In this episode of Katie Talks Travel, we discuss the travel industry during the “wave season” and the importance of setting travel goals. We emphasize the value of active participation in vacations and offer tips for planning trips with companions. We also highlight the improvements being made in the travel industry to be more inclusive. Tune in for travel inspiration and tips to start planning your next adventure!
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The following is for conversational purposes only and should not be interpreted as advice. Please consult a professional before making any decision based on this content. This content should not be considered as travel advice. Welcome to Katie talks Travel, a podcast where we talk travel and accessibility with a little fun along the way. Let’s pack our bags and head out on an adventure. Welcome back to Katie talks Travel. I’m Katie. I’m a travel agent who specializes in accessible travel, and I’ve got Lynn with me today. Hey, Lyn. How are you? Hi. Hello. Long time no talk. How was your Christmas?
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Oh, yeah, it was interesting.
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Ours was very busy, as usual. Well, it’s nice to talk with you again, and I hope your year has gotten off to a good start.
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I have to say that with the weather right now all over the country, I bet you people are thinking about travel, right?
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I mean, you got to be with the weather that it is here where I live, it’s supposed to be negative one tomorrow. So I’m definitely thinking about somewhere warm and sunny. I know. Wow.
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All of a sudden it’s like. And then I’m sure that travel people, they advertise like crazy right now, right?
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Because this is when you realize it’s.
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Snowing out or it’s whatever. And you see that ad for that nice tropical.
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Yes. For this kind of season. I’m sure that there’s a term like this in pretty much any industry, but in that travel industry, we call it the wave season. It is wave season. So this is the time of the year that a lot of travel agents get the bulk of their bookings for the entire year because everybody is stuck in the cold thinking about warmer places and they’re ready to book their vacation. They’ve just traveled and seen family and got together and planned trips with their family over the holiday season. So this is the time of year where travel agents are extra busy. So I know I normally do trivia with you and I didn’t last month, and I really wanted to do it this month, but I was struggling to come up with some trivia talking about travel goals because they are so personalized. So I thought instead of trivia this time, I would just tell you about my favorite trip that I have been on. And I would love to hear about yours, lynch. Just something lighthearted before we get into the actual podcast. Sure. So do you want to go first or would you like me to go?
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No, I think. Okay, I can tell you about a trip I took to Avalon, New Jersey.
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Obviously I haven’t been far, but it was nothing wrong with that.
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It was a beautiful trip. It was a great place. Avalon is just a neat little community and just hanging out at the beach, hanging out with people. I don’t know, I just remembered it being really relaxing. And I really like Avalon now. It’s built up. I mean, it’s so expensive there. I don’t even know if we could afford to go there now. But, yeah, nice little place.
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Isn’t that always the worst when you’re little? Smaller vacation spots get kind of discovered and then they get all built up.
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Yeah. And then it becomes like, really? But I mean, I think a lot of travel is sort of. We talk about the big places, but sometimes the road less traveled is the one that ends up being the best vacation.
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Exactly. My favorite trip I’ve ever taken. I’ve been to a lot of different places. I travel a lot, but my favorite place or trip that I’ve ever taken was very similar to yours. Mine was just to Pensacola, Florida. We didn’t do anything special. It’s just me and my mom. It was kind of a last minute trip. I just needed to be somewhere else. I was just at a point in my life where I needed to be out of the state. So my mom came with me and we drove down to Pensacola and we stayed for like four days. And we literally did nothing but eat fruit salad and read books and just relax on the beach. And it was fantastic and wonderful bonding time and great memories that I have and it was nothing special. Yeah. You don’t have to go far. You don’t have to go far to have a wonderful trip. You don’t have to leave the country. It can be even just taking a trip to the next town over and discovering something new right in your own backyard. Travel does not have to be a big, intense, fancy trip to get what you want out of it, which kind of leads us into travel goals. So that’s kind of what I wanted to talk about this month. Since we are in a new month, people are doing their resolutions, getting started for the new year. So I thought talking about travel goals would be a great way for everyone to get their new year started off. So you can start thinking about these things.
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Travel, New Year’s resolutions.
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Right, exactly. Pretty much a travel goal is just thinking about where you want to go, the places you want to see. It does not have to be big and fancy. You can have multiple travel goals at a time. You do not have to have just one travel goal. If you are new to traveling, then my personal recommendation is starting small, thinking about somewhere that is not too far away, maybe state over, even visiting. I had never been to Baltimore until earlier this year, and we went to Baltimore in April, and it was very neat experience for me. So even just going to a new city in the United States, it can make a big difference just in your overall mental health. It can give you something to look forward to. It gives you a goal to work towards, and it can just be really helpful. And you can also have big travel goals. You can have a goal that’s several years down the road where, you know, this is what you want to do, and then you can take steps to make it happen. A great example of that is Hawaii. For me, personally, I wanted to go to Hawai for my honeymoon, and so did my husband, but we were very young. We’ve been married seven and a half years now, so we were very young, and just. It wasn’t an option. Hawaii is expensive place to go. It was not a choice. So what we decided was that Hawaii was our goal, and for our ten year anniversary, we were going to go to Hawai. So seven and a half years ago, we made this ten year travel goal, and we’ve been working towards it ever since. You can have goals that are so far in the future, but you can take steps to be ready for those goals when they get here. Have you ever made a travel goal before, Lynn?
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I have, yes. And one of my favorite things is I always like interesting shops, like to go to a place where you can find the little shops that have really neat, different things.
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I think, for me personally, I guess part of my travel goal is that I want a travel goal being totally blind, where I can use my other senses. In other words, window shopping is not my thing. I need to be able to touch, smell, hear, taste, and feel right. And I think that, for me, is, I like travel things that I remember. We were on a bus, we went to New Orleans, and New Orleans is a very interesting place. It was awesome to go. Know, it’s kind of wild, but it’s sort of fun.
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I went when I was four, so I want to go again. But I also went for a convention when I was, like, four. Yeah.
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And so basically, I remember just thinking, gosh, there’s so much to experience there. But I was on a bus tour with a whole bunch of blind people, and they were explaining the things that were happening and what they were showing us. But I noticed that several of us fell asleep on the bus. And I think that this is where. How do you, as a blind person, how do you really experience travel not just by having something described to you, but how do you make yourself a part of your vacation?
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How do you really get involved, engaged.
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So that it’s not a spectator sport, you’re actually in it. And I think that’s one of the things that, when you talk about travel goals is how do you really make yourself a part of the process so that you’re actually in it rather than watching it happen.
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Exactly. And that’s one of the things that you need to think about with your travel goals, is thinking about what is important to you. What do you want to get out of this trip? What is the goal of this trip? Because for you, Lyn, it sounds like kind of experiencing the culture and really getting engaged in the community that you’re in is a big travel goal of yours, which is wonderful. There’s nothing wrong with that. And some people, their goal is just to relax. Some people just want to get away and unplug. Everybody has different things that they want to get out of travel. So making sure that when you’re thinking about your travel goals and what you’re setting for yourself, thinking about what is important, what do you want to get out of? This experience is so huge. It’s a key factor, absolutely, in determining your travel goals, because if you don’t know what you want to get out of the trip, it makes it really hard to figure out where you want to go and when to go and all of that information. You kind of got to know what’s important to you before you can really figure out where you want to go.
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And if you’re going with other people, my sister, they went with some friends, and the part of the group was like, they wanted everything planned. They wanted no downtime. They wanted to just be moving constantly. My sisters were like, they wanted to kind of go off on their own a little bit and just hang out and just not have that extreme planning kind of thing. So when you’re traveling with other people and your goals might not jive, you know what I mean? How do you make sure that everybody gets what they need from the trip?
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Yeah. So with a situation like that and you’re traveling with a bunch of different people that have different ideas of what a vacation is, it’s always best to make sure everyone has had a very frank and honest conversation before you even travel. Because once you’ve started traveling, no matter how well you have planned, no matter how well you have packed, you can have everything right there in front of you. Everything booked, triple confirmed. Traveling can be stressful. It just can be being out of a place that are out of your comfort zone, even someone who is a very experienced traveler. Like, I leave tomorrow for a trip and I’m starting to get a little nervous about it because I’m going to be gone for four days and I travel all the time. It’s just a natural part of leaving your comfort zone. So having that really frank conversation with the people you’re traveling with about what is it that you want to do while we’re there. And if your goal, Lyn, is to just relax by the pool. But my goal is to hit all the theme parks in Orlando. We’re not necessarily going to be very good traveling. Really careful who you’re traveling with because they may have completely different views of how a trip should go, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not compatible to travel with. It’s a lot of talking. My parents. Exactly.
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So that everybody kind of gets what they need. Like the person that wants to relax.
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Maybe they’re willing to one day really go, great guy, right?
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Maybe one day they’re willing to do what you want to do, and then the next day you agree to kind of hang out at the hotel and chill by the pool. Trying to be flexible and making sure that you get along well with someone is really important when you’re planning travel. I always like to joke that travel is kind of make it or break it for a relationship because traveling with someone is going to tell you whether or not you are really good and compatible with someone because traveling brings out different stressors that you don’t see in your everyday life sometimes, or it takes away those stressors so you’re able to fully relax and really kind of let go of all that anxiety and that stress. So it just changes your overall demeanor. So I always like to say that travel is make it or break it for some relationship.
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So back to travel goals. Back to travel goals. Another big important thing to think about when we are talking travel goals is budget. I mean, budget is always important when you’re thinking about traveling, but especially when you’re thinking travel goals, because you can have a goal like I have for going to Hawai in 2026 for our ten year anniversary. When we made those plans ten years ago, seven and a half years ago, I guess that was not realistic for us. But it was so far out that you can dream big when you’re planning further out. And the further out that you plan, the better your pricing is going to be. As I say a million times on this podcast book sooner, not later. But being realistic about your budget is really important. And if you want to, if your goal for this year is to just get out of the state, you have never left your state. You’re in and you just want to get out of the state and your budget is like $400, you can still do that. That’s totally something that’s possible. We just have to be realistic about what you’re going to be able to do when you get out of the state. Is it just you want to go hang out and eat some local food and listen to some local music? That’s something we can definitely do. But if you’re wanting to go out of the state and go to Disney, we can’t do that on a $400 budget. So being really realistic and honest with yourself about your budget for any travel goals that you have is really important. Like I mentioned, planning far ahead is also really important, especially if you want to do something bigger, if you want to go international, those kinds of things, they book up quick. First of all, is one thing to keep in mind, but also if you’re traveling internationally, there’s a lot of extra things to keep in mind. There’s a lot of red tape, especially if you’re traveling with a service animal and it just takes longer to plan and kind of get set up. So that booking early and planning early, making them goals and setting them for the future and working towards them, it’s thinking further out is where that planning far ahead really comes to your advantage. And it can work to your advantage. Even with an agent. You can let your agent know what your travel goals are. I’ve got a client that his goal is he wants to travel. He wants to take a cruise every year. And he just has asked me like, hey, this is the room category. I like, I’m flexible on which line, but this is what I like to spend. I want to spend this and go on a cruise. I can be flexible when and then my job as his agent is, as I’m looking for other people’s things, as I’m seeing new promotions coming out, I just kind of keep an eye out. And when I find something that works for him, I send it over to him and if he likes it, we get it booked. And if he says no, this isn’t the one for me, we just move on and it’s no big deal. But he has that goal of every year. He wants to get on a cruise ship and he wants to do it at the best price he can. So I work with him and I keep my eye out for deals. He keeps his eye out for deals. And when we find one, we get him booked. So it’s things like that, like letting your agent know what your goals are. They can help you work towards them and be looking out for those kinds of things for you. Agents might know about things that you might not that they could help you with. I’ve got someone I quoted the other day who wants to go on a family vacation in June, and she had said five to six days at an all inclusive. Well, as an agent, I know that if you stay six nights at this resort, you get a seven nights free. So I was able to help them extend their vacation at no additional cost to them. So working with your agent and talking to them about your travel goals is something that can really help you achieve those goals as well, because they’re a great resource. Use your travel agent. That’s what we’re here for and trained for.
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And do you ever feel when you’re working with people, like, some people are not sure what they want, right. Some people are clear on what they want, and then other people are like, I don’t really know because a lot of us in the society we live in, we’re not really even used to taking vacations, right. Everybody’s working so hard and so you think, I really want to take a vacation, but I’m not exactly sure what I want. So you guys can help people work out the details. So it’s kind of like, I guess being a travel agent, you’re working out the details, but there’s a little bit of psychology involved in that, right? You’re trying to.
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A little bit. Trying to help people figure out what.
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They want and what would really be the best options for them based on their personality and their style of doing things and all that, right?
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And that’s why it’s so important to know what’s important to you. I don’t know if every agent does this, but that is a question that I ask my clients. What do you want to get out of this trip? And it seems like a silly question and like a weird question, probably way out of left field, but it really helps figure out how to make sure that you are having the best trip that you can possibly have. So even if you have no idea what your travel goal is, but you know that it’s important to you to get out and to really experience a totally new culture or, you know, it’s important to you that you are somewhere warm, because sometimes that’s the most important thing. I just want to go where it’s going to be warm. Whatever that important thing is, that information can be absolutely vital to figuring out where it is you want to go and what your actual travel goals are. Because they can stem from that. Absolutely.
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Because I can remember one time listening to a financial counselor, financial planner, and he said, you would think that sometimes planning your finances is about money, but it’s also about psychology, right. It’s about what your goals are, what do you want, where do you want to be and stuff like that. So it’s not just about the details, but it’s also about kind of, let’s think about this. Let’s plan this based, let’s get to know you a little bit so that you get a vacation that fits for you precisely.
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Travel goals can also be, like I mentioned earlier, a really good motivator for you. So some people work really well when they have things to be working towards or that they know a break is coming. I’m one of those people that I do really well when I know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I just tend to be a little bit more, I guess, on the pessimistic side, just for me personally, I don’t really know why that is, but I just do better when I know that there is something to look forward to. Even if it’s in 2026, even if it’s two years from now, I have something that I am looking forward to and planning towards and working towards. So when I have those rough days and those hard days, those days when I’m like, oh, my goodness, what just happened? I can still think like, it’s okay. This was just a day. We’re going to move on. We’re going to get through this, and in two years, I am going to go to this place. So for me, it really gives me a great mental health boost just knowing that I’m going somewhere. And that is true for a lot of people, especially neurospicy friends like me, having that goal and that light and that thing we’re reaching towards can really make a huge difference in just day to day motivation. Yes, they seem like a silly thing. They’re definitely not nearly as important as a health goal or something like that. But it’s an important thing to keep in mind and to keep planning for throughout the year and thinking about is where do you want to go? Do you want to expand your horizons? Is there something new you would love to try? Something to kind of keep in mind as you’re moving through 2024. And maybe this year it’s not in the cards for you to have a travel goal, but maybe we can keep it in mind for next year. And you could be planning for that.
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And I guess part of the goal setting as well is your personal, like you were talking about the health issues. Are you traveling with an elderly person? Are you traveling with somebody that has a hearing difficulty in that goal setting process, in that planning process? How do you make sure that people with sensory challenges can also really benefit and enjoy that vacation? So, I mean, that’s also something to think about.
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I mean, if I travel with somebody.
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And everything is visual, that’s not fun for me.
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So this is where you have to say, okay, let’s go to some concerts, let’s maybe do some musical things or whatever. Let’s eat places, a taste of Paris or something like. So that’s also part of the goal. Planning is sort of thinking about everybody’s particular. Like, you want to climb Denali?
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Okay, well, if you’ve got really bad.
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Arthritis in your leg, that’s not going to work.
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Right. But you could still go to the national park and there’s other ways that you could get involved.
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Just kind of thinking around that and how to make it work for you. And that’s where your agent can come into, because we have different ideas and resources that can help with that.
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As the population ages. Right. And the demographics changes, I think travel experiences are going to have to cater to elderly folks, to people with disabilities. And I think that’s happening. Right.
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I mean, don’t you agree? Oh, absolutely.
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There’s been a major shift, and there has to be because so many of us are getting older, right? I guess we’re all getting older.
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As long as you’re alive, you’re getting older. That’s true.
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But it’s not like, I mean, back when I was a kid, oh, my gosh, there were kids running around everywhere. Now it’s not like that. You got a lot of us that are using walkers and kings. The travel places are, I think, starting that is one of the shifts that you’re probably seeing, right, in the travel.
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Yes, for sure. And they are doing new things to be more inclusive of all sorts of needs. And just don’t quote me on the dates on this. I want to say it was about two years ago, universal Orlando resort. They opened up a sensory friendly room that was something they’ve never had before, but they created it specifically for somebody who gets sensory overload. And maybe you need a chance to reset and just be somewhere quiet for a minute. Anyone can use that. And it’s something that’s so helpful, especially if you’re a family traveling with a child with autism or something like that, where they do get super overstimulated easily. Having that resource available to you is just. I mean, it can completely change the entire overall tone of your trip because you have that place to go and decompress. And when you’re getting overstimulated and you need somewhere that’s quiet and calm, you have that place to be. Whereas four years ago that didn’t exist. So they’re making a ton of improvements and changes. I mean, that was just one example. But there are so many that different travel suppliers are doing to be more inclusive and to make sure that they can cater to every walk of life and everyone. They want to be able to make it accessible for everyone. So they’re working really hard to do that.
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Yeah, that’s like a paradigm shift, right? Everybody, the whole travel industry is like, okay, well, because when you think about it, the travel industry, they have to look at their customers. They really have to know what their customers need and want. And I’m sure that they evaluate that regularly, right. To see what is it that people are wanting nowadays.
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Yes. That’s why that feedback. I know I say it all the time, but. And those surveys are so important.
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It is. And not just to complain about things. Right. But to say, hey, this was good.
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I like this. Exactly. Give them positive feedback, too. Yeah.
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Positive feedback is just as important. And we forget that, I think. I think we forget that we don’t fill out the surveys when we’re happy.
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Right. And it’s easy for us to remember the bad things. It’s not as easy to remember the things that went just fine because you’re focused on the issue, on the negative.
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And, yeah, we need to change that, I think.
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I agree. That is one of my goals for 2024, is to just be more positive. That’s one of the goals that I’ve set for myself. And to try to even just mentally be more positive, even if I’m not outright being more positive. But in my brain, instead of saying, oh, my gosh, the house is such a mess, is thinking, hey, I got three loads of dishes done today. I am rocking it. Even if the living room is a disaster. I did really good in the kitchen today. Just trying to keep myself more positive.
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One travel goal for people might be the digital detox. How do we put those phones down, turn them off? Touch grass?
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Tricky for some people in the animal world. Right? They say the animals that are freed.
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From captivity, they talk about touching grass. And I think that people, all of us, need to do that more. We need to get away from.
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Technology that keeps us sort of tethered and keeps us in a bubble. And that’s what travel is nice because it forces us out of that bubble, right?
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Right out of your comfort zone, for sure. Yes. And so making travel goals is really important for that because it can help you move towards that goal and move towards broadening your horizons and increasing your knowledge of other cultures and just even learning about what’s in your own backyard, learning about even your own city. Be a tourist in your own city. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You might discover things about the town you’ve lived in your whole life that you didn’t even know. So travel goal does not have to be big. It does not have to be scary. It can be as simple as a weekend away, unplugging downtown and exploring your own hometown. Just setting those goals can really help with your mental positivity and your overall demeanor. Just making you feel more happy and giving you something to look forward to. So I always encourage that you make travel goals and you make it important in your life because it is. There are so many benefits to travel.
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Yes. So everybody I know, it’s snowing out there and all that. Get on those websites or get with a travel agent and start planning things. Dream. Dream big for yourself, right?
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Get out of that comfort zone. Come on. It stinks in there. Get out a bubble.
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Make yourself some goals, and let’s get traveling in 2024.
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Get moving, expanding our horizons. And let’s just make it a new year and a new start. Absolutely.
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So I know when that we usually do questions at the end, but with the holiday season, I did not get any questions coming in. I’m assuming all of our listeners were pretty busy. So I won’t take up any more of anybody’s time today, and I really look forward to talking to you next month in February. And I hope that I can hear about some of your travel goals. If we inspired you to think about traveling, please reach out to me. I would love to hear from you and help you reach those goals.
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Yes, that’s right. We love your feedback, you guys, because we do it for you. Absolutely. So we love to hear what some of your travel stories, and if you’ve ever traveled with somebody that kind of has different goals, how did you negotiate that? That’s an interesting question. Right? How were you able to sort of work past that so that everybody has a good time?
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It’s really just that conversation, having that talk. I travel with my parents all the time. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that before. We travel together a lot and they have a completely different idea of what a vacation is than what. Like when we cruise together, I like to get off the ship. I like to go. Do know if we vacation together, we’ve gone to gone. Like my mom and I have gone out to California. And my idea of vacationing, I really like to get out and experience the place that I am in. I like to see new things. And then sometimes I can run myself ragged. Not going to lie. Sometimes I do overdo myself. But for my parents, their idea of a vacation is getting away and doing nothing and just relaxing. They want to do nothing, and that’s okay. But when we vacation together, we have to balance that out because I want to go, go, and they just want to hang out by the pool. So it’s just having that conversation about, okay, what is it that you want to do? What is it that I want to do? What is it the kids want to do? And then balancing all of that and trying to find a happy medium where everybody’s going to be able to get a little bit of what they need. But it is just conversation you have to have with the people that you’re going to travel with.
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All right, well, I hope you have a great rest of your day, everyone, and we will see you next month. Thanks for listening. If you’re planning a trip or are interested in my complimentary planning services, if you have any questions or suggestions for the show, please give me a call at 317-694-4023 or shoot me an email at Katie. K-A-T-I-E white, spelled just like the color, at MMV agent. See you next time.