The Top 5 Things Karen Loves About Travel

I was asked to write a top 5 list of something I love. I was trying to narrow things down like the top five attractions at Walt Disney World or the top five resorts in Mexico and I was having a really hard time. It is really hard to reflect on things in the outside world when you are barely leaving your house. So I took my own spin on it and decided to do the top 5 things that I love about travel itself.

I take the time to really enjoy the person/people I am with

Everyone’s lives are so busy that we don’t stop and just listen. When you stop and do this you will learn something about them that you never knew, even the people you have known your whole life.

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Having an adventure

My regular everyday life consists of going to work and chasing after my family in one way or another. There aren’t very many new things around those corners. When travelling, there are new things at every corner.

Going outside my comfort zone.

It is easy to always do the comfortable thing, but that is not the way you grow as a person. I have a hard time getting out of my comfort zone but when I do, I really enjoy myself and am always so happy that I did.

Learning something new

As I get older I crave more of this. I am the person that will take at least one guided tour every time I travel. My favourite part isn’t always the destination but the path taken to get there. With a guided tour you receive the insider knowledge that you would never know otherwise.

To escape

Escaping has meant a lot of things to me on different trips. It could be to a new country where I do not know the language and have to figure everything out. It could mean going to Disney to get lost in the magic. It can also mean to lay on a beach with a drink in one hand and a book in the other.

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Travel has been a very important part of my life. Every trip has changed the coarse of how I live today. I can’t wait to try to figure out what the next adventure is going to be!

Although we cannot travel at this time, we can certainly dream.  Please feel free to reach out to me at karen@uniglobeyxe.com if there is anything that you’re dreaming of for the future that you would like to discuss.

 

Travel Agents Never Stop Learning

Never Stop Learning

In the best of times a vital part of being a travel agent is constantly learning and brushing up on what is new or changing in the industry and around the world.  Things may be different these days but between changing and cancelling bookings as well as helping to process insurance claims our team is still making sure to use some of their time to brush up on their product and destination knowledge.   Here’s what we’ve been learning about this past month.

Karen has been working on her Insight Vacations, Trafalgar and Contiki certifications. She has also brushed up on her existing Accessible Travel Certificate Program, done some Manulife Insurance training, taken some G Adventures classes and made sure her annual re-certification for the Disney College of Knowledge was up-to-date.

Czarina has been brushing up on a little bit of everything including Crystal Cruises, Ama Waterways, Solo Travellers, Azamara Cruises, Rocky Mountaineer, Carnival Cruise Line, Oceania, Manulife Insurance, the Hawaiian Islands and some customer service classes.

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Amanda loves cruising and helping her clients cruise so she’s been getting refreshed on Princess Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruise and Seabourn.  She has also taken some classes from Manulife Insurance, Collette and AMResorts.  She recently finished her Accessible Travel Certificate Program.

Annette has been making sure to keep up with the airlines with a special focus on Air Canada and Delta.  She’s also taken some Manulife Insurance classes, updated with AMResorts and Velas Vallarta, took some customer service classes and is now a specialist on Jordan and Wales.  Next up is reviewing all that Fairmont has to offer.

Kyra is now a Jordan specialist, an Aruba specialist and an Xcaret Hotel & Park Xpert. She’s also taken a few AMResorts and Manulife Insurance classes.

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Xcaret Park

Joanne has taken some extra insurance classes and is now a Grenada specialist, Globus specialist and Avalon Waterways specialist.  She also took some classes from Iberostar Resorts.

Helen is now a Via Rail expert.  She also did a class on Lufthansa and the Munich airport and a few with Delta Air Lines including one specifically on group travel.  She’s working on her South African specialist and her Marriott certificate as well.

Cordell is making sure that he’s up to date with all of the parks and hotels under the Xcaret umbrella as well as Palladium resorts. He’s also taken some classes from Viking Cruises, Collette, Holland America and Royal Scenic.  Up next – the Jordan specialist program.

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No matter what you do in life, it’s so important to keep learning and expanding your knowledge.   As you can see, our team is becoming even more knowledgeable on many different topics in the world of travel.  We can’t wait to start sharing all that we’ve learned with you.

Although it’s important that we all stay home and do our part at this time, brighter days are ahead.  If there is a dream trip that you want to start researching or if you simply have questions about anything travel related, our team is happy to help.  Feel free to reach out by phone or email and say hello.  The world is waiting patiently to welcome you back and so are we.

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98Cool Goes To Cabo – Part Two

Here we are on the plane; our week of fun in the sun has ended.

The whole group looking fancy for our farewell dinner

I can honestly say that the bonding, laughs, friendly competitions and fun had on this trip was so much more than I ever anticipated. Since everyone was from around Saskatoon it seemed that each person was somehow connected with the next. As we learned more about each other we found out that some members of the group happen to be excellent singers while others dance to the beat of their own drum. Games of cribbage and bingo were played by the pools. We all danced together on the catamaran and at the Jungle Party. Many meals were shared whether as just a few or in big groups. It was so heartwarming to be a part of these new bonds; knowing that an idea of putting together a group of strangers was a huge success.

Conversations around meeting up as a group back home are heating up. We’ll see if it ends up being a karaoke meet up at Crackers, a summer bbq, crashing my Destination Wedding or maybe we’ll just all have to wait until next winter’s group getaway. Whenever we all see each other again, I know I can’t wait!


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Interested in planning a group getaway of your own? Our team of experienced agents would love to help you find the perfect location, get you a competitive quote and make the arrangements as carefree as possible. Reach out to us!

https://www.uniglobecarefreetravel.com/meet-the-team

ASK A TRAVEL AGENT – WALT DISNEY WORLD

Here at UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel our team is passionate about sharing their experiences with you.    Karen Katelnikoff’s favourite place to visit is Walt Disney World in Florida and she would love to share all that she loves about her “home away from home” with you.

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  1. When is the best time to visit Walt Disney World?

Anytime is the best time to visit Disney! If you would like a slower time to go, September is my favorite.

  1. How far in advance should travellers start planning their vacation when considering Walt Disney World?

A Disney vacation is like putting together a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. It takes a lot of time. The best time to start planning would be about 8-10 months out. This will insure you do not miss out on an important reservation.

  1. How many days would you recommend someone spend at Walt Disney World?

I would recommend 7 -10 days so you do not feel too rushed

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  1. Are there benefits to staying at one of the Disney hotels in Florida?

There are a lot of benefits to staying on property. You have extra hours to access the parks; you can book FastPasses as early as 60 days before your trip and have all of the transportation you need to get around the parks. The best part about staying on property though is you feel like you are in the middle of all the magic.

  1. What Disney hotels would you recommend on property? 

Pop Century is the value resort with the best transportation service and of course the tie dyed cheese cake.

Port Orleans Riverside has one of my favorite themed rooms in it called the Royal Guest Room with a special headboard that creates a firework display.

Grand Floridian is my favorite Christmas time hotel. It has a life size gingerbread house that is made of over 600 lbs of gingerbread so the lobby smells amazing.

  1. What other hotel would you recommend in the Walt Disney World area?

Sheraton Vistana Villages.  This is a resort in itself. It has daily activities for the kids if you just want a down day. They have multiple bedroom villas with laundry and a full kitchen. It’s still close to the action but if staying on Disney property is not really your thing, this is a great option.

  1. What are your top 3 tips for travellers going to Walt Disney World?

Plan ahead, especially if this is your first time. This is not a last minute holiday.

Work with a specialized travel agent so you are not disappointed on things you could miss out on because you didn’t know.

Plan ahead about when and where you are going to eat for the day. If you or your family are hungry, no one is having fun.

  1. What is your favourite ride or attraction in each of the four Disney parks in Florida?

Magic Kingdom – Splash Mountain

Epcot – Soarin’ Around the World

Hollywood Studios – Rock N Roll Coaster

Animal Kingdom – Expedition Everest

  1. Is Walt Disney World just for families?

Disney is not just a family holiday. I have been able to do both types of trips. While it is an amazing family trip with so many memories made, there is something to be said about going as adults only. I was able to attend the food and wine festival at Epcot without worrying about my children under foot. I also found that when I took my children we could either go early in the morning or stay late, never both. I was never ready to leave!

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  1. Are there other nearby attractions that should be included in a vacation in Florida?

I also love Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. If you have older kids or you are on an adult trip these parks are for the more adventurous. This should not be missed if you are a Harry Potter fan.

  1. What are you looking forward to the most for your next trip to Walt Disney World?

I am trying to wait until Magic Kingdom’s 50th anniversary to go back. By then all of the amazing new expansions should be done and it will be like visiting a new park.

  1. Why should someone book their Walt Disney World vacation with UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel?

There are so many steps to planning a Disney trip and it can become very overwhelming. I help my clients to organize one thing at a time so they can be well educated and have the best time when they are there. Disney is not just an ordinary family vacation. It is THE family vacation and can be the most magical experience. Even if you book all of your other travel yourself, come to an expert who is always learning about everything new that is going on so that you will not be disappointed.

Ready to start planning your own vacation to the most magical place on Earth?  Karen would love to help!  Reach out to her by calling 306-934-3400 or emailing karen@uniglobevacation.com.

Ask a Travel Agent – Disneyland

Here at UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel our team is passionate about sharing their experiences with you.    Amanda Campbell absolutely loves Disneyland, so we have asked her some of those burning questions to help you plan your own vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.

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  1. When is the best time to visit Disneyland? I think in the warmer months that way you can enjoy the wet rides more instead of freezing.
  2. How many days would you recommend someone spend at Disneyland? If it’s someone visiting for the first time, around 4 days.
  3. What hotel would you recommend in the Disneyland area? I really like the Courtyard Marriott theme park entrance.  It’s a newer hotel with a beautiful water park. Their rooms have bunk beds as well in the lead in/introductory category.
  4. Are there benefits to staying at one of the Disney hotels in Anaheim? You get extra magic hours, the convenience of charging things like meals and merchandise purchases to your room, and have package service to your room. As a little bonus, you might even get one of the Disney characters calling your room for any special occasions.
  5. What is a tip for visitors to Disneyland that may not be common knowledge? To purchase the MaxPass which includes ride and character photos as well as the option to skip the lines at certain attractions.
  6. What is your favourite ride or attraction at Disneyland?  Radiator Springs Racers or Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
  7. Is Disneyland just for families?   I had always gone with my mom, the latest time I was with a bunch of travel agents.  I think it’s great for families but it’s also awesome as just adults going to have some fun.  This way you can go on the rides as much as you want, not have to worry about height restrictions and have a good time.  It is great for families too as you can walk between the two parks, they aren’t as spread out as the parks in Walt Disney World.
  8. Are there other nearby attractions that should be included in a vacation in California? I did a Star’s Home tour that included going down Rodeo Drive, going by the tar pits, etc.  I also like visiting Universal Studios.  Some people like the Six Flags Magic Mountain park, and the Knott’s Berry Farm.  I think going to the beach at some point is a must as well.  Some people like going down to San Diego to do the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, or LEGOLAND.
  9. Why should someone book their Disneyland vacation with UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel? We can offer insider information and tips that you won’t get by booking online.  Some people do lots of research and rely on their friend’s reviews.  We put together a list of tips and recommendations and send to our clients that book with us.

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Ready to start planning your own magical getaway?  Contact Amanda by calling 306-934-3400 or emailing amanda@uniglobevacation.com.

Karen’s Great China Adventure – When things go wrong

Here’s another example for why you need a travel agent on your next adventure. So you are excited to go somewhere new and love to plan everything and do the research yourself. Why would you need an agent?

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A big adventure requires a lot of research!

Let me tell you how my recent trip started. I had been counting down the days until I could leave on my China adventure. I did so much research and as always had so much fun doing it. I woke up at 4 am on the morning of my departure only to find out my flight was cancelled. Not always the biggest deal to fix but it was in this case, it was February break and there were storms in both the East and the West shutting down flights everywhere. Still at home I tried to call into the airline but was still on hold when my cab arrived and I arrived at the airport. I figured I might as well speak to someone in person. After figuring out that she could not get me out of Saskatoon that day she asked me to come back in a few hours and she would help me fix my flights. Well I, of course, was not going to wait that long to figure out this trip. I had put so much time and effort into it. So far I was 0 for 2 in receiving any help. This is where the agents started jumping in. Before I could get into the office I had two of them looking at the flight options for me. We have priority lines when calling in to the airlines so the hold times are not so long. Long story short, 2 airline agents later my flights were fixed. Only now I would be flying into Beijing instead of Shanghai. I had hotels, insurance, and train tickets to now fix. What a mess from one cancelled flight.

While doing all of the research is fun, fixing something like this takes a lot of work and it is very hard when you are emotionally involved. My advice to you is to remember a travel agent’s job doesn’t end when we book a trip for you.

A big thank you goes out to my agent friends that all helped me to get going on my adventure, I appreciate you!

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What To Do When Things Go Wrong – Correna’s Blog

For today’s blog I am going to tell you what not to do, based my experience today. So today is the end of my trip to the U.K. and as I packed up I decided to move my passport folder from the pocket of my carry-on to my travel purse for safe keeping. I received this travel purse from my sister this Christmas as I had bought her one before her trip to Greece. It is an anti theft purse with all kinds of security added features. Well, the purse is only as smart as the user as I found out today.

I had put my most important item on my body as I can’t travel anywhere without it. I had everything all ready to go with all the hooks and clasps done up and then I had to get my Oyster Card out of my bag and must have forgotten to redo a clasp. We boarded the tube from Sloan Station and to make a change at Victoria to Piccadilly square. The tube was packed and I never felt anyone move the zipper at all. We arrived at Piccadilly all proud of our selves as we made it and then BAM – I went to pull out my passport folder to pull out my rail ticket and I just about puked right there and then! Passport folder gone!!!!! We checked all my bags and it was nowhere to be found. There were police officers standing nearby so our little group of three headed over to let them know that my passport folder had been stolen. Now, I got a little upset at this point as they told me there wasn’t a lot that could be done as I didn’t witness the theft happen. By this time I was just about in tears. How was I going to get home? How would I get a new passport issued? Could I make it on my own to Trafalgar Square beings upset and alone? Well suck it up princess and get this looked after!  I called the hotel that we had just left and had them check everywhere but they found nothing. I spoke to our group leader who made arrangements for me to stay tonight at the Draycott, I will get back to them later. So I left Piccadilly Station to get back on that damn tube and my Oyster Card had cancelled for some reason. Now I start to cry and the ladies in the tube station were great. They let me through and radioed ahead to let them know at my stop to let me through there too. When I arrive at Canada House, the Canadian Embassy, they already knew I was on my way 🙂 they had tissues for me and told me that everything happens for a reason. I got inside with my passport photos which took me five different photo places before I found one that does Canadian passport sizes. I left Canada House around 5pm with a temporary passport in hand. This all started around 914am. You want to talk about a long stressful day!

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Canada House

Now, onto the Draycott Hotel, they met me at the door, made sure I was alright, showed me to another beautiful room and then served me champagne. They have been outstanding and now if I have anyone traveling to London, be prepared to be sent to the Draycott lol.  Seriously it’s amazing, check it out here http://www.draycotthotel.com/  Also, thank you so much to Jamie and Heather who helped keep me sane and got be booked on a flight home for tomorrow morning. I can’t imagine why people would not use a travel agent! How would you be able to get this all done within a few hours and be on a plane home within 22 hours. I also contacted Manulife as soon as I knew what was going to happen and my agent there was very helpful. This is just another reason why to buy travel insurance. You may think nothing is going to happen but believe me it can!