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My Blog

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Turning the page

Posted on March 27, 2020 at 7:34 PM Comments comments (12)
Shirley4Travel Agency, LLC   
Make your travel dreams a reality!


As of March 1 I have officially retired from my full-time job at Pecan Deluxe Candy after 21 years.This is an exciting time in that I am turning the page with the old and continuing on in the 7th year of my travel agent business. 

Peter Greenberg, Emmy winning Travel Editor for CBS News, said recently, "travel is on hold but our travel dreams are not".  As we are sheltering in place due to the Corona virus, there is plenty of time to start dreaming of where your next trip is going to be.  Celebrations, business, and leisure travel will become the norm again. 

I believe the first 60 days after this virus pandemic is over there will be some great opportunities to book travel at great rates.  Airlines, cruise lines & tour companies will be ready and willing to fill their bookings asap.  So, be sure to check your passport expiration date so you will be ready to go.

When you are ready to book future travel please give me a call or drop me an email.  Thank you for your business and I look forward to working with you in the near future. 

Shirley HudsonShirley4Travel Agency, LLCwww.Shirley4Travel.com817-715-8705 (cell)

2013 Christmas Greetings

Posted on December 22, 2013 at 1:16 PM Comments comments (0)
SHIRLEY4TRAVEL CHRISTMAS GREETINGS
 
2013 started out slow but gathered lots of steam by the end of the year!  The Hudson family enjoyed our annual trout fishing trip to The Little Red River in Heber Springs, Arkansas.  Fishing was great and a good time was had by all.  This trip has become something we all look forward to, especially our grandchildren.
 
We welcomed a new grandson into our family, Lane Browning Hudson.  Our grandchildren, Blake, Sophia and Lane bring us so much joy.
 
I continue to grow my travel business,Shirley4Travel Agency.  I planned and booked an August cruise to the Baltic’s for a group of 11 people, including myself and good friend Nola.  We cruised to ports in Helsinki, Finland; Gothenburg, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; St.Petersburg, Russia; Stockholm, Sweden and Tallinn, Estonia. A great time was had by all.
 
In September, two ladies were able to mark Poland off their bucket list with the help of Shirley4Travel. 
 
Coming up in May 2014 is an Alaskan cruise with 9 people. We will be cruising to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan,Alaska with a stop in Victoria, British Columbia. 
 
In the fall of 2015 a Mediterranean cruise is in the works.  If you have ever wanted to cruise the Mediterranean, this is your chance! Royal Caribbean and Princess cruise lines both have brand new ships debuting in 2015.  When the Mediterranean itineraries for these ships are released, let the planning begin! 
I will keep you posted! 
 
I have completed the first portion of the CLIA Accredited Cruise Counselor certification and have booked 6 of the 25 cabins required for this certification.  In addition, I have completed certification as a Special Needs Travel planner. 
 
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and blessed New Year.  2014 is going to be an awesome adventure.  Traveling grace.
 
ShirleyHudson
817-715-8705
 

Special Needs Travel Advocate

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 10:54 PM Comments comments (0)
The World is Now More Accessible Than Ever - Explore and Enjoy It!
 
 
 
The world is now more accessible than ever before. Twenty percent (62 million) of the U.S. population has some form of disability, and the number of these individuals is increasing daily. These people need to, want to, and can travel. If you’re part of that twenty percent, a world of travel awaits you.
 
Travel professionals such as myself who are accessible travel advocates certified by SpecialNeeds Group www.specialneedsgroup.com, the leading global provider of special needs equipment for the travel industry, have unique,specialized knowledge about how to help individuals with disabilities enjoy a wonderful, hassle-free and memorable trip. 
 
Here are a few tips from Special Needs Group to ensure that when your next travel opportunity arises, you are ready to go. 
 
Outline your travel needs 
 
Take time to evaluate the logistics of your trip in relation to your ability to keep pace. What modes of transportation will you be using? Airplane, motor coach, train, ship, transit vans for ground transfers? Make a list, referring to relevant brochures, your trip organizer or travel agent to make sure you don’t miss anything.
 
Now, make a list of your specific requirements. Be honest: what types of special needs equipment do you depend on at home? What do you use or need (or wish you had!) when shopping, sightseeing locally, dining out or going to the movies, attending concerts, the theater, street fairs or sporting events at home?   
 
Can you hear and see clearly without special auditory equipment or visual aides? How far can you walk without a rest break? Are stairs difficult? Can you get in and out of the tub or shower at home without handgrips or other assistance? 
 
Travel, whether solo or in a group, is no time for roughing it or trying to “tough it out.” If a wheelchair, scooter or portable oxygen will make your trip easier, place that item on your list. Many people who do not use wheelchairs or walkers at home feel more comfortable using these mobility aides for tour and excursions. In fact, most of Special Needs Group’s wheelchair and scooter rentals are to individuals who only use such aides when traveling.   
 
Plan Ahead
 
If you already own a scooter or portable oxygen, it’s important to know the policy and procedures for bringing that equipment onboard all the transport vehicles included in your itinerary, from planes to taxis to ferry boats. Does that transport have a way to stow your scooter or wheelchair? Is oxygen allowed on board? Some airlines prohibit certain types of batteries, such as wet cell batteries, or oxygen cylinders. Airlines operate under strict rules, so there may be packing procedures to follow if they do allow the equipment. Keep in mind, most airlines need at least 48 hours’notice to make special arrangements, and be prepared to fill out forms. 
 
Overall, cruise ships are more lenient in allowing oxygen, but some disallow certain types of oxygen. All require that the oxygen be delivered to the ship, and that you have enough for the entire voyage. Oxygen may never be brought aboard in your luggage. Requirements vary,so check your cruise line for proper instructions.  Again, documentation and paperwork are required.   
 
Whether you are headed for a cruise ship, hotel or all-inclusive resort, double check for wheelchair access at that venue, plus any venues you will be visiting on the trip.  Confirm that accessible hotel rooms, resort accommodations or ship staterooms are available for your travel dates. The earlier you book, the better your chances of securing fully accessible accommodations. And early booking increases your chances of securing a ground floor hotel room or cruise stateroom near the elevator, if these issues are important.  
 
Check on the access to public rooms,restaurants, bars, toilets, the swimming pool, hot tub, beach area and other amenities. Are there TDD phone devices? How will you get in and out of the shower or bathtub? Are there flashing lights to accommodate hearing? Braille room numbers? Knowing in advance the scope of your needs gives you time to arrange advance rentals of any necessary equipment, scheduled to arrive when you do. Everything from scooters, lifts, ramps, TDD kits and special mattresses, including special needs cribs, is available for rental. 
 
Will road travel or car excursions be part of the trip? Many car rental companies have vehicles that are modified for drivers or passengers with mobility limitations. Check ahead to make sure a suitable vehicle will be available for your travel dates. If you will be hiring a car or van, make sure the company is aware of your special needs.
 
When traveling with a limitation or disability, full travel insurance for medical coverage abroad and trip cancellation insurance are even more important and strongly advised. 
 
Ask the Right Questions
 
 When making the final bookings, be sure you ask the right questions, even if the accommodations or cruise stateroom are categorized as “accessible.” 
 
For example, are doorways wide enough forthe largest wheelchairs? Do the doors open outwards or into the room? 
 
Are all the public areas of the hotel, resort or ship accessible? Do you need to make special arrangements in the dining room to accommodate the wheelchair or scooter? 
 
Will the bathroom facilities truly fit your needs? Is the bathroom large enough for the wheelchair or scooter? Is there a roll-in shower? Grab-bars?
 
Are there facilities for companion/assistance animals?
 
Are there shopping and entertainment facilities close by if you are staying at a hotel or resort? 
 
On shore excursions or tours, does the van have a lift and method for transporting wheelchairs and scooters?  
 
Simply stated, don’t take anything forgranted. It’s easy to arrange for almost every situation, and the world is wonderfully accessible, once you know what’s needed, what’s available and how to find the necessary equipment.  
 
I look forward to helping you with all ofyour accessible travel needs!
 

From snow to the Colloseum

Posted on December 31, 2012 at 6:11 PM Comments comments (0)
 
I discovered traveling late in life as I had rarely traveled outside of Texas until I was 40 years old.  Then, about 10 years ago, I began traveling with a dear friend who had been traveling most of her life.  She introduced me to the joy and adventure of experiencing new places, people and sites.  There is no better way to expand your world view and your comfort zone than to travel to new and exciting places, learn about different cultures and experience great food!  Food is always on the top of our priority list.  A fun thing to do is take pics of your meals.  Sounds a little odd but family and friends back home really enjoy seeing the photos and hearing about each new culinary expedition.  Another way to share your travel experience with others is to write a blog while traveling.  It is like a daily diary of adventures, people, places and experiences.  Folks back home can't wait for the latest edition each day.  A travel blog is a wonderful way to allow friends and family to experience the trip along with you.
Here is an abbreviated version of one of our more interesting blogs on a trip to Rome from Dallas.  "Dallas is not known for snow, but this particular January a blizzard, by Texas standards, came through on the morning of our departure.  We experienced THE LINE, as we affectionately named it, trying to rebook our canceled flights.  After spending hours in THE LINE and sleeping overnight at DFW airport we were unable to re-book our flights and went back home totally disappointed that our Rome trip was not going to happen.  We got a good nights sleep and the next morning tried again.  Success!  We got a flight out but were still not in the graces of the travel gods.  Because of all the flight cancellations we were delayed twice in New York.  Our plane eventually took off for Rome, our luggage got there before we did, and even though our trip was cut short by a couple of days Rome was an experience I will never forget.  From snow to the Colloseum. Awesome!!"
Even though this trip to Rome was full of unexpected problems, we met wonderful people in THE LINE and all throughout our trip.  We were blessed to experience The Vatican, including the SCAVI Tour of the underground Necropolis located under St. Peter's Basilica (this must be booked in advance), Italian gelato, The Colloseum, The Pantheon, lodging in a convent (alternative vs hotel/bed breakfast) and of course the food.
 
Traveling grace,
Shirley4Travel

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