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 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!
I am usually very prepared for Christmas and have all my shopping done by end of November. However, there is always one or two people that I struggle with finding the perfect gift. My younger brother is normally one of those. He has recently caught the travel bug and always he keeps suggesting we take a trip together instead of gifts.
If you have a travel enthusiast in your family, the gift of travel is certainly better than anything you can buy on the shelf. However, how do you determine if this choice is right for your loved one(s) this holiday season? Here are a few simple tips that may help you decide how to go about sending someone a vacation as a present...
As our winter vacation planning is in full swing - one of the top subjects I run into with couples and families alike is WHERE they should vacation. There are so many destinations in the world to choose from and of course we want to see them all.
Thousands of places in the world are practically begging to be visited and explored, so choosing one can be a frustrating task. With this in mind I thought it might be a good idea to provide you with some tips on how you can choose your perfect vacation destination.
Consider your budget.
Though many people don't want to think about money when they're thinking about a vacation, we must be mindful of a travel budget. There's nothing worse than going on a wonderful holiday, only to come back in massive debt, and worrying about how you'll pay it off. Knowing your budget for your next vacation will help rule out many destinations and help narrow your search too!
Think about the time of year that you will go on your vacation.
Just a couple factors to consider when planning when you will go on your trip: weather and the demand for the destination. Will it be hot/cold, rainy/dry? And, when is their tourist busy season? The busier times for destinations are generally going to have more expensive hotels, flights, and tickets to attractions.
As a general rule of thumb, when kids are out of school (holidays, spring break, summer break, etc...), you can assume higher price tags will follow as most families will travel this time frame and the industry knows it. With regard to the weather, the last thing you want is to get to a destination you have dreamed about for ages, only to be stuck inside because it's raining everyday OR it's too cold to play in the ocean.
Decide if you want new and exciting, or traditional and relaxing.
Determining the type of vacation you want to go on is often even more difficult than deciding on the destination itself. It can be scary to choose a location off the beaten path. However, it is often those very destinations that provide the most exciting vacations. For some travelers though, predictable and reliable are non-negotiables.
You also need to consider if you want activities fueled by adrenaline, or if you want activities that relax and pamper you. Finally, you'll need to consider if sightseeing is important to you, or if entertainment is more what you're looking for. Although these things don't have to be mutually exclusive, in some cases you do have to choose relaxation or excitement, attraction hopping or staying in one spot.
Think about who you are traveling with.
Yes, your travel companions do play an important role in choosing your destination. You might enjoy the cold weather at a ski resort, but maybe your companion prefers a sunbaked beach of an exotic location. Perhaps you love trains, but everyone in your party is terrified of them. It is critical you factor in the needs of everyone, including yourself.
Of course, these considerations are far from an exhaustive list, and we understand that this can be a difficult decision. The good news is, you don't have to navigate the waters of choosing your own destination alone. Call Destinations HD today at (913) 244-9195, and we can help you decide on the perfect vacation for your needs and budget!
I head to Alaska next month (and this time I get to be a "tourist" and enjoy a 7-night cruise through the Glacier National Park!) After my conference, it will be a nice break to just enjoy a vacation and not attend site inspections or meetings :)
Alaska is considered a Bucket List destination for many people. Since it's not a cheap trip, it got me thinking about how we pay for dream vacations like this. Money is the number one thing that people blame as to why they don’t go on vacation. Second to money is time, but we will save for another day. Today though, let’s focus on some tips and ideas you can use to make money less of a worry. I also personally use these ideas to allow me to save money so I can keep traveling and not go insane!
Intend to travel. The first step in making your travel dreams a reality is to set an intention to go on your vacation. There is a saying that a wish without a plan is just a dream. By setting an intention, you can lay the groundwork for planning your trip and actually make it happen.
Determine your dream destinations and the costs for visiting them. Think about where you would like to go, and then create a cost analysis for a week’s vacation there. Actually write all of these numbers down.
Don’t skimp here. Think about what you actually want. Sure, a Penthouse suite may be out of the question depending on your current budget. What I mean by not skimping is don’t consider 2-star or less hotels and red-eye only flights. Instead, consider your best case desires without being unrealistic.
Then, write down the average costs associated with a week long getaway there including flights, hotels, a daily budget for food and attractions, etc… You may find that one of your dream trips is actually less expensive than you initially imagined. Pick one of the destinations and proceed to the next step.
Set a date that you would like to go on this trip by. Plan a date six months to one year away. Then, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195, and we can give you the actual details and costs related to your trip. From there, you’ll want to put a monthly deposit towards your trip. The earlier you make your reservation; the smaller payments will be. Keep in mind that most packages will require full payment around 45 days in advance.
Look for ways to make a little extra income to boost your vacation fund. Here are some ideas we found from personal experience and other money saving websites online:
Call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 today, and let’s get you one step closer to your travel dreams coming true! Experiences Await...
Visiting Europe is no longer a distant dream to most people because the place has opened up to tourists in more ways than one can imagine. When making plans to visit, however, many folks haven't the slightest clue where to begin in terms of designing their itineraries, sites to see, places to eat, etc…
Enter the escorted European Tour! These guided tours are created just for you and your unique needs, and they are designed to handle the logistics and confusion that can often come with planning a vacation. Every possible detail will be taken care of from your attraction reservations to your transportation, even your dinner plans be they exotic or a simple nearby cafe. All you have to do is show up and enjoy the sights and sounds of the vast and beautiful continent while the professionals take care of the complexities...
Believe it or not, escorted tours can save you time and money as well. Rather than risking paying price gouged tourists rates, you will not only find the best deals possible within your budget, but you'll have an advocate on your side that can work with your schedule often securing reservations that might not even be available to the general public. These tour guides are well trained and knowledgeable professionals who are familiar with the history and customs of the land. These professionals will explain the history behind famous tourist spots and even take you to lesser known places where you can enjoy the moment of peace and tranquility. With a guide, you can see Europe through the eyes of a native who knows his way around every town and stories that make this land so great.
Imagine for just a moment having every detail of your journey planned for you: no last-minute mix-ups, no miscommunication, no maps, being safe and secure with a group that does this regularly and having an entire vacation that runs smoothly without any hiccups. Doesn't this sound like a real vacation to you? They do all the work and you are just along for the ride! And, the best part is there are a vast variety of escorted tours available in pretty much every European destination you can think of!
Just some of the escorted tours available include:
Want to learn more about the escorted tours available to you?
Give Destinations HD a call at (913) 244-9195 today! Experiences Await...
With all this rain and gloomy days around most of the states these past few weeks, it's a great time to think about warmth and blue skies. What better way than to learn about the new hottest trend... Cuba!
In 2016 the first cruise to Cuba was planned to set sail via Fathom Cruise Line. After a dispute as to whether or not a Cuban born person that became an American citizen could travel to Cuba, the Cuban government ultimately agreed to allow travel via a cruise ship to their country. Then, in May 2016 the inaugural cruise voyage to Cuba on Fathom set sail.
Finally, in December 2016, several other cruise ship companies — Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Azamara Club Cruises, Oceana Cruises, Regent Seven Cruises, and Pearl Sea Cruises—announced that they too would be offering cruises to Cuba from the United States in 2017.* This has made cruising to Cuba the hottest travel trend for 2017. If you too are considering a cruise to Cuba this year, below is what you need to know right now.
As it stands currently, traveling to Cuba is only permitted under 12 categories of travel. Learn more about that here. Cruise lines understand these requirements and have created itineraries and sailings that meet them. However, it may still be difficult to see people that you know in Cuba.
At one point you needed people-to-people documents for permission to see persons that you know in country, but now if you are seeing them via an excursion or while doing something with the cruise ship in port you can self-certify why you saw those people. You are required to document your visit and the people you saw, as well as, why you saw them in a journal. You must hang on to that journal for a few years just in case anything comes up though, as they can come back and request documentation (and may be asked to see the journal upon departure).
Cruise ships are supposed to give you a tourist card that acts as your tourist visa while you are off ship in port. It is critical you hang on to this card along with your passport while in port. You'll be required to return the visa when you get back on the ship.
If you board your ship in Miami you might be able to get a Cuban stamp on your passport. If you are the type of traveler who likes to collect country stamps, this is your chance to get a Cuban one.
You'll need to convert your US dollars to Cuban currency, but according to many travel websites, and news outlets, it's best to do it when you arrive in Cuba. And, you won't be able to get cash out of an ATM, or use your credit/debit card.
As of the time of this writing, you can only purchase rum and cigars in port, but not much else while you are in Cuba. You might be able to obtain hand made artifacts, but don't expect “typical tourist” souvenir shops like you have probably seen in most ports on other cruise ships.
Would you like to learn more about cruising to Cuba, and the other elements of your trip you will need to be aware of? Call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 to learn more!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.