Warning! – Change the passwords on all your travel and important apps

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As you have probably heard by now Marriott Hotels recently announced they had a massive breach of security that affected 500 million accounts. The bottom line is the bad guys probably have all your passwords, credit cards and personal information stored in your Marriott website profile.  If you are like me and sometimes use the same password on multiple sites the bad guys understand this and can easily try your password on multiple travel and other sites.  Because your frequent flyer miles are the new world currency you better change your passwords and protect those assets. CLICK HERE to read a good article on this issue.

Airlines provide early Christmas present to travelers with free in-flight texting – 

This past week I was surprised to find that a text message I sent using my iPhone during flight actually went through and I received a ding from a response text. Many months ago Alaska Airlines announced they would offer free in-flight texting. This was followed by Delta, American, Southwest and now United.  Wow, it was like Christmas came early.

Our readers say they don’t want to stay in hotel rooms with Alexa –

Several weeks ago I mentioned that my crystal ball showed the hotel room of the future would see Alexa (voice recognition combined with artificial intelligence) placed an in every room and replace the TV remote, telephone, clock, lights, thermostat, etc. You would then be able to simply say, “Alexa turn on the T.V.” and ‘presto’ your voice controls everything in the room. Turns out the comments I received were overwhelming that many people don’t like the idea of Alexa listening in on them in their hotel room with some even telling me they would refuse to stay in a room with Alexa. Please tell me what you think. CLICK HERE and share your yes or no to the idea of having Alexa in your hotel room.

My biggest nightmare during my travels is losing my iPhone –

For years I have told friends that I would rather lose my wallet than my mobile phone when traveling. I always thought that with Uber for ground transit, Apple Pay for food, and using my hotel and airline apps for lodging and flights I could survive. Well, a recent survey of travelers came up with the top 11 nightmares travelers have and guess what?  None of the top 11 included losing your mobile phone.  That is impossible. The #1 nightmare listed was canceled reservations; followed by #2 lost wallet; and #3 a car accident.  To read the full list of nightmares CLICK HERE.

This is one of the best weeks of the year to travel –

I have been on four flights this week and 3 of the 4 flights were half full. The first two weeks of December are historically some of the lowest traveled weeks of the year as they are sandwiched between the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Amazingly I could find frequent flyer seats easily to use my miles and hotel prices are low and rooms plentiful.  Keep these two weeks in mind next year if you want to enjoy fewer crowds and good prices.

Smaller groups for bigger experiences and the greatest memories!

Our custom tailored escorted tours take off with a maximum of 20-25 travelers. That way, we secure the biggest experiences and greatest memories for our travelers. The expert tour guide will have time to focus on you and give you much deeper insight into local life and the sites visited. Moments are captured much better with a small group than with a 5O-person party. Take a look at our escorted tours page and pick your favorite destination. Choose from a stunning trip to London and the English countryside, the Passion Play in Oberammergau, a Paris and Normandy river cruise, a cycling tour through Portugal and Spain, Washington D.C., the Historic South, the Grand Canyons and much, much more. CLICK HERE to see all the tours and to order your tour brochure online, call Beth at 402-858-0033 or email us at GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com.

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




Hello from New Delhi, India –

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I’m writing you today from New Delhi, India as I take a short 6-day business trip to visit factories in this part of the world. The business world is rapidly expanding the use of India as a replacement for China for their supply chains. India today has two major advantages to China that it did not have 5 years ago. First India does not have the 10% to 25% tariffs being discussed in China, and secondly, the cost of labor in India is approximately 50% less than China (about $160 a month). American businesses are scrambling to find alternative manufacturing sources and it appears India is at the top of the list.

Here are some of my observations (the good, bad, and ugly) about India this trip:

#1 – American hotels are everywhere –
India has all the American hotel brands including Westin, Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, etc. This trip I am staying at the Courtyard by Marriott and it feels like I could be in Kansas City.

#2 – English is spoken everywhere –
At least at most locations serving tourists. It is easy to travel here as signs, menus, etc. are mostly in English.

#3 – Watch out for those ice cubes and lettuce salads in India –
The water in many cities in India can be problems for American travelers. You must drink bottled water if you want to avoid an India-belly or worse.  Some travelers have health problems when they forget that ice cubes are often just tap water and lettuce is cleaned with tap water. It is also so easy to forget using bottled water to brush your teeth. I have often found myself by habit rinsing my toothbrush in tap water by mistake.

#4 – The national bird of India is the mosquito! –
I thought Florida was the mosquito capital of the world but they don’t hold a candle to the giant swarms of mosquitos found in India. I was afraid to get out of the car sometimes as the big birds were swarming and crashing into the car windows. Be sure to bring malaria tablets and deet lotion if you come to India.

#5 – American culture is all around you in India –
McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Subway, Pizza Hut, Pepsi, Coke, Starbucks, and Dominos are all over India. I even saw a Krispy Kreme donut store (I was a good boy) in the Delhi airport. I must admit I usually love to try the local food but I was not brave enough to wander away from my hotel food and America fast food this trip.

#6 – Prices are amazingly low in India – 
One USD is worth about 70 India rupees. This means you can find outstanding values when visiting India. We had a blast visiting the local outdoor market before heading to the airport. New shirts, watches, and pants for $2 each. A Pepsi was 85 cents at the airport. A subway sandwich was $3.  Generally speaking, things are about half price here, except that if you stay in American hotels you can expect similar pricing as the U.S.

#7 – India has millions in extreme poverty –
India suffers from massive poverty. There is a lot of petty theft because of the need just to survive here.  Walled fences, barbed wire, and security guards are everywhere. Despite this, I felt perfectly safe walking down the street as serious crime is much less than the U.S. Compared to the poverty in China it appears that India is 20 years behind them in building an upward middle class.

#8 – Indian people have the most beautiful smiles –
Despite the poverty, everyone seems to smile in India with a true feeling of happiness. The children playing in the streets were all laughing and smiling with no sense of despair. Perhaps the saying “money does not buy you happiness” is best illustrated in India.

#9 – Don’t even think of renting a car in India –
Driving in India is easily the worst driving in the world. They are trying to build new roads but only complete about a mile at a time and then it turns into dirt roads. Motorcycles and bicycles still outnumber cars here. Even driving on a divided highway you will find cars, motorcycles, and scooters darting at you on the right and left side. It is truly crazy. The safest way to get around is to work with your hotel to provide a van and driver. The cost is amazingly low ($37 includes van and driver for 4 hours).

#10 – Uber is everywhere –
Even in India.

#11 – Be sure to bring toilet paper when touring –
most public restrooms don’t have any.

#12 – India is 20 years behind China and 40 years behind the U.S in automation –
Low-cost labor is so bountiful and cheap that India has not been forced to automate their manufacturing processes.

#13 – India is fighting terrorism even more than the U.S. –
Entering our hotel by car and we have to open the hood for a bomb inspection. They have a bomb smelling dog walk around the car as well.

#14 – Flying within India is cheap and most of the planes are new –
India has many new low-cost airlines with brand new planes offering great prices to fly within India.

#15 – There are no rainbows in India  –
The smog snuffs them out. In Delhi, there is a permanent smog smothering the city. The smell is obvious and the visibility is only a few miles. Trash is piled high everywhere. If you are environmentally sensitive it might make you cry. They simply do not have the infrastructure or money to address the impact over 1 billion people have on the environment.

“There is no place like home” –

Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz,” said it best. The most obvious thing an American realizes when you travel to other counties is what a great country we have to live in. Despite all our warts and wrinkles, the USA is still the best country on this planet to live. (in my humble opinion).  I feel so lucky that I was born here and was given the opportunity to succeed or fail in this great land. There indeed is no place like home. I look forward to my flight home.

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




Warning – flying on budget airlines during the holidays could leave you stranded –

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Many people do not realize how much risk they are taking when they book a ticket on a budget airline to fly during the holiday season. The problem with budget airlines is that when they break down or have weather problems no other airlines will back them up and provide their customers with alternate flights. So if you fly on Allegiant, Spirit, Southwest, and other low fare carriers and they have a mechanical problem or flight delay that keeps them from flying because the pilots have run out of flying hours you are stuck and have to wait until the airline has empty space to rebook you. During the holiday travel season, the airlines run 100% full on most flights. This means you might have to wait 4 or 5 days to find an empty seat. Compare this to flying on a major airline such as United. If they cancel a flight they will try to get you on another one of their flights however, they have reciprocating agreements with Delta and American to get you home if the other airlines have seats. You might be O.K. to be stuck for an extra 5 days in sunny Phoenix in the winter but what about if you are stuck in Fargo, ND?

 

3 of every 10 hotel rooms goes empty every night  –

 The hotel industry is enjoying a very strong year again this year as hotel rates have been rising and occupancy rates are on the rise in most cities. Hotels continue to struggle with feast or famine as one day they are full and turning away guests and the next they are almost empty. Most people don’t realize that the average occupancy rate for the U.S. is approximately 70%, which means 3 of every 10 hotel rooms goes empty every night. This is why there is such a swing in hotel rates and why there are so many websites that offer so many different hotel rates. The good news for consumers is that in the past 3 years with low-interest rates, hotel developers have built hundreds of new mid-scale hotels around the country which add to the number of rooms and puts more price pressure on the hotels to fill rooms. The more flexibility you have the greater options you have to find great hotel prices.

 

American Airlines has a really cool map that shows you where you can travel with your frequent flyer miles –

American Airlines has put together a really easy way for you to figure out how to use your frequent flyer miles. The map lets you put in how many miles you want to use and the dates you want to travel. It will show you all the cities you can travel to and then you just select the city and the flights. It also allows you to check to see business class seats are available in the advanced search option. Three cheers to AA for making it easier to use your frequent flyer miles.CLICK HERE to see the map.

 

I actually purchased airline miles last week –

Generally speaking, the offers that airlines make this time of year to purchase miles are not a good deal. The only exception I have seen to my rule is the one American Airlines made on Black Friday. They offered to sell 270,000 miles (enough to redeem for two business class tickets to Europe) for $4425. This is a good deal as a business class ticket to Europe can range from $3200 to $8500 round-trip. It takes about 115,000 miles to redeem for a free round-trip business class ticket on AA in low season. This was a very good deal.

 

Denver, Orlando, and Phoenix rated best U.S. airports, New York Airports the worst –

According to the Wall Street Journal, the newspaper rankings “scored the 20 largest U.S. air depots in 15 categories, from on-time reliability to longest walk. The rankings are designed to reflect what matters most to travelers, including categories like security-line wait times, Wi-Fi speed, average Yelp scores for restaurants, average fares, Uber cost to the local convention center, rental-car taxes and fees, number of nonstop destinations and market dominance of the largest airline.” CLICK HERE to read more.

 

We have secured 20 spots at the Unique Passion Play in 2020! –

I am excited to invite you to join us on a most unique journey, September 23 – October 3, 2020. Executive Travel offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to follow the Passion Play 2020, held only every ten years, in the small village of Oberammergau, Germany. We start in the Bavarian capital of Munich, home to century-old buildings, numerous museums and an unforgettable Oktoberfest, which we also have secured tickets to. Salzburg is on our map and we will be enjoying the “Sound of Music” tour and region before we continue to elegant Vienna, known to music lovers as the birthplace of the waltz. Our journey ends in Budapest where we will explore the vibrant streets and historical sites. This trip is led and guided by our favorite tour guide, Hildrun Mathies. Do not hesitate to sign up. This tour is limited to 20 travelers and will fill fast! To learn more, CLICK HERE, call or email our friendly group department at 402-435-8888/GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com.

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




Warning: You better arrive 2 hours early if you fly this week

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This will be the busiest week of the year for airline travel as everyone heads for grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. This is also a time you will see a lot of families, first-time travelers, a lot of kids and babies and seniors in the airports. This means that parking lots will be full and lines will be long. My best advice if you are flying the friendly skies this week is to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight. Taking this one piece of advice will save you a lot of anxiety when you stare at the security line that is one block long and worry about making your flight.

Let’s change the way we treat airline staff this holiday season –

The airline counter agents and staff have to deal with an almost impossible task of telling people during this busy holiday travel season they have to wait in long lines, pay more fees, their flight has been canceled, their plane is delayed and they will miss their connection, and on and on. Even in slow times, the airline staff has one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. Please consider that these people are trying to do the best they can in an often very unpleasant circumstance that they have little to no control over.  In the spirit of the holiday season, I think it is time for travelers to change our attitudes and encourage airline agents with a “thank you” and a smile. Please join me and let’s make this Thanksgiving a real “Thanks-giving”.

How about skipping the shopping mall on Black Friday? –

The best gift you can give this Christmas season is not found at the shopping mall. People today are looking for a “Return on Life” (ROL), celebrating the idea that a rich life is not measured by personal possessions, but by time well-spent with loved ones on journeys to new destinations and the memories created by these experiences. In recent years I have seen a shift in consumer motivation and expectations regarding travel. We are now facing a time of political and economic uncertainty and people are taking time to reflect on what’s important to them: personal fulfillment and enrichment, quality time with family and friends, and the opportunity to detach from their everyday worries and de-stress.  ‘Return on Life” encapsulates these desires, and travel is one of the best conduits to achieving a higher ROL. So, on Black Friday if you are looking for the “perfect’ gift you may want to pick up the phone and call us at 402-435-8888. Let us help you increase your “Return on Life” with family and friends.

Our service never takes a holiday –

We are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Our team at Executive Travel provides 24-hour-a-day support for our customers around the world. When a snow storm hits we are here for you. When a holiday comes we are here for you. Whether you are traveling to Birmingham, Alabama or Birmingham, England you can call our office anytime day or night and a friendly professional agent will try their best to make your travels easier.

Join us on the most scenic river cruise to Paris and northern France –

Blend a passion for the good life with culture, art, architecture and timeless landscapes, and you have Northern France! Join our river cruise, April 22 – May 2, along with the Seine onboard AmaWaterways’ elegant Amalyra. Our journey begins with 3 days in Paris followed by a cruise through the heart of the Normandy region. We will reflect on the “longest day” at the D-Day beaches and ahead of us awaits Monet’s Garden, Rouen’s Cathedral of Notre Dame, the charming harbor town of Honfleur, the route of the Historic Norman Abbeys, the Palace of Versailles and much, much more. All excursions and meals are included during the 8-day cruise. To learn more, CLICK HERE, and call or email our friendly group department at 402-435-8888/GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com.

P.S. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year are just around the corner –  

I want to be one of the first to thank you for your business and friendship this past year. Executive Travel has enjoyed a year of outstanding success. We have just celebrated our 32nd year in business and it has been our best year ever. This, of course, could not be accomplished without the support and consideration of our great customers, employees, and friends.

We are truly THANKFUL!

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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