Friday, May 5, 2017

Memorable Costa Rica

Monkeys, zip-lining, plantains, and hiking. Kayaking, sunsets, macaws, and fishing. Pura Vida. The Costa Rican way of life.

I was recently accepted to participate in an Education Journey to Costa Rica hosted by one of our preferred suppliers and cannot be more thrilled to visit this beautiful country. I know several people that have traveled to Costa Rica but I have yet to make the journey there. Other than the great things I hear about Costa Rica and the stunning pictures, what else is there to know? U.S. News has good synopsis about Costa Rica along with Costa Rica’s official site. Being the world’s premier eco-tourism destination, this small but mighty country has a plethora of sights and activities for the adventure seeker along with the ones looking for Zen and relaxation. Costa Rica is ranked as one of the most visited international destinations, so I am excited to see first-hand what everyone else has enjoyed about this country and learn the true meaning of “Pura Vida.”

On this journey, we will be visiting multiple resorts and hotel in several regions: San Jose, Arenal, and Papagayo. We will start off in the country’s vibrant capitol city, make our way into the volcanic and hot springs region, and end in Costa Rica’s ultimate luxury beach location. Being able to visit three distinct and scenic destinations in Costa Rica will provide a greater understanding of what this country offers to all visitors.

So, there are a few questions on my radar before this trip. Is Global Entry worth applying for? For those not familiar with Global Entry (GOES), our wonderful website has a special page with information and link about GOES. Since I am hoping to have future international travel plans in the near future, this may be a good investment. Who absolutely hates waiting in lines and can make time to fill out an online form and take a trip the nearest Global Entry Enrollment Center for an interview? This girl can. See ya later long, obnoxious airport security lines.

Another question that I always run into and close family/friends can attest to is: What do I WEAR??? I am NOTORIOUS for overpacking so I will try my very best to pack wisely for this trip. There are many articles and YouTube videos on how to pack light, recommendations on clothing/shoes, which luggage is best, etc. The advice we always give to our clients is to take items you can layer, take a few neutral items you can mix & match with (i.e. black pants/shorts you can pair with different tops), take wrinkle-free clothing if possible, and for ladies, accessorize with multiple scarves/sweaters. My issue I always run into is taking too many shoes. Probably because I own too many shoes. This is where my wonderful sister’s advice comes into play and forces me encourages me to narrow my selections. I have yet to master the carry-on packer, but I hope to one day achieve that goal.

Lastly, I want to understand the type of tourist Costa Rica attracts. Beyond Group Travel has a variety of clients who travel with us (young families, honeymooners, recently retired, mature couples) and I would like to know what activities and properties best fits our client’s needs. Our clients (as should any client) rely on us as a travel company to provide honest feedback on whether a destination/supplier will give them the best outcome and experience for their pre/during/post travel. Being able to provide personal experience about a certain destination/supplier is always a plus and eases the minds of curious clients. I am hopeful that with this educational journey, I can familiarize myself with Costa Rica and be able to assist our travelers of potential vacations to this fantastic destination.

Did you know that the recent 2017 American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) How America Travels National Study shows that Millennials continue to use travel agents more than any other age group? This study showcases the value travel agents bring to the trip planning process and how travelers who have worked with a travel agent in the past agree that travel agents “look out for their clients.” With the ever-changing available resources to the traveler, travel agents still continue to be a vital resource when planning for a trip. You hear that Millennials? Travel agents are not only for the mature traveler. We advocate for all travelers and assist in finding the best travel experience.

And of course, who isn’t excited to see tropical animals, gorgeous waterfalls, and mesmerizing beaches. I sure am! Pura Vida. I can get used to that. 😊


UPDATE: The Global Entry application process took me ten minutes to fill out and received approval for an interview within two weeks. There are three locations in Houston where one can go for an interview: Houston Public Library in Downtown Houston, and two locations at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (one is only available if you have gone through TSA security). Be aware of the operating hours and make sure to plan enough time if neither location is near your approximate area. Luckily the downtown location is minutes from my home – yay! 



 

1 comment:

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