Summer brings somethings to the air that often turns it into a "pop-the-question" season, so if you know anyone recently engaged or thinking about a destination wedding, so we wanted to give you a little information to think about.
Destination Weddings are not losing steam in terms of their popularity. However, just because something is popular doesn't mean it's the right choice for you. There are some important questions to ask before deciding to have a destination wedding of your own...
1. How Many People are you Inviting?
A destination wedding is typically much smaller than a traditional wedding. They are harder for people to get to, and typically require travel that some would deem too expensive or just don't have the time to take off work. An average size for a destination wedding is typically around 40-60 guests. Perfect for those looking to control the budget on all the wedding costs!
2. Do you Have a Dream Destination in Mind Already?
I find the hardest part for couples is choosing the location. If it's a place you want to honeymoon at, then getting married there too could be a great and cost effective idea, but if you're uncertain it could mean you have a lot more to consider.
Here is just a few things to think about when looking for a destination: weather, holiday events (local and in the destination which can increase cost), travel time depending on the age/health of guests, type of resort (all-inclusive, large, more intimate, kid-focused activities...), ease of getting there from the airports most guests would travel from, and the requirements for legal ceremonies)
3. What is your Budget?
Budget is undoubtedly a prime aspect that has to be considered before choosing the venue for any wedding celebration. You want a memorable day, yes. However, just because you want to get married at the same spot your celebrity crush did shouldn’t mean you're willing to go bankrupt for the occasion (and don't forget it may rule having very many guests if they can't afford it either).
4. Will you Need to Bring Certain Items with you to Get Married?
This is something people don't often think of, but if you're having a destination wedding you may want to forgo wearing the family heirlooms on your big day. Security is harder to control for expensive and priceless items when you're leaving the country. Also, keep in mind that some destinations ban certain types of materials (such as paper lanterns, fireworks, or silk flower petals) - therefore if you have an important tradition you require with a particular element, you need to find a destination that allows that.
5. Do you Care that your Wedding Might Not be Legal?
In many cases it's easier to have a symbolic ceremony in lieu of a legal wedding depending on the country you're getting married in. The laws in other countries don't always make it easy to marry your spouse to be, and the red tape is just more frustrating than most couples are willing to deal with. So, they marry in the states, and simply have a symbolic ceremony in their destination in which the recognize as their true wedding date with their friends/family.
6. Do you Want a Cake, Photographer, & all the Traditional Wedding Vendors?
It may be harder to hire certain vendors for your destination wedding if you aren't looking at an all-inclusive resort. Some couples also find it's difficult to hire local vendors since they can't meet them face-to-face until the day or week of the wedding. If it's at an off-site location, many times the couple will need to plan to arrive much earlier, so they can run errands and drop off items to the different vendors prior the wedding day. If you are looking for something less involved, an all-inclusive resort is an ideal option for one stop planning!
7. How's the Reputation of your Destination Venue?
This question is why it's critical you work with a reputable travel agent, like Destinations HD, that specializes in destination wedding group planning. You want your day to be amazing, without any issues, and not have your guests complain that the service, food or accommodations weren't worth the money. Some couples find it best to do a pre-site visit early in the planning to meet the wedding coordinator, see the wedding location(s), taste the food, etc... to ensure it's something they feel would meet their expectations. Having a professional that has knowledge and experience in the destination you are looking at, will help you narrow your options and help you focus on those resorts that will meet or exceed your desires.
To truly have enough time for planning (especially if want to do a pre-site visit) and to give your guests a reasonable amount of time to save and figure out work or daycare schedules, we recommend beginning the process at least 14-18 months prior to your ideal wedding date! Prime locations/dates at the better-quality resorts tend to be reserved over a year out, so if your date isn't flexible, but sure to plan early to get the date/time you want!
There are many other questions to ask and things to consider before jumping in with both feet. If you would like assistance in planning your destination wedding, call Destinations HD (913) 244-9195 to discuss more about our services and how we can make your destination wedding stress-free!
It’s almost here!!! If you haven’t heard by now, there is a new non-stop flight from Kansas City to Reykjavik, Iceland - making now the perfect time to explore this beautiful and unique destination!
The Icelandair inaugural flight from Kansas City takes place on May 25, 2018 and will offer three seasonal non-stop flights a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, with easy connections between approximately 20 other European destinations, if you want to continue on within 7 days and see more of Europe. The return flight back to Kansas City will be on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. However, keep in mind that this route ends on September 29, 2018, but it is expected to continue again in 2019. Fingers crossed!
This flight is estimated at about 7 hours (eastbound) and under 8 hours (westbound). Take advantage of this nonstop flight while we have it in Kansas City – and just maybe we can keep it around if Icelandair receives enough activity!! Because of the limited flight schedule, it’s important to book early for this trip if you plan to experience Iceland this year (or next).
The two best ways to truly explore Iceland are via a bus tour and by cruising around the island. Let someone else handle getting you from place to place and relax while you check out all that this stunning destination has to offer. There are also some highlights on the island which you won’t be able to visit on your own, so only a cruise or escorted tour has access to these locations, which you don’t want to miss while you’re there!
Let’s take a quick look into these options…
Take a Bus Tour Across Iceland:
Tourists looking to see as much of Iceland as possible should consider a bus tour across the country. By doing so you’ll get to learn more about their culture, see more of their beautiful physical features, and take in a significantly higher amount of their breathtaking history.
There are several guided bus tour options to choose from. Once you’ve paid for your ticket, all the destinations on the tour are included. That is unless you take an excursion off the tour path. Some tours begin from a predetermined place, and for others the pickup point is the hotel where you’re staying (depending on availability).
You’ll explore iconic destinations such as the popular Northern Lights, the Golden Circle, the Gullfoss Waterfall, the Geysir geothermal area, and Þingvellir National Park. Visitors can also visit the glaciers where there are man-made ice caves.
Cruise the Island of Iceland:
Cruising around Iceland is considered one of the most convenient and enjoyable ways to see the best of the country’s landscape. On your cruise you’ll enjoy witnessing waterfalls, glaciers, geysers and more. Many tourists prefer cruising to bus tours because they feel it is easier to get from destination to destination, and takes less time to see the popular areas. The cruises are relatively affordable too, with the best deals occurring from June to September.
The trip begin from Reykjavik or Akureyri with stops in Siglufjordur, fishing port of Isafjordur and Heimaey Island. All of these destinations are enriched with their own stories to tell. Heimaey Island, for example, was all but destroyed in the lava flow of 1973.
Don't Forget to Visit Puffin Island:
Whether you decide to explore Iceland by land or by sea, be sure to include an excursion to Puffin Island! Puffin Island is better known as Akurey - a small island just near the coast of Reykjavik. Not that we counted, but believe it or not you can find as many as 30,000 Puffin birds nesting here! Tourists frequently flock to the island just to catch a glimpse of the beautiful birds.
The Puffins dig burrows in the island where they nest. The burrows provide safety and warmth which is ideal for their breeding. The females lay a single egg each year, between April and May, and both parents take turns incubating it. They will feed the fledglings for a month or two, and then desert them shortly after they are ready to leave the nest.
Some of the other beautiful birds in Akurey include black guillemots, seagulls, eider ducks, cormorants, kittiwakes, northern fulmars and arctic terns. Note: The island can only be accessed via boat, but there are several tours which can take you to view these magnificent creatures.
Ready to book your getaway to Iceland? Call Destinations HD today! (913) 244-9195
I can't believe it's almost summer - where did this year go to already?! With the upcoming graduations, mother's day, father's day, etc... I thought it would be a great time to think about gifts that will make a lasting impression.
Whether it’s for graduation, an anniversary, or some other occasion, these days "experiences" matter more to gift recipients than things. Sure, you can buy expensive jewelry, ties, or clothes, and your recipients may like it. The trouble is those gifts may sit in the drawer more often than worn. Instead, how about arranging a special vacation to create memories that will last a lifetime? If you can't afford a trip, make it as simple as just getting them a passport and having them think of the endless possibilities they can explore and they can plan something on their own!
Travel Is Better Than Stuff
Travel is memorable and gives pleasure that simply can’t be created from commercial goods. The truth is most people can’t remember gifts that were given to them for any given occasion, regardless of how much money you spent on them. But, ask them about trips they have been on, and they will likely be able to tell you with unbelievable accuracy the details of that trip!
Stuff comes and goes, memories are there forever. Traveling gives us stories to tell, and inspires new dreams within us. Travel helps us to share experiences in a way objects cannot.
Travel Yields Deeper Bonds
Consider for a moment what happens when you give the gift of an object. You hand it to the recipient. They may or may not light up with joy in the moment, but then it’s over. You have nothing further to discuss other than a comment if they wear it or use it from time to time.
Now consider what happens when you go on a trip... You can plan it together. You can visit the various sites together. You share the views, the culture, the food, etc... You’re experiencing the trip together. Then, when you get back you have memories to call upon together. It’s not a one-sided experience anymore. It’s something you can truly bond over.
As we travel and interact with new things, we are mentally stimulated. We ask more questions. We feel more engaged. We feel present in the moment, and more excited to be with those we’re experiencing the trip with.
Now, I know what you may be thinking - what if you give the gift of travel to someone, and you’re not going on the trip with them? You’ll still enjoy many benefits that you wouldn’t get to have with gifts of objects. For example:
Would you like help creating the perfect travel gift? Just call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 today and see how we can. We even offer travel gift certificates!
I just returned from my Europe vacation, but I haven't had a moment to get my thoughts together to write about those experiences yet. However, while I was there creating new memories, I was also reliving our River Cruise from a few years back. Europe is filled with so much history and culture, and I just love spending time there. If you don't have much time to jump around on your own, a cruise (ocean or river) is my favorite way to see as much as possible in a short amount of time - PLUS you don't have the hassle of lugging your bags between taxi's, trains, and hotels between all the cities.
For those reasons, I wanted to discuss River Cruises and how they are not all created equal. I've found that many people don't know how many River Cruise companies are actually out there and how much of a difference your experience can be between the products...
Just like any cruise line or hotel brand, there is a variety of options to choose from for your vacation. The sad reality is that you usually get the experience you pay for. While this is not to say that you have to spend a lot to get a great trip, we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that there is a reason some river cruise lines tout themselves as budget-friendly. It's because they sometimes skimp on quality, entertainment and perks that you deserve to have a great river cruise! But, what makes for a great river cruise? What should you be looking for?
Here are a few things you should know before you book your next river cruise...
I am currently on an adventure in Europe... and I always get so excited to explore foreign lands, as I love learning about other cultures and our history!! It gets me thinking how powerful travel can be when it comes to meeting new people and discovering new experiences.
Does travel create better humans? That's the exact question that a study by Contiki tours recently posed. The company believes that “life's greatest lessons are learned through travel.” Therefore, it's no surprise that this company decided to do this study to prove what they believe. Below you'll find some of the results of their research, and it may just inspire you to take your children on a trip abroad sometime this year!
What Contiki Concluded From Their Study:
People who travel tend to have higher self-esteem, and are more willing to think outside of the box when it comes to how to solve problems. Those who travel also have better satisfaction in their relationships. They’re more likely to seek out new friendships, and tend to donate more time and money to their communities than non-travelers.
Bottom line: Travel helps make for more well-rounded individuals. And, when you start traveling from a young age, you are better able to cement these positive traits within yourself. However, you don’t have to take our word, or Contiki’s word for it. You can test out these positive conclusions for yourself simply by adding more travel to your life.
Call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 today. We’ll help you design the perfect trip to expand your mind, and open you up to the positive power of travel!
After all the fun stories of parents enjoying their wine while the kids were out on spring break, it inspired me to discuss wine vacations :) March is almost over and summer vacation planning is now in full swing, so what better vacation to plan than one that involves wine?!
Everyone's heard of Napa Valley, and it's all but become the number one place that people in the United States think of when they think of a Wine Vacation. However, what about places outside the states?! Below you will find some of the must see wine destinations beyond our borders that will have you reaching for a wine glass faster than you can say vino tasting!
1. Bordeaux, France
One of the world’s most respected wine production regions, Bordeaux boasts that it has the most prestigious wine in the world. Is it true? That depends on your palette I suppose, but it's certainly worth visiting to find out. I think you'll find that the tasting rooms are exquisite and elegant. Fitting considering most of them are found in some of the most grand estates the region has to offer.
2. Mendoza, Argentina
Known for its Malbec, Argentina has in recent years worked to establish itself as one of the top wine producing countries in the world. Many of its wineries offer paired dinner tastings, wine flights, and tours. The kicker is that you must have a reservation because these wineries are in high demand. Without a reservation, you'll likely not be able to get in.
Another Argentinian option for wine is Cafayate. Also known for its Malbec, what sets this area apart is the scenery some have called magical, and their local crafts and cuisine.
3. Tuscany, Italy
If Chianti tickles your taste buds, Tuscany is the place to go! Not only will you find stunning medieval castles to visit, you'll also find amazing tours of old wineries that offer a peek into the old ways of making wine, including wine-makers that still crush the grapes with their feet. Do you prefer mineral-rich white wines rather than Chiantis? If so, consider visiting Alto Adige, Italy instead.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
When many people think of a trip to Africa, they think of going on safari, but Cape Town lands are renowned for their moderate climate and fertile soil that enables wine makers to produce some of the best Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Savinon, Shiraz and Pinot Noir the world over.
5. Yarra Valley, Australia
Located just an hour outside of Melbourne, Yarra Valley features many restaurants, craft shops and lots of wineries amid a lush rolling landscape. Though Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir are the stars here, the region is also known for their amazing line of sparkling wines.
While this list is only a taste of the stunning wine destinations in the world, there are dozens more to choose from. When you're ready to start planning your vino fueled getaway, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 to learn more about the wine destination itineraries we could create for your unique desires!
We are under way into the new year already, but there is still time to act on your resolutions, or even if you're just looking to improve your 2018.
If you’re like most people, one of your annual desires is to travel more. Let 2018 be the year that you act on this goal! Set the intention to go on new journeys, break out of routines, and finally explore more of all this world has to offer. Learn why it's so important to travel (even if it's just a local trip, away from your daily routine)...
As the Huffington Post reported, traveling can make you happier, give you a boost to your self-confidence, lets you make new friends, and actually helps you appreciate your family and home a lot more.
In our daily lives, we have so many responsibilities. When we’re traveling though, it’s all about relaxing and enjoying every moment. We can press pause, and tune into what we really need and want.
Have you ever noticed how when you’re on vacation, you seem to have extra energy? You wake up early, you eat when you’re hungry, and you do what feels good. It’s because you don’t have anything pressing on your mind. All you are required to do is have fun, see some interesting things, and take it all in on your schedule.
You also get introduced to new cultures and experiences. One of the reasons you get such a boost in self-confidence from traveling is because of those new things. You see that you can handle more than you may have originally thought. You will also witness first hand that no matter where you go in the world, everyone is struggling with something. We’re all just trying to live our best lives and have as much fun as possible along the way. Breaking out of your routine and traveling more can give you so many revelations, understanding and patience!
What is it about travel that makes you appreciate family and home more?! Well, that one’s easy. Absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say. In some cases you’ll realize how good you have it, and see others spending time with their families which will prompt you to want more intimate time with your own. Think about it - doesn’t your bed feel extra comfortable when you get home from a trip?
There are so many amazing reasons that people should make travel more of a priority in their lives. Are you ready to make it more of a priority for you? You deserve some new journeys, and we can help you have them!
Call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 today, and we’ll put you on the path of finally crossing some of those dream destinations off of your bucket list!
As Spring slowly rolls around the corner, it's time to start thinking about your summer and fall vacation plans. In the next few months, vacation planning will spike again. Get ahead of the game before others book and dwindle the availability of the travel dates, flight schedules, or the accommodations you really want. During this time, I get many inquiries about European River Cruise vacations, so I thought it would be a great topic to discuss.
In recent years, travelers have been opting for river cruises over the traditional ocean liners like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise lines. Why? In short, river cruises are more intimate, offer ports of call the ocean liners simply can't pull up to, and they deliver a higher level of customer service that makes you feel like you are on a unique vacation, rather than just one of a massive crowd. Some of the most popular river cruises available, are on the rivers of Europe. Here are a few of them for your travel consideration...
1. Rhine River –
Along the Rhine River are the countries of Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, the Principality of Liechtenstein, and the Netherlands. Many have said that cruising the Rhine River is the best option to see some incredible castles and medieval architecture. Cruises along the Rhine are also perfect for romantics, wine lovers, the curious epicures and nature enthusiasts.
2. Danube River –
The Danube River is the second-longest river in Europe, and it runs through 10 countries including Germany, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria and more. More than a dozen languages are spoken on its banks! Two places not to be missed if you are cruising the Danube are Vienna and Budapest - even more so during Christmas time where you can find their famous Christmas Markets that will transport you into a fairytale Christmas experience. The Danube is also great for visiting several palaces, indulging in a variety of cultures and cuisines, and learning a lot of history.
3. Seine River –
Though this river is mainly a waterway within the north of France, spilling out into the English Channel, it's still a very popular river traveled by river cruise liners. This river is perfect for the cruise goer that wants a Parisian experience, but also wants to see more that France has to offer. You will blend your passion for the good life with culture, art, architecture and timeless landscapes. In addition, you will visit one of the most magnificent monasteries, the unforgettable beaches of Normandy and be inspired by great works of art.
There are additional rivers to cruise in Europe. However, these are the three most popular and in my opinion, the best rivers to begin your journey into River Cruising. We look forward to helping you learn about the vast cruise line options and how they differ in experiences, so together we can plan the perfect vacation to match your expectations and style! To learn more about river cruises available to you, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 today.
ow that it's almost February and the busy holidays are well and truly over, I thought we'd talk about how to transition back into the daily work routine.
If you are anything like me, when you get back from vacation, it's hard to get right back into work. You are swamped with projects and e-mails that piled up while you were gone, and all you want to do is get back to the destination you just left.
So, how do you get out of vacation mode after taking a week, two weeks, or even longer off of work?
Think first about your top priorities. Sometimes just thinking about your priorities, and the consequences of letting them slip is all it takes to get your head back in the game. Consider what dropping the ball will mean for you. If you don't snap back into work mode, will you...
Some people come back from vacation and simply feel like they don't want to be at work. As a result, they start acting like it, and using vocabulary like "overwhelmed" and "stress." These words become self-fulfilling prophecies, and are not going to help you do what you need to get done. Instead, change your vocabulary to words like, “I choose to,” or “I want to” do whatever your tasks are. Even if you're lying to yourself, saying it out loud will trick your brain into being in a more positive state making your tasks ahead easier to undertake.
3. Get organized, and start over:
If the first hour or even the entire first day back to work didn't turn out as productive as you would have liked, get organized and try again. Take out a piece of paper, and write down everything you know you need to do. Then, organize the list of items in the order of importance and try again. Having a starting point is often all one really needs to get things rolling again.
4. Think about your last vacation, and use it as a motivator for the next one!
Now, just because you have to get back into work mode right now, doesn't mean you can't relish in the memories of the vacation you were just on. Give yourself five minutes here and there to zone out, and go back mentally to the destination you left. Then, think about how much fun your next one will be, and use the momentum from that excitement to give you the energy to get your work tasks done. In fact, you should go on a mental vacation a few times a day. Force yourself to do an hour of uninterrupted work, then give yourself five-minute breaks before you start the next task. Before you know it, you'll be laser focused, knocking out your list, and getting ready for another vacation.
We hope this helps you get out of vacation mode and back to work! Then, when you're ready for your next getaway, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195.
We look forward to helping you plan another escape!
I'm in Jamaica right now doing resort site inspections and about to return home tomorrow. I'm realizing I really need to plan an actual vacation for myself :) Follow me on Instagram or Facebook to get some inspiration for your upcoming vacation plans - I've seen some amazing resorts this trip!
As I enjoy the 85 degrees on my last day in paradise, not wanting to go home, it inspired me to write about a common question I receive when planning vacations: How many days should you vacation?
Believe it or not, the number of days might be longer than you expect. There's been a considerable amount of argument over the years, but thanks to a scientific study out of Finland, we have a science based answer to this age-old question. Spoiler alert: It's 8-days!
The study, as reported in Inc.com, stated that a Finnish university followed people on vacation throughout the entirety of their getaways. They measured “highs and lows of their happiness and satisfaction as their vacations progressed. The researchers discovered that vacation-related joy didn't climb ever upward as tourists' tans deepened and work receded to a distant memory. In contrast, happiness peaked after eight days away.”
The article went onto say that “The idea that a little more than a week is the perfect vacation length sits well with other seasoned vacationers.”
Consider this – the first day of a vacation never truly feels like an actual vacation. Why? Because it's mostly filled with transportation. This is especially true if you're going overseas where there are not only time-zone changes, but also changes in altitude, multiple hours (if not days) of flying, and potential culture shock on arrival. The last day presents the same challenges – it's at least another full day of travel. So, before you have even actually started your trip, you're deducting two days from your actual time on your vacation.
This is why three and four day vacations may seem like a decent idea in theory for a long weekend or a short getaway, but won't actually provide you with any real time at most destinations. It permits you merely enough time to leave work and come back without really enjoying the place you traveled too. Sadly, this leaves many vacationers feeling duped, or like they didn't get to see enough of or do enough in their dream destination.
Conde Nast Traveler recommends that you add even more time to your vacation days if you will be jumping multiple time zones. How much more time? They recommend an extra day for every time zone you travel through. While this is impractical for most people, it is a good idea to still consider that your body will need time to adjust to a massive time change. It's kind of like how many of us feel off the week after daylight savings time ends or begins – the body has to get used to the change. By the eight-day Finnish study logic, you should still be able to see at least some of the city you're traveling to, and enjoy yourself while you're at it.
Are you ready to plan your eight day (or longer) getaway?! We'd love to help you create the perfect trip, so you can truly rejuvenate and enjoy yourself, just give me a call at (913) 244-9195.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.