2.15.2018

Vietnam | timeless charm


Vietnam has been on my bucket list for quite awhile, and I'm now in my final week of anticipation before the trip. Eight days barely seem enough, but I'll be traveling Vietnam from north to south. Here's an outline of our trip.

Hanoi — we have planned extensive sightseeing including historical and religious sites, market visits, and lots of chances to sample locally prepared Vietnamese foods. A&K always includes special experiences in their tours, and we'll have the rare opportunity to hear stories the Hoi Lo Prison from a gentleman very familiar with its secrets. We're spending the two nights at the Sofitel Metropole.

Hoi An — after flying to Danang and checking into The Nam Hai, a Four Seasons Resort, we'll enjoy a walking tour of the ancient town of Hoi An. The InterContinental Danang will host us for a site inspection that evening. The next morning features a visit to the village of Tra Que where we'll learn to make spring rolls using vegetables and herbs we picked ourselves. That afternoon? Beach time!

Nha Trang — after another flight, we'll enjoy two days of leisure at Amanoi, experiencing the unique serenity and intuitive service that is so distinctive of Amanresorts.

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) — a bustling city like Hanoi, our itinerary shows visits to many historical and religious sites, with a special visit to the home of two musicians who will perform a concert just for us, playing traditional musical instruments.

Anticipation is so much a part of the adventure of travel. Excitement always builds as the day of our bon voyage approaches.

copyright (c) 2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

2.09.2018

picture yourself in paradise




Cocoa Island is an idyllic spot in the middle of the Indian Ocean, home to one of the many heavenly resorts in the Maldives. One of my clients sent me this video, taken during their stay on Cocoa Island. 

Words cannot possibly add to the experience they enjoyed. Sun-filled blue skies, crystal clear water, soft white sand, warm weather even in the middle of winter. Like the title of this blog says, picture yourself in paradise!

Is a trip to the Maldives in your future? Just get in touch, and we can make the winter vacation of your dreams come true.

copyright (c) 2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

2.08.2018

do you need a visa?



Here's the ironic truth. Travel advisors do a fabulous job planning their clients' travels, but we often take shortcuts when working on our own trips! So you can imagine my combination of worry and chagrin when, late Tuesday night, I received an email from A&K Myanmar confirming that I had obtained a visa for my upcoming trip to Myanmar.

Visa? Myanmar? Why, no, this was the first time I had even thought about it. I evidently had overlooked the attachment previously sent me by A&K. With just 15 days before my departure, the whole question of Myanmar visas seemed more significant than whatever I was watching on Netflix at the moment. I booted the computer, did a google search, surfed to the online e-visa portal for The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and quickly took care of the necessary bureaucratic procedures. It was easy enough; you had to enter basic information from your passport, upload a passport-type photo, and pay your $50 per person.

Do you need a visa? A US Passport is all you need to enter many but not all countries. Here's a handy webpage where you can do the necessary research. It certainly pays to do the research well in advance of your trip.

I like happy endings...  Even though Myanmar promised a response to my application within 3-5 business days, I woke up the next morning with two approval letters already in my inbox. But this is just one way in which using a travel advisor is to your advantage. In this case, A&K Myanmar was my travel advisor, taking care of my travels and allowing me to benefit from their world of experience.

copyright (c) 2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

2.06.2018

our first river cruise — cruising the Irrawaddy



River cruising is the hottest new trend in foreign travel, and it's easy to understand why.

You pack and unpack just once.

Your ship docks right in the center of things, not in an ocean port many miles away.

Meals and touring opportunities are all included.

Claire and I will soon experience three nights aboard the Sanctuary Ananda during our week in Myanmar, cruising the Irrawaddy from Bagan to Mandalay. We'll have a chance to visit pagodas, markets, a monastic center, and the intriguing U Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak bridge.

Not all river cruises are created equal. If you contact us, we'll be happy to share some comparisons among the major river cruise lines. To whet your curiosity, here are some interesting data points for European river cruises on the Rhine and Danube rivers. While these ships are the same size, most have 150 guests (or more) on board. More guests means less space, crowded restaurants, and smaller cabins. Most river cruise cabins are smaller than 225 sq. ft.

Luxury travel means having space to call your own and the experience of exclusivity. To find out the identities of all six cruise lines in this chart, just get in touch!



copyright (c) 2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

1.31.2018

kids fly nearly free ... to Tahiti



Now's the time to plan your family's next vacation... Where? in Bora Bora! Air Tahiti Nui's Kids Fly Nearly Free promotion offers exceptional values for families. Up to two children up to the age of 15 pay only the taxes when flying with their parents. Round-trip fares from LAX start from $1,649 per adult and $101 per child from Los Angeles to Papeete, and the kids fare from LAX to BOB is only $131 round-trip.

Why Bora Bora? It's one of the most idyllic destinations on earth with the most beautiful lagoon anywhere. Imagine a week in your own private overwater bungalow with nothing but gorgeous shades of aqua-blue-green out your window. Slip off your own private deck into the warm, clear waters...

Picture Yourself Here! (c) 2018 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

We can make this so easy peasy for you... Our trusted partners will put together a complete package that includes "kids fly nearly free" on Air Tahiti Nui and our exclusive amenities at resorts throughout Tahiti. Is there any reason not to book that trip to Bora Bora today?

copyright (c) 2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

1.25.2018

come back to ... America!

a graphic representation in the drop of foreign travel to the US since 2015

In 2015, the US global travel share was 13.6%. By 2017, according to the US Travel Association, the US global travel share had dropped to 11.9%. It's hard to do math in a blog, but the stick figures above put the drop in graphical terms: of every eight foreign visitors who chose the US in 2015, only seven chose the US in 2017.

The world's top twelve world destinations are listed in the chart below. Long-haul world travel has increased by 7.9% over the past two years, but two of the top twelve destinations experienced significant declines over the same period. Turkey has the worst decline — a 6.7% — and the United States is second worst with a 6% decline. Here's the list:

Australia +22%
Canada +21.2%
Saudi Arabia +20.3%
United Kingdom +17.5%
United Arab Emirates +16.5%
Thailand +13.9%
China +9.3%
Germany +8%
France +4%
Italy + 2.2%
United States -6%
Turkey -6.7%

Turkey's decline I understand. While the country is an incredible destination, it has recently suffered through a lot of domestic unrest and violence. But why the US? Has a stronger dollar, making foreign currencies worth less, discouraged foreign travel? Have more stringent visa regulations caused some travelers to visit elsewhere? Are visitors staying away in reaction to the policies of the current occupant of the White House? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Come back to ... America! The US has so much to offer from the redwood forests of California to the majestic rocky mountains, from the midwest's amber waves of grain to the white sand beaches of Florida, from great cities from San Francisco to New York. Take advantage of some of the current premium cabin deals from various European destinations to the US ... and plan a trip to the United States for your 2018 summer holidays.

copyright (c) 2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

1.22.2018

Plaza Athenee Paris | suite indulgence

art deco entrance to the Plaza Athenee Paris (c) 2018 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

Looking for a WOW way to celebrate Valentines Day? You can make this February the most memorable month of your life. The Plaza Athenee Paris is offering a Suite Indulgence promotion, currently available for bookings as late as February 24, 2018. When you reserve a Superior Suite for 2+ nights, you'll receive a double upgrade-at-booking to a Prestige Suite (see the picture immediately below).

Prestige Suite at the Plaza Athenee Paris

With views over Avenue Montaigne, your Prestige Suite will provide you with a large living room, two marble bathrooms, and a master bedroom. With 80 square meters of living space, you'll have more than enough room to entertain in style ... or to relax in perfect comfort.

By booking through a Diamond Club agency such as Ourisman Travel, you'll get even more if you reserve this Suite offer.
Full American Breakfast daily for two guests — order off the menu, anything except alcohol or caviar — and it's all included, including tax and gratuities. You can eat in any of the hotel's dining venues, including in-room dining. 
Guaranteed double upgrade from Superior Suite (2100€) into a Prestige Suite (normally 4300€) — so, more than a 50% discount. 
Daily 100€ hotel credit that can even come off your room bill. 
Complimentary Premium WiFi for unlimited devices.

If you're planning to pop the question ... or just want to enjoy a most romantic weekend, in a most iconic hotel, in the most beautiful city in the world ... the first step is simply to get in touch!

copyright (c) 2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.