HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Jan. 9, 2006

Winter travel trends have changed

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Travel trends within the Dassel-Cokato community have changed since Sue Ahlgren began working at Charger travel in Dassel.

“It used to be sitting on beaches,” Ahlgren said, but now it’s more “white water rafting.”

People still go to Las Vegas, she said, but “for a conservative, rural area, the people do really interesting things...it amazes me. They travel everywhere,” she said.

For example, people are going to Uruguay instead of other more traditional destinations.

Adventure trips are becoming more popular such as skiing in Colorado and visiting ranches in Montana. “If a wife wants to horseback ride and the husband wants to fish, I can arrange a guide to take him fishing and her riding,” she said.

There has been “lots and lots of Europe,” and not just the traditional Frankfurt, London, Norway and Sweden. “It’s more like honeymooning in the Greek Islands and cruising in the Mediterranean,” Ahlgren said.

“It all depends upon what you want to see and do,” she said.

“I’ve had fashion students travelling to Milan, and art students traveling to Venice and pilgrimages to the Vatican,” she explained.

What hasn’t changed, she said, is the popularity of Mexico although it’s not the traditional Cancun and Mazitlan. “It’s Puerto Vallarta and Ixtapa,” she said.

This has been their biggest year for Hawaii, according to Ahlgren. Condos can be rented for a family, which can be less expensive. Hawaii offers beaches, adventure, culture and history for the whole family, she said.

All-inclusive travel packages have had a “huge influx over the past three or four years,” Ahlgren said.

“People don’t realize what a good value they can be,” she said.

All-inclusives include all the food, beverages, and activities needed on a trip. For example, “they can include activities that will keep the young kids busy, the teenagers entertained, and the parents happy,” Ahlgren said.

The travel options are “wide open, it keeps me coming to work everyday,” she said. “It’s very rare when I don’t think ‘I’d like to do that’.”

Ahlgren did have some suggestions when traveling. For instance, watch the travel advisories from the government. “I wouldn’t recommend traveling to Bagdad!” she said.

Ahlgren recalled a customer who left for London after the subway bombings. “You just have to go,” she said. “If you hide, the terrorists have won.”

Be aware of your surroundings and do some research on political issues of the country.

Try to understand the countries feelings, culture and customs of the people where you are traveling and be “compassionate and have respect” towards them. She explained that if the particular country is anti-American, don’t wear a shirt that says “God bless America.”

For more information on travel warnings and tips check out www.travel.state.gov.


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