As I plan my clients resort vacations, a common question I receive is about the experiences one can enjoy in destination. While one of the most appealing things about all-inclusive resorts is that they allow you to visit coveted destinations for one lumped together price. However, where these resorts sometimes fall short, is in giving you cultural experiences of the destination you’re visiting. The good news is, that staying at an all-inclusive resort doesn’t mean you have to stick to the resort life.
Here’s how you can enjoy cultural experiences while still enjoying the sheltered luxury of an all-inclusive resort:
Go on an excursion outside of the resort walls.
That’s it folks. That’s the big secret. You simply have to leave the resort to experience the culture outside of it.
So, if the answer is so simple, why is it that so many people don’t leave the resort to get this cultural experience? Unfortunately, the number one reason is because of the fact they don’t want to add to their travel budget. They feel guilty leaving since they paid to stay, eat, and play at the resort, and it becomes harder to justify paying more money to visit beyond the walls of the all-inclusive destination.
If you go into your all-inclusive experience knowing this up front however, it may be easier for you to shell out a little extra cash to see the local area you’re in. Trust me, if you want the cultural experiences of the destination, it’s worth spending a little more to go do just that!
Do your research ahead of time.
Going beyond the walls of the all-inclusive resort you’re staying at should not be done without researching it in advance. Unfortunately, it’s no secret that tourists can easily get scammed in foreign countries. That’s why you must do your due diligence in looking things up before you get to the destination.
At a minimum, it may be a good idea to simply work with the resort you’re staying at to plan your excursions. Though they may charge a premium, they will often include transportation to and from the resort to wherever you would like to visit, which could help keep you safe while exploring.
For example, if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico, you could do a day trip to go ziplining or snorkeling. Another idea might be to visit the Mayan ruins near Cancun with an afternoon of shopping in town.
Of course, the excursions available that are near your all-inclusive resort will vary by location, but I’ve seen them include everything from cooking classes, wine tastings, a walking tour of local markets, snorkeling shipwrecks, whale watching, and more.
Just keep in mind an excursion outside may mean you have to drive for a bit as most resorts are built away from the local areas for a secluded feel. You'll want to add the transportation fees into your budget and also allot enough time for the experience as a result.
PRO TIP: It's best to know a few experiences on your "wish list" BEFORE booking your resort. This way you can narrow your resort search to those areas closer the experiences you want to see/do.
Need help deciding on an excursion that gives you an authentic cultural experience outside of your all-inclusive resort? Give Destinations HD a call or Book your consultation - (913) 244-9195. I'll help you design the perfect vacation for your needs!
As I recently was able to experience an incredible unique Knowing I was able to have this amazing experience, got me thinking about dream destinations and how achievable they are. I’m going to get brutally honest with you, and it might hurt to hear what I have to say. Waiting to take your dream trip, could prevent you from ever being able to take it. If you have ever pondered whether or not your dream destinations are achievable, this is for you...
We can always make more money, but we can’t make more time.
Here’s the thing - as we age, our energy runs out. And, the truth is, tomorrow is never promised. If you have dreams of seeing the world, you must start acting on that dream now while you still can.
One of the saddest things I see in this industry is people waiting to retire to start going on vacations, only to be unable to travel due to age related health issues. I don’t want to see that happen to you!
But, I can’t afford to travel now.
I hear you. Travel isn’t exactly cheap. I encourage you to have a heart to heart with yourself and your potential travel companions. Is it really true that you can’t afford to travel, or is it just something you tell yourself?
Jim Rohn famously said, “If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
Are you making excuses?
Here are just a few things you can do to start achieving your travel dreams now:
I hope this has inspired you to take a closer look at your dream destinations. Ask yourself again, how achievable are they now? Well, you likely see that’s up to you. Isn’t it time you looked for more ways to get a jump on your travel dreams before it’s too late?
When you’re ready to start talking specifics and plan your dream trips, we hope you’ll think of us. Destinations HD can show you just how achievable your travel dreams really are, and maybe sooner than you realize. Book your consultation or call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195.
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.
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!
It's almost been a month since my Mexico trip to scout resorts and I'm already trying to figure out my next getaway. Reality is just not as fun, is it?! :)
There is a saying that goes something like, “Travel is the only thing you spend money on, that makes you richer.” The trouble is most people spend too much time wondering if they can travel, when they should be wandering the planet instead! Travel has so many benefits including the fact it can improve your mental, physical, emotional and even your spiritual health.
Are you curious if you can travel more? Today, we’ll explore exactly how you can add more travel experiences to your life faster than you may have thought possible...
Stop Wondering and Start Wandering...
How to Travel More
The first thing people think of when it comes to traveling, is money. With that in mind, here are some money saving tips you can use to travel more:
With our daily careers and work life, some people find it very difficult to set time aside for travelling. However, you can still travel more by:
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
Destinations HD is a different, better kind of travel agency that offers a one-of-a-kind travel planning service!