One of the most common questions I receive, is how to make a vacation more affordable. The truth is we all want to travel like celebrities on even the smallest of budgets. So how can we get a luxury travel experience with a not so luxurious price tag? The easiest way to save money is to book ahead of time!
Why Planning in Advance is the Best Way to Make Luxury Travel More Affordable?
When you book ahead of time, you are more likely to enjoy:
1. Early booking promotions which could include:
The longer you put off booking your travel, the faster the cheap accommodations and transportation will fill up. The quality options and best schedules are first to go. It's kind of like if you want to go to the popular restaurant in town, a reservation is recommended if you hope to get a table Friday night. You'll need to book your reservation as soon as possible, or you probably won't be able to get in and have to settle for something else you don't want.
Book With a Travel Agent to Maximize Savings:
At the risk of sounding self-serving, another way to make luxury travel more affordable, is to book with a travel agent. There are some deals that are simply not online, or even available to the general public. When you work with Destinations HD, you get access to the insider secrets for the best deals on flights and hotels you might not be able to find anywhere else.
For example, let's say you want a 7-day trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We might know of a new resort that is going to be open by the time of your trip. As a result we might be able to get you a discounted room in celebration of the grand opening. That's the benefit of working with a reputable travel agent. We keep up with the travel news that most people not working in the industry won't be aware of.
Believe it or not, your luxury travel experience might not be as expensive as you expect. Book your consultation today for a stress-free vacation experience. We’ll help you design a vacation that meets your needs and budget!
Today is my last day in paradise and I will be leaving a piece of my heart in Fiji. I'm so sad to leave and wish life can be this beautiful all the time!
While I'm exhausted from a whirlwind visit seeing so many hotels around these amazing islands in just a week's time - I have to admit I was a little stressed at first thinking about the long travel time and packing for a trip this far. Did you know the inter-island flights only allows 33 lbs for checked luggage? YIKES! What girl can travel that light - Am I right?! haha! :)
I'm pretty good at packing and mixing outfits to save space, as I've learned many years ago how much I hate lugging heavy bags around. However, 33 lbs adds up quickly and made for a new type of packing experience for me.
Travel planning is exciting and fun, but when it's almost time to leave, and sometimes during your trip, things can go a different way that you may not be ready for. This can cause you to be just as stressed as you were prior to your departure.
The number one cause of not full enjoying a vacation, is 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 each of your days (activities day and night) and everything you need to bring with you on your trip - 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 and visualize what you needed, instead of going about packing haphazardly. When you don't have a list, you start adding items later and end up bringing way too much stuff that you never even used.
Next, 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 into play. 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.
Personal Travel Tip: For the city adventures, I still highly recommend bringing a laminated city map. It's a great visual to plan your routes BEFORE you travel. I like to color code my marks and make notations for where my hotel is located, then use another color for all the "must see" attractions, and another color for those "maybe sights" if time permits. When you can visualize the spots in one large map - you can easily plan a more efficient route to maximize your time and ensure you aren't wasting valuable time back-tracking or trying to figure out what you want to do that day.
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. When you are in a new city, you can almost count on getting lost at least once while you venture to your next event. Traffic can also be unreliable, so leave early and arrive stress-free.
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 need 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 barely sleep. Yes, a getaway is exciting, but you'll enjoy it more with a good night's sleep each night.
Hire a travel professional.
When you work with a travel agent that is specialized in the destination you are traveling to, they can coordinate and schedule your travel accommodations, transportation, activities and provide travel tips and advice that may enhance your experience you didn't even know existed. Allow a professional to take some of the work off your plate, so you can just enjoy preparing for the fun adventures. 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.
Book your consultation today for a stress-free vacation experience. 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.
Though this may seem like the most Captain Obvious statement we could make, foreign countries are, for lack of a better phrase, foreign. In our daily lives we get very used to things that are familiar to us, and that can cause quite a bit of culture shock for people that have never traveled to other countries (besides the tropical resorts that tend to offer luxuries we recognize). With that in mind, here are a few things you should keep in mind before traveling to a foreign country so that you have better expectations before you arrive...
Understanding Foreign Countries Are… Well, Foreign
With that said, most people have no problems at all in any of the countries they visit. However, education and awareness never hurt anyone. Doing research on any place you are considering visit ahead of time is always a good idea. These are just a few differences to keep in mind, there are many others to consider and prepare for to ensure you aren't disappointed or shocked when you arrive.
It’s also a good idea to work with a travel professional that specializes in the destination(s) you are traveling to, who can be there for you should anything go wrong while you are out of the country. Book your consultation today for a stress-free vacation experience. We do everything in our power to keep you informed, help you have the perfect vacation, and come back safely.
It hasn't been easy creating a small business in a niche industry, but I'm pleased to announce that all of the hard work and dedicated clients have made it possible for Destinations HD to stand out above the rest...
This past weekend I was honored to attend the EA Bride Wedding Vendor Choice Awards where I was incredibly proud to receive the winning trophy for Best Travel Company of the Year! Out of 16 travel company nominations, I felt lucky enough to make the top 3, so was overjoyed to win this award!
For those new to my services; I launched Destinations HD in 2010 after receiving disappointing service from my own travel agent when I was planning my own destination wedding. Having such a memorable life experience marred by poor services impacted me and I realized that could help people achieve their dream wedding or vacation while working in an industry that was close to my own heart and passions.
Nearly 10 years later, Destinations HD has evolved into one of the premier luxury travel agencies in the Kansas City Metro due to our hands-on concierge services and the commitment to creating worthwhile experiences for our clients.
In the last decade we've re-routed whole wedding groups to a completely new locations after hurricanes have torn through properties; assisted stranded guests in the midst of snowstorms and flight cancellations and have even organized an entire destination wedding in under two months from start to finish - just to name a few.
Throughout every curveball, Destinations HD keeps our clients' well-being and happiness as the utmost importance. I wanted to create an agency where I got to know my clients and focused on creating memories and personalizing experiences. Winning Travel of the Company of the Year is a huge honor for me as a small business owner and I only hope to continue serving my clients here in Kansas City and all over the USA for many more memory filled years!
If you haven't had the opportunity to utilize our services yet, let's book your consultation today for a stress-free vacation you will never forget! #experiencesawait #destinationshd
If you are anything like me, the winter gets you thinking about getting the heck out of here and finding a nice beach to thaw out on!!
I was recently accepted as 1 of 15 travel agents nationwide to go to Fiji next month and it can't get here fast enough! I will tour multiple islands and a vast array of resorts on a whirlwind visit in Fiji, but I'm excited for paradise and look forward to sharing my experiences with you!
As you start planning your upcoming beach getaway, I have some insight regarding how to select your room category that you may find beneficial...
Some travelers consider their rooms to be nothing more than a place to sleep while on vacation. They choose the cheapest rooms to save money for other elements of their trips. Then there are travelers that prefer luxurious accommodations to enhance their experiences, and others that just want something in between. So, how does one select a room category when traveling? Below are a few things you may want to consider before you make your decision...
What kind of budget are you looking at?
Not everyone wants to think about this, but knowing your budget going in is critical as you consider the type of room you will stay in. For example, it would be unrealistic to expect a suite with a butler and private plunge pool if you are on a 3-star budget.
Then again, depending on where you will be vacationing, you might qualify for a better room category than you first suspected. As you consider your budget, think about your destination and the types of accommodations available in that part of the world.
How do you want to feel when you come back to the room?
This might seem strange, but the quality of hotel and room you choose can have a significant impact on how you feel on vacation and the memories you return with. After all, if you have ever had the displeasure in staying in an uncomfortable bed, you likely did not get a good sleep and felt like you couldn’t relax. Odds are you know exactly the type of place I’m referring to.
Here’s the thing - A nicer room is going to make you feel more luxurious - and, when you feel luxurious, it’s easier to let your body slip into true vacation mode.
This is also why you need to consider whether the room will be facing the parking lot, a resort building/wall, or instead will have a nice view. What do you want to wake up to in the morning? Do you want a balcony you can step out onto and enjoy your morning coffee, or are you fine without one? If the property is on the beach, do you want to walk out from your hotel to the sand, or are you okay with a short or long walk?
When you travel long distances to a tropical destination and don't live near views like that, having an ocean view can help create that ultimate vacation feeling. You may not think you will enjoy that view often, but waking up, getting ready, romantic nights and even winding down in the evenings, are important parts of the day - and having a stunning view can change your experience from a good one to a great one - and of course becomes social media worthy too!
These are all important elements of a room that can help you determine which one is best for you. Obviously, the more upgrades the room has, the higher the room category will be, and in most cases that increases the cost per night. There are many levels to choose from in most hotels from standard rooms to premium standard, junior suites to penthouse suites. And, the less categories a hotel offers, the more likely it is that it’s a budget hotel instead of a luxury property.
Is this vacation about relaxation?
If you want quiet surroundings, you won’t want the hotel with all the college students partying all night long. If there is a nightclub on property and you hope to get to sleep before last call, you don’t want a room near the club.
Should you be hoping for daytime naps, a hotel that overlooks the activity pool or is under construction might not be the best choice as most construction is done during the day.
If you want to eat on property, you’ll need a hotel that actually has restaurants on site. And, you’ll need to determine if breakfast is included with your stay.
You don’t have to go it alone.
Odds are we’ve given you even more to think about than you initially anticipated, and all the choices can be overwhelming. We understand! There are so many things to consider, but you don’t have to make this decision on your own.
Destinations HD takes great care to research and scouts the best resorts to get all of the information you need to know. Using a travel professional that knows the resorts, helps ensure you won’t be disappointed when you arrive at a property. You can't return a bad vacation!
If you are considering your options for your next vacation, call us at (913) 244-9195, and we’ll help you find the perfect room for your getaway.
Happy New Year! We’ve had a lot to celebrate here at Destinations HD – 2018 marked our best year yet, thanks to all of you and your referrals, which has led to our boutique agency being nominated in the TOP THREE for "Travel Company of the Year" in the Kansas City area!
While we can’t wait to get dolled up for the Awards Gala announcing the finalist on January 26 (fingers crossed), we have something else to share with you. Destinations HD is proud to announce the addition of a new service we now provide...
Pick My Brain Travel Service
Working with Destinations HD, ensures you get a tailor-made travel experience with each detail personalized to what YOU need, want and desire from your precious time away. However, as we have grown, and travel has become more readily available – and affordable – to a wider number of people, we’ve noticed an increase in both spontaneous and research based travelers.
These are the people who either spend hours poring over reviews and forums to determine just what they want OR the people who don’t know what they want and like to have more flexibility while they are away. Less itinerary and more “seize the day” type vacations.
This is where our new service comes in – Pick My Brain! We offer this new service to those who know they want a travel advisor in their corner, but don’t necessarily want all of the bells and whistles of our travel planning concierge expertise.
To these clients, we offer the following as part of our new service with trusted and expert advice:
We are excited to be able to offer this new service to our loyal clients, old and new, and can’t wait to get started helping you create memories to last a lifetime! Call us to discuss your travel plans and see how we can assist you! (913) 244-9195 #experiencesawait #destinationshd
I hope you have been enjoying the holiday season thus far. I can't believe this year is almost over!!
Recently, I have received a lot of questions regarding passports and travel requirements, and with the most recent event of a couple getting kicked off their cruise in South Korea for not having the proper documentation (which you can read the article online here) - I thought it was a good idea to address a few details regarding Passport Laws...
Now that you’ve chosen your destination there’s no stopping you from day-dreaming your way through the work week about the imminent travel bliss that will soon be yours. But take note, before you go packing three bathing suits because you can’t pick just one, now is the time to talk about the not-so-fun stuff that could ruin your entire vacation – or stop it from happening altogether.
Before You Leave
Odds are, you already know that you need a passport to travel internationally and to reenter the United States. What you may not know, is that many countries have strict regulations on entering and exiting their country when your passport is close to its expiration date. As an example, if your passport expires within six months of travel, you won’t be able to enter St. Lucia, Italy, Canada, Mexico and many others. Additionally, if your passport expires within three months of your departure for the U.S. from France, you won’t be able to leave the country at all. While getting stuck in France indefinitely and taking up a new life as a French fashion icon might sound fun, it might not work out so perfectly in reality. Passport restrictions are different depending on the destination you’re visiting, which is why you definitely need to be educated before you go!
So, what could really go wrong? You’re not a criminal and you have a certified passport, so whatever hiccup occurs could certainly be easily fixed, right? Not quite. Not adhering to a countries passport laws could cost you quite a lot of money and in the worst-case scenario could result in you being detained in a foreign place, unable to return home until you can get a passport renewal expedited. It is your own responsibility to know the regulations of the country you are traveling to. Otherwise, when you arrive you may learn some devastating news.
Also be aware of the layovers you may have in countries other than your destination because you are also going to be held accountable for that countries passport laws too, even if you don’t leave the airport. If one place requires three months to consider your passport valid, but your connecting flight requires six you could get stuck in limbo.
When you renew a passport or apply for a new one, a routine application can take up to six weeks to process – and that’s if there are no discrepancies or errors with your documentation. You can pay for “rush” processing, but the expedited fee isn’t cheap and you will still wait around three weeks, unless you pay even more and go through a third-party agency.
As if the ins and outs of passport laws and customs weren’t overwhelming enough, you also need to have an understanding about the actual laws of the country you are visiting. For example, several countries place restrictions on entry towards people who have a criminal conviction. Passengers without proper documentation, or that fail to meet destination requirements, can be denied entry at the destination and won’t be entitled to a refund or future credit. Do not pass “Go”, do not collect $200. On top of how stressful that would be, you’d also still have to coordinate your flight home – and bear in mind, most of us tend to buy tickets that can only be used on the dates we purchased them for, so that new ticket home would have at your own expense.
It would be terrible to ruin your well-deserved vacation by getting stuck in another country and having to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on unexpected additional travel costs, so take the measures to make sure that doesn’t happen.
You can find out everything you need to know about the destination you’re visiting and its passport laws via The Department of State’s Passport Services website and by talking to your travel professional.
Visa requirements are another process and should also be considered depending on the country you will be traveling. Before you make the travel plans, ensure you have enough time and will meet the requirements to obtain a Visa before your trip.
Take a tip from the above couple in the article who was kicked off their dream vacation, and hire a professional travel agent that will ensure you know before you go - don't let this happen to you on your next adventure!
Ready to explore the world? Call Destinations HD to discuss your travel plans and see how we can assist you! (913) 244-9195
In the Spirit of the Holidays...
We seem to all get along better and open our hearts to each other during this season. It would be so lovely to keep that going all year, which brings me to my topic today...
Living in the 21st century requires being open-minded. The best way to become so is to meet as many different people and experience as many cultures as you can. All of which can be achieved while traveling. Traveling helps you broaden your perspective, and gain new skills.
You pick up foreign language phrases, become more communicative, and create some amazing memories - usually while having a blast. If you understand the true power of travel, you know that seeing places you've never been to before, out-values all the material things you could ever purchase. Travel allows you to invest in yourself and your life experience, which is certainly more important than owning the latest iPhone or other luxury goods.
Nowadays, due to the internet and social media, we get the feeling that the world is smaller than it actually is. It's easy to connect with people from every corner of the globe. We see their problems, world-views, life philosophies and get the impression of understanding them.
But social media statuses from other countries, compared with the actual awareness you obtain from traveling to them, are two very different things. While traveling, you physically see different countries and how they live, meet other people, learn about cultures and customs, and can have empathy for them.
You see things that you usually don't in your home life, which helps you change yourself and your world perception. You get to know other people's true lifestyle and perspective, and maybe let them become a part of your own.
Also, when traveling, you constantly test your comfort zone, and personal boundaries. There are many problems that you could face while being in an unknown place. For example, you could find yourself in a situation when there are no English speakers, and you have to find a creative solution to communicate.
On the more negative end - somebody could steal your money, or you could miss a plane or bus and have to scramble to figure out what to do next. Knowing how to deal with things like this can carry over into your daily life, providing with innovative ways of handling situations you may encounter.
If you don’t change anything, nothing ever changes. Hence, you need to change your daily activities, and routine. Traveling teaches you to be more patient, kind, and helps you think out of the box. It changes you for the better, and makes you grow as a person.
You’ll witness first hand that people are inherently good, and most people in the world want the same things you do. They want to be happy, and to see their families survive and thrive. They want their children to grow up, fall in love, and have families of their own. You’ll also see that you may be more privileged than you previously thought.
When you start traveling, you may find you can't get enough. You’ll want to see more, as frequently as possible. You’ll learn to appreciate the moment, and everything else becomes less important. Social media and the demands of our typical days fade away, and you develop a desire to deeply explore, and focus on the things in front of you.
In the past, traveling was reserved for the upper class. These days, anyone can travel. The world is big, and there are so many interesting things to see. There are so many life lessons waiting to be learned. Make the opportunities happen. Make your travel dreams, reality. Explore. Soak in new experiences. Create some life-lasting memories, and grow as a person.
Ready to explore the world, and change your views? Call Destinations HD, at (913) 244-9195 today!
I was recently preparing for my adventure in Costa Rica and realized I was quickly running out of time to get everything done. I got super busy a couple weeks before, between life and work and I procrastinated more than usual, making my week before a fun vacation, much more stressful than it needed to be.
Because of my experience, I wanted to check in and have you ask yourself: Are you prepared for your next trip?
Unfortunately, for many people (including myself), the answer is no. Why? Because it’s more than just packing a bag, and taking off. It’s okay though, I have you covered! Below are a few things you simply cannot forget to do before you travel. Hopefully, it will inspire you to create a to-do list before your next trip, so you can relax knowing everything has been taken care of...
Here’s what you need to do before you leave:
There are several more items that could be added to this list. Like I said at the beginning though, the goal is to get you thinking about the things you need to do before your next trip.
Speaking of trips - I hope when you’re ready to book your next getaway, you think of Destinations HD! Just call (913) 244-9195 and let us handle the logistics so you can just enjoy yourself and explore the world!
It's always a good time for a reminder on the importance to slow down and enjoy the moments living life. Build those special memories before they pass you by! This is also so true with the vacations you plan...
Consider for a moment what the purpose of a vacation is. It’s to rejuvenate and renew. Still, a tale that has become a sad trend these days, is travelers coming home exhausted, if not more exhausted than when they left for their vacation in the first place.
Here’s why: They leave to these new and exciting destinations and want to cram as much as they can into their getaway. The fear of missing out takes over and before they know it, they have an itinerary so packed that sleep is lost because rest takes a backseat to the “thrill” of seeing something new. With that in mind, here are some things to consider so you can enjoy your vacation fully, and come home refreshed:
1. Be cautious of the tourist traps
Not everything that a destination offers is right for you. In fact, you might find that doing some of them is boring, or even uninteresting to you. For example, if everyone swears you have to visit the museums of a city, but you loathe museums, why put yourself through the torture?
Don’t do every activity available at the traps either. For example, if you want to go the popular beaches, that’s all well and good. But, but do you really need to plan every activity possible while there? Instead of jet skiing, and an evening cruise, and snorkeling, and intro to scuba diving, and all the other things you could schedule, why not pick one or two and leave the rest of your itinerary open?
2. Don’t try to see every city in a 20-mile radius
Just because you are visiting one city in a country, doesn’t mean you need to try and do excursions to all the cities that are surrounding it. Even a visitor to Disney World couldn’t see the whole park and get the “full Disney experience” in a day or two. Therefore, trying to see all of an entire city in one day, and then another the next, and another the next will leave you tired and missing most of the best aspects of each destination.
Give yourself time in one destination to check out the cool coffee shop that all the locals visit. Or delve further away from the tourist spots and tap into the true flavor of the space, rather than the “expected” hot spots.
Besides, it’s important to keep in mind that all the traveling from city to city is going to take up precious vacation time. So stop stressing about trying to cross off more destinations from your bucket list, and give yourself a chance to truly enjoy the surroundings and culture.
3. If you want to destination hop, make it a faster trip, or a better one
For example, if you simply can’t stand the thought of only seeing one country on your trip, in lieu of driving or taking a train, take a flight. Flying to Paris from Rome is 2 hours, but driving will take 14 hours or more. And, a train isn’t that much shorter at 11 hours. Then again, if you insist on a train ride from one destination to the next, at least get one that will be scenic, and relaxing. In other words, instead of taking a train ride at night, take one during the day with a window seat so you can see all the sights along the route.
4. Don’t plan an activity for every hour of the day
Leave several empty spaces in your schedule to avoid stress and overwhelm. Avoid trying to see every landmark too. A better choice is to pick between one and three hot spots you really want to see and leave wiggle room for the rest.
Besides, travel never goes exactly as we plan for it too. Long lines at tourist spots, and transportation between places that takes more time than you thought it would - these are two things alone that can cause many people to begin panicking that they are going over the time they have allotted for the experiences on their itinerary.
Don’t forget the time you lose if you get lost trying to find your way around. I have personally been lost in many major cities trying to find my way - which can end up as one of the best and most fun travel memories! Therefore, give yourself time for those unexpected detours that may lead you to something more enjoyable.
Bottom line - the more free time you give yourself on your trip, the more you will enjoy yourself.
Remember, the whole point of a vacation is to calm down, and take things slow. Recharge your batteries, don’t burn them out. Don't try to squeeze too much into your trip. If you’re going to hustle to the point of exhaustion, you could have stayed home and gone to work instead.
When you are ready to plan your next adventure - call Destinations HD (913) 244-9195! Let us handle the logistics so you can just enjoy yourself and explore the world!
Destinations HD is a different, better kind of travel agency that offers a one-of-a-kind travel planning service!