Episode 49: Ask Me Anything

Ask Me Anything

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Today is my 1 Year Anniversary Episode!

Talking about travel during a pandemic seemed like a crazy idea at first, but I’m so glad I stuck to it, and now we’re here – one year later (okay, I know it’s not episode 52 of my weekly episodes, but at least I’m still going strong).

For this special episode, I’m doing an “Ask Me Anything” episode.

Let’s get to those questions:

[03:00] “How has the pandemic changed how you operate your travel business?”

Not much has changed with regard to my operations at my travel business.

What has changed is I’ve learned what I do and don’t enjoy doing.

For example, those people that get endless quotes but never book a vacation – I’m not about that anymore. I’ll be prioritising those people who are serious about travel, because I put a lot of effort into planning and presenting a vacation for them. If you’re not going to appreciate that, I don’t need you as a client.

[04:59] “What have you learned, since the pandemic has happened, to keep your travel business going during these times?”

I learned that you have to be consistent, and you need to show up even when times are tough.

Showing up, being consistent, and putting myself out there sustained my business, but also it allowed me to show people that actually all of this will pass and travel will make a comeback.

[06:24] “How does travel insurance help with dealing with the pandemic going on?”

If we’ve learned anything during this time, it’s that travelers should be purchasing travel insurance.

If you test positive for Covid-19 in another country, and you require medical attention, your insurance will most likely cover that. If you need to pay for quarantine accommodation, your insurance may reimburse you.

Your local insurance isn’t going to cover your medical treatment abroad. If you have travel insurance, you don’t need to worry about being denied that vital medical care if something were to happen to you in another country.

Travel insurance is so much more than just getting your money back in case you cancel your trip.

[09:38] “Would you prefer international or domestic travel?”

I prefer international travel.

I’m interested in learning about other countries’ cultures and customs. This allows me to grow as a person, and become more empathetic and well-rounded.

If you have the chance to travel internationally, your perspective will become much wider, and you will gain a great appreciation for your home country in the process.

[10:33] “Do you prefer traveling solo or in groups?”

I prefer solo travel (sorry to those who enjoy traveling with me).

I enjoy traveling at my own pace, with my own schedule, and I get to learn about myself. When traveling in a group, you always have to cater to everyone else’s schedules and entertainment options, and you’re more limited overall.

I also have my work to worry about, and I want to be able to do that without answering to anyone in a travel group.

[13:15] “Do you prefer AirBnB over hotels?”

I prefer hotels. I’ve stayed in a total of one AirBnB in all my time traveling.

I have to do everything, from grocery shopping to cooking, in my day-to-day life, and I’m not about to do all of that on vacation as well.

[14:51] “What amenities do you look for in a room?”

The first thing I look for is Free WiFi. If a resort has limited WiFi, I’m most likely not going to stay there. I need to be able to access the WiFi from all over the resort.

Another thing I look for is a shower that isn’t inside a bathtub. I’m not about that shower-bathtub combo. Besides, I don’t feel like it’s safe to be stepping over the bathtub side – you could slip and injure yourself.

I do like a mini fridge in my room. I need a place to keep my water and Jack Daniels cold, and to save my leftover pizza for when I get hungry in the middle of the night.

The room has to have a TV with good stations. I like watching CNN when I wake up, and I like having the TV going in the background while I work.

I need a desk with plugs at it. I often do staycations and stay at resorts for extended periods of time, and I need to be able to work at the desk.

I want the room to have an ice bucket. I often travel to places that are hot, and I need to have that ice bucket to keep my YETI cool so that I can have ice cold water first thing in the morning.

I like the room to have a clock. I don’t always want to reach for my phone in the middle of the night to find out what time it is.

There has to be a safe. I need a secure place to leave my passport, money, and electronics.

I don’t want to be paying for bottled water, so there has to be a few bottles in the room.

In the morning, I want to be able to reach for a coffee pot, pour myself a good cup of coffee, and enjoy it on the balcony. I don’t want to have to leave the room to get a cup of coffee at the restaurant.

A balcony is a great amenity to have in the room. There’s nothing quite like smelling that clean, fresh morning air from a balcony.

[21:13] “Have you ever received any compensation as a travel blogger?”

Not yet.

Someday, I hope to start making some money from it. I’ll keep being consistent, showing up, and improving on it throughout my journey.

But it doesn’t bother me that I haven’t been paid until now because I enjoy being a travel blogger.

[22:49] “Do you have any vacation packages for Cabo?”

Yes. Yes, I do.

Cabo is one of my favourite destinations.

Contact me at info@ericajamestravel.com And I’ll get you that vacation package.

[23:20] “Jamaica trip, when?”

Honestly, any time you want to vacation in Jamaica is a good time.

Except October. I went to Jamaica in October for 21 days and it rained for all except 3 days.

[24:10] “The most stressful part of travelling for me is packing. Are there any instructions or guidelines to assist with packing?”

What I do is write down my itinerary and then figure out the outfit for each activity on that itinerary.

I have a downloadable form that will help you pack based on your itinerary.

Alternatively, you could coordinate a few colours for the whole trip. That way you could mix and match your clothing and wear some items multiple times.

Another thing you could do is pack fewer clothing items and wash them. For instance, I stayed in Jamaica for two weeks but I only packed for one week and had those clothes sent to a laundry service at the end of the week.

[27:02] “What’s the best vacation getaway for graduating high school seniors and families?”

This really depends on what you want to experience.

Do you want to travel abroad or stay in the country? Do you want a beach destination, a ski destination, a historical destination, or a camping destination?

The answer to this question isn’t a one-size-fits-all, and you need to determine the things that you are looking for in a vacation to narrow down your options.

[28:44] “What is a nice state-side vacation?”

The answer to this is kind of the same as the previous question.

Which state? There are 50 states, each with their own styles, cultures, and experiences. Do you want history, music, theme parks, road trip destinations, beaches, camping, skiing, tech, or sweltering heat? It all depends on what you really want to experience.

Once you know what you want to experience, it will be much easier to find the perfect vacation for YOU.

[30:01] “Hawaii trip, when?”

Whenever you want.

Just know that it’s expensive, so if you need to save up, do that well in advance. 

[30:28] “Nowadays, is it okay to take cash when traveling? I’ve started to notice within the last year, some businesses have started charging a fee when using a card. Those fees add up.”

I always take cash.

It’s so much easier to budget, plus there’s the added bonus of not paying those fees.

If I go to a foreign country, I usually have my money exchanged before I go. 

[32:24] “Planning ahead without firm commencement dates are hard during Covid. What do you suggest?”

Purchase travel insurance.

If you’re starting your planning, you don’t need to put down a deposit until you’re absolutely certain of those plans. If you want to make plans with a bit of wiggle room, that travel insurance will go a long way.

[33:45] “Any special group events planned for Cancun labour day trip?”

Yes.

For those who don’t know, I have a group trip going to Cancun for the Labour Day weekend.

I’m still confirming numbers, and I’m busy planning some special events for those who will be going on the trip. If you’ve signed up, you will get all the necessary information on special events.

[34:43] “Can you do payment plans for high school senior trips?”

If you start ahead of time, you could do payment plans of any sort of trip.

Discuss this with your travel agent and planner.

[35:18] “How soon can you start planning for 2022?”

If your trip includes air travel, you can start planning 331 days prior to your return date. This is the earliest that air travel schedules come out. If you feel like flying SouthWest, you can forget about planning that any sooner than 6 months prior.

If you want to travel in June 2022, you can only start planning in August 2021.

If you’re only traveling by land, you can plan as early as you want, and cruises usually have their dates out far in advance as well.

[37:18] “Can you plan a party on your trip at your destination location, and how?”

Yes, you can.

You can contact the Special Events Coordinator at the resort, or talk to your travel agent (hint hint) to make the necessary arrangements for you.

[38:15] “What is a good translator to have when you go to different countries?”

I only use the English to Spanish Translator app from the Play Store. It’s free, and it works just fine.

Surprisingly, where I’ve traveled, the people either speak Spanish or English, so I haven’t needed any other apps.

I’ve heard the Google Translate app is also great, and it would probably work in any country.

And that’s all we have for this First Annual Ask Me Anything Episode.

Thank you to all of you who sent me questions. I wish more people would ask me questions so that I can do this more often.

For those that have been with me for the past year, I appreciate you.

Here’s to Year #2!


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One thought on “Episode 49: Ask Me Anything

  • Pamela Prymer

    Happy Podcast Anniversary!! You have definitely kept me entertained and learning about traveling during this past year! May you continue to be blessed personally and professionally!!

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