December 2018 Newsletter

December 4, 2018 by Brenda Fairfax No Comment


Please remember to give thanks for your many blessings.  We have so much to be thankful for, and we are certainly thankful for our health, family, friends, home, clients, and referrals.


  • Group cruise to Far East with Holland America (clients from California, Oregon, New York and Illinois), December 2018-January 2019
  • Clients from Virginia, Illinois, Florida, Maryland and North Carolina for Smooth Jazz Cruise, 2019
  • Claflin University’s students studying abroad in Dubai until February 2019
  • Couple in North Carolina, Eastern Caribbean Cruise, March 2019
  • Two couples in Greenville, NC for cruise on Viking, August 2019
  • One couple in Las Vegas, cruise with Crystal Cruises, May 2019
  • Group cruise to Alaska in June 2019
  • Group cruise to Australia and New Zealand, November 2019
  • Preparing for Cruise 360 (April 2019), Fort Lauderdale, FL to stay abreast of the travel market, and share ideas with you
  • Smooth Jazz Cruise 2020

Nomadic Star Travel, LLC is a full-service travel agency dedicated to giving the client personal attention to each and every travel request. We are happy to provide one quote free, so sharing your budget and all required details are important, as we do not want to offer travel that is not within your budget. We accept all major credit/debit cards and personal checks as long as checks are made payable to the agency and arrive seven (7) days prior to payment date. Now is the time to plan your travel. We offer travel by land, air and sea. We offer travel to individuals and groups, and have a convenient payment plans

Hours for Nomadic Star Travel, LLC:

  • Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm
  • Friday: 9am-4pm
  • Closed Saturday, Sunday, and ALL major holidays

There is one caveat to our hours of operation. When we have students traveling abroad, we can always be contacted by telephone or email by the college or university staff.

Travel, Accident and Baggage Insurance We cannot stress enough the importance of purchasing travel, accident and baggage insurance. We never know when, or if, we will need such insurance, but it is better to be covered than not. Insurance is sold by us through Travel Guard. There are many policies to choose from, and children are automatically covered through their parents’ policy.

Engagement. If you are interested in receiving specials (by email or postal mail) please visit the website and complete the Contact Us link. We will need your address (not PO Box) and telephone number. We will only mail specials that we think you may be interested, for example: we will not mail Disney specials if you do not have children.

In November’s newsletter I wrote about the busiest airports for Thanksgiving travel. This newsletter will cover “Can I fly with that?” The airline rules on musical instruments, sporting equipment and more. When it comes to packing, some things are harder than others.  This is what you need to know about guitars, surfboards, wine and more.

In this world nothing can be certain except death and taxes! Travelers can also expect hikes to airline baggage fees unfortunately. 2018 has been the first major year since 2013 to see a rash of baggage fees hikes among airlines. In August, both JetBlue Airways and United Airlines raised checked baggage fees on domestic U. S. flights by $5, with the first checked bag costing $30 for flights in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Air Canada and WestJet immediately followed with similar changes, and within weeks, competitors American Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced changes that paralleled these. According to U. S Bureau of Transportation statistics, the U. S. airline industry collected $2.4 billion in the first six months of 2018, up 7% from the same period a year earlier, and is on tract to total more than $4 billion for the year.

Baggage fees are big business, a business thriving at the expense of consumers who squint at the fine print while packing the night before a trip, only to find that they will need to be ready to pay more tat the airport. Thankfully airlines typically have a webpage featuring the details of what (and what isn’t — looking at you, sports parachutes and scuba air tanks) allowed as checked luggage, and any fees or packaging details that may be associated.  Delta is one of the most comprehensive, even volunteering information on how to check a Christmas tree (“adequately packaged with the root ball or cut base and all branches wrapped and secured using a burlap type material,” in case you were wondering).

These details should assist on the most common categories of extra baggage:

  • Musical instruments – Violins can come on board with you, but cellos may need their own seat. Small musical instruments like violins and wind instruments may be carried on the plan as cabin baggage, but do protect them with a hard-shell case. The larger instruments that require special accommodations. Some airlines may offer the option to purchase an extra seat for these with more than 72 hours advance notice.
  • Sporting equipment – Golf clubs, surfboards, bicycles, skis and snowboard gear are the most common checked baggage. Airlines will accept appropriately packaged and protected items as wide-ranging as spearguns, javelins, snowshoes, scuba gear, and in some cases, even entire kayaks.
  • Everything else – Check with your airlines as all airlines and not wine-friendly.

According to a U. S. Department of Transportation Report dated August 2018, these are the U. S. airlines most often guilty of mishandling baggage:

  • #12 Spirit Airlines
  • #11 Delta Air Lines
  • #10 JetBlue Airways
  • #9 Hawaiian Airlines
  • #8 Frontier Airlines
  • #7 Southwest Airlines
  • #6 Alaska Airlines
  • #5 United Airlines
  • #4 American Airlines
  • #3 Skywest Airlines
  • #2 Envoy Airlines
  • #1 ExpressJet Airlines

These airports have been ranked as the best airports in America. This data was collected from the Department of Transportation, travelers and third parties.

  • #15 Chicago Midway International Airport
  • #14 Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
  • #13 Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu
  • #12 Miami International Airport
  • #11 Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
  • #10 Ronald Regan Washington National Airport
  • #9 George H. W. Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston
  • #8 Washington-Dulles International Airport
  • #7 Philadelphia International Airport
  • #6 Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • #5 Tampa International Airport
  • #4 San Diego International Airport
  • #3 Portland International Airport
  • #2 Salt Lake City International Airport
  • #1 Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Carnival Cruise Lines Updated Smoking Policy reads, in part:

  • Any violation of this policy will result in a $500 charge, per violation, posted on the guest’s Sail & Sign account and may also result in the disembarkation of all guests in the stateroom.
  • Guests who are disembarked for violating our policy will be responsible for all financial charges and expenses to return home, and no refund of their unused cruise fare will be provided. Additionally, they may be prohibited from sailing with Carnival Cruise Line in the future.
  • For travelers who smoke and are considering a Carnival cruise, the line still permits smoking in the designated areas on the exterior decks of its ships and in the casino and nightclub. The remainder of each ship is a smoke-free zone. The smoking ban includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vaporizers, electronic cigarettes and marijuana, with Carnival prohibiting possession and use of marijuana.

Planning Multigenerational Travel  Our #1 priority is to match the budget and group dynamics with adventures that all can enjoy together. We will make contact with each family member with authority, to find out what they want, remembering to take everyone’s age and ability to travel into account as well. This way we can narrow potential destinations and activities. If families create a fun list of vacation destinations and make it a priority to plan these trips over the years of spring break summer and holiday vacations, this gives us the plan for their vacation and ideas for the future.

Getting married? Looking for one of six top honeymoon destinations?

  • Lucia – The beaches, rainforest, luxury resorts, cuisine, history, lush landscape and majestic Pitons on St. Lucia’s west coast make this island in the Eastern Caribbean perfect for romance, especially for those who want to explore their adventurous side. After a full day, relax with a mud bath at the volcanic Sulphur Springs in Soufriere, or indulge your sweet tooth by booking a cocoa plantation tour at Hotel Chocolate, where guests can make their own chocolate bar.
  • JamaicaBlissful couples seeking a more laid-back vibe will enjoy the allure of Jamaica, where the reggae music genre was born. Newlyweds can enjoy the waterfall vistas on an excursion to Blue Hole in the Ocho Rios area or a romantic sea salt and hot stone massage.
  • Bora Bora and Tahitian Islands overwater bungalows, true luxury, wellness and spas are a few ways to describe Bora Boraand the Tahitian Islands as an exotic honeymoon destination.
  • Riviera Maya, Mexicolends more luxury treatment with a shorter travel time for a postnuptial getaway along Mexico’s northeastern Yucatan Peninsula. Take a day trip inland along the Yucatan Peninsula to visit the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá and climb to the top of El Castillo, an awe-inspiring temple pyramid. Or be “wowed” by a spectacular show at Xcaret, an eco-archeological park, where 300 artists recreate the history of  Mexico.
  • Italy has many cities that offer the allure of romance coupled with thousands of years of culture. For those who want to spend time on the beach, consider a relaxing honeymoon on theAmalfi Coast to admire the cerulean blue waters and breathtaking cliff-top views. Spend time in Florence, the epicenter of Renaissance culture, and experience private museums tours, cooking classes, and day trips to local cities like Pisa. Or, while on an excursion to Pompeii, explore the remnants of an ancient Roman town preserved by volcanic ash.
  • Hawaii – The Hawaiian Islands are not only an amazing travel destination, but also easy for American newlyweds to reach for their honeymoons as passports are not required! Every Hawaiian island has its own distinct flair and attractions. Mauioffers luxury beachfront resorts and the epic Road to Hana Oahu draws honeymooners with its urban-metro feel and world-class surfing. In Kauai, happy couples can explore jaw-dropping natural wonders by hiking to the cascading Wailua Falls.

Check before departing your cruise ship. In July 2018 we had a group of 62 clients on a cruise ship. Unfortunately, one of the clients forgot his wallet and realized it was missing one day after getting off the ship. Please remember, ships come in to port and when you get off, other guests are waiting to get on the ship.  We cannot stress enough the importance of checking your safe, drawers, and the floor as it is possible items may have fallen on the floor, and possibly rolled under the bed. Luckily, the room steward was honest and returned the lost wallet to Lost and Found. In the meantime, stress was felt by the guest, the coordinator and of course our agency. Remember, when you book with a travel agency, the cruise line only deals with travel agents. The coordinator notified Nomadic Star Travel, LLC by text message on a Sunday evening approximately 10:00pm, and I immediately sent an email to my Business Development Officer requesting she send an email to the ship. I advised the coordinator to have the client cancel all credit cards that were in the wallet. The coordinator for the cruise completed the report as requested.  Nomadic Star Travel, LLC was notified this week that the wallet had been turned in … a great ending. The cruise line always returns items, but the guest pays the expenses for shipping.

Ten Happiest Countries in the World (according to a recent poll)

  • Finland consistently ranks among the top education systems in the world, occasionally only beaten out by South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. Much of that educational success comes from a widespread reverence for teachers, who are required to have a master’s degree (state-funded), and a pedagogical system that focuses less on quantitative testing and more on experiential learning and equal opportunity. This year, Finland also topped the list for the happiest immigrants.
  • Norway is the second-happiest country in the world. Like the UN shows, year after year, in it Human Development Report, where Norway has taken the top spot for 13 years in a row, there is more to the country that makes it so livable—and its people so happy.
  • Denmark rates near the top in all the metrics the data geeks at the U.N. pored over for the report—life expectancy, social support, and generosity among them—but it is also a country hugely committed to renewable energy production. Denmark’s happiness to a number of different categories, including trust in the government, economic security, freedom, civil participation, and work-life balance.
  • Iceland ranks high in terms of the proportion of respondents who said they felt like they had a fellow citizen to count on when the going gets rough. This perhaps became most obvious in the wake of the country’s post 2007 financial collapse and subsequent revitalization.
  • Switzerlandis a country where everything is voted on, and referendums down to the local level happen many times a year. This system of direct democracy means that Swiss citizens feel an unparalleled sense of participation in their country’s evolution, from landmark decisions on human rights to whether a new traffic light should be installed in their neighborhood.
  • Netherlandshappiness starts young. A 2013 Unicef report rated Dutch children the happiest in the world, based on a number of metrics related to educational well-being, safety, and health.
  • Canadais yet another reason for Americans to grab their best hiking boots and head north. The only country from the Americas to have made it into the top ten, Canada’s number-seven place is proof that money isn’t everything, as it beats out its neighbor (the U.S. came at number 18).
  • New Zealandedges out its neighbor Australia. Kiwis are a warm, welcoming bunch from satisfaction not only when they’re out and about, but also in the workplace. We would guess the country’s vast natural wealth— its beaches, vineyards and mountains play a role, too.
  • Australia In addition to a healthy work-life balance and “no worries” stress levels, Australians also have one of the highest life expectancies in the world (82.15 years). Down Under is also one of the most accepting countries for migrants, according to the report, and comes in sixth in the happiness ranking for foreign-born residents.

Travel, Accident and Baggage Insurance. We always encourage our clients to purchase travel, accident and baggage insurance. You never know when you may need the insurance and it is best to have it, than not. Here are some of the top reasons travel insurance claims are delayed or denied, and just remember it typically takes 30 days from reporting a claim for a final decision.

  • Are you sure your policy covered you for this kind of claim? An example is flight delays, which need to be for three hours or more.
  • If you are sick, what was diagnosed by a professional?When did you report that to the insurance company? Insurance companies need proof, and without notes form your doctor, you are probably going to have a problem getting your claim approved. Insurance should be purchased within the first 15 days of booking your travel. You must document when your sought medical treatment, and seeking treatment prior to returning home and saving all medical documentation is critical to prove both your expense and the fact that an event occurred.

Please take these important steps regarding your insurance:

  • Gather all paperwork and documentation in advance and ensure you have all claims-related medical documents and/or police reports prior t0 returning home.
  • Read your travel insurance policy language and make sure you understand the language prior to departure.
  • Purchase travel insurance as early as possible to increase your eligibility for time-sensitive benefits and to ensure your trip cost is accurate.
  • Expect claim processing delays following major travel events, like hurricanes.

Tourism Travel – China is Taking Over. Chinese tourists now are as varied as those from any other country and often much wealthier. In only three decades, the Chinese have gone from easily stereotyped, rube, new tourists to conquerors of the industry. After hundreds of millions of visits and billions of dollars showered around the world, Chinese tourists now hail from the middle, rich and the very rich classes. Fewer travel in groups. Some still enrage destinations with their thoughtlessness. Others are welcomed for their enthusiasm and unique points of view. Above all, the Chinese are changing tourism around the world.

Emotional Support Animals. This is a heads-up.  The Department of Transportation is reviewing more than 4,400 public comments as it determines whether it should end a federal requirement that airlines allow passengers to bring emotional support animals onto flights. No timeline has been set for completion of the decision process.

Looking for Some of the Best Places to Travel in 2019?

North America

  • Alberta’s Rocky Mountain, Canada– What could be a better wellness destination than the residence of more winter Olympic athletes than anywhere else in Canada?
  • Detroit, Michigan has given the world iconic dishes such as square pizza and Asian corned beef.
  • Franklin, Tennessee has the whiskey and war history to rival Nashville.
  • Maui, Hawaii is coming out of Oahu’s shadow with its quiet beaches and great restaurants.
  • Park City, Utah has world-class skiing, and also some unique yoga adventures to explore the snowless slopes on a mountain bike.
  • Puebla, Mexico tends to get overshadowed by better known places like Oaxaca.
  • Puerto Ricois open for business, with some help from Lin-Manuel Miranda. I was there in September, and again last month with clients and we had a lovely time.
  • Saratoga Springs, New York is not just for horse people. It is a nature escape with great food too.
  • Scottsdale, Arizona It’s young, cool side is just starting to emerge.
  • Telluride, Coloradois for adventure seekers that want to spend all day in the great outdoors.
  • Tofino, Canada on Vancouver Island, has world-class surf and unbelievable seafood.

Salvador, Brazil

  • Salvadoris home to turquoise beaches and spicy Bahian food – a blend of Portuguese, African in indigenous Brazilian influences.


  • Belgrade, Serbia has a wild nightlife scene, with clubs on barges and a burgeoning craft beer scene.
  • Bologna, Italy is considered the birthplace of both tortellini pasta and tagliatelle alla Bolognese.
  • Gothenberg, Swedenis Sweden’s second largest city and is setting the standard for sustainable dining in Scandinavia.
  • Islay, Scotland, otherwise known as Whiskey Island, is where all of your scotch dreams come true.
  • Provence, France is vying to become France’s next art capital.


  • Bhutan is a hiker’s paradise that’s slowly opening up to the outside world.

Travel is a huge investment … let us help you.

Nomadic Star Travel, LLC would like to be “Your Passport to Adventure

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