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ActiveTravels - Travel Agents You Can Trust


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why You Still Need a Travel Agent

Last night, one of our clients, a family of six was flying back from St. Lucia, connecting in Miami on American Airlines. The second leg of their flight, from Miami home to Boston, was cancelled. They were given a hotel room and told by American Airlines to enjoy the next day in Miami. The earliest flight they could put the family on was the same exact flight the next night, the 9 pm flight. Our client didn’t want to spend an entire day in Miami, having just been on a week vacation. Her kids wanted to get home. So she did what any person would do in that situation, she pleaded with the American Airlines customer service rep at the Miami airport to please get her family on an earlier flight. Sorry. No can do. Then she texted us about 1 am to fill us in on the situation and ask if we could help. This morning, my wife, Lisa, a travel agent, persuaded her contact at American Airlines to put the family of six on a Jet Blue flight that will return home this afternoon. No extra payment, no change fees, nothing. 
The glut of travel information on the web helps breed a false sense of comfort and independence. Hey, I don’t need anyone to book my flights or my hotel room. I can go straight to Orbitz and TripAdvisor. But what happens when your flight is cancelled, your luggage doesn’t arrive for days, that oceanfront room that was promised to you overlooks a tennis court, or you break an ankle while biking and you need someone to help change the flights without paying exorbitant change fees? In other words, who’s got your back? All of these situations are actual events that happened to our clientele in 2012. Good luck dealing with customer service at Orbitz or if anything goes wrong. You’ll have that extra day in Miami, whether you like it or not. 
In 2013, make the shrewd move to join and you’ll always have someone you can call if something goes wrong. Having been in the travel industry for 22 years, Lisa and I have developed the necessary contacts to ensure that you’ll get as close to that dream vacation as possible. It’s an added layer of insurance, which only enhances our true forte, pinpointing destinations around the globe that suit your passions. $60 per household per year seems like a small price to pay to have someone watch your back when traveling. 
Wishing You All a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous, and Stress-Free 2013! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/27/12 at 05:00 PM
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Monday, December 10, 2012

December Newsletter Now Available at

With the Holiday season upon us, there’s no place I’d rather be than Manhattan. Every December, our family heads down to the City to check out the shop windows, drink hot chocolate, catch a play, and visit an art museum with family and friends. Manhattan is just one of the locales we touch on in our December newsletter. Whistler is another cherished winter getaway, so I’m happy to divulge my favorite trails, restaurants, and hotels. Belize has been popular with our clientele all year, so it made perfect sense to discuss five top places to stay in the country. We also talk about a recent get-together we had with the highly reputable outfitter, Thomson Family Adventures, and let you in on some Holiday traveling tips. Have a look!


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/10/12 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, December 07, 2012

Take Time to Savor the Present

Last night, I had the privilege of speaking at a travel-themed event in downtown Boston sponsored by the Scotch company, Glenlivet. It was held at the International Poster Gallery on Newbury Street, home to a glorious collection of vintage travel posters from the 1920s and 1930s. What a treat it was to talk about my life as a travel writer, surrounded by these classic posters of ocean liners, luxury trains, and airplanes, while sipping an 18-year-old Scotch. I wish all my talks were like this, instead of being stuck in some dungeoness room in a God-forsaken hotel. Glenlivet only wanted me to speak for a short time, so I simply distilled my 22 years as a travel writer down to “10 Places I’d Happily Bring a Bottle of Glenlivet.” I wanted to introduce the crowd of 50 or so people to some of my favorite off-the-beaten-track destinations, like Torres del Paine, Chile, and the Laikipia region of Kenya. If interested in seeing the entire list, shoot me an email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and I’ll send it your way. It was the perfect way to kick off the Holiday Season with good Holiday Cheer. Hope you enjoy this month and take the necessary time to get together with good friends and family. If, like me, you’ve worked hard all year, you deserve that sip of Scotch. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/07/12 at 12:59 PM
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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Robert Kaufman’s 2013 Calendars

Few Americans know Italy better than my neighbor, Robert Kaufman, who returns to the country year in, year out to photograph exquisite landscapes, city architecture, and the enthusiastic people that call it home. Kaufman has just published his 2013 calendar of Italy and it’s a beauty, with wondrous shots of Porto di Messina in Sicily, the vineyards of Vicinanza di Vinci, and the throngs that crowd Venice during Carnevale. Just as delectable is Kaufman’s 2013 Edibles calendar, celebrating its 36th edition. The vivid blueberries, cherries, and Brussels sprouts pop off the page. It’s your choice: use the dull calendar on your smart phone or wake up every morning to these spectacular images. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/04/12 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November Newsletter from ActiveTravels

In November, my mind starts to drift to the Southern Hemisphere, where summer is just around the corner. In the November Newsletter from ActiveTravels, we focus on two of our favorite cities south of the Equator, Capetown and Buenos Aires. We also spotlight the outfitter, Lindblad Expeditions, who are known for their naturalist-led cruises to the Galapagos. Closer to home, East Burke, Vermont has always been one of our perennial winter getaways for the family. 
Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I’m heading to Toronto next week, where I’ll be blogging live on location. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/21/12 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Latest Film Series from Richard Bangs

One of my first stories as a journalist was a profile of explorer Richard Bangs for Men’s Journal magazine. Bangs had just published Rivergods: Exploring the World's Great Wild Rivers. As co-founder of Sobek Expeditions in 1973, Bangs almost single handedly put the sport of whitewater rafting on the map. In fact, he led first descents on 35 rivers around the world, inspiring me to go on my own first descent, an epic whitewater run on the Klinaklini River in British Columbia. The restless Bangs has never been one to rest on his laurels. Lately, he has won two Emmy awards for his documentary work that has taken him all over the world, including trips to New Zealand, Egypt, Morocco, Hong Kong, and Norway. His latest release is South America: Quest for Wonder, now being shown on PBS stations across America. Join Richard as he travels to four of the greatest locales on the continent, Iguaçu Falls in Brazil and Argentina; Easter Island in Chile; the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru; and the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. “There are so many wonders in South America, I turned starboard to seek the latitudes of marvels, and this is what I found,” Bangs mentioned in a recent email. Have a look at any of the four episodes and you’ll understand why Bangs’ passion for travel is contagious. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/20/12 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

We spotted a patch of sun this morning as folks were strolling around my neighborhood, camera in tow, to take photographs of the many massive uprooted trees. Tall pines and maples had fallen on power lines, cars, and in the street. Thankfully, I didn’t see any trees atop homes, but power is still out on several streets. One neighbor told me she’s been living here for 40 years and this is the worst storm she’s ever seen. Though I’d love to talk travel with you this week and think about escaping away from this mess, it would be best if I remain firmly rooted like the oak trees in my backyard that remarkably weathered the 65 mile per hour gusts. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone still suffering from Sandy, especially all my friends on the New England coast, New York, and New Jersey. I’ll be back next week with a fresh batch of blogs.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/30/12 at 03:15 PM
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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

October Newsletter from ActiveTravels is Now Available

If you’re interested in a quick fall jaunt to Mystic, Connecticut, skiing at Park City, or feeling that Jamaican warmth some time this winter, check out our latest newsletter. We also talk about one of our favorite outfitters, Wilderness Travel, and delve into the reasons for buying travel insurance. Up top, you can join our email list to ensure that you’re receiving our newsletter each month. Also, feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to help get the word out on ActiveTravels. Thanks! 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/09/12 at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Travel to the G-Spot, by Steve Cohen

I always equate Steve Cohen with his namesake, Sasha Baron Cohen. His irreverent musings as a travel writer have appeared in countless publications, including Outside, the Islands of yore (my favorite travel publication in the 90s), and The Washington Post. His mishaps as ordinary Joe caught up in some ridiculous travel circumstance always lead to uproarious results. That’s why I’m giddy with excitement to read his first novel, Travel to the G-Spot. Not surprisingly, it’s a fictional memoir of one Danny Gladstone, a 50-year-old travel writer who learns he’s dying and looks back through some of his travel stories to figure out why things have turned out the way they have. One reviewer said “it blows the lid off the sordid and secretive world of travel writing.” Oh yeah, I am so there. I’m taking it with me on my trip to Buffalo today to drop my son off at music camp. I’ll be back next Tuesday. In the meantime, keep laughing. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/27/12 at 12:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Every Season, Memories of Martha’s Vineyard, by Phyllis Méras


By the time I met Phyllis Méras over a decade ago, she already had an illustrious career as travel editor at the New York Times and Providence Journal. That’s not to say that she was retired by any means of the imagination. Over dinner, she would tell me about her travels to Europe or Africa, and her publishing efforts. Her latest book pays homage to her home of Martha’s Vineyard and it is perhaps her most personal work. She talks about how her great-grandfather, a French professor, came to the island in 1890s to teach at the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute. As managing editor at the Vineyard Gazette for six years starting in 1967, Méras met many of the island’s most famous residents, including Walter Cronkite, Beverly Sills, James Cagney, and Thomas Hart Benton. Yet, this book, exquisitely illustrated by her late husband, landscape painter Thomas Cocroft, and architect Robert Schwartz, details her walks in Menemsha to find ripe blackberries, paddling the often-overlooked ponds, and watching skunk cabbage rise in early spring. Take time to smell the roses with her in Edgartown and you’ll walk away with a finer appreciation of the island. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/26/12 at 12:00 PM
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about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association