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Jim Scott, Brian Roman, Tony Price, Jackie Williams, Intro, Outro
Welcome everyone to the Friends That Carry On Podcast where we dive deeper into our trips, unpack tips, and everything in between. Now sit back, relax, and get ready to go on a trip with your favorite group of friends.
Jim Scott 00:20
Hello and welcome to Friends That Carry On Podcast or as you see it online, the FTCO Travel Podcast. We are a group of friends who like to travel the world and share our adventures with anyone who wants to listen. It started off by trying to create FOMO in our other friends to get them to come on our trips. Now, it’s led to more, getting out there and just sharing our stories. Anyhow, you can find us on friendsthatcarryon.com. and any podcast that you listen to, whether that’s iTunes, Spotify, or all the different channels out there, you can find us there. Today, the friends in house are Tony Price and Brian Roman.
Brian Roman 01:10
Brian Roman 01:12
Today, we have a special guest. We have Jackie Williams from NuVibe travel. She resides in Georgia and is a top travel advisor, been doing it for over nine years. So, Jackie, welcome to the Friends That Carry On Podcast!
Jackie Williams 01:32
Thanks, friends. I’m glad to be here. Thanks for the invite.
Jim Scott 01:35
Oh, no, we’re glad to have you. Now, it sounds like you’ve been doing travel advising for some time. Why don’t you give us a little bit about your background?
Jackie Williams 01:44
Yes, I did. I have been doing travel for a while. I started at the rightful age of 24. Actually, I’m probably considered a baby to most in the industry. However, I do specialize in ‘explorential’ but most people say, “What is that? I don’t understand that.” It’s really travel with a focus on experiences around music, culture, nature, and wellness. I like to customize experiences unique to the individual. I love small groups, intimate settings, which allows my clients to truly get immersed in the destination and go places that many people can’t go when it’s a large group of people. I have several credentials in industry so I’m highly certified. I will not bore you with those statistics. However, when we have our consultation, I can definitely go over those details as that’s important. But yes, I love what I do and it’s actually a long passion of mine. When I was growing up, I didn’t get to travel much. My mother was working a lot. My grandparents had all these pictures of them cruising to Bermuda and I was like, “Ooh, I want to go on a cruise.” So, they actually treated me for my 16th birthday. I was still 15 at the time. We went to Puerto Rico, St. Martin, St. Thomas, and one other destination on the carnival sensation. It was so funny because that ship used to be a seven-night itinerary. It was so new. We had our ball gowns on. Now, it’s one of those three nights itineraries. I’m like, “Please, don’t let me see that ship again.”
Jim Scott 03:45
It’s funny, I’ll bring the same thing.
Jackie Williams 03:48
All about that perspective, right?
Tony Price 03:50
Jim Scott 03:50
Absolutely. Well, that sounds great. That’s quite a background there. Let me ask you, because when we travel, we like to get in touch with the local culture whether that’s the music, the food, just the different vibe that goes on there and you like to work with small groups. How does somebody find you on the taste of music and some of the things you mentioned, which I think is awesome, but do people find you that way or they’ve come to you the normal way like anybody else would? “Hey, I want to go Jamaica, I want to go to Europe, I want to go wherever,” and then you bring it out in them based on their taste and then focus their trips or itineraries based on that?
Jackie Williams 04:36
I guess that question is like, “How do people find me?” Well, I’ve actually had a bit word of mouth in business so far. I am on social media with the handle @NuVibeTravel, and my website is nuvibeluxetravel.com. However, when working with me, I have almost like a psychological evaluation. I hope that doesn’t…
Tony Price 05:02
Wow. You would have a field day with us.
Jackie Williams 05:06
I already feel like I know you guys already, but I just have a very good discernment of people. Prior to this call, I was on a consult with a millennial honeymooner. They will be honeymooning, and I was asking these questions and they were like, “Oh, my goodness. I never saw this when going on a trip.” So, I really get deep into who you are, who your friends are, and what your interests are. It’s interesting that you all can go to a destination and you can have the beach bum, the active adventurer, the shopper, and the person who just can’t stop talking to everyone on the street. Everyone have a good time when I plan your experiences. So, it takes a lot. It’s definitely about relationship building. It’s not one of those, “Hey, I want to go here. Let’s focus on the price and here you go.” I don’t want to call it ‘involved’ to scare anyone away. I want people to really truly understand that I take their preferences and consideration very highly. So, if you’re going to work with me, there has to be something that’s important to you or we just won’t be a good fit. We could talk about travel all day, but I probably won’t be the best fit for you if that’s not something that’s important to you.
Jim Scott 06:27
I think that is important. What I find interesting and I hope our listeners can take from this is a lot of people, and I’m sure you see this for first time travelers or have only traveled in groups, it’s just already set up for them. Like you said, “I just want to go on a cruise to the Bahamas,” and didn’t get in depth like you’re talking about there. In our travels, we’ve been fortunate. We’ve got some friends that are really good planners, we do really get off the beaten path, and get in some neat little nooks that wherever our travels take us. It’s important for our listeners to know that there can be more to travel than just showing up to the main spots, actually going a block or two off the main corridors and seeing what’s really there. How do you draw that out of them?
Jackie Williams 07:20
Yes, most definitely. I draw it out of you without you realizing it. We just start having conversation, and I bring up all kinds of things such as, even for what you like to do on a weekend, even if you say you’ve been camping before, “Well, how did that trip come about?” Because it may not have been something where you initiated that experience. Now, I know that you’re a person that may need me to introduce you to something that’s off the beaten path that you may not have experienced before, especially if you go with a group of friends to get their buy-ins too to kind of urged you along. It’s a collaborative process. If we were to go through a different episode, we could definitely go through a case study, you could see it unfold. And you will be like, “Oh, my gosh. How did this girl get this out of me? I’ll never tell anyone this stuff.”
Brian Roman 08:18
I’d rather just be your case study than hear about it.
Jim Scott 08:21
I think you’ve been a couple of case already.
Jackie Williams 08:26
I’ve had people get literally turned into almost full-blown marriage counseling sometimes. How do we begin on this topic two hours later some times. It’s just been so fun. My husband is the type, “Who are you talking to?” I’m like, “I’m talking to a prospect.” “You don’t even know them.” “I know. It’s just we’re having fun.”
Brian Roman 08:50
So, Jackie, when you’re talking with somebody or a group, do they already have a destination in mind or are you talking to them first and then recommending destinations?
Jackie Williams 09:02
Well, that’s funny. Most of the time they think they have a destination in mind. They think they know where they want to go. I just had someone say, “Hey, look up Maui. We want all-inclusive.” Well, you’re not going to get an all inclusive in Maui. So, they’re like, “Oh, really, you don’t?” “No. Hawaii doesn’t offer all-inclusive like the traditional Caribbean way or Mexico.” And they’re like, “Oh, I didn’t really understand that.” One of my specialties, which I love is actually, I really love mentoring and coaching. So, when I get to educate a client or prospect on a destination, oh my gosh, it’s like the highlight of the entire experience for me. You may think you know where you want to go but based on like I said, those unique preferences or the group, even something as simple as “I’m a vegan or vegetarian, I know that the destination you go to only serve pork and chicken.” “Okay, well, we need to find…”
Jim Scott 10:03
You need to be hungry.
Jackie Williams 10:05
Right, you are. Let me tell you I love Mexico and I can’t get some really great seafood in Mexico, but I’m a pescatarian now. And oh my goodness, all the pork and chicken, even going to Jamaica, I’m like, “I can’t eat.” Well, I can but I choose not to. That’s important, too. I just go very in depth in who you are as a person and who your group is as a collective. So, just try to identify. It may require some back and forth. Not too often. I always say, “If we have to talk more than three times, then we’re not a good fit.” Because I very do pride myself on being able to listen to you and your needs. I’m like a encyclopedia junkie. I love knowledge. Even if it’s a destination that I’m not actively pursuing for clients, I’m sitting on a webinar, speaking to a travel supplier or tourism board, just so I can understand what it offers in case I speak to someone and that’s the best solution for them. It’s very engaged like that.
Jim Scott 11:19
Give us a couple examples of some of the very adventurous things like scaling Mount Everest, something crazy like that, or just off the beaten path. What are some unique adventures that most people wouldn’t go on that you’ve built for somebody?
Jackie Williams 11:39
Some of the most unique was, like in the Caribbean for instance. I should highlight Jamaica because that’s one of those islands that gets a lot of, “Oh, I’ve been there before.” or “Oh, it’s so common. I don’t want to go there. I want to go for somewhere exotic.” But most of them have never been to Kingston or go into Port Antonio, even gone to the Blue Mountains and hiked up like eight hours at night, eight hours to go watch the sunrise. They’re like, “Wow, that’s possible?” Gorilla trekking is one of my ultimate bucket lists in Rwanda. That’s something that you know of and it’s common, but for at least my current clientele, they’re not that adventurous at first to think that that’s something that’s even possible for them. Even having a dinner on a glacier, they’re just eating in the middle of the ice like, “Oh, okay.”
Brian Roman 12:43
I’m not for both of those.
Jim Scott 12:43
Yeah. We’re definitely not.
Brian Roman 12:46
Can I have dinner on a glacier with the gorillas?
Jackie Williams 12:54
Those things are really cool. The sky’s the limit. One of the great things is my affiliation with Virtuoso, which is a luxury [inaudible 13:04] which represents the best of the best. It’s amazing like, oh, man, I don’t want to get it wrong, but I spoke to a vendor, one of my partners today. One of her contact can allow me to … There’s a museum in Italy, and I don’t want to get it wrong, but he’s the only person, her contact is the only person that can get us access to eat breakfast there. He’s one of the only people that has a permit to land a helicopter in the Sahara Desert to actually offer a picnic. Something just unique as that. You won’t be able to get that experience booking through Expedia or Viator. It comes through the relationship with someone like myself who have those connections.
Jim Scott 13:57
Tony Price 13:57
Well, I wish we would have had you because that would been a hell of a lot quicker than our eight-hour van ride over the Atlas Mountains and two-hour camel ride into the desert.
Jackie Williams 14:08
Oh, my goodness.
Jim Scott 14:09
The helicopter would’ve been much faster.
Jackie Williams 14:13
Why didn’t you choose to helicopter?
Jim Scott 14:15
We didn’t know it was an option.
Jackie Williams 14:17
See? Look at that.
Jim Scott 14:18
A friend booked the trip, told us it was a two-hour ride. So we’re like, “Oh yeah. That’s great.” Eight hours later in this 20-year old Safari Astro minivan that wasn’t well equipped on the roads of the Atlas Mountains, which is one of the top 10 most dangerous roads in the world, we ended up finding our camels to ride another hour and a half out into the desert to spend the night with a Berber tribe.
Tony Price 14:47
It was awesome. We did that once, but the next time, I might do the helicopter
Jim Scott 14:52
Yeah, the helicopter is definitely going to be ….
Jackie Williams 14:53
I was just about to say that that sounds kind of cool, just the adventure of it. I’m an adventure junkie that will put myself through hell like that just to say, “I’ve done it.” And then the next day I’m like, “Okay. Now, how do you get me back over there in 10 minutes?”
Tony Price 15:07
Yeah, that was pretty much the case. We’re like, “Damn, we got another eight-hour van ride.”
Jim Scott 15:13
We got the story now but there’s 16 hours to work on.
Jackie Williams 15:17
Right. I can imagine that. That was just like in Costa Rica in October. We went from Putana where the volcano was at to Manuel Antonio. That was actually the first time, me personally, did the 8-passenger plane. It just cut out four hours of driving with people, like you saying, “Ugh. I got to do this?” That’s quite the experience I’m going to plan for everyone going forward now. You have to take the commuter jet over. Everyone’s going to be afraid like I was, I’m sure, if you’ve never been on one of those small planes. But it was so awesome just to see the countryside from a different perspective. I love that.
Jim Scott 16:16
That’s what we like the most, seeing things from not the pictures you see all the time. It just makes a big difference on your perspective, just growing as a person, and just everything. It just opened your eyes to a lot of things.
Jackie Williams 16:30
Tony Price 16:31
So, Jackie, you obviously recommended a lot of places. What are some of your favorite places to visit or recommend when you get people that are looking to travel to unique spots?
Jackie Williams 16:46
Oh, that’s a very great question. I wasn’t prepared for that one. I actually so like, oh wow, that’s such a continent. So, let’s talk about Africa, definitely Tanzania, Kenya area. I love wildlife. I love culture, too, but I think I may have been a lion or some type of wilder beef in another life.
Tony Price 17:13
I think Brian was a hyena.
Brian Roman 17:14
Might still be.
Jackie Williams 17:18
(laughter) I love being one with nature. Definitely to take you to Zanzibar, those places over in Africa.
Jim Scott 17:33
Now, there’s like a safari to get out and see these animals, not hunting them Safari, but just getting a zoo experience in a wildlife preserve or something. How’s that work?
Jackie Williams 17:43
Oh, man. I don’t know if I will call it zoo but definitely a wildlife Safari in the natural habitat of the wildlife. I’m big on sustainability. One of the things before I even understood what sustainability was about protecting the environment and giving back to the local people, the communities and such, I had always had that vision of fate in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Southeast Asia, riding the elephants. Now I’m like, “Ah, no. It’s not such a great idea.” We did that before, I knew better. Now you know better, you do better, but definitely, I’m really big on it. The Safari rivers and Game Reserves that I recommend, will definitely have that protective element to nature as well as to the local communities. You may wake up to elephant 10 feet from you. It may be a tented Safari out in the middle of nowhere. It could be more of a luxury experience or it could be more of a roughing experience. It’s whatever your style is. For me, luxury is not based on a price tag or how something looks per se. It is really what makes you happy and what fulfills you. Going over there is all about the wildlife. It’s all about nature, protecting them, and looking at them from a safe distance in their habitat.
Tony Price 19:31
That’s definitely on our list. It was actually a potential for this year before this craziness hit, but so much for that for this year.
Jackie Williams 19:43
I know. That was on my list as well this year. It was actually going to be more of a teaching experience where they were going to take us out into the wild and help us, but we were going to observe how they observed the animals. I can’t really go into details because I didn’t really get that far into the planning with them. But It was going to be very in depth, like more of like a game host. It was going to be pretty interesting. They have all those things, especially if you have kids. I don’t have kids. I’m a dual income, no kids, but I do understand family travel is very important. I have an affinity and I understand the value of exposing youth to things very early on. Most of the time, going to Africa, they want them to be at least 12, probably more around 15 years of age, just because we don’t need no wild child screaming out at the wrong moment.
Jim Scott 20:51
That will be careless.
Jackie Williams 20:53
Right. So, yeah. Africa, Southeast Asia, Bali, Indonesia, I have an affinity for that area as well. And I’m a Caribbean baby. I love not just the beach, I love the people and the culture. If I can get to an active island such as St. Lucia, which is known as the Hawaii of the Caribbean, that’s always fine.
Jim Scott 21:19
Nice. Let me go off script just a little bit. Let me give you things we’ve done as travelers, and you tell us a place you would recommend that we need to go. We have ran with the bulls multiple times in Pamplona, Spain. We’ve seen the northern lights above the Arctic Circle. We’ve been in Bangkok, Thailand for New Year’s Eve. We’ve traveled multiple places in Europe. Done Oktoberfest. We’ve already mentioned trip to Morocco and then out into the Sahara Desert. So, what would you recommend for an experienced traveler like we are?
Jackie Williams 22:05
That’s good. Hold on. I’m looking at my map above me actually.
Tony Price 22:10
We’re pretty much resorting to throwing darts at a dartboard at this point.
Jackie Williams 22:12
I know. I think for your next, you should head over to India.
Tony Price 22:21
Well, that’s a call.
Jim Scott 22:21
That is a good call.
Tony Price 22:23
I definitely had Africa on the list.
Jackie Williams 22:26
Yeah. Most definitely. Of course.
Tony Price 22:29
Because we also want to do a little hike, Kilimanjaro. That’s on the list too with the Safari, but India’s on there.
Jackie Williams 22:42
Kenya would definitely be where I would recommend to you all because you’re very active, then definitely come ajar over that area. I think you’ll actually love what India has to offer.
Tony Price 22:54
Any particular part of India? You get the standards. Is there something that is not well known that you really enjoy?
Jackie Williams 23:06
That’s going to be a hard call on me right now, but definitely going to have to try Jaipur. There’s this southern area, my friends will get me that I don’t remember the name. I have a lot of friends from India. I’m trying to look at my map to see if it shows when I look at it, and I’m probably going to butcher the name of it. Is it Panaji? My friends are in Pune, and it’s south of them. It’s like Panaji. It’s starts with a P. I think that’s what it’s called. It’s this very coastal region but has this jungle feel to it as well. If y’all are listening to me, I’m so sorry. When I saw it for myself, I was like, I’m there. Definitely India over the Himalayas, up north in Nepal, in that area up north.
Jim Scott 24:12
We’ve got good friend who hikes to base camp, to start in Katmandu or Nepal. Where does he start?
Tony Price 24:19
I forgot where he just starts all the time.
Jim Scott 24:21
He’s an expat from Britain who lives in Thailand. He does this every Christmas. He’s a teacher and hikes, it’s about two-week journey, hikes to base camp and hikes back out with the Shermans and all.
Brian Roman 24:37
And Nepal is where he starts.
Brian Roman 24:39
I knew Nepal is where he starts. I just couldn’t remember the town. I’m semi interested, but Brian’s really interested in taking his son and doing that as well.
Jackie Williams 24:49
Yeah, and Bhutan, that’s a nice area not far from there. I’ll board it by the Himalayan Mountains. I think that would be a great area for you all. But go to Africa, definitely.
Tony Price 25:03
Yeah, that’s definitely on our list. Our first love was Europe, and it’s still a huge love but I have found seeing just natural beauty has been pretty cool. You’re just mesmerized with what’s out there and how different it looks.
Jackie Williams 25:21
What part of Europe?
Tony Price 25:23
All over. I’m a Francophile. I love France.
Jackie Williams 25:28
Yeah, me too.
Tony Price 25:29
I’m just used to France. I could easily move there right now.
Jim Scott 25:33
Well, Tony was supposed to spend most of July in France. He got it all setup before COVID.
Tony Price 25:37
Yeah. I was actually supposed to be renting a house in Bordeaux for the entire month of July. That got shot.
Jackie Williams 25:45
You have to do it next year.
Tony Price 25:47
Yeah, we’ll definitely go back over. France, Spain is huge. We’ve been to Pamplona, Madrid, and Barcelona. We still have to see a lot of the other parts of Spain.
Jim Scott 26:00
Tony Price 26:01
Portugal, I love Portugal. Germany.
Jim Scott 26:06
Germany’s been good.
Jackie Williams 26:08
Which part of Germany?
Tony Price 26:10
I’ve been all over, Munich, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf.
Brian Roman 26:19
Tony Price 26:20
Yeah, Cologne. I haven’t been over to Berlin yet.
Jackie Williams 26:23
Okay. I’ve only been to Munich so far and I’m going to tell you, I was not a beer lover until I had their beer. It was so funny. I have like this little embarrassing story.
Tony Price 26:34
Oh, please do tell.
Jackie Williams 26:38
Coming home, I actually had coach seats coming back. Usually I said, “Okay, I’m going to sit by the window.” It kept going. I was fine. I was good. Then I used the bathroom. I swept the hallway. I promise you, I peed 13 times. I didn’t drink anything on the plane. I didn’t even eat anything on the plane. The guy had the aisle seat and I’m like, “I’m sorry. I have to go again.” He was like, “Well, ma’am, I must tell you. I’m so impressed by you. You haven’t drinking anything all day and you’re just like a water hose.” I was like the beer is catching up with me.
Jim Scott 27:23
Were you at Oktoberfest?
Jackie Williams 27:26
No. It was not Oktoberfest. I actually went with a tour company Contiki. They specialize in guided experiences for the millennial, motorcoach.
Tony Price 27:43
What was the name of it?
Brian Roman 27:44
Jackie Williams 27:45
Tony Price 27:46
I think that’s the one that we ran into in Greece last year.
Jackie Williams 27:53
It’s possible, yeah.
Tony Price 27:56
That was me and Eric when we get stuck. That’s kind of another crazy little story. We ran into a local and the guy has been in Greece for obvious life and ran restaurants. He renamed his little port shop after the tour company, because he figured every time the boat would show up, they would see that and go, “Oh, that must be part of the trip,” and they would just show up.
Jackie Williams 28:22
So clever. Right?
Tony Price 28:26
I’m pretty sure that’s the name.
Jim Scott 28:27
Tony Price 28:27
So anyway, that’s cool.
Jim Scott 28:29
Jackie Williams 28:30
Jim Scott 28:32
Well, let’s segue a little bit. Obviously, travel has been impaired this year to say the least. To my knowledge, Mexico is one of the only few places you can go from at least in the US without needing a COVID test. Other places are open up where you can go with the COVID test. I even saw an article, but I only saw one place, I don’t trust the article yet because I haven’t seen it all over that Secretary of State dropped us from level four to less to where it’s just per the individual country, not just an overall band. That was yesterday. But anyhow, give us your take on traveling right now and in the near future, what you see, how you see things playing out, and what people can do or not do because I know people are tired of being cooped up and want to go somewhere.
Jackie Williams 29:25
Very true. Actually, that article you can trust. Even if you go to the US State Department, we are now at a level three which reconsider travel due to COVID. That’s very great news. Hopefully, some of the travelers employers won’t penalize them now. When I say penalize, meaning if they were traveling under a level four advisory, either their insurance will uncover them, or they will have to be quarantined from their jobs which could lead to being laid off. There’s a lot of reasons why people chose not to travel immediately when some of the borders came open. Mexico is probably one of the most friendly destinations right now where you can travel without any testing. The great thing is a lot of the accommodations there are really staying very strict to protocol. I’m very proud. I haven’t personally been there yet, but I have other industry colleagues who’ve been there and been reporting. They have QR codes for menus, and everyone’s wearing masks. That’s really cool. Right now, the Caribbean is pretty much looking good. Antigua’s open, Aruba, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Jamaica. For Jamaica, the only four states that require a negative COVID test before they can even fly onto the island is Florida, Arizona, Texas and New York currently.
Tony Price 31:17
We’re good to go.
Jackie Williams 31:21
Yeah, St. Barts is open, St. Lucia. The Caribbean is actually open. Croatia, Dubai is open, Iceland. I didn’t realize this. I’ll be honest. As a travel advisor and they say, “Okay Europe is closed down.” Everyone considered it, but the UK never closed to us. What happened is maybe the airlines stopped flying there, but the UK never really closed.
Tony Price 31:47
Yeah. UK is there. Just for our listeners, we confirm that you can still get throughout Europe. You just can’t fly into it via the airport. If you go to UK and quarantine for 14 days, you can travel across to EU without much trouble at all as long as you go car or train.
Jackie Williams 32:08
Exactly. It’s just really air. I was very impressed to see that Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia are all open, also the Maldives, and the French Polynesia area.
Jim Scott 32:24
So, there are options. That’s good.
Jackie Williams 32:26
Yeah, there are options. The thing is if you have to do connection flight, the layovers with flight cancellations, and those types of challenges. Delta Airlines is not known for cancellations most of the time and when I originally booked our tickets for Jamaica, there were two flights a day going and coming back. Then they canceled one to just have one flight. For our first flight going, we have first class. Coming back, we had comfort plus. But because they consolidated the flight, they still kept the middle seats open, but I was bumped to the main cabin, which was only a few feet. But I’m spoiled, so that was a problem for me. It’s been a moment.
Tony Price 33:22
I would say you’re still lucky. We took a flight to here recently and my flight was completely booked. They have people still on the standby and that was American God bless. I was like, “Wow, what happened?”
Jackie Williams 33:39
Yeah, I know. That’s still a little heartburn for me. I’m germaphobe actually. I was actually happy when everyone started being more clean and more cautious with the sanitation. I really won’t be comfortable with a full flight for myself personally. JetBlue is the only other airline that I’m very familiar with that has the middle seat flop still. So, Delta and JetBlue, those airlines are in your market, our way to fly.
Tony Price 34:14
Yeah, I’m still a Delta fan. It’s still the best. That’s my opinion.
Jackie Williams 34:19
Yeah, for me too, Delta proud.
Tony Price 34:22
Best customer service in the world.
Jackie Williams 34:24
Yeah, they really do. They took care of me. Even though they bumped me, they had some credits for that and a customer service line to call for a refund on that portion of the trip where I did not get the cabin, the category that I had paid for. The customer service is definitely there. I see your point. It’s not this small for all travel. Honestly, me traveling to Jamaica, I’ll definitely say it’s about your comfort zone and your trust of people. I’m very trusting, but I don’t trust your germs. It’s so scornful, that’s the term my husband uses with me before COVID. Now, I’m looking at you with five eyes. For the most part, it’s very comfortable. I actually have a lot more confidence traveling internationally than domestic. I know there’s this big push for domestic travel and RVs. But I’m like, “I don’t get it.” We’re the ones who are spiking. We are citizens of the United States, we’re touching each other. I don’t know. I know this probably may sound ignorant to some people, and I hope that doesn’t offend anyone, but I just don’t understand it as much, traveling domestically versus to a destination that is not spiking as much as we are. I know not every region of the United States is in that situation, so my take is now to consider villas, to look for private villas, private not necessarily homes, I wouldn’t necessarily go Airbnb, but one of the things I work with are credible villa management companies, either they own the villas themselves or they’re very connected with their home hosts, and enable to enforce the COVID protocols, and having safety measures and checks of that matter. That’s still important because knowing whether a home was vacant, how long it’s been vacant, what’s the cleaning protocol of that, do they have carbon monoxide and fire detectors throughout, those are very important when considering the villa. That’s more of my suggestion for the domestic route. That’s just from me. I know a lot of advisors that still sell anything in the United States. Unfortunately, that’s not me. I’m very selective mainly because I’ve been turning to mama bear when my clients travel.
Jim Scott 37:23
I think that’s good. You’re the, like you said, the mama bear. You’re doing the heavy spectrum on safety. If they’re comfortable below that level, then they’re good all the way around. You got it covered.
Jackie Williams 37:43
That’s what I like to say. I’m confident in that. I’m very particular. If that’s something that people appreciate, we’ll definitely work well together. I definitely say, “Travel at your own comfort.” I had a client that tried to gauge how I felt and I’m like, “Well, I’m going to Jamaica. How do you feel about it?” It’s all about what you’re comfortable with.
Jim Scott 38:11
Yeah, that’s a good point. Tony and I are pretty much willing to go anywhere. We just went to Key West, which obviously is a hotspot.
Tony Price 38:22
Florida’s a hotspot.
Jim Scott 38:22
Florida’s a hotspot.
Tony Price 38:23
Key West has it.
Jim Scott 38:24
Yeah, but we followed all the guidelines and all that type of stuff. In the beginning of the year, in January, we were in Southeast Asia. Now, this wasn’t widespread that Corona was happening, I got a text on January 3rd from my daughter asking about some Chinese virus or something going around. I was like, “I don’t know. Don’t worry about it.” We fly back on January 9th. Our layover was in Hong Kong then has 16-hour flight from there to the US. The lady beside me was an elder Asian lady. She did wear a mask but she was hacking the whole time and constantly getting up over me going to the bathroom. She was in the senior seat, I was in the aisle. I did get sick a week later, probably one of the worst chest coughs and burning in my chest ever. I never got tested because it still wasn’t a thing then to think about that. I just figured it’s a chest cold. Better than average that I did get COVID back then, but I don’t think twice about it. Going anywhere, doing anything, I’m obviously following the precautions being safe to myself and everybody else but I don’t think twice about it.
Jackie Williams 39:43
One of the things I would recommend people do is just get tested prior to traveling. Know your status. I’m sure we know the famous campaign back in the 90s, “Get tested. Know your status.” I’d rather not say it. That’s how I take COVID nowadays. Just know your status when you’re going to go around people because you can’t tell, for some of us. Just be responsible. My husband and I did get tested when we went to Jamaica, although it was not required to, just so we understood that if we were positive and we still chose to travel, then we knew how we would have wanted to conduct ourselves. That wasn’t the case, but I’m sure there are people who are traveling positive. They may know they are. Hopefully, they’re being responsible while wearing their mask and being very clean with their hands or whatever else that could transmit this thing, which we don’t really know for the most part. I’ll just say know your status, be responsible, and one of the things that you will observe when traveling, a lot of these destinations want to be so hospitable, they want people to feel like they’re on vacation, and they don’t really want to be a burden. So, they’re not enforcing that we have to wear our masks on their properties. However, the staff wears their masks. Speaking to some of the staff, they wish we did wear a mask because they’re not quite sure. They’d go home. Their medical systems may not be as advanced as ours. I just urge people to just be considerate of others even on vacation. We have a debate about that here in America, but a lot of these people are scared but they’re still serving us.
Jim Scott 41:49
That’s a good way to be. Always be respectful. When we were in Key West, the city itself took an extra step to make sure everybody wore their mask outside as well. It wouldn’t just be in buildings. You could take it off once you sat down the restaurant. We went to Pepe’s restaurant, which is very nice restaurant. They’re Mexican restaurant, Cuban restaurant. They had the extra protection. You could take it off, but when your server or busboy or whoever came around to help you out, when they approach, you put your mask on while they were there and you could take it back off as soon as they left. We had no problem doing that. It’s just what you do. It’s part of it.
Jackie Williams 42:34
Yeah. That’s what my husband and I did.
Tony Price 42:36
Yeah, we’re going to jump in. Since you guys went to Jamaica, we want to hear a little bit about Jamaica here. I know we get a lot of questions and everybody’s wondering what it is like to travel. What we found is this, it was probably cleaner and more sanitized than in most times that you travel. From a hotel standpoint, most of it was they were not doing daily housekeeping or things like that. You just called and requested things, but everything was extremely well maintained. The properties had limited services on certain things, but everything was pretty normal, other than the fact that you’re wearing a face mask. We had great dining experiences. Most of the restaurants, there were a few of them we found that we didn’t want to venture in because they had the tables a little close for my liking, but most of it, well, every place that we actually ate, they were well spaced out. The only people we were talking to the four of us without our masks while we’re eating. Other than that, it was very doable. Like you said, it’s more about your comfort level and how you feel. We felt that as long as we’re washing our hands, keeping our masks on when we’re around people, and doing those types of things, it was very doable.
Jim Scott 44:03
Jackie Williams 44:05
I agree completely. I still haven’t ventured out in the US since I’ve come back home. I really couldn’t even compare it to how things are happening here in the metro Atlanta area. But I can definitely say in Jamaica, what you just described was very similar. Where we stayed, they didn’t necessarily remove tables, but they did not sit us near each other. They used the distancing of just proximity and limiting the capacity. Most of the resorts were at 30% capacity anyway. It was like having your own private retreat in most of the places where we stayed.
Tony Price 44:48
Even our hotel, we stayed at a boutique hotel there. I talked to the one lady there at the pool, and they had removed 50% of their lounge chairs. They had them grouped in either twos and fours, and that was it. You didn’t want to move them. Don’t grab them and slide them. They’re going to let you know don’t do that.
Jackie Williams 45:11
Tony Price 45:13
I thought they did an extremely well job. I was impressed. Again, I still encourage people to travel as long as they’re comfortable with everything.
Jackie Williams 45:21
Most definitely. I will ask you this. How was the travelers with each other? Did you find that other people would try to just come to you and huddle to get to know you? Did everyone keep their distance?
Tony Price 45:35
It was mostly distance. You saw the groups. Those are the groups that usually make it on TV type of thing, but most of us so we didn’t.
Jim Scott 45:47
90% or 95% of the people were doing the respectful, courteous thing. So, it was not an issue.
Tony Price 45:56
We always see the occasional person who’s bucking the system type of thing, but overall it was awesome. We were glad to be out of town and to go to a place that we like that was nice.
Jim Scott 46:09
Yeah, and it was less crowded. So, I guess that’s a bonus.
Jackie Williams 46:12
I love that bonus. That was my favorite bonus. That’s the catch to it, too. I want people to travel but I also love having it to myself, too.
Tony Price 46:21
Well, since we got you for about 15 minutes or so, we got to hit Jamaica. I haven’t been.
Jackie Williams 46:28
Jim Scott 46:28
I haven’t either.
Tony Price 46:30
It’s been on my list. I just haven’t been. You got to give us the highlights.
Jim Scott 46:38
Tell us about your trip. We always like to hit the places to stay, what day tours are great, and then the one dining experience. Tell us a little bit about Jamaica and your trip.
Jackie Williams 46:53
Oh my goodness. Well, I will say I wasn’t even prepared to know that you have never been there. Wow. Okay, so that’s a loaded one. I’ll just start with this trip for one. This trip was a marketing trip. It was definitely for work. I was probably going to travel to Mexico, but I was invited there by Couples Resorts to experience their properties. They have four resorts on the island. They’re a Jamaican own company, homegrown only in Jamaica. That’s a very awesome experience to be a part of a brand like that. My husband and I went four days prior to actual work experience. We stayed at Couples Negril, and oh my gosh, let me tell you. We have a hammock sitting in our living room right now because of that trip. We bought a hammock. If you go to my Instagram, you’ll see a lot that I did. It was so relaxing. Jamaica is definitely… The people are very proud, kind of like how Italians are very proud to be a Roman, very proud of Rome, and the French, especially Paris, like “Yeah, I’m French,” well, that’s Jamaicans. They don’t hold back. They’re very proud people in there, and they love to have fun. There are no problems man. Everything’s Irie. Everything’s Chris. Everything’s okay. That is literally their personality. My husband’s from Jamaica. He was born in Kingston and that’s how he is, very laidback folks. We stayed in Negril at first, and Negril is known for the Seven Mile Beach, but ultimately the golden sunset. This is like the best sunset ever. The waters are really calm over there. It’s really great for diving. So, if you’re into scuba diving and snorkeling, you can definitely get a good experience like that over there. Being on the resort, we just really wanted to relax. That was the first half of our trip. Like I said just a little bit ago about how the vibe of the resort is, not a lot of people, you can do what you want to do as far as water sports or being in the piano bar. They had that, but we didn’t really participate in much of that on the first half of our trip. We just enjoyed the hammock, and the sunsets and ate great food. I did do a tour of a couple other properties while I was there. Not all resorts are allowing their guests off the premises but ours did. That’s just because they do contact tracing there. Just to back up a little bit, coming into the airport, they have a screening process, probably a little bit more involved than Mexico, where they take your temperature, you’re physically doing hand sanitizers. I always get club Mobay or club Kingston. That’s their personal concierge meet and greet. I always recommend that service anyway, so it’s more of a fast track, can use through customs. It was definitely beneficial on this trip, because we do have two flights in front of us, so we had to wait until their screening process was over. I won’t call them medical staff but their in scrubs, they’re all in PPE everywhere. They do have military folks there. Why? I don’t know, but they’re there. I felt pretty safe. It just helps you feel like in a controlled environment coming into the island. That’s how it is arriving into Jamaica today. Once you clear the screening, it just really reiterates that, “Hey, this is the corridor.” The resilient corridor is where they want tourists to stay. That goes as far west as Negril, south in Negril called South Coast of Westmoreland, all the way up to the north coast over to the east of Portland, which is closer to Kingston in the south. It’s a very large area where tourists can visit right now. The island, the people are happy to be back at work. Tourism is the number one economy for Jamaica. They have some exports, but tourism is what they depend on. So, they’re very excited to have us, being able to come back on to the island.
Tony Price 52:12
Yeah, we definitely want to go in. You were talking about earlier that properties do change, management change. One of the unique things we were talking about that you could visit is, everybody knows Montego Bay. You mentioned Negril and Kingston, what’s really the differences between the locations on the island?
Jackie Williams 52:38
Perfect, I’m ready for that one. Let’s talk about Mobay since you brought that in. I’m glad you called it Mobay. It’s Montego Bay, but I call it Mobay. It’s short from Montego Bay. That’s where I recommend for short stays. Why? Because it’s the major airport that most people fly into, and usually, you can get an accommodation as quick as five minutes away from the airport. It’s right there like Sandals Montego Properties, Sandals Montego Bay. They have two resorts there but the Sandals Montego Bay Property is one of the things that’s really common. You see the airplanes flying overhead, and you just wave. It’s very close, the runway is literally their backyard. There’s a lot of luxury, all inclusive, close to the airport. It’s also a very bustling, lively area of the island. The Hip Strip has shops and restaurants. There’s three Margaritaville on the island. The largest and most popular one is in Montego Bay. They have a waterslide and nightclubs at night. It’s a very good opportunity in that whole area, the opportunity to socialize with the locals, which you guys love to do, I’m sure your guests do as well, your listeners. That’s definitely an area of town for those who want to be able to have an area where they can walk up and down a strip and feel like they’re mixing and mingling with the folks. [inaudible 54:26] Beach is in the heart of the Hip Strip. You can have a beach there as well. Scotchies, that’s a famous jerk shank, which is not far from the Hip Strip. I guess the farthest accommodations may be about 30 to 35 minutes from the center of Montego Bay. You have a lot of all-inclusives in this area, some hotels, won’t necessarily call them high-end boutique, definitely for those who enjoy the more rustic experiences, and a few villas are in this area of town. If you continue going east about 90 minutes, you’re running to Ocho Rios. Nothing in Jamaica is closed. I wouldn’t recommend driving your first visit at all. Don’t try that. Even though they drive on the left side of the road. “Oh, I’ve been to Europe.” No. Hire your driver. Don’t do that. Hire a car and then talk. That’s an opportunity to get with the locals. They love to just leave you their numbers. and then you can call them when you want to go somewhere. They become your private driver for your stay. Definitely, get a private driver or use a new ride sharing app. They have a new ride sharing app in Jamaica, the first of its kind called Arrived. That’s what I used when I was there, so awesome and convenient. It’s like the app similar to Uber or Lyft. That was pretty cool for the island. That’s very new for them. But anyway, going over to Ocho Rios, this is like the home of the active adventure and the busiest of their five cruise ports. They actually have five cruise ports. Many people don’t know that. Ocho Rios is where Dunn’s River Falls, I’m sure you heard of Dunn’s River Falls. This is the home of Dunn’s River Falls, Mystic Mountain where you can do bobsledding, ziplining, whitewater rafting, a lot of villas on this side of the island. I would say this is where the most populous area for private villas appearances. There’s not a lot of all-inclusives. I would say Sandals and beaches dominate this side of the island. You have one other major all inclusive, Palace Resorts and a few others. The heart of Ocho Rios, from an accommodation standpoint, either you’re going to be in the villa or you’re going to be staying at one of the Sandals with beaches properties.
Jim Scott 57:22
So, you go on a bobsledding in there, is that we’re Cool Runnings came from? That part of the thing that obviously the Jamaican bobsled team, did they come from that area?
Jackie Williams 57:34
The Mystic Mountain area, that adventure part is definitely a tribute to that team. They have some other like Yamaan. They have that park over there. The Blue Hole is an alternative for Dunn’s River Falls. Its variant Konoko falls, that’s another not commonly known waterfall. You can do a Bob Marley experience in this area, which gets a little bit more on the recreational side of things, if you know what I’m talking about. That’s what most people want to know about Jamaica. “Where can I get the good stuff?” It is possible to find some of that. You don’t have to look very hard most times. So, yes, that is available. That’s Ocho Rios, definitely for the adventure junkie. I know a lot of people say, “Oh, I want to stay in Montego Bay,” as you said because that’s what they know, that’s what they hear, so that’s where they land. Then I’m like, “Well, what do you want to do?” And they’re like, “Oh, I heard they have waterfalls, and I heard I can do whitewater rafting.” I’m like, “Okay, you want to stay in Ocho Rios.” They’re like, “Oh, where’s that?” I’m like, “It’s 90 minutes away.” “Oh, well, do we have to do that?” “Yes.” It’s pretty much what you have to do. On the opposite side of Montego Bay, 90 minutes in the opposite direction on the west coast is Negril. Literally, Montego Bay is in the center of the two other major tourist destinations. Negril is the capital of laid back and chill. Like I said, sunsets, the hammocks when I was over there. That’s all it really is. You get your red stripe beer, lime out. That’s a really good opportunity just to chill with the locals at the local rum bars.
Tony Price 59:39
That sucks that they’re an hour and a half apart because I want to do both.
Jim Scott 59:42
I want to do the first and then the second right away.
Tony Price 59:47
I would do the first in the morning and then do the second one in the afternoon.
Jackie Williams 59:51
Well, let me tell you. I actually see Jamaica as a destination because I haven’t even gotten to the other two locations yet where it could be an experience like most people experience in Europe; multi-city, multi-country itineraries. Most people don’t look at the itinerary at the Caribbean or even the island, with that type of opportunity. It is definitely one of those destinations. When I’m staying, especially when I’m gone for work purposes and touring my properties and such, I’m either in Montego Bay in Negril or Montego Bay in Ocho Rios. This last trip, I was actually in Negril and went over to Ocho Rios because the other two Couples Rock properties are in Ocho Rios. So, I did cover the entire island from those three areas without stopping in Montego Bay to stay. The Rick’s Cafe, have you ever heard of Rick’s Cafe?
Tony Price 1:00:53
Yeah. Not the one there.
Jackie Williams 1:00:57
Well, that’s where they do, the famous cliff diving. That’s on the Negril side. That’s where you have more of your cliffs. They do have one of the longest beach, Seven Mile Beaches. They also have Bloody Bay Beach. I also stayed on that beach. I love it. That’s where you can find your recreational [inaudible 1:01:20] over there. You have a lot of beach walkers that are at your disposal there if you want that. That’s how most people find that in that region of the island very easily. One of the greatest things to do over there is this old bar in the middle of the ocean.
Jim Scott 1:01:44
You caught my attention already with the bar.
Tony Price 1:01:47
Middle of the ocean. All right, cool.
Jackie Williams 1:01:49
Yeah, it’s called the Pelican bar. This is something that not even a lot of travel advisors are familiar with. I’m giving your guest that one bucket list, something that most people don’t know. It’s called the Pelican bar, and it’s a must. You must do it. It is really unique. I don’t want to give it away, but if someone Googles it, you will see it. There also is a swamp river, so they have a lot of crocodiles in Jamaica. You can do a swamp tour. Also known for a lot of birdwatching in Jamaica as well. Jamaica has almost everything. It’s amazing. Most people don’t know that about the area. South in Negril, there’s a area called Westmoreland South Coast. Sandals has another property down there. I’m saying Sandals a lot. I am a Sandals specialist, but that’s not the reason why I’m saying it. They do have the most resorts on the island of the same brand. They also have Beaches family property. Sandals are for couples and Beaches is for everyone else. You have Beaches in Negril and the Beaches in Ocho Rios as well. That’s something to know. So, if you ever heard, “Oh, I’ve been to Sandals.” “Well, which one?” “The one in Montego Bay.” There’s five or six others. You haven’t been to all of them. They all have their own unique personality, and I’ve been to all of them there. It’s not the same experience everywhere. That is one of the only resort south of Negril in the area called South Coast. From that Westmoreland area south coast, either going kind of southeast, or you can go from Ochis going south, you running to Kingston. Kingston is the capital of Jamaica. This is the most populous area of the island. It’s the city life. It has different personalities. You may have heard about all of them, but it can be safe. It can be safe to stay in Kingston. A lot of business deals happen in Kingston. They have an area of Kingston called New Kingston, which is where you will find more of your international branded, like the Marriott Hotel, and some of their local brands as well. I’ll definitely say just hire a tour guide and a car and they’ll take care of you. I definitely want to go to Kingston, because Kingston is where you can get to some of the most unexplored areas of Jamaica like the Blue Mountains, surrounded by Port Antonio, which is the last tourist area. I wouldn’t even really call it that because mostly Europeans visit there than Americans. That’s unspoiled Jamaica. Oh my gosh, pristine beaches, completely unspoiled, a lot of villas, boutique hotels. That’s off the beaten path. Kingston and Port Antonio’s probably going to be your most off the beaten path locations and probably some areas of Negril for you to explore and experience. Blue Mountain, I don’t know if you noticed, but it’s the number one export of coffee. Starbucks actually have their own Starbucks Reserve Blue Mountain brand. They wouldn’t let them on the island without it.
Tony Price 1:05:40
We probably have a few minutes left. So, if we’re going for the first time and we actually love to eat food and drink a cocktail or two, what’s some of the must places to hit for great food or an interesting drink experience?
Jackie Williams 1:05:58
Oh, that’s hard for me because..
Tony Price 1:06:00
Jackie Williams 1:06:02
Well, they don’t have names.
Tony Price 1:06:06
That’s too bad. So, you can draw the map, just email it to me, and I won’t share it with anybody.
Jackie Williams 1:06:13
Yeah, and if they have names, you missed it. Mainly because it’s stopping on the corner. Not this trip, going to the airport, our driver just pulled over on the side of the road. We were like, “What are you going to do? We’re going to miss our flight.” He got us … what was it? Oh my gosh. I forgot what it was. But that’s what I mean, you just pulled over the side of the road, it was fish.
Jim Scott 1:06:43
So, is street food very popular there?
Jackie Williams 1:06:47
Not free. I won’t say free.
Jim Scott 1:06:49
Jackie Williams 1:06:52
Street food. Yes. One of the things you’re going to experience, you’re going to have some guy who got some bananas, some mangoes. They’re trying to sell you all kinds of stuff on the road, especially when you’re still in Montego Bay or even from areas of Kingston. My favorite, and is something that will make you sound like a local and they’re going to do like a double take like, “Hey, who do you know from Jamaica?” is ask for Mannish water.
Tony Price 1:07:23
Jackie Williams 1:07:24
Mannish water. It’s known to kind of aphrodisiac for some.
Brian Roman 1:07:34
Do you buy by the gallon?
Jackie Williams 1:07:35
No. It’s a soup. It’s so right. I can’t. That is hilarious. It’s actually a soup. It’s goat soup. But it’s the spices, oh my gosh. I will break my pescatarian diet for a bowl of mannish water.
Tony Price 1:07:55
All right, that’s a best seller right there. Okay.
Jackie Williams 1:07:59
Jerk chicken, of course, but Scotchies is a place that you can get to. It’s not just jerk chicken, pork, seafood, lamb, curry, they do a lot of curries there, too. A lot of the hotels, too, like the Rockhouse has a lot of restaurants. The hotels will be a really good spot, I won’t call it tourist trap at all, but it is a really great experience too, to go to some of the hotels that allow the locals to come in, and the guests to enjoy and mingle together. You feel comfortable if you’re not as adventurous as some.
Jim Scott 1:08:43
Jackie Williams 1:08:43
Jamaica is big. I know I could talk forever.
Tony Price 1:08:46
I wish we did have more time.
Jim Scott 1:08:49
Yeah, you got a lot of great information.
Tony Price 1:08:51
Because we want to go.
Jim Scott 1:08:52
We want to go. The food sounds great. The things to do sounds great.
Tony Price 1:08:57
I love rum and red stripes.
Jim Scott 1:08:59
Yeah, that’s not a bad thing.
Jackie Williams 1:09:00
Oh, yeah, I had that Appleton rum. But if you ever heard Jamaican white rum, 63%. Put some hair on your chest.
Brian Roman 1:09:13
Good for you.
Jackie Williams 1:09:16
It definitely is. I could talk about this all day. This is has been great.
Jim Scott 1:09:22
You’ve been fantastic. Unfortunately, we’re running out of time now.
Jackie Williams 1:09:26
I know we are.
Jim Scott 1:09:28
We really appreciate it, Jackie. It’s been a lot of great information. We’re going to add to our website the show notes, which gives more detail on some of the food and things to do and all that. So, we really appreciate that Jackie. She provided that information for us. So, any final thoughts?
Tony Price 1:09:49
Jackie, for anybody who wants to find you to get you to help them out with some interesting vacations, where can they get you?
Jackie Williams 1:09:56
Yes, you can find me at NuVibe Travel. That’s N as in Nancy, U as Umbrella Vibe Travel on Instagram or Facebook. My website is nuvibeluxetravel.com. That’s how you can find me. All my contact information is there. It’s going to be in your shownotes, I’m sure. I love to have a good conversation about travel and just about what you’re looking to experience, and let’s make it special.
Jim Scott 1:10:26
Great. You’ve been a fantastic guest, tons of information. We really appreciate it. Everybody, check out Jackie on her website. For our friends and listeners, we have started our next 500 contest. So, go there to win a trip worth at least $4,000 for two to go to … I think the current one is for a river cruise in Europe.
Tony Price 1:10:56
Jim Scott 1:10:58
At least has an airfare credit. Let’s put it that way. I don’t want to get ourselves in trouble.
Brian Roman 1:11:03
First class from South Africa.
Jim Scott 1:11:04
No, but it does include airfare credit for two for a fantastic trip. Go check that out. Obviously, you’re already a subscriber. Please share, that gives you extra chances to win in the trip, share with friends, or download the episodes that we have. So, anyhow, find us at friendsthatcarryon.com or on Facebook, Instagram @friendsthatcarryon. Thank you, guys. Thank you, Jackie. We’ll talk to you next time. Thank you.
Tony Price 1:11:35
Jackie Williams 1:11:37
Be sure to join the friends next week for another great discussion. Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already. You can also find the friends and other content at www.friendsthatcarryon.com or check us out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook by searching Friends That Carry On. Thanks again for joining us. Don’t forget to carry on, friends.