Stephanie Abrams' Travel Blog
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Blog – Nationally Synidcated Radio Show Host
Learning Language thru Travels. . . Give the Sisters a Big Bowl of Bullets. . . or Ireland: a Big Bowl of Us
May 19th, 2019

Sister Camille D’Arienzo (left) with 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Winner John Hume and Sister Kathleen Quinn, both members of the

Mid-Atlantic Order of the Sisters of visiting  Northern Ireland on a trip to Ireland hosted by Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother

AND

Sister Catherine Markey of the Benedictine Sisters Convent,  Fort Smith, Arkansas on a trip to Ireland at Clonmacnoise

provided by Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother

Sister Camille D’Arienzo and Sister Camille D’Arienzo came to mind this week because I was invited to attend the last. . . WHY THE LAST??. . . Evening of Mercy fundraising event that the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Order of the Sisters of Mercy run each year. In 2008, I was one of the 2 lay people that are honored, along with two members of the clergy, that are presented because of their unique contribution to the world in keeping with the mission of the Sisters of Mercy.  If you’ve read my facebook page, you know that for the last few weeks I have been upside down in balancing my professional life that was sent off-kilter by unexpected moves by companies that syndicate my radio shows, Travelers411 and Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams. One Hundred Percent of my attention has been focused on sorting out the loose threads and weaving them back into a vibrantly colorful tapestry which took all of my time and attention. So being at this historic event was, regrettably not in the cards.  The good news, the best news, is that I thought out and followed a plan to keep everything on track and, with the help and support of more people in the broadcast industry than I had any idea cared about me and the radio shows we produce, we are rolling along even faster than we have ever before in the 17 years we have been on the air! But placing all the moving parts where they needed to be, as it relates to Sister Camille and Sister Kathleen Quinn whom I sent on a 10 day trip all over Ireland staying at the finest hotels and experiencing Ireland at its best, it was the answer to the Zen question, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”  My thinking of the good sisters was, “Thought without action,” as I just couldn’t be at the event in the midst of a tornado of activity swirling around us.

And when I think of Sisters Camille and Kathleen, I also think of another Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother recipient of a 10  day trip to Ireland and that is Sister Catherine Markey, Archivist for the Benedictine Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  I hosted Sister Catherine and her traveling companion, Kathleen Jarvis, as well and, when the chauffeur I had organized to drive them all over Ireland fell apart, my husband and I flew to Ireland and, to their surprise we were waiting for them in the lobby of the hotel on the grounds of Knock Shrine in Co. Mayo the morning that their driver and guide were scheduled to be unavailable to them.  We became and ‘driver and guide’ for them and spent a week traveling around with these two people I’d never met before on the eve of the 80th birthday of Sister Catherine! And I must tell you that that was on of the very best and most memorable weeks of my life!

I thought of both of them again today as I was reviewing Episode 21 of Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day & Marconi Day in Ireland. The St. Patrick’s Day portion shares the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lanesborough, County Longford, Ireland with my audiences on radio, TV and online. The moderator of the parade is a TD, Minister of Irish Government, Mr. Eugene Murphy.  I was reading the closed captioning to be certain that words like “Cirque du Soleil and Enniskillen were all spelled correctly and other words that would be a challenge for an automated closed captioning system.

And then I cam across two expressions embedded into the transcription of the monologue of the moderator. I don’t know when I’ve had such a good laugh! The first one announced in the closed captioning: ” Sisters of Big Bullets” and the second said, “A big bowl of us.”

This presents us with a bit of an opportunity to learn a bit of Irish!

The moderator first spoke about the women in costume in the parade who were promoting a theater production of, “Sister Act” and the closed captioning said, ‘ Let’s give the sisters a big bowl of bullets.”

A bit later, the moderator’s comments were interpreted in the closed captioning as a float passed across the screen, “Let’s give them a big bowl of us!”

While neither, I am sure, makes any sense at all to you, that’s because the now corrected closed captioning say we should give the sisters a “big bualadh bos” as does the translation for the float going by. Pronounced “BOOL-UH-BUS,” this bit of Irish means “Applause” so a giving someone a big bualadh bos is the equivalent of the moderator asking the crowd to ‘give them a big hand’ or ‘give them a big round of applause.’

I have left a message for my very dear, and controversial friend, Malachy McCourt, that I have the title for his next book! And, instead of calling my travel guide to Ireland which I am determined to finish by September, “1001 Reasons to Visit Ireland,” I think I will title it, ” Ireland: A Big Bowl of Us!” or maybe, “Ireland: A Big Bowl of Bullets,” although, with what’s been going on in Derry and Belfast lately, that might be too literal a  title for the guide.

And now that I’ve finished reading, amending and approving the closed captioning for Episode 21, I have to admit that that’s the most fun I’ve had in the last three weeks. I needed that laugh!


This Was a Week that Needed an Infusion of Inhaling from My Rose Petal Box!
May 11th, 2019

I have had a Rose Petal Box on at shelf in a curio cabinet for decades.

It is filled with rose petals from roses that have long since withered and died.

Removal of the lid releases the most amazing perfumed fragrance into the air.

Each petal represents a wonderful experience in my life.

Many petals represent the celebration of a wonderful event or occasion.

Included herein are some visuals and a couple of audio clips of memories that are concentrated within rose petals in my Rose Petal Box. While I’m confident you will enjoy these moments created around the world even though you weren’t there, know that each rose petal represented by a photo herein conjures up volumes of images, conversations, people, places and vision of glorious destinations around the globe.

Have a listen to my NarcyCalamattaRosePetal that wafts from a very special rose petal collected in Malta, a place you must visit!

Most of the petals were gathered at unique and extraordinary destinations around North America and around the globe.Even more amazing about my Rose Petal Box and its contents is that both the box and the rose petals are imaginary and live in my mind, my heart, and my senses shelved in a curio cabinet in my brain. There’s no way to misplace, break or lose it as it is firmly lodged in the fabric of my being.

Rose Petal Memory: NAUMKEAG . .DAFFODIL FESTIVAL. . .  STOCKBRIDGE, MA

with a TOUCH OF BUBBLES and BALLOONS

The diversity of the cultures, destinations and venues within those destinations that are represented with rose petals that exude spicy to sweet aromas is enormous and spans the globe.

Rose Petal Memory: MEETING LULU the ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIEL PUPPY AT CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE

COUNTY ANTRIM, NORTHERN IRELAND

Like a photo album, a musical CD or a video that you open to entertain yourself and uplift your spirits, a challenging day will send me to find, in the corners of my mind, my Rose Petal Box, unscrew the lid and place my nose over its wide mouth to deeply inhale the fragrance of marvelous experiences past.

Rose Petal Memory: SPENDING TIME WITH JOHN HUME, 1998 NOBEL PEACE   PRIZE WINNER at BEECH HILL COUNTRY HOUSE, DERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND

One day I may share with you the challenges that the past few weeks have presented, perhaps fictionalized in my next novel, SECRET, a sequel to RUMORS, which, if you haven’t read it, put it on your MUST DO list as you will love it! In the meantime, I am focused all of the obstacles the need to be surmounted and to attain our goals in all aspects of what we do to bring the world to our audiences in the most informative and entertaining way. And taking a deep whiff from my Rose Petal Jar was a daily prescription this week to getting past the kinds of aggravations that I know that each of you are confronted with at some points in time in your personal and professional lives. The key to success is finding all the solutions necessary to surmount the unexpected and unforeseen redwood trees that fall across the road you are traveling on.

Rose Petal Memory:  Hanging out with Uncle Jack, Sir John Leslie, Castle Leslie, Monaghan, Ireland

For some, for too many, I have met in my life, identifying obstacles is the excuse for why a good idea cannot come to fruition. For others, like me, whose philosophy is, “Failure is not an option,” finding paths over, under, around and through the obstacle is the reason one needs to identify that the obstacles are there.  That process is kindred to Winston Churchill’s reminder, “Never give up!”

Rose Petal Memory: SLURPING FRRROZEN HOT CHOCOLATE

with STEVEN BRUCE, FOUNDER, SERENDIPITY3, NEW YORK CITY

From the theory that, “When it rains, it pours,” such was the feeling of the week past.  Happily, last week is past and the trees are being cleared away so that the path will continue to be an open roadway on the journey to new and continuing travels and adventures. But there’s no question that I relied on my Rose Petal Box and its wafting perfumed scent to infuse my being with wonderful memories of people, places, experiences, incidents and events that create an uplifting cloud pervading the atmosphere and whirling around me like a tornado of positive energy.

Rose Petal Memory: HUGGIN’ Up BUGS BUNNY at the NYTimes Travel Show

I highly recommend having a Rose Petal Box of unique memories to inhale during a challenging time. I hope you create one for yourself and maybe create a tangible form for the person in your life that you celebrate with on Mothers’ Day , Fathers’ Day or other special occasion by conjuring up a decorate container that you fill with photos, mementos, and even key words on a little card that bring back a flood of happy memories and good times with just a quick glance.

Rose Petal Memory:  EXPLORING MEXICO’S RIVIERA MAYA RUINS with

JAVIER GONZALEZ, AGITOURS

So for this Mothers’ Day, if you don’t have the time or even know where to start to share this gift of a Rose Petal Box with the person in your life you celebrate tomorrow, share this blog with her and wish her shelves and shelves of Rose Petal Boxes from you. . .and from me too! And, if you are going to create a Roses Petal Box, maybe you’ll want to include among the contents a gift certificate for a hotel stay or other travel experience. The prescription for all that ails you, take it from Dr. Abrams, is, “Take 2 trips and call me in the morning!” Go make some Rose Petal Box memories!

Rose Petal Memory: CEANOTHUS SHRUB

at CARRYGERRY COUNTRY HOUSE

NEWMARKET-ON-FERGUS, CO. CLARE, IRELAND

Happy Mothers Day  celebrate someone in their lives from all of us at

sAbrams.com & Travelers411.com.


There’s a Philosopher in Each of Us Proven by Irish-American Keith Lyons, KBNP, Portland, Oregon!
May 6th, 2019

Broadcast travel expert Stephanie Abrams at Giant’s Causeway, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

I’ve known Keith Lyons for more than a decade now. . . almost 2 decades I think!

He is the Chief-Cook-and-Bottle-Washer at KBNP, The Money Station, AM 1410 in Portland, Oregon.

His station has been one of our affiliates from the earliest arrival on the scene of Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams which was then syndicated by BusinessTalkRadio Network where we debuted on July 7, 2002. During that time period, Keith ran our show for years and then moved over, about 6 years ago, to carry Travelers411, the show we started on September 17, 2005. We start our 18th year on radio with the first show on the first Sunday in July and the 15th year on the air with Travelers411 the third Saturday in September this year.  A few weeks ago, we welcomed the KBNP audience back to Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams.

No matter the syndicator or syndicator changes, like many of our affiliate radio stations, the general manger, owner, program director of many have become friends I’ve never met. Staff members have moved from one station to another and from one state to another and have managed to keep in touch with me, like Greg Cooper whom I met when he worked at WWNN in Florida, moved on to Atlanta and is now in NYC still keeping in touch with me!

In Keith’s case, we’ve had long, philosophic conversations about the state of radio, the state of the States, and the state of the world as well as my getting updates on his children and their children as he became a grandfather as life moves along. I remember when his grandchild, Braithe, was born and I got my education that, in Irish, that means “Freckled Girl” and I had the added joy, while in Ireland, of shopping for “baby things” for Braithe, some of which I bought in Brown Thomas, the big department story on Grafton Street in Dublin, always a fun experience for the shopper who lives within us all, and some came from the darling gift shop at the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. Even today, years later, I have the lovely thank you note that Keith’s daughter sent on behalf of Braithe, who, while already reading Scientific American and Cosmo in her crib, didn’t quite have the motor skills necessary to pen her own thank-you reply.

I’m not unaccustomed to receiving “love notes” with good ideas, suggestions of show topics, names of people and places he’s aware  of that he thinks I should know about and other prompts and reminders from Keith Lyons on a regular basis but today I received three lines that must be original to him that I’d like to share with you. Perhaps it’s the beginning of an invitation to join a merry band of people in my radio, and now TV, audiences to form a small, congenial group with Keith and KBNP  listeners at the nucleus, to take a trip to Ireland with me that will include the best kept secrets of Ireland that you won’t find in the average guide book or on the itinerary of tour operators who sell trips to Ireland; an itinerary that includes visits with some of the most incredible singers, dancers, artists, musicians, golfers, political leaders, tourism leaders, writers, storytellers and people steeped in knowledge of Irish local history. . . and a leprechaun or two; a unique journey you won’t  find anywhere else. . . and I’ll come along to guide along the route! If you’d like to join such a group, drop me a line at stephanie@sabrams.com and let me know what months work best for you and how long you can afford to be away before you’ll be unbearably missed.

So here are the thoughts that Mr. Keith Lyons: Philosopher shared with me. . . and now I share them with you:

If something good happens…travel to celebrate.

If something bad happens…travel to forget.

If nothing happens…travel to Ireland to make something memorable happen.

Keith Lyons

KBNP Radio

Now that’s truly worth pondering. . . .


Ian Paisley’s ‘ranting and raving’ Will Turn US Visitors Off, Says Travel Expert
May 5th, 2019

When Northern Ireland MP Ian Paisley, Jr., came out with boxing gloves on before a group of travel industry professionals in at a committee meeting there attended by, among others, executives from Visit Derry and Visit Belfast, while I didn’t agree with his belligerent tone which is counter to the brand of the region projecting the  warmth visitors receive on the Ireland that is Ireland, and it was clear to anyone who has recently visited the Republic of Ireland as I have as recently as 5 weeks ago, that Paisley is uninformed and ill-informed. His notion that the Republic of Ireland, especially the marketing team at Dublin International Airport, have targeted visitors to The North to steal them away to the Republic and, therefore, NI tourism interests should be “aggressively” marketing in Dublin, is hilarious when you are truly in the know! I actually was amazed, given how little marketing Northern Ireland does in the US where they should be focusing their attention to attract visitors to the many unique, historic, amazing and life-altering travel experiences that await the visitor to The North, by the barrage of radio well done radio commercials, gorgeous TV spots and print ad promoting NI that were absolutely everywhere you turned while we were in Ireland for 17 days in March! Considering the precious little that is invested by Northern Ireland entities, aside from the overview of Tourism Ireland promotions which include attractions in NI, what is being put forth in the Republic of Ireland by NI tourism interests is serious overkill! But this seems to have missed the eyes and ears of Ian Paisley which probably means he isn’t spending much time in the Republic or he would have seen and heard these ads promoting tourism to The North. And you can’t miss the if you drive around with the radio on, put the TV  on when you return to your hotel or pick up a newspaper or magazine. . . not to mention the many billboards including those in airports in the Republic!

But worse than his position presented as if it’s ‘dirty pool’ for one destination to market within another destination is his tone which is derisive and argumentative which, to me, is like putting out a vat of vinegar hoping to attract ants and flies!  The impression his remarks create is exactly opposite of the brand image that tourism in Ireland has worked so hard to proliferate and that is that Ireland is place where, even when there is disagreement which happens all too often with people of strong opinions and viewpoints, there is a level of civility, respect, humor and wit that all come into play no matter the discussion even if it all ends with remarks that the “other side” is made up of a bunch of “feckin’ eejits!”

The comment that offended me the most was the directive of  Northern Ireland MP Ian Paisley that Visit Belfast, Visit Derry and other tourism agencies at the Belfast meeting should market, especially targeted to Irish-Americans in Dublin, that they are “in the wrong part of Ireland.” That remark is unimaginable but it is certainly in keeping with the reputation of the style of this politician.  I  cannot imagine that that approach would endear Northern Ireland touristic venues to US visitors in Dublin, in general, and to Irish-American visitors, in particular, since many of those visitors have family histories associated with hardships imposed by British rule and British police and army personnel and police in The North whose interaction with Catholics in NI defies proper description.  With Brexit already causing concern about the open relationship between the two politically different sections of Ireland and with more than one flare up of violence in recent months reminiscent in Belfast and Derry, one  would think special attention would be given to peaceful coexistence. Paisley’s words throw gasoline on a warm embers that would go out if everybody continued to work and live in a peaceful atmosphere respecting one another and doing their best not to forget the past but to remember that history is in the past and should be left there.

A better approach for politicians is to talk about the glorious attractiveness to travelers of the region they come from and represent. If  it weren’t for my TV show launching in February 2018, my first travel guide, “1001 Reasons to Visit Ireland,” would be published and available in print and ebook. Having put amazing effort into my unique approach to guiding the traveler through  the island that is Ireland, I can tell you that, while Northern Ireland has some extraordinary attractions and lodgings and wonderful food as well, the quantity of what there is to see and do in Northern Ireland cannot compare with the quantity of high quality attractions, lodgings, events  and dining options that saturate every nook and cranny of The Republic. Three or  four nights in Northern Ireland, unless you are planning to vege out in the destination, is sufficient for that average traveler who is not on an academic mission whereas three or four months in The Republic won’t be enough time to see and do everything of touristic value in The Republic. There is no contest there regardless of windbag opinions.

Generally speaking, any guide book on Ireland will start with what there is to see and do in The Republic. As my good friend, Dr. Tim Campbell, Director of the Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, Co. Down, Northern Ireland said to me when I was talking with him about my travel guide,”Guide books put Ireland first and somewhere around page 600 they introduce Northern Ireland.” That was an enlightening thought for me so in my guide, which has several different approaches to make itineraries and information easy to slide into the perfect itinerary for each and every traveler, the counties of the island of Ireland are introduced alphabetically so Dublin comes in a bit down the list after some counties in The North such as Antrim, Belfast, Derry and Down.

I’m hoping that Paisley takes a trip to, for instance, Miami International Airport. Florida alone, and the US in travel industry in general, have much to promote and could be doing that, as some do, at MIA. But take note of the promotional billboards on walls and the print ads in magazines, in-flight magazines and newspapers that promote Caribbean destinations and Resorts including places like the Bahamas, Mexico and Sandals Resorts. It wouldn’t occur to ANYONE in the travel industry to be upset that destinations worldwide promote their tourism offers in our airports and media. That’s normal!

I guess  what’s not normal is that politicians are, in general, not the best people to talk about travel. They often put their feet in their mouths and their shoelaces get stuck between their teeth as is the case with Ian Paisley.

Years ago, a fellow who owned a travel agency with his father in Virginia was on a site inspection/company meeting I ran on board what was then The Big Red Boat. . . anybody remember that ship? The cruise line’s rep for our region sailed with us. She must have taken Dramamine before the cocktail hour and between that medication, cocktails followed by wine at dinner, she was blitzed. She was sitting at my dining table at dinner and the CEO of the cruise line was at the adjacent table where the CEO of my company was seated. As this young woman who I just adored got very slurry, blurry and sloppy, the fellow  from Virginia said something I never forgot: “Drinking should be left to the professionals.”

I feel the same way about giving advice, recommendation, and strategies in the travel industry: “Talking about travel and tourism should be left to the professionals.  Those who don’t understand how to talk about travel, give advice and answer questions in a way that is in keeping with the marketing image of the brand they speak about have no business speaking. In less than a full sentence, the uninitiated can unravel decades of serious work and hundreds of billions of dollars, yen, euros, pounds sterling, pesos, and Swiss Francs! No one ever ruined a destinations’ image by keeping their mouths shut.

So Mark Bain, who is the journalist who wrote the article on May 1, 2019 about Paisley’s speech, called me and asked for my opinion. That was published on May 2nd in the Belfast Telegraph.  His article is posted below. Click on Ask Stephanie on the navigation bar if you wish to engage in discussion on this issue or visit facebook.com/stephanie.abrams.94. Read on . . .

Belfast Telegraph

By Mark Bain

May 2 2019

A US travel expert has slammed DUP MP Ian Paisley for his “aggressive” language in calling for Northern Ireland tourist bodies to poach visitors from south of the border.

Broadcaster Stephanie Abrams, who has a syndicated radio show attracting almost 12m listeners and boasts 30m TV viewers, said she was “livid” about the comments.

“Regrettably I’ve met him, thankfully briefly, and only once,” said Mrs Abrams, who enjoyed a career in the travel industry before turning to broadcasting 17 years ago.

“I spend up to 90 days a year in Ireland working with tourist bodies, and anyone who watches the shows or visits the website will see how much work I’ve put into showing Ireland, and by that I mean the whole of Ireland, in a positive way.

“I’d say half the shows I’ve produced have featured Ireland, and Northern Ireland in particular, very heavily. I love the place.

“Northern Ireland as a destination is advertised daily on radio and television in the south. There are commercials to be proud of on TV.

“But these comments just show he is very much ill-informed. Northern Ireland is marketing in the south of Ireland.”

Mrs Abrams said Mr Paisley should be aware that “the aggressive language he has used” would only serve to turn tourists off.

She added: “It sends out the wrong image. There needs to be respect to other places people wish to travel to.

“In some respects a more aggressive marketing policy would be ideal, but perhaps the place for that is in the USA?

“Politicians should leave talking tourism to the experts.

“If I knew nothing about Northern Ireland and I saw these remarks, I’d probably never go there, as an American.

“Ranting and raving like this is not what people want to hear.”

Stephanie Abrams, who lives in Massachusetts, showcases Northern Ireland heavily on her travel website at www.sabrams.com

Belfast Telegraph


Ireland’s Kerry Footballer & Minister Deenihan Credits Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams for “Doing More for Irish Tourism than Anybody Else!” Announced on Radio Kerry on Ballybunion’s Marconi Day!
April 4th, 2019

From right to left: Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams, Former Kerry Footballer & Minister Jimmy Deenihan and Radio Kerry Broadcaster Deirdre Walsh

on March 19, 2019 Celebrating Marconi Day

For Immediate Releas

At the 100th Anniversary events on  Ballybunion Day, in County Kerry, Ireland, March 29, 2019 commemorating the first voice radio message transmitted across the Atlantic Ocean from Ballybunion to  Nova  Scotia, Canada by the Father of Radio, Guglielmo Marconi, Stephanie Abrams was invited to be present for this historic event at which Marconi’s daughter, Princess Elettra, recreated that very first voice transmission across the Atlantic to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Marconi’s heritage was both Italian and Irish given his mother was Annie Jameson of the Jameson Irish Whiskey family. This Irish connection  is a great source of pride for h his daughter, Princess Elettra Giovanelli, who wears green outfits whenever she is in Ireland, and her son, Prince Guglielmo Giovanelli Marconi who was also in attendance.

Jimmy Deenihan, famous Kerry Footballer and former Fine Gael politician who has served as  Minister of State for the Diaspora from 2014 to 2016, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht from 2011 to 2014 and Minister  of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry from 1994 to 1997, invited Stephanie Abrams to be present for this event.  Radio Kerry’s host/presenter Deridre Walsh was on hand at Ballybunion Day celebrating Marconi’s historic launch of the use of wireless voice radio across the Atlantic. She invited Deenihan and Abrams aboard  the  Radio Kerry Bus equipped with satellite communications tools to broadcast live interviews with the Marconis, Deenihan and Abrams, among others.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams with Princess Elettra Giovanelli Marconi and  her son, Gugielmo Giovanelli Marconi on Radio Kerry’s broadcast bus

Deirdre Walsh questioned Jimmy Deenihan first, stating, “Delighted to see you Jimmy Deenihan! You’ve brought Stephanie Abrams. Tell us why!”  Deenihan’s reply made me very proud to be included in this very special and historic day.  Minister Deenihan replied to Deirdre Walsh’s question saying: “Well, she’s a huge broadcaster in America and she has done more for Irish tourism than anybody else, I’d say. And she’s been working closely with Tourism Ireland promoting all of Ireland but especially Kerry. Actually, she did a special promotion on West Kerry that was very, very beneficial to West Kerry and resulted in large numbers of people coming from America because of the promotion that Stephanie gave West Kerry .. . . but that was last year. But she’s been a true friend of Ireland and a friend of Kerry and very most importantly so, a friend of Ballybunion’s.”  The entire interview can be heard, starting at 20:50 at Radio Kerry’s Ballybunion Day podcast.

Other at Ballybunnion’s Marconi celebration included Irish political leaders, key leaders from County Kerry,  US radio and TV broadcaster, Stephanie Abrams, Mark Leslie, CEO of Ireland based  Martello Media, and the Marconi descendants. Guglielmo Giovanelli Marconi was in attendance with his bride, Princess Vittoria. Also on hand for the recreation of the March 19, 1919 transmission of the wireless voice radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean were broadcast crew from Ireland’s RTE Radio, Radio Kerry FM, and Stephanie Abrams producing program content for her radio shows, Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams and Travelers411, and her TV Show, Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams which is available to over 30 million US TV households as well as on the BizTV channel on ROKU. Episode 21 of her TV show features the events and is expected to broadcast at the end of May, 2019.


A street in Balllybunion, County Kerry Ireland, honoring the work of Marconi 100 years ago!


Visiting the Lartigue Monorail & Train Museum in Listowel, Co. Kerry, Ireland:

From right to left: Jimmy Deenihan, Kevin O’Callaghan, Mark Leslie, Stephanie Abrams,

Princess Elettra Giovanelli Marconi, Prince Guglielmo Marconi & his wife, Princess Vittoria

The irony of the uniqueness of this occasion was not lost on Deidre and Stephanie whose professional lives are built on the systems and tools created by Marconi. Those tools include the invention of a unique antenna necessary for wireless transmissions as well as creating the basis for radar, cell phones and satellite communications. Princess Elettra Marconi is quick to remind all in earshot from the Radio Kerry transmission that, “My father was a genius!”  All listening acknowledged their agreement!


Dedication of plaque commemorating  100th Anniversary on March 19, 2019 of Marconi sending 1st  wireless voice message across the Atlantic Ocean from Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, Ireland to Nova Scotia, Canada on March 19, 1919. Left of the plaque are Prince Marconi, Minister Griffin from Co. Kerry, Princess Vittoria Giovanelli Marconi. To the right are Princess Elettra Marconi and Jimmy Deenihan, former Kerry Footballer and former Minister of Irish Government.


NYC’s Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Monaco’s Hôtel de Paris & Columbus, & Ireland’s Unique Lodgings Featured in “Stephanie’s Romantic Hideaways” on Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams
March 9th, 2019

Three episodes of  Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams scheduled to  broadcast on BizTV to over 30 million televisions households in the US, to those with ROKU and globally to those who watch the shows streaming on Sundays in the 5pm Eastern Time slot or available at BizTV.com BVOD (video on demand) and for those who’d like a Sneak Peek at commercial-free episodes which can be reached at our YouTube Travel TV channel, you’re going to find a sneak peek of Episode 20: “Stephanie’s Romantic Hideaways!” This episode will broadcast on BizTV on March 24th. We take viewers to:

New York’s City’s marvelous Hôtel Plaza Athénée where you step into your chateau in the countryside in the midst of bustling Manhattan and then off to have something sweet with your sweetie at Serendipity3, two places that would heighten the romance of any romantic interlude. Then off to Ireland to visit Keenan’s Boutique Hotel in Co. Roscommon, Delphi Lodge in Connemara, The Ardilaun where you’ll feel like your away fro the bustling city of Galway nestled in an enchanted garden, a suite tucked into the tower of Kilronan Castle in Roscommon, a self-catering cottage in Northern Ireland, Corner Cottage, The Red Door in Inishowen, County Donegal that abuts Lough Swilly in the region where the hymn,  Amazing Grace was written after a scary storm at sea where the local resident of Buncrana finally sailed safely in to dock on Lough Swilly. . . definitely inspriational!  Imagine, you can dine or stay at The Red Door and imagine the hymn being written before your eyes! There’s so much moreincludling stops at Manor House Country Hotel in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, and Mulranny Park Hotel in Co., Mayo before we go off together to Monte Carlo and experience exploring Monaco together!

As a ramp up to St. Patrick’s Day, we will be broadcasting encore presentations of Episode 2: “Captivating Kerry” on March 10th and, on March 17th,  Episode 5:”Celebrating Saint Patrick in Northern Ireland”

Enjoy . . and send me a note with your feedback!

Episode 20:” Stephanie’s Romantic Hideaways.” broadcasts on March 24th . . .check out Sneak Peek now at our YouTube Travel TV channel:

Episode 5: “Celebrating Saint Patrickin Northern Ireland” broadcasts in an Encore Presentation on Sunday, March 17, 2019

Epsiode 2: Captivating Kerry archived here or watch live live on March 10th at BizTV Network online, on ROKU on the BizTV Channel or on one of the TV stations listed below. Live  broadcasts air when it’s 5pm Eastern Time in whatever time zone your are in globally!

ENJOY! AND HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Biz TV Broadcast Affiliates – Full Time
Call Letters DMA State
TV 51.5 Alexandria MN 10,000
WANN – 32.1 Atlanta GA
WTBS 26.1 Atlanta GA
WTBS 9.1 Atlanta GA 2,582,640
WBPI TV 49.2 Augusta GA 265,000
WBXA – TV 24.1 Birmingham AL 740,000
WFXZ – TV 24.1 Boston MA 3,060,000
WBXC – TV 46.2 Champaign IL 386,000
WTZP – 50 Charleston-Huntington WV 170,000
N – TV 32.6 Columbus OH 930,000
SWCOTV 31.1 Cortez CO 4,000
KAZD 55.6 Dallas TX 2,571,310
WBXF – TV 28.1 Des Moines IA 431,300
SLTV – TV 28 Eugene OR 60,000
WBCF – TV 10.3 Florence AL 88,900
KGMC – TV 43 Fresno CA 674,000
K27FI – TV 16.5 Frost MN 5,000
K16CG – TV 16.5 Godahl MN 5,000
TV 41.1 Granite Falls MN 2,864
KITM – TV 2 Honalulu HI 650,000
K23FO – TV 16.5 Jackson MN 7,000
WBXJ – TV 43.1 Jacksonville FL 670,000
KFLA – TV 8.4 LA CA 7,000,000
KHMP – TV 18.2 Las Vegas NV
KPVT – TV 2.1 Las Vegas NV 800,000
KPVT – TV 2.2 Las Vegas NV
WYAT – 40 Martinsville VA 75,000
WPMF – TV 17 Miami FL 1,500,000
WBXM – TV 41.1 Montgomery AL 245,000
W24EC – 24.2 Nags Head NC 40,000
Channel Master National US 50,000
KQTI 8.2 Salt Lk City UT 125,000
WSWF TV 10 Orlando FL 2,350,000
WUBX – TV 31.2 Raliegh/Durham NC 1,143,420
KRMF – TV 7.3 Reno NV 271,000
KCNL-LD 3.1 Reno NV 271,000
KZTC – TV 7 San Deigo CA 1,077,600
WOBV – TV 5 Starkville MS 25,000
WSPF – TV 35.4 Tampa FL 1,788,000
KBAX -TV 27.4 Twin Falls ID 70,000
Total Full Time Audience 30,144,034
Total Full Time Audience 30,144,034

Radio Guest Mary Reynolds, Winner of Gold Medal at Chelsea Flower Show, Feature Film Now at Netflix!
March 3rd, 2019

Castle Leslie, Home of the Leslie Family, Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland

Squint and you’ll see Broadcast Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams in the doorway!

If you haven’t heard the interview I did with Mary Reynolds from County Wicklow, Ireland after I saw the feature film about her, “Dare to Be Wild,” on a flight from Boston to Dublin, you can click here to visit the Show Notes where, if you click on Hour 1 either in mp3 or Windows Media format, you can hear the interview and click here to reach the  Directory we have created for you to reach more info about Mary’s achievements.  The film is such an inspiration that encapsulates the passion and focused spirit that I find is embedded in the DNA of Irish people . . . who live in Ireland. I hasten to add that end bit because that spirit, while it lives on, to some degree, in some of Irish descents, I think planned, recurring visits to Ireland are essential for Irish descendants to keep that spirit alive and burning with a roaring flame within their beings, or the culture surrounding them wherever they live suppresses more and more of the natural characteristics of the Irish personality, mentality and culture.  When you are in Ireland, the same incidents that will evoke rage and anger and snarky responses here in America, will evoke laughter and compassion and a caring response.  One day in Ireland presents the visitor with so many memorable interactions with local folks presenting object lessons in friendliness, care, compassion, curiosity, passion for everything they touch and do, from the minuscule to the monumental, from crafts to arts, and all wrapped up with a sense of humor, a sense of self, a sense of what is important in life based on a deep knowledge and understanding of the history of the Irish that only exists because of musicians and lyricists who wrote the history of Ireland and the Irish in their music as the ONLY way to pass the stories along to future generations given that a written history was forbidden by the British, Bless their Hearts (as my Southern Family would add). So while a visit to Ireland is an important prescription for a healthy life, a visit for an Irish descendant living anywhere else in the world is as important as breathing itself! Note: Since I was a leprechaun in a previous lifetime, I fit into a special category of those who need to return to restoreth the soul and spirit).

I tried for the last couple of years, since I saw the film, Dare to Be Wild, to buy a DVD of  the film, tracing my way to living, breathing  Mary Reynolds, about whom this feature film was produced.  With the help of my very dear friend Mark Leslie, whose family owns Castle Leslie in County Monaghan where Paul McCartney, referred to as “Paul McCarthy,” by Uncle Jack, Sir John Leslie,  married Heather Mills and where my husband and I hosted the wedding guests and the wedding events of a family member where the friends and family of the groom and the friends of the bride were our guests for a three-day stay at the castle, I was able to reach Mary’s email and mobile phone! Mark knows everything and everybody and is my go-to resource for more than you can imagine!  Happily, the wedding we made possible at Castle Leslie  seems to have worked as, unlike Paul and Heather, they are still married. They truly belong together.

Broadcast travel expert Stephanie Abrams with Uncle Jack, Sir John Leslie, at Castle Leslie celebrating Sammy Leslie’s 40th birthday and Uncle Jack’s 90th!

Q. What do you give someone, whose family trust just invested 20 million euro improving the castle and grounds, for her 40th birthday?

A.  A horse I made from parts bought at Target, created into Castle Leslie’s Equestrian Centre’s Princess  imported to Ireland & assembled there!

Today, I received a note from Sammy (Samantha) Leslie, alerting me to a facebook posting by Mary Reynolds who was clearly Born to be associated with all things Wild. . . but not in the sense you are jumping to conclude. Mary was clearly born to be immersed among all things wild and is a poster child for Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way (although she lives across Ireland in County Wicklow almost as far east as one can get in Ireland).  But I  think Mary identifies in her heart and soul and spirit with the “wild things”. . . the flowers and grasses and naturally occurring plants that the birds and bees and wind and The Lord have planted in a mystical process  where, even in County Clare where The Burren, a huge area abutting the Atlantic Ocean, completely covered by slabs of stone deposited by the Ice Age’s meltdown, where  it is said, “You won’t find a thief or a tree to hang him from,” you will find, in the crevasses between the stone slabs, tiny wild flowers growing whose seeds have been deposited by birds flying over and the wind blowing in from France. It’s such a miracle to see, in this no-man’s-land with the care of the sun and Irish rain being the only gardener to nurture these plants, that there is beauty in this barren area so close to the Cliffs of Moher, that reflects that Irish spirit of, “You can’t keep us down!” And the Americans I know could so use a massive dose of Ireland!

Stephanie Abrams explores The Burren in County Clare Ireland with a horticulturist providing insights into every tiny flower growing between the slabs of stone seen in the background. Everyone in the group was provided with a shillelagh more to catch the spirit than to support walking through the uneven terrain!

So Sammy Leslie, the sister of the incredibly talented and creative Mark Leslie who is a consultant on my TV show, Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams, which is syndicated by BizTV to over 30 million television households and is available on the BixTV channel on ROKU  as well (Sundays when it’s 5pmET), sent me a note asking if I had seen Mary Reynold’s plea for the plants, and animals, of the planet. This missive so brings to mind and heart the scene in the Spielberg film, “ET,” where ET is pleading for the help he needs in order to survive.  Plants and flowers are connected to Mary Reynolds’ being in the same way, I believe. I  think that if conditions resulted in the demise of bees, whose populations are already in trouble, and butterflies, which we in western Massachusetts rarely see, and other animals that aid in growth and sustainability of wild flowers, I think that, like the Beast in Beauty and the Beast who wilts as the rose in the glass jar wilts, Mary will uniquely feel that pain as others might not.

Mark Leslie leads a private tour for Stephanie to visit The Yeats Exhibit at the National Library in Dublin. . .  a not to be missed exhibit that is FREE because it is funded by Ireland’s Office of Public Works. When you leave this exhibit, you’ll feel as though you’ve just left an afternoon having tea with William Butler Yeats, your good friend. Special thanks to Mark Leslie and his company, Martello Media, based in Co. Dubliln, for their genius in bringing history, culture, literature, and visitor’s experiences at exhibitions and museums to life in a very special way!

I thought you might want to read what Mary had to say and so I invite you to click here to reach my facebook page where I have posted Mary Reynold’s remarks. And, please, treat yourself to viewing “Dare to Be Wild” by whatever means you can, Netflix or otherwise, to view the film. You’ll thank me for it. Everybody needs a swift kick in the pants to unsettle his/her complacency and get up and do the impossible. . . which is what my friends in Ireland do everyday and they do it with a determination, a passion for perfection, a sense of pride and a focus on  accomplishment wrapped up in a sense of humor.  Ya gotta luv ‘em!

Slan agus beannacht to one and all. . . (go Google it!). . . and an early start to celebrating Saint Patrick on his day which, happily is on Sunday so tune in for “Celebrating Saint Patrick in Northern Ireland” on the BizTV Network nationally, on ROKU, and simulcast online at BizTV.com!

Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams broadcasts on TV, on ROKU, and online Sundays at 5pmET globally. Checkout BizTV.com

.Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams broadcasts coast-to-coast in the US on BizTalkRadio Network & streams live on Sundays from 6-9pmET coast-to-coast.

Herself the Elf,


Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams Debuts Season 2 with Episode 19: “Florida’s Fab Five” Featuring Biltmore, Pelican Grand, Betsy, Perry & Diplomat Hotels Plus Retrospective Celebration of Season 1
February 10th, 2019

If you want to celebrate a benchmarking occasion, there’s a resort in Florida to fit every lifestyle and budget while offering memorable experiences in grand style, according to travel expert, Stephanie Abrams, rated by Travel Agent Magazine as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women In Travel.  “That’s the reason I chose South Florida as the location for programming for Season 2’s launch of Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams which broadcasts today, coast-to-coast and in Hawaii, to over thirty million TV households and available on ROKU on BizTV Network channel in the 5pmET time slot. “ Four of the resorts we featured in Season 2’s Episode 19: ‘Florida’s Fab Five,’ are within an hour of one another and the fifth is a gorgeous three hour drive south of Miami in Key West.  Each of the hotels is splendid and spectacular in its own unique way from the historic and over-the-top Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, to the British Colonial style beachfront Pelican Grand Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale  to South Beach’s oceanfront The Betsy to the laid-back nautically inspired Perry Hotel in Key West that was quickly recognized at its debut as one of the 12 New Best Designed Hotels of 2017 by Architectural Digest and saving the casual elegance of Hollywood’s beachfront The Diplomat for our last stop as the icing on our celebration cake,” Abrams explains. “It’s like a walk through a pastry shop of delectable hotels each beckoning you to come over and take a bite of their yumminess!”

Hotels featured in Season 2’s debut are among Abrams’ favorites in Florida. “Viewers will learn why as we tour properties  with their owners and general managers to learn what makes each special, “ Abrams notes. “The general managers or owners have been guests on my nationally syndicated radio shows, ‘Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams’ and ‘Travelers411’ heard coast-to-coast and on available on  TuneIn Radio and iHeartRadio. With our radio and TV broadcasts we reach travelers in key markets such as Boston, New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey, Long island, Westchester and Rockland Counties, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Honolulu and Maui and the list goes on and on, I’m thrilled to say!”

Episode 19 presents the show’s birthday celebration with a retrospective of Season 1 features including Malta, Greece, Ireland, Canada, Costa Rica, and US destinations. “Viewers cruised, traveled by Amtrak and Ireland Rail Tours First Class, enjoyed cooking demos aboard Celestyal Cruise Lines and went ‘Castle Hopping’ in Ireland.  Our viewers experienced  monkeys and manatees to Malta! Season 2 invites viewers to come along for the ride!” Abrams concludes. Season 2 begins today, Sunday, February 10th in the 5pmEastern Time Zone time slot globally. Shows can be seen streaming live at BizTV.com and are available at BizTV’s Video On Demand as well (BVOD).

Television stations and household reach in the US for Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams on the BizTV Network are listed below:

Call Letters Designated Market Area State Households
TV 51.5 Alexandria MN 10,000
WANN – 32.1 Atlanta GA
WTBS  26.1 Atlanta GA
WTBS  9.1 Atlanta GA 2,582,640
WBPI TV 49.2 Augusta GA 265,000
WBXA – TV 24.1 Birmingham AL 740,000
WFXZ – TV 24.1 Boston MA 3,060,000
WBXC – TV 46.2 Champaign IL 386,000
WTZP – 50 Charleston-Huntington WV 170,000
WCSN – TV 32.6 Columbus OH 930,000
SWCOTV 31.1 Cortez CO 4,000
KAZD 55.6 Dallas TX 2,571,310
WBXF – TV 28.1 Des Moines IA 431,300
SLTV – TV 28 Eugene OR 60,000
WBCF – TV 10.3 Florence AL 88,900
KGMC – TV 43 Fresno CA 674,000
K27FI – TV 16.5 Frost MN 5,000
K16CG – TV 16.5 Godahl MN 5,000
TV 41.1 Granite Falls MN 2,864
KITM – TV 2 Honolulu HI 650,000
K23FO – TV 16.5 Jackson MN 7,000
WBXJ – TV 43.1 Jacksonville FL 670,000
KFLA – TV 8.4 LA CA 7,000,000
KHMP – TV 18.2 Las Vegas NV
KPVT – TV 2.1 Las Vegas NV 800,000
KPVT – TV 2.2 Las Vegas NV
WYAT – 40 Martinsville VA 75,000
WPMF – TV 17 Miami FL 1,500,000
WBXM – TV 41.1 Montgomery AL 245,000
W24EC – 24.2 Nags Head NC 40,000
Channel Master National US 50,000
KQTI 8.2 Salt Lake City UT 125,000
WSWF TV 10 Orlando FL 2,350,000
WUBX – TV 31.2 Raleigh/Durham NC 1,143,420
KRMF – TV 7.3 Reno NV 271,000
KCNL-LD  3.1 Reno NV 271,000
KZTC – TV 7 San Diego CA 1,077,600
WOBV – TV 5 Starkville MS 25,000
WSPF – TV 35.4 Tampa FL 1,788,000
KBAX -TV 27.4 Twin Falls ID 70,000
Total Full Time Household Reach 30,144,034
Plus Households who have ROKU on their TVs and all who watch online at BizTV.com on their computers, iPads and mobile phones!

]TRAVEL TV WITH STEPHANIE ABRAMS BROADCASTS LIVE ON SUNDAYS FROM 5-6PM ET.

Video on Demand is available at BizTV.com.

Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams radio show is syndicated by BizTalkRadio Network and streams live from 6-9pm ET at their website  as well as heard on radio coast-to-coast.

Join us every weekend for 7 hours of shows on radio and TV exclusively about travel!


NPR’s Northeast Public Radio Presents Travel Agent with Questionable Answers
November 29th, 2018

Yesterday, I listened to a radio show host on Northeast Public Radio that I truly enjoy. His name is Ray Graf. He is often the best part of a guest’s appearance keeping the show topics pertinent, lively, entertaining, insightful and informative. He fields emailed questions and often takes callers to the live show. But when the subject turns to travel, I often want to jump through the radio and make the guest’s appearance more of panel discussion so I can get my two-cents into the mix. Yesterday was one of those occasions.

It started out with Ray introducing a travel agent from the region who was there to answer audience questions and discuss the overview and fine points, as best as one can within the restrictions of time that a radio show naturally imposes, of well-crafted answers.  I pounced on the phone to call in to respond to a less-than-complete answer to Ray’s lead-off question which was, in essence, “Where can you go at this time of year when it’s cold and snow is on the ground and you don’t want to spend a fortune to get away?”  The guest’s answer was, “Florida.”

That’s not a wrong answer. In fact, it’s a good answer as there are many destinations within Florida that provide a wide range of lodgings in every budget level. But Florida is not the only answer so I wanted to round out the scope, for the listeners, of what else might be appealing and, for that purpose, called the station’s call-in line.

I passed the screener’s muster and was put on-hold seemingly forever. During that time, during which I became convinced they are never putting me on the air, I was able to hear the show in progress and, with each question asked by email or phone call, I had more to share and was making notes like simultaneous translator at the United Nations!  The guest’s answers were, in general, not wrong. They were, however, woefully incomplete, providing just enough information to be dangerous.

By the time I was put on the air, which came as a great surprise to me as I was certain by that point that that wouldn’t happen, my list of items that needed to be addressed had reached a point where the first question about where to go in the winter that isn’t a fortune and has “pizzazz,” and won’t break the bank, was no longer the first and most important item to share with Ray’s audience.  And while I got to give what I believed to be important insights, they clearly couldn’t devote a disproportionate amount of time to my input as, at the end of the day, it’s still a radio show with time restrictions, so I never got to what had started out as the reason I called.

I’m hoping that the next time travel is the focus on that station that they’ll think of me as I’d love to be a panel member to round out and beef-up the information offered but I’d like to share with you some of the items that came up that I believe are important to travelers for which more specific/focused/in-depth information needs to be provided. So, here are the answers to the questions asked yesterday on a show you probably didn’t hear but have importance to all travelers anyway!

Q.1. Where to go in winter when you want warmer weather than you’ll find in the northeast of the US and don’t want to break the bank:

A.1. Think Mediterranean! The southern coastline of Europe is lowest of low season now through sometime in April with the exception of Christmas/New Year’s and Easter Holidays periods. You can find low coast air transportation roundtrip and the cheapest way to get to destinations like Portugal’s Algarve, Madeira, Spain’s Costa del Sol, the Canary Islands,  The Balearic Islands, France’s Riviera, southern regions of Italy, Malta, and Morocco is  to fly to Dublin  . . .Aer Lingus has fares to Dublin under $500 at this time of year roundtrip inclusive of taxes, fees and a checked bag and meals, such as they are, and Norwegian Airlines has fares about half of that (a subject that specifically came up later so see below). Once in Dublin, check out Ryan Air’s fares. Just be sure to note the weight for checked luggage on Ryan Air as compared to your transatlantic carrier and pack for the smaller amount of allowable checked (and carry-on) baggage. Ryan Air often has fares of 9 Euros with tax about 14 Euros so starting at about $30 each way you can get from Dublin to an amazing number of destinations in Europe. And, in addition to weather in the 60- 75 degrees Fahrenheit range you can enjoy beach destinations (and heated and indoor pools) as well as historic and spiritual sights, great food, no crowds and great rates wherever you go! Check with a travel agent for packages that are very competitive air/land packages or fly/drive packages for the adventurous! You’ll be shocked by how much less expensive it is to go to Europe in the winter than to Florida or the Caribbean and live at a much higher standard in Europe than your budget will buy closer to home.

Important note: Check with Aer Lingus about their Free Stopover in Each Direction and if they are still offering that, take advantage of it. With most airlines that connect in their hub/flagship location, if you want to break the trip in either direction and spend some time in that connecting city, there is a handsome charge for that privilege. Aer Lingus  has been offering, for some time now, a free stopover in either or both directions. So if you were going to Malta or Paris, or Madrid or Italy or wherever you’re interested in going, you could fly to Dublin with Aer Lingus, spend some time and get over jetlag in Dublin, fly on to your final destination and, on your return, overnight for however long your ticket allows and then fly home from Dublin without incurring charges for stopover privileges. You will also find that flying “Beyond” the carrier’s home country generally provides a significant savings over flying non-stop to the country on its proprietary carrier. That is so that the connecting carrier can get you to fly BEYOND their homebased routes with them. So flying with Air France to Rome or Israel with Iberia may well be cheaper than flying non-stop with Alitalia or El Al. But flying to Ireland is often the cheapest way in to connect with a low coast carrier to go the rest of the way and the saving can be thousands of dollars!

Planning a walking trip? Try the trails of St. Patrick and Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland!

And the Republic of Ireland offers so many  walking and hiking opportunities along scenic routes with every level of dexterity accounted for!

Q.2. I want to take a walking/hiking trip. Should I go alone? How do I find a group to travel with?

A.2. The right answer is to go to www.ASTA.org, the American Society of Travel Agents and fill in the form for “find a travel agent” where you choose by verified specialists in destinations and niche market interests in travel. I just did that and there are 8 pages of agents to connect with who specialize in “Great Outdoors!”  Just going online to find some agent or quasi-tour operator like throwing a dart at a board is not the best solution. In this sometimes chaotic world, I wouldn’t recommend taking off on a walking tour alone, although the guest-travel-agent was supportive of that idea. Even a twisted ankle on a hike when you’re alone in a bad cell zone can present some daunting and unnecessary problems. There is safety in number and working with an agent/agency experienced in hiking, walking and bicycling tours is a great start to being put on trails that offer more than scenic beauty along the route. Most have vans that trail along nearby in case of unexpected need and they carry your baggage while you walk with just your back pack and thermos, catching up with you at the end of the walk at the next place you will stay at along the route.  The time it would take an inexperienced visitor to a new destination to figure out where to walk, where to stay, where to eat, especially for a walking/hiking trip is daunting and leaves too much to chance! You want this to be a dream trip, not a nightmare! The same info goes for choosing a company to sort out your horseback riding trip on trails and/or beaches!

Q.3. I  want to go to Iceland in  . Is that a good time to go?

A.3.  The guest travel agent says, “No. It’s cold there in May.” Let me trouble you with the facts. Firstly, if you want to go anywhere. . . anywhere. . . in the world and you want good weather, the best month of the year planet-wide is MAY! The weather is gorgeous everywhere in May and the best you will get for whatever the destination for the year in terms of mild and not extremes of weather conditions. You can expect very little rain in Iceland in May in the range of 1.65 inches for the month and tends to be light rainfalls with no snow unless you are up at the higher elevations in the mountains, which is no different from what you’d find in any destination with tall mountains where you see snowcaps year ‘round. The average temperature in Iceland from May to September is 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit with highs around 70 degrees in summer. I would not designate this as “too cold” to visit in May.  I live in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts. Our average temperatures in May are between lows of around 43 degrees and highs around 66 and expected rainfall of 4.21 inches. I think this listener didn’t get the best guidance with the answer of No-Go-May! Gee, I hope he reads this blog!

If you’d like to know more about Iceland, do a SEARCH on this site for ‘Iceland’ and click to hear archived interviews, read stories and see photos.

Tale time to pose for a photo with a giant-sized reproduction of a ‘Perfect Guinness,’ something that’s next to impossible to get in the US!

You can take a quickie Master Class in Pouring the Perfect Guinness and do all of the above at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

If you’re a guest at The Morgan or other fine hotels in Dublin, ask the concierge for a Fast Pass which will allow you to bypass the huge line

that can take hours to pass through to get to the  admissions ticket counter inside. You still have to buy the ticket but  you go to the front  of that long line outside!

When the weather is less  than pleasant, you really don’t want to be waiting 2 or 3 hours in the cold, damp, wind or rainy conditions. Or  go with me! We always have sunshine in Ireland. . .we bring it with us!

Q.4. I want to go to Ireland for 6 nights. Can I see Dublin, Galway and the southern area visiting Killarney?

A.4. You may know that I am just finishing my first travel guide, “1001 Reasons to Visit Ireland” and while I’d love to see the visitor have more than 8 nights, the answer the caller should have gotten is that it can be done and done well if you follow a bit of advice. Like the travel agent, I’d prefer the traveler to have more time and invest more time in each place visited but if you only have 6 nights and you have a burning desire to see more, here is some good and workable advice:

1. Fly to Dublin. Take a taxi to your Dublin hotel. Invest 2 nights in Dublin because the first day you’ll be getting over jetlag.  On your third day, buy into (make reservations in advance),  Railtours Ireland First Class which leaves early in the morning and takes you westward to Limerick where you’re met by a motor coach that takes you to the Cliffs of Moher and more and ends up in Galway. Most people have dinner in Galway and return to Dublin on the train. Instead, let them know you plan to depart in Galway. You may not get a discount for not returning with the train but this way you get a solid day of sightseeing and a marvelous train experience and this puts you in Galway on the third night. Overnight at your pre-arranged hotel with plans to pick up a car in Galway on the 4th day.  Drive from Galway to Killarney for night no. 4, then onward any number of good spots to stop between County Kerry and County Dublin for night no. 5, perhaps Kinsale or Athlone or Glasson (try the Glasson Country House and Golf Club  for good food, great accommodations and a round of golf await you or Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone where an indoor pool and Leisure Centre right on the lake will provide some rest, relaxation and a great fitness center, and on to Co. Dublin for night no. 6. I’d recommend, since you’ve already had  2 nights in Dublin, that you overnight in a spot convenient to getting to the airport on the 7th day. Try The Beacon, just off the M50, in Sandyford. Parking is free which is a big asset given that you’ll pay somewhere between $50 -$70 for a night of parking in Dublin Town and driving in Dublin is not fun! Also consider Clontarf Castle, an historic Norman Castle with every modern amenity that is 10 minutes from downtown Dublin City Centre and a quick hop to the airport. Great place, great location, marvelous wrap-up to a trip to Ireland!

2. It’s a 2 hour drive from Dublin to Galway and there are lots of places along the route. So, if, on your first day in Dublin, you visit the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College, have lunch at The Bank, 20-22 College Green just next to Trinity’s campus and then walk about a block to the left when you exit The Bank, make another left onto Fleet Street and half-a-block in stay at the newly refurbished Morgan Hotel, you’ll be in Temple Bar and in a great spot for going wherever you want to go in Dublin on Day 2.  Somewhere around 4pm, jump into your rental car and drive the 2 hours to Galway and overnight there your second night and then pick up the itinerary above. You can spend one or 2 nights in Galway and carry on from there. Do you best to come up with another 3 to 4 days  or more as you will not want to leave Ireland or start planning our next trip while you are there!

Stop at Junction 23 on the  M7 Motorway in  Moneygall, Co. Offaly, Ireland on your way to or from Dublin and Galway, Ireland. Moneygall is where Obama’s Irish ancestor was from! This link will take you to an archived interview about the Moneygall-Obama connection!

3. Later, another caller called to ask about Norwegian Airlines flying to Norway from airports on the east coast including New York’s Stewart Airport.  The travel agent warned not to be seduced by the very cheap fares because there are hidden add on costs for baggage and for food. Please note the following: You can fly  non-stop from Stewart to Dublin (and you can fly to Cork International Airport from Providence, RI) roundtrip for ridiculously low rates . . .often under $200 or under $300 roundtrip including all taxes and fees. They have 4 levels of fares: Low fare if no-frills. You might be paying $179 to $249 ROUNDTRIP but if you want to be serve meals on board you need to add $45 to that roundtrip fare for your dinner and breakfast. The alternative: By what you want to eat at the airport and carry it on-board. Remember that it’s about a 5 hour flight so you don’t really need a meal if you eat the airport before boarding and bring a snack along! If  you buy the next level of fare, Low Fare+, that includes one checked piece of luggage per person and food service on-board and that fare is, generally, $30 more roundtrip so it’s a still a bargain and you don’t have those extra fees. So the fare that is $249-no-frills turns out to about $279 all-in ROUNDTRIP! You can’t get very far in the US on that fare. . .you’ll be lucky to fly someplace one-way for that fare and you’re not crossing the Atlantic to do it! But the travel agent left the impression that it’s cheap fare and then you pay for everything which is not the case. There is another fare called Flex which includes even more and is still a bargain and on DreamLiner flights there is a Premium Class which is still like flying First Class in terms of seat size, legroom and amenities but is, essentially, coach fares on any other airline and you’ll fly roundtrip for a fraction of what other carriers charge. The glib info on this carrier did a disservice to the caller. A subsequent caller testified that she took a Norwegian Air flight and that it was more than satisfactory. The plane was clean and the service was good and she’d do it again!

Q.5. A gentleman called about losing the value of his airline ticket cancelled flight due to medical conditions that he’d like to recoup now 22 months later. Ray asked the travel agent representative if there was an advocate he could go to negotiate with the airline and she said, “No.”

A.5  I wouldn’t give up that quickly.  While Adria Gross may not want to undertake this case, she just might or she might be able to recommend someone who would so I’d contact her first. Adria generally advocates for people who have insurance and the insurance company is finding reasons not to pay off! Visit her website at AdriaGross.com.

Q.6. Do I need a visa to go to Cuba and what about going to Cuba through Canada?

A.6. Yes, you will need a visa and you will need to adhere to very specific requirements related to the reason for our trip. Joy rides are still not allowed as we have not reached that level of ‘familiarity’ with the Cuban government.  The part left out by the travel agent guest on radio was that: As an American citizen, you are subject to all US regulations no matter how you arrive in Cuba. So if you fly in from Canada, Mexico, Jamaica or London, England or you cruise in from somewhere, it won’t make a difference to the US government as you need to obey US regulations. And there are stiff penalties for hotshots who get caught trying to beat the system so I wouldn’t go there!  Going through a tour operator who knows what they are doing is a good start. Anytime you need assistance with passport and/or visa services, try Travisa. The company has been around for decades and they can literally get you whatever you need within 48 hours if it’s a rush job. You’ll pay a bit extra for rush service but when you need what  you need when you need it you’ll find they are super reliable no matter what the situation

Q.7. Ray Graf asked, “How do you know where in the world is safe to travel.”

A.7. I was disturbed by the travel agent’s answer because safety issues are different from where is the best beach. If you make a mistake and choose a black volcanic ash beach instead of your preference of a pink beach like the crushed shell beaches of Bermuda, it won’t kill you. But choosing a destination that could be dangerous is quite another question and deserves an answer more serious than the glib response instructing travelers not to be afraid and just go. So I got to address this one on the air and I suggested that if you have concerns about safety factors in a destination, your best resource are http://www.travel.state.gov. This website is part of the US State Department’s information for travelers online and includes a spot to click for Travel Advisories. The US government issues up-to-the-minute information on hotspots globally and flags these alerts indicating whether you caution or special attention is advised or if this is a destination that should only be traveled to if there is no other choice in your life often designating “no non-essential travel” as the polite way of telling you not to go to whatever place it is. Given that the world is a big and exciting amusement park for travelers with so many wonderful choices, I go by the rule that I don’t go anywhere where I might not come back in the same  or  better condition from when I left home. Why put yourself in the potential of harm’s way? That doesn’t mean, “Don’t Travel.” That means, “Travel Richly. . . Travel Well. . .Travel Safely.” Hard as it is to imagine, the travel agent on the air with Ray Graf launched into defensive mode and tried to equate the scenario of a doctor wanting to prescribe a medication and providing you with a list of all of the awful things that could happen to you if you take this medication trying to apply the faux-logic that you’ll take the meds and nothing bad will happen to YOU. . .maybe. That’s really not the same story especially when there is the downside risk that you if you don’t take the meds you could also get sicker or die! But you have choices in your life and people you love that depend on you that you don’t want to abruptly up and leave! Often, the US government advisories are posted for a few days or a few weeks and then conditions change. This was the case when a truck driven by a terrorist mowed down people on the promenade along the Mediterranean in France, when riots took place in Paris, when general strikes took place in Athens, and so on. It doesn’t mean “Never go to these places.” It means you might want to consider if you  want your business trip or holiday inconvenienced by whatever is going on at that destination or if you want to risk getting a load of buckshot sent in your direction on purpose or by accident. The right response of the guest travel agent would have been, “Yes, that’s an excellent place to go to get travel advisory information,” instead of trying to prove that her approach of “just go and you’ll be taking no more risk than taking a pill that has proven negative side effects,” is the advice to be followed. Sorry, no agreement there!

Also note: travel.state.gov is your go-to place for info on travel to Cuba and any other questionable destination and you will find State Department protocol for interacting with people in foreign destinations. This is important for leisure trips but is even more important for business trips as you don’t want  to offend people at a meeting doing something you find so natural and normal that is so offensive and insulting to  them that you’ll never get a deal with them and you’ll never know why they weren’t interested in you, your company, product and/or service. For instance, there are so many cultural differences in Asia:

  1. If you are in Asia and you are talking with people there, never point when gesturing or making a point. If your finger tip points directly at a person, they will find that very insulting.
  2. When going to Asia on business, bring a wrapped gift and try to bring one representative of the US  or the regions of  the US you come from. If you are from Vermont, you might want to bring a tin container that looks like a log cabin and is filled with Vermont maple syrup. Bring something manufactured in your region or a coffee table book with lots of great photos. You start your meeting off with the “presentation of gifts” and they will have a gift for you so you don’t want to look foolish not knowing this is expected.
  3. Learn to sit with both feet planted on the floor. It won’t make a difference if your feet are under a table, but if your legs are in plain view while sitting on a sofa or chair, if you cross your legs, there’s a good chance that the toe of your shoe will be pointing at someone directly. Ah, me! Very insulting in Asian culture! You can lose a deal and never know why!
  4. In the US, we seem to be focused on efficiency. If you’re at a boardroom table and need to get your business card to someone at the other end, you just might put it on the slippery high-gloss finish or glass-topped table and give it a shove like a hockey puck to shoot it to the other end of the table. OUT OF THE QUESTION in Asia. Even handing your business card using only one hand to give it to someone is a no-no! If you do that you are seen as inconsiderate and careless and insulting. To properly hand someone in Asia your business card, or someone from Asia visiting you in your office, grasp your card in the upper corners with the thumb and index finger of each hand and gently extend the card forward with both hands. As an added courtesy, you might want to bend a bit forward as you hold it out. The Asian person will present his/her card in the same manner. When you have given your card, you can then grasp their card in the same respectful fashion.  Not a big deal to do but a very big deal if you offhandedly chuck your card at them with one hand or toss it downstream to someone. You’ll be seen as boorish and rude! Protocol for every destination and culture can be found at the US State Department’s website. Your investment of time is worth the effort and you’ll also find info on monetary currency, electric current and other rules, laws and customs that you should be aware of to enhance your travels.

NOW HOW IS THIS FOR IRONY:

Fascinatingly, at the very end of the show, Ray Graf asked the agent where she is off to next. I had to laugh when she responded, “Portugal and Morocco!” Guess why? At this time of year it’s warm and offers low  season rates on airfare, hotels and everything else  travelers would want in an environment where San Diego weather abounds in unique and historic destinations with so much adventure for so little expense!  Why didn’t she say that when asked where to at a bargain to get away from winter weather?!

Clearly, when I finish writing “1001 Reasons to Visit Ireland,” I need to contemplate writing,” A Serious Traveler’s Guide to the World!”  There is so much one needs to know and relying on anonymous tips for total strangers posted in reviews online is not the best methodology for getting the information you really need!

Travel Richly,

Your Personal Travel Expert

Herself the Elf,

Stephanie


Broadcast Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Heads for South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida to Produce TV & Radio Features & Present Her Novel RUMORS at The Betsy Hotel
November 2nd, 2018

Hotelier and recognized philanthropist, Jonathan Plutzik, is hosting a reception at The Betsy Hotel on November 8th at 5pm at his luxury oceanfront property on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach’s South Beach , to feature travel industry expert and broadcaster Stephanie Abrams and her novel, “RUMORS,” as part of the hotel’s Artist in Residence at The Betsy Writer’s Room Residency Program. Interested parties are welcome.

Abram s interviewed Plutzik last year to learn how The Betsy Hotel had weathered Hurricane Irma. “That interview, is archived at sAbrams.com and travelers411.com. Happily, The Betsy was unscathed! We discussed The Betsy’s support of the arts, artists and authors. I told Jonathan about my novel, RUMORS, and he invited me to participate in their Author in Residence program.  I’m looking forward to meeting hotel guests and local folks at this  admission-free!” Abrams  states.  “While there, I will produce features for my travel radio and television shows! It’s a uniquely wonderful hotel in a priceless location in vibrant South Beach. I’m producing features charming hotels globally and The Betsy will have a key spot! It’s a great place!”

Asked about ‘RUMORS,’ Abrams says, “Reviewers describe RUMORS as: ‘fast paced, full of twists and turns, a real page turner filled with conspiracies, lies, lust, love, an undercurrent of underworld intrigue and a who-dunnit’  noting that they can’t put it down! I’ll answer questions about RUMORS and travel, too!”

Abrams radio shows are heard coast-to-coast including on eight radio stations in Florida and four TV stations in Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville plus forty million TV households in the US. Key markets such Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas Houston, and as far away as Hawaii broadcast her TV shows which is available to users of ROKU  and online access.  Coast-to-coast radio stations plus availability to 100,000,000 subscribers to iHeartRadio on the BizTalkRadio Network, iTunes, apps and online availability create strong outreach to Abrams audience of travelers.  Stations can be found at sabrams.com/blog.


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