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TOP CRUISE RESOURCES FOR SAVVY TRAVELERS: Websites, Blogs, Loyalty Programs, Clubs, Vlogs, Influencers, Magazines, Podcasts, YouTube Channels, Apps, Programs, Series, Travel Agencies, Movies, Television, Radio, Streaming Videos, and Books

TOP CRUISE RESOURCES FOR SAVVY TRAVELERS: Websites, Blogs, Loyalty Programs, Clubs, Vlogs, Influencers, Magazines, Podcasts, YouTube Channels, Apps, Programs, Series, Travel Agencies, Movies, Television, Radio, Streaming Videos, and Books

TOP CRUISE RESOURCES FOR SAVVY TRAVELERS: Top Websites, Blogs, Loyalty Programs, Clubs, Vlogs, Influencers, Magazines, Podcasts, YouTube Channels, Apps, Programs, Series, Travel Agencies, Movies, Television, Radio, Streaming Videos, and Books In this article you will...



TOP LUXURY CRUISES Are They Worth It? In this article you will find:Most people love cruising in luxury, but not everyone understands the true value of such cruising nor do they feel they can afford luxury prices. So, let’s examine luxury cruises: What are they? Who...



TOP CRUISE PLANNING TIPS 52 Lessons Learned In this article you will find:Planning is often the highlight of any travel adventure. Indeed, it’s sometimes more fun and fulfilling to plan a trip than to actually take it! After all, anticipating a new trip focuses the...

Ronald L. Krannich, Ph.D.

RONALD L. KRANNICH, Ph.D., is one of today’s leading career, life skills, and travel writers who has authored more than 100 books (see below), including several self-help guides for people with difficult backgrounds, ex-offenders, students, educators, career changers, women, the military, and travel lovers: No One Will Hire Me!, The Ex-Offender’s New Job Finding and Survival Guide, The Ex-Offender’s Re-Entry Assistance Directory, Best Resumes and Letters for Ex-Offenders, The Ex-Offender’s Job Interview Guide, Best Jobs for Ex-Offenders, The Ex-Offender’s Re-Entry Success Guide, The Ex-Offender’s Quick Job Hunting Guide, The Ex-Offender’s 30/30 Job Solution, 99 Days to Re-Entry Success Journal, The Re-Entry Employment and Life Skills Pocket Guide, The Re-Entry Start-Up Pocket Guide, The Anger Management Pocket Guide, The Re-Entry Personal Finance Pocket Guide, Re-Imagining Life on the Outside Pocket Guide, and The Treasures and Pleasures of Thailand and Myanmar. He is the founder (1982) and president of Impact Publications, a leading publisher and distributor of career, life skills, and education materials. Ron received his academic degrees in Political Science, Public Administration, and Southeast Asian Studies from Northern Illinois University. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, Fulbright Scholar, university professor, and management trainer, Ron specializes in producing and distributing books, DVDs, training programs, and related materials on employment, career transition, addiction, anger management, criminal justice, life skills, and travel with special focus on the military and ex-offenders.  He is also the principal author of the ground-breaking international travel-shopping series, The Impact Guides (see titles and reviews below). When not found in his offices in Georgia and Virginia, he’s probably sailing somewhere around the world gathering data and writing stories for his new cruise website and blogs, CRUZUS.com. He can be contacted at rkrannich@gmail.com or through the publisher.


“Going to prison saved my life!” and Other Serendipitous Life-Changing Adventures of Rotarian Ron Krannich

Funny things often happen on the way to getting a life — you head in one direction but end up somewhere else! So much for planning. That’s how some people “discover” The Landings and join such service organizations as Rotary International.

Serendipity has been a recurring theme in the life and career of local resident and Rotarian Ron Krannich, who has morphed from Peace Corps Volunteer to academic and then to publisher and author of 100+ travel and career books with more than 7 million copies in print.

A Seductive Exotic Language

Originally from Pekin, Illinois (yes, home of Senator Everett Dirksen and the infamous “Pekin Chinks”), Ron stumbled into the world of travel and international development based on one fateful decision in 1965 – signed up for a newly offered foreign language as an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University – Thai. This became the classic “be careful what you wish for” experience. The rest is history as he completed Thai language work at Cornell University and joined the Peace Corps (almost sent him to Iran, but he argued for Thailand); taught high school; completed a Ph.D. in Political Science with emphasis on Southeast Asia and local government; became a Fulbright Scholar and a university professor; left higher education with the publication of his ultimate swan song, Moving Out of Education; finished several research and development projects abroad; and founded Impact Publications in 1982, a niche publishing firm focused on career- and travel-related publications. Today, Impact primarily specializes in military transition and ex-offender re-entry resources. Thailand and Southeast Asia still remain Ron’s second homes as he usually revisits there every other year.

A Ying/Yang Writer and Niche Publisher

Highlights of Ron’s writing career include 4+ million copies of a military transition guide (The Military-to-Civilian Transition Guide), which is given to 250,000 departing service members each year (the project is now in its 17th year) and a high-end international shopping series (primarily focused on arts, antiques, jewelry, and fashion) on over 25 countries, from China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Australia, and India to Turkey, Yemen, Egypt, France, Italy, Bermuda, Mexico, and Brazil. “This has been the therapeutic ying and yang of writing – from helping people find jobs and change careers to assisting others in discovering the treasures and pleasures of traveling and shopping abroad.” But this was more than just your garden-variety of travel writing. When living in northern Virginia, Ron built a uniquely designed house around a 700-piece Asian and African art collection, which was driven by the travel series. Featured in The New York Times and on CNN Travel, the house and collection survived nearly 30 years. “After my wife passed away in 2008 and I remarried in 2013, the “museum” was next to go in the process of moving to this area. I’m now in the final stages of dispensing with the art collection as I move on to other non-collectible pleasures in life. We still haven’t downsized, and I don’t see that happening for some time. We like our space and enjoy hosting large parties in one of the most scenic places in The Landings.”

 Ron is usually working on three books simultaneously along with several articles. So far this year he has revised books on military spouse employment, job seekers with not-so-hot backgrounds, and ex-offender re-entry strategies. He’s currently finishing volumes on employment barriers, interview skills, savannah travel, and great water destinations while completing new career and travel websites. Locally he serves as PR/communications chair for the Rotary Club Skidaway Island and The Hamiltons.

Independent writing/publishing has been a very fun and rewarding career for Ron, which he manages to continue to this day, even here in The Landings. “Despite major changes in the publishing business – from paper to electronic — prisons are still primarily a paper market since they are surrounded by a huge firewall that keeps the internet and cell phones at bay.” As for retirement, it’s very slow in coming, if at all. “I’m really not into retirement since I’m not sure what I would be retiring from or to. After all, I’m a writer with lots of flexibility. Being a naturally curious person who loves learning, my writing has been good for both my soul and mind. With keyboard in hand, I’m aging both gratefully and gracefully!”

Being engaged, doing meaningful things, and having an impact on others are common themes that run throughout Ron’s career and his involvement with Rotary International. “It has been a great ride and there’s lots more to come in the years ahead!” He tends to be a very optimistic and positive person.

A Prison Experience

Ron’s most memorable and life-changing experience relates to prison. In 2004 he was asked to give a presentation on employment strategies to inmates preparing to exit the state prison system via the Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown, Maryland. Thirty minutes into the presentation Ron took ill. Staff immediately called 911, and Ron was rushed to the local hospital (some say it was the fastest anyone has been exited that facility!) where it was determined he was having a heart attack. He was immediately medevaced to Washington Hospital for further diagnosis and treatment. The timing was excellent and treatment included inserting a coronary stent and a lifetime of heart healthy medications and lifestyle changes.

In the end, going to prison literally saved his life. Had he been at home rather than in prison surrounded by observant people and trained medical personnel, he probably would have laid down and died! Because of this experience, Ron has been in a “payback mode” for 15 years with prisons and ex-offenders. His company, Impact Publications, is the center for hundreds of ex-offender re-entry resources, including everything from employment to anger and rage management, addiction, and recovery training products. Some of his bestselling books for this audience include The Ex-Offender’s Re-Entry Success Guide, Best Jobs for Ex-Offenders, Overcoming Employment Barriers, and Best Resumes and Letters for Ex-Offenders. He has also produced a series of popular pocket guides (latest being Re-Imagining Life on the Outside Pocket Guide and The Military Spouse’s Employment Pocket Guide) that are widely used in prisons and throughout the military. “My military and ex-offender markets occasionally intersect. Indeed, over 180,000 prison inmates are veterans. Recognizing this special population, many states now offer treatment and re-entry programs for incarcerated veterans.”

“Writing and publishing have been very rewarding adventures. Not only did my prison experience save my life, I get to work with hundreds of people who are in the business of reducing recidivism and repairing broken lives.”

A New Partner and More Adventures

Ron and his wife, Suzan Kiepper, moved to The Landings from Virginia (Woodbridge) and Maryland (Annapolis) in 2014. This is a relatively new marriage since they both suddenly lost their spouses 10 years ago. This marriage largely resulted from online curiosity – they met late one night in 2013 while surfing on Match.com. Suzan is a former hospital executive and psychotherapist who enjoys classical music and bridge and volunteers with hospice. They both love travel, especially cruising to exotic places and returning to Ron’s favorite destinations in Southeast Asia. Suzan’s tailor is in Bangkok, her favorite boutique is in Hanoi, and her best-kept-secret handbag dealer is crammed into a third-floor sweatshop of a rundown commercial building in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Marriage to Ron came with an unusual bonus – he loves to shop and knows all the ins and outs of shopping for the best of everything throughout the world. Indeed, shopping with Ron is always a fun travel adventure!

Ron tries to avoid prison visits since he feels he probably already stretched his luck!





TRAVEL GUIDEBOOKS (see reviews/feedback below)


  • Mayors and Managers in Thailand
  • The Politics of Family Planning in Thailand

Reviews of Ron’s Impact Guides Travel Series:

What Travel Critics and Professionals Say:

“YOU LEARN MORE ABOUT A PLACE you are visiting when Impact is pointing the way.” – The Washington Post

“THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE to shopping in Asia.” – Arthur Frommer, The Arthur Frommer Almanac of Travel

“THE BEST travel book I’ve ever read.” – Kathy Osiro, TravelAge West

“AN EXCELLENT, EXHAUSTIVE, AND FASCINATING look at shopping in the East . . . it’s difficult to imagine a shopping tour without this pocket-size book in hand.” – Travel & Leisure

“BOOKS IN THE SERIES help travelers recognize quality and gain insight to local customs.” – Travel-Holiday

“THE BEST GUIDE I’ve seen on shopping in Asia. If you enjoy the sport, you’ll find it hard to put down . . . They tell you not only the where and what of shopping but the important how, and all in enormous but easy-to-read detail.” – Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“ONE OF THE BEST GUIDEBOOKS of the season – not just shopping strategies, but a Baedeker to getting around . . . definitely a quality work. Highly recommended.” – Arkansas Democrat

“WILL WANT TO LOOK INTO . . . has shopping strategies and travel tips about making the most of a visit to those areas. The book covers Asia’s shopping centers, department stores, emporiums, factory outlets, markets and hotel shopping arcades where visitors can find jewelry, leather goods, woodcarvings, textiles, antiques, cameras, and primitive artifacts.” – Chicago Tribune

“FULL OF SUGGESTIONS. The art of bartering, including everyday shopping basics are clearly defined, along with places to hang your hat or lift a fork.” – The Washington Post

“A WONDERFUL GUIDE . . . filled with essential tips as well as a lot of background information . . . a welcome addition on your trip.” – Travel Book Tips

“WELL ORGANIZED AND COMPREHENSIVE BOOK. A useful companion for anyone planning a shopping spree in Asia.” – International Living

“OFFERS SOME EXTREMELY VALUABLE INFORMATION and advice about what is all too often a spur-of-the-moment aspect of your overseas travel.” – Trip & Tour

“A MORE UNUSUAL, PRACTICAL GUIDE than most and is no mere listing of convenience stores abroad . . . contains unusual tips on bargaining in Asia . . . country-specific tips are some of the most valuable chapters of the guidebook, setting it apart from others which may generalize upon Asia as a whole, or focus upon the well-known Hong Kong shopping pleasures.” – The Midwest Book Review

“I LOVED THE BOOK! Why didn’t I have this book two months ago! . . . a valuable guide . . . very helpful for the first time traveler in Asia . . . worth packing in the suitcase for a return visit.” – Editor, Unique & Exotic Travel Reporter

“VERY USEFUL, PERFECTLY ORGANIZED. Finally a guide that combines Asian shopping opportunities with the tips and know-how to really get the best buys.” – National Motorist

“INFORMATION-PACKED PAGES point out where the best shops are located, how to save time when shopping, and where and when to deal . . . You’ll be a smarter travel shopper if you follow the advice of this new book.” – AAA World

“AN ABSOLUTE ‘MUST HAVE’ for international travelers.” – Midwest Library Review

“DETAILED, AND RELEVANT, EVEN ABSORBING in places . . . The authors know their subject thoroughly, and the reader can benefit greatly from their advice and tips. They go a long way to removing any mystery or uneasiness about shopping in Asia by the neophyte.” – The Small Press Book Review

What Seasoned Travelers Say, Including Stories That Changed Their Lives

“IMMENSELY USEFUL . . . thanks for sharing the fruits of your incredibly thorough research. You saved me hours of time and put me in touch with the best.” – C.N., DeKalb, Illinois

“FABULOUS! I’ve just returned from my third shopping trip to Southeast Asia in three years. This book, which is now wrinkled, torn, and looking much abused, has been my bible for the past three years. All your suggestions (pre-trip) and information was so great. When I get ready to go again, my ‘bible,’ even though tattered and torn, will accompany me again! Thanks again for all your wonderful knowledge, and for sharing it!” – D.P., Havertown, Pennsylvania

“I LOVE IT. I’ve read a lot of travel books, and of all the books of this nature, this is the best I’ve ever read. Especially for first timers, the how-to information is invaluable.” – A.K., Portland, Oregon

“THE BEST TRAVEL BOOK I’VE EVER READ. Believe me, I know my travel books!” – S.T., Washington, DC

“MANY MANY THANKS for your wonderful, useful travel guide! You have done a tremendous job. It is so complete and precise and full of neat info.” – K.H., Seattle, Washington

“FABULOUS BOOK! I just came back from Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore and found your book invaluable. Every place you recommended I found wonderful quality shopping. Send me another copy for my friend in Singapore who was fascinated with it.” – M.G., Escondido, California

“THIS IS MY FIRST FAN LETTER TO A BOOK . . . you made our trip to Indonesia more special than I can ever say. I not only carried it in my backpack everyday, I shared it with everyone I met, including a friend in Hong Kong, who liked it so much he kept it and I had to go out and buy another copy for myself when I got back stateside. The book taught us the customs, and through your teachings on how to bargain, I would even draw crowds to watch the Westerner bargain, and some wonderful chats afterwards, always starting off with ‘You good bargainer. Where you from?’ It was a wonderful trip and we credit your book for making it so. Thank you from my husband and myself, and everyone else we shared your book with.” – N.H., New York, New York

“YOU SAVED ME . . . hurry up with the next book so I can find out what I did wrong in Burma!” – N.H., Chiang Mai, Thailand

“I FURNISHED MY HOME IN FLORIDA using your wonderful books. What countries are you doing next?” – A.A., New York City

“I WANT YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH I ENJOYED YOUR BOOK. Like many people, I picked up a ton of guide books to China before we took off on our trip in May. However, yours was totally unique, and it was not until we had finished our trip that I fully appreciated everything you covered. It was also the only guidebook I took with us. Your book was the only one that mentioned the Painter’s Village in Chongqing. When we arrived in Chongqing early in the morning, our guide told me the village was included in the tour, but several people wanted to skip it and go to the zoo. Fortunately, I was able to lobby the many art lovers on the tour by showing them what you had to say about the village and we did end up visiting it. It was a lovely day and the flowers were in bloom in the gardens surrounding the village. We were greeted warmly and enjoyed visiting some of the artists. I purchased two numbered prints and, although I did not meet the artist, I did get his business card. Once home, the prints were framed and I took a picture of them and wrote to the artist to see what he could tell me about them. Imagine my surprise when several weeks later I received an e-mail from him. His mother and father, both famous artists, lived in the village and his mother had forwarded my letter to their son who now lives in Tokyo. He is a well known illustrator . . . We have been corresponding by e-mail for nearly a year and I have been helping him with his English and in doing his website in English . . . We are looking forward to the day when we can have him visit us in California. Thank you for leading us to one of the highlights of Chongqing for without that experience we would not have found a new and valued friend who has taught us much about China and life under Mao.” – C.S., California

“I’VE USED YOUR BOOKS FOR YEARS – earlier, the book on shopping in Thailand was wonderful and more recently your best of India has been very useful.” – S.M., Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

“I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY HOW MUCH I ENJOY YOUR SERIES. I have been an avid shopper and traveler for many years and it has often been difficult finding even a decent chapter on shopping, let alone an entire book. Your guides are a wonderful contribution to the industry.” – H.P., Honolulu, Hawaii

“GREAT! I followed your advice in Bangkok and Hong Kong and it was great. Thanks again.” – B.G., Los Angeles, California

“WE ADORE ASIA! We like it better than any other part of the world . . . We have copies of your earlier editions and they are our “Asian Bibles.” We also want to compliment you on doing such a masterful research job, especially on what to buy and where. Thanks to you we have some beautiful and treasured pieces from Asia. We could not have done it without your books.” – L.C., Palm Beach, Florida

“WE TOOK YOUR BOOK (to China) and had to concur with everything you said. We could hardly believe that 80-90% discounts were in order, but we soon found out that they were!! The Friendship Stores were everything you described. Many thanks for the book, it certainly was a help.” – L.G., Adelaide, Australia

“AFTER REVIEWING MANY TRAVEL GUIDES, I chose this book (China) to buy because it gave me not only insight to the same cities I am about to tour, but the how to’s as well. With limited time in each city, I can go directly to the “best of the best” in accommodations, restaurants, sightseeing, entertaining, and shopping. It has also supplied me with advice on how to bargain!” – an Amazon.com buyer

“WE LOVED THE GUIDE. It’s wonderful (Rio and São Paulo). We don’t have anything like this in São Paulo.” – M.M., São Paulo, Brazil

“LOVE YOUR GUIDE to India. Thanks so much.” – B.P., Minneapolis, Minnesota

“THANK YOU so much for the wonderful shopping recommendations on Johannesburg and Namibia. I did want to let you know how grateful we were to have your recommendations with us.” – M.S., Los Angeles

“I JUST WANTED TO THANK YOU for your shopping guide to Vietnam and Cambodia. We just spent our month-long honeymoon in Vietnam and it was very helpful to have read your book and to use it as a reference as we went along.” – H.F., San Francisco

“A MUST HAVE read for our travel group to Vietnam.” – S.B., Maryland