TRAVEL THERE: FIVE DAYS IN PARADISE
Whew, we’re finally through with Egypt. I was there for only a few weeks, but I blogged about it for months on end. We recently also finished up a series on Mondays about our disastrous cruise on Royal Caribbean, so on Mondays I’m back to sharing tips on visiting Dallas, whether you live here or are planning to visit here. On Wednesdays we are about to travel to the Dominican Republic.
Next year is our 25th wedding anniversary and while I’m not quite ready to share our plans for that just yet, let me tell you what happened when I visited a travel show last January. I thought all we’d be doing for this year’s vacation time was taking a cheapie cruise for Bill’s birthday and taking a road trip to Michigan to visit family, but I was looking ahead.
My travel sights were firmly set on, on next year’s plans. My husband had nixxed my idea of having a vow renewal in our backyard and supplanted the backyard ceremony with a much bigger idea. If folks have destination weddings, why couldn’t we have a destination vow renewal on board a cruise ship in the Mediterranean?
So when my friends at CTC announced their annual travel show, I circled the date on my calendar and called up my bestie, who is my travel show buddy. I also suggested that hubby might want to join us for some of the seminars so he could be on the same page with me. Everything was set for a travel-intensive day of cruise shopping!
Great Travel Show
I love travel shows, but my favorite is CTC’s, because Sandra Rubio, my travel agent, is always there. She knows me. She gets me. She knows our budget. She knows my husband and my bestie. She knows my wish list and preferences. Dreaming about travel is fun whether the dream is a road trip to Oklahoma or a safari in Kenya, but making my travel dreams come true means talking to Sandra.
Like most travel shows, CTC has table after table of travel vendors all touting their wares. Some travel shows also have celebrity guests to address a wide variety of travel topics, but primarily try to convince you to watch their shows, visit their website, read their blog, follow their social sites and/or buy their books and travel accessories. That’s not what CTC does.
Instead, CTC has travel professionals come in and participate in very information-rich panel discussions. I love me some Samantha Brown, but she doesn’t get down in the dirt with me and discuss trends in cruise cabins or how an ocean-going cruise differs from a river cruise and how they both stack up to a resort vacation.
A Few Weeks Later
If you are a regular on my site, you may even remember the post I wrote about this year’s show. We’d already booked Bill’s birthday cruise, so when Sandra left me a message a few weeks later, letting me know she had some good news, I was hoping for a cabin upgrade. Little did I know the news was way better than that!
As we’d entered the travel show, we’d dutifully signed up for the drawing. In past years, I’ve won golf caps, totebags and other travel chotskies. Throughout the day they write the winning ticket numbers on a white board, so as I go back and forth between the seminars and the vendors tables I always take a peek at the board. This year I hadn’t been very lucky. No chotskies for me.
As we left the show, one of the travel agency employees encouraged us to check the board and we assured her we’d been doing that all day to no avail. She handed me a nice Royal Caribbean backpack and I was happy as a clam. Heck, I was already thrilled with the huge stack of cruise brochures I had scored at the vendor tables. The backpack was mere lagniappe.
Sandra left her message one busy afternoon and while I was intrigued, I wasn’t intrigued enough to drop what I was doing and call. She called me again early the next day. I could tell she was excited about something, but I didn’t suspect a thing. In fact, I had taken her call, but I had about three other things on my desk that really had my attention.
Then she told me I had won a vacation! And not just any vacation but a five day stay at our choice of Club Meds in the North American hemisphere. I hope Sandra understands how sorry I am for breaking her eardrum when she gave me the news. After verifying several times that I wasn’t dreaming, I jumped out of my desk chair and ran down the stairs, squealing the news to Bill. There went the other eardrum.
Thanks CTC and Sandra Rubio. I loved you guys anyway, but this trip sure made me happy! come back next week and I’ll tell you all about it!