Serendipitous Squad Travel Community

It’s been a little over a year since I started Serendipitous Traveler. Like any new entrepreneurial journey, year one definitely came with ups and downs. It takes awhile to find your footing in a new industry, to learn who all the players are and to decide where you plan on staking your ground.

It’s largely known that the travel industry is a conundrum.  There are so many options a person has when it comes to booking their travel – from Online Agencies like Expedia for the budget traveler, to large corporate consortias, to small agencies like myself. There is no shortage of finding what you need. There is someone out there ready to serve up what you ask for, you just have to be diligent enough to ask. Yet, for all of us out there, no one still understands airline pricing, so at least we all have that in common.

So, when I decided to declare my niche in this industry, it was very clear to me from day one what kind of travel I wanted to specialize in.  Girlfriend Getaways! I wanted to be the #girlfriendgetawayguru. Why? Because I know how important they are and what a cornerstone they have been in my life. So, I set out on a mission – to take care of the people that seem to spend so much of their time taking care of everyone else, and encourage them to travel with their girlfriends.

This was the feedback I got:

  • I don’t have anyone to travel with
  • My friends don’t like to travel
  • My friends can’t afford to travel

And just like that I knew what I needed to do – founded the Serendipitous Squad Travel Community. They say your vibe attracts your tribe and at Serendipitous Traveler we 100% agree. And we say, if you don’t have a squad to travel with, then we want you to travel with us.

We believe in community over competition.

We believe in supporting one another through all walks of life.

We believe that we are our best selves when we practice real self care.

And we want to see as much of this world as we can before our time is up and want to do it in the company of other extraordinary women who believe these things, too.

Because we want to live a life by design, not by default.

So I invite you to join us. We have a private Facebook community called The Serendipitous Squad Travel Community.  Starting in 2020, we will be hosting group trips. We have some domestic and some international plans up our sleeves, but here is the kicker – we are announcing them in our Serendipitous Squad Facebook Group first.

Our first hosted trip will be announced on Black Friday. We will make a general public announcement later, but I’m a little worried that if you wait for the general announcement, the trips might be sold out.

And I’d hate for you to miss out.

So do us both a favor – jump into our private Facebook Group.

Done? Good!

So happy to have you as a part of the squad!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!
XO Krystal

What Disney Princess Matches Your Travel Personality?

Every girl has a princess inside her. Which one matches your travel personality?

 

The Scariest Thing About Traveling……

Traveling is the one thing found on everyone’s bucket list, yet there are so many people who don’t travel because of a fear they have. Today I thought we’d pick apart a few of these fears and tackle them head on.

Fear #1 – Afraid to travel alone.

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Solo travel, especially solo travel among women, is on the rise, but there are still so many people worried about trekking out on their own.  Women have a special subset of issues to work through on this set – fear of unwanted attention from men being the #1 feedback that I get from my female clientele.  So what’s a girl to do? Fortunately she has a couple of options.

  1. Join a group tour.  There are several amazing small group tours out there that are doing amazing things.  Many, like G Adventures, cap tours at around 10-15 people so you don’t feel like you are being shuttle herded with the masses.  There are a growing number of options for women only groups as well.  Check out our private facebook page The Serendipitous Travel Squad or sign up for our newsletter to keep in touch on Serendipitous Traveler’s upcoming group trips.
  2. Work with a travel advisor to map out your itinerary. Most importantly –  do your research.  The fact remains that some places are more friendly for solo travelers than not. A travel advisor can help you work through the best ideas, safe places to stay, and help set you up with a solid itinerary so you are never out in the wind.  As long as you use a travel advisor, you always have someone that knows where you are and you have someone to check in with as you go.  

Fear #2 – Afraid of something bad happening

I get this fear from solo travelers, groups, couples….basically everyone.  And I get it. Especially if you re traveling somewhere foreign and you don’t speak the language. And there’s always a litany of things that can go wrong. And was anyone else scarred by the movie Taken? Well even if your dad isn’t Liam Neeson, there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate disasters while traveling. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Be cognizant of your surroundings.  Pickpockets are there and they like to take advantage of crowded tourist spots. Because tourists are always carrying money and are distracted by the sights around them. So many people get pickpocketed and don’t even realize it until it’s too late. But if you are on guard and cognizant of where you are, you can easily avoid being a target. That means, guys, put your wallets in your front pocket. Girls, travel with a purse that zips up and is in front of you.  If you need a backpack, know that you are walking with a bit of a target on your back and keep it close by. Invest in a brand that is slash proof (we like these from ebags), and again, be aware of your surroundings.  If someone is begging from the front, make sure their partner isn’t digging through your pack from the back.
  • Invest in RFID blocking sleeve, wallet or ID holder.  I was shocked last year when I attended a trade show and a supplier showed me how easy it was to swipe credit card information using an app on her phone. Anyone sitting in a public place can gain access to hundreds of credit card numbers and have something purchased and charged up before you even get back to check the balance in your hotel room.  RFID blocking sleeves, wallets, etc are a cheap investment that can save you a lot of time and headache while traveling.
  • Be wary of public wifi.  In a world where we are always connected, it’s tempting to take advantage of a cafe pit stop and check up on your social channels. When you are traveling, you are probably spending more, so it’s natural that you’d want to check in on your finances or your credit card statement.  Unfortunately, public places are traps for mining your data.  It’s too easy to set up a hot spot and call it “Whatever Establishment You Are Sitting At Free Wifi” and dupe unsuspecting folks.  If you much check your wifi, be sure to ask someone if there is free wifi before linking up. Better yet, wait until you are back in your hotel or spring the few bucks and pay for the data. It will save you more money in the long run.

Fear #3 – Afraid of the unknown

 

You just don’t know what you don’t know.

  • How to get from point A to point B.
  • How to use the subway system.
  • Where to go for dinner.
  • What museum should you visit. Do you need to purchase tickets in advance.
  • What do you pack.
  • How to read your train tickets.

And this is where a good travel advisor comes in. They arm you with information so that not only are you adequately prepared to travel, you are armed with enough information to really enjoy and be wowed by your travel.  After all, if you understand what you are looking at you are getting twice the value. At the very least be sure to arm yourself with a good guide book to get you started.

Travel can be an intimidating experience, but fortunately with the right preparation, anyone and everyone can have an enjoyable travel experience.

Face your fears and get out there!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO Krystal

 

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Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend items that I personally use and gift to my own clients and just want to share the love with you!

Global Entry…is it worth it?

Applying for Global Entry is an easy process, and once you do you can bypass a lot of hassle by using expedited lanes at the U.S. airports, and when crossing international borders.  You can also combine it with TSA pre-check, making your travel experiences easier.

A lot of clients ask me, “Is it worth it to get Global Entry or TSA pre-check?” And my answer is always this: If your time is worth anything to you, yes!

It’s a relatively easy process, makes going through security at airports a breeze.  Children 12 and under can accompany you through the expedited lanes, making family travel easier.  And (BONUS) most major credit companies* will give you credit reimbursement for Global Entry making it a win/win!

It’s easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account. Regardless of your age, you must have your own TTP account.
  2. Log in to your TTP account and complete the application. A $100 non-refundable fee is required with each completed application.
  3. After accepting your completed application and fee, CBP will review your application. If your application is conditionally approved, then your TTP account will instruct you to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Each applicant must schedule a separate interview.
  4. You will need to bring your valid passport(s) and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card to the interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must present your machine readable permanent resident card.
FAQ’s
How long does it take to process global entry?
Processing times vary by applicant, but anticipate up to 11 weeks to process your application.
How long after my application is approved do I have to schedule my interview with a Global Entry Enrollment Center?
You have 365 days from the date of online approval notice to schedule your interview. If you do not complete your interview within 365 days your application will be voided and no refunds will be given. Should you wish to resume application, you will have to start the application process over.
What do I need to bring with me to my interview?
A valid passport, and one other form of identification (Drivers License or ID card)
How long is Global Entry Valid?
Global Entry is Valid for 5 years. You pass can be revoked for criminal offense charges, or if you are charge with a customs and immigration violation.
How do I schedule my interview with a Global Entry Enrollment Center/find a center near me?
Log in to your Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) account and from the dashboard select “schedule an interview” button. From there you can select a date and time from a list of available slots.  You will also be shown alternative centers that may have availability sooner. Please be advised that appointments are REQUIRED for all locations.
As always, if you have any questions regarding the process, please do not hesitate to reach out.
*Obligatory disclaimer that you must check with your individual credit card company to see if they offer reimbursement for Global Entry and/or TSA Precheck, and what steps must be taken in order to file for reimbursement.

Girlfriend Getaways are what cures your soul

Google “girlfriend getaways” and you will be hit with a myriad of articles telling you that it’s been scientifically proven that time away with your girlfriends makes you happier, healthier, and can lead to a longer life.

And women everywhere read that and let out a collective, “Duh.”

Because we know it. And we feel it every time we get together. The camaraderie. The community. The laughter. All of it.

So why don’t we do it more?

There are a lot of reasons, but most of them center around the same idea. We are the caretakers. Of our jobs. Of our families. Of our marriages. Of our homes…..the list could go on and on.

But every once in awhile, we need to lay it down and be the caretakers of ourselves. Which is why I do what I do. I get to be the caretaker of other women who work so hard to take care of every one else.

So what kind of girls trip are we planning in the next year? Here I’ve listed a few of my favorites:

The Wellness Trip

2018 Advisor Contest

Wellness vacations are on the rise for 2019, and there’s no wonder why. Its a vacation in the truest sense. A chance to recharge in all the right ways, whether it’s via a swim up bar, a spa retreat, or a yoga and fitness escape. Wellness travel focuses on the whole individual – from spa resorts on land or at sea, to fitness camps, to full wellness retreats travelers have a treasure trove of options to create the perfect wellness getaway with your girlfriends.

The Culinary Experience

Culinary travel is an industry that is really coming up these days. Travelers looking for well-rounded culinary experiences that are immersive, interactive and educational needn’t look very hard. Itineraries for culinary experiences are a fun, interactive way to travel with your girlfriends, taking it a step further from traditional wine and dine options. Options can include dining with a local, taking a food-centric city tour, and actively taking part in food-sourcing and preparation.

The Wine Trip

You know that Napa was listed as one of my top destinations for a Girlfriend Getaway in 2019. But your options for wine don’t have to end there (although it wouldn’t be the worst place in the world to end up). A Bordeaux River Cruise through France, experiencing local vineyards is another option. Wine tourism is on the rise all over the world, and I bet you anything your favorite travel advisor can point you in the right direction for the best options wherever you want to go.

The options are certainly not limited to what’s listed here. There is hiking and adventure and so many more options. However you decide to spend your vacation, I hope you are taking the opportunity to do it with the ones that really know you – your girlfriends. For your own health and wellbeing. And if I can help you, you know where to find me friends.