The stranding of thousands of people faced with ruined vacation plans in the wake of the Thomas Cook collapse brings a common question to mind.
Should we get the travel insurance?
For the majority of the U.K. citizens traveling when Thomas Cook failed, they are being repatriated through a government insurance program. This means those travelers who book tours will receive refunds for canceled trips and repatriation free of charge.
For those who only bought flights, they will likely need to rely on any insurance they purchased, or contact their credit card company for help.
The collapse of Thomas Cook left roughly 600,000 travelers stranded in 18 different countries. This is a dramatic impact on the travel industry.
So, the idea of travel insurance is a good one.
Purchase insurance directly from an insurance provider rather than directly from the travel agent. If the agent fails, you will have a better shot at making sure the insurance will cover you. Often the insurance offered by the tour operator is "self-insured." This means, like in the case of Thomas Cook, the insurance is void because the tour operator owned the insurance company.
Make sure you are covered to the full extent. Look for a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) policy because it will allow you to recoup as much as 75% of the trip if something drastic happens. You have to buy this at the time you purchase your travel insurance and you must do it within 7-21 days of booking and paying for your trip.
Use the right credit card. Often financial institutions offer travel protection if you use their card to pay for the travel. Look at the fine print and use the card that offers you the best protection.
Escaping to a new destination has some element of risk and anticipation. You can reduce some of that stress by protecting yourself in advance.
Travel and Leisure magazine this month looks at spectacular fall foliage train rides with a few rides on the eastern United States sure to pass by some changing leaves. The west coast rides might pass by some color, but it is doubtful because these rides are close to the Pacific Ocean and far from the trees that produce wonderful fall color.
Nonetheless, we also have a few train rides to consider that will produce some color in your cheeks (pun intended) and likely the chance to see some fall foliage.
Sacramento Beer Train
The Sacramento Beer Train is a popular favorite event on the local craft beer scene. Each trip features a live band and eight beer selections from Northern California breweries!
This fun, casual event starts with finding your assigned seat where your instructions to the event will be waiting. From there you can walk around the train to visit any of the four tasting stations located throughout the train, each pouring two beers from a different Northern California Brewery.
Half way into the trip the train stops at a park along the river where guests can deboard to stretch their legs and enjoy the view (Spoiler alert: some fancy tree leaves here).
During the 2.5 hour trip, feel free to wander among the three open-air cars or return to your assigned seat in the enclosed cars to enjoy your beer. Each Beer Train ticket includes the 2.5 hour train ride and 6 tastes of your choice of Northern California regional breweries as well as the entertainment in the form of a band. Additional details can be found by visiting sacramentorivertrain.com.
Designated driver tickets only include the train ride. No beer tastings will be provided to this tickets. No alcohol will be sold to these guests.
Please note, only adults aged 21 and older may ride the Beer Train. Meals are not included in the ticket but are available for an additional price. Meal order must be placed at least 48 hours prior to departure.
Colorado Wine Train
Now, this is a train trip were you will not only see fall color, but you can savor some of Colorado’s excellent wines.
Savor a relaxing summer evening in the Mystic San Luis Valley. Departing from Alamosa on select Fridays and Saturdays on a Colorado Wine Train. The excursion offers seating in a dome or dining car and traditional white linen rail dining service with three carefully selected appetizer courses paired with exclusively Colorado wines. The chef-inspired menu allows you to sample both whites and reds with a variety of delectable small plate offerings, ending on a sweet note.
This excursion is perfect for couples or foursomes, as well as large parties. You can choose to keep it casual or dress to a theme! Engage in conversation and walk around vintage dome and art deco club cars while enjoying wine education and music on your two-hour roundtrip rail journey.
Wine experts are on board to educate you about their offerings and answer your questions. Colorado’s mountain valleys have an ideal contrast of warm days and cool nights with enough humidity for the cultivation of wine grapes at some of the highest levels of elevation. Colorado wines consistently win top national awards for their quality. There are over 160 wineries in Colorado. The Wine Train currently serves the fine wines produced by Cottonwood Cellars.
Live music performances are offered nightly by Jenni Mansfield Peal. A Song collector and award-winning songwriter, Peal shares swingy jazz, great Americana, funky old folk and her own crazy originals on guitar, mountain dulcimer, and accordion.
Advance reservations are required — the train accepts same-day reservations. The menu and wine vendors are expected to change periodically during the season, so you will have a reason to return! All guests must be 21 years of age or older and have valid ID.
Explore downtown Manhattan, learn about its rich cultural history, and taste four of the best slices the city has to offer on The Pizza Tour Tour of New York. All food is included 4 slices on the go (sidewalk tastings, or done inside the establishments). Skip the line access at all locations.
• The site of the Original Ray's Pizza, Prince St.'s delicious "SoHo Square" is one of downtown's best kept culinary secrets...until now... • Their original two locations are in Verona and Mantova. You won't find a more authentic Italian slice this side of the Atlantic. • America's oldest pizzeria! Their 106 year old coal oven still impresses locals, tourists, and international foodies alike • Tuscan style slice was named the Best Pizza in NYC by Food Network...3 years in a row! • While you walk off your slices, explore film locations, historic sites, and modern cultural landmarks on this delicious, fun-filled stroll around downtown Manhattan.
LANDMARKS AND ATTRACTIONS
• Petrosino Square • Historic Little Italy • Chinatown • Historic West Village • Puck Building • Film Locations
Moulin Rouge Paris sells out months in advance. If you'd like to see the Moulin Rouge show "Féerie" (105 minutes), pre-book your 9pm or 11pm tickets (including champagne!) here. For 110 years, the most legendary French cabaret has welcomed millions of spectators who have come to admire the famous French Cancan. Book ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Le Moulin Rouge is world famous thanks to its French Cancan, and immortalized by the painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The sumptuous shows at the Moulin Rouge feature feathers, rhinestones and sequins, fabulous settings, original music and of course... the most beautiful girls in the world.
Many international stars have performed on stage at the Moulin Rouge including Ella Fitzgerald, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra and Elton John. They have all put on exceptional shows, following in the footsteps of French celebrities such as Maurice Chevalier, Jean Gabin, Edith Piaf and Yves Montand.
This tour provides a great overview of Sicily, giving you the possibility to enjoy the beautiful west coast and to visit two among the greatest sights of Italy.
Relax on a scenic drive through the Sicilian countryside to reach SEGESTA. The well preserved temple and the Greek theater were built in the late 5th century BC. - A cycle of events and concerts are held at sunset during the summer months. A visit to Segesta, which has inspired generations of travelers and artists, is an experience you cannot miss.
The Monastery of MONREALE commissioned by William II (1154-89), the Norman ruler of Sicily, combines in one project employment of both Sicilian and Byzantine craftsmen. The highlight of the Cathedral is its interior, incandescent with the gold of the mosaics, covering the walls of the nave, aisles, transept and apse.
Stop At: Tempio di Segesta, Calatafimi-Segesta, Province of Trapani, Sicily
Meet you Local Guide in the morning and head towards west following the beautiful Golf of Castellammare, driving trough the pleasant wine producing area of "Bianco d'Alcamo" till SEGESTA. Here you'll visit with your guide the heritage of the Greeks in this singular archeological area. Temple and Theater are embedded in a wonderful countryside. Visible are also the remains of an Arabic mosque, a Norman church and the Roman Forum.
Time for a lunch break.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Teatro Greco di Segesta, Calatafimi-Segesta, Province of Trapani, Sicily
Higher still is the THEATER that offers great panoramic views. New excavations that have uncovered the remains of a stoà a place where citizens strolled and discussed among themselves, an agora where assemblies were held. The high-stepped, semi-circular theatre opens onto a breathtaking panorama over the surrounding countryside with the sea in the distance.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Duomo di Monreale, Monreale, Province of Palermo, Sicily
Continue to MONREALE - the apotheosis of Norman architecture in Sicily, the Cathedral with its splendid mosaics from the 12th century, it is part of the World Heritage Arab Norman Period, built under William II. It rivals Saint Sophia in Istanbul and Saint Mark's in Venice in its use of decorative mosaics. While it is Romanesque in overall style, the cathedral combines aspects of Arab, Byzantine and Norman architecture.