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.
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:
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...
As you start thinking about the upcoming school year and scheduling all the vaccines and upcoming flu shots to help protect against illness - many don't realize that taking vacation time can also improve your health.
Here's a sobering statistic – more than half of Americans likely didn't take all of their vacation days in 2016 according to CNN. That makes this fact a little more understandable unfortunately – in countless studies it has been found that a majority of Americans say they're stressed at work. We all know that stress can lead to illness and other health issues. Traveling and taking all of our vacation days is critical for reducing stress and maintaining better health overall. Let's explore why travel is good for your health...
The body and mind need a break and travel is the only thing that helps you truly get away. When you get up, go to work, work hard, stay late, barely eat, then come home – you're usually exhausted. And, your day is probably not over yet. Then there's the kids' extracurricular activities, cooking dinner, doing the chores – on and on it goes, leaving you desperate for a break. However, the trouble with simply taking a day off from work, is that most people don't take their vacation days to relax. They fill them up with other responsibilities – doctor's appointments, renewing licenses, stops to the post office, etc…
Traveling allows you the chance to stop worrying about all of that other stuff. Getting away from it all is the only way to, well, get away from it all. When you're in another city, or country you can't do all those errands. You have to focus on the one thing you've been craving all along – relaxation! Relaxing replenishes your batteries inside and out.
You'll give your mood a boost. Travel improves our emotional state too. When our emotions are elevated, our cells regenerate faster, and we become healthier as a result. If the mind and body are in a constant state of fight or flight, it will become fatigued, breaking down our immune systems and our willpower to find the positive side to things. The best part of traveling to take that critical break? There's a residual effect – long after you return, you'll still be feeling happy about your trip. Why? You'll likely have pictures of the escape, and that will transport your mind back to the happy place, and hence your happy state.
Many aspects of your health will improve thanks to traveling. Forbes Magazine reported that “Active travel is proven to lower health risks such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, depression levels and more, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee.”
Travel improves the health of your relationships too. As Passport Health says, “It’s common knowledge that travel helps to bring people together by building lifelong memories. Couples are strongly and positively affected by trips taken together. More than 75 percent of adults credit travel with improving their interpersonal relationships. Studies show family travel can also significantly reduce behavioral problems and illness in children.”
Bottom line – Travel improves your mental, physical and emotional health simply by allowing you to take a break from the daily stresses of life. So, what are you waiting for? Isn't it about time you planned a getaway for the sake of your health? We think so! When you do, we hope you'll think of Destinations HD. Call us at (913) 244-9195 today, and let us help you create the vacation of your dreams!
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!
Kids are finally out of school and summer vacations are beginning for everyone! Woo hoo! If you are planning a trip, whether near or far from your hometown, keeping your home safe is probably on your mind. If it's not, it should be because nobody wants to go on a fabulous vacation only to return to find they've been invaded. When you are traveling it's a good idea to take the necessary precautions to ensure your property and possessions are protected when you are away.
Here are just of few of those precautions you can take:
Hire a House Sitter
The presence of a house sitter can deter potential robbers because most robberies tend to occur when homes are vacant for more than a couple of days. If you don't hire a house sitter, at least have a neighbor keep an eye on the home. Have them collect mail and newspapers as well so that it's not abundantly obvious no one is home.
Leave the Place Organized and Lawn Manicured
If an intruder peeks in your window you don't want them to see your luggage that you didn't use stacked and the mess strewn about from where you packed in a hurry. This could allow them to speculate you're away. Cut your lawn right before you leave and if you will be gone a while, consider hiring someone to cut it while you're out.
Lock Away your Valuable Items
Money and high-cost items like jewelry, computers, television sets, digital cameras etc, are the main targets for criminals. Even if you don't clean your place completely before you leave, at least be sure that these items are not visible. In fact, consider locking your valuables in a safe and placing it in a concealed location to make your valuables difficult to find. This way, if someone does break in they will be less likely to get your good stuff. And, if you do have a safe, take the keys to it with you on your vacation.
Don't use Social Media to Announce Your Departure
Announcing your departure publicly on social media is a great way to tell would-be burglars that you're space will be empty. As tempting as it may be, don't do it! If you simply must state you're leaving for a trip, at least tag a relative/friend/neighbor with a “Thanks for house sitting post!” even if it's not true. Just remember, when you post that you will be away, the news could be seen by the wrong people that are not so trustworthy.
Consider Threats Such as Fire/ Natural Disasters as Well.
Although it's unlikely anything horrible will happen while you are away, it's not a bad idea to unplug all electrical appliances before you leave and even kick a few breakers to prevent the chance of electrical sparks that could start a fire. You can also shut off your water to prevent frozen and bursting pipes (seasonal). While you're at it, make sure your home owner's/ renter's insurance premiums are up to date. This way if something were to happen while you're away, you won't have to worry about whether or not there was a lapse in service.
All of this may seem like overkill, but like all things, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Haven't planned your summer getaway, but ready to get away?! Give us a call to discuss your plans!
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