Why travel with a tour?

Travel Tours with Cheryl vs. Going On Your Own

I’ve had the privilege of traveling with Cheryl Luce for over 7 Years!  She has put together many tours, and I have been fortunate to go with her group to far away places such as England, Wales, and Ireland, River tour in Russia, Estonia, River tour in Holland, Germany and Hungary, Italy, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, and Costa Rica.  She has accompanied groups of up to 30 or more, and she has been such a great help with planning, information gatherings with the travel company that is sponsoring the tour, attention to detail, including help with finding a roommate, tips on packing, money exchange, itinerary questions, and organizing follow up gatherings after the trip. Her expertise and her compassion are evident in dealing with her travelers.  Her smile is very reassuring as well as her readiness to help when she is needed. (For instance…in case of an unexpected accident.)  She is a wonderful companion as well as my good friend.

I have also traveled on my own with friends, and I wish to say that traveling on a tour is so much EASIER.  I prefer the tours…one does not have to spend so much time pouring over travel guide books trying to decide what to see and where to go and how to get there!!!  On a tour, you see what is of interest in the cities and places that you visit, as well as having a knowledgeable guide to give commentary.  There are usually historical sites, museums, places of interest included, as well as home meals with locals. Arrangements for airlines and insurance are handled ahead, so there are no worries there.  Most entrance fees are included, as well as wonderful, clean, reliable transportation by deluxe coach.  Hotels are excellent (checked out ahead) and MOST meals are included.  There IS time to spend on your own.  This is always included, so that you might explore at leisure from you well situated hotel.  Traveling on your own involves just as much money in the long run, restaurants are not always the best, hotels are questionable, and all arrangements are difficult to make as well as time consuming.  Now, the luggage dilemma…on a tour, luggage is handled for you…it is taken to your room, so that you do not have to lug it around and worry that it is not getting to where it should be. As we get older, it is harder and harder to haul the bags up and down stairs, get them on trains, buses, etc.  Help is welcomed, but hard to come by.

So…I say, Travel with Cheryl…she is well connected and a seasoned traveler and travel guide.  She is inspiring, and she has so much enthusiasm to share as we go places together and see the world!!!

Happy Traveling!   Sue B.

A tour of the Heritage sites–sure to make great memories!

The Heritage of America tour will be filled with highlights–New York City, Philadelphia, Amish Country, Gettysburg, Colonial Williamsburg, and Washington D.C. during cherry blossom season–and much more!  An extra day has been added to the beginning and end of the tour to give time to explore at your leisure.

Such great destinations, and a no-worries way to see them!

The tour starts on March 31, 2011, and concludes on April 11.

Passport fees to increase

New Schedule of Passport Fees to Take Effect on July 13, 2010

On June 28, 2010, the U.S. Department of State published its Schedule of Fees for Consular Services in the Federal Register. The schedule includes fees for passports, immigrant visas and other consular services. The changes will take effect on July 13, 2010. The revised fees will cover actual operating expenses for the 23 domestic passport agencies.

The most significant changes are increases in standard adult passport fees from $75 to $110 and standard minor passport fees from $60 to $80. Passport cards will increase in cost from $20 to $30 ($15 for minors). The Department of State expediting fees remain at $60 per application.   The Department will begin charging $82 for adding extra pages to existing passports, plus applicable State Department $60 expediting fees. In the past, the Department provided extra pages in a customer’s passport, at no charge. The Department found that the cost of the pages themselves, having the pages placed in the book in a secure manner by trained personnel, and of completing the required security checks results in a cost to the U.S. Government more than $82 per passport book, therefore, the Department will charge the same for previously free service.

Willamette Intl Travel suggests that the traveler request a larger 52-page passport book offered by the State Department for travelers who anticipate needing more than 28 visa pages over the lifespan of the passport.  Any passport applicant may request a larger book at the time of application by including a letter of explanation.  The larger passport is issued at the discretion of the Passport Office and is available at no additional cost.

The adjusted fees are based on a Cost of Service Study completed by the Bureau of Consular Affairs in June 2009. The study, which was the most detailed and exhaustive ever conducted by the U.S. Department of State, established the true cost of providing these consular services, which the Department recovers through the collection of fees.

In their official public announcement the State Department says, “While the Department of State is aware of the financial impact this fee increase may have on individuals and businesses, its passport processing operations must be self-sustaining to the extent possible, and it has accordingly set these fees at a level that will allow cost recovery–and not more. The Department also maintains that the increase in passport fees is not significant incomparison with the overall costs of international travel.”

Thank you to Willamette International Travel in Portland for bringing this to my attention.

There is a story with every car!

One of the pleasures of participating in car shows is the chance to meet so many nice people.  And all you have to do is ask them to tell you the “story of their car” and you are on your way to making a new friend.  Attending the 2010 Oregon Mountain Cruise in Joseph, OR this month was one of those opportunities.  Sitting in line to park in the car show took a bit of time, and John went back to talk with the gentleman in the white Cadillac behind us, then telling me that he’d learned that the man was driving “his dad’s car.”  I thought that sounded great–so I went back to say hi, and share that I had MY dad’s car at home, too.  That’s how I met Mike Brennan.  He said, that yes, the Caddie was his dad’s car–and his dad was Walter Brennan, and this was his last car.  (Now do you see why he looks so familiar?!)  When Walter Brennan wasn’t working in Hollywood, he was with his family ranching in Joseph, OR.  He moved the family there in 1941, and became an active part of the community.  Mike shared with me many stories of his dad and the legacies in the town, stories of the car, and living in Joseph through the years.  It was clear that Mike is very proud of his dad, and his community.  It was a delightful day!  Mike has given me permission to share the photos and his story, and asked that I send him copies of the pictures.

All you have to do is ask tell me the story of your car!  You meet the nicest people!

Travel Plans with Cheryl