Sheila Gallant-Halloran

Made-to-measure travel; please, go away! :-)

Lush Life Travel: Building Memories, One Travel Dream at a Time

Hi – I’ve loved my blog home here at www.sheila0gh.wordpress.com – but I’m moving!  Please check out my revamped blog at www.lushlife.ca !

Introducing my new personal brand:  Lush Life Travel!

Don’t worry – I still run my own business as an independent contractor with the Vision 2000 Travel Group. When I orchestrate your travel dreams, you get me as your personal travel advisor – but you also get the resources and power of Canada’s largest independently owned travel company behind me.

Vision 2000 Travel Group has been selling travel to Canadians for 50 years. Obviously, you benefit from dealing with an established travel company that is TICO-regulated, a Top Ten Virtuoso Agency, and a preferred partner with Four Seasons. Vision 2000 has industry recognition and clout; and extensive experience with every facet of travel from Cruises & Vacations, to Group & Escorted Tours, to Domestic Travel.  http://www.vision2000.ca/

Under the umbrella of Stephanie Anevich’s Cruises & Vacations department, I am a proud member of Lynda Sinclair’s travel @home team. 

And – I’m still a proud member of Virtuoso.

But, while those important partnerships remain, and my contact details are unchanged (sheila.gh@vision2000.ca and www.vision2000.ca/sheilagh and 613-837-0699 )… I’m also thrilled to begin a new chapter…. my new brand! Welcome to Lush Life Travel!

I’ve decided to move to a hosted website for my blog as my old site (www.sheila0gh.wordpress.com) was running into some obstacles (e.g., couldn’t add video, analytics were limited, etc…) . And, when it became obvious that a hosted website was key, I took the opportunity to revamp my personal brand with a new logo.

I came up with “Lush Life Travel.”  I drew the name initially from a favourite jazz song (perhaps you know it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUSCYOR3qMk and lyrics here http://www.asklyrics.com/display/ella-fitzgerald/lush-life-lyrics.htm ) – I wanted a “brand” that would invoke specialness, connection, magic, luxury, etc.  So, I sat down with my business networking partner, Carl Poirier, of Cayenne Creative, and we chatted about my ideas. Carl and his team brainstormed, and went to work – they then came back with this wonderfully inspired logo for me, and helped me migrate my old blog to this new platform and website.

What do you think of it? LushLifeTravel-inspiration

LLT_businesscard

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October 11, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Other Items, Lush Life Partners, Lush LIfe Top Posts, Lush Life Travel TIps & Advice | 2 Comments

Want a Tour Operator Package? There’s No More Waiting in Limbo!

All-inclusive tour operator packages (air, hotel, meals, transfers) remain popular vacation options for Canadians. Some of my clients just don’t wish for bespoke arrangements, because they love the ease and simplicity of choosing a cookie-cutter option that a tour operator has packaged together.  Canadians tend to travel in big numbers to Cuba, Dominican Repulic, Mexico, and Jamaica; and our Canadian tour operators oblige with quite an offering of hotel and flight combos.

Course, if you’re looking at somewhere off the beaten track (at least in terms of Canadian tour operator offerings), and want to consider visiting Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, the Seychelles, Hawaii, or Australia (or even South Africa), I can help get you sorted. We can customize things to suit your palette, and ensure we have a vacation tailored to your needs and interests.

But if you’re looking at arranging a winter getaway, and want an all-inclusive package with a Canadian tour operator, I can help you still with that.

And, if you want a tour operator package, and you worry whether you should book now or wait, I have the scoop that will save you money. Book your vacation now with me through Air Canada Vacations, Sunquest, Transat Holidays, or Westjet Vacations.  If the price goes drops, I’ll make sure you pay that price. But hurry, this offer won’t last long.  Call me today for more details.

September 24, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Other Items | 1 Comment

Proud to be Four Seasons Preferred Partner

Besides my affiliation with Vision 2000 Travel Group, and being a proud member of Virtuoso, I am also thrilled of V2K’s additional partnership with the Four Seasons chain.

In addition to membership in Virtuoso, Vision 2000 Travel Group is a preferred partner with Four Seasons. There are only 3 preferred partners in Canada, and only 101 around the globe. Not only is Vision 2000 in rare company, we are also the largest seller of Four Seasons in Canada – which gives us terrific negotiating power for our clients.

The Four Seasons Preferred Partner programme is an exclusive, invitation-only network of high-end travel consultants from around the world.

As a preferred partner programme member, V2K has proven our dedication to providing our clients with a premium level of service, and, so, we share in the Four Seasons commitment to exceptional quality.

There are terrific benefits to V2K and me from this partnership – Four Seasons shows the value it places on the business I bring by doing everything they can to make my job easier – from streamlining the booking process, to ensuring that my clients are always treated with the utmost care and attention.

But, in addition to the Preferred Partner website, there are tremendous benefits and services that I can offer my clients. This includes a preferred partner amenity programme (where I can negotiate tremendous amenities on my clients behalf), to simplified booking process, to consistent communication, to support.

Of course, my clients benefit greatly from the Preferred Partner Amenity Programme. Thanks to my status as a Four Seasons Preferred Partner, my clients can enjoy special value-added benefits at all Four Seasons hotels and resorts worldwide. These benefits have been standardised across all properties to make the elements easy to remember — and also make it easier for me to promote the benefits to my clients.

Available on most rates and promotions, I can negotiate the following amenities on my clients’ behalf:

  • Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through In-Room Dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets).
  • Extra value-added amenity, such as: Spa credit of USD100 once during stay (not applicable to products); golf credit of USD100 once during stay (not applicable to pro shop purchases); or lunch for two once during stay (up to USD85, excluding gratuity and alcohol). (Each hotel’s specific extra amenity is specified by the individual property.)
  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in (excluding signature suites and villas).
  • Welcome note at check-in .
  • Complimentary high-speed Internet access for all suite bookings.

And, the power of one-to-one gives me access to the top-level managers at each Four Seasons. This means that not only can I get my clients preferred partner amenities, but that I can also get them enhanced recognition and personal welcome from on-property management, access to the best guest room inventory, and have priority access to wait-list clearance.

Why aren’t you staying at a Four Seasons for your next holiday? Give me a call, and let me take advantage of the Four Seasons Preferred Partner status to “VIP” you!

September 23, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Destinations, Lush Life Hotels, Lush Life Other Items, Lush Life Partners, Lush LIfe Top Posts, Lush Life Travel TIps & Advice | Leave a comment

Some Century – Fun Facts as Airline Industry hits 100

The airline industry is 100 years old.  Thought it appropriate to share some fun facts from the Travel @home team of Vision 2000 to mark the century…. and as we take on the second one in fine style! 🙂

On 17 May 1911 the first fee-paying passenger to a specific destination took flight in a tiny biplane.

Other “firsts” since then include:

• Aeroplane with toilet, 1913 Passengers had to cross their legs until the giant Russian Knight arrived.

• In-flight meals, 1919 Sandwiches, fruit and chocolate were offered on London-Paris flights for 15p.

• Air hostesses, 1930 United Airlines stewardesses had to be nurses – and not more than 25 years old or 115lb.

• Air charter holiday, 1932 “But air travel IS safe . . .” was the forlorn slogan of the London travel company arranging flights to Switzerland.

• In-flight magazine, 1947 The honour went to Pan American’s Clipper.

• Duty-free shop, 1947 Irish souvenirs were offered for sale at Shannon airport.

• Supersonic airliner, 1968 The TU144 beat Concorde, the plans for which the Russians had nicked, hence the name “Concordski”.

• 2011 Spaceport Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic base in New Mexico opened to the public last week.

Thanks to the head of Vision 2000’s @home team, Lynda Sinclair, for sharing these fun facts! 

If you want to come join us as we take on the next century, give her a call.

Lynda Sinclair, CTM
Manager, Vision 2000 Travel@home
Vision 2000 Travel Group
Phone: 416-275-9283
lynda.sinclair@vision2000.ca
www.vision2000.ca

Please visit www.vision2000.ca/jointhebest for recruitment information.

May 19, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Other Items | Leave a comment

Special Virtuoso Offer – “ReClaim” electronic luggage tags

The world is getting smarter, and so are your luggage tags! Take charge of your precious cargo, and help prevent your luggage from being lost or delayed with Connxys’ new “ReClaim” electronic luggage tag.

This incredible “smart tag” is the world’s first to feature a unique online itinerary, and 24/7 live support that not only helps airline officials to route your luggage to its proper destination, but can also help reduce travel delays – even if the original airline paper barcode tag is damaged or missing.

http://trackmybaggage.com/

Give me a call if you want to find out more about this amazing new travel technology.

Virtuoso price of $39.95 USD. (Or, you can buy 3 and get one free.)

Add a SAFETY NET to your luggage. Contact me for details.

May 17, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Other Items, Lush Life Partners, Lush Life Travel TIps & Advice | Leave a comment

Virtuoso Life – free apps & digital magazines

I love being a Virtuoso travel advisor. I can send my clients wonderful marketing magazines such as Virtuoso Life. Available in hard copy form, Virtuoso Life magazine is also now available at your finger tips! Download the FREE App today

http://www.virtuoso.com/publications/virtuosolifemobileapps/

In This Issue – 

From Beverly Hills to Thailand, the Virtuoso Life Hotel issue has a suite (or Villa) to suit everyone. Experience a relaxing getaway to a Mexican Hacienda, pick your favorite cabin from this year’s fleet or get away from it all at one of 15 ultimate escape resorts! 

Beverly Hills Beauties
From legendary to cutting edge, the city’s best hotels offer both service and style.

Farm to Fabulous
Haciendas, Mexico’s great plantations of yore, cultivate utterly relaxing getaways.

Away From it All
At these 15 ultimate-escape resorts, solitude is luxury number one.

Take a Shine to Thailand
Southeast Asia’s oasis is back. Check your shoes at the villa and discover that “island time” truly exists.

High Seas Society
Our favorite features of this year’s fleet, plus Virtuoso travel advisors’ highlights and tips on the best cabins to book.

 

May 5, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Other Items, Lush Life Partners, Lush Life Value - Why Use a Travel Advisor | Leave a comment

Honoured by biz networking group: please honour them by calling

Monday is usually guest blog day, but this Monday, I’m asking you to be my guest, and contact any/ all of the members of my business networking group. Please honour them with your business. 

My 212⁰business networking group honoured me today by voting me “notable networker” of our chapter for 2010, but, honestly, having read the criteria they used to cast their secret ballot, any number of the others could have and/or should have also received the honours.  There can only be one Notable Networker Award for each Chapter, so I’m sure the numbers were very close, if not a nine+-way tie!

The following qualities and characteristics were used in voting for the Notable Networker:
·         Overall contribution to the chapter – e.g. served on leadership team, contributes weekly, always early, positive attitude, organizes social events for the group, exemplifies Givers Gain®, etc…
·         Number and quality of referrals given
·         Number of visitors brought to the meeting
·         Number of One to Ones/ Business Building Interviews (BBIs)

If you know any of the folks in my networking group, you know they are all terrific, and all deserving to be honoured.  I’m proud to say many are not just business colleagues, but have become dear friends.

Please contact any of the following folks on the attached 212 brochure for your business needs. I’d recommend them to you.

BNI_Brochure-v8

You can find members of my twibe on twitter (hopefully, the rest of our chapter mates will follow shortly):

@Jacquie_Bushell @shanesilva @Matt_Shipley @Blake_Photo @SpicyDesigner @anottawalawyer @chirolindsay @doc_needles @BNI212

And if you’d like to come meet the gang in person, come by for breakfast some Friday morning – we’re always looking for new partners.

May 2, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Guest Bloggers, Lush Life Other Items | Leave a comment

Ottawa Travel Show – Anguilla Tourism Board

This weekend, I’ll be working the Ottawa Travel and Vacation Show at Aberdeen Pavilion, with the Anguilla Tourism Board.  Come by and say “hello” – learn more about this exciting destination.

http://www.travelandvacationshow.ca/

Anguilla is the new hot spot to visit this year, especially since the tv show “The Bachelor” visited earlier this month. Come see why the celebrities flock to this island in droves – but pricing is within reach for everyone – especially during the spring and summer months.

Here’s a flyer for the show.anguilla_ottawashow_mar11 1

Hope to see you there!

April 2, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Destinations, Lush Life Other Items | Leave a comment

Finding your “42”- a chat with Journeywoman, Evelyn Hannon

If you punch “the answer to life, the universe and everything” into Google, you’ll get the answer 42!

I sat down with with the venerated Evelyn Hannon, of www.journeywoman.com fame, and learned how she found her “42.”  And while the phrase from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy might not have been at the forefront of our discussion, it certainly was resonating with me.

Evelyn was 42 when her marriage dissolved, and she first decided to travel solo. (And, I was 42 when I had my second child, and decided to change careers.) We’d both stumbled (me blindly perhaps) upon our “answer to life, the universe and everything” being 42.

Course, Miss Evelyn’s solo travels had her leaving her comfortable nest (and adult children), donning a backpack,and hitting Europe solo for 5 weeks in 1982. Low on plans. Little money. Zero contacts. (How many of us would do that?) Her adventures led her to first start “Journey Woman” as a print magazine, which evolved into a webzine in 1997, and has now become THE online resource for women travellers. By the time I’d first met her on twitter, and had become one the 65,000 women in over 100 countries who’d signed up for her ezine/ newsletter list, she was already a travel world superstar.  

She is known as the  “grandmother of women’s travel”…. but I’m not sure that handle fits. Evelyn is certainly a grandmother. We first met in person at the Yummy Mummy Club’s Winterlude trip to Ottawa in February, where she was thoroughly enjoying the role of Bubby to her grandkids (children of her daughter, Erica Ehm, who’d started www.yummymummyclub.ca after her days at Much Music). Evelyn was also busily snapping pictures of other kids (including mine), and prompting fits of laughter from all.

She invited me to sit down with her on a return visit for the Travel Media Association’s annual general meeting in March at the Chateau Laurier. And her nuturing, grandmotherly nature was evident. But the “grandmother” label suggests a doddering old person, which Evelyn certainly is not. She embraces “aging disgracefully” – which works for me. (See her blog http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/seventy_is_different .)

Besides, not many grandmothers start tweeting at age 70. Evelyn quickly built a following of 11,000+ in a short time, and very few know about her pedigree (Time magazine had named one of the top 100 influential thinkers in 2000, she’s been featured in “People” magazine and the New York Times, and has appeared on “Good Morning America.” She also writes Bon Voyage’s “Her Only” for the Canadian government.).  But all tweeps know the kindly soul in the red frames.

I took away some Evelyn-isms from our meeting. Snippets that I know I’ll find enormously helpful as I grow my second career, and, more importantly, grow my two children! See if they might be helpful to you too!

– Be lonely. It’s a fact of life. Don’t ever NOT do something because you’re worried about being lonely. Starting a business is lonely, as is travelling solo. You can be lonely in your office job, or lonely on your apartment couch. So, why not be lonely on an adventure? 

-Be brave.  Go off the beaten path. You’ll learn more about a yourself, and any city, if you stray off the tourist path.  (We happily share the credo: without fear, there is no courage.)

-Befriend. Travel folks are enormously friendly, especially tweeps. Hotel staff will be enormously helpful about reasonably priced and safe places to eat and visit. Other tourists too. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up.

-Be cautious. Always safeguard your person. Never put yourself in a situation you can’t get out of.

-Be prepared. You never know what’s around the corner. Business can morph into new possibilities. A scarf can dress up black jeans and top. And hand sanitizers come in travel sizes.

-Be solid. Focus on what matters. Don’t worry about building bells and whistles. Build something you believe in that has substance, in business and in life. (Evelyn has never bowed to pressure to “jazz up” www.journeywoman.com, focussing on content rather than worrying about being perceived as a dinosaur to those who want her to add flashes and zings – folks come for the info. And, despite all the accolades she’s earned in her life, her greatest joy comes from being introduced as “mother of Erica and Leslie”. )

-Be yourself. If you don’t, who will? (Save the assistance of a webmistress, www.journeywoman.com is run solely by Evelyn. She controls all info and content, even font size – and ensures everything is in her voice, and matches her vision of being a resource to women.)

-Believe. Quiet the naysayers. Do what’s right for you.

Thank you, Evelyn, for finding your “42” – and for inspiring the rest of us to keep learning, and keep travelling.

You can contact Evelyn Hannon at
www.journeywoman.com, twitter @journeywoman , E-mail: editor@journeywoman.com

March 16, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Guest Bloggers, Lush Life Other Items | Leave a comment

Paris? New York? Spain? Vietnam? – V2K does escorted Women’s Travel

One of the really cool things of being affiliated with Vision 2000 is that I have access to so many really cool groups, suppliers, and organizations for my clients.  And few are cooler than the Women’s Travel Connection – a group of Vision 2000 colleagues who run escorted tours for women only.

Are you interested in visiting Paris with a women’s group in June? You can go shopping, have Cordon Bleu cooking, and more.  sgh Paris 2011

How about a trip to New York City?  sgh-NYC 2011

We also have escorted tours to Spain, Vietnam, and more.  My colleagues are based out of Calgary and Victoria, but there’s no reason that clients from Ottawa, Toronto, Corner Brook, or Florida couldn’t join in the fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about touring with like-minded women, or perhaps might even want us to consider doing something special for you and your friends, just give me a shout!

March 3, 2011 Posted by | Lush Life Destinations, Lush Life Other Items, Lush Life Travel TIps & Advice | 4 Comments