Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes - August 27, 2011
"Travelers411" Radio Show - August 27, 2011
Dickey-Stephens Ballpark in Littlerock, Arkansas, USA. Dooley Car Rental Helps You Drive Across Ireland; America's Hidden Jewel North Little Rock Arkansas; Cheap Flights to Ireland and Milwaukee; Luxury Travel with Abercrombie & Kent.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

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Attracta Lyndon, Vice President for North America, Dooley Car Rental, Monmouth, New Jersey, USA.
www.dooleycarrentals.com
www.dooleyvacations.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411 Radio Show" get together with Attracta Lyndon, Vice President for North America of Dooley Car Rental.  According to Attracta, Dooley is the only car rental company in Ireland that is independently owned and operated.  Stephanie calls it "an amazingly special company."  Attracta joins Stephanie to share tips for traveling in Ireland by car; both agree that this is the best way to see the country.  Ireland is small enough that in a car, one can traverse the country from the East to West coast in one day, and can see a number of special sights along the way.  In a car, you can "let Ireland take you where it will," Stephanie says.

Attracta suggests flying into the Shannon Airport, because the region around Shannon is rural and it will give the new traveler time to get accustomed to driving on the left side of the road.  Many people who have never driven in Ireland or the United Kingdom get nervous, she says.  However, Stephanie points out that "when you're driving a right driver-side car on the left side of the road, it's just your life mirror-imaged.  It's not a big deal."  Attracta agrees, sharing the tongue in cheek advice she once gave to her American cousin: "keep your passenger close to the ditch, but not in it!"

Shannon Airport is slightly more difficult to fly into than Dublin Airport, because they have fewer international flights coming in.  However, Stephanie suggests that travelers take a flight from mainland Europe into Shannon Airport and driving through Ireland from there.  RyanAir, an Irish discount airline, offers wildly cheap flights between secondary European cities; on some flights, travelers merely pay the tax.  Dooley Car Rental also has branches in Belfast, Cork, Galway, and Dublin; a car trip can be worked into any leg of your trip to Ireland.

When flying into Dublin, Attracta says that it isn't necessary to rent a car until one is planning to leave the city.  The city is completely walkable, and features a number of stellar public transit systems, including city buses that reach as far as forty minutes outside Dublin.  One can also take the DART, or Dublin Area Rapid Transit, to towns and areas outside Dublin, including the picturesque Wicklow Mountains.  Within Dublin, one can also take the light rail system, or Luas, which serves Centre City. 

If someone begins their trip in Dublin and rents a car, in which direction should they head?  Attracta acknowledges that the sights both North and South of Dublin are "absolutely awesome," and seeing everything Ireland has to offer will require multiple trips.  She suggests, however, that the new traveler head South first.  Drive down the coast to the Wicklow Mountains, she says, hitting the seaside town of Bray as you go.  Make your way slightly inland to Waterford, home of the famous Waterford crystal line, then down to Cork for a visit to Cork city and the Blarney Castle.  After Cork, drive across Ireland to the West Coast, the Ring of Kerry, and the Dingle Peninsula.  Drive up the West Coast to County Clare, Connemara, The Cliffs of Moher, Galway, and finish your trip in Shannon.  Both Attracta and Stephanie note that returning to the United States from Ireland is very easy, because there are US immigration stations at Irish airports. 

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams reminds listeners that a defining aspect of travel in Ireland is the characteristic sense of Irish hospitality.  As tourism is the number one industry in Ireland, most Irish people welcome tourists into their businesses and the experience of their culture.  Stephanie says, "the stranger quickly becomes a member of the family in Ireland."  She shares a moment she once witnessed, where a tourist walked into a car dealership in Limerick and asked for directions.  The elderly woman behind the counter responded by asking, "oh, who are you going to see?"

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12976

For more information visit www.dooleycarrentals.com and www.dooleyvacations.com


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Karen Trevino, Executive Director, North Little Rock Visitors Bureau, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.
www.northlittlerock.org

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411 Radio Show" learn the secrets of traveling to Arkansas with Karen Trevino, Executive Director of the North Little Rock Visitors Bureau.  Karen says, "Arkansas is one of those hidden jewels…  We almost universally find that when people come here, they leave raving about it.  They just love Arkansas.  The people are very friendly, and there's just so much to offer.  It's kind of a slower pace."

Karen's office is located in Central Arkansas, just across the river from the state capital, Little Rock.  From her office, she can get anywhere in Arkansas in two to four hours, she says.  The state can be traversed in a day.  Stephanie points out that in comparison to tiny states like Rhode Island and New Jersey, a state that takes a day to cross is relatively large!  Karen agrees, noting that "we're definitely a rural state," as the population of Arkansas is only two million.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams has flown into Tulsa, Oklahoma and rented a car to drive to Bentonville, Arkansas, home of "the fine folks over at Wal-Mart."  She was taken aback at the beauty of the country, and the bison roaming the plains, a site she had never seen before.  On the subject of Wal-Mart, Karen points out that the company has a significant role to play in Arkansas life.  They recently donated a significant amount of money to the new Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, an art museum that will never have to charge admission thanks to Wal-Mart's contribution.  The museum, which is a three hours' drive from Little Rock, opens on November 11, 2011.

The entire state of Arkansas has a lot to offer.  North of Little Rock, Karen recommends a visit to the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, which is the only location in the United States that owns a submarine; the rest are on loan from the Federal government.  The submarine, dubbed "Razorback" after the type of whale, rests in the Arkansas River and is the longest resting submarine in the world.  It is open to tours led by submarine service veterans, and features an above-ground museum for those unwilling to climb under the surface of the river.  "Razorback" also hosts community events, like Boy Scout sleepovers.

Between Little Rock and North Little Rock, the Arkansas River Trail stretches across twenty two miles of pedestrian bike trail.  It features a new bridge that connects the trail to Two Rivers Park, and leads over the Murray Dam.  Most afternoons, one can find locals and visitors walking, bike riding, and rollerblading along the path, which will eventually connect to the Clinton Library in Little Rock.  A camper and RV park for road trippers rests along the side of the Arkansas River Trail, and offers "the most beautiful view of Little Rock at night," Karen says.  To Karen's knowledge, it is the only RV park in Arkansas on the Arkansas River.  North Little Rock's activities typically center around "family fun," including the Dickie Stevens baseball park, home to the Arkansas Travelers baseball team.  Karen's office is located in Burns Park, the seventh largest city park in the United States, with two eighteen-hole golf courses, mini golf, tennis courts, soccer fields, and baseball fields.

Karen also recommends a visit to the North Little Rock downtown area, which she calls "a renovated historical area" with art galleries, restaurants, and a farmer's market, all within walking distance of each other.  Visitors can also take a River Rail Trolley between Little Rock and North Little Rock.  For only a dollar, tourists can get a one-day pass that brings them to all the attractions.  Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams, who likens the River Rail Trolley to the cable cars in San Francisco, California, notes that Little Rock and North Little Rock boast prices that are half or less than that of big cities.  Karen adds that during Little Rock's Restaurant Week, eateries feature three course prix fixe menus for only twenty five dollars.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12977

For more information visit www.northlittlerock.org


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Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOAir.com.
www.cheapoair.com
www.cheapostay.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411 Radio Show" shop for airfare to Milwaukee and Ireland with Bill Miller, VP of Strategic Partnerships at CheapOAir.  Bill suggests that when traveling domestically or internationally, one should book thirty to forty days out.  He also notes that autumn is one of the cheapest times to travel, because airlines often have extra seats that they need to fill.

CheapOAir quotes a flight from Washington DC to Milwaukee at one hundred forty-five dollars round trip.  On CheapOAir, a flight from New York to Chicago costs only one hundred twelve dollars round trip.  Bill and Stephanie also suggest flying into Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and driving, only a ninety minute trip.  In the fall, this trip is especially lovely, due to the brilliant foliage. 

After taking a number of trips to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Irish Fest, Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams says that "downtown Milwaukee is like a mini Paris," she says, adding that "anybody who hasn't been to Milwaukee, you are in for the best surprise."  Bill agrees, encouraging travelers to use CheapOAir to discover the beauty of any locale they have in mind.  The best part about CheapOAir, he says, is that quoted prices already include fees, so what you see is what you get.  While quoted prices do not include taxes, Stephanie notes that airfare taxes are currently very low.

In keeping with the spirit of Irish Fest, Stephanie and Bill take a look at prices of flights to Ireland.  CheapOAir quotes a round trip flight from Washington DC to Shannon Airport at five hundred and three dollars, and a flight from Boston to Dublin at seven hundred thirty-four dollars round trip.  In general, Bill says, flights from the East Coast of the United States to Ireland land in the five to seven hundred dollar range.  Flights from the American South and West are around eight hundred dollars round trip.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12979

For more information visit www.cheapoair.com and www.cheapostay.com


Travel Tips: 

The Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas will include three and a half miles of walking trails in the outdoor sculpture garden.  Plan your visit for a fair-weather day.


Fun Facts: 

Locals have jokingly dubbed the bridge over the Murray Dam "The big dam bridge."


Guests Include:

Attracta Lyndon, Vice President for North America, Dooley Car Rental, Monmouth, New Jersey, USA.
www.dooleycarrentals.com
www.dooleyvacations.com

Karen Trevino, Executive Director, North Little Rock Visitors Bureau, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.
www.northlittlerock.org

Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOAir.com.
www.cheapoair.com
www.cheapostay.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Richard Harris, Senior Vice President of Operations & Planning, Abercrombie & Kent.
 www.abercrombieKent.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411 Radio Show" welcome Richard Harris, Senior Vice President of Operations and Planning at Abercrombie & Kent.  Stephanie calls Abercrombie & Kent's work "luxury travel organized at its best."  Richard adds, "if there's a place on your list of places you must go, and you want to do it in style with people who are well-known for the quality of the products and services they provide for travelers, then you need to be looking at Abercrombie & Kent."  Founded in 1962 in Kenya, Abercrombie & Kent has been organizing luxury group travel for nearly fifty years.  Abercrombie & Kent organizes two types of trips: small, global group trips, and individual private travel.  With the latter, customers are not booking into package travel deals; all are customized to the travelers' vision. 

Richard, who has been with the company for six months, was delighted to join Abercrombie & Kent's headquarters in Chicago, Illinois because "we're one of the few luxury travel companies that has its own complete network of worldwide offices.  As a professional in the business, and I think to a traveler as well, it makes a huge difference.  When I pick up the phone to talk to somebody about creating a journey in China, or Egypt, I'm not talking to a third party who has got their own separate interest and are trying to promote their set of packaged products.  I'm talking to a colleague.  And that conversation continues until we can bring the best available program at the best available price to the consumer."  This system, where Abercrombie & Kent employees delegate every level of each trip on the ground, is unusual in the tourism industry.

The Abercrombie & Kent experience, according to Richard, is in line with the mission of the company, which is to control every aspect of product delivery to ensure an exemplary experience for all of its customers.  Stephanie calls it "the world from a quality point of view."  Looking forward to Abercrombie & Kent's fiftieth anniversary in 2012, Richard says that the goal is to "look forward at where luxury travel is headed, and what the next thing is."  In as challenging and competitive an industry as luxury travel, longevity is a sign of quality.  In fact, Richard notes that one of the reasons he joined Abercrombie & Kent is that the company is committed, not just to its customers, but also to the areas in which they operate.  Regarding the company's philanthropic efforts, Richard says that "we as travelers get a huge amount out of going to destinations and meeting local people.  We really should invest in them, and give them some of the benefits of the world."

One of Abercrombie & Kent's more ambitious trips, the "China Tea and Horse Trail," is tailored to bringing travelers to places that will give them a thorough understanding of the region.  Beginning in Shanghai, "the great gateway city on China's Pacific Coast," the trip continues with a flight to the Southwest corner of China, which borders Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand.  "It's a mixing pot of cultures," Richard says.  The ethnic diversity in the region is spectacular, from Han Chinese and indigenous groups, to the Nakhi people, who operate a small matrilineal society.  In addition to the eye-opening social experience, however, Richard adds that the vistas are gorgeous: "sweeping tiled rooms, dusty little streets with cobbles…  And behind it all, there's a beautiful little Chinese garden with an arched bridge over it and a pagoda at one end, and beside it the snow-capped mountains rise up.  Down in that corner of China, you get fascinating human stories, wonderful cities, and a really beautiful landscape as well."  The sixteen day drip can be extended with a jaunt to Tibet.

Another Abercrombie & Kent excursion, "The Last Shangri-La," takes travelers to Bhutan and Nepal in the High Himalayas, or what Richard calls "the rooftop of the world."  The two countries are very culturally disparate; Bhutan is "a Buddhist kingdom nestled in the High Himalayas", whereas Nepal is home to both Buddhists and a large number of Hindus.  Both countries, however, are home to incredible sights.  Richard says, "these are intriguing places to go and visit, because Bhutan has kept its tourism restricted, so local culture is very much alive and well."  In Nepal in particular, the trip goes to Kathmandu and a national park in the very low Kathmandu Valley, which features dense tropical forests that eventually rise into rugged mountains, of which Mount Everest is one.  In each place, Abercrombie & Kent organizes four-star lodgings for its customers, whether they are independent, high-end chains like the Four Seasons.  Richard insists that they seek out "simply the best available standards of service."

Richard also shares some details about the "Brazil: Rainforest to Rio" trip, which is a small group tour program.  From the guests' stay on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's seaside resort city, Abercrombie & Kent guides lead customers inland, to the heart of the Amazon.  "You get a huge range of visual stimulus," Richard says.  "You get enormous waterfalls, you get the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain and statues in Rio, and then when you head further North to Brasilia, if you've got any interest in the modern perspective of architecture, this is really beautiful.  An ideal plan for a capital city, set in the heart of the Brazilian upland."  The trips to China, the Himalayas, and Brazil are just three of hundreds Abercrombie & Kent has to offer.  Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams is especially excited about Abercrombie & Kent's trip to the Chelsea flower show the last weekend in May.  There, Abercrombie & Kent guests are privy to the opening of the show, which is much less crowded than the latter days of the festival, which are open to the public.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12981

For more information visit  www.abercrombieKent.com


Travel Tips: 

Abercrombie & Kent also offers philanthropy tours, where customers can participate in the company's various charitable projects at their destination sites.


Fun Facts: 

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams also stayed at Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.


Guests Include:

Richard Harris, Senior Vice President of Operations & Planning, Abercrombie & Kent.
 www.abercrombieKent.com

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