On the Road with Motivation Excellence: November 2021

Sky Capriolo

Things are changing quickly when it comes to travel. At Motivation Excellence, our goal is to keep our followers and clients informed on the latest protocols, trends and tips. In our On the Road series, we’ll highlight our own travels for leisure and business, as well as report on current client trends in the incentive industry. Look for the latest On the Road post at the end of each month. If you ever have travel questions during this uncertain time please reach out to us at ME@MotivationExcellence.com.

In November, an industry event brought thousands to Las Vegas and one of our travel planners visited Portugal. Read below for the highlights and takeaways from our travelers. 

A Family Getaway in Portugal

Traveler: Joe Reise, Manager, Supplier Relations & Sourcing

During a recent visit to Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto, Portugal, I was able to enjoy and explore one of Europe’s most fascinating countries with two of my sons, Trevor and Max.  Lisbon is continental Europe’s oldest capital city and offers much in the way of historical sightseeing, distinctive hilly neighborhoods, and excellent and interesting seafood choices. The people are very nice too! One of the coolest things we did was visit The Padrão dos Descobrimentos on the edge of the Tagus River (see middle picture). You can go to the top and view the city from there.

Just 30km away from Lisbon, we enjoyed the city of Sintra, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. It’s considered to have the perfect symbiosis between nature and its built heritage. The town has been adored over the years by artists and writers from all over the world. We visited the medieval palace called Palácio da Vila (see picture on the right). It’s one of the few medieval palaces in the world that survives to this day practically intact.

Finally, in Northern Portugal, we enjoyed Porto, another World Heritage site. We did a walking tour and visited a palace, a cathedral and St. Francis church. The architecture and history here are stunning.  We ended our tour with an unbelievably beautiful and relaxing river cruise on the Douro River, one of Europe’s most scenic rivers. Of course, you can’t visit Porto without tasting some Port wines. We did a tasting at Graham’s and found the offerings exquisite!

Key Takeaways:

  • Negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours of departure was required by the airline, Portugal and the U.S.
  • We needed to fill out a Portugal Locator Card prior to landing with itinerary and vaccination status
  • Portugal is a great value for international travel
  • Lisbon is a global city with lots of attractions, including 290 days of sun
  • November is a great time to visit – mild weather and fewer tourists in the off-season

The Travel Industry Gathers Again

Travelers: David Jobes, President & CEO, and Brad Hecht, VP Travel (our writer) 

I have been traveling a lot since January and have seen the mad rush of travelers…..everywhere!  I was in Las Vegas again in November and stayed at multiple hotels (Delano & Aria) for an industry (IMEX) convention and had meetings with key worldwide suppliers, and also had a client attended site-inspection.

Well I can say, yes, it was as crazy as ever, busy as ever, electric as ever.  The convention attendance was far better than I expected, with around 11,000 attendees as I last heard.  Yes, I can say that everyone had to be fully vaccinated to attend the show, and masks, once inside the show were optional.  About 90% of the attendees elected not to wear them.

Service levels were better than expected and I am seeing some normalcy!  Every restaurant was packed for lunches and dinners.  I was happy to see the crowds and the excitement in the air.  We are hopefully turning that important corner we have been waiting to see for about the past 18 months.

Key Takeaways:

  • Las Vegas is hopping, fun and energized
  •  Vaccines, hand sanitizer and masks are among popular COVID protocols with big conventions

Coming Up Ahead in December:

  • A vacation to Turks and Caicos
  • A Leadership Forum in the Dominican Republic
  • Family fun all around the country
  • Our Motivation Excellence Holiday Event

Buckle up and enjoy the ride with Motivation Excellence as your guide!