Friendly Planet Blog

Archive for December, 2012

Friday’s Friendly Funny: 1,000 islands

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

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.

Lucky #13: 13 travel resolutions for 2013

It’s the time of year to resolve to do things better in the new year. For many of us, this includes eating better, exercising more, and being kinder to one another. And let’s not forget my favorite — sticking with our resolutions beyond the second week of January.

As for me, I’m adding 13 travel resolutions to my list for 2013. I describe them all in my latest contribution to the Huffington Post. Click over for the list in full.

What are your travel resolutions for 2013? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Friday’s Friendly Funny: Passport face

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

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.

My big upset with the big upsell

One of the open secrets of the travel industry is what we call “the big upsell.” You are probably familiar with this sales technique, just didn’t know it had a name. The “big upsell” is the term coined for a “bare bones” vacation package that is sold at a dirt-cheap price. Travelers who fall for this trick end up paying extra for everything, like transfers or an upgrade to a decent hotel, and they typically end up paying much more than they originally intended.

The “big upsell” is one of my biggest pet peeves in the travel industry, because it is designed to lure you in for a price you’ll never actually pay. And it’s so unnecessary to market this way. Friendly Planet doesn’t need to resort to tricky pricing, because our deals, while including great hotels, transfers, and much more, are always carefully priced with a focus on huge value for money.

Anyone who takes the time to read our inclusions and make even a superficial comparison with other similar packages can see that they actually provide everything a traveler needs to have an amazing vacation. Our travelers don’t have to worry about paying for extras later, and we take pride in this.

Before you fall for a tour price that is simply too good to believe, please check out “The Big Upsell” piece I wrote, which was published on the Huffington Post last week. Read it to find out more about ‘deals’ that trick travelers into over-paying.

Have you fallen victim to an upsell when booking a trip? We want to hear your story — leave a comment below.

Holiday traditions around the world

We all have holiday traditions that are unique to us and our families. Some might have been passed down from ancestors and through culture, and others we might have created last year with friends. Either way, in my mind, traditions are what make the holiday season come to life.

I wanted to share some holiday traditions from around the world with you. Some are specific to our Friendly Planet team, some are driven by culture and our communities, and others have been carried on by entire nations for generations. Read on for a look at how some of us celebrate this wonderful time of year.

North America. Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Chanukah are all celebrated in December in the United States by people of different faiths (though Kwanza can end in the beginning of January, and Chanukah sometimes begins at the end of November). A special Christmas tradition for many is the Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on Christmas Eve, which is Italian in origin and commemorates the wait for the birth of baby Jesus on Christmas Day. Many also attend midnight mass after the seven-course meal.

A tradition that’s unique to those who celebrate Kwanzaa is dedicating each of the seven days to one of the seven principles — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith — which are believed to have been key to building strong, productive families and communities in Africa.

A member of our marketing team, Leora Hafri, shared a personal Chanukah family tradition with us: (more…)

Friday’s Friendly Funny: Neck pillow

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

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.

A visit to every country on Earth — in less than 2 hours

I’ve devoted the past 30 years of my life to giving people a taste of the breathtaking beauty and infinite diversity of this planet. As the president of a travel company, I’ve had the satisfaction of giving thousands of Americans an opportunity to do just that. So it was rather humbling when I learned last week that I’d been completely outdone by two ambitious young men with a crazy idea.

Four years ago, Kyle Ruddick and Brandon Litman embarked on a fantastically brazen project to create a feature-length film with footage shot in every nation on earth — all captured in a single day. Now absorb that for a moment. This would be the first-ever simultaneous filming event occurring in every country of the world. If it sounds like a project worthy of a filmmaker like James Cameron or Ridley Scott, consider this: Kyle and Brandon, two graduates of The University of Southern California, had no budget and had never made a film before.

And yet, somehow, they pulled it off. Last week, I had the opportunity to watch the result — the 105-minute documentary film “One Day on Earth“ shot entirely on Oct. 10, 2010. It was quite simply one of the most sweeping, stunning, inspiring pieces of cinema I’ve ever witnessed. So how did they do it? Crowdsourcing, of course.

(more…)

For the 12 days of Christmas, Friendly Planet gave to me … 12 days of holiday deals!

12 Days of Deals: Save $100-$300 on 12 tours

12 Days of Deals: Save $100-$300 on 12 tours

Around the holidays, we get even more festive than usual, and maybe even a tad silly, too. That must explain the flash of songwriting creativity that overcame us when we heard that popular holiday favorite, “Twelve Days of Christmas.”

In the spirit of the season, we began composing our own version of the holiday classic to celebrate our “12 Days of Deals” promotion, which begins Dec. 11 and ends Dec. 22. For this offer, we’re discounting 12 of our tour programs up to $300 per person for 12 days only. Sing along with our lyrics below, and if you’re really in the holiday spirit, hit play here to get an instrumental version of the song.

OK, so maybe a recording contract isn’t in our immediate future, but we’re betting that you’ll find the full list of tours and discounts very much to your liking! We hope you enjoy!

On the first day of travel deals,
Friendly Planet gave to me
A coupon code for all to see.

On the second day of travel deals,
Friendly Planet gave to me
A round-trip airfare ticket
And a coupon code for all to see. (more…)

Friday’s Friendly Funny: Bunny slippers

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

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.

Friendly Planet Travel Winner’s Circle: Dazzling Dubai

I’ve made seven different calls this year to a handful of lucky travelers to let them know they’ve won a free trip to a far-off destination, all because they “liked” and entered one of our sweepstakes on the Friendly Planet Travel Facebook page. But Elisa Kotin, our latest winner who will be going on a free trip for two to Dubai, might have been the most surprised of all! Listen to her reaction when I called her to let her know that she’d won on our previous post.

Once the dust settled and we let the reality of her win sink in, I asked Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin to catch up with Elisa to find out a little bit more about her. As it turns out, Elisa has a true passion for traveling, and is extremely well traveled. She has been to 70 countries, and Dubai will be her 71st! Though she’s always wanted to go, Elisa has never been to Dubai — so this trip was a great match :-) .

Listen to the below podcast to get a snapshot of Elisa’s life, including how she felt when she won, why she’s grateful that she won the trip from us, her favorite places she’s been, what she enjoys most about travel, and more!

Elisa, I hope you have an amazing time in Dubai, and I look forward to hearing all about it when you return!

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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