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...
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.
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!
As summer vacations are in full swing, some of you may have family reunions to attend. There are few things as wonderful as going on a trip for a big family reunion. However, sometimes it's time for a change and experience something a little more memorable than a park picnic for a few hours. Is it time to upgrade your family reunion and actually spend quality time together?
When it comes to a large group trip, you shouldn't try to manage all the planning on your own. A handful of family members inevitably get stuck with handling far too many of the elements of the vacation. Avoid this recipe for disaster by hiring Destinations HD as your travel coordinator. We have some great options for all ages that will spice up your family reunion and create memories that will be discussed for a lifetime!
There's more to it than just picking a place and a time. The family can all vote on a place to go, and even the week/weekend you will all show up together, but then the real planning begins! When will everyone arrive and depart? Will you be flying coach or first class? Will anyone be staying an extra day or leaving early? How will you all get from the airport to hotel? Who still owes money? Does anyone have allergies or disabilities that need to be addressed with the hotel/cruise? These are details you don't need to worry with.
By hiring Destinations HD as your travel coordinator, we take care of all the particulars of your trip for you and your family. Instead of a few of your family members needing to make a second job out of preparing for this event, we can book the flights, the hotel, the cruise, the transportation, even the dinner reservations and activities if necessary.
Will it be a cruise, a stay at an all-inclusive resort, or some other adventure overseas? Destinations HD can help you decide that too! We help match you to the best vacation destinations, and create the perfect trip itinerary to fit your family's needs and expectations.
Destinations HD can handle the group communications, and payment processing as well. Why worry about whether or not Uncle Joe paid, or if Aunt Suzie received the schedule update? By allowing us to take care of the heavy lifting, your focus can stay on what you need to do to enjoy your trip. Plus, we also offer payment plans to make it more affordable for everyone (depending on how far in advance you make travel arrangements).
No one will be left in the dark either. We work with you to keep you and your family informed of any, and all things, you need to know related to the trip. By hiring us, you can rest assure that you have a professional on your side, working on your behalf to ensure that your family reunion comes together as seamlessly as possible. You don't have to worry about communicating with the hotel on each guest’s dietary needs/requests or answering the same travel questions over-and-over regarding if they need to pack a towel, how far shopping is, or what travel documents are required - We take care of all the details so you can enjoy the excitement with the rest of your family!
Trips big and small – we've managed them all. Now we'd like to help you manage your family reunion next year. Plan early to get the space you want at the hotel/cruise AND it gives everyone enough time to save. When you're ready to start planning, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195. You'll be glad you did!
With all this rain and gloomy days around most of the states these past few weeks, it's a great time to think about warmth and blue skies. What better way than to learn about the new hottest trend... Cuba!
In 2016 the first cruise to Cuba was planned to set sail via Fathom Cruise Line. After a dispute as to whether or not a Cuban born person that became an American citizen could travel to Cuba, the Cuban government ultimately agreed to allow travel via a cruise ship to their country. Then, in May 2016 the inaugural cruise voyage to Cuba on Fathom set sail.
Finally, in December 2016, several other cruise ship companies — Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Azamara Club Cruises, Oceana Cruises, Regent Seven Cruises, and Pearl Sea Cruises—announced that they too would be offering cruises to Cuba from the United States in 2017.* This has made cruising to Cuba the hottest travel trend for 2017. If you too are considering a cruise to Cuba this year, below is what you need to know right now.
As it stands currently, traveling to Cuba is only permitted under 12 categories of travel. Learn more about that here. Cruise lines understand these requirements and have created itineraries and sailings that meet them. However, it may still be difficult to see people that you know in Cuba.
At one point you needed people-to-people documents for permission to see persons that you know in country, but now if you are seeing them via an excursion or while doing something with the cruise ship in port you can self-certify why you saw those people. You are required to document your visit and the people you saw, as well as, why you saw them in a journal. You must hang on to that journal for a few years just in case anything comes up though, as they can come back and request documentation (and may be asked to see the journal upon departure).
Cruise ships are supposed to give you a tourist card that acts as your tourist visa while you are off ship in port. It is critical you hang on to this card along with your passport while in port. You'll be required to return the visa when you get back on the ship.
If you board your ship in Miami you might be able to get a Cuban stamp on your passport. If you are the type of traveler who likes to collect country stamps, this is your chance to get a Cuban one.
You'll need to convert your US dollars to Cuban currency, but according to many travel websites, and news outlets, it's best to do it when you arrive in Cuba. And, you won't be able to get cash out of an ATM, or use your credit/debit card.
As of the time of this writing, you can only purchase rum and cigars in port, but not much else while you are in Cuba. You might be able to obtain hand made artifacts, but don't expect “typical tourist” souvenir shops like you have probably seen in most ports on other cruise ships.
Would you like to learn more about cruising to Cuba, and the other elements of your trip you will need to be aware of? Call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 to learn more!
Do you two have different ideas on where you want to go for your honeymoon? If so, you are not alone. Planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip together can be very stressful. You want to go to sandy beaches in the Caribbean while he has always wanted to see historic Italy. So now what??
Before this turns into a stressful fight, take a breath and sit down with separate pads of paper...
Each of you write down your list of essentials - hiking, beach, swim-up pool bar, relaxing intimate time together, or active exploration of a new destination? Once you have a clear picture of what would make an ideal honeymoon to you - share notes and see what you have in common.
Next, determine your budget and rule out destinations or ideas that may not match your savings plan. Be sure to keep in mind the time of year you will be traveling to your destination - traveling during height of hurricane season may not be ideal for your Caribbean island paradise. You might just come up with a better idea or see why your soon to be spouse has a great plan!
Once you have discussed and determined your list of essential details and budget for your honeymoon - contact a travel expert. A professional will have a better idea on what you are looking for and could even recommend something you never even thought of based on the experiences you are looking for.
In the end, just remember you will be with the person most important to you for the rest of your life - Maybe you can go to the other destination for your first year anniversary or other milestone celebration in your lives together!
Now that it's getting colder and the Fall season is setting in, the beach and pool season become a fading memory. So sad! Not to worry, I have plenty of suggestions to getaway this Winter :) I finally organized my thoughts and photos from my recent trip to the island of Nevis (Knee vis) and wanted to pass along my new found love for this island.
Can you keep a secret? Seriously, it’s just us here, right?
So, I never wanted to go to Nevis. I mean, it’s not that I wanted to avoid Nevis, it’s just that I honestly didn't know anything about Nevis, therefore I never WANTED to go there.
As a romance travel specialist, I was invited to a Romance Symposium to tour Nevis and St. Kitts, stay in some beautiful exclusive resorts and villas (I know, someone’s got to do it!) and attend educational programs with site inspections to learn all about the island, accommodations available and the experiences that Nevis has to offer.
From St. Kitts, it’s just a short ferry ride to the island of Nevis. From the moment I arrived in this tropical paradise, I was transported to another world.
This unspoiled and tranquil utopia is filled with brilliant, lush gardens that provide the backdrop for the most hidden, peaceful and romantic island you’ve never seen. In fact, Nevis has been voted the most romantic island in the Caribbean! The experience was spiritual, almost mystic, yet authentic and natural in a way we seldom experience here at home.
If your idea of “having a view” from the 60th story of a high rise, you won’t find that here. No buildings can be taller than a coconut tree - and nothing can be built above 1000 feet on the mountain. You won’t find fast food here either. The food is local and authentic, providing sustenance worthy of the divine.
Donkeys and goats roam freely. Monkeys swing among the lavish vegetation. There are no crowds, no blaring horns, and no interruptions from trinket peddlers. Just peaceful beaches and fresh, clean air with open blue skies. The locals are warm, friendly and welcoming. Nevis covers just 36 square miles and has a grand total of 406 hotel rooms. There are no casinos and no giant cruise ships. Just a romantic, unpretentious island filled with gifts from nature.
Sugar was once the main source of industry and many of the hotels are built at these historic plantations. There are picturesque churches and elegant estates to visit as you explore the small island.
So I ask, can you keep a secret? Because while I want you to experience this special place and all its charm, we probably shouldn’t share this with everyone. Call me and we can discuss all about the island and which hotels/villas would be ideal for your travel lifestyle. (913) 244-9195
In a meeting the other day, a wise business owner was discussing his father’s philosophy about rewarding employees. “Why would you do that for them?” His father would get asked, “they might leave.” His response was “And what happens if I DON’T do it”.
Just think about that....
Travel is one of the most well-received rewards for employees. Travel, or any form of time-off, is a highly desirable treat that appeals to everyone and that employees crave. No matter how engaged an employee is, they will always look forward to their holidays. A variety of research shows that although a cash bonus is an attractive reward, travel tops the list!
One the easiest ways to provide a fabulous trip for your team and their companions is to select an all-inclusive resort. With so many activities, gourmet food options and little to no out-of-pocket expenses, this is a thrilling option.
Hard Rock All-Inclusive Resorts, for example, has everything you want in one spot. They have many locations to choose from but all offer high-end luxury accommodations, gorgeous beaches, incredible dining and nightlife fit for a rock star.
Travelers can be as active or inactive as they like. Taking advantage of relaxing by the pool and on the beach or kayaking and snorkeling in the turquoise water.
They can gather as a group or spend time on their own. The resorts are expansive and cater to so many tastes and lifestyles that everyone will be talking about this bonding experience long after the trip. Bonds that are formed enhances productivity in the work environment. Allowing spouses or significant others to join often strengthens the support they get at home when work requires them to be away.
Getting to know the individuals that you work with is not always easy, as we type away at our keyboards in our cubicles or slide on our headphones and focus on our daily work activities – it’s easy for some of us to have our head down for most of the day.
Many businesses now offer these types of perks to employees as the event to look forward to each year. Engaging with their peers in a unique environment often sparks additional creative ideas, allows them to better understand their co-workers and allows for personal time away from the office that too often is not taken.
With benefits for the employee and the employer the question should be ‘Why wouldn’t I offer this to my employees?’
Give us a call to discuss your options and what might be a good fit for your company incentive!
I recently visited Ocho Rios, Jamaica and learned about the vast adventure tour options you can enjoy in this mountainous area. If you are looking for an active vacation, this location is perfect for you! From bicycling through the Blue Mountains to snorkel adventures in the sea and everything in between - Ocho Rios in Jamaica will keep you entertained if you shall choose. There wasn't enough time during my visit between conference meetings to enjoy much off property, so I plan to go back with the spouse to explore!
Talking adventure... What does zip lines, sky diving, and bungee jumping all have in common?
They are all amazing adventures you can have while traveling! Odds are you already can think of what a perfect relaxing vacation day would look like to you, but what about one that gets your heart racing, your adrenaline pumping and your stomach filled with butterflies? No, I'm not talking about a first date or your wedding day – I'm talking the thrill seeker vacations. I'm talking about those wild experiences you may never have even dreamed of. I'm talking about adventure travel and if you're looking for something far from boring, you've come to the right place!
Here are just three amazing adventure experiences you can consider for your next vacation:
1. Zip-Lining in Puerto Vallarta
Your day will begin with a scenic drive to the jungle where you will trek over bridges and up wooden steps to get to the swing spot. You'll be strapped in and then you'll zip down the cable through the jungle where the Predator movie was filmed. Afterward you can enjoy an exhilarating off road ride on a Polaris UTV.
2. Skydiving in Hawaii
The big island of Hawaii is one of the top destinations in the world to skydive because there you can see not just one area, but three, including Pearl Harbor, Kaena Point and Diamond Head. That coupled with the stunning marine life, beach and lush greenery makes this a gorgeous dive from beginning to end!
3. Bungee Jumping in Switzerland
Ready to go for a Dam jump? Verzasca Dam that is! This is one of the top bungee jumping destinations in the world, famous in part because of the James Bond film GoldenEye. This hydroelectric power station will give you a thrill you won't soon forget!
Want to learn about all the adventures awaiting for you in your vacation destination of choice?
Call us (913) 244-9195 and we'll find you an activity to experience on your next trip.
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