Dear Traveler,

Yesterday we dropped off our daughter, Jessica, for freshman year of college. Many of you got to know her a bit through the Where in the World is Jessica? section in this newsletter as she traveled the world on her gap year. That was an incredible adventure and now she is on an adventure of a different kind.

I know many of you are in a similar position. Lots of mixed emotions as we send our kids off. I’m excited for the bright future they have and the opportunity they each have to make a difference in our world. And I’m going to miss her terribly. I often remind myself of this quote and know that she is well equipped for what her future holds…

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I hope for all of you that the back to school transition, where it’s freshman year of college or the first day of preschool, goes well!

As a frequent traveler, I love to learn about travel hacks and I love even more to discover them on my own and share them with you. This week I have two from recent personal experience.


I was looking at the non-stop flight options from Boston to Zurich for a scouting trip later this month.

  • Economy was pricing at $1300
  • Business Class $8300
  • First Class $14,000

If I had to choose one, I would always choose a lay flat seat on an overnight flight to Europe instead of the return flight.

I really didn’t want to spend $8300 on a R/T business class seat, so I reluctantly purchased economy. A few days later I looked up my reservation on the SwissAir website and they had two upgrade options listed…

1. Bid on an upgrade – enter the amount you are willing to spend. The dial (see below) will show you what sort of chance you have.

  • For the one way upgrade – $660 said no chance, $935 good chance and $1425 excellent chance

2.Upgrade your flight to a higher cabin immediately. The cost? $930. Given the dial above, it made complete sense to me to pay the stated amount for the upgrade. Done! I’ll be fast asleep on my flight to Zurich arriving well rested for my full week of adventures.

And even if I choose to buy a guaranteed upgrade for my return flight (highly likely), the total would be $3160. A lot less than the original quoted business fare of $8300 🙂

  • An added bit of info – upgrading from business to first class from BOS to ZRH showed $870 no chance, $1700 good chance and $2700 excellent chance. I’ll wait this one out.


Gunnison, CO is a tiny airport, only served by United Airlines, with limited flights – sometimes once per day sometimes twice. For me to fly home from dropping off our daughter, Allison, at college, my options were a 42 minute layover in Denver (definitely not enough!) or a 4+ hour layover (no thank you).

So I called up my flight experts and asked for their help. They suggested I consider the United flight from Gunnison to Denver, with a two hour cushion to a Delta flight to Boston. This never would have shown up on Google flights or other websites because they aren’t connected flights.

There is some risk. If my United flight was late and I missed the Delta departure, there is no need for Delta to accommodate me on a later flight. It’s like I was a no-show. But with a two hour cushion (and not in winter where likelihood of weather and issues is greater), I felt comfortable. It worked! Again, there is a risk, so do this wisely.

I had a top photo chosen for the newsletter this week, then Allison sent me the sunset photo from her hike last night and it was so beautiful I had to share it with you. Colorado hikes and sunsets are spectacular! And this week’s Highlight is also in Colorado, giving you another reason to visit.

This week’s inspiring articles include a tiny Canadian Lake Town where the Beckhams, Spielbergs and other famous people who want some anonymity vacation, the best places for scuba diving around the world and the best wine bars in Athens.

The information articles include everything to know about flying with your dog, an ultra secret, invite-only elite status airlines don’t want you to know about and how to upgrade your airline seat without breaking the bank (they should have asked me for a quote on this one).

A special note on Hawaii…

As travelers, we all have immense privilege to be out exploring the world.

Throughout our lifetime, some of the places we love are impacted by tragedies – natural disasters and man made. As we’ve seen in the news this week, the town of Lahaina and its residents living their normal lives in a truly beautiful, historic town in Maui, were decimated by wildfires. In the aftermath of tragedy, life saving measures and basic necessities are needed, as they are at this very moment. Currently non-essential travel is understandably restricted, so their community can focus on helping those in need.

In time they want to encourage people to return to the island. Their livelihoods are mainly based on tourism and you can help by deciding to visit Maui, patronizing local businesses and sharing your support.

If you’d like to read more about how to help those in need and how to respectfully return to Maui, please see the articles below.

Enjoy your week!


  • This week’s highlight – Allegria in Carbondale, CO
  • Hot New Hotel Opening – La Majun in the Dolomites
  • Inspiration + Information


I love shining a light on people and places that are special and today that is Benoit and Emma DeFrancisco, the owners of Allegria in Carbondale.

Benoit is from Chamonix, France and has worked for Wolfgang Puck and Jean-George and also at Cloud Nine, the famous restaurant on Aspen Highlands (if you haven’t been there, you must! The first time we dined there outside next to Valentino. Fun, stylish and a scene.). Just over a year ago Benoit and Emma bought Allegria from the previous owner and wanted to keep the integrity of the experience, while also giving it their personal flair.

“The magic of Main Street in an old town like this one reminded me of Chamonix,” Benoit said. “This has a soul and charm that you can’t hardly replicate…My parents had a restaurant exactly like this on Main Street (in Chamonix).”

Each night they serve a whole fish option (currently: Traditional Whole Dover Sole Meunière / cooked with butter, lemon, parsley and potatoes). The fish is cleaned and served to the guest table side.

They are currently serving a Peach and Burrata Salad, (which I’ve actually also been making recently because we have the most delicious peaches in our market) and the peaches at Allegria were were picked in Palisade, CO by Benoit and Emma’s daughter Chloe!

They also serve classics like chicken piccata, chicken parmigiana, Osso Bucco and home made pastas and risottos.

For desert, homemade Profiteroles au Chocolat, freshly made Crème Brûlée and Nutella crepes.

Another draw for guests is their unique selection of Italian and French wines which change constantly.

You can enjoy dining inside watching the open kitchen or outside on a beautiful day. Like many towns, they have a First Friday monthly art walk, which is a particularly fun night to be there.

Carbondale is for those who love culture and an adventurous lifestyle – hiking, fishing, paddle boarding, golfing, river rafting, paragliding, swimming, mountain biking, horseback riding, mushroom hunting, great restaurants and art galleries. And the Thursday rodeo—a pickup truck tailgate rodeo. Put it on your list for your next trip to Colorado.

? Allegria

? In July, our family hiked in the Dolomites and we spent our last two nights at family owned, La Majun.  This hotel in Alta Badia was the perfect end to our week of hiking. We loved the central location, delicious food and especially the large, three floor spa.

Why is La Majun so special?

  • Three generations of the Rinna family work together to run the hotel. From the warm and helpful check-in to Dad’s secret wine bar in the basement, you are welcomed like family during your stay.
  • All rooms and suites have their own balcony with mountain and meadow views. You may even watch paragliders float down the mountain from your terrace.
  • A gourmet half board option is offered, with a delicious a la carte breakfast and buffet (with many favorites – pancakes with Nutella, a juice press and a variety of local cheeses), salad bar, afternoon pastries and a 5-course dinner. 

 Do as much or as little as you like:

  • Ride the 50 miles of mountain bike trails and hike the 250 miles of trails through forests, meadows and peaks of the Dolomites. Or take the adventure up a notch with rock climbing, scaling a Via Ferrata or a helicopter ride above Marmolada glacier.
  • Hike or take the gondola up to the top of Piz La Ila and spend the afternoon on the terrace of Club Moritzino, a 50+ year old spot where you can lounge the day away over a late lunch, enjoying the scenery and making new friends (and definitely taking the gondola down!)
  • The La Majun Spa has beautiful mountain views. After a day of hiking enjoy services such as the South Tyrolean hay peeling or an alpine herbal oil massage. Then, relax in the Finnish sauna, salt steam bath or cold plunge pool.
  • A stay in Alta Badia is also lovely in the winter when you can enjoy wintertime hiking, bobsledding and downhill and cross-country skiing.

‼️ Don’t miss…..Sellaronda Bike Day!  The Sellaronda is a trek circumnavigating the Sella Mountain.  On Sellaronda Bike Day, the roads and passes are closed to motorized traffic and open only to cyclists. The 39-mile loop is available to any biker who wishes to participate and experience the trek without dodging vehicles. 

Of course it comes with the usual perks and VIP treatment when booking your stay through Truvay Travel.

? La Majun

? family photos

? Alta Badia Tourism Board

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Extraordinary Experiences for
Adventurous Families

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