I am usually very prepared for Christmas and have all my shopping done by end of November. However, there is always one or two people that I struggle with finding the perfect gift. My younger brother is normally one of those. He has recently caught the travel bug and always he keeps suggesting we take a trip together instead of gifts.
If you have a travel enthusiast in your family, the gift of travel is certainly better than anything you can buy on the shelf. However, how do you determine if this choice is right for your loved one(s) this holiday season? Here are a few simple tips that may help you decide how to go about sending someone a vacation as a present...
I'll keep this short and sweet this week.
Thanksgiving is a time for joy and good cheer. In this season of thanks, I have many things to be grateful for... and one of them YOU! I greatly appreciate your business, interactions, support and referrals.
From my family to yours, we want to wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving!
Your Romance & Luxury Travel Concierge
Can you believe this year is almost over?! Where did the time go! With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy for romance to take a back seat. Deadlines, rushing to work, the kids extracurricular activities, etc...they all seem to take precedence over our love lives, don’t they?
We are quickly approaching the holiday season too, which only continues to take priority in life. If this sounds familiar, perhaps you and your honey should take a moment to breathe and consider a romantic getaway to ignite a spark.
Here are 5 destinations that may be exactly what you’re looking for to fall in love with your sweetie all over again:
Most people think of Paris when they think of France. But, there are so many other French destinations that offer all the romance without all the tourist hoopla. Carcassonne is a stunning hilltop town in the south of France. It’s famous for its medieval feel, and one of the most romantic spaces in the city is the Hotel de la Cite. This hotel is a well-preserved medieval castle featuring spiral staircases, stained-glass windows, stone walls and formal gardens. You’ll truly feel like royalty here.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Imagine a lovers escape to the Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxford. This luxury hotel boasts itself as the perfect destination for a gastronomic weekend or a romantic retreat. This gorgeous manor is one of the United Kingdom’s first, and most intimate hotels. It has just 32 uniquely designed rooms, but it’s a breathtaking place you won’t want to leave for days on end. And, considering the fact they have some of the best food on site that makes even the world’s top chefs blush, you might not need to go off property for anything but sightseeing.
Chania Balos Beach in Crete
Move over Santorini, this might just be the new Greek hot spot for lovers on holiday. Chania Balos Beach in Crete is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece. From the hills above the beach it looks like a lagoon, and its white sand, soft seabed and crystal waters provide some of the most picturesque views imaginable.
Prague, Czech Republic
Though it may surprise you, many folks consider the capital of the Czech Republic to be one of the most romantic places on the planet. By day wander around amazing attractions such as Prague Castle and the St. Nicolas Cathedral. During the evening, you can enjoy a peaceful walk around winding cobblestone avenues lit by subtle road lights, cuddle in a horse-drawn carriage, or take a boat ride at sunset down the Vltava River while soaking in the rich environment.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
As we round out this list of romantic destinations to bring back some spark, we couldn’t leave out the winter wonderland of St. Moritz in Switzerland. Located in the Swiss Alps sits this amazing ski town featuring adrenaline inducing slopes, panoramic views, bobsledding, casinos, nightclubs and more. You’ll quickly see why St. Moritz is called the number one winter playground of international jet setters. Spend the days on powdered mountains, and then spend the nights enjoying delicious cuisine and snuggles by the fire.
To find your perfect destination for romance (or just a winter getaway with friends or family), just give us a call at: (913) 244-9195.
As our winter vacation planning is in full swing - one of the top subjects I run into with couples and families alike is WHERE they should vacation. There are so many destinations in the world to choose from and of course we want to see them all.
Thousands of places in the world are practically begging to be visited and explored, so choosing one can be a frustrating task. With this in mind I thought it might be a good idea to provide you with some tips on how you can choose your perfect vacation destination.
Consider your budget.
Though many people don't want to think about money when they're thinking about a vacation, we must be mindful of a travel budget. There's nothing worse than going on a wonderful holiday, only to come back in massive debt, and worrying about how you'll pay it off. Knowing your budget for your next vacation will help rule out many destinations and help narrow your search too!
Think about the time of year that you will go on your vacation.
Just a couple factors to consider when planning when you will go on your trip: weather and the demand for the destination. Will it be hot/cold, rainy/dry? And, when is their tourist busy season? The busier times for destinations are generally going to have more expensive hotels, flights, and tickets to attractions.
As a general rule of thumb, when kids are out of school (holidays, spring break, summer break, etc...), you can assume higher price tags will follow as most families will travel this time frame and the industry knows it. With regard to the weather, the last thing you want is to get to a destination you have dreamed about for ages, only to be stuck inside because it's raining everyday OR it's too cold to play in the ocean.
Decide if you want new and exciting, or traditional and relaxing.
Determining the type of vacation you want to go on is often even more difficult than deciding on the destination itself. It can be scary to choose a location off the beaten path. However, it is often those very destinations that provide the most exciting vacations. For some travelers though, predictable and reliable are non-negotiables.
You also need to consider if you want activities fueled by adrenaline, or if you want activities that relax and pamper you. Finally, you'll need to consider if sightseeing is important to you, or if entertainment is more what you're looking for. Although these things don't have to be mutually exclusive, in some cases you do have to choose relaxation or excitement, attraction hopping or staying in one spot.
Think about who you are traveling with.
Yes, your travel companions do play an important role in choosing your destination. You might enjoy the cold weather at a ski resort, but maybe your companion prefers a sunbaked beach of an exotic location. Perhaps you love trains, but everyone in your party is terrified of them. It is critical you factor in the needs of everyone, including yourself.
Of course, these considerations are far from an exhaustive list, and we understand that this can be a difficult decision. The good news is, you don't have to navigate the waters of choosing your own destination alone. Call Destinations HD today at (913) 244-9195, and we can help you decide on the perfect vacation for your needs and budget!
Fall is my favorite time of year with October being my most favorite - mostly because Halloween is near (and many of you know how excited I get for this holiday!!) Not only is it getting busy planning for the upcoming holidays (whether you are traveling, hosting or both), but travel planning can become overwhelming as you try to coordinate all the holiday events and kid's schedules, in addition to organizing your holiday or winter vacation(s).
Think about the last time you went on a vacation. Did you really escape? When you returned home were you just as exhausted before you left? If you're like a lot of people, you took off, and got back just as stressed as you were prior to your departure. The number one cause of not full enjoying a vacation? It's a tie between dealing with stressful situations that came up on your trip, and not leaving the stress of life back home at home. With that in mind, here are some simple tips for taking the stress out of travel.
Create a plan to execute, but be okay with ditching the plan. Make a list of everything you need to bring with you on your trip, and then pack. Just this trick alone can save you loads of stress. Rather than worrying if you forgot something, you'll have peace of mind because you took time to think about what you needed instead of going about packing haphazardly.
Make a list of the places you want to see and visit on your trip. This is where being willing to ditch the plan comes in. Too many people create an itinerary, and then feel they have to commit to it causing them to do and see things that didn't keep the fun going. If you get to a museum and suddenly realize they bore you to tears, you don't have to go to any other museums if you don't want to! Consider this your permission slip.
Get everywhere early. Flights, dinner reservations, shows and games – what do they all have in common? They generally have a time attached to them. Give yourself plenty of buffer time to arrive everywhere you need to be. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than missed flights and late arrivals to important events.
Intend to be on vacation. Okay, this one might sound silly, but you need to have the mindset to be on vacation. This means not checking in at work, or working at all while on the vacation. Going into a vacation with the intention of letting everything at home stay at home can work wonders for your stress levels. Your body and mind needs this escape, so allow yourself to actually get away completely!
Go to sleep, and sleep at least 8 hours every night. This tip may shock you, but one of the reasons travelers come home even more exhausted and stressed, is they try to pack too much into their schedule while away, and they barely sleep. Yes, a getaway is exciting, but you'll enjoy it more with a good night's sleep each night.
The final tip is to hire a travel agent. When you work with a travel agent to coordinate and schedule your travel accommodations and transportation, you're allowing them to take some of the work off your plate for you. If anything goes wrong or need changes - you have someone to call that works for you, so you can get back to enjoying your trip.
For your next trip, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195. You don't have to spend countless hours creating your perfect trip – that's our job! Let us handle the heavy lifting for you, so that all you have to do is show up.
I just returned from an amazing Alaska and Vancouver experience and can't wait to upload my photos to our Facebook photo albums to share. If you haven't done this trip yet, call me so we can get you there next season. It was incredible!!
Since we cruised after the kids are back in school, it was more of an adult experience which started a group discussion about traveling with kids; and is an easy leeway to our topic...
The decision of whether or not to bring your children on your next vacation can be a difficult one. How can you decide if it should be an adult only trip, or a family getaway? Although the decision will ultimately be a personal one that is up to you, here are a few things you may want to consider when planning your next trip:
The holiday season is just around the corner, which means it's also it's the proposal season. While you may already be married, you might know someone that is engaged or about to be and may be thinking about a destination wedding. If you do, we have vast experience with helping brides figure out how to start planning and organizing their destination wedding to tropical destinations.
As a past beach bride in Puerto Vallarta, I have some insight to pass along for those that might be asking if a Destination Wedding is right for them.
Traditions are becoming the “old way” of doing things, and these days people are looking for better and more exciting experiences. The same is true for weddings. You’ve likely heard about underwater weddings, or even ones where people sky dive as they say “I do.” Your story as a couple is a unique one, and you deserve a wedding that is just as unique as you. Let’s explore just a few reasons that destination weddings are better than traditional ones...
They’re exciting - What separates a destination wedding from a traditional wedding is the feeling you extract from it. You will enjoy more quality time with loved ones, instead of just one day that is over 6 hours later when everyone goes their separate ways. Plus, every destination wedding can be very different. It’s a breath of fresh air. You can wed atop a mountain, or underneath the sea. You can carry a bouquet made of seashells, or forego one altogether. The possibilities are endless when you don’t have to conform to traditional expectations.
They’re more intimate - Don't expect a wedding crasher at a destination wedding, let alone your Uncle Joe that you can’t even stand seeing at Thanksgiving. You get to be selective with the group that will be there on your day. In fact, you can choose to avoid everyone altogether and make it a completely private event with just you and your spouse to be.
They’re budget-friendly - I mentioned this in a previous newsletter, but it bears repeating. Destination Weddings are typically much less expensive than traditional ones. Because you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a hall, a reception location and all the usual wedding vendors, allowing you to save a lot of dough. Plus, since it will be a significantly smaller group, so you won’t have to fork out as much for the reception dinner either!
They’re convenient - When choosing a resort destination wedding, they usually come complete with a wedding coordinator taking care of the organization. Plus, Destinations HD can help you with many of the details of coordinating the travel plans for your guests, including all requests, allergies, travel questions, transfers, payments, etc... so all you have to do is communicate your dream wedding vision and show up to get hitched. The best part? You can honeymoon in the same spot you get married in. All the traveling is already over, so once you complete the ceremony you can slip 100% into vacation mode (maybe change hotels to an adults-only or more luxury resort for an intimate honeymoon experience). No hassles, and you’re in paradise... Sounds like a win-win to me!
Want to learn more about planning the destination wedding of your dreams? We specialize in beach weddings internationally and would be honored to help you plan your special day. Call Destinations HD today to find out more: (913) 244-9195
I head to Alaska next month (and this time I get to be a "tourist" and enjoy a 7-night cruise through the Glacier National Park!) After my conference, it will be a nice break to just enjoy a vacation and not attend site inspections or meetings :)
Alaska is considered a Bucket List destination for many people. Since it's not a cheap trip, it got me thinking about how we pay for dream vacations like this. Money is the number one thing that people blame as to why they don’t go on vacation. Second to money is time, but we will save for another day. Today though, let’s focus on some tips and ideas you can use to make money less of a worry. I also personally use these ideas to allow me to save money so I can keep traveling and not go insane!
Intend to travel. The first step in making your travel dreams a reality is to set an intention to go on your vacation. There is a saying that a wish without a plan is just a dream. By setting an intention, you can lay the groundwork for planning your trip and actually make it happen.
Determine your dream destinations and the costs for visiting them. Think about where you would like to go, and then create a cost analysis for a week’s vacation there. Actually write all of these numbers down.
Don’t skimp here. Think about what you actually want. Sure, a Penthouse suite may be out of the question depending on your current budget. What I mean by not skimping is don’t consider 2-star or less hotels and red-eye only flights. Instead, consider your best case desires without being unrealistic.
Then, write down the average costs associated with a week long getaway there including flights, hotels, a daily budget for food and attractions, etc… You may find that one of your dream trips is actually less expensive than you initially imagined. Pick one of the destinations and proceed to the next step.
Set a date that you would like to go on this trip by. Plan a date six months to one year away. Then, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195, and we can give you the actual details and costs related to your trip. From there, you’ll want to put a monthly deposit towards your trip. The earlier you make your reservation; the smaller payments will be. Keep in mind that most packages will require full payment around 45 days in advance.
Look for ways to make a little extra income to boost your vacation fund. Here are some ideas we found from personal experience and other money saving websites online:
Call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 today, and let’s get you one step closer to your travel dreams coming true! Experiences Await...
Can you believe it's already mid-August?! I've seen holiday decorations in stores already - where does the time go?!!
Have you been considering staying in an all-inclusive resort this winter? The reality is, not all all-inclusives are the same, and you need to be mindful of this when choosing one. For some people they think that their best bet is to choose the cheapest one, for others luxury is all the rage, and other still fear that they'll choose a place that doesn't give them everything that they're really looking for on vacation. If you’re looking for help in choosing the perfect all-inclusive resort for you, these considerations may assist you in making your choice...
First, look at the cost for staying there. Yes, you will want to consider the price you're paying. However, don't stop there. Take a look at what that price you're paying gets you. Unfortunately, the world all-inclusive doesn't necessarily mean “all-inclusive.” Some resorts will charge you a low price, and then sneak in a bunch of fees for everything from steak at dinner to using your in-room safe. It's important to look at the fine print of what your all-inclusive resort really includes.
Next, read reviews on each of the resorts that you are considering. It's no secret that in today's internet fueled world, tourists are ready, willing, and able, to tell the truth about the experiences that they're having at destinations worldwide. That gorgeous photo that you saw of that spectacular looking resorts on that private island, could in fact be massively photoshopped and look nothing like the photo in real life. At least real travelers are sharing the photos of what the place was actually like... which could be considered a blessing and a curse :) Just make sure to take in the information with caution, as not everyone has the same level of expectations or tastes, among many other factors accounting for their positive or negative thoughts.
Work with a reputable travel agent that will tell you what you really need to know about the all-inclusive resorts that you're considering. Destinations HD has the 411 on the hottest, most reliable, safest and overall knowledge on quality all-inclusive resorts that provide the best value. We only work with the best in the business, and we pass our personal experience and knowledge of these spectacular destinations onto you.
By not going in with your eyes wide-opened, you could end up with a second-rate vacation. We want to help you avoid that. When you’re ready to book your all-inclusive getaway, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195. We’ll help ensure you get the most bang for your travel buck and have a quality experience!
Summer is almost over; can you believe it?! Now that the kids are preparing for school and parents are getting back to a normal routine, as the summer activities of entertaining the family are coming to an end... it's time to plan those Fall/Winter vacations while prices are still low. As you begin to plan those trips, there are some things many don't think about, but is a note-worthy discussion. Most people don't want to think about the possibility of pick-pocketing or other thefts that can occur while traveling - and while most the time there is nothing to fear, it's always a good idea to prepare yourself to not be a target. I have compiled a list of 10 ways you can protect your valuables on your next vacation...
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.