5 Simple Things You Can Do to Take Your Vacation to the Next Level

Making the most of your vacation is the goal of every traveler that I work with.  As a professional travel advisor, I see countless itineraries for travel all over the globe and I often see the same mistakes made over and over again.  Sometimes it’s the little things that, if done right, can have a huge impact on the overall experience.  

Private cooking class in Florence with a local chef

Private cooking class in Florence with a local chef

Private Experiences

Private guides and local experiences are usually expensive and therefore many people prefer group activities or exploring an area on your own.  I’m here to tell you that even for the budget traveler, spending money on the RIGHT experiences is a worthwhile addition to your trip.  Think private sunset cruises along the Amalfi Coast, cooking classes with a Tuscan chief, wine tasting in the private cellars of the French countryside.  These are the things you and your traveling partners will remember fondly for years to come.

Pre-arranged Airport Transfers

The first thing crossed off any itinerary proposal by clients is the “costly” airport transfers.  These can make the difference between a relaxing arrival and a trip from hell.  For most people arriving in a foreign country means walking out of the airport to throngs of people, all trying to get your money.  Even if you do make it to the correct cab line are you sure the driver is taking you the most direct way? Are you sure they know where you are going?? Compare that to the smart traveler who, for a few dollars more, pre-reserved a driver and car who is waiting for them upon arrival and who already knows where they are going. 

Don’t over-schedule

Not over-scheduling means more time relaxing

Not over-scheduling means more time relaxing

I often hear from clients who want to try and see everything in a major city like Paris, Rome or Tokyo in 3 nights, or hop from city to city with huge wish lists.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of over-scheduling, but traveling on these itineraries feels more like checking things off a list and living through your camera lens. By slowing down, spending more time in each location, and accepting that you will not see everything you actually get the chance to relax and truly experience the destination.   

Book Direct Flights

As a travel advisor one of the most surprising things is watching how easily travelers disregard the value of their time when booking air travel.  When looking at air options it's important to recognize the many downsides and risks associated with connecting flights.  First, it usually adds at least 3 to 4 hours onto a trip.  Second, it greatly increases your chances of missing a flight due to delays.  Last but not least, it may subject you to additional screening / customs depending on your itinerary.  If direct flight options exist for your itinerary, think long and hard about the hassle-free experiences and time savings that spending a little more money can offer.

Use a Professional Travel Advisor

No matter where you are in your travel planning, consulting an expert to review and offer suggestions will get the most out of every trip.  Even if you don’t have the destination in mind, Travel Advisors can use your budget and preferences to select the perfect spot. It’s never too late to make sure you get the most of your well-earned time off.  Nick Running Travel is here to help you accomplish your travel goals. Reach out to us today to get started on your next adventure!.

Why The Greenwich Hotel Should Be High On Your List For Your Next NYC Visit

Last weekend I was lucky enough to stay at the Greenwich hotel in NYC, and I was absolutely blown away.  This boutique hotel truly makes you feel like you have an apartment in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in NYC (Tribeca).  There are many reasons to stay here for your next NYC getaway, and I have listed out my favorite ones below.   Shameless plug before you read on, Nick Running Travel clients get $50 daily towards breakfast, room upgrades if available and $100 in Spa credit to forget about the busy city around you.

Pool built under a Japanese style house

Pool built under a Japanese style house

You Feel Like a Local

Many of the popular NYC hotel spots are PACKED with tourists, but not here.  The Greenwich is located in the Tribeca neighborhood, the most expensive housing market in NYC for 2018.  This area is full of cobblestone streets, amazing local restaurants and not a tourist in sight.  You are able to explore the sights during the day, but still return to a relaxing neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle in the evening.

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room

My favorite part of the hotel was the Drawing Room.  The Drawing room is a lounge/bar/restaurant that is for hotel guests only.  I hate that at many high end hotels the restaurants and bar areas can become packed with locals or those staying at other places nearby, so this was a great solution.  The Drawing even serves hotel guests food from the amazing and hard to get into Italian restaurant next door, Locanda Verde.


Perfect For 2nd or 3rd  time NYC Travelers

By now you have seen everything there is to see in Midtown, gone to a play, eaten at the famous Michelin Stared restaurants and are looking for something a little different.Staying at the Greenwich means you can walk to amazing locals restaurants, visit the high line or art galleries in Chelsea or explore West, Greenwich Village and Soho on foot.This is the perfect spot to explore a little deeper into the NYC you already know.

5 Places to Travel in 2019

Every January many of us sit down to plan out our goals, health and activities for the rest of the year.  Because of that, there is no better time to finalize your spring break travel, summer vacation or start thinking about your upcoming holiday travel.  Nick Running Travel wants to help you kick start your planning by giving you our 5 favorite destinations for this year.  Whatever your travel plans in 2019, reach out to us today so we can ensure it is rewarding, enriching and most of all, perfectly tailored to you.

Southern Italy


If you’ve “been there, and done that” when it comes to the major cities and regions in Italy, add Southern Italy and Puglia to your list. The region shows a completely different side of Italy.  Matera in the “arch” of the boot is built into the rock of a ravine.  Its famous for sassi or cave like dwellings, including cave hotels!! In 1993 UNESCO declared Matera a World Heritage Site, and it is the 2019 European Capitol of Culture so expect fun activities all year long. 



There is more to Portugal than Lisbon, Porto and the Douro Wine Valley. Portugal is filled with a vibrant culinary scene, beautiful landscapes and beautiful islands like the Azores or Madeira.  This year Madeira celebrates is 600th anniversary of discovery. It’s an island full of terraced vineyards, atmospheric fishing villages and pretty pebble beaches. Today, the “Island of Flowers” is luring a fresh set of adventure seekers with its warm year-round climes, dramatic landscapes and a 500-mile network of UNESCO-listed levadas, or irrigation channels, that serve as scenic hiking and mountain biking trails.

New Zealand


They say photos don’t do New Zealand justice, and it’s hard to believe this destination can be even more beautiful in real life, but somehow it is.  Air New Zealand’s new 787s have allowed them to expand service in US which means New Zealand is more accessible than ever.  Currently they fly direct from Auckland to Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Chicago.  Once there take in the beauty of the South Island where dramatic topographical features dominate the landscape. The South Island is known for its bungee jumping, skydiving, and amazing backcountry trekking trails.



Egypt is back and with waiting lists for many hotels and boat trips along the Nile, word has got out. Traveling here, more than 7000 years of history come to life before your eyes. Beyond the pyramids, you can experience the legendary Nile River, tranquil Red Sea spots, and vibrant cities.  In Cairo the brand new St. Regis will open in March as one of the top hotels in the city. 



It may take a while to reach the southernmost region of South America, but a trip to Patagonia is well worth it, especially if you love outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, and fly-fishing.  Adventurers are drawn to the vast emptiness of its desert and the drama of its Lake District, where the snow-capped Andes are reflected in the bright water.  Patagonia’s wine and food scenes are gathering pace as well. Río Negro’s fertile soils make for great farm produce and grapes as Patagonia now rivals Mendoza in producing Argentina’s best Malbec’s.

My Top Four Holiday Getaways for Procrastinators

Have you been thinking about planning a last minute getaway for the holidays? Did your excitement suddenly disappear after a few internet searches of your favorite hotels showed no availability or ridiculous prices with crazy 7 to 10 day minimum stays?  Nick Running Travel is here to help with our favorite last minute locations for travel over the holiday time period.


Ready to try something new this holiday season? Belmond’s amazing Grand Hotel Timeo, which normally closes prior to the holidays is open until January this year.  Because of its southern location Sicily offers a mild winter climate for those looking to escape the harsh winters and enjoy a new part of Italy.  Belmond’s hotel, the first hotel to be built in the city, gazes out across the coast towards Mount Etna.  Bask in manicured gardens, savour sensational cuisine and fuel your imagination with cocktails on the Literary Terrace—just like generations of celebrated guests before you.  As a preferred partner of Belmond, Nick Running Travel Clients get perks like upgrades, free breakfast, and up to $200 of resort credit.



What better place to go for the holidays than the city of lights!  They beauty of Paris is most often shown during the night hours so what better time to go then the shortest days of the year.  Ice Skating rinks and Christmas Markets also help you enjoy the holiday spirit.  My favorite hotel for this time of year may also be the best hotel in the city.  Four Seasons George V boasts one of the most famous decorative lobby displays in the world designed by the amazing Jeff Leatham.  Make sure you book your stay with Nick Running Travel for Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits.



While people are flocking to Hawaii or the Caribbean, Mexico remains a bargain for travelers who know where to look.  Many places in the tropics this time of year have 7 to 10 night minimum stays on top of astronomical room prices.  When paying high prices you might as well get your money’s worth with a top of the line all inclusive experience.  Grand Velas Riviera Maya only requires a 5 night minimum stay, and for the holiday time period kids ages 4-17 are free.  That’s a great value for families looking for a little sunshine.  Booking with Nick Running Travel gets you complementary one way airport transfers and $100 spa credit.


French Polynesia

While there may not be hotel availability in your favorite Caribbean or Hawaiian Island, maybe think a little bit farther away this year.  Below the equator in French Polynesia it’s currently “rainy season” which means no minimum stays over the holidays at the best resorts (like the Four Seasons Bora Bora).  While Nick Running Travel can’t guarantee weather, who cares if there is a few hours of showers while you lounge in your overwater bungalow.  Make sure you book your stay with Nick Running Travel for Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits, and if you are interested in other French Polynesia hotels make sure you reach out to take advantage of all the benefits we can provide for your preferred hotel.


Site Visits of 6 Riviera Maya Properties

Following my recent visit of the All-Inclusive Grand Velas, I was lucky enough to visit 6 other properties in the Riviera Maya that all offer something completely different for my clients.  I have listed these properties in the order visited and feel they all offer a unique experience that I would recommend to any client.

Viceroy Riviera Maya

The Viceroy is a SUPER boutique property offering only 41 rooms and suites. This is the place to be if you are looking to relax in peace and quite and enjoy your surroundings.  Every room includes a plunge pool and most include and outdoor shower.  I would recommend this location to anyone who is interested in the “jungle” feel of the Riviera Maya as the Ocean and Partial Ocean view rooms are not nearly as private as other room categories.  My favorite are rooms in the jungle as you literally could relax in your room all day without seeing another person.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       Full breakfast daily, for two in room guests

·       $100 USD Equivalent Resort/Hotel credit, to be utilized during stay

·       Early check-in/late check-out , subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa

The Belmond is my recommendation for anyone who wants traditional Mexican styling along with a great beachfront. Just like the Viceroy the Belmond is small (63 rooms), however unlike the Viceroy which a majority of the rooms are in the jungle the Belmond is all right along the beautiful Maroma beach.  During my visit the ocean was notably calmer and the beach better than any of the other resorts I visited.  The Ocean View Suits and Junior Suites looked amazing and had a great combination of updated fixtures with Mexican styling. This small resort also allows the surrounding nature to thrive as during my visit a group of monkeys were swinging from treetop to treetop delighting the guests.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       A full breakfast daily for two in-room guests

·       $90 for rooms and $200 for suites hotel credit

·       Maroma floral bed decoration on arrival

·       Early check-in/Late check-out subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

Rosewood Mayakoba:

I would classify the Rosewood as a great all-around hotel, especially focused on large private suites with views of the lagoon or jungle.  The Rosewood provides butler service to all rooms, and while at the beginning it was something I didn’t think use, It turned out that they were very helpful.  From planning dinner, coordinating time for turn down and room service to mixing my welcome drink in my room, the butler was amazing and greatly exceeded my expectations.   They truly know your day to day schedule and it showed.  The Rosewood would be my recommendation for anyone looking for an extremely high level of service, multiple dining options and anyone who wants space and privacy.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       Buffet breakfast daily for up to 2 in-room guests

·       $100 USD Equivalent Spa Services credit

·       Welcome tequila amenity

·       Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

Andaz Mayakoba:

The Andaz kept with its traditional minimalist style at their brand new Mayakoba property.  While I didn’t love the Jungle or Lagoon view rooms I felt the beachfront rooms were great, while also being super close to the 2 amazing restaurants near the pool.  I would completely recommend this location to the younger crowd as there seemed to be a very good atmosphere to lounge as well as a great bar area to have drinks into the night.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade to the next room category on arrival, subject to availability

·       Daily breakfast buffet for two.

·       $100 USD Resort credit, per room, per stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

Banyan Tree Mayakoba:

The Banyan Tree is a very imposing and grand property from the moment you walk into the lobby.  The main lobby area is surrounded by water and in the middle is the famous Banyan Tree.  As imposing as the lobby is though the rest of the resort is very subtle and relaxed.  The resort is done in an Asian styling which may be weird to many guests in Mexico but it is very well done.  I personally loved the private pools (no plunge pools here these things are huge!).  This resort is perfect for those who like the Asian style décor and a swim up pool bar!

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       Complimentary International buffet breakfast

·       Resort Credits ranging from USD $100 to USD $200 per villa, per stay (Resort credit amount varies depends on the villa categories)

·       Preferential green fees at El Camaleon Golf Course, a PGA championship course

·       Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

NIZUC Resort and Spa

NIZUC is definitely a unique property.  If you are looking for a sleek, sexy couples hotel this is the spot.  While its larger than many other places on the Riviera Maya, it has a separate adults only pool and restaurant.  I loved the black pools, night lighting and service.  You are never more than a few seconds away from a picture perfect view.  Also, because it is located near Cancun, they also offer guided tours of one of the underwater museums weekly and its only 10 minutes from the airport.  In my opinion this is the perfect hotel to pair with a more jungle themed trip to the Rosewood, Viceroy or Banyan Tree.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       Daily Breakfast for two

·       One-way airport transfer (valid on arrivals only)

·       Hydrotherapy session for two, once during stay

·       Welcome Amenity in suite: a bottle of tequila and dried fruit

·       Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi


Grand Velas, My First Luxury All Inclusive Experience


I’ve always been someone who avoided All-Inclusive resorts, after hearing stories of cheap buffet food, poor service and drunk crowds doing shots, it never seemed like something that would appeal to me.  Thankfully the team at Grand Velas Rivera Maya heard my concerns and decided that I needed to come visit to find out what All-Inclusive could be.  I spent a wonderful long weekend there enjoying all there was to offer, and walked away impressed by three main things;

1.       Food and Drink
One area that most All-Inclusives fall short in, is the quality of food and drinks.  However Grand Velas is different. They take the food and dining options very seriously.  Amazingly, they have 2 AAA 4 Diamond restaurants and 1 AAA 5 Diamond restaurant that are open for dinner, included in the price.  Breakfast was delivered via room service to my room daily, and there was nothing better than enjoying breakfast outside on my deck looking out at the ocean.  Drinks at the bars and restaurants were made with high end liquor, and the wine list was decent.  It was so refreshing to never see a price, yet still know that I was getting a quality product.

2.       Hotel Grounds
Grand Velas Rivera Maya is practically 3 hotels in one.  There are 3 completely different areas, all connected via shuttles and all provide completely different experiences.  Ambassador Class is the family area, near the beach and with large kid friendly rooms and a giant resort pool where the whole family can play.  Grand Class is 100% beachfront rooms with plunge pools, a quiet pool with a swim up bar and is closest to the AAA 4 and 5 star dining options. Finally Zen Class is located in the jungle and includes an amazing calm and relaxing pool away from the crowds. 


3.       Rooms
I stayed in the Grand Class area and my room was huge with over 1,000 SF of useable area.  I had an amazing plunge pool that allowed me to watch the ocean from the privacy of my deck.  During my stay I also got to check out rooms from the Zen and Ambassador Class, and while different, they all offered amazing space (over 1,000 SF) and fit the environment perfectly.  Even though the Zen rooms were not on the water, the plunge pools overlooking the jungle seemed like the perfect location to relax.

After returning from this trip I can recommend Grand Velas to my clients without hesitation.  I feel this resort is best suited for families, couples or groups who care about having great food while enjoying the stress free environment that comes with All Inclusive resorts.  Best of all, Nick Running Travel clients receive upgrade on arrival, if available, complementary one way airport transfer, $100 Spa Credit and a bottle of Mezcal in your room on arrival.  

5 Reasons to Make The Resort at Paws Up Your Next Ranch Getaway.


Last week I was lucky to be invited to The Resort at Paws Up in Montana to experience the activities, try out the food and drinks and build relationships with the staff.  I have to tell you this place was amazing, and I wanted to share my top 5 reasons to book Paws Up for your next ranch style getaway. 


1.       The Activities:
I was blown away by both the amount of activities and the quality of the guides.  From horseback riding and cattle driving all the way to fly fishing and rappelling, this place has anything that you could possibly want.  Every activity comes with at least one guide who do a great job of immersing you in a little sliver of their Montana lifestyle.  Most activities do have an extra charge, but you get what you pay for, and I would plan for at least 1 or 2 a day to make sure you make the most of your trip.

2.       The Property
Paws Up sits on 37,000 Acres, and even knowing that I was blown away at the size of the property.  The legendary Blackfoot river flows for 10 miles through the resort. It’s not just large, it’s also a working ranch with a couple hundred Black Angus cows, bison and wild heard of elk and deer. 

3.       The Food
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in the price of Paws Up which sometimes causes the quality to drop, but not here.  Made to order omelets, breakfast burritos and other items help you start your morning on the right foot, and lunch pairs Montana favorites with a more luxurious ingredients (I’m looking at you Montana Beef and Foie Gras burger) .  Dinner however is where Paws Up shines. Their fine dining restaurant competes with the best steakhouses anywhere serving locally sourced meats and ingredients.  They also offer a Chuck Wagon dinner with an old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon, and food cooked on an campfire.  What’s a better way to spend an evening?

4.       The Service
One of the biggest things that jumped out at me during my stay was the great service by the local Paws Up team, and not in the stuffy, fancy way that would feel completely out of place here.   The butlers for each campsite knew everyone by name, what their schedule was for the day and seemed truly happy to be there.  There is no rushing around for appointments, our drivers would sometimes take the “long-way” just because they saw a pack of animals that they wanted to show off to the guests.  You can tell the team loves what they do and wants to share their love of Montana to each guest.

5.       The Accommodations
Paws Up has you covered no matter what you are looking for.  For people looking at glamping, the safari style tents are SUPER luxurious with amazing beds, heated bathroom floors and giant showers.  For those looking to stay in a home or lodge, there are 1-3 bedroom houses that are very well appointed and decorated in the “western style”.  Some homes even have on-suite baths in each of the 3 bedrooms so you no longer have to fight for the master bedroom.

If you are interested in staying at Paws Up please reach out to Nick Running Travel here, we can talk you though all the details, and make sure that we pick the perfect house or tent for your needs.  All clients booking with Nick Running Travel also receive free round-trip airport transfers and a $300 activity credit to use while on site. 

Virtuoso Travel Week – 4 Takeaways

Virtuoso Travel week is finally over, and as everyone leaves Las Vegas I wanted to share with you my main takeaways from this whirlwind week.  Travel always connects us to new and exciting cultures, ideas and ways of life.  Virtuoso Travel Week is no different, we get to see the new and inventive ways the industry is changing and make sure our clients get the best trip possible.  Below are my top 4 takeaways from the week


1.       Wellness is booming
Wellness travel is so big right now.  Whether that is a nice hotel with a great spa, or a full retreat that kicks you back into shape.  There are so many different options to fit whatever you are looking for.  My favorite option this year was The Ranch, a 7 day bootcamp with no alcohol, forced hikes and workouts and pre-planned meals.

2.       Expedition Travel
While we love our traditional vacation ideas (think Italy, France, Japan etc), some clients are looking for something new.  In recent years there has been a huge expansion in this market, and now clients have great options for cruising the Amazon, Galapagos and Polar regions.  Our favorite partner is Lindblad, who pairs environmentally conscious true expedition travel with the service level that our clients traditionally expect.


3.       Giving Back
By far my favorite partner that I met with this week was ME to WE.  They pair luxurious adventure travel with improving the lives of the local community.  Your vacation may include helping to build a school or other needed facilities for local communities, and in return you get authentic experiences without the “staged” feeling.  Visit the world and at the same time, make a difference in a faraway community!

4.       Connections
Travel advisers can provide so much value to clients, not just because we know the products, but because we know the people behind those products.  We are on a first name basis with many people in the industry, and that means clients get treated with more care and respect.   These connections are the heart of Virtuoso Travel Week and what really separates our bookings from those of a traditional online website.

Client Success Story – $11,000+ Saved on Business Class Airfare

I often talk about all the perks of using a travel adviser with hotels, tours, and insider knowledge, but knowledgeable air experts like us will ensure you have the best flights and connections for your itinerary. Additionally, from time to time, we will save you money by booking private fares only accessible to travel agents.

I had a client last week looking for Business Class airfare for him and his wife to a major European city.  Direct flights on the airlines website were $9,860 per person!  In order to meet his preferred budget for the trip he needed a cheaper air option.  Using our private air contracts, and preferred relationships I was able to get him the same flights for $4,325 per person!  An amazing savings of over $11,000 for two tickets.  Make sure you reach out to Nick Running Travel before your next trip to see all the benefits that can be added to your next vacation.

Note: Savings on published airfare rates is not guaranteed for every itinerary.

Best Business and First Class Flights to Europe

It seems that booking flights is always an afterthought to most vacations, you just do a search for the cheapest flight or use your favorite airline.  Sometimes you want something more. For a special occasion or important work trip, traveling First or Business Class can be an important way to beat jet lag, or have a better traveling experience (see my previous blog post for more reasons why).  Products differ greatly though so Nick Running Travel wants you to know from our personal experience the best and worst ways to travel to Europe from the west coast.  This information isn’t just valuable for Europe though so in the coming weeks we will also publish our recommendations for Asia / Australia, NZ / South America / US East Coast

Best Business Class:

Air France 777 (SFO/LAX – Paris)

Air france 777 business class

Air france 777 business class

Air France has recently refurbished their 777’s to include new reverse herringbone seats which are currently the top of the line in privacy and comfort.  Food and drinks on Air France are always top notch in keeping with their French heritage.  Depending on final location this would be my preferred way to travel to Europe in business class.

American Airlines 777 (LAX – London)

American airlines 777 business class

American airlines 777 business class

American may not always have the best service, food or drinks, however the seats more than make up for it on this flight.  Flying overnight to Europe means that you lose a whole evening, luckily with Americans new refurbished seats on their 777, that means you get a full flat bed with lots of storage space that lets you relax and wake up rested.

Delta A330 (SEA – Amsterdam)

delta a330 business class

delta a330 business class

Delta is the Americas best airline in terms of service (vs American or United), but unfortunately they currently don’t have the best seats for sleeping besides the newly released A350 (which currently only flies to Asia).  The best seats Delta currently flies to Europe is on their A330 which as of now they only fly to Amsterdam from Seattle on the West Coast. 

Best First Class:

Air France 777 (LAX – Paris)

Air France first class

Air France first class

Air France didn’t just recently refurbish their business class but also first class. The seats are super luxurious with a curtain that you can close for complete privacy.  Air France’s first class lounge in Paris also has a restaurant by 3 Michelin star chief Alain Ducasse.  Guests are taken to their airplane by private car and escorted on-board from plane-side.

Lufthansa A380 (SFO/LAX – Frankfurt)

Lufthansa first class terminal bar area

Lufthansa first class terminal bar area

lufthansa first class terminal resturant 

lufthansa first class terminal resturant 

Lufthansa has a great on-board first class experience but what really separates its product from other airlines is its own terminal for passengers in Frankfurt.  That’s right first class passengers have a completely separate terminal, with security and immigration all done there.  In fact for a small fee they will even send over the authority to process your VAT refunds prior to departure.  While waiting passengers can access a full restaurant and cigar room, all included.  Hard to beat that!

These recommendations are of course subjective, and while I would feel comfortable recommending these flights to anyone, personal preferences vary.  Nick Running Travel would be happy to recommend flights for your itinerary that are customized to your preferences and needs.  Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Never flown International First/Business Class? Here are 4 of the best reasons to give it a try


For many people airfare is a means to an end, something you deal with to get to your final destination.  Regardless of whether you are traveling for work or for pleasure there are many reasons to pay the premium on an upgraded air experience.  Below are our top reasons to book, and be sure to reach out to Nick Running Travel before your next business or personal trip.  We have access to non-public rates (prices you can’t find online), and every trip comes with a personal consultation to ensure we pick the flights right for you.

1.       Lie Flat Seats
Why spend your hard earned money on a vacation only to sleepwalk through the first few days.  Don’t walk into an important business meeting still trying to recover from your time zone change.  Almost all flights these days have lie flat seats that allow you to properly adjust to your time zone change.  Many First Class seats even have expensive mattress pads that mimic a bed in a hotel room.  There is nothing better than waking up fully rested to hit the ground running.


2.       Upgraded Airport Experience
Customers receive expedited security, lounge access and other perks to help make the airport experience more luxurious. Lounges often offer free food and alcohol and are usually a much better place to spend time at the airport.  Some airlines offer completely separate terminals for first class passengers and Michelin star restaurants.

3.       Enhanced onboard food and beverage
No more choosing between unknown red or white wines and microwave dinners.  Business cabins usually offer 4-5 wine options that can retail for as high as $50 a bottle. Food is also served restaurant style, plated and normally in courses.  Some airlines even go as far to have chiefs onboard cooking meals.  Many first class offering included rare and high end wines retailing over $400 a bottle.



4.       Higher Service Standard
Premium cabins offer much higher service levels than economy.  There are many more crew members per passenger and they often go out of their way to make sure you have a good experience.  From someone to hang your jacket upon boarding, to personal delivery of pre-departure champagne, anyone who prefers a personal level of service would see value in being attended to for a long flight.

It’s The Little Things That Count

Sometimes I’m asked by clients why certain hotels are so expensive or if it’s worth it to “splurge” on a nice hotel.  Showing people the value of these places isn’t as easy as quoting room square footage, high end fabrics or furnishings. At the end of the day, sometimes the things that stick with you the most are the unplanned little touches.

On our recent stay at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco my wife, son and I were waiting in the lobby lounge for our room to be available and accidentally forgot one of my son’s teething toys on the table.  A few hours later upon returning to our room, we found a bag waiting for us.  Amazingly not only had the Ritz returned my son’s toy, but they also included a hand written letter, a kids book, a Ritz rubber duck and a Ritz bib.  At the end of the day it’s the little things that make for special vacations.  


Site Visit of Two Wailea Hotels

I was lucky enough to spend four days in Maui at the beginning of May, which allowed me to get in depth looks at two different hotels.  We stayed at the Andaz Maui, and did a site visit and dinner at the Four Seasons Maui just down the road.  Make sure you read below for my recommendations for each, as these hotels will be attractive to different clients depending on preferences.

Andaz Maui

Beautiful entrace to the Andaz

Beautiful entrace to the Andaz

View from the Ocean-view Room 

View from the Ocean-view Room 

The Andaz has a beautiful entrance with water on both sides and views of the Pacific Ocean and palm trees in the distance through the lobby.  This hotel like most other Andaz’s are more minimalist in their design.  I definitely wouldn’t call the decorations warm and welcoming, but more functional and modern.  There are 3 levels of infinity pools all with seating and pool side service and I must say the views from these pools are spectacular!  You can swim up to the edge, look down on the pool below and the ocean in the distance.  The resort has slightly less than 300 rooms including the separate villas, which I didn’t get to see as they were fully booked.   You can definitely tell this is a smaller and more relaxed property compared to many on this stretch of coast and is great for people wanting to escape the crowds.

I was able to look at two rooms, an Ocean View King and, our room, the Deluxe Ocean View Suite.  Non-suite rooms are pretty small, approx. 380-400 SF. The ocean view from the room had a great vantage of the water, but I couldn’t help feeling a little cramped by the size of the room.  I would definitely recommend these rooms to people who planned on spending most of their time at the pool or out and about. The Deluxe Suite was the closest room possible to the ocean and had expansive views of the ocean and the west side of Maui.  The bathroom was very large and well done. Overall I would definitely recommend the suite level rooms for most clients, it has much more space and the bathroom and closet area was almost twice the size.

Bathroom of the Deluxe Suite

Bathroom of the Deluxe Suite

View from the Deluxe Suite

View from the Deluxe Suite

Recommend Andaz For: Younger couples and groups, Those who like modern design, Want a less busy property.

As a Hyatt preferred partner clients of Nick Running Travel get room upgrades, free breakfast for 2 daily, $100 property credit and more.

Four Seasons Maui

Adults only pool at the Four Seasons 

Adults only pool at the Four Seasons 

Living room of the Ocean View Suite 

Living room of the Ocean View Suite 

The Four Seasons is Maui’s grand dame hotel. It’s strikingly bigger than the Andaz and also much more grand.  The décor is very warm, welcoming and a stark contrast from the minimalist and modern vibe of the Andaz.  The Four Seasons only has approximately 100 more rooms and suits than the Andaz but is much busier.  This hotel definitely brings in people who are not guests for drinks and dinner.  This is the place to be seen and people watch.  For those who prefer to escape but prefer the Four Seasons, I was able to take a look at the 8th floor club lounge which is exclusive to the rooms on that floor.  This was definitely quiet during my visit and a great place to have a complementary drink and read a book on the deck overlooking the ocean.  Another selling point for the Four Seasons is the amazing kids for all seasons program. This makes the Four Seasons perfect for families, and the best part is its all included in the room rate, no resort fees!

During my visit I inspected a Partial Ocean View room and a Prime Oceanview Suite. The non-suite rooms here are huge at over 600 SF, with large bathrooms and decks.  The Four Seasons recently went through a refurbishment and I have to say, I love the décor of the rooms.  The Four Seasons would definitely be my recommendation for those who plan on just staying in non-suite rooms. The Prime Ocean View Suite was spectacular with two full size separate rooms and balcony’s (including 2 different entrances).  The living area also has a pull out couch for those with kids so that parents have a separate sleeping space. Overall the two rooms I looked at were beautiful and definitely deserving of the higher price tag that the Four Seasons requires.

Deck off the garden view room

Deck off the garden view room

Bedroom of the Ocean View Suite

Bedroom of the Ocean View Suite

Recommend Four Seasons for: Families with children, Clients who want the best, People who enjoy being at the “hot” place.

As a Four Seasons Preferred Partner clients of Nick Running Travel get access to special perks that can’t be found anywhere else.  We aren’t allowed to share these publicly but reach out to us via email and we can share the specific amenities for this property.



How I got $1,165 in Value by Booking with a Travel Adviser


On a recent 3 night stay in Maui at the Andaz I received over $1000 in value just from booking with Nick Running Travel.  Check out the calculations below for more details.  Friends don’t let friends book on your own.  Before your next trip make sure you reach out to Nick Running Travel and see what extra value can be added to your vacation.


$600 Upgrade to Deluxe Ocean View Suite: ($200 per NT)

$343 Breakfast daily for 2 people ($115 total with tip and tax per NT)

$100 Resort Credit

$120 Welcome Bottle of Champagne

Total = $1,165

7 Recommendations for Traveling with an Infant


When my wife and I first had our son Axel, we were a little concerned about how this would affect our traveling lifestyle.  After all, we have heard plenty of horror stories about traveling with infants, and of course, have been passengers on an airplane when there is a screaming child.  One thing I didn’t expect was that the logistics of getting on the plane would be more difficult than the plane ride itself.  Axel has now flown from the Bay Area to Seattle, SoCal (2x), Boston and we are currently headed to Maui.  From these trips we wanted to pass along tips to help new and expecting parents feel more assured when traveling with their infant.

1.       Make sure to bring your stroller and car seat all the way to the gate.

Many new parents are aware that airlines will check car seats and strollers free of charge, however did you also know that they will gate check them as well? I have seen many parents in the baggage claim line checking their car seat and stroller only to have to carry their child though the airport and on to the plane.  We have found it much easier to attach the car seat to the stroller and then use that to go through security and get to our gate.  Once you board and get to the end of the jetway, simply remove the car seat, fold the stroller and they will be waiting for you once you disembark.  The bonus is obviously that you get to use the stroller going through the arrival airport as well.

2.       Sit in First/Business Class

I know, I know, this isn’t always feasible. Before you rule it out, let me tell you why you should concider splurging for that first class ticket. First, the extra space is super helpful in making you and your infant more comfortable, which means better naps. Second, having a dedicated flight attendant makes it much easier to get hot water and other necessities to make a bottle or other needs your child may have. Third, after all the logistical hurdles of traveling with an infant, you are going to need that extra Bloody Mary!  Yes, you might get some dirty looks from people who think First Class should be kids free but don’t concern yourself with them. 

You will also notice I didn’t say BUY First Class tickets.  There are many other ways to confirm a seat up front like using miles or elite status upgrades. Nick Running Travel can help talk you through your options.

3.       Feed your baby during Takeoff and Descent

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Babies have a very tough time with changes in air pressure. That ear popping that you experience while flying is due to the lowing and raising of the air pressure in the airplane during climb and descent.  Unfortunately, babies don’t have the ability to pop their own ears like we do.  By giving them a bottle,  nursing or giving them a pacifier during these times you are encouraging them to reduce the ear pressure by doing the same jaw movements that you would do.

4.       Be aware of your carry-on requirements

Infants do not get their own baggage allowance.  This can sometimes come as a surprise to new parents.  That means your diaper bag will now be considered a personal item.  If you are use to traveling with a laptop bag or purse as your personal item, you will need to rethink your strategy. When traveling as a couple, I no longer carry my work bag and instead put my computer and other items in the top of my rollaboard.  Make sure you plan ahead so you aren’t forced to gate check something that you planned on using onboard.

5.       Make sure your hotel is aware of your needs

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No need to pack a crib or other baby products, most hotels have all that and will gladly have it waiting in your room on check in.  One of the perks of working with Nick Running Travel is that we do this for you.  We can confirm cribs and other infant items well in advance so you don’t have to stress on what to pack. We even work with the hotels to have some surprises waiting for both parents and children!

6.       Frozen milk can be brought through TSA security checkpoints

One difficulty of traveling is that no liquids over 3 oz are allowed through security, so as a nursing mother how are you supposed to feed your baby on a long flight?  TSA allows for frozen liquids to be taken through checkpoints.  Our trick is to not take the milk out of the freezer until right before leaving the house and ensure that its well-insulated.   Once you are on-board ask a flight attendant for hot water to defrost your milk and you are ready to feed.

7.       Be prepared for naps

If your baby is used to a certain outfit/blanket during naps make sure you bring that onboard.  When it’s time to go to sleep try to mimic the same process you would use back home. If your baby is wearing the same nap outfit as back home its likely they will fall asleep easier.  If your flight happens to fall during the same time as nap time its very helpful, if not don’t worry the sound of the plane engines should soothe your baby to sleep.

Overall, traveling with a baby can definitely be stressful, but by following these tips, travel can be a rewarding experience for you and your growing family.  If you are thinking of traveling with your newborn and are looking for assistance, contact Nick Running Travel, and we are happy to help with your next travel experience.

The best tip....... Have fun with it!!

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Site Visit: Terranea Resort

from www.terranea.com

from www.terranea.com

Last week I had the opportunity to stay at Terranea Resort. This resort is located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, one of Southern California’s most scenic and coveted coastlines overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. The 102-acre estate features 582 guestrooms and suites, including spacious bungalows, casitas and villas.  The resort has a casual Californian vibe with Mediterranean styling. The hotel features multiple dining venues from casual to high end and an ocean front bar.  There is even a 9 hole par 3 golf course. The hotel has multiple pools each with a great view of the ocean from the cliff-side. 

The service level here is very high. For example, all guests checking in receive a complementary glass of sparkling wine.  The hotel was well staffed to provide a high level of service for all guests. My guest room was nicely decorated with a large TV, balcony, and a large bathroom with separate shower and tub.  One negative was there was only 1 sink in the bathroom and a limited amount of counter space. 


Both the positive and the drawback of this hotel is the location.  It is about 30 minutes from the highway, with lots of traffic lights so staying here while trying to explore the LA area is difficult. By contrast, because it’s very secluded it makes a great getaway.  I would recommend this hotel to anyone trying to stay in the Palos Verdes area, to get away from the hustle and bustle of LA or play the beautiful Donald Trump golf course which is 5 minutes down the road.  For people looking to get out and explore LA or the OC but looking for beach time, I think you would be better served staying in Santa Monica or Laguna Beach.

By booking the Terranea Resort with Nick Running Travel, clients receive free breakfast daily, room upgrade on arrival if available, $100 Resort credit, free Wi-Fi and more.  For a limited time we also can offer the following promotions:

July 4th Special:
Stay at least 2 nights during the 4th of July holiday and receive an extra $100 credit for rooms and $200 credit for suites.  NOTE: To qualify you must stay the night of July 4th. 

Summer Escape:
For travel until September 3, 2018 receive 25% off normal nightly rates.

Top 5 Weekend Getaways From The Bay Area

We all know how it is, you are super behind with work and the last thing you can do is take 2 weeks off for vacation.  However, you need some way to relax and recharge.  The perfect solution is a weekend getaway!  These are my favorite places to relax and unwind within a 2 hour drive from the Bay Area.

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay


Just 30-45 minutes from many places in the Bay Area, this resort sits right above the Pacific Ocean.  The resort offers an array of recreational activities that blend the elements of a seaside resort with lavish five-star accommodations, including making s'mores on your guestroom's terrace fire pit, exploring miles of ocean-side trails and golfing on two world-class courses. Be sure to grab a seat around the wood-burning fire pits at sunset to watch the lone bagpiper stroll down the bluff.  By booking with Nick Running Travel clients receive the following:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast for two
  • $100 Spa credit
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Carneros Resort and Spa


Carneros Resort and Spa, only an hour from San Francisco sits almost directly between the Napa and Sonoma wine regions making it the perfect weekend getaway for those who want to visit both areas. It is surrounded by 28 acres of grapevines, fruit trees and picturesque farmland.  Cottages have various amenities including fireplaces, indoor-outdoor showers, individual hot tubs and French doors leading to landscaped gardens.  By booking with Nick Running Travel clients receive the following:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full American breakfast for two at Hilltop Dining Room
  • A $100  Spa credit
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Meadowood Napa Valley


For those who want to concentrate on Napa valley, Meadowood sits just outside St. Helena and offers a very central location for exploring all the valley’s wineries.  Meadowood boasts a three Michelin star restaurant, and lots of activities onsite including a 9 hole golf course, tennis, swimming, hiking and croquet.  Most cottages have fireplaces and terraces and many rooms are unique.  By booking with Nick Running Travel clients receive the following:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • $50.00 daily credit towards breakfast in The Grill or via room service
  • $100 Spa credit
  • Welcome amenity of a box of handcrafted Napa Valley Chocolates
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Carmel Valley Ranch


Located about 10 miles inland, this gated private resort spans 500 acres of vineyards, lavender fields, scenic foothills and an 18 hole Pete Dye golf course.  Carmel Valley Ranch features miles of hiking trails, tennis courts, yoga classes, multiple pools and evening s’mores. Of all the locations mentioned this is where you should go if your idea of relaxation and rejuvenation means getting active or outdoors.  By booking with Nick Running Travel clients receive the following:

  • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast for two
  • One $100 hotel resort credit
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Rosewood CordeValle


Just 20 minutes south of San Jose, Rosewood CordeValle is a quiet oasis from the busy hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley.  Situated on a private country club in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains this resort is the perfect place to relax and unwind.  Golfers will enjoy the 18 hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr course that has previously hosted LPGA tour events.  Rosewood CordeValle was rated by Conde Nast readers choice awards as the #1 resort in California and #40 in the world in 2017. As a Rosewood Elite Member, clients of Nick Running Travel receive the following amenities:

  • VIP Recognition
  • Upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability
  • Special on-property staff dedicated to you as an Elite client
  • Top-of-waitlist in high demand periods like holidays
  • Elite Price Assurance: If a special offer is developed after a reservation confirmation is generated for an Elite agent’s client, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will extend better value upon request up until 24 hours prior to guest arrival.


The Best Courses to Golf in Hawaii

Now that the Masters has ended it’s officially golf season.  Unfortunately though for many places, the weather hasn’t allowed you to rid your game of the accumulated dust..  How about heading to your favorite Hawaiian Island and enjoy the sunshine on the course and post-round drinks at the beach.  I’ve included my favorite course on each island and the best hotel to stay at to make your trip complete. Make sure to book your trip with Nick Running Travel to get the VIP perks and benefits at all the noted hotels.   

Hawaii (Big Island):

Hualalai Golf Course

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Just outside of Kona, this Jack Nicklaus signature course winds through the black lava fields and along the ocean.  The finishing stretch of holes hugs the coastline making you think twice about every shot.  This course also plays host to the PGA Champions tour during the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in January.

Where to Stay: Four Seasons Hualalai

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The only way to play this course is to know a member or stay at the Four Seasons.  This hotel is set on Hawaii Island’s exclusive Kona-Kohala Coast, this showpiece oceanfront luxury resort in Hualalai captures the essence of Hawaiian design, culture and tradition.  The hotel offers seven swimming pools, beachfront access, three restaurants, and a state of the art fitness facility and spa.  As a Four Seasons Preferred Partner, clients of Nick Running Travel receive special amenities and perks, feel free to reach out to us for details.


Kapalua Plantation Course:


Consistently ranked as the #1 golf course in Hawaii, playing The Plantation Course is sure to be on every golfer’s bucket list. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, the course was designed on a grand scale in keeping with its location on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains and offers ocean views from virtually every hole.  With dramatic elevation changes, this course offers plenty of downhill tee shots. You’ll feel like one of the pros when you hit one of the longest drives of your life on the severely downhill 18th hole.  The Plantation Course is the site of the PGA TOUR's Sentry Tournament of Champions each January featuring an elite field of previous year's PGA TOUR winners.

Where to Stay: Ritz Carlton Kapalua


The Ritz is set on Maui’s northwest side away from the traditional resort areas of Wailea.  Just up the shore from Ka'anapali Beach the Ritz sits on the pristine 22,000-acre Kapalua Resort, giving guests exclusive access to amenities and activities such as Hawaii’s largest nature preserves with two marine sanctuaries, golf and miles of hiking trails.  A complementary resort shuttle can take guests to great local restaurants like Merriman’s Kapalua, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar and The Plantation House.  As a Ritz Carlton STARS and Virtuoso member clients of Nick Running Travel receive:

  • Room upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Gourmet Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 Resort or Hotel credit
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi


Manele Golf Course

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Built high above the shimmering waters of Hulopoe Bay, this Jack Nicklaus Signature course is Lanai’s premier golf course.  Built on lava outcroppings, the course features three holes perched on cliffs, enlisting the Pacific Ocean as a water hazard.  Tee shots over natural gorges and ravines must be precise, but golfers are rewarded with ocean views from the fairways and even the chance of whale sightings. Be sure to take note of the archaeological ruins that border the greens and the breathtaking views beyond.

Where to Stay: Four Seasons Lanai

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Four Seasons Lanai was just completely remodeled from the ground up to become the new premier Hawaiian destination.  It sits on the southeastern shore of one of Hawaii’s last unspoiled island.  The hotel has nine different bars and restaurants, snorkeling, diving and sailing.  The hotel can also arrange ATV rentals, horseback riding and helicopter tours. As a Four Seasons Preferred Partner, clients of Nick Running Travel receive special amenities and perks, feel free to reach out to us for details.


Ko Olina Golf Club


Home to the LPGA's annual LOTTE Championship, Ko Olina Golf Club is recognized as one of Oahu's premier golf courses. Located on the western coast of Oahu, Ko'olina offers a challenging 18-hole championship course with exceptional water features, multi-tiered greens, and no parallel fairways. Located on the sunny West Coast of Oahu, just a short drive from Honolulu and Waikiki.

Where to Stay: Halekulani


Situated on five prime oceanfront acres, Halekulani has been a Waikiki Beach landmark for almost 100 years. Each tropically elegant guestroom features a large lanai that opens to views of the gardens, the Pacific Ocean or Diamond Head. Sunbathe or watch the surfing action on famed Waikiki Beach; relax by the dreamy swimming pool, made up of 1.2 million mosaic tiles; or indulge in the Pacific Islands inspired treatments at SpaHalekulani.  As a Virtuoso member clients of Nick Running Travel receive:

  • Room Upgrade at the time of booking, subject to availability
  • Daily breakfast for up to two in-room guests.
  • $100 / $200 Hotel Credit depending on room type
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi


Princeville Golf Course


Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., who brilliantly integrated the wild beauty of the north shore of Kauai. Taking advantage of wilderness areas, natural water features and the dramatic coastline, the course winds its way through magnificent stands of trees and rolling landscape and views that will astonish you with their unforgettable beauty.

Where to Stay: St Regis Princeville


Located in the 9,000 acre resort community of Princeville at Hanalei, this luxury resort on Kauai resides on the northern shore of the "Garden Island" and provides visitors all the amenities expected from an island destination considered to be one of the most spectacular in Hawai'i. Guests of our Kauai resort reside in a bastion of tropical sophistication featuring cuisine that celebrates local flavors along with an array of diverse activities. Don't miss the nightly champagne sabering at sunset from the St. Regis Bar.  As a Virtuoso member clients of Nick Running Travel receive:

  • Room upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 Resort or Hotel credit.
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

6 Things I Learned after the Airlines Lost My Luggage

On a recent business trip to Australia, I landed in Melbourne after a 15 hour flight from LAX only to realize once the baggage carousel stopped moving that my checked bag hadn’t made the same trip.  This experience happens to people everyday, and Nick Running Travel wants to make sure our clients learn from our first hand experience.

Don't be this person!

Don't be this person!

1.       Don’t leave the airport without submitting the proper paperwork
After the horror sinks in that your bag didn’t make the trip, make sure your first action is to go to the local baggage office for that airline and submit the required forms.  Many airlines require you to submit this prior to leaving the airport.  Additionally, if the airline doesn’t immediately hand you a claim number, take a picture of the completed form with your cell phone. The airline I flew told me they would email me a claim number and receipt after processing the form, but I never received it.

2.     Always try to pack a change of clothes in your carry-on
I know this isn’t always possible but it can buy you time before having to go to the store to buy new clothes.  Unfortunately I didn’t do this, so I had to immediately go shopping in the same clothes that I had worn the previous day which included a 15 hour flight.  Many times your bag will show up a few hours later, so having an extra set of clothes may save you from going shopping all together.

3.       Make sure you inform the airline of travel plans for at least a week
Sometimes it can take a week or longer to find and deliver bags, if for instance you got on a flight to Australia and your bag got on a flight to Europe.  Once the bag is located and re-directed it could take days to arrive at the intended destination.  If your trip involves city hopping or changing hotels make sure you tell the airline exactly where you will be on which days so your bag can possibly reunite with you along your trip.

4.       Buy clothes at a large chain if possible
Worst case, your bags don’t show and you have to go buy clothes. Buy new clothes from a large chain retailer.  In my instance I bought work clothes from Brooks Brothers. This is especially important if you aren’t staying in the same place.  Chains have store locations in many cities and it becomes possible to return items you don’t use even after you changed cities.  I bought clothes in Melbourne, but didn’t have time to return the unused clothes until a few days later in Sydney.  Since Brooks Brothers has stores in both cities, the return process was easy.

5.       Check in constantly with the airline
Make sure you or your representative checks in frequently with the airline in question.  You will feel more at ease and will have the best possible information on when to expect your luggage.

6.       Check your credit card for possible Baggage Delay, Lost Protection or Travel Insurance
Some credit cards provide Baggage Delay or Lost Baggage compensation for travel booked with that credit card. Make sure you know what benefits your credit card(s) provide.  Also many different types of travel insurance come with the same coverage. If your credit card doesn’t offer such protection, it might be another reason to consider purchasing travel insurance.

How can you avoid lost bags all together?
OK, so you want to minimize your chance of dealing with something like this during your vacation, here are some ideas.

1.       Don’t check bags
This is obvious but must be said. For shorter trips where all of your belongings can fit in a carry-on don’t check a bag.  Most carry-ons these days have wheels and other features that make lugging them around an airport easy.

2.       Non-stop flights
The less that your bag(s) gets offloaded and loaded onto an airplane the less chance you have of something going wrong.  Non-stop flights are great for getting you to your destination quickly, but they also minimize the chance of losing a checked bag.

3.       Avoid tight connections
Obviously non-stop  flights are not always possible, so what can you do when booking flights to give your luggage a better chance of making your destination? Ensure that your connections leave enough time for the bag to get from one plane to another. Airlines will allow you to book connections for as few as 20-30 minutes. While that might be great for reducing your overall travel time, it’s not ideal for your checked bag(s).  Once you land your bag takes approximately 10 minutes just to get off your first flight. From there, it typically travels to a central airport sorting facility, and then finally gets re-directed to your next flight.  All these steps take time, so to give your bag the best chance I recommend at least a 1 hour connection.

Exapmle of Delta's in-app baggage tracking

Exapmle of Delta's in-app baggage tracking

4.       Fly airlines that offer in-app bag tracking
Some airlines now allow you to track your checked bags from the app while in transit (I have personally used American and Delta).  While these apps wont make sure your bag gets delivered on time, it does allow you to rest assured that your bag is indeed on the plane at pushback.

Overall losing a checked bag during vacation or work travel can be very stressful, but hopefully my tips can help you prevent this from happening in the first place. If the unfortunate happens and your bags are lost, you are now equipped on how to handle the situation.

10 Reasons you NEED a Travel Adviser

Today I'm proud to officially kick off Nick Running Travel, however many of you may be wondering why you would even need a travel adviser / agent in the first place...   While booking a trip yourself seems freeing and exciting, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. There are nearly 400 MILLION results when you google “hotel in Paris.”  Who has time to sift through the results, find properties within your budget, figure out which ones are in the prime location, and then check for availability? Add researching restaurants, scheduling guides, and arranging transfers, and you might as well make planning travel your full time job. Here are 10 perks you can expect with Nick Running Travel.

1. Insider Access
Nick Running Travel has preferred supplier relations to make sure your experience is special.  No more waiting in lines, we can arrange private experiences that allow you to make the most of your precious vacation time.

2. Complementary Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start your day right! When you book with Nick Running Travel, you get complimentary breakfast at more than 1000 hotels and resorts around the world. 

Free Breakfast provided by kivotos hotel in mykonos

Free Breakfast provided by kivotos hotel in mykonos

3. Hotel Credit
Another perk that we receive at our partner hotels is $100 (or equivalent in foreign currency) hotel credit for food and beverage or spa.  These credits are available at the same hotel rate that can be found online.  Why would you turn down $100?

4. Upgrades
Who doesn't love upgrades!!?!  Our partner hotels confirm upgrades at the time of booking or upon arrival at the hotel.  Don't get stuck with a room that faces the parking lot or loading dock, with Nick Running Travel that room could turn into an Ocean View!

Upgraded ocean front room at Four Seasons Punta Mita.

Upgraded ocean front room at Four Seasons Punta Mita.

5. Special Occasions
Nick Running Travel works with hotels in advance for all your special occasions.  Anniversary, Honeymoon, Birthdays..... we make sure the hotel is prepared in advance and knows all the details they need to make the stay special.  You could try doing this on your own, but we have personal contacts with many hotels who want to make sure our clients keep coming back.

Surprise procecco and cake awaiting in our room upon check-in at the Four Seasons Florence.  Happy Honeymoon!

Surprise procecco and cake awaiting in our room upon check-in at the Four Seasons Florence.  Happy Honeymoon!

6. Free experiences
Many of our hotel partners offer complimentary experiences to our clients, like a martini class, museum tickets, bicycle tour, or picnic in a park. Just a little something to make a trip even better!

7. VIP Status
You won’t be just any reservation when you book with Nick Running Travel. We make sure our partners know who you are and are aware of your unique preferences. You’ll feel like a VIP — just don’t blame us when you can't go back to booking on your own.

Private 5 course cooking lesson with the head chef in Florence.

Private 5 course cooking lesson with the head chef in Florence.

8. Authentic Experiences
Would you rather see a destination as a tourist or experience it like a local? Our on-the-ground partners aren’t just familiar with a destination. They live, eat, and breathe it. They know the markets where the locals go and can guide you through it. They can arrange for you to visit a local home or learn a craft from an artisan.

Your vacation starts when you walk down the Jetway!  Nick Running Travel has access to discounted first and business class airfare, so you can beat jet-lag with lay flat beds while enjoying premium wine and food.  Best of all, no matter what class of service, we tie in your airfare with your other reservations so once you hit the ground everything is seamless.


10. Peace of Mind
We’ve all read the travel horror stories. Someone getting booked in a creepy hotel, being turned away at security because your passport expires in two months, costly trip disruptions beyond the traveler’s control, and so on. There’s no need to worry your vacation will be a newspaper headline when you book with Nick Running Travel. We know that your hotel is safe and clean. Your tour guide has been vetted and verified by our trusted partners. And if anything does happen, we are your advocate and only a call away to get the issue sorted out quickly and efficiently.

Enjoy drinks by the pool stress free!

Enjoy drinks by the pool stress free!