Author: Veronica

Traveling Solo?

When my mom died in 2006, after a long illness,  I  had to do something to get  a handle on my profound  grief. I was so filled with sadness that even being  with friends and family didn’t alleviate the pain. I needed private time to understand and explore where my life was going now that my “greatest cheerleader in life” was gone. So for the next few years I traveled solo. The more exotic and far away the destination—that’s where I went. I can now say that it was the most liberating, healing  and exhilarating  experience I’ve ever endeavored. I can’t say that at times I  didn’t  think “What am I doing here?” but overall it taught me things about myself and  how to be my own “greatest cheerleader.”

When traveling alone I inevitably encountered various cultures, customs and destinations.  I was face to face with people on an intimate meeting point and any preconceived ideas or prejudices I may have had melted away. My father use to tell me that you can read all the books in the world but the truth is when you travel to these places and see for yourself.

I learned so much. The uncomfortable feeling of being  outside of my comfort zone quickly  dissolved once I allowed the power of my being  to  embrace the moment—realizing  all my fears were unfounded as I began to relate to the  new experiences with the wonder of a child.

I remember case in point when I visited Laos. I arranged my Guesthouse , driver and guide before I left the States. My guide and driver would be with me through the day however at night I would be on my own. On one particular day as my guide dropped me off at the hotel I heard such a melodious chanting from the temple not too far from when I was staying. I wanted to visit this temple with such peaceful music. I stepped out my guesthouse and started walking towards the sound. I got as far as the temple, sat outside and then—fear gripped me! What was I doing – out in the evening- alone- not being able to speak the language—a woman. I was gripped by panic and quickly got up,  rushed back to my guesthouse—truly disappointed  that I couldn’t explore because of  the  fears I had developed over the years. After tossing and turning all night I was  determined not to let this feeing overtake me again!  The next day after my guide dropped me off, I ventured out again. I walked  to the temple , sat down and  enjoyed the chanting and actually felt quite at ease. With my new found  confidence I then walked  towards the small  town. On my way I encountered a night market with the women of the area selling their handicrafts. Although I didn’t  speak the language, all the women I met were so friendly and with sign language we were able to communicate. I bought a few items but still wanted to enjoy the evening. I walked and walked and found myself in the center of town and now wanted to have a nice dinner. Looking  at various restaurants (they all had pictures of the food selections) I chose a nice place to eat the local cuisine. It was wonderful! Again all the people I encountered were patient and very friendly and after dinner I walked back to my guesthouse with such a feeling of accomplishment. I didn’t let fear grab me and take me hostage.

After this I felt my power. Never again would I allow  an abstract feeling to paralyze me and from that moment on was able to enjoy being with myself to explore. Traveling throughout the region I became more and more confident. I know this experience  had changed my life.

The furthest placee I’ve been on my own would  have to be Bhutan. In this lovely country I spent 3 weeks hiking and discovering the wonderful culture  and along the way made lifelong friends.

The experience has taught me allot about myself and how to feel safe in my own skin.

Of course I’m careful and don’t take unnecessary chances however following my inner guide I’ve always been safe.

I do enjoy traveling with friends and family however the unique experiences I gained by traveling alone has been invaluable—expanding my limits and embracing all there is.

I would recommended this to everyone. Now you don’t have to go as far as I did but anytime you travel alone it teaches you so much about yourself. What better way to get to know our true best friend!

Business Travel—Choosing the right agency for your Business

Saving time and money. Corporate travel budgets are shrinking; however the need for business travel hasn’t. Businesses are looking for travel management companies to be their advocate—to offer a wide range of services which include finding the least expensive options for airfares, hotels and car rentals, giving reports of the travel expenditures, “waivers and favors” when travel plans change rapidly and the restrictions the airlines charge can be lowered or waived plus a host of other amenities such as upgrades and mileage programs. Of course, personalized service and professionalism of the agents who handle these accounts is a must.

In looking for the best travel management agency to handle the job, size is of importance. I say this because the larger the company the more influence it can exert in negotiations with the airlines, hotels and car rentals. The dollar amount the agencies generate for the airlines, hotels and car rentals means a better savings that can be passed on to he client. It’s a win-win all the way around.

Another criteria to look for when choosing a travel management company is the length of time and experience of the agents who will be handling your account. How long have they retained their clients? How experienced are they with corporate travel? What technology can they offer? Does the agency have “State of the Art” technology? Can the agency offer services such as “Where you know where all your travelers are at any given moment”? For the techies of your firm, is there a laptop airline tool where they can chose their flights but also has the capability to monitor that the employees stay within travel guidelines of the company.

These are but a few of the very important questions to ask when selecting the right travel agency for your firm. An advocate who has your bottomline as their frontline.

Citizens of the World!!

Travel is more affordable and accessible now than ever before. Deregulation  of the airlines and the various low cost carriers make the options of exploring the world a

reality never before experienced by a vast majority of people. It’s a wonderful thing! It opens us up to different cultures and people and in a way that encourages

us to expand our knowledge of people, places and things outside of ourselves. Experiencing life outside our comfort zone. Understanding and appreciation of this wonderful world we inhabit. We are citizens of the world!

I was very fortunate that when I was growing up my father worked for a major airline. As long as I can remember we always travelled during school breaks and vacations. I took this for granted thinking everyone did this. When class started after the summer break and the teacher asked the class what we did during the summer or the holidays I would tell of the trips I took. My classmates would then ask me “Are you rich”? I didn’t understand what this meant at the time . I lived in a very modest house and my parents both worked. In fact, besides my immediate family, my aunt and her 2 daughters also lived with us. This was my normal except my father was able to take us abroad with the benefits he had with his job. My world view and acceptance of other people was greatly enhanced by this experience. I guess I was “rich”.

I know this is the reason that once I graduated from college (and my benefits ended with my Dad’s job) I went into the travel industry.

Starting my career working for a major airline and segueing into the various facets of the travel industry to eventually opening my own shop.

I love helping people with their travel. The excitement of going to new places and learning the countries or states I visited thrilled me. Of my many clients I’ve helped over the years, I’ve retained them and we’ve grown up together sharing our experiences and making new friends.

We are truly “Citizens of the world”

The lessons learned are invaluable. I enjoy sharing my exploits and the lessons I’ve learned from the people I met on these excursions. I value the time spent with others whose lives are so much different than my own. It opens up a whole new “other world”. I realize over and over what a vast planet we live on with various cultures and ways of life that exist.

There are many apps that are available to us now that can aid us in navigating our travels.

Kayak is a good starting point. This app helps us get an idea of what the airfares will be however it’s not infallible. Sometimes it will show the lowest rates but when you check it out with the airlines it isn’t always available however it does give you an idea of airlines costs.

Another one that I find helpful is Journy. Journy can help map out your days in more than 60 destinations. You just specify you age, types of activities and a price range and it helps you craft an itinerary.

Mobile Passport can get you through Customs faster on return. You just plug in basic information such as Passport Number and personal information along with a selfie ahead of time.

These are but a few of the apps available now.

Of course it’s always a good bet to go through a professional travel agent who has firsthand knowledge of destinations and has the expertise in helping you maneuver through the various  options available.

If you want to plan a memorable experience – give me a call.

I love what I do and I’d be happy be your guide.

Let’s travel!

Citizens of the World

Exploring this wonderful world we inhabit

Yours in travel….

An Eye-Opening NY Tour

Why should you spend hours researching? Have someone do the work for you. Relax…

Below is a brief description of one of the tours I recently took.

Inside Out Tours

Slavery and the Underground Railroad

Last Saturday was a particularly cold day. I had signed up for a walking tour —the first I had ever done in New York. I read about this tour a year ago and it was on my radar. I finally signed up and what a mesmerizing experience .

The group met at the Indian Museum downtown Manhattan in the Wall Street area. Walking up to the group I was immediately aware of a very vivacious , enthusiastic woman talking animatedly to the small group. I introduced myself and found that this lovely woman was to be our tour guide. Ludie, the guide, gave us a short introduction to what the Underground Railroad was —and wasn’t. It was not some underground passageway but in fact certain safe houses slaves were taken from point to point from the South as they made their way to The North and supposed freedom. The north, as I presumed, was not the bastion of freedom I thought. Slavery was not abolished in New York until 1827.

In the mid 1600’s all the important ports were located in lower Manhattan and this area became the focal point for the formation of colonies by the Dutch West Indian company. The building of these colonies needed labor therefore cheap and/or free labor was required. Ludie took us through the history of the implementation of slavery in New York through the rebellion against the British, the hypocrisy of the fight for independence while still owning slaves, and the formation of the Underground Railroad. The secret codes and establishments that hid the runaway slaves coming from the south to freedom in the north and also some migration into Canada. The abolitionists, both black and white, who took chances time after time — putting their lives on the line if they were caught. Harriet Tubman, Ruggles and the countless others who fought for freedom. The first civil rights movement!

The tour was approximately 3-1/2 hours and ended at what is currently the largest sacred mass burial place of African Americans found in New York.

The Tour Guide was a fascinating storyteller/griot so well informed that the people and events in her stories came to life.

Inside Out Tours operates many tours throughout the city and the outer boroughs. It was such a pleasant, learning experience.
Feeling like a tourist in my home town and exploring this wonderful world we inhabit!!!!

Ep 04: #VeronicaTravelLive #MobileMonday weekly travel tips

Veronica Travel LIVE – Mobile Monday Weekly Travel Tips Series

Join Veronica Jimenez for #VeronicaTravelLive every Monday for #MobileMonday Weekly Travel Tips as Veronica talks about exploring this wonderful world we inhabit!

This week: Ep 04: Veronica discusses overpacking.

Bon Voyage,

Exploring this wonderful world we inhabit!
Founder + President, New Concepts in Travel

Vacation Anyone!

Planning a vacation?  To get the most of your time off from your day to day routine I encourage you to ask yourself some questions on what you want to do with this time

  1. Lounge on the beach in St Maarten
  2. Go shopping in Argentina
  3. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
  4. Zip Lining in Costa Rica
  5. Yoga /Meditation Retreat
  6. Women’s (men) Getaway.
  7. Sightseeing in Southeast Asia

There are so many options to  choose from. People call and ask me about vacations every day. That’s when I put my detective hat on and begin my research. Do you want to lay on a beach but also take cooking classes. Go to a Yoga/Meditation Retreat and  also partake in  fine gourmet dining.

Want to be around allot of people and party? Go to a semi private island  to commune with nature?  See the culture of –let’s say – Bali –along with some spa and massage options. Meet the people of the country you are visiting by enjoying a meal in their home- to really indulge yourself in their lifestyle.

You get the point

You can mix it up to suit your individual needs. There are so many choices this wonderful world we inhabit can offer. All you need is a want and imagination

It can all happen.

Let’s consider the options!

Bhutan—Land of the Thunder Dragons


Bhutan—my second time here—and I fall in love with this small land-locked country all over again. This mystical, pristine country with its rolling mountains, environmentally conscious government and way of life is a sort of utopia As you come off the plane you breathe in some of the freshest air on the planet. Surrounded by its neighbors—China and India—Bhutan has always gone its own way. Its constitution mandates that 60% of the land must be forest (actual figure 72%) which accounts for the beautiful countryside and ensures no over development.

On the flight from Nepal to Bhutan you can get a wonderful view of the Himalayas and Mount Everest when sitting on the left side. It is such a beautiful sight to see on a clear day. Approaching the city of Paro the flight takes a steep curve and you’ve arrived. It is said that only a handful of pilots can make this landing. The airport is very small and immaculate. It is shaped somewhat like the Dzongs one will see in each major city in Bhutan. A giant photo of the King & Queen adorn the outside of the airport. The monarchy is much revered throughout this small nation.


Once inside the terminal I am greeted by my old friend Passang who was my driver on my last visit. A shy fellow with a big smile made me feel very welcome. I was to stay in Thimphu for the evening where I would meet another old friend, Nima—my guide from my previous trip. The drive is approximately 1 ½ hours and I was immediately aware of all the construction taking place. I stayed at a new hotel—Tara Phenderling—one of many new additions since my last visit. The hotel was lovely and offered all the amenities you would expect. I took the trip with my sister and the day we arrived in Bhutan was her birthday. Nima had arranged a surprise party for her with all the bells & whistles.


The next town I visit is Punakha. The distance from Thimphu is approximately 3 hours. It’s quite a pleasant drive as the landscape is lush with trees. The mountains are dotted with homes and prayer flags abound. On the way I stop at the Dochula Pass and see 108 stupas standing as a memorial to the Bhutanese soldiers. The morning is foggy and the stupas are shrouded in a cape of mist. In the background—the Himalayas. The pass is located at an elevation of 10,200 feet.

Onward to the Punakha Dzong. A Dzong is a distinct type of fortress architecture found mainly in Bhutan and Tibet. The architecture is massive in style with towering exterior walls surrounding a complex of courtyards. It is divided into 2 parts—half to religious functions, primarily the temple and the Monk’s accommodations and the other government administrative offices. The Punakha Dzong is exquisite. This if referred to as the “palace of great happiness or bliss”.


Next is my visit to the Trongsa Dzong. The drive is approximately 5 hours from Punahka. Along the drive I can see yaks, monkeys and beautiful birds. I arrive at night and my hotel—The Yangkil—offering wonderful views of the Trongsa Dzong lit a night. As I sit on my terrace I am amazed at the still and quiet. It is so peaceful. The following day after breakfast I walk through the small town of Trongsa—past a lively marketplace with women bargaining their wares. Again I am amazed at the construction underway—streets being paved and widened—from my last visit.

I am fascinated at the stories and legends I am told visiting each Dzong District. The Bhutanese people are deeply religious—Buddhist—and each temple has its own unique story of their creation.


Bumthang is the next District on the journey and literally translates to “Beautiful Field”. This area is considered the most historic consisting of 4 mountain valleys. The number of ancient temples is imposing. Each temple entrance is surrounded by prayer wheels which reminds me of the deeply held beliefs of the people here. The next few days are spent hiking and taking in the exquisite allure Gangtey, located in the Phobjikha Valley, surrounded by mountains was my next stop. This place took my breath away and must surely be one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. I stayed at the Dewachen Lodge which overlooks the valley with spectacular views. The rooms, all with wood burning stoves, made for a warm and cozy feeling after hiking. The Black Neck Cranes migrate to this valley from Tibet in the winter. In flight they are so elegant and graceful.

Onward to Thimphu, stopping in the small village of Haa, for lunch at a farmhouse. During my trip throughout Bhutan I can say that “farm to table” meals were the norm.


Tigers Nest—a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site—is certainly the highlight—and always taken at the end of one’s trip Bhutan. A very clever thing to do as you get accustomed to the altitude during your stay and the hike is not as strenuous. The, monastery is located 6.2 miles north of Paro Valley and hangs on a precarious cliff at 10,240 feet—about 3,000 feet above Paro Valley. The rock slopes are very steep and the monastery is built into the rock face. The path leads through a pine forest and colorful prayer flags abound. The views are spectacular as you ascend the mountain. Once you reach the top the Monastery stuns! It is absolutely striking and definitely unforgettable

Overall my trip to Bhutan was one of my best experiences. The trip—I stayed a little over 2 weeks—was outstanding and quite memorable. The people, beauty of the landscape and their customs will stay with me forever

My journey to Nepal

journey to nepal

I like the vibe in Nepal – the energy is hypnotic. As you arrive at the airport you are at once caught up with the busyness – with many peoples of various cultures vying for the visa kiosks (you can get your visa upon arrival) The time goes quickly and before you know it you are out of the airport and into the bustling terminal. I saw my guide among the throngs of people jumping up with a sign to catch my attention. It is truly a sight to see! Once in the van we are hustled out the airport and onto the small crowded streets of Nepal heading towards the hotel. As I am whizzed through the streets I see people everywhere – in vans, motorcycles, bikes, buses and on foot. The traffic on the streets is incredible for the size of the city. Women’s flowing saris on the back of motorcycles carrying children and large packages amazes me as they maneuver through the streets. You’re immediately caught up in the life of the people who live here.

During the 1960’s and well into the 1980’s this was the place where the “hippie” generation made the pilgrimage to find themselves as they rejected materialism and money. The deep spirituality of the East provided the perfect outlet for self-discovery.

journey to nepal

Upon arriving at the hotel, The Shanker, I am greeted by the friendliest of faces. The hotel is small and comfortable. This history of the hotel is quite interesting. Shanker hotel is a heritage hotel housed in a 19th Century palace. At a time it was the Royal residence of the rulers of Nepal from 1894 until 1964 when it was converted into a luxury hotel. The facade was kept intact however the interiors were redesigned. Some of the authentic objects of art have been preserved such as the caved windows displayed in the lobby bar that are hundreds of years old. The hotel boasts 23 rooms which are quite spacious and some of the outside grounds are being repaired caused by the damage of the earthquake that devastated most of the city in 2015. The meals are served in a huge old ballroom. I ate my breakfast there every morning and there was a selection of dishes—both Nepalese and American. The staff outdoes itself with excellent service. It is said that Mick Jagger stayed at the Shanker Hotel on his way to a Hindu wedding—his own.

The following day I was greeted at the hotel by my guide and driver. As we headed to the historical sites I am once again thrust into the maddeningly chaotic traffic. My first visit is the Monkey Temple. I had been to Nepal before and the temple, for the most part, was still pretty much intact. I could see some of the devastation of the earthquake but it was not quite as bad as the other places I was about to see. Vendors were out selling their wares and bargaining was the norm.

journey to nepal

My next visit was the Durbar Square. I was taken aback by the devastation there. Once beautiful temples were now reduced to rubble. However it didn’t take away from the indomitable spirit of the people as repairs were underway everywhere.

After the visit to Durbar Square I had lunch at a wonderful rooftop restaurant near the Boudhanath Stupa. The lunch was a gastronomical delight as are all the restaurants in Nepal. I feasted on traditional cuisine as I looked over the Temple grounds. It was a warm day and I was feeling the pulse of this wonderful country. Afterwards I visited the Stupa which was restored to its regal standing. I could see the worshipers going around the giant Stupa performing their prayers as they’ve done for years. Many shops surrounded the Stupa with Tibetan as well as Nepali artifacts. A shopper’s delight!

That evening I went to a cultural dance show at a local restaurant. I must warn you that some of these shows can be kind of hokey. Make sure you ask your guide for one of the better ones. I went to one in a nice cozy restaurant where we sat on cushioned seats with music gently playing, being served many courses of delicious food and the performances were not intrusive and quite enjoyable.

The following day I went to the infamous Thamel Street—a dream for shoppers! This narrow street has the best shopping—jewelry, cashmere, rugs, beautiful handmade throws, and artwork. Again bargaining is the norm, and a must see if only to experience the market.

journey to nepal

Overall, despite the devastation of the earthquake you can feel and see the resiliency of the people—the dining, the city, the people and the shopping are a good reason to definitely visit this country.

I love the vibes….