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  • Thursday, June 27, 2024 6:00 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    By Vickie Leow
    UC San Francisco retiree and UC Retirees Travel escort

    I was bitten by wanderlust at an early age. Whenever I heard a train whistle or saw a cargo ship heading out to the open sea, I was filled with wonder and longing. This desire to travel has taken me to many wonderful places around the world. After I retired from UCSF, my “itchy feet” only intensified.

    When I was younger, I traveled mostly with family and friends, but they are not always readily available to travel or they have other priorities. Not wanting to sit around and let the world pass me by, I decided to try traveling solo.

    Initially, the prospect of going solo was a bit intimidating, especially because I am a retiree, female, and Asian. But, after a few trips, I can say that I love it! I love the freedom that traveling solo affords me. I discovered that I could cover more territory, meet more locals as well as other travelers, see and do more things that specifically interest me, decide how long or short a time I want to stay in one place, and more…much, much more. Solo travel has offered me opportunities for reflection, introspection, self-development, and confidence building. And I learned to become my own best friend.

    If you do not feel comfortable about traveling solo, joining a group tour can alleviate most of the anxiety. Especially if that group tour has a built-in commonality, such as being a UC retiree. As a UC Retirees Travel escort, I have met men and women traveling solo on many of our tours. Some are single, like me. Some are married but traveling without their spouses and some are widowers or widows. Their gender or age have not stopped them from doing what they love—traveling, meeting new people, experiencing new adventures, discovering new places, and having fun. Many solo travelers who have traveled with UC Retirees Travel are “repeaters,” which speaks heaps about the comfort, safety, and enjoyed experience of traveling with the UC Retirees Travel program.

    Whether or not you decide to travel truly solo or with a group such as UC Retirees Travel, here are some things I suggest:

    • Research your destinations before traveling by reading books or travel blogs and/or watching travel videos on YouTube.
    • Use smart phone apps such as “Google Maps” for directions, “Translate” to facilitate conversation or to read signs using your phone’s camera, and “Currency” for easy money conversions.
    • Get a physical map at your hotel, a visitor center, or a kiosk to orient yourself to the area.
    • Be flexible and open to situations and, most importantly, enjoy the journey.

    I will continue to travel as much as I can, either solo or with family, friends, or group tours. Having these options, I am always looking ahead to the next adventure. So, when I see a plane flying above me, I can think to myself, “I will be onboard soon enough.”

  • Tuesday, June 11, 2024 5:00 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    2025 Trips Under $5,000 per person, double occupancy, including airfare from SFO or LAX:

    • Costa Rica (1/31-2/8, 2025): $2,999 p.p. double occupancy, $3,699 single occupancy.
    • Italian Vistas (3/3-15, 2025): $4,999 p.p. double occupancy, $5,899 single occupancy.
    • Canadian Maritimes (7/27-8/6, 2025): $4,399 p.p. double occupancy; $5,399 single occupancy.
    • Niagara Falls to NYC (10/15-22, 2025): $4,799 p.p. double occupancy, $5,899 single occupancy.
    • Albania to Greece Sea Voyage (December 2-17, 2025): Starting at $4,445 double; $5,440 single.
    Links to all the trip itineraries are on the upcoming trips page
  • Tuesday, June 11, 2024 4:30 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    2025 Trips with Single Availability & No Additional Single Supplement Charge:

    • Galapagos & Ecuador (January 16-February 2): One single is available.
    • Northern Spain & Portugal (March 30-April 15, 2025): One single is available.
    • Northern Italy (April 28-May 13, 2025): One single is available.
    • French Impressions (9/19-10/5, 2025): Five singles are available.
    Links to all the trip itineraries are on the upcoming trips page
  • Tuesday, June 11, 2024 4:00 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    2025 Unique Cultural Adventures:

    • Northern Lights of Finland (2/20-27, 2025): Limited space is available.
    • Japan's Cultural Treasures (March 17-31, 2025): Three double rooms are open; singles sold out.
    • Ultimate Africa (June 19-July 6, 2025): Four double rooms remain; singles sold out.
    • Cuba (10/20-25, 2025): Doubles and singles available.
    Links to all the trip itineraries are on the upcoming trips page
  • Tuesday, June 11, 2024 3:30 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    2025 Trip with More Leisurely Activity Options:

    • Danube River Cruise (4/19-5/30, 2025): Choice of active or leisurely activities. Singles sold out.
    Links to all the trip itineraries are on the upcoming trips page
  • Saturday, January 06, 2024 6:00 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    I will be your UC escort on this fabulous trip! September 10-20, 2024. Breathtaking Alpine vistas await as you travel through Switzerland and Italy. Experience dramatic views aboard railways and lake cruises while enjoying cultural experiences in charming villages.Cruise through Lago Maggiore and visit one of the beautiful Borromean Islands. Stroll the lakeside boulevards of St. Moritz. Journey through the Bernina Pass on one of the world’s most scenic railways. $250 discount per person if you book before 3-11-2024.

    HighlightsZurich, Glacier Express Train, Zermatt, Lake Maggiore, Borromeo Palace, Choice on Tour: Villa Taranto or Pallanza Art Museum, Island Dinner, Bernina Express Train, St. Moritz, Lucerne, Mount Pilatus

    Sep 11, 2024: Zurich, Switzerland - Tour Begins

    Welcome to Switzerland’s largest city – Zurich. Enjoy some free time exploring its charming Old Town or one of its many museums on your own. This evening, get to know your fellow travelers over a welcome dinner.

    Sep 12, 2024: Zurich - Andermatt - Zermatt

    Say “good morning” to Zurich with a walking tour of the city. A local guide will teach you the city’s history and make a few sweet stops along the way. Learn the history behind the chocolate shops and taste some delicacies for yourself. Treat your taste buds to even more flavors of Zurich with free time for lunch on your own. After that, it’s all aboard! You’re off to Andermatt to experience the world-renowned Glacier Express train. Natural backdrops of the Swiss Alps, thick forests, gurgling streams, and deep valleys bring this mountain dream to life. Complete your day in the unique, car-less village of Zermatt.

    Sep 13, 2024: Zermatt

    Start your morning with a Tour Manager-led walk to get familiar with the quaint mountain village of Zermatt. With free time for the rest of the day, let your curiosity get the best of you while uncovering history in the Matterhorn Museum. Perhaps your adventurous side will bring you on the Gornergrat Railway to experience elevated views of the Matterhorn.

    Sep 14, 2024: Zermatt - Lake Maggiore, Italy

    Take on the day as you depart Zermatt and head towards Italy. Enjoy scenic mountain views on a drive through the Simplon Pass, used for centuries as a main trading route between northern Italy and Switzerland. Learn how Napoleon used the Simplon Pass to cross the Alps into Italy and gain control of Milan and Venice. Continue to a tranquil resort area with crystal clear waters set against the backdrop of the Alps, known as Lake Maggiore. Take time this afternoon to stroll the cobbled streets of Stresa. Long-favored by European aristocracy because of its blend of elegance, Stresa has inspired artists and writers since the late 1800s. Step inside a local wine shop where the family teaches you all about some of Italy’s local specialties and invites you to try some. As the day draws to a close, settle in for a 3-night stay at your hotel.

    Sep 15, 2024: Lake Maggiore

    The entire day is yours. You might want to soak up the sun along the waterfront, relax in an outdoor café, or head out on the waves by boat. Perhaps you’ll take an optional tour to picture-perfect Lake Orta – a hidden gem surrounded by romantic villages and filled with quaint islands. As the evening approaches, board a private boat for a cruise to Isola dei Pescatori. On the island, toast to your Italian experiences during dinner at a local restaurant.

    Sep 16, 2024: Lake Maggiore

    Today, explore the twin towns of Verbania and Pallanza where it’s your choice! In Verbania, wander through the enchanted gardens of Villa Taranto. Among the dreamy landscapes and captivating reflections are mysterious flowers from the farthest corners of the world -OR- visit Pallanza and tour the Troubetzkoy statuary collection housed in the town’s museum, Museo del Paesaggio. This afternoon, set sail to Isola Bella – known as the “beautiful island.” With an expert guide beside you, journey into the Borromeo Palace – a lakeside Baroque beauty adorned with an exotic garden.

    Sep 17, 2024: Lake Maggiore - St. Moritz, Switzerland

    Experience sweeping coastal views on your drive along the picturesque shores of Lake Como during your full morning bus transfer to Tirano. Spend the afternoon traveling along one of the world’s most scenic railways. Take a journey through the Bernina Express en route to St. Moritz, Switzerland. Witness the striking landscapes of the Italian and Swiss Alps throughout your voyage – including the famed Morteratsch Glacier. Make your final stop in St. Moritz and enjoy the evening at leisure to relax or stroll the lakeside boulevard.

    Sep 18, 2024: St. Moritz - Lucerne

    Slow and steady wins the race today. Enjoy a leisurely start in St. Moritz before heading to Lucerne, the “Swiss Paradise on the Lake.” Follow the ancient pathways of the city on a walking tour through an Altstadt (Old Town), passing through the covered 14th-century Chapel Bridge. Along the way, see the famous Water Tower that once served as a prison. Pause at the renowned Lion Monument, carved from sandstone to commemorate heroic soldiers. The evening is yours to relax or explore.

    Sep 19, 2024: Lucerne

    Today, enjoy the splendor of pure nature while gliding over a clear landscape in panoramic gondolas and spectacular cable cars. Ascend Pilatus on a unique excursion along the steepest railway in the world. From the top, soak in the magnificent Alpine views from 7,000 ft. above sea level. Enjoy leisure time at the summit, where you can stroll the walkway for new vantage points. Venture back down the mountain by panoramic gondola for another bird’s eye view. Gather tonight for a farewell dinner featuring Swiss specialties.

    Sep 20, 2024: Lucerne - Tour Ends

  • Thursday, December 14, 2023 4:00 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    TRIP ALERT! There are still a few spaces left on Memorials of World War II (, August 19-28, 2024. The early booking bonus ($300 discount per person) ends December 20London & Paris WWII-Focused City Tours, Portsmouth, The D-Day Story Museum, English Channel Crossing by ferry, Juno Beach, Caen Peace Memorial Museum, Arromanche-les-Baines, Longues-sur-Mer, Apple Cider Farm Visit, Normandy American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Airborne Museum, Utah Beach, Giverny Gardens, Seine River Dinner Cruise. 

  • Tuesday, November 28, 2023 9:00 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    Memorials of World War II ( still has a few spaces left. August 19-28, 2024. London & Paris WWII-Focused City Tours, Portsmouth, The D-Day Story Museum, English Channel Crossing, Juno Beach, Caen Peace Memorial Museum, Arromanche-les-Baines, Longues-sur-Mer, Apple Cider Farm Visit, Normandy American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Airborne Museum, Utah Beach, Giverny Gardens, Seine River Dinner Cruise.

    Retrace the D-Day preparation efforts at The D-Day Story Museum, dedicated to Operation Overlord.

    Navigate the path of the D-Day Landings as you cross the English Channel by ferry.

    There is a discount of $300 per person if you book before 12/20/23

  • Tuesday, October 31, 2023 5:00 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    Just returned from Greece via LAX. There were about 75 people going through customs. Luckily I have Global Entry - 8 scanners, no one in line. Took about a minute to let the scanner take my picture, then a customs official called my name and I was free to go. Global Entry cost me $100 for five years and includes domestic Pre Check. I've used it many times and it's terrific. Sign up at 

  • Thursday, September 07, 2023 7:00 PM | Anne Pautler (Administrator)

    So many of our 2024 trips are filling up! If you see a trip you like, jump right in and make a deposit. Our Collette trips often fill before the deadline for guaranteed and/or discounted pricing. Before that deadline, you can cancel without ANY penalty and get all your monies back (even the travel insurance). The refund of travel insurance is an exclusive Collette benefit. Booking early also gets you the flights/seats you want and the chance to upgrade on those long flights!

    We have limited seats on the following 2024 trips - see links below:

    • Croatia and Its Islands, June, only 3 yacht cabins left
    • Memorials of World War II, August, discount until 12-20-2023
    • Alpine Lakes and Scenic Trains, September, discount until 3-22-2024
    • Kingdoms of Southeast Asia, November, deadline 4-8-2024 

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Note: These blog entries are from Dolores, but the website only knows that Anne Pautler is posting them. That's why you see her name. If you want to talk travel, contact Dolores,

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