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...
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.
Visiting Europe is no longer a distant dream to most people because the place has opened up to tourists in more ways than one can imagine. When making plans to visit, however, many folks haven't the slightest clue where to begin in terms of designing their itineraries, sites to see, places to eat, etc…
Enter the escorted European Tour! These guided tours are created just for you and your unique needs, and they are designed to handle the logistics and confusion that can often come with planning a vacation. Every possible detail will be taken care of from your attraction reservations to your transportation, even your dinner plans be they exotic or a simple nearby cafe. All you have to do is show up and enjoy the sights and sounds of the vast and beautiful continent while the professionals take care of the complexities...
Believe it or not, escorted tours can save you time and money as well. Rather than risking paying price gouged tourists rates, you will not only find the best deals possible within your budget, but you'll have an advocate on your side that can work with your schedule often securing reservations that might not even be available to the general public. These tour guides are well trained and knowledgeable professionals who are familiar with the history and customs of the land. These professionals will explain the history behind famous tourist spots and even take you to lesser known places where you can enjoy the moment of peace and tranquility. With a guide, you can see Europe through the eyes of a native who knows his way around every town and stories that make this land so great.
Imagine for just a moment having every detail of your journey planned for you: no last-minute mix-ups, no miscommunication, no maps, being safe and secure with a group that does this regularly and having an entire vacation that runs smoothly without any hiccups. Doesn't this sound like a real vacation to you? They do all the work and you are just along for the ride! And, the best part is there are a vast variety of escorted tours available in pretty much every European destination you can think of!
Just some of the escorted tours available include:
Want to learn more about the escorted tours available to you?
Give Destinations HD a call at (913) 244-9195 today! Experiences Await...
Italy is considered on of the most romantic countries in the world. From the canals of Venice to the sunsets of Tuscany, Italy is one of those special destinations that has folks form all over the world traveling here for the perfect lover's getaway. With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the cities of Italy and explore what it is about them that makes couples swoon.
Rome lives up to its name when it comes to romance. This is because it mixes history with a touch of the modern to create a perfect blend of old and new. Taken in the sights of the Colosseum by day and enjoy elegant candlelit dinners and dancing under the moonlight. Rome also provides high culture entertainment with lovely orchestral music as well as plays of ancient lovers such as queen Cleopatra and the Roman general Mark Anthony.
Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is renowned for its elegant canals that separate the city's 117 small islands that rest on a marshy lagoon. Due to tightly squeezed roads transport in the city is largely done by taxi boats, bicycles and on foot all which are perfect activities for couples looking to experience romantic travel in a place without noisy vehicles and traffic jams. Couples can admire art that emerged from the Italian Renaissance period as well as visit historical sights like the location of the congress of Vienna that ended Napoleon's wars.
The serene beauty of Sicily was best captured in the movie The Godfather when protagonist Michael Corleone fell in love there and married a local woman. There is an agelessness to this Mediterranean island that captures the hearts of couples who enjoy nature and a sense of mystery. Sicily has its own unique culture of architecture, cuisine and music. The warm Mediterranean climate is perfect for swimming and relaxing on nice sandy beaches with no worry in the world.
Then again, nothing says romance quite like a trip to Tuscany. Couples from all over the world visit Tuscany annually to escape stressful modern life to yesteryear where life is much simpler and relaxing. Roads are made of cobblestone, vineyards stretch for miles and a lot of buildings were put up centuries ago to create a sense of rich history and awe. Some of the worlds greatest artists and sculptures lived in Tuscany as well. For example Giotto, Giovanni Fattori and famous painter Cimabue. Their beautiful works remain to this day and can be enjoyed by anyone who vacations there.
The Amalfi Coast is popular with celebrities and couples looking to spend time on the beach watching beautiful sunsets, swimming in the ocean and taking romantic boat rides. The Amalfi Coast also features a gorgeous backdrop of mountains that seem to reach the clouds as well as old villages filled with locals eager to tell mythical stories of their past.
Piedmont is located in the Northwestern part of the country and offers couples a nice view of mountain ranges that form part of the alps as well as ancient castles and majestic palaces. Piedmont is perfect for couples visiting Italy who would prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of major cities like Rome in preference of the serenely isolated rugged beauty in the country side.
Finally, there's Naples, the perfect vacation spot for young couples more interested in excitement rather than relaxation. Located in the southern part of Italy, Naples' streets are ever filled with friendly Italians and the night-scene is pretty lively with a few cool nightclubs. Close proximity to the ocean means couples can easily go for a swim or just enjoy the sun laying on the beach.
Are you ready for your romantic Italian getaway? Call us today at (913) 244-9195
Most people that know me already know I'm a huge fan of European River Cruises. Well, the travel gods have smiled on the world because the next big thing in river cruising is themed river cruising. Why is this so spectacular you ask? Because not only can we travel to several destinations with only one ticket and mode of transportation, but now we can do it with like minded people who like the same things we do!
What better way to explore your favorite hobby than to take a trip with folks who enjoy it just as much, if not more, than you? Today, I'm going to share with you just two of the themed cruises that are available, and if you would like to learn about other themed cruises give me a call.
Wine Themed Cruises
Let the wine flow! Wine enthusiasts and foodies will adore a wine themed cruise. On a typical wine cruise you'll explore the places the wines are made, learn about the acclaimed wine regions of the world, and enjoy talks from experts all the while sipping on this delicious fermented grape juice. An added benefit is that many of them include food pairings that teach you which foods are best with the various types of wine.
Get historic and get cultured in all things wine cellars and vineyards. Learn the centuries old traditions of wine and take solace in the fact that you'll never be without a designated driver on this adventure.
Each wine themed river cruise will typically have excursions that fit in with the theme as well. From actually visiting wineries and witnessing the process from grape to glass to simply tasting a variety of wines you will know everything you wanted to and more about what it took to make the perfect vino you love so much. You might even get to go grape stomping depending on the cruise you take! Talk about an unforgettable experience!
Art River Cruise
Though the word art can mean many things to many people, an art themed river cruise is guaranteed to give you an experience unlike any other you've had to date. Depending on the one you take you could visit museums and learn about how the sculptures and paintings were created, you might enjoy lectures of the great artists of the past or you could even make art while you drift from port to port.
Each of the destinations you will see are sure to inspire and you'll walk away with at least a few tools in your knowledge tool belt! Some of the most exciting art themed cruises feature step-by-step painting classes as well as easy to understand art lectures. There's no telling what you could create or at least learn about on one of these fun cruises.
Just a few of the additional cruise themes we've heard of include Christmas market cruises, culinary adventure tours and heritage cruises. There are so many cruises to explore and I'd love to share them with you. Call me today at (913) 244-9195 and I'll help you discover the best theme for your next getaway on the water.
Can you imagine anything more romantic than a road trip with the one you love? No? Okay - what about a road trip on the Emerald Isle? An Irish road trip is the ideal romantic getaway for couples and I'd like to share with you why this should be your next lover's escape!
Longest road trip in the world
A road trip from Donegal to Cork and you have officially gone on the longest single road route in the world. Along the Wild Atlantic Way you'll enjoy upwards of 150 landmarks. The scenery will be stunning and the coastline awe-inspiring. Take your time over several days so that you can see as much on the route as possible.
It's a camper's paradise
RV and camping enthusiasts will love the trip. Travel to the Dingle Peninsula and it will feel as though you've made it to the spot where the world ends. At Dunmore Head you'll find yourself at the westernmost point of Europe’s main land. The astounding coastline could stir romance into any two love birds a midst the glorious sunsets. Then, once the moon is shining take advantage if the still of the night sleeping under the stars after a stroll along the beach.
Live out some movie romance
Wicklow Mountains National Park is the perfect place for a stroll with your partner. The array of nature’s gifts on display here will all but leave you speechless. You'll feel as though you've stepped onto the set of a romantic flick. Because of this it probably won't surprise you that romantic scenes have been shot here including a scene from the Valentine's Day film “P.S. I Love you” where Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank's character have their first encounter. Re-create your perfect romantic scene and fall in love all over again.
Take your love to the royal level
The enchanted castles of Ireland will have you and your prince or princess swooning in no time. Castle Leslie, Ballynahinch Castle, Johnstown Castle and Ross Castle are just a few among the many medieval charms that await.
Well, you won't want it to end anyway. The beauty of such a road trip is that the adventure is a creation of your own. The Irish landscape is endowed with features that will not let you down. Whether you stop on the way for a quick meal at a fabulous eatery or to see a coastline attraction, you can rest assured that on this trip, you are bound to have many memorable moments.
Want to learn more about the Irish adventures that await you? Give us a call at 913-244-9195
Many European countries are found on the bucket lists of travelers worldwide. However, for some people the idea of visiting many countries in one trip seems like a dream that would be too expensive and confusing to ever become a reality. Besides, the amount of time that a person would need to visit each spot just for traveling between each destination could zap a week's vacation faster than you can say Champs Élysées. Enter the European cruise. Today, I'll walk you through why your first trip to Europe should be a cruise and I'm confident by the time you get to the end, you'll agree with me.
Access to the top European Sites and Destinations
Regardless of which European cruise you take (ocean or rivers), many well-known destinations will be included in your itinerary. You'll get to learn which places you want to visit again for an extended stay, and you'll get to quickly leave the places that didn't tickle your fancy. All the planning will be handled for you too allowing you to simply focus on each destination you visit, take in the sites, and relax.
When you book a European cruise you'll get to stop in several countries in one trip. Most cruise boats and ships arrive in their next port of call quite early in morning after sailing at night, thus allowing travelers a full day to sight-see. Cruise ships also typically offer guided tours or some type of guided excursion eliminating the guesswork of navigation, hunting for transportation and more.
For just the cost of your food and lodging you will be transported to several countries. You will have a large designated driver should you opt to drink at lunch and dinner (how very European of you we might add). You'll not have to stress over the costs of various hotels because all lodging is in one moving hotel. You won't need to fuss as much with local currencies because most of your purchases will be on board the ship anyway. And, most if not all of your meals, entertainment, activities and more will be covered with your cruise fare. Again, let's not forget your transportation between countries is covered. Train and taxi prices can kill a budget quickly, but you shouldn't have to worry with any of that on your cruise.
Unlike train trips or driving on your own, you only have to un-pack once on your European cruise. You'll be able to stay comfortable in lieu of packing up daily, waiting around for your ride and then unpacking again after hours of travel to the next stop. Remember, you're traveling between destinations while you sleep and each morning when you wake up you will be in a new spot. The best part? That sleep you'll be enjoying will be in the comforts of a bed rather than perched against a car door, or worse, a stranger!
Finding an English Speaking Person Should be a Breeze
Of course, most European countries speak English, but some people fear visiting places where there is the potential for a language barrier. The good news is that unlike traveling on your own, most of your cruise ship operators and staff members should speak English in the event you're visiting a non-English speaking country. But, they will still be able to assist you with local information at each port. Anything you need will be available and you won't have to hunt for a translator to get it!
So, what do you think? Do you agree with me that your first trip to Europe should be a cruise? If so, call me today and let's get started booking your European getaway! 913-244-9195
I hope you enjoyed the photos I posted from my recent trip to Nevis. Stunning island, wasn't it?! The destination was beautiful, but if you are looking for more action for your next vacation - I have the perfect combination for you...
You may or may not know this, but there are several amazing packages available that offer a visit to both London and France in the same trip! The reason this itinerary makes perfect sense is they are virtually right next to each other on the map barring a brief across the channel to get from London to Paris. As far as things to do the rich histories of both London and France provide many things to do making a combination London and France trip a great idea.
On combination trips, you choose activities before you go to locations that are easily linked to each other by transportation and distance. From there your trip across borders and cultures will be uniquely customized to fit your needs. You can choose between a trip that is about a week long to one that is several weeks, or somewhere in between.
A word of advice, don't try to plan too much in both destinations. The first rule would be to give yourself enough time to take it all in. Scheduling one activity for morning, one for the afternoon, with little rest in between can get tiresome. Yes, you will want to see as much as you can, but be sure to take time to actually enjoy the attractions and culture you're visiting.
When visiting London and France you can experience any number of historic locations and landmarks. From modern to classical this all depends on your taste. One interesting factor to consider is you can tour sections of both by bus, on foot, by boat or even by bicycle. Of course, photo opportunities abound all along the way.
Some common classic icons in the city of London include the London Eye Ferris Wheel, Big Ben, Windsor Castle and even The River Thames. London also plays host to music history and culture you will find nowhere else. France brings you to the stunning art and food of Paris. From the Arc de Triumph, to the Eiffel Tower, to the Louvre Museum marvels of living art welcome you.
There are travel package tours that include stops at specific destinations, whereas others will give you the freedom to explore on your own. The key to getting the most out of your trip is to explore all of your options ahead of time and plan for your must see attractions, but to have a back up plan as well. Your back up can include all of the attractions you will visit if you run out of “must see” destinations, or your first picks are unavailable. Of course, when you book your trip with Destinations HD we can help you plan everything well in advance, and we know all the hot spots you will want to consider.
I love this fall weather - don't you?! It's my favorite time of the year! I hope you are enjoying your fall season as much as I am. This week, I wanted to chat about group travel... Traveling as a group can be a wonderful thing and an amazing trip to take as a group, is a river cruise. But, you may be thinking, what's so great about going as a group as opposed to solo, couples or family travel? I'm so very glad you asked, because I've got five reasons your next river cruise should be done as a group!
Top 5 Benefits to River Cruise as a Group
Some river cruises offer discount for groups saving you money. For example, a group of 10 or more can save as much as 10% or more off of standard pricing. Remember, the goal for any cruise line is to fill up all the cabins and groups mean they are more likely to fill up the spaces. That is why they will offer a discount as an incentive to get groups to book together. PLUS, and this is the BEST part... You may be able to cruise FREE as the group leader, depending on how many cabins you can fill and cruise line!
2. Safety In Numbers
When traveling in an unfamiliar place, it’s much safer to travel with a group. And, it doesn't hurt that you will feel more safe and comforted in the company of friends rather than strangers. At the various ports you will also be less likely to be the victims of crimes as a group as predators prey on singles and couples because they are easier to approach.
3. Having People You Know To Do Things With
Group cruising brings together a sense of togetherness. Whether it's friends or family members, you will have stronger bonds with the people you are traveling with by the end of your trip. Few things create common ground better than travel. Widely-traveled members in your group may also act as resource centers describing in detail the part of the country you are cruising through. They may also recommend attraction sites that the group might like to see.
4. Discounts May Extend Beyond the Cruise
Not only will your group enjoy group rates on the ship, you may get additional discounts for airfare, trip excursions at various ports, tours and more. Again, vendors like to fill up slots and that is why they love groups! Less work filling all the slots for a vendor translates to discounts for your group!
5. You'll Have Someone to Eat Dinner With
One of the greatest benefits of group river cruising is that you will know everyone that you're seated with at dinner. Some people get very anxious about who might be at their table because they don't like being seated with strangers. However, with a group you'll likely be seated together and not have to worry about that. Plus, the dinner will be a great time to re-group, talk about and vote on the next day's plans and ensure that everyone is getting what they want out of the trip.
Whether you are exploring the New England Islands or the Rhine River in Europe, bringing a group with you will make your trip even better!
Ready to book?! Call us today to discuss your options: (913) 244-9195
I've been seeing Halloween decorations in the stores lately and it brings a smile to my face. Fall is around the corner and I love this season! It has comfortable temperatures, lovely colors, outdoor fires and my list goes on and on. It's also one of the best times to travel to many destinations! You can typically find less crowds and lines, lower hotel rates, enjoyable weather and see some stunning scenery. One place to add to your list of Fall travels is the charming Greek Isles...
There is something so magical about the Greek Isles. When you visit them it's like slipping away to a true vacation destination. This is not to say that every vacation isn't magical, but there is something extra special about this part of the world. Some would say that the wine is sweeter, the food tastes richer and the quality of life somehow feels, well, more lively. With this in mind I thought I would share seven exciting adventures you could have if you choose to book a trip to Santorini, Mykonos or Paros for your next getaway.
1. Visit Donkey Brewery in Santorini:
For centuries the island of Santorini has been a notable wine producer, but that didn't stop the success of the little beer engine that could, the Donkey Brewer. Their three brews, Red, Yellow, and Crazy are each unique and guarantee to please a variety of palates. Stop by for a brewery tour and then stick around to try all of their products.
2. Explore Santorini's Oia Village:
The amazing village of Oia has many historical landmarks that tourists the world over have enjoyed. In fact, it's Santorini's most famous village. Here you will enjoy charming houses on narrow streets, see the famous blue domed churches and take in the breathtaking ocean views over the volcano of Pailia and Nea Kameni. You'll also find plenty of shops, taverns and cafes.
3. Sunbathe on Kamari Beach:
Kamari Beach is a black pebble beach framed by the Profitis Ilias Mountains and jagged cliffs of the Mesa Vouno with crystalline waters of Aegean. Kamari Beach seafront features a plethora of dining and shopping options to keep you occupied all day and late into the evening.
4. Spend the Day Beaching it in Mykonos:
The main attraction of Mykonos are its beaches. Here you can relax, sunbathe or snorkel. Two must see beaches include the aptly named Paradise Beach, Psarou Beach and Elia Beach. Keep an eye on signs at the beaches however, as some of them allow nudity.
5. Get a Sun Reprieve While Getting Cultured:
If you tire of being on the beach, head to Little Venice for art galleries and discotheques. Additional options for going Greek education wise include visits to the Archeological Museum, the Aegean Maritime Museum or even the Mykonos Folklore Museum.
6. Head to Church:
Some of the prettiest churches you'll ever see are found in Paros. There's the impressive Church of Agia Triada and the traditional Church of Agios Antonios. While exploring the religious aspects of the island, be sure not to miss the Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani and Monastery of Jesus of the Woods!
7. Set Sail Around Paros:
Paros features a unique landscape and a great way to see as much of the island as possible is to go on a sailing tour. On your sail you'll discover the multi-hued rock formations, incredible views of whitewashed town’s perched and stunning private beaches high on caldera, as well as, the amazing views of the architecture of the buildings on the coast.
Tell us your experience in Greece and what you might add to the list.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.