As parts of the world begin their initial phases for re-opening during COVID-19, we are starting to see a glimmer of what hotel and resorts stays could look like as people move forward with vacation plans.
As we touched on in a previous post about what to expect when you travel next, the new normal for accommodations will look a little different than what you’re used to. While certain factors will be similar across the board, each hotel – whether it’s state specific here in the United States, or abiding by country regulations that differ from place to place – will also have their own take on how they are choosing to incorporate safety and sanitation protocols in the future.
With the above in mind, I wanted to give you a heads up about what you might expect in the near future.
- Speedy Check-In? Don't Mind if I do! -
While this won’t necessarily be implemented in every hotel, we’ve received confirmation that a high percentage will be instituting a contactless check-in experience. Your smartphone is going to be used for a lot more than sharing memes and applying filters in the future and it’s not all bad! Contactless check-in in many cases will be done via an app or through a website online and will often allow you to bypass the lobby and head straight to your room!
In cases where that isn’t possible, you’ll find social distancing markers in lobbies and staggered approaches to checking in guests – and I don’t think any of us are going to be unhappy about streamlined check-in processes so that we can get started on our vacay stat!
As you’ve probably anticipated, health screenings are going to be a lot more prevalent in our lives for a while. In addition to airport and customs screenings, many countries and individual hotels are instituting their own health screenings. Depending on the property these could be as simple as filling in a health questionnaire or as cautionary as temperature checks and a visit with an on-site nurse or doctor.
Adjusted Staffing Measures
Visitors and staff on property will all have rigorous sanitization and safety protocols – most often even prior to entering the grounds. Some locations will have completely separate entrances where staff are required to enter via a sanitation tunnel, others are requiring that staff change into uniforms upon arrival at work so that each uniform can be appropriately laundered prior to their next shift and not be exposed to any elements outside of the property.
You’ll also likely view a decrease in staff who enter your room – rather than a butler filling the mini-fridge, a porter bringing extra amenities, etc, all tasks that need to be completed within a guest room will be completed by one staff member – minimizing exposure for both staff and guests. Additionally, staff will likely be required to wear gloves and masks and will be greeting you in contactless ways.
Social Distancing Requirements
As previously mentioned, all locations will be implementing various social distancing measures. Depending on the country that you visit those social distancing measures could be anywhere from 6-10 feet but all destinations and properties have confirmed that social distancing will be required. You’ll find markers in highly trafficked areas of the property and restaurant tables, pool and beach loungers, and gym equipment will all be separated by the appropriate distances required.
Limited Amenities and Services
Building upon our previous prediction that guests could expect to see some services, amenities and activities halted or reduced once travel resumes again, we have received confirmation that that certainly will be the case in many locations.
Depending on the property and service, these will differ – and it’s important to keep in mind that what may be in place when you plan your vacation may not be once you arrive.
A few things seem to be prevalent mostly industry wide such as buffet service either being suspended altogether in favor of a'la carte options or self-service not being an option at buffets – rather, you'll be served by a specific server at each station.
Likewise, restaurants will have a reduced capacity in order to abide by social distancing guidelines and there will be limits on the number of guests who can be seated together. For large groups it will be paramount to plan early and to work with your travel agent in order to arrange for group dining options.
Swim-up bars could be closed entirely or open with restrictions, and on-property watersports, in some locations, are requiring that guests are present while machines are sterilized prior to their use.
Like all of the above, this one is fluid and ever-changing, but we know that this can be a make or break factor for many travelers.
Thus far, there are destinations which will require masks to be worn in all areas that guests congregate together and again, in other destinations, this might not be required and swim up bars may be closed or open with restriction along with water sports and other activities.
While all of this can seem daunting to wrap your head around, for the most part those in the industry who have already begun traveling have nothing but good news to report!
Most of the above changes are allowing for more personalized services to be administered to each guest, and you can rest soundly in the knowledge that cleanliness and hygiene standards have never been higher!
When it comes to planning where you want to go next and understanding the new protocols, my best advice is to reach out so that we can discuss the kind of experience that you're looking for and tailor a vacation to suit your needs.
Stay safe, positive and hopeful!
If you are anything like me, your travel bug is getting anxious to explore again! It's been great to see many destinations starting to re-open and accepting tourists again these past few weeks, and I'm looking forward to seeing even more this summer.
As I have started planning new vacations again, there is one thing I noticed trending in regards to the immediate future of vacation planning... You must plan in advance and prepare more than you normally would. Let me take you on a quick imaginative journey of one of these exclusive experiences you must pre-plan, even earlier than before, to guarantee your spot!
Imagine breathtaking views that are still largely untouched by commercialism and not overrun with tourists. Picture mountain views, canyons carved by rushing waters, and stunning landscapes. Now imagine being able to view it all from a world-class train that puts you up close with nature while transporting you in luxury. You can enjoy all this and more with one of the many Rocky Mountaineer luxury train tours.
While this year is a no go for this adventure - there are already limited options for the 2021 season as everyone had to reschedule from their cancelled 2020 trip. They have a short season any how (from late April to October), so you should jump on pre-planning now or you may be stuck with waiting until 2022!
- Travel by Day, Sleep by Night -
One of the biggest problems with many train tours, is that you often end up sleeping through a large portion of your travels. Of course, this means you miss much of the scenery. Perhaps one of the most enticing aspects of the train tours offered by Rocky Mountaineer is that they feature daylight-only train tours so you won’t miss anything along the way!
While you ride in comfort viewing picture-perfect landscapes, you’ll be treated to outstanding service, gourmet meals, complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, sweet and savory snacks, and much more. The train cars give you the best seat possible to discover the wildlife and the surroundings thanks to the glass-dome windows that allow you to take in the sights without obstruction, and without the need to worry about the elements. Then, once the sun goes down, the train will stop and transfer you to a hotel where you can explore the area, before you settle in for a comfortable night of sleep.
There are three (3) main routes offered, but you also have three (3) journeys to choose from to customize the length of your trip. In addition, to deciding the type of journey and route you prefer to take, they also offer two (2) service levels that give you distinct experiences for different budgets, both offering an effortless and unforgettable vacation.
The short journey's range from spending 2-3 days onboard the train before returning to Vancouver. The most popular journey's ranges from 5-9 nights, which can go in reverse order however you choose, from Vancouver and at the other end being in Jasper or Calgary. To see even more of the incredible scenery that the Rocky Mountains has to offer, you can also combine TWO itineraries that allow you to start and end your journey from the same place. These combination tours range from just 6 to 12 nights and is a great way to see it all!
While all those options may seem overwhelming, we make it simple and help you through all the options to determine what is the best for you. Each offers it's own budget, style and inclusions, and it's our job to help you design the most perfect package! Below is a brief overview of the available routes...
Three Rail Routes Available
1). First Passage to the West
This two-day rail journey takes you from the Pacific Coast to Banff Lake Louise along the same route that was traveled more than 125 years ago. Along the way, you will witness mountains and wilderness that remains largely unchanged since those days of the first explorers.
2). Journey through the Clouds
This is another two-day rail journey, on which you will travel through the heart of the Canadian Rockies, with all of nature’s raw beauty on full display. The highlights of this tour include the majestic Mount Robson and the postcard-perfect Pyramid Falls. Stops include Vancouver, Kamloops, and Jasper.
3). Rainforest to Gold Rush
Finally is the three-day rail tour with stops in Vancouver, Whistler, Quesnel, and Jasper. This tour will take you from one extreme to another - from the world’s largest temperate rainforest to the arid ranchlands of the historic Cariboo Gold Rush region. Although there’s no gold left, the area is still rich in natural beauty.
Did I Mention the Additional Inclusions?!
From luxury accommodation in the heart of Vancouver, to a rustic inn in a quaint train stop town in the Rockies and the height of indulgence in a lake view room in a chateau overlooking stunning Lake Louise.
- Meals & Drinks Onboard:
Decadent flavors to savor with locally inspired cuisine for breakfasts and lunches as you make your way through the untamed beauty of the wilderness. Dinner and drink options are varied and available to suit every taste and diet.
- Included Adventures:
Go on an ice tour across glaciers, take a skytram across the mountains and even helicopter above some of the most sweeping vistas you'll ever see; all included, all inspiring.
- Travel Host:
Dedicated host that will make your onboard experience as memorable as the journey. You will get to know them like family with the stories they share as they take care of your every need onboard. They will also provide insight on the historic site, flora, fauna and wildlife.
Like so many of you, we here at Destinations HD have been rethinking (and rescheduling!) our vacation plans this summer. The world is re-opening, but as we talked about recently, travel is going to be a little different for a while. So what next? If you aren't comfortable to jet-off to far away destinations with multiple plane trips right now, what can you look to do instead?
The answer that we are excited to share, is small group adventures right here in the USA! When you have grown up here, I think it’s easy to forget how special your own backyard is. (not literally. I think we are all sick to death of our own backyards at this point, am I right?!)
It's a perfect time to get out there and see our beautiful and diverse country with your friends and loved ones, as well as, put some fervor and finance back into the country. Read on below, to learn a little more about what Destinations HD can offer in terms of travel in the United States...
- Home Is Where You Don't Need A Passport -
I know we don't typically sell Continental U.S. vacations, but what you might not realize is we actually do - just in a specialized capacity. We don't plan hotel-only vacations (for a variety of reasons we won't get into here), but we do offer a variety of journeys designed to introduce you to authentic experiences and never-to-be-forgotten sights that you can do independently, or within a small group capacity.
If you and your traveling companions are anything like me, you’re not quite ready to hit the road and figure out how to take care of an RV, but you are chomping at the bit to get out and about. Booking a small group adventure vacation solves both of these problems.
Hit the road with yourself and 6-13 others into a luxury van or small bus with a private driver/guide doing all the legwork! You won’t have to switch drivers, navigate the route yourself, or go without Wi-Fi or cell service in dead zones within your Wi-Fi equipped vehicle, and the best part is you can spend the travel time hanging out together, napping, or sharing your travel adventures on Instagram!
The diversity of options in the U.S. has increased dramatically in recent years, and even more so now with more people looking inward for their 2020/2021 vacation plan. There are a TON of different experiences available from camping trips (with everything provided!), to city and beach explorations, to finally getting out there and enjoying the breadth and beauty of the numerous stunning national parks our country has.
Ever gazed longingly at pictures of clear water in a natural paradise? Let us send you to some of the most pristine lakes in America where you can paddle board while gazing deep into the crystalline depths.
Missing the idea of cocktails poolside in a tropical haven? Hawaii and her sunsets are calling, where you can enjoy craft cocktails with a bit of glam and tan!
Dreaming about quaint fairytale villages in Europe that look like they were pulled straight out of a storybook? California is home to some of the most magical and architecturally charming places that you've probably never heard of!
But if it’s water, water, water you’re after, get down deep into the Grand Canyon and experience white water rafting through this geological wonder, find secret emerald pools and waterfalls only accessible by water, explore gigantic caverns, enjoy a leisurely float on motorized rafts, while enjoying gourmet meals prepared for you riverside, and end it all with some fun and sun in Las Vegas!
Alongside the itinerary options, you can select an All-Inclusive vacay (yep!), you can select a set itinerary, or you can customize an itinerary by adding, reducing, upgrading or downgrading the following.
The United States is your oyster right now and you can choose exactly how you want to devour it! Spread the beauty and culture of this great nation around the world so that when the world is ready, our tourism industry can bounce back and thrive.
We can help each other, our country, the tourism industry and all that it encompasses (hotels, restaurants, national parks, and all those employed within) by staying safe and planning unforgettable small group vacations right here at home!
With so many small group options, it's easy to get your family or close friends together to venture out together and feel more at ease being surrounded by the people you love. What better way to make up for the time you missed together these past few months, than to discover new adventures comfortably as a private group.
When you are ready to start planning your next getaway, just schedule your consultation and we can get the conversation started!
Stay safe, positive and hopeful!
As the world begins to implement various reopening strategies, so too is the travel industry and we think it’s important to take a look at what travel in the foreseeable might look like.
Although we all want to spring back into things and get back to celebrating, traveling and experience all that this amazing world has to offer, things are not going to be the “same” for a while.
As we prepare each of our clients as best as we can for their adventures going forward, we also want to share with you some new expectations to keep in mind when for your future travel.
Moving forward, travel is going to look a bit different – at this point vendors throughout the industry are beginning to release their new policies and procedures, and we can continue seeing changes as we proceed. Please read on for some things you will most likely expect when you travel next...
- Good Hygiene is the Only Jean That Doesn't Go Out of Style! -
Anticipated Resort Sanitation Protocols:
Properties are increasing their hygiene and sanitation protocols (which, honestly, is a great thing!) You can expect to find new “greetings” other than handshakes and hugs, along with a contactless guest interaction experience. You can anticipate the following (but not limited to):
The measures listed above are going to be implemented in various locales, but are not limited to the above and nor are these measures being implemented in every destination.
It’s important to remember that we are all visitors to these other nations and each company in that destination is at the mercy of whatever new policies, requirements and protocols the governments of each nation and their states decide to implement, in addition to their own personal company guidelines should they feel the need to increase provisions. These are all subject to change at any time and may continue to evolve as the re-openings progress.
None of this means that travel is halted and services will be completely non-existent of course, but it would be smart to plan your travel with the expectation of a different reality – which is not necessarily a bad thing! I think that we can all agree that increased sanitation and hygiene protocols were probably warranted and are a good thing for the health of all of us – after all - good hygiene is the only jean that doesn't go out of style! 😉
On top of that – think about the fact that check-in and check-out will now be far more expedited than ever before and you won’t be crammed onto a beach or pool area with loungers in rows upon rows touching each other or shuttle buses full of people and those are pretty great things to look forward to!
When you are ready to start planning your next getaway, just schedule your consultation and we can get the conversation started!
Stay safe, positive and hopeful!
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I know that there are so many of us who won’t be able to celebrate our mother’s, mother figures, and the outstanding father’s who’ve played both Mom and Dad to us, in quite the same way this year.
With travel restrictions slowly lifting however, we can give the Gift of Reconnection in the form of a future travel certificate – and start thinking about the kind of travel that we can safely embark on as we enter our new normal way of life.
For those of us wanting to get back into the world and see new places or different scenery, but who are still wary of jumping right back into the fray of extensive multi-destination trips or mega-resorts, there are a number of smaller boutique and secluded style options available that are ideal to start. Let's explore a few of those today...
- Traveling in the New World as of Today -
Here are a few of my recommendations that may offer you some peace of mind as you start to venture into the new normal travel world.
While we are all excited to travel again and get back into the swing of living our lives and socializing, we understand that part of our new normal will include new and different ways to travel – safely, in a socially conscious manner – and I’m pleased that my boutique agency is able to help offer these alternative options.
Remember, travel will be booking up fast as the world begins to open up again, so even if you’re not sure when you want to make the leap to travel yet, you can absolutely schedule a free consultation to go over your needs and desires to discuss your options sooner rather than later.
Stay safe, positive and hopeful!
As you can imagine, I’ve been working 'round the clock recently assisting clients with refunds, rescheduling and cancellations of everything from the quick 4-day getaways to Mexico, to rearranging entire wedding groups, as well as, month-long European adventures.
Throughout these last couple of months, as the situation has continued to evolve, I’ve noticed significant differences in vendor/supplier responses and treatment towards their guests, travel partners and staff members.
As a result, it’s made me appreciate the additional levels of security, protection, and options that are available when choosing to work with vendors that are stable enough to provide most (if not all) components for a lengthy multi-destination adventure versus securing each individual travel component with multi-vendors.
As a small business owner, I strongly believe in supporting the local communities and businesses abroad when I travel, but it’s important to understand that when working with a larger vendor, it doesn’t actually mean that you’re choosing “big business” over small and local.
Quality vendors, partner with locals in the community to ensure that they help the local economies and people, in addition to providing travelers with an immersive local experience.
To this end, I want to shine a spotlight on the “tour” experiences offered for multi-destination vacations. There are still a lot of misconceptions about taking tours, and the most common one is that a tour is squeezing onto a bus with a group of strangers and being driven past sights to snap some pictures before quickly moving on to the next place.
While those kinds of tours do exist and can be the right choice for some, there are a multitude of other ways to take advantage of the tour benefits while maintaining the flexibility of independent travel. You want to ensure that your trip is protected and that you work with the suppliers who have your best interest at heart!
- It's Better to Travel Well, Than to Arrive -
With all that in mind, I wanted to point out a few of the styles and benefits of different tour experience opportunities...
Stay safe, positive and hopeful!
I hope you have been staying safe and well during this period of uncertainty we all are sharing! I have been overwhelmed by the kind words and support I've received from so many of my clients about the travel industry and how they can help us.
I know a lot of people have been displaced from their work and income amidst the pandemic, and to see the community unite to support small and local businesses where they can, has been truly inspirational!
I feel so blessed to have amazing clients like you! Since so many of you have reached out asking, I felt like it was a great opportunity to write about all the ways Destinations HD could use your support if you should feel compelled.
- Just a Few Ways You Can Help Destinations HD Endure -
Most of you are aware that I founded, built, and run this boutique travel agency – but what you might not know, is that travel advisors are commission based and that I pay my staff, and all costs associated with the business out of those commissions.
My greatest concern during this crisis has been to ensure that I am there for my clients. For the last month, I have assisted over 250 clients who have been impacted by what’s going on, and there are still many more I'm currently working with. As a travel concierge, I'm not only on your side when making your reservation by providing all the travel tips, tricks, and suggestions for your trip, but I'm also your point person should anything go awry – and it’s safe to say things have definitely gone awry.
I am so pleased to have the resources and network that I have spent a decade building, which has enabled me to assist clients as swiftly as possible during these times. However, as this crisis and worldwide travel restrictions continue, the financial impact to my business can’t be ignored.
To that end, for those that have the inclination, I'd like to share how you can provide support to Destinations HD so that once we get through this, we are able to move forward and thrive stronger than before.
Here are some simple and easy options you can do to show us your support and appreciation!
Thank you so much for your kindness and taking your time to show us your support. Together we can get through anything!
Stay safe, positive and hopeful!
Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195!
It’s crazy to think that just two weeks ago I was sharing my journey to Africa with you, and now many of us are under "stay at home" orders as we face one of the most widespread pandemics that humanity has ever seen.
While you’re probably overwhelmed with news and updates regarding COVID-19, I wanted to touch on a few things related to your travel – whether you currently have travel booked with us, another agent, or booked on your own.
Sorry it's a little long - there is a lot to go through. Thank you for reading me :)
Here are a few things to consider if you have travel plans currently booked.
Throughout this evolving situation, most all suppliers (airlines, resorts, car rentals, tours, etc) have remained consistent in assisting those who are departing first.
Anyone who is slated to depart after early May are asked to remain patient and wait for the industry to catch up on those departing earlier than you.
There are two benefits to this:
Many personnel are trying to do their job from home amidst the same health concerns the entire world is facing, the only difference is their workload has increased dramatically and they are attempting to complete their duties without access to the same systems they had in the office.
Remember this is a GLOBAL crisis, so trillions of people are in need of assistance at the same time, in addition to you. Unfortunately, this circumstance is unlike anything we have ever seen, and it will take some time, patience and understanding as everyone is adapting to the changes and massive workload. The one consistency across the travel industry is the need to assist those who in order of travel dates - so those who are supposed to be traveling soon can receive help first.
At this time, the people scheduled to travel between now and mid-May may be eligible for credits, and possibly refunds. However, if you are traveling further out than that, the odds are you will still fall under the standard cancellation policies and would need to assume all penalties associated with canceling. This is why it could be in your best interest to hang tight and wait closer to your travel dates and see what the suppliers are offering at that time. Many companies are posting their updated terms on their website, so you can go online to visit your travel suppliers website to view what their most current terms are.
I had some clients asking about cancelling weeks ago and had they done, so they would have lost thousands in payments already made, but as they waited and their travel dates got closer, I was able to secure credits and even refunds, depending on the situation and supplier.
I can honestly say that the industry has been doing a wonderful job of being there for our clients and all they’re asking for is a little patience so they have time to help everyone around the globe.
If you've booked your travel through a travel advisor, you're in luck - we are here to help you navigate terms and conditions, waivers, cancellation policies and be a liaison between you and the different vendors that are coordinated to create your travel package.
Many of you have a number of different components to your packages and my job is to help sort those out - whether it's getting train tickets in Europe refunded, submitting documentation and filling out forms for refunds, or supplying you with alternate tour, cruise, or reservation options for you to use your new credits towards.
Additionally, your travel advisor often has different phone numbers to access suppliers and other connections within the industry that we can reach out to in order to facilitate a resolution and obtain answers to questions that are not readily available. No need for you to sit on hold for 7+ hours or deal with crashing phone systems during a crisis - we alleviate that stress!
I've unfortunately seen a number of people struggling to reach the company they booked through, and in some cases, many travelers have been left with no one to speak to or anyone to help because of devious business practices and simply put, the lack of care and support for you as a client. If you have a good travel agent on your side, you can rest assure that we are doing everything we can to provide you as seamless experience as possible in a situation like this. No one should have to worry about anything but their health, communities and families at this time and if we can help ease our clients' lives right now, we will!
An important fact to bear in mind is that suppliers aren't required to change their policies if the travel can still be completed – terms and conditions are legally binding and the fact that they really are trying to do the right thing throughout this tumultuous and unprecedented time, is commendable.
We are paying very close attention to those companies treating our clients fairly and honorably, so we can move forward after life returns to normal and develop stronger professional relationships with those vendors. You can remain confident that we only work with the best in the industry - and this crisis is a good reminder of the difference in the level of support and service you can receive.
I hope I managed to answer some questions today and was able to convey a little more insight into why it might seem like the travel industry is taking a little longer than preferable to assist with your cancellations or rescheduling.
Rest assured that we are all doing everything in our power to shoulder the burden and help you so that you can spend time with your family knowing that we are diligently working to ensure that you get fair treatment and resolutions.
I began this business over a decade ago because I wanted to help people experience the world through travel and I plan to continue helping my clients - old and new - well after this is over and for many years to come.
Thank you for your support and business over the years! Together we can get through anything!
Stay safe, positive and hopeful!
*PS* For those quarantined and looking for ways to support small business at home... Please follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram and engage with our posts. Conversations are important to the algorithm behind the scenes that consider us "relevant" to be seen. That would be a huge help to us so we can continue to grow our business and hopefully find some new clients too - which will be needed as soon as we can travel again. Travel agents are paid on commission when clients travel, so it's important for us to continue to build our name and support. You're the best!!
Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195!
I was going to talk about Corona Virus a little, but honestly – I don’t think I need to say too much yet. Until there is more information to give, please just wash your hands and if you’re at risk of being compromised by this virus, be extra vigilant. If you have travel booked within the next few weeks have a chat to your doctor and just continue to use common sense and sanitization practices.
And that’s it – that’s all that really needs to be said as this all continues to evolve and develop. So instead of going on about this, I would much rather talk about a joyous adventure and share a bit about my most recent travel experience – a once in a lifetime (I lie... I will definitely be going back in this lifetime) safari in Africa and visit to Zanzibar in Tanzania!
Arriving into Tanzania was surreal – I’ve traveled to a lot of places, but this was going to be a completely new experience for me and one of the longest journey's I've made thus far. I couldn’t believe it was finally happening! “Beach Vacation” isn’t usually what goes through people’s minds when they think of Africa, but it’s a vast and diverse continent where you can combine beach AND adventure – which is exactly what I got to do!
The island of Zanzibar was the first real stop in this adventure, home to Stone Town a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with unique architecture influenced by Swahili, Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. After a day exploring, we enjoyed the sunset from the famous Rock Restaurant – a restaurant this is quite literally in the middle of the water. During low tide you can walk across the sand to the restaurant but during high tide, they paddle you over in a canoe.
After touring a many hotel properties, visiting Prison Island to see the Aldabra Giant Tortoise sanctuary, quick stop to snorkel, walking tour of Stone Town and visiting the Slave Museum in just a few days - we were off to Nairobi for adventure, safari and the elusive Big 5! We spent a night in Nairobi so we could visit a couple sanctuaries before we headed on safari the next day. Not only did I get to touch the baby elephant I adopted, but I also got to feed a hangry giraffe who thought it would be funny to nibble my finger instead – and with the exception of myself, everyone else there thought it was cute, so turns out he was right. ;)
Driving into Masai Mara National Park, we were all pumped – none of us had ever done anything like this before and there was something indescribable in the air as we headed towards camp. The safari essentially started immediately and we were beyond excited, every second someone was pointing out an elephant, a gazelle, a zebra – in the end our amazing guides had to remind us that were in for so much more and that we needed to stop stopping the car or we’d never make it to camp!
I could bore you with camp details, but I won’t except to say that there are so many different options for camps that you can please nearly anyone. From relatively basic camps to extravagant glamping areas complete with air-conditioning, private decks and swimming pools where you can watch the hippos swim about OR a herd of elephants pass you by during breakfast - this is the kind of trip that can truly be tailored to each visitor.
The next coming days was like something out of a tv show or nature documentary – I could practically hear David Attenborough narrating as we drove across the African plains, warriors with spears by our sides, as we sought out the elusive Big 5. (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo).
One morning we enjoyed an incredible hot air balloon ride over the plains to see a very different viewpoint of the animals – and I cannot recommend this enough. We saw hippos playing in water as the sun rose, baboons hopping across the river from rock to rock, gazelles leaping across fields from a bird's eye view and giraffes napping. We were low enough to see every detail perfectly!
We also had many breakfasts in the middle of the wilderness, and a sundowner happy hour event where we truly felt connected to nature. On our last night, we toasted to new places, friends, and watched an incredible storm rolling in as we danced and listened to music until the "rains of Africa" started and forced us to head back to camp. Do you hear those lyrics in your head when you read that phrase too?! BTW... I don’t have a future career in African dance, so please continue to support this travel advisor thing I have going on. ;)
As we neared the end of this unforgettable two weeks, it’s impossible to try to explain the feeling of driving under the African sun with a pack of lion cubs and their mums strolling idly around your car, with lions taking naps so close you could almost pat their manes as they lift their head and lazily eye you before deciding that napping is far more appealing than eating you and go back to sleep, and even the warthogs running scared as they heard our truck were so funny to see in person (Pumbaa, from the lion king, as we called them every time we saw them - so ugly they are cute).
The beautiful thing is that there are so many different ways to curate this experience - you could combine it with trekking Mt. Kilimanjaro (even just a little hike if you're not ready for the full trekk), or throw Uganda into the mix and channel your inner Jane Goodall with a gorilla trek. You can select a camp hidden in the brush or stay right on the front lines and watch the great migration crossing the Masai river, observing the crocodiles lying in wait for their prey to saunter across.
This is probably one of the longest posts I’ve ever written, but it’s so hard to encapsulate everything I experienced via one short article - so if you’ve read to this point, I appreciate you taking the time to share a little of my journey with you. I also think that if you’ve read this far then you should give me a call or schedule an appointment so that we can chat about how to make your African dreams come true! I quickly found out this is not something you should wait for as a bucketlist trip - as tomorrow is never promised and you need to see this in person!
Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195!
Valentine’s Day might be behind us now, but love will keep flowing as February is one of our biggest months to plan group travel.
My two favorite things in the world are travel and love – those two passions are what led me to having my own destination wedding because I couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful than combining travel and love.
After that, I was hooked and Destinations HD was born so I could live my life helping other people enhance their love with travel and embrace their travel with love. It makes me so happy to see my clients explore the world with the people they love – be it romantic love, family love or friend love.
Some of my clients’ favorite trips have been the group vacations where they share their experiences with the people they love, such as destination weddings (which for obvious reasons hold a very special place in my heart!), group anniversary trips, family reunions/getaways, and friends just traveling together for a fun getaway.
Now trust me, there is a TON to take into consideration when booking group travel of any kind, but I just wanted to highlight a few of the great ways that you can combine your love of travel with your loved ones to really create meaningful memories and moments in the busy lives we all seem to lead these days...
- There is an unspoken bond created with the people that you travel with -
1. Destination Wedding
Of COURSE this is the first one on my list! Weddings are amazing! Everyone is happy, new families and friend groups are joining together, people are literally uniting their lives and we all get to be a part of it! But instead of having to go to three different venues for one wedding, figure out if you need to Uber or take a shuttle there and back, if you need cash, what gift to get and so on, with a destination wedding you get to have a vacation with some of your favorite people AND some of their favorite people! It’s pretty much win-win – and it’s even better if you’re the happy couple! Less stress, less fuss, pictures to die for, and knowing that your guests are going to remember your wedding with as much happiness as you do! Aw, tear!
2. Anniversary Reunions
I’m seeing this trend more often now – because it just. Makes. Sense. You all had an amazing time together 5, 10, 20 years ago – why not repeat it?? The beauty of group vacations lies in the fact that unlike a one day (or evening!) event, where everybody has to try to meet people, spend quality time with so many different people, catch up with others, in addition to the normal human daily requirements such as, breathe, eat, relax and rest, it just doesn’t leave a lot of TIME – group vacations allow for so much more time to be alone with a select loved one or two, and also with the whole group over multiple days, so it’s not surprising that after a group has done one trip together - they tend to make a tradition of it. Didn’t have a destination wedding? Be a trendsetter and start the next anniversary group vacay yourself!
3. Family Getaways
Ok, I know what you’re thinking – half the time we want to bang our heads against a wall at Thanksgiving, so why on earth would we want to go away for MULTIPLE days at a time with our loving – but sometimes crazy – family? Hear me out. You love your family obviously and they love you – that’s why we trek halfway across the country during snowstorms to see each other. So why not make it easier? Why not travel together and EVERYONE can take a load off to enjoy a well deserved break. You’d be surprised how much happier and relaxed everyone is when no one has been cooking and cleaning for a week straight or has a mountain of dishes to do after a big family meal together! It's time to create new memories together and/or traditions.
4. Vow Renewals
A vow renewal is not only the perfect way to re-commit to your love to one another in front of new friends and family, but it’s also a perfect reason to have a second mini-wedding (or not so mini! 😉) Vow renewals are also the perfect way to celebrate your marriage like newlyweds again and reconnect – or you can even make it into a “Group Honeymoon” – a trend that is increasing in popularity every year!
While it can seem daunting to think about how to corral your loved ones so you can all get away at the same time, with planning and know-how, it can be a smooth and stress-free experience. Luckily, you know a travel advisor who can help with all the details and keep everyone organized, so reach out and we can start planning a group travel experience that you'll remember forever! All you need to do is - Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195 today!