Krafty Travel. Find your happy place.

Sarah Krafty, owner of Krafty Travel is a travel agent located in Perrysburg, Ohio


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Happy Thanksgiving from Krafty Travel!

thanksgiving-tableNovember is typically a slow month at Krafty Travel.  It is the calm before the winter storm of travel planning.  While your minds turn to the long list of tasks for the month ahead don’t forget to give yourself a gift as well.

 

Choose a gift of gathering with friends.  Meet us on December 8 at 7p for our first ever Travel Tastings event at Degage in Maumee, Ohio.  We will travel to Alaska in our minds.  Bring friends and enjoy conversation.   Give yourself the freedom to unwind.  Click here for reservations:  http://meetu.ps/c/2RbmY/ts4Vz/f

 
Choose a gift of service. This month I attended CruiseWorld in Fort Lauderdale.  It is an annual conference hosted by Travel Weekly in which I learn updates in the industry and get an opportunity to tour a ship or two.  This year I was most impressed by Fathom Travel.  Fathom offers impact and immersion travel to the Dominican Republic or Cuba. The Cuba itineraries offer people to people tours with plenty of downtime to explore on your own. Visit Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, unpack once.
When not in Cuba, Fathom sails to the Dominican Republic offering you the opportunity for social impact activities connecting with residents of the Dominican Republic.  It is a chance to have fun helping others.  Check it out then contact me to make a plan.   https://youtu.be/PkcDi8CIuDI

 
Choose the gift of travel. Now is the time to start the conversation for a winter getaway.  Take advantage of early booking promotions and put a deposit on your escape out of the cold. You will be glad you did.

 

Here is a note from Tami about their October trip to Sandals Montego Bay!

Hi everyone! It is getting to be that time of year again. I really enjoy the holiday season and love spending time with family and friends, but it does add a little more work and stress to our days.

Dave and I are thankful to have had the opportunity to spend a week in Jamaica at the Sandals Montego Bay resort last month. We had a fantastic time relaxing on the beach and by the pool. I especially loved taking a morning water aerobics class and then treating myself to a cup of coffee (with Jamaicas fine rum cream added!) from the French pastry cafe located right there by the pool. And David loved his deep tissue massage from the Red Lane Spa.

We took the shuttle over to the Sandals Royal Caribbean resort and spent a day exploring their beach, pools and restaurants. Later in the week we did some shopping and also went on a glass bottom boat ride.

Thanks for letting me share a few special moments from our trip with you! I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Tami

Thanks for taking the time to keep in touch.  We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.
Tami and I can’t wait to send you somewhere awesome very soon!

Sarah Krafty
Krafty Travel
419-386-0425

Get started with a personal travel assessment.


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Wild Weather Month

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Hurricane Matthew!

You might not know that I moonlight as a meteorologist.  Well, not really.  I do watch the weather closely and try to predict potential issues for my travelers, stepping in with itinerary changes if necessary.  I help my travelers with issues regardless of the season, with hurricane season and winter the most challenging.

I had a handful of travelers with trips to the Caribbean during Hurricane Matthew and was watching schedules very closely.  All but one couple managed to escape issues.  And for that one couple, it was just a matter of relocating to a different destination.

The official hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 .  This season can be a rainy time for some destinations and is usually in full swing by late August and September.  Pricing tends to be lower because of this.  Add that to the fact that school is typically back in session and some nice prices can be found, but not without risk.  I offer travel insurance to every client.  It is optional and worth considering.  It is not uncommon to experience flight delays and cancellations during periods of volatile weather.  The airline typically will not offer vouchers for cancellations and delays due to weather.  Don’t be stuck paying for the extra night out of your own pocket.

This year was a tough season for escaping weather issues.  And while it is not over, the horizon has been much clearer in the last couple of weeks.

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Foodies Unite!

I am excited to announce that Krafty Travel has a new monthly event called Travel Tastings.

Join with me and my travel supplier connections on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm at Degage Jazz Café, located in the Historic Commercial Building at 301 River Road in Maumee, Ohio.

We will sample tastings of wine, beer and food to give us some travel inspiration.  Bring your friends for a new destination each month.

The cost is $10 per person, prepaid through Meetup and will cover your tastings.  Our first event is December 8 where we will travel to Alaska!

I am hoping this will be a fun opportunity to network, try some new food or beverages and get inspired.

RSVP for Travel Tastings!

 

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Friends of Krafty Travel, Amanda and Wyatt, sent in this photo of them enjoying their trip to Italy this past spring.  Their vacation was to celebrate their 5th anniversary and included stops in Venice, Florence, Donnini, Rome and Positano.

Wyatt and Amanda wanted to travel on their own.  Other than a few activities as a group, they enjoyed Italy at their own pace.  Krafty Travel helped with the logistics of getting from A to B with airfare, rail tickets and ground transfers in each destination.

Thanks for the photo and the opportunity to work with you, Amanda and Wyatt!

Now is when we should be talking about your winter and spring vacations.  Last minute deals do not exist for high travel times when everyone wants to get away.  Please don’t wait!

Thanks for keeping in touch!

Tami and I hope to send you some where awesome real soon!

Very best,

Sarah Krafty, CTA, ACC
Krafty Travel
  

 


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Welcome Fall!

The kids are back to school, the temperature is cooling down and some fun fall activities are always on the horizon.  Our kids (big teenagers and young adults!) bug us to head to the Halloween store as soon as they start opening for the season.  Mike and I enjoy the remaining opportunities for deck sitting in the evening and we always look forward to the last few events at our beloved Kelleys Island.  What is your favorite fall activity?

 

 

Meet Renee and Megan!  This fun mom and daughter celebrated Megan’s high school graduation with a fun trip to London and Paris.  They were kind to send a nice review and a photo of them having fun.  For their trip we used the “Week in London and Paris” Monograms package.  Monograms falls under the Globus family of brands and is a unique way to travel independently but have access to the services of a local host to guide you if you need assistance or would like ideas for activities.  The local host is usually accessible right in the hotel where you are staying and can give some great suggestions for where the locals go.  The host generally greets you at the airport, provides you with city maps and information, and helps to make sure everything goes smoothly.  A guided tour is usually included as well.

Check out the Monograms experience:  https://youtu.be/OhcpXW8dUlE and then let us know if you would like more information on available trip options.

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Mom and daughter enjoy their London and Paris getaway!

 

Thanks for keeping in touch!  Tami and I want to know how we can be of service.  We can’t wait to send you somewhere real soon!

Sarah Krafty and Tami Degner

Krafty Travel

www.kraftytravel.com www.facebook.com/KraftyTravel www.twitter.com/sarahkrafty

You can get started with a travel assessment at form.jotform.us/form/41616930036147


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Well here it is the middle of August! Summer has flown by. Our two youngest children are back to school and this Saturday we take our oldest up to Central Michigan University. Our first fledgling to leave the nest!

The big news around the water cooler is that Krafty Travel has grown from just me to a “we.” I am pleased to introduce to you Tami Degner. Tami has joined the Krafty Travel team in an office managerial role. She will work remotely covering back office duties so that I can focus on taking care of you, our client.

Tami and I met in fourth grade when we were studying state capitols. We’ve been best friends ever since and now we can expand our geography studies to cover world travel. Tami lives in southern Michigan with her husband David of 27 years. They have two grown children, Hillary and Nathan. Tami absolutely loves searching for beach glass! She also enjoys reading, walking and exercise. Tami and David enjoy traveling and one of their favorite places is Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas. They are looking forward to an upcoming trip in October, once updates are done! You can contact Tami at 419-386-0425 or tami@kraftytravel.com. Reach out and say hello!

In early July, I traveled to New York City to experience the services of a preferred NYC supplier. It was big fun and a great opportunity to learn first hand what you can expect when using this supplier.

After New York City we hosted a river cruise info night with AMAWaterways. AMA is a favorite for many reasons. If River cruising in Europe or Asia is on your bucket list, let’s chat. Also, look for more travel info nights in the future. And with any luck, wine!

July ended with a fun weekend in Las Vegas at the Bellagio to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday. Vegas is a great getaway for a long weekend and perfect for groups. What celebrations do you have coming that need a Vegas getaway?

Thanks for keeping in touch. I can’t wait to send you somewhere real soon!
Sarah Krafty , Krafty Travel www.kraftytravel.com www.facebook.com/KraftyTravel www.twitter.com/sarahkrafty

You can get started with a travel assessment at form.jotform.us/form/41616930036147


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Wine Tours

A tour of any of the great wine country regions of the world is an opportunity to explore culture, history, cuisine and wine in a single trip. Without exception, the scenery is beautiful, the people passionate, and the wine — nothing short of phenomenal.

What is a wine tour? It’s a tour through a region that has developed a substantial vineyard and winery presence. Usually, a wine tour consists of visiting the wineries and tasting rooms to sample their current wines, often paired with food. Sometimes, a tour of the winery itself is included, and visitors can see where the wine is grown, processed, barreled, aged and eventually bottled.

Most people would first think of areas like the Napa Valley region of California or the Burgundy region of France as ideal locations for wine tours, and that’s with good reason, as those are outstanding locations. However, there are vineyards the world-over. For the majority of United States travelers, wine regions are within a few hours driving distance of their homes or an easy weekend fly-drive retreat, provding plenty of options. And if you are looking for a truly great epicurean vacation, you’ll pleasantly discover that the experience ends up being about much more than the wine.

A number of tour operators specialize in regional wine country tours. Chances are, your travel consultant has access to excellently priced tours of wine regions throughout the world, offering a variety of accommodations from luxurious villas to budget hotels. In many wine regions, wineries have formed “wine trails” to make it easy for visitors to find the participating wineries and to sample the wines. Often, tour operators can provide discounted passes to each of the tasting rooms at the different wineries. Along with a good travel consultant, you are sure to create experiences that would be hard to find on your own. On the best tours, you’ll discover small, unknown producers, meet top winemakers and in some cases, even receive an invitation into a home of a vigneron. Top tour operators can give you the opportunity to enjoy meals and tastings as guests of the estates – just one example of the kind of event often not available if you travel on your own, even if you visit the same cellars. However, many tour operators can even arrange independent, self-drive opportunities with the same privileges as their group tours.

Top Regions to Tour

If you want to tour some of the finest wineries and taste some of the world’s finest wines, certain regions are considered the regions to tour. They consistently produce excellent wines year after year, and some have been doing so for literally thousands of years.

Tuscan, Italy – Italy’s most famous wine region has over 157,000 acres of vineyards throughout its picturesque countryside. The Italians have been making wine for thousands of years, and Italy boasts the largest output of wine in the world. Its climate and soil are ideal for growing grapes, and nowhere is the setting more ideal than Tuscany. The region is most famous for producing Chianti, a wine that pairs naturally with most Italian foods.

Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone France – France has many wine growing regions, and each is worth a visit. The Burgundy region is especially popular because it is legendary for producing both excellent red and white wines. The rich history of wine making dates back to when the Romans first invaded the area. Visitors can tour old and new wineries that produce several well-known wines like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Beaujolais.

Australia – In the past few decades, Australia has emerged as one of the fastest growing wine regions in the world. Although many wineries have been around for over a hundred years, the public has only recently taken a serious interest in this region. More than 70 wineries in the New South Wales region are located just a few hours drive from Sydney. Wineries here are best known for producing excellent Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc.

USA – In the United States, the most popular region is certainly California’s Napa Valley, which is also one of the world’s newer wine regions. Its wine making history dates back less than 200 years, but those years have seen the birth of more than 260 wineries famous for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. Not to be outdone, however, Oregon, Washington State and New York all boast thriving wine industries and vineyards. Smaller regions include the Texas Hill Country, as well as areas in Connecticut, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  In my state of Ohio there are over 90 wineries, many in the Lake Erie region.

Germany – German wines have historically been mostly white, made from Riesling grapes more suited to the northern climate. German wines are produced around the Rhine and its tributaries, and the vineyards are sheltered by mountains so steep that while they catch the most sunlight, they are difficult to harvest mechanically.  Germany’s 13 regions include Ahr, Baden, Franken, Hessische Bergstrasse, Mittelrhein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Nahe, Pfalz, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Saale-Unstrut, Sächsische Weinstrasse and Württemberg.

South Africa –  Cape Town is the trailhead of the South African vineyards. The local wine industry has become a global force, producing approximately 3% of the world’s wine production, ranking as 9th largest producer in the world. New wineries are opening at a fast clip. Pinot Noir and Reisling varietals are predominant.

But this list is far from comprehensive.  Chile, Spain, Portugal and dozens of other countries have robust wine economies where local vineyards have adapted varietals to changing climates and soil conditions.

Considerations

Tell your travel consultant if you would prefer to travel independently or with a fully-guided tour group. In an independent setting, your agent will create an itinerary of wineries to tour, as well as any special events to attend, transportation, and lodging. You will then be on your own to follow the itinerary, which offers a great deal of flexibility.

A fully-guided tour provides you and other travelers with a knowledge-packed tour of the wine region. You will not have to worry about transportation, and the itinerary will include fixed times to visit wineries and other attractions as well as some free time to enjoy the wineries on your own. A fully-guided tour is an excellent choice for those who are going to regions so large that the options can be overwhelming, or for those who would rather leave transportation and other logistics to someone else. In addition, most tour companies provide a multilingual tour guide able to speak both English and the language of the region.

Remember, too, that you can travel a little more creatively. Hike or bike your way through wine country, and have an experience you could never get from a car or bus!

Prepare for your journey by reading about the region and its wines. Your travel consultant will obtain any materials from your tour operator to assist your studies, including maps, itineraries or brochures. If you’re going to a region where you don’t speak the language, learn a few choice phrases in the language before you go as a courtesy to your hosts.

If you are planning to purchase a lot of wine while you are on your trip and want to ship it back home, research your home’s laws concerning importing alcohol from outside the country. Your wine could sit in customs for days or weeks before delivery, and in the heat of summer, wines could go bad while they are waiting to be delivered.

Many of the great wine regions offer seasonal festivals when it is time to bring out the new wines. Bigger wineries will hold their own festivals, while smaller wineries will often team with others in the region and have a festival where guests can taste the new offerings from all of the wineries in the same location. Travelers who time their wine tours right have a chance to experience a true cultural celebration. Many wine regions also offer activities such as spas, cooking classes, museums, arts and crafts festivals, music festivals and other events – just ask your agent what’s available.

Most wine regions also offer restaurants that showcase both local cuisine and wineries. Also note the growing trend for restaurants that allow you to bring a bottle of your own – visit wineries during the day and choose a favorite bottle or two to enjoy with your meal in the evening.

It’s impossible to come away from a wine tour without also getting a lesson in local culture. Most winery owners are not only passionate about their wine; they are also passionate about the land and region that supports their lifestyle. It is not unusual to hear about an immigrant family that bought a piece of property years ago and was told by their neighbors that they could never operate a successful winery on the land – and who eventually proved them wrong.

Those who choose a wine tour come away with much more than just a few new bottles of wine. They leave having experienced a deeper cultural appreciation of wine and those who make it.

What are you waiting for? Contact Krafty Travel and get started.

OnTarget by Nexion

 


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Going to Graceland

Last spring we took a short trip to Memphis, TN.  We decided on Memphis because it is a drivable destination from northwest Ohio, getting us a little bit closer to warmth.  My husband, Mike is a big rock and roll fan, so Memphis made more sense to us than Nashville.  Plus, by staying in the states I could still be available to my spring travelers.

Once we made the decision to go, Elvis was all we could think about.  Mike went to the library and picked up a few books on Elvis.  He read them, and told me the highlights.  We watched Elvis YouTube videos,  Elvis’s 68 Special, a few Elvis movies, and bought an Elvis “best of” CD.  I hummed Paul Simon’s “I’m Going to Graceland”  nonstop.  It was kind of strange how much we were consumed.  Especially since we had barely even talked about Elvis prior to planning the trip.

It brought memories of childhood back to us.  I was 8 years old when Elvis died.  We were living in North Carolina at the time.  I remember sitting on my bed thinking about him and what it meant that he was gone.   I haven’t thought much about him at all in the years since.  Maybe 8 is too young to care about celebrities.  I was busy dealing with multiplication tables.

Even with all that hype before our trip, I thought I would think the whole Graceland thing was hokey once we were there.  We loved it.  We loved all of Memphis.  It seemed to be an aging city struggling to revitalize but there is a ton of history here, rock and roll and otherwise.  More than we expected.

Beale Street is an absolute must.  We loved the vibe, the constant music and walking the street with our Big A$$ Beers.  We went to Beale Street every day while in Memphis.  BB King’s restaurant was ok.  The food was great, the cover charge was high and service was, “eh.”  We enjoyed Flynn’s on Beale more.  We felt really welcome there and enjoyed listening to the music of Chris Gales, a super nice guy.

We toured Sun Studios, another must.  It’s a really strange feeling to stand in the same exact spot that Elvis and many other greats have recorded.  The actual studio has been kept largely unchanged.

We watched the march of the Peabody ducks which happens twice a day, every day at the Peabody Hotel.  Why they do it is sort of a ‘just because’.  Lots of people turn out for it.  It’s more waiting than actually seeing.  It’s strange.  I’m not sure I would say don’t do it, but I’m also not sure it’s worth the hype.  It is sort of “if you’re in Memphis, you HAVE to see the Peabody ducks.”  Well. Okay…

We visited the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  This was really eerie to see.  There is a wonderful memorial and museum there now.  We happened to visit on a Tuesday which is the day the museum is closed however there are many stations outside the museum with interactive information.

We toured the Gibson guitar factory.  This was pretty cool.  My husband is a bass guitar player.  I’m lucky we made it out of there without a new guitar.  I almost bought a ukulele though.  I’m still sorry I didn’t.

We took a river boat ride on the Mississippi.  When we talked about doing this, I had visions of a tour down the swampy bayou.  That was not the case.  You go 30 minutes against the strong current and then an hour and 30 minutes trying not to get swept away with the current going back.  We never left sight of the Memphis skyline. The guide was a great story teller.  It is 2 hours of history and funny stories in between 2 bridges of the Memphis waterfront.

Best of everything was Graceland.  It really was.  It’s a well oiled machine of tourism, and worth it.  We had to wait quite a while for our tour of Elvis’ home to begin but there are shops to see, food to eat and videos to watch and time seemed to pass quickly.  You do not have to get into the cue line until your tour number is called.  Once you do, boarding the shuttles that drive you across the street moves swiftly.  You are equipped with an iPad and headset.  John Stamos is the narrator.  The iPad magically knows which room of the home you are in and plays just the right music at just the right time.  You see home videos, interactive photos, hear Pricilla and Lisa Marie tell stories and listen to lots of Elvis. It is quite something to be standing in the rooms or see all of the jumpsuits and then hear his voice.

I can’t tell you how many times we listened to Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” or Paul Simon’s “Graceland” while we were in Memphis.  I think it was probably in the hundreds.  It added another layer to our fun, and hearing the songs still makes us smile.  I haven’t gotten off the Elvis high either.  It’s strange to me the impact of that silly 4 day vacation.   Elvis lives.

I’d love to chat more, look me up!

Beale Street Big A$$ Beer, Memphis Sun Studio, Elvis, Memphis Peabody Ducks, Memphis Beale Street, Memphis Elvis' Graceland, Memphis


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Canadian Travel Entry Tips

Happy Canada Day to our neighbors of the north!  Since today is Canada Day I thought it would be a good idea to share a few travel tips for entry when you visit Canada as a tourist.  It is not as simple as just showing up at the border and crossing over.

All US Citizens must have a passport book when traveling by air to Canada.  For land crossings, passport cards are acceptable.

It is important to note there are requirements for visiting Canada.  As listed on the Government of Canada website http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/apply-who.asp

To visit Canada, you must:

  • have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
  • be in good health,
  • convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
  • convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
  • have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. it depends on things like how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel or with friends or relatives.)

You may also need a:

  • temporary resident (visitor) visa, depending on your citizenship
  • and
  • letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.

There are reasons of inadmissibility, in which you may be denied entry into Canada.  The main one that surprises some travelers is that you may be denied entry if you have DUI on your driving record.  I have heard from other agents the stories of clients on Alaskan cruises, where they departed the US at Seattle or ports in Alaska and once they arrived in a Canadian port they were detained, denied entry, or required to immediately deport home because of a DUI on their driving record.

This is not something to risk.  If you are planning a trip to Canada it is important to seek assistance with the Canadian Consulate to determine your eligibility well BEFORE you depart for your trip.

Visiting Canada is well worth the effort. Grab a double double and check out these options in Vancouver and Whistler area.  Have a safe trip and enjoy all there is to offer!

Sarah Krafty

Agent and owner of Krafty Travel, Perrysburg, Ohio.