Listen as we discuss why vacations are necessary and how you can travel smarter: vacation financial tips, including how much to spend; the health, life and work benefits of travel; pitfalls to watch for when booking your own travel; things you always wanted to know about vacation planning; and top travel trends for 2019. Guest host: Roxanne Boryczki, owner of AZ Trails Travel
Hi. This is Michael Carlin, President of Henry+Horne Wealth Management, for the Manage the Funds podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about vacations. You can’t talk about vacations without Roxanne Boryczki. Now I practiced that, and I went ahead, and I just went for it. But, Roxanne is not only my travel agent. She has 22 years of experience. Arizona Trails Travel is the company. You can go to www.aztrailstravel.com if you want to go there and you’ve got to go. You’ve got to look to see how it works, how the industry works, what she can do to help you. Twenty-two years’ experience.
She’s a specialist in South Pacific, Australia, Africa, golf travel, Italy – which, of course, was one of the trips you helped me with. Thank you. You’re welcome. 2012 elected to the International Board of Directors Ensemble. Do I have to read all these? 2011 inducted into the Lower Verde Valley River of Time Museum. Okay. She has lots of accomplishments. She knows this industry inside out and backwards. Roxanne thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you for asking me to be here. I love talking travel.
Well, you’re in luck because we’ve got like 40 minutes of it. Awesome. We have just begun. You know, Roxanne’s here because what we really need to uncover and discover is this whole taboo topic of travel. Clients will come to me and they will not have accounted for travel as a part of the budget. Over and over again.
And it’s not like it used to be is it? No. People used to factor in their vacations all the time into their budgets and they’d set money aside and have little, you know, stashes of money for vacations. And now our society has gotten people away from thinking so much about being able to take their vacation.
If you look at the U.S. vacations compared to European vacations and the amount of time that people take off in other parts of the world, it’s not part of our programmed way of thinking as much as it is in other areas. But I think it’s starting to turn back to that. People are starting to realize the value of taking their vacations now.
I think with some of the data, which I know we’ll talk about, and the research, but for me personally, I’ve taken a week, or whatever that was, and went to Italy for 10 days. That was it. That’s it. That’s the vacation for me for the year. And like a lot of people, particularly because of my phone and the connectivity, I’m really working seven days a week. I hear you. Seven days. It’s all the time. And so, I’m surprised. I just told you about the guy from GM today who came in and he’s just retired and his first official day – quote unquote – of retirement is in February.
And he had no vacation budget in his plans and we just talked about it. So, I need your help. That’s sad. We’ve got to be helping our listeners because they need to be planning for this stuff.
Yes, they do. Whether it’s a big vacation, or a small vacation. If you’re just going to go away for a long weekend just because you need a break and you have to get out of town – you know, everything from the small to the large. And vacations are personal, so what’s luxury or extravagant to one person is going to be very different to the other person. It doesn’t have to be huge trips, long trips – it can be simple little getaways.
People think vacation and they’re thinking it’s got to be a week and it’s got to be this elaborate thing. Disney and flights. How do I book? Where do I go? We’re going to help you unpack all that stuff. Yes. In terms of how much to spend and all of that. But why don’t we talk a little bit about – again, we’re going to get a lot into the financial aspect of it – but let’s talk about the importance of vacations because there’s a physical component to it, isn’t there?
There really is. You know my philosophy has always been that a vacation will open your mind, refresh your spirit, you know, renew your health, and a lot of medical practitioners today are saying the same thing. You need to take a vacation because it is good for your health. It helps your heart rate; it helps your social interactions; it improves your mental attitude and your acumen for when you go back to work, if you’re going back to work; and it’s just a good way to be able to improve your interpersonal skills even. You know, there’s data that supports that one.
Now, I’m from Framingham, Massachusetts.
Ok. I’m originally from Connecticut. I know. We know this.
So, as we know the East Coast people. There is a Framingham Heart Study, which is one of the things that makes Framingham most popular – other than the fact it was the largest town in the United States for a while. So, my own hometown has one of the most famous heart studies in the world and in the heart study, they show that, in particularly, men who vacationed were 32% less likely to die from a heart attack. Women who vacationed regularly – that figure jumps to 50% less likely to have a heart attack.
The data is shocking. It is. It supports what you’re saying. It supports the truth. Yeah. And so, I think it’s important that we start there because there’s that psychological impact to take vacations. What I want to demonstrate is that people understand that it’s something you have to do because your personal well-being and your personal health has a tremendous impact on your finances. It does. If you are unhealthy, be prepared to spend a lot more than you would if you were healthy. Absolutely. And if part of your health is travel, start your vacation planning now.
Yes, definitely. Yeah, it just makes a huge difference in people’s lives. And I’ve seen it time and again.
I was going to ask. Because I felt, you know – so, I went to Italy and again, I’ve already thanked you. Thank you again for preparing this trip that was awesome. You know, Venice and Rome and the Amalfi Coast. It was amazing. And, you know, I wasn’t sure how tired I was going to be because, you know, you’ve got to go, you’ve got the time change, you come back. But, there was an element of recharging. Can you kind of explain how does that happen? How did I get recharged when I was doing all this walking and traveling and flying?
But I felt recharged. I can’t put my head around it.
Okay. So, there are different types of vacations and there are people who I have worked with that will want to pack everything into this trip. They’re like, we want to go to Europe, we want to be there for 12 days, we want to see six countries and we’re just going to go and do it. And I go, you need to factor in some down time, you know, for logistical reasons or things that can happen. You know, trains that go on strike. You know, anything can happen at a moment’s notice. You need to be able to have time to weave around those incidents and so, you need a little bit of downtime and you need to be able to enjoy the destination that you’re going to.
So, when I plan for my clients. I always try to get a sense of who they are, how active are they, what do they enjoy doing and what’s important to them and build a trip where they can really get a sense of place. Because you can go and hop from city to city, night to night, and you get to see the buildings and you can say you were there and check it off the list, but you don’t get to experience the culture or the destination or what makes it unique and special which is the reason why you’re going there in the first place.
So, I’ve heard from clients and they’ll go to Europe and they’ll say it was just one church after another church another church. And I’m saying okay, I get that. But to me, there are some vacations that just aren’t structured right and those people are not coming back as refreshed.
Right. Exactly and that’s what, you know, we do as professional travel planners and advisors. We’re aware of that. When people are looking at planning their vacation and they’re looking at all the stuff on the internet, the internet’s not going to tell you how long it’s going to take you to get from point A to Point B. Right. You need to factor that in so that you’re not getting to a city, being there overnight, getting up and having to make a 10 hour drive the next day to get to the next point.
Because, even if you map it, sometimes it just isn’t the full story. We went to Italy, one of the things that if you hadn’t planned the trip that would have really stressed me out is there was striking going on with regard to the trains. Now granted, our train ran, but if you hadn’t been there, I would have definitely been stressed out about it.
Yeah and they can do that in Europe on a moment’s notice. I mean sometimes you get advanced notice and sometimes you get 24 hours-notice that the workers just aren’t happy and they’re going on strike. I had a client one time that wanted to plan a family vacation and it was, I think, two or three of the kids and they wanted them to see everything that mom had seen when she had been in Europe 25 years previously, you know, when she got out of college. And they wanted to do Italy and Greece and they wanted to do it in 10 days for $5,000.
That doesn’t sound like much for all those people. For four people. Okay. So, did they run from destination to destination? Well, they did.
We started out working with them. Unfortunately, this was a situation where dad had come to me and wanted to work with me to plan the trip and as I was planning the trip I was telling them what they could and couldn’t fit in and where I thought they needed to save to economize to fit their budget. And she thought she knew better. Uh oh. What happened? And she went ahead and planned the trip on her own. And we were following them on Facebook because they’re associates of my husband and so they were connected. We were following the trip on Facebook and we could see that things weren’t going right.
They never did make it to certain points and it was all because they had booked the cheap hotel that was a half hour train ride out of the city. So, they were having to take the train in.
Which was the last thing that they needed. All the time. It did not flow well. Right.
So, it’s interesting what people think versus, you know, if you just let somebody advise you that does it for a living, it makes a bit of a difference.
And we have to unpack this because I’ve got questions about like, you know, spending more on a hotel versus less, so we’ll definitely get to that. You know, so I wanted to talk a little bit about the financial aspects and weave in a whole bunch of these other topics and concepts. So, what I encourage people to do is think about the big picture when it comes to vacation planning. I want people at the end of the year to think about the year ahead. Think first, big picture. How many trips do we want to take?
Yes. One, two, three. What’s that number? Perfect. And then I do want people to get rough estimates – right – about how much each of those trips might cost. Right. Now, this isn’t necessarily always the time for fine tuning. You’ve got time for that, but I want them to just aggregate that information and then break it down to a monthly number. Right. Because at least at that point you’ve got your arms around the situation.
It makes sense. I had clients in my office yesterday – two couples, they’re planning to go to French Polynesia. One couple, money is no object. They’re going for their anniversary. They want it to be special. They’re going to do vow renewal ceremony, you know, the whole nine yards. Their friends who are going with them have a different story. They’ve got a budget to work with. And we were sitting there planning, you know, how many nights can we do? What room category can we afford to book for them?
How much money do they need to budget for meals and for spending in ancillary items? And we have that whole discussion and went through it. And they’re like okay, we’re going to take this home, we’re going to crunch some numbers and we’ll get back to you after the holidays. And I say perfect. That’s what you need to be doing. You need to be thinking about what is the trip going to cost, how long are you going to be gone for and what are some of the other factors that are going to fall into place that you need to account for with this? And do you have a rule of thumb?
Because I’m sure it’s probably two answers for – maybe, it’s two questions. So, how far in advance do you advise people to book domestic travel? How far in advance do you want people to book for international travel?
Okay. So, there’s different schools of thought on this. I just want your school of thought. And that is, if we’re talking airfare, the gurus who analyzed the algorithms will tell you that the best time to buy domestic airfare is about eight weeks prior to travel. Oh my god, people are just committing this to memory. Okay. But, the caveat to that that I will tell them is, is there a special event going on in this city? Is there a sporting event? Is it a holiday? Is it spring break? Is it fall break?
These are things that you have to book a little bit farther in advance if you’re going to travel during those times because they’re higher peak, higher demand times and the prices will be higher.
So, we want to plan further out. Specifically, you mean it’s spring break and it’s also like Florida. Exactly. Spring break North Dakota may not be. Right, a little different. Exactly. Eight weeks. Got it.
And then for international, they say that the best time to find your fares is roughly around six months prior, but when you’re planning, I will tell everyone, look at what you’re comfortable with. If you find a fare that fits your budget, let’s lock it in sooner rather than later and I’ll start looking. You know, some of my clients want to look a year out, so as soon as that air fare opens up, they want to know what that is because they want to lock it in.
And that’s when they open? It opens 365?
333 days prior to flight time. So, we have to make sure that the return trip is open as well. So, once we know that, then we can go ahead and start looking and analyzing. Yes, that’s right. The end date, not the start date. And people forget that when they go looking. So, we take all that into consideration. And you know, I have some clients booking right now for 2020 even because they’re planners and they want to budget it.
I know. I’m a planner. I just can’t get there. It’s also because I’m not a great vacationer, but I’m getting better.
And I have clients who walk in the door and say – hey, I want to go here. I’m like great, when do you want to go? How about three weeks. Oh.
Well, that’s it. So, they’re going to pay more. Definitely.
Okay. So, there is a benefit to advanced planning. The benefit right now for people that are looking at things into early 2019 is the airlines have already said they are going to take a fare increase. They have not said when. They have not said what. But they have said that they will take an airfare increase in 2019. Now, I know looking back on 2018, they took three increases during the month of January. You know, they might have been $2 here or $10 there or $5 here. But, they were taking increases and they did it three times in the month of January last year.
So, if that’s any indication of what we’re looking at, there was a study that came out by Hipmunk that said the best time to buy fares this year will be in January and September. Interesting. Of the year coming? Yes, of the year coming, so looking at January 2019 and September 2019. Those are going to be your best months for finding deals on airfare if you’re looking to book. And again, from a purely financial perspective –
that’s the kind of information I want everyone to know. Exactly. Awesome. And one of the things you and I talked about a little bit are those – and again, we mentioned it a little bit earlier in the podcast – I want to just go back to it. And I don’t see it often enough. You really should consider creating a separate account for savings just for vacations. It will do two things: one, it will help you with the budgeting. Yes. But, two, it will make sure that the money is actually there.
Yes. And it’ll alleviate the stress of, how are we going to do this? Because if something pops up – the water heater breaks, the pool needs resurfacing, there’s a medical bill that pops up – you’ve got that money tucked away. Right. That way you know it’s there and it reduces the stress. So, going back to making it healthy.
Yeah. Absolutely right. Right. Because I can imagine that, you know, if you’re on vacation and all you’re really doing is then worrying about how much every meal is going to be when you’re on vacation. And believe me and listen, I get it – I bring tons of protein bars. I’m bringing snacks. I’m snacked out. I’m a squirrel. I got like nuts in the corner of my cheeks, and I get all that. But, if you’re really worried, it could lead to arguing and fighting and this. Oh yeah. And that takes all the fun out of the vacation.
So, you want to think about these things. And we even have clients who come in and say, well, can I do like a layaway plan on this? Absolutely you can!
I didn’t even know that. Absolutely. I’m learning a lot. Thank you for that. So, one of the things that my grandfather taught me – he is really the one who taught me everything that I originally knew about investing. Okay. He was the best. He would say you never spend your principal. Never spend your principal, and you want to spend income. You want to spend growth. Now mind you, I was like six. I had no idea. He would just repeat these things. Seven, eight, nine, ten, then I’m a teenager.
I still don’t know. And it wasn’t until I started working in this business when I was 18 that I understood. I was like, ah, now I get it. It stuck. So, don’t spend your principal. So, when you’re setting money aside that’s for investing, you don’t pull money out of investments for vacation. I really want it to be something that you’re setting and saving on the side. And as a rule of thumb, I would advise clients to spend somewhere between 5% to 7% of your annual income. It depends on who you are and where you’re going and if it’s special or different. But, 5% to 7% is going to be a nice range because some people are going to just straight up listen to this and say how much.
Right. You want a how much? 5% to 7%.
Does that sound reasonable? I would go a little bit higher. Only because, I see these days, travel is in demand and so all of the companies that are out there – the hotels, the cruise lines, the tour companies – they have high demand. And you know the law of supply and demand; when you’ve got high demand, the prices go up. Right. And so, it is going up a little bit. So, I’d say, you know, increase that by a couple percent. OK. And you’d be on target for being able to do a nice trip.
Right. You know, depending upon what’s important to you. Yes. And we work with people from, you know, all budgets.
Right. Some of our clients make a bunch of money, though. Yes, they do. Even 5% of that would be monstrous.
Oh, it would be. We have clients who come in and need to plan everything on a vacation from, you know, they’ve got a budget of $2,000 or $3,000 and what can we do? And I’ve got clients who walk in the door and say money is no object. I want the best of everything and I want these very unique experiences. So, we’re used to that.
Right. And then you get people like me – very different. I’m just different. There’s moments when I’m like, yes and then no! Yeah. It’s a whole different internal struggle. You have to have it proven out.
I know. You need to see where it fits and how it makes sense to justify the expense. And we’re used to people like that.
You know, there was one of the things that you did for us in Italy – I think it just helps – is that there were times when you suggested that we spend a little bit less on a hotel here and spend a little bit more on a hotel there. And it made a huge difference. One, it made us appreciate the more expensive hotels more. Two, when we were at a worse hotel, it incentivized us to spend a little bit less time indoors. So, we’re more apt, you know, to go out and explore. But it really is an interesting process because it really is an all or nothing with that kind of structure.
Yeah. Like I say, it depends on the individual client because some people like five star hotels, six star hotels and that’s all they want and that’s all they’re going to do. Other people, they go, I can do a three star, I can do a four star, I can do a five star – it doesn’t matter. I really want to experience the city. So, what I look at when I’m planning is where are they going to be? What kind of experience do they want? How active are they going to be? If you’re in an area where you’re only sleeping in the hotel at night, do you need all the accoutrements? Do you need the spa facilities? Do you need the indoor pool? Do you need the rooftop garden?
You know, what’s important? And if we’re working on a budget, and we’re trying to hit a number – because one of the things that we also did is we created some private guided experiences for you on that trip – so, that’s worth it rather than being with a group of 20 or 30 other people on a tour. There’s no doubt. So, there’s some ways to juggle the budget to make it fit and you’re still in it in a good location where you can walk to shops and restaurants and activities without having to spend a lot of money on transportation.
And so maybe you sacrifice to be in a city hotel rather than being in a resort. It just depends on the destination. If we’re talking South America, if we’re talking Europe, if we’re talking Africa; you know, it just depends where you are going to be.
When you did that experience, I would see people in the big group tours and everyone’s wearing like headphones and they’re trying to like scuttle. Let’s get along here and listen to this. And I feel bad for him because I had a really nice experience with our, you know, one-to-one. You could ask all the questions and get them answered. It was really great. Thanks again. That was awesome. Let’s switch gears. Let’s talk about the pitfalls to watch out for when you’re booking your own travel. Yes. So, we can go through and unpack that because, listen, until you work with a travel agent, you just don’t know.
Yes. So, you know, you think these days it seems like you go to Expedia and then you’re adding a hotel. Or, you go to Priceline or whatever, you’re adding hotel or you’re adding a car. It’s making which you would hope to be good recommendations. You’re clicking and adding this and without really putting a lot of thought into how the whole thing fits together, which you mentioned a little bit about that. So, what are some of these other pitfalls?
Okay, so there’s some interesting pitfalls when you’re booking on your own because A, it’s a cumbersome process to sit down and try and figure out your whole vacation to go to a place that you’ve never been before. Right. And how does it all fit together. And there’s an interesting study from Clayton Reed CEO of MMGY that looked at this whole series of travelers and determined that the typical traveler visits 34 websites over eight and a half sessions to plan and book their trip.
Sounds like a lot. That’s a lot of time isn’t it? That’s a lot of time. Yeah. So, how much is your time worth? So, that’s one of the factors. I really want people to ask themselves that question a lot more than they do – about this and other things. How much is your time worth? That is – okay. So that’s a big one.
Now what you’re looking for too is a lot of time people get focused online and they’re looking for best deal rather than best value. And that’s something that people don’t understand. You can find the cheapest hotel but, going back to the family that I referenced earlier, how far out is it from the center of town that you’re going to be spending $45, $65 dollars on taxis to get back and forth and do what you need to do to get where you want to be. You’ve blown the budget. You could spend a little bit more money and be in a better hotel closer in. So, things you want to think about. And thinking about that family I wonder,
they may have looked at pictures. They say well, that hotel is very picturesque, and the prices look good. The pictures look good and the reviews look good. Yes. But how long ago were those pictures taken? Right and by the way, how are you getting there, right? And that to me – I’m sure something like that must have happened.
Exactly. Exactly. So, that’s one of the things that we look at and then fixing errors. I cannot tell you how many times we have people walk through the front door of our office and say I was online and I booked this hotel and I realized I had made a mistake. I’m in the wrong area or I did it for the wrong dates. And can you help me fix it? And the problem is these websites are putting out rates now – some of them are fully refundable but some of them are non-refundable, so if you’re booking the lowest rate you’re getting a nonrefundable room.
That’s the reason we are getting the rate because it’s not’s refundable, right?
And when it’s done, it’s done. There’s no changing it, there’s no going back, there’s no fixing it. You know you can throw yourself on their mercy but they’re not going to do it because the Expedias of the world and the Pricelines, they’re not the ones who make the final decisions. They have to take it back to the innkeeper and the hotel owner and front desk people to make that decision and they’re not going to change their minds once it’s booked. The other thing is when they book these discounted rooms and any good hotel GM and sales manager will tell you, what they’re doing is you’re getting whatever room is available.
If it’s a room of the alley. If it’s a room of the dumpster. Whatever it might be, that’s the room. If they’re sold out and their good rooms are gone, the good rooms are gone. Now, could you get lucky and get an upgrade? Yes. Have we heard people who’ve said they’ve booked on Expedia and walked in and gotten an upgrade?
Absolutely. It can happen. I’m not one of those people. What are the chances of it happening? Not so much, you know, on a regular basis. So, that’s the difference when you’re booking online as well. You just have to understand that you’re taking your chances there and that’s one of the pitfalls. The other thing is do you need a visa for your destination? Oh, right. When you book online, there’s nothing there that’s going to pop up that’s going to tell you, check your passport, make sure it’s valid for six months beyond your return date for this country or three months for this country, or you need a visa for this country.
People don’t even know. There’s no way. Unless you’ve been there before, you probably don’t even think about.
Exactly. And we had a guy do that. He booked his trip to India. He booked it all online and three weeks before he was supposed to leave he walked in and went, oh my god, I just realized. Somebody told me I need a visa. Can you help me get a visa? What’s the answer? And I said yes, we can help you get a visa and the next time you book this trip, you’re coming back to us to help you plan it so we can tell you this from the start. Right?
That could’ve been – I mean, I don’t know how far he would have gotten but that could have been a real disaster.
It definitely could have been. They would have turned him around. They might not even have let him leave the U.S. without verifying that he had a visa for his final destination. So, those are some things that you just need to understand and look out for.
Yeah. I mean, that’s great information. I just think, again, we say everything that glitters isn’t gold. Exactly. Not all things that are great or even on paper are that way in reality. Exactly. This is definitely another case. There’s a lot of things that came to mind financially but I’ll glaze over. Well from a financial standpoint, there’s the other thing. There was a big article out a couple of years ago about Expedia and the algorithms that are used for the online booking engines. What did they say? And it said that depending upon where you are when you’re booking and what type of device you’re booking from
the prices can be different in your search. Oh, stop it. Really?
Absolutely. So, if you’re on a desktop computer and, you know, Buckeye versus, you know, the newest iPhone sitting in Paradise Valley. Right. Your search could come up with different prices.
That is unbelievable. I mean, of course it makes sense. Of course it makes sense but, that doesn’t feel good. No, it doesn’t feel good at all. So, again, you’ve got to know more about what you’re buying before you buy it. So, there’s some things that I always wanted to know about the commission planning. Yes, and now you’re captive. Okay. Okay. Ask away. When does it pay to travel in an upgraded seat on an airline?
Okay so, the best way I look at that is it’s worth spending the money if you’ve got a flight of more than eight hours overnight. So, when you’re traveling from here to Asia or Africa or even, you know, distant parts of South America – and even for some of my clients, my older clients especially. Going to Europe, you know, if you’re on a night flight, you don’t want to be sitting in a coach seat right.
Right. It’s just not fun anymore. Some people manage to sleep in those seats. I’m not that guy.
I’m tiny so I can get away with that. Just curl up in a little ball and you’re good to go. Even lately because they’re making the seats smaller on the planes, even I’m starting to get uncomfortable. Right.
So, yeah. Seat cushions are not new most of the time and in coach either. No. Okay. Right. So, overnight and I will agree because I think you’re right. When we took the flight overnight, we did have the seats that go further back. It made a huge difference to be able to rest a little bit and then it didn’t matter as much when we had a really long flight during the day. Right. It would have been better to have it, but we survived.
Exactly. Exactly. So, you can look at the different classes of service because there’s coach and there’s premium economy, which gives you more leg room, more seat width and a little bit better service. And then there’s business class where you can get the beds and the really nice service. Right.
So, what are the best ways to buy that seat – the big seat, the upgraded seat? Because you can do it in cash or you can do points, or credit card miles, airline miles. How do we do this?
So, people do it a lot of different ways. And I work with my clients in everything that makes sense for them. So, if I have clients who have say, you know, the credit cards that give you points the Chase Card Sapphire and the Capital One and all of those, American Express Platinum – what I tell them is let’s go ahead and buy the tickets. You don’t get quite as much of a redemption but you’re going to get your points for making your purchase. And then you call the credit card company and have them redeem your points against your balance. I see.
And that’s a good way to do it. If it’s with a particular airline, then you’ve got to play the points game. Do they have it available? Can I fly on this day? Right. And when you’re doing that you need to be able to make a decision right then and there because if you hang up that phone and you tell them okay let me talk to my travel companion and I’ll get back to you. And you call about ten minutes later, sure enough somebody else is not going to be able to find that on the other end of the phone or tell you that it’s gone or whatever the case may be.
And I’ve seen it happen because we’ve been intermediaries for our clients. I will personally get them on the phone and do a conference call with the airline. Right then and there. And say here’s what I think we need to do. This is what’s available. Let’s book this if it fits with your itinerary. If you’re not using points, you want to go ahead and book that airfare when you find a price point that’s good for you. So, start looking as far out as soon as the airfare opens up because those seats are more restricted.
And it depends on the carrier. With Delta and British Air and some of those carriers, we have the what we call the global distribution system right on our desktop. So, we’ve got the airline computers right on our desktop. We can go in and we can book those fairs and we can grab them, and we can hold them for 24 hours for somebody. With companies like United, their premium economy class can only be bought up, so you’ve got to buy your ticket first and then upgrade your seat or go in on their website and buy it on their website when you’re upgrading at the time that you book it.
So, it just depends. Different rules for different airlines. Different rules. Absolutely.
Well again, that’s why you need professional help. How many times do I have to tell you? You need professional help. Okay. So personally, I just needed some fancy hotels and conferences or other reasons and, again, there was one particular night in Italy that was amazing at that monastery which was super cool. Oh, yes. I’ve also seen some inexpensive hotels as well. We talked a little bit about some of the differences, but I would ask is there any kind of guidance you can give of when it makes sense for us to stay at the fancy hotel? When does it make sense for us to be paying up
for a more expensive room versus saving money that way? Is it just a matter of what you’re going to be doing during the day or is there more to it?
It is. Part of it is travel style. What you’re accustomed to, what you’re comfortable with, and the other part of it is it a special occasion. Are you going for a birthday, an anniversary, you know, graduation, a special life event, a retirement gift? What is the situation and what do you need for amenities in that hotel room? So, if you’re going in on business, you can stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Chicago and it’s absolutely fine. If you’re going in for, you know, a fourteenth birthday party and you want to make it special,
you’re going to want to stay maybe at the Park Hyatt because you want all the accoutrements and you want the service and you want the location and you want it to be special. So, it depends on the situation and it depends on everybody’s budget. You know if you’ve got a $3,000 budget or a $30,000 budget, it’s going to determine what kind of properties you want to use.
And I’ve got to say, I am surprised at the value that I received by spending more. It really was worth it. In lots of cases it really is. It’s hard to explain it, though, because in some cases there is such a difference. But experientially it’s a whole different feeling that you get when the service is someway, when the sheets are a certain way and then the restaurants on site are a certain way. And there is. One of my favorite stories is
there’s a client that we worked with. We planned their honeymoon and he changed jobs right before the wedding and his new employer would not give him the time off for his honeymoon. So, I got a phone call, a very panicked phone call from the bride. This is your favorite story. Oh my goodness. What happened? They had to postpone the honeymoon for a couple of months until he could manage to get the time off. So, we did. We worked really hard to get everything redone, get them refunded where we could get them refunded and make everything right.
And so, they wanted a nice place to stay for their wedding night. So, I booked them in at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Nice. Over Christmas because it was a December wedding. So, they had the whole Christmas thing going on. It was wonderful. The next year she called me up and we went back and booked them for their first anniversary and they got all the special perks that I get from my clients. So, one of the things that we offer is we have a program with a number of hotels around the world that are our preferred hotel partners and we negotiate with them for extra perks for our clients. Oh wow.
So, you might get free breakfast, you might get a bottle of wine in your room, you might get a spa credit, food and beverage credit – whatever it might be. So, we did this for two years in a row and then I got a phone call from her this year and she’s like hey you know we went to the Fairmont for my birthday and I didn’t get any of the extra stuff that we normally get. What happened? What was wrong with that? And I went gee you know let me look. And I go into the computer system and I’m looking at her profile because I’m not remembering the trip but I’m going okay maybe I’ve been so busy and forgot I did this.
I went um, I didn’t book this for you, did I? And she’s like no I saw a special online, so I booked it. I said that’s the difference. Right. You didn’t have me to book it for you at our program rate and get you all the extra perks that you normally get.
She’s like I am never doing that again. Because you’d be surprised. You think it was just a little perks. Who cares. I can’t explain it, it matters. It does matter. Yeah it matters, and it adds a lot to the experience completely, so now I understand why that’s a great, perfect story. Okay. So, what do people need to be aware of if they’re going to VRBO or Air Bnb? Are there disaster stories there too?
Well. we’ve all heard the disaster stories in the news about the Air Bnbs. You know. What’s that? You know hidden cameras in the room. You know, things not being as sanitary or clean as they could be. Or showing up and it doesn’t look anything like it did in the photos online. You know, that kind of stuff. So, when we work with our clients because these are properties that don’t necessarily compensate or work with travel agents on a regular basis they don’t understand that – they’re individual owners trying to rent out their rooms or their condos or whatever they are.
We will work with our clients and we charge them a fee. We tell them we’ll charge you a fee to vet this for you. And we do. I’m sure it’s worth every penny. We will go in, we will call the owner. We will have a series of 20 questions that we’re going to ask them to make sure everything about the destination – the parking, the cleaning, the fees, how far is it from point A to point B, if you’re going to the beach – we don’t want any surprises for our people. So, that’s one of the things that we look at. And I’ve had people with great, you know, VRBO and Air Bnb stories and I’ve had people that just said never again.
Do you know how many questions I’ve ever asked on all my VRBO rentals? How many? Zero. Oh. Right and you can tell. I can tell you some horror stories. So, this is, and the answer can’t be personal preference, so I’m not going to let you get away with that the answer to this question Okay. Because I struggled with this. How active should people be on trips? Should it be more relaxational? Should it be more focused on exploration? Because, you know, I fear a trip that’s too busy, particularly with the one with Europe – if it’s too busy I’m not going to relax.
But I don’t know how to strike that balance and I know it’s going to be different for everybody, but is there any way that you can help us look at this and break this down?
Okay. So, part of it depends on your destination. Right. So, if you’re going to Europe, you want to be able to see as much as you can possibly see but you want a plan in a day or two of downtime during that week’s itinerary so that you can just be. Right. Just go walk to the town square, sit and have a cappuccino or a glass of wine, you know. Go through the local market, be part of the culture and experience the destination that you’re in. So, you need to be able to plan for that. Right you can just run around from destination to destination. You really can’t. You don’t want to do that because it’s not a lot of fun.
And there are people who enjoy that, and we’ll do that and they’re okay with it, you know. But I always try to tell people you wanna go – the trend these days in travel is experiential travel. People want to get back to there’s a reason why I went here or there. And you don’t want to miss that. And that’s what you have to factor in. You know, we just took a group of 18 people to Africa and that’s one of the things that I did because it was a very aggressive itinerary, but we wanted to cover a lot of territory.
We were gone 16 days. We went to Kenya and Tanzania. We traveled from the far South to the far North up to Samburu. But what I did is, I factored in a couple of nights at the Mount Kenya Safari Club to just have downtime that people could, midway through the experience, go to a spa, get a massage after, you know, bouncing around in the vehicles and being with the wildlife and doing all that.
And everybody said that was one of the best parts of the trip was having that down time to sort of regroup before we went to the Masai Mara and then just kind of hit it again going in and out with the safaris every day. So, every trip has to have an element of relaxation. It definitely should. Okay. And you can do a whole trip on relaxation. You can do the spa wellness trips that, you know, all you’re doing is relaxing and revitalizing and eating well and going to the beach, or whatever – going to the mountain, doing your yoga and doing your stretching and all that and that’s great if you need that.
And there are clients who do factor that in. But if you want to be active, you know, go do your ziplining, go do your hiking and then go see your ruins and take a day off to just sit and relax.
And I did something when I went to Mexico. At one point I feel like the first couple of days there was a lot of relaxing and really with a tremendous amount of sleeping. Apparently, I was super tired. And then there were the pyramids and we were able to mix that in. Okay. But rest in the beginning, or the end or the middle?
Or does it matter? I say rest, well, you want to get a day depending how far you flown. You might need a day to adjust to the jet lag and then you hit the ground running and then maybe take a break midpoint, give yourself a day downtime and then end on a high note.
Okay. And you mentioned jetlag. First of all, I sleep four or five hours a night. So, I’m thinking I will be totally fine now. No. I can’t. Again, I can’t explain it. It really wiped me out. So, how do you do this better next time? How do you plan for Jet lag?
Okay. So, the way I plan for jetlag is when you’re going on the trip and you get to your destination, you want to make sure you limit the amount of caffeine that you’re drinking a day or two before you go and on the plane. Don’t drink a lot of alcohol on the plane unless you absolutely need it, you know, to get you through the flight.
I think you can avoid it. If you’re in business class, have one glass when you get on. Right. And then you’re good. Drink a lot of water and when you get off the plane you stay up. Okay. Do not go to your hotel and check in and say oh I’m just going to take a nap for a couple hours and then go out. I totally did that. You will be down for hours. I was a mess. You’ll wake up maybe in time for dinner.
Yes. It was not great. Okay. Alright, noted.
So, do that. And then when you’re coming home, of course you know, it’s easier to deal with the jetlag when you’re home because you can take a little more time to adjust and you’re not worried so much about missing things. But same thing coming home. Just try to get back into your normal pattern as soon as you land. Same thing. Limit your caffeine for 24 to 48 hours. Drink more water. You know, oxygenate your body. At the health food store there’s little tablets that you can take oxygen and put in your water and Emergency C and that kind of thing.
I should’ve done that. So, when we got back from Italy, you know, we left the hotel in Rome at 7:00 a.m. We arrived at home at 10:00 p.m. Arizona time. Yes. So, it was, you know, 23 hours of travel, right. So, planes, trains, automobiles – the whole thing. So, Julie said I’m not going to work tomorrow which was planned for her and I said are you kidding me? So, I went right back to the gym. I went to work. By like 2:00 p.m., you could have asked me what my name was.
I wouldn’t have been quite sure.
Yeah. Not the way to do it. And you just have to realize it’s going to take you a couple of days after you get back. And so factor in your schedule when you’re returning home. Yes, you have to go back to work. But don’t make an aggressive schedule for yourself if you can avoid it.
I agree. Yeah. No, that’s definitely right. So, Roxanne, was there more that you wanted to cover?
We cover everything travel. We have notes and you should see the desk. It’s covered in papers. I’ll give you some travel trends for 2019 if you want them. Oh, yes. Do I? We need them!
So, what we’re seeing in our office and of course there’s all kinds of lists out there. You know, Amex has a list. Nat Geo has a list. Conde Nast has a list. Travel Leisure has a list. Everybody has a list.
But what we’re seeing for our office is – the AZ Trails Travel List? AZ Trails Travel List. Go to AZTrailsTravel.com. That’s right. Yes.
The big ones domestically are Alaska, Hawaii – always popular – New York City, Savannah – Georgia – yes, and Charleston.
Yeah. Love Charleston.
Love that area. And New York, of course. And then on the International level, Europe is still really big right now, Italy, the U.K., Spain and Portugal. Portugal is really hot property at the moment. And it’s going to be the 75th anniversary of D Day, so Normandy, northern France, very popular for next year. On the exotic side, we’re seeing a real resurgence in Africa and Australia/New Zealand. So African safaris and things like that? African safaris. Of course.
Yes, definitely. In New Zealand it’s all about the sheep.
New Zealand – it’s all about the sheep, the wine, the golf. Of course, the views. The beaches. Yes, stunning views. The glaciers – it’s amazing. And then reemerging destinations: Greece, Egypt and, of course, Singapore is up and rising as an emerging destination again as well. Now, I looked just for kicks at the Amex Top Ten trendy list for 2019 and they had Barcelona, Spain; Qatar; Hamburg, Germany. Is Qatar safe? It must be safe. It has to be if it’s on Amex’s trendy list, but okay. It is safe. That surprised me. I was just whoa. The United Arab Emirates actually is an emerging destination getting a lot more interest from people these days and it has been safe.
It has been safe. It has made some of the top safety lists for travel. That’s good news. Okay. Which is good news. Marrakesh; New Zealand; Nassau, Bahamas – of course with the new resorts that have opened over there, that’s really great. Savannah they’ve got on their list. Singapore is on their list. Of course, Tuscany and Washington D.C. So, that’s the travel trends. Wow.
That we’re looking at for 2019. It’s almost like the weather report. Exactly. Brought to you by AZTrailsTravel.com. Shameless plug.
As if we needed one more AZTrailsTravel.com plug. Roxanne, you were a delight. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming. It’s been a pleasure. So listen, the hope is here is that you now are confirmed in your understanding that you need a vacation. You have to take one. You know the pitfalls. You know how much you need to spend. You know where to spend it. This really is your one stop destination to understanding how to do a vacation right. I think we’re going to change lives.
Elizabeth is nodding in agreement. Excellent. Again, thanks again, Roxanne. That’s it for the Henry+Horne Wealth Management podcast. Thank you so much for listening in. We will be back with the Quarterly Market Outlook for 2019 next. Take care and have a great day.
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