Cy’s Suitcase Travel News: October 2015

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A Message from Shellie

shelliecubaI just had the opportunity to travel to Cuba on an inspection trip through one of our tour operators, Go Next. We offered a 7-day trip this year to Cuba and sold out immediately. We ended up putting passengers on any departure where we could find room. For 2016 we have already sold out one departure and are on our way to filling the second date.

Going on these types of inspection trips is invaluable for travel directors so we get to see what our passengers have to do: at the airport, customs, and the hotels; we eat the food, see the buses, meet the guides, and more  It is key to selling a product – to actually experience it ourselves.

I was excited to go to Cuba, but wasn’t sure what to expect. My colleagues who had been there told me there was something about it that leaves you wanting to go back. Now that I have been there, I get it. The people are so kind. The food is good (not spicy like I thought it would be.) The architecture is amazing. The buildings are so big and grand, though they need some love and care. The people have very little and it really makes you realize how blessed we are.

I have been to a number of places in my career as travel director and I will say Cuba moved toward the top as one of my favorites. I am not even sure I can tell you exactly why, but I do know this trip changed me. When you travel to a foreign land, you bring a part of that place back home with you and I believe you leave a part of yourself there.

I hope when you take one of our trips you will feel the same. It’s always nice to be home, but there is always sadness about leaving this magical place you just became part of. That is what travel is all about: hearts are changed, relationships are made, minds are opened, and spirits are renewed. The ISUAA Traveling Cyclones are so glad we can offer a variety of trips that will change you forever.

Safe travels,

shellie

Shellie Andersen ’88, Director of Alumni Travel
Iowa State University Alumni Association

There’s an app for that!

If you have a smart phone, there are so many useful and fun travel apps!

  • Airline app – I fly Delta a lot so I am familiar with their app. It tells you if a flight is delayed, a gate change and even where your luggage is.
  • TripIt – personal travel agent
  • Weather+Free – your own metereologist
  • Postagram – send personalized photos and messages from your phone to relatives and friends and they will receive an actual postcard for .99
  • Free Wifi finder by JiWire
  • Gate Guru- maps of terminals and reviews of restaurants within an airport
  • Google Translate – rapidly translate whole paragraphs of text or even the spoken word.

Travel Tips

water1) According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the air inside planes has anywhere from 10-20 percent humidity, which can dry out mucous membranes and make people more susceptible to germs. Staying hydrated throughout the trip can prevent nasal passages from being irritated, so load up on water and skip the carbonated beverages and alcohol. Sipping on water assists with immune function, and in some cases even helps with jet lag. For longer international trips pack electrolyte-friendly snacks, a banana, nuts, or a small bag of fortified cereal to keep drowsiness at bay.

2) Never carry your wallet in your back pocket, and never carry your purse on just your shoulder.

3) Take notes. As much as you believe the contrary, once you get home you will not remember your tour guide’s name, the name of the artist whose work you loved so much, or even the city where you stayed. Write it down.

4) If you suffer from motion sickness on a plane, ask for a drink that is half ginger ale and half club soda.

5) Stay connected, but follow these cell phone tips:

  • Call your cell phone provider to see if where you are traveling can be included in an international call plan
  • Plans can be pro-rated for when you are out of the country
  • Keep your phone on airplane mode or shut off roaming
  • If you are unsure, visit your cell provider to have them assist
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