Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Social Network Butterflies

I can remember when my socks were knocked off the first time I sent a piece of paper through a fax machine and the person on the other end of my phone call told me they received it. Immediately! Wow!! Little did I know what technology was going to bring to my door over the next couple of decades.

Now computer technology brings our office to you. Right now you’re in your home or office (or perhaps even in a Starbucks!) reading what I’m typing from Pennsylvania. Amazing! Because of the internet we have clients in the U.S., Canada, Britain, and Jordan which would not have been feasible 20 years ago.

Now our agency is moving ahead in ways to continue to build a travel community for those of you who want to participate. We are working on ways to bring news to you quickly and to be in touch as often as you like... at your convenience and on your terms.

For starters, we’re Twittering now! Well, actually we’re technically “tweeting” on Twitter. Which I think makes us Twitterers. Sandy tweets on behalf of our newer division, Chicks at Sea, which is devoted to women’s cruise and tour groups. Sandy is posting travel tips, news and items of interest regarding women travelers of all ages and with all kinds of interests. You can sign up to follow Sandy at @ChicksAtSea or go to http://twitter.com/ChicksAtSea.

I will be tweeting about accessible travel and loosely connected information. Our last few tweets included writing about an accessible hotel chain, an announcement that the North Pole reached by a wheeler and that one of the major airlines moved their India call center back to the U.S. You can sign up to see my tweets @WCCruising or by visiting http://twitter.com/WCCruising.

If you are not familiar with Twitter, it’s free and takes only a few minutes to sign up. There’s no spamming or loading up your email. “Tweets” that people write are maxed at 140 characters so these are short little notices, not volumes of reading. You visit your Twitter account to read the tweets of anyone whom you have signed up to “follow.” I am amazed at the amount of information I can quickly see in a few short minutes on my Twitter account.

Stay tuned because our next blog will be to tell you more about the online community on which you can find us.


Connie & the Access Travel Team

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Oops", My Mistake is Your Gain



I realized this morning that I forgot to cancel a group that didn’t materialize. It's an October '09 group aboard Liberty of the Seas. My first inclination was to call the cruise line and cancel the cabins as I don’t like to keep "space" blocked that we’re not using.

However, in comparing rates, I see that the few cabins we’re holding for balconies and oceanview are much lower priced on our contract than what is currently offered to the general public.

Normally I wouldn’t use our blog to advertise a sale price, but rather than cancel these immediately, I decided to offer to our clients an "Oops!" sale. Since it’s such a great, but very short-term sale on a very accessible ship and because I found out that there are a lot of accessible cabins still available, I decided I would make an exception to what we normally do with our blog. So as the kids say these days, "My bad!" and maybe this will benefit you.

Liberty of the Seas is a "Freedom-class" Royal Caribbean ship. She’s amazing. Vicki and I escorted Candy Harrington’s Emerging Horizons’ 10th Birthday cruise group on her in 2007. Members of our group had lots of fun on her. We had people using the lift for the pool, climbing the rock wall with assistance, taking part in our miniature golf tournament, seeing the amazing Ice Capades-like show along with the other shows and we had a great time being pampered and fed. You can see us having fun and some of the ship’s accessibility from the photos on
at this link

The itinerary will be Western Caribbean. Labadee is a tender port with which our clients have had remarkable success on the tendering. I don’t think we’ve had more than two clients who couldn’t tender there because of sea conditions. Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico both offer options for "wheelers" which one of our Access Travel Team specialists would be happy to discuss with you. Grand Cayman can be a bit tougher. It’s a tender port and the sea tends to have a bit of "attitude" a bit more often, but we have had clients tender and sight see or wander there.

If you are interested in sailing on this Liberty of the Seas on 10/17-24/09, we will need a $500 per cabin deposit by Thursday, April 23. After that, our group will automatically cancel.

The following rates are per person based on double occupancy, do not include $76.59 tax and are subject to availability. "Current rates" above were current as of the morning of 4/15.

Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas
October 17 – 24, 2009
Sails from Miami to: Labadee, Jamaica, Grand Cayman & Cozumel

Balcony - current rate $1240 – OUR RATE $920 (only 3 cabins at this rate)
Oceanview - current rate $1099 – OUR RATE $799 (only 1 cabin at this rate)
Promenade view - current rate - $759
Inside, higher category - current rate - $689

If any family or group can pull together reservations for at least five cabins that sail, we can reimburse you (the group leader) $530 toward the cost of your cruise.
For more information, call 610-532-0989 or email.


-Connie & the Access Travel Team

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Packing: If it's not on the list, don't put it in the bag!

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Lists--- the backbone of many a busy person! In my case, I need them to stay organized and focused. Packing for a trip is just one of many areas in which I live by a list.

Creating a list ahead of time gives you a plan to follow rather than haphazardly throwing items in a pile to be packed. It helps to ensure that you remember everything necessary. Otherwise, part of your vacation will be spent wasting time buying overpriced replacements for what you forgot. Not fun!

An issue I fight myself on is not filling any empty space I have in my luggage once everything on the list is packed. I hear it’s a common problem with many travelers. I’m going to promise myself here and now to try harder to fight the urge to fill that space. If it’s not on the list, it does not go in the bags! Besides, leaving a bit empty gives you a lighter load to your destination and some space for souvenirs on the way home!

Break the list down by what bag into which your items will be placed. This will keep you more organized so that you won’t later be ransacking through your bags to look for wayward objects.

Once you’re finished packing, put your list in your carry-on bag. If your luggage gets lost during the trip, filing a claim for what is missing will take less time and the claim will be more precise.

After your trip, evaluate your list. Add anything you wish had been on it and remove what wasn’t necessary. Now you have a list from which to work for future trips rather than your having to reinvent the proverbial wheel each time!

One of our wonderful clients shared her packing list form with us in case it could be of help to others. You are welcome to download a free copy of the form which can be found in the "Travel Tools" section of http://www.wheelchaircruising.com./

Packing may never be the most fun activity, but you can keep it from being an overwhelming chore when you’re already busy trying to tie up lose ends at work and home so you can get going on your trip!

~ Connie & your Access Travel Team


P.S. If your sense of humor is a bit on the Abbott and Costello side, you might enjoy getting a video lesson on packing by watching "Mr. Bean Packing" at http://www.metacafe.com/watch/149068/mr_bean_packing/ .
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