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Archive for April, 2012

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Friday’s Friendly Funny: Lost in translation

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

The Friendly Planet Travel Winner’s Circle: A Taste of China

GREAT WALL WINNER: Shari Ashley liked Friendly Planet,
and now she’s going on a free trip to China

If you’re anything like me, you couldn’t help but smile at Shari Ashley’s excitement when I told her she was the third winner of our Win the World Facebook Sweepstakes. What a rush!

Once everything cooled down, I asked Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin to talk to Shari a little bit more about herself, what she’s most looking forward to seeing on our Taste of China tour, and other places in the world she hopes to travel to.

What we learned from the conversation is that Shari is quite the traveler — she’s been to Costa Rica, Italy, Egypt, and more! I’m so glad that someone who finds so much passion in travel will have the opportunity to visit another wonderful destination with us.

In the podcast, Shari describes her lifelong goal to visit every continent. Her next trip will probably be to South America, though she can’t decide between Machu Picchu or Iguazu Falls as her destination. If she chooses our new Sensational South America tour, she won’t have to. It includes both destinations in one great program, and new dates and prices will be posted shortly. So, take a look Shari.

Stay tuned, because we’re kicking off the second phase of the Win the World Facebook Sweepstakes on May 1. That means that EVERYONE will have the chance to enter again for three free trips — Best of Turkey, A Taste of Ireland, and Taj Mahal Express. So starting May 1, visit the Friendly Planet Travel Facebook page, enter your information (even if you already have before!), and your name will be in the pot to win! Hopefully I’ll be calling you on June 1 to let you know that you’re going on a free trip to Turkey!

Friday’s Friendly Funny: The shower limbo

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

Cuba is the cover story at the Friendly Planet Travel Book Club!

As the cliché goes, tomorrow is only a day away. For us, that means the next meeting of the Friendly Planet Travel Book club is almost upon us. “Last Dance in Havana,” a novel by Eugene Robinson, was chosen for our second book club meeting scheduled for tomorrow night, April 17. We’ll be meeting at 7 p.m. at the Jenkintown Library in Jenkintown, Pa. to chat about all things Cuba.

We’re excited for another book club meeting that is sure to have lively discussion about the fantastic setting and culture that offers itself to the story. We’ll talk about how Cuba has changed since Robinson wrote the book, as well as what to expect if you travel to Cuba.

Expect to meet new, like-minded people; have more than a few laughs; and enjoy the company of fellow travelers and readers. Also, a few attendees have just returned from our People-To-People Cuba programs and are eager to share their experiences!

If you plan on attending, please RVSP to the event on Facebook, or email Liz Hutchins, our book club coordinator, at EHutchins@FriendlyPlanet.com. It’s bound to be a fun-filled evening, and we’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Friday’s Friendly Funny: The language of traveling

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

The best place to visit with your tax refund? Cuba!

With the deadline for tax filing just around the corner, a majority of Americans have already submitted their paperwork and are awaiting their refund check. If you are one of these people, then you’re probably already thinking about how to spend this year’s refund. What would I recommend you do with it? Travel, of course!

The choices of destinations are endless, so it might seem difficult to narrow them down. Luckily, ABC News compiled the “5 Places to Spend Your 2012 Tax Refund” which offers some guidance.

One of the five choices listed is our Colors of Cuba tour. I couldn’t agree more that now is the time to explore Cuba‘s beauty and vibrancy, as it’s the first time travelers have been able to visit in over 50 years.

It’s definitely worth the trip!

COLORS OF CUBA: Now’s the time to make your visit!  
Thanks for including us in your story, ABC News!

If I could give one piece of advice to a first-time international traveler, it would be …

I’m often asked what advice I have for travelers who are leaving the country for the first time. While I have lots of advice of my own, like purchasing travel insurance, we also have a network of travelers who have some great knowledge to share.

What better way to tap into our travelers’ expertise than on our Facebook page? So, in an installment of our Mad-Lib Monday series I posed the question: “If I could give one piece of advice to a first-time international traveler, I would tell them _____.”

We got over 40 responses, and I thought there was great practical and thoughtful advice! Here are some of my favorites:

  • “Be friendly to the locals and be respectful … you are a guest after all!”
  • “Pack light!”
  • “Be flexible and don’t sweat the small stuff.”
  • “Keep your passport with you.”
  • “Eat local and try everything.”
  • “Bring an extra charged battery for your camera so that u can take pictures of all the memorable places and things u see along the way :)
  • “Keep an open mind.”
  • “Take public transportation and find your way off the beaten path.”
  • “Be patient. Pack only what you can carry. Learn ‘thank you’ in every language!”
I can’t resist mentioning a few thoughts of my own for a first-time international traveler: smile, smile, smile. There was absolutely no one, in any culture I’ve ever encountered, that didn’t respond positively to a sincere, friendly smile. And by the way, that smile will keep you in the right frame of mind to relax, ignore small inconveniences, and simply enjoy the adventure of being in a brand new place!

What would you add? Start the conversation here in a comment below, or join the conversation on our Facebook page to add your tips for first-time international travelers.

Friday’s Friendly Funny: The Holy Escalator of Ephesa

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

Philadelphia travel trivia: What do you know about the City of Brotherly Love?

Quiz time — How much do you know about the city of Philadelphia? Our offices are located just a stone’s throw away from there, in Jenkintown, Penn., so we spend a lot of time in the City of Brotherly Love.

We like to consider ourselves local experts, and wanted to know if the attendees of The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel show were just as savvy. Friendly Planet Travel blogger, Caitlin, quizzed passersby on famous Philadelphia landmarks, noteworthy Philadelphians, and how many people visit Philadelphia every year.

Think you know the answers? Hit play to find out!

Can you name five famous Philadelphians? Let me know in a comment!

The Friendly Planet Travel Winner’s Circle: Amazing Peru

THEY LIKE FRIENDLY PLANET: Liking our Facebok
page won Lillian and her husband a free trip to Peru

We just announced the third winner of our Win the World Facebook Sweepstakes, where Shari Ashley and a guest will go on an all-expenses-paid dream vacation to China. All the excitement made me want to check in with Lillian Mayes, the winner of our Amazing Peru trip.

Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin reached out to Lillian to see if she’d be interested in letting our blog community hear what winning was like, and she agreed. So we set the call up, and jumped on the phone. Lillian filled Caitlin in on where she’s traveled before, what she likes to do, and what she’s most looking forward to seeing when she travels to Peru
Listen in on their conversation below. You can also right click on this link, and select “save link as” to download it to your computer, so you can save it to your mobile device and can listen on the go.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Lillian. We’re looking forward to hearing about your trip to Peru when you come back!

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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