of your passport. There will be a small fee (expected to be less than $10).
The ETIAS system is very similar to the United States’ ESTA system, which does a security check and provides travel authorization for citizens of other countries who are not required to have a visa for entry to the US.
I’ll admit it: I’ve watched enough old movies that the idea of travelling by train conjures up romantic ideas of beautiful country scenery, a relaxing journey, and the thrill of anticipation about what lies ahead at the next stop. For others, the idea of travelling by train might bring to mind highly efficient bullet trains that provide easy access to the heart of a big city. Still others might envision something with an old-world aura of glamour with luxurious cabins, complete with beds and bathrooms, and fine dining with sparkling crystal and linen napkins.
The truth is that rail travel is all of these things. There is a rail journey out there for anyone. Whether you want to explore an iconic route or a modern one, whether you want to take in the scenery or just get from Point A to Point B, or whether you want to sleep aboard or in a hotel, there is a rail vacation for you. Journeys can be weeks long or just 24 hours. They can be part of your vacation, or your entire vacation.
One of the things I love about traveling by rail is the ability and space to get up and move around. I don’t have to worry about directions or figuring out how to get to my destination. I just need to sit back and relax, or get up and explore. I also love how train stations are in the middle of cities. When you get off the train, you’re in the middle of it all. No need for an expensive or long shuttle from an airport on the outskirts into the heart of the city. Finally, I appreciate the ease of rail travel. If you’ve ever taken Amtrak from Charlottesville, you know that you can show up just a few minutes before your train departs and hop aboard.
Here’s just a sample of some great train journeys that make for unique vacations:
* Scenic journeys: Canadian Rockies, Switzerland’s mountains and lakes
* United States: national parks or coast-to-coast
* China’s big cities and small towns: see Shanghai, Beijing, the Terra Cotta Warriors, and the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center
* Rovos Rail: luxury train travel in Southern Africa
* Central Asia’s Silk Road
* Trans-Siberian Railroad in Russia
If you’re interested in a unique journey that is sure to spark conversation both during and after the trip, consider a rail vacation. Call us for ideas that will suit your travel style and destination. We’d love to help you hit the rails and have a fantastic journey.