Here are this summer’s hottest international destinations –

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With Memorial Day announcing the start of the summer travel season this weekend I thought it might be interesting to look at where Americans plan to travel during their summer vacations. Here are the top ten international travel destinations from our Virtuoso travel network for 2017. You may want to use this as you build your travel “bucket-list”.

10. Denmark –

Denmark is beloved for its marine culture and I must say the world’s friendliest people. Put Copenhagen on your list for a fun and friendly start to many summer cruises of the Baltics and Russia.

9. Netherlands-

This one surprised me as it does not pop up on our radar screen very often. However, anything in northern Europe is refreshing during the heat of the summer.

8. Canada –

Canada is a very popular choice and is one of the great value vacations this year. For every 3 US dollars you get 4 Canadian dollars. WOW! My favorite city is Vancouver and it is the departure city for many Alaska cruises. Butchart Gardens is just a ferry ride away from Vancouver and is one of the top tourist attractions in Victoria, British Columbia. My favorite tour in Canada is a train ride through the Canadian Rockies from Calgary to Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer. Obviously being our next door neighbor that we can drive to makes Canada even more affordable. Plus, I have never met a Canadian that I didn’t like.

7. Ireland –

Ireland is always one of our favorite destinations. Its legendary visual drama, whitewashed lighthouses perched high above the Atlantic, paint-box colorful villages, prehistoric stone-age ruins and fairytale castles are all accented by the music of Celtic generations. You have never lived until you taste a pint of Guinness in the homeland. It is almost like a milk shake. My favorite place to stay is Dromoland Castle in County Clare. Driving the Dingle peninsula is the best way to see the real Ireland. Executive Travel is also launching a great tour to Ireland this year. CLICK HERE for more info.

6. Germany –

Germany is one of my favorite destinations. The food, the castles, wineries and of course the best beer in the world (sorry Belgium). Cruising the Rhine river is also on the “hot list”. Frankfurt is the capital but Munich is much more fun. This is a great country to drive in as you can visit all the cool little towns like Heidelberg and Regensburg, a medieval UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Germany’s oldest towns. Our Oktoberfest tour this fall and Christmas markets tour are always amazing tours. CLICK HERE to see our Oktoberfest tour.

5. South Africa –

South Africa is often on peoples “bucket-list” of destinations, and is especially popular among adventure travelers who like it for its safaris, scenic beauty, and authentic experiences. Once you have conquered Europe then Africa is a logical next travel step. Cape Town is my favorite city to visit and you will be amazed at how much there is to see and do there.

4. Spain –

I was surprised that Spain was so high on the list as it is not usually in our top 10 list each year. However the history, culture and natural beauty is magnetic to many Americans. Barcelona is my favorite city in Spain and you should put it on your list. It is a great city to use to launch your next Mediterranean cruise.

3. France –

France has had a tough year with terrorism and politics. However, it is always one of the top destinations for Americans. I love Paris in the springtime (song) , summer, fall and winter. Paris is such an amazing destination with landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the shopping along the amazing Champs-Élysées. And if you have never been to the south of France it will knock your socks off. The French Riviera is so cool and even better are the medieval towns like my favorite, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a commune well known for its modern and contemporary art. Normandy is also hot this year and a natural for Americans.

2. United Kingdom –

The recent Brexit has caused the British Pound to drop like a rock and now is the best time in a decade to visit our friends in Great Britain. Despite the drop in the Pound things are still not “cheap” in the United Kingdom. London is of course the giant destination that Americans flock to. It is one of the easiest destinations for Americans to visit as they speak the same language and share much of our history, both good and bad.

1. Italy –

Italy’s is magical. It is always at the top of our list for Americans. Start in Rome and then you add Florence, Venice, Milan and you already have hit a home run. Then you keep adding the amazing places of Capri, the Amalfi coast, Lake Como, Pisa, Naples, and Cinque Terre and Portofino along the Italian Riviera and the list goes on and on. Italy is the one place on earth that once you visit you will always want to come back. My favorite place to stay is Castello del Nero Hotel & Spa just outside of Florence in the Tuscan countryside.

HAMILTON Anyone? –

This is your chance to join a tour that is truly unrivaled! Executive Travel has gotten a hold of a very limited amount of tickets (orchestra seats!) to Hamilton in Chicago. Join usAugust 9-12 as we explore the Windy City in all its glory and enjoy Hamilton, the Second City Show, and a scenic dinner cruise on Lake Michigan. Only 6 seats remain, so book now – reservations are open till May 31st only. CLICK HERE for full details and call our friendly Group Department today at 402-435-8888 to secure your spot! This is really a chance of a lifetime!

CHEERS – Please Attend our FREE Travel NightTonight! –

Please join our fun and FREE Travel Night tonight at 6:30pm, at the Zipline Brewing Company, 2100 Magnum Circle #1, Lincoln, NE 68522. We will present our “Germany Brewery Tour & Oktoberfest“. This tour is hosted by Mike Boden, Head Brewer of Zipline. A trip which will fulfill your dreams of tasting some of the most spectacular beers in the world including a full day at the world famous Oktoberfest in Munich! Reserve your spot tonight by CLICKING HERE or call 402-458-9845 to tell us how many will be in your party. Cheers!




Warning: Flying Spirit Airlines has major risks

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Spirit Airlines is in a labor tussle with their pilots and their customers have suffered from over 300 flight cancellations these last two weeks. Normally when an airline has a cancelled flight they simply work with other airlines to take their displaced passengers. Not so at Spirit as they do not have any airlines they partner with to take their passengers if a flight is cancelled. Simply put if Spirit Airlines has a cancelled flight you are SOL (Spirit Out of Luck) and have to wait until there is an open seat on another Spirit flight. This might be a day later, 2 days later or in some cases we have heard as many as four days later. Is it really worth saving $35 and risk being stuck without getting home? CLICK HERE for more info on their problems.

Stay away from LAX this week if you can –

Airline giant Delta is moving its massive LAX flight operations from terminals 5 and 6 to terminals 2 and 3 this week. Fourteen other airlines are also playing the topsy-turvy game of terminal and gate changes at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Traveling through LAX is tough enough even when things are going smoothly. The new terminal locations and gates will surely confuse even the most savvy travelers. My advice is to let things settle in for a month or two before transferring through LAX. Otherwise, if you have to go now be sure to allow for double the time needed to transfer to other flights. It is going to be a mess. CLICK HERE to read more.

Finally some good news for United Airlines –

Last month was a bad month for the giant airline, however even during the turmoil United actually had one of its best performance months on record. United finished April in first place among their primary competitors (American, Delta and Southwest) in four critical operating metrics: departing on-time, completion and arriving on-time as well as setting a record in April for their lowest MBR (mishandled baggage ratio). Perhaps the best news came when they set a record of 21 days with no cancelled flights for the month. Lets hope the future continues to be bright for United.

Executive Travel is auctioning off $500 in American airlines gift certificates this week –

Executive Travel today launches our exciting monthly Executive Travel Auction. Every month we auction off airline tickets, cruises, and hotel stays around the world. All auctions will start off on Tuesday morning at 10:00am and end on Friday at noon, central time. Every auction item will start the bidding at only $5 so everybody has the fun to participate. This months’ auction will be a $500 American Airlines gift certificate. All proceeds from this auction go the charity Ticket to Dream to help foster children across the nation. CLICK HERE to view, bid and win!
P.S. Please be aware you must register on the auction site before you can bid. If you have questions about the bidding process, please email reception@executivetravel.com.

Middle East carriers are offering great prices to fill seats –

Airlines like Etihad, Emirates, and even Turkish Airlines are hurtin-for-certain from the travel ban as well as the laptop ban. They are responding by offering some amazing prices to fly from the U.S. to Europe and beyond. Coach fares are low and even business class and first class airfares are at prices of almost 50% off. Call one of our friendly travel advisors at 402-435-8888 and see if we can help you find a great value.

Attend our FREE Cruise Travel Night this Thursday! –

Please attend our free and exciting Travel Night on Thursday, May 18th, at 6:30pm, at the Bernina Suite #27 at The Shoppes at Piedmont, 1265 S Cotner Blvd, Lincoln, NE 68510. Meet ​​Morrie Enders w/Lincoln Community Playhouse ​who will host our ​”Fall Foliage Cruise” departing this September. This tour includes two nights in The Big Apple with show tickets to “Hello, Dolly” w/Bette Midler. My wife ​Marie and ​I,​ will be hosting the exceptional “Blue Danube Cruise“, a true bucket-list cruise departing this October, which includes visits to our favorite cities in Europe. Reserve your spot on Thursday by calling 402-458-9845 or email us by CLICKING HERE, space is limited. We are looking forward to seeing you!

 

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582




New business travel study says average per diem is now $321/day –

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The average daily cost for meals, car rentals, and hotels for business travel in the U.S. rose to $321 per day according to the recently released 2017 Corporate Travel Index compiled by Business Travel News.. New York City, as could be expected, had the highest priced city per diems in the U.S. at a whopping $549 a day followed by San Francisco $534; Boston $510; Washington D.C. $462; and Chicago $443 . Bakersfield, CA was the lowest priced per diem of the top 100 cities at $241 a day. Other cities include #17 Dallas, $363; #44 St. Louis, $311; #50 Kansas City, $304 and #69 Omaha at $287 a day. For complete look at the 2017 Corporate Travel Index please CLICK HERE.

Every time a company sends a traveler on a business trip it costs $1413 –

Many businesses focus their attention on the cost of an airline ticket ($450 average) when they figure out what the cost is to send a business traveler on a business trip. Using the per diem cost of $321 a day and figuring the average business trip lasts 3 days mean that $963 will be spent on meals, car rental and hotels plus an average of $450 for an airline ticket for a total of $1413 every time someone gets on an airplane for a business meeting. The next time a supervisor sends someone on a business trip you need to ask yourself, “Will we get more than $1413 of value out of this trip”?

Hotel costs average of $177 a night –

The 2017 Corporate Travel Index study also showed that the average daily hotel costs in the top 100 U.S. cities was $173. New York City was at the top at $385 followed by San Francisco $379, Boston $337; Washington D.C., $320: and Chicago at $275. Three cities that our company does a lot of work in were Omaha, Nebraska came in at #64 at $153 a night: St. Louis came in at #43 at $169 a night; and Dallas came in at #29 at $190 a night. I always expect San Francisco and New York to be at the top of the list of hotel costs. This year the most amazing thing that stuck out to me is that in New York City you will pay an average of $52.55 per night in taxes and fees for your hotel room! WOW! CLICK HERE for details of hotel costs in the top 100 U.S. cities.

Think about it! It costs more for your hotel room than your airline ticket –

Once again many companies focus the majority of their attention on trying to lower the cost of the airline ticket for their business travelers when the average hotel cost is now more than your airline ticket. Take a 3 night stay times $177 a night equals a total hotel cost of $531. Compare that to the $450 cost for the airline ticket. If a company wants to get serious about managing the cost of their business trips then hotel cost should be their number one priority.

Good news as the average car rental cost stayed flat at $48 a day –

This is one of the big bright spots in the 2017 Corporate Travel Index. Car rental prices actually stayed flat this year. Taxes and fees now make up an amazing 35% of the total car rental prices. That means you pay an average of $13 in taxes and fees per day for every car rental.

Business meals now average $97 a day –

One of the hardest areas to control costs is in the area of meals on the road. The 2017 Corporate Travel Index says that business travelers spend an average of $15.54 on breakfast, $25.07 on lunch, and $56.98 on dinner in the top 100 cities. This seems a little high to me but I also realize this can go much higher if a business traveler has to entertain on the road.

Now I must do a little bragging –

Executive Travel is excited that we are one of the premier companies today that businesses engage to help them build a comprehensive travel management plan that implements systems that can dramatically reduce the cost of your travel expenses. If saving money spent on business travel is part of your job you should call me at 402-435-8888. You will be amazed at how much money we can save your company and how easy we can make the system work for you.

Final Call for Alaska! Cheers to Germany! –

Secure your spot today on some of our most captivating tours this fall! This is the absolute FINAL CALL for our amazing “The Wonder and Awe of Alaska” cruise tour, including two nights and a fascinating tour program in and around Vancouver, a seven night unforgettable glacier discovery cruise and an incomparable Denali National Park extension! All included in our tailor costumed trip! If you have always dreamed about attending the REAL Oktoberfest in Munich, appreciate great beer and European culture, then reserve your spot immediately on the most incredible “Germany Brewery Tour & Oktoberfest” trip ever! Call our friendly Group department today at 402-435-8888 for all the details or CLICK HERE to receive a tour brochure. Do not hesitate – tour registrations are closing shortly.

 

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582



Here are seven positive things that will come out of the United Airlines fiasco a few weeks ago –

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1. Expect a giant airfare sale very soon –

Many comments I read on social media said they would never fly United again. However, just watch what those same people do when United offers some powerfully low airfare sales in the coming weeks. Nothing causes airline amnesia faster than a great airfare sale.

2. Offers to be bumped will go online –

Expect all the compensation negotiations to volunteer to be bumped to be offered well in advance of your flight via your smart phone. You will basically receive offers for compensation and other flights on your smart phone versus being announced at the gate.

3. Lost bags are now worth $1500 (United) –

No more filling out claim forms to validate how old your luggage and clothes are and what is their depreciated value. This is a major positive change for travelers and one that I think is worth more than the phony $10,000 bumped limits.

4. Airlines will increase the amount offered for voluntary bumping –

(see comments below)

5. Airline employees will get raises-

Everyone is tired of hearing airline staff grumbling on board the flights about their pay. Airline’s will make unilateral pay increases to get the focus off employees and instead on to customer service.

6. There will now be empty seats on airplanes –

The reason airlines overbook flights is that they have data that shows exactly how many people on average don’t show up for a flight. Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue are two airlines that say they will now not overbook a flight. That means there will be empty seats on almost every flight.

7. An attitude of “No” will be replaced by “let’s see if we can find a way” by the airlines –

I know many of you will be thinking I have been drinking if I think that the airlines will change their ways. However, the shock waves from the event two weeks ago is forcing airline Managment to revisit all their customer policies. My hope is this will be a game changer.

Don’t hold your breath to get $10,000 for being bumped –

United Airlines last week announced they were matching Delta Air Lines top offer of $10,000 for people who voluntarily offer to give up their seats when a flight is oversold. This sounds great on the surface however there are two chances you will ever receive this amount; slim or none. Basically, the process for offering compensation is on a first come first served basis. The airlines start the offers at around $400, then $800 then move slowly up the scale until they get a person to grab it before someone else does. For example, a couple being offered $1000 each ($2000 total) to take the next flight home will be calculating in their heads that that will be enough to pay for the next family vacation to Florida with the kids and quickly throw their hands up to volunteer in return for taking the next flight three hours later. Basically the odds of receiving $10,000 are less than those of being struck by lightning. Once again the airlines are sending out information that is confusing the customers and giving people high expectations that will never be reached (Resulting in even less trust).

Attend our FREE Travel Night this Thursday!

Please attend our free and tempting Travel Night on Thursday, May 4th, at 6:30pm, at the Bernina Suite #27 at The Shoppes at Piedmont, 1265 S Cotner Blvd, Lincoln, NE 68510. Join Rod Fowler w/KLKN-TV, our Executive Host, and us for a wonderful evening to learn everything about our favorite “Ireland – The Emerald Isle”-tour departing this September. This trip is all about castles and kingdoms, thrones and stones, lush green hills and smiling faces accented by the music of Celtic generations. Reserve your spot on Thursday by calling 402-458-9845 or email us by CLICKING HERE, space is limited. We are looking forward to seeing you!

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582



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