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.
I just returned from Mexico doing resort site inspections at 12 different luxury resorts around the Riviera Maya and Cancun area - hopefully you saw some of those online at facebook or instagram. If you didn't, go check them out, as I saw some amazing resorts and now have an even longer bucketlist of more resorts I'm dying to stay at! :)
There is a new all-inclusive resort with a twist to the inclusive concept which opened last year, and I had the pleasure of staying there for the first 3 nights of my trip. I just wanted to share my remarkable experience with you about my new love...
UNICO 20°87° isn’t just a destination, it’s a journey! From locally-inspired gourmet dishes to exhilarating tours of ancient ruins, you will find more than your typical all-inclusive resort, you will enjoy the rich, warm culture of Modern Mexico!
This adults-only resort was everything I dreamed it would be and more! If you prefer unstructured schedules, natural elegant decor, quality food, premium drinks, fun, yet laid-back energy and romance - this resort might be for you!
This upscale resort is set on a natural eco-reserve along a beautiful white sand beach with dreamy views of the Caribbean Sea. Upon arrival, you are instantly embraced with the most enchanting aroma in the lobby. As you check-in, you are asked to personalize the scent of your own room, then your personal host ("butler") will escort you to your room and provide a personal tour. Here, you won't find entertainment staff asking you every hour to join them for archery, salsa classes, etc... Instead, you will enjoy pop-up activities, music and scheduled classes that you can leisurely join if interested or just relax and not be bothered.
The true luxury of this boutique resort begins with unlimited inclusions, such as unlimited golf, scuba diving experiences, spa treatments, local tours and beauty salon & barber services... that's right ladies, I said UNLIMITED SPA TREATMENTS!! Here you can find a variety of select tours and spa/salon services that are included with your stay! You just pay a 20% service fee for each service used (plus gratuity).
For example, if want to do the Xtreme Mayan Jungle Tour - which combines ziplining, rappelling into a freshwater underground river, and swimming through a series of underground caverns - you would normally pay $99 per person for this tour, but at UNICO 20°87° you only pay $19.80 for this incredible experience!
During my stay, I was fortunate to enjoy two spa treatments. The first one was their signature massage with FOUR hands, where I had two massage therapists working at the same time, melting my stresses away! OMG! This was incredible!! It felt like a synchronized dance with hands from head to toe. Each moment I continued to fade deeper into a blissful state with a permanent smile on my face. An experience I will dream about until I return and enjoy my next one :)
My other spa treatment was a relaxing Shaman Body Wrap with a gentle exfoliation treatment and cocoa wrap. This was my first body wrap experience and it was like three mini massages as each layer was applied. My skin was so hydrated and smooth after PLUS I smelled like chocolate :) There are a variety of spa treatment options that are included under the unlimited inclusion program, but they also have many others for an additional cost.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE...
Other included experiences worth mentioning are their redefined cultural tours. They created a few one-of-a-kind excursions (only available through this resort), which include unique and memorable adventures that will make your vacation truly one to flaunt! Their included tours range from a Wine Sunset Sailing, Snorkeling, Zip-Lining, Mayan Ruins, and so much more! You just pay the 20% service fee of the cost as I mentioned earlier. I had the pleasure to join their Sunset Sail with Vino tour... We had a lovely catamaran with around 30 guests from the resort and sailed down the coast enjoying wine, drinks and music before docking at a shallow lagoon for a perfect sunset photo opportunity, where we listened to music, and snacked on cheese and fruits before returning to the resort.
This resort is also located on the beach where many sea turtles come to lay their eggs. I was fortunate to be there during this season and stayed up late to tag along with the Turtle Conservation Team and was lucky enough to witness three different turtles nesting and watch them return to the sea. It was a remarkable experience to be a part of!
Also worth mentioning is their stunning wedding creations at this resort. If you are looking to elevate your destination wedding or vow renewal and offer a truly one-of-a-kind experience filled with personalized touches, locally-sourced dishes and artisanal cocktails PLUS a dreamy backdrop of the turquoise sea - look no further! They have gorgeous wedding options to make the ultimate event. This upscale resort will impress your guests and your wedding will be one that no one will ever forget!
There is SO much more to discuss about this resort and the one-of-a-kind experiences it offers, but I'm getting a little carried away already, so don't want to overload you at once! Let's schedule a time to chat about your next vacation and see if this resort might fit your expectations and desires! Call us today (913) 244-9195.
I hope you have been having an amazing summer thus far! I head to Cancun, Mexico next week to do resort site inspections at 12 different luxury resorts, so be sure to follow me on facebook or instagram for some vacation inspiration! I have an amazing resort line up to see and can't wait to share my experiences.
If you are thinking about putting together a group trip with your family or friends, I have a great idea below on putting that together...
When organizing a group getaway, there are many moving parts. Some of the things you'll have to think about include, but are not limited to:
All-inclusive means less hassle!
For group leaders trying to organize a vacation, hosting a trip such as this becomes remarkably easier when everything is included for one all-inclusive fee. With the exception of how people will get there, everything else is pretty much taken care of for you. The meals, the lodging, sometimes even alcohol - it’s all lumped into one sum so there are no surprises when it comes to budgeting.
Dining is just one example of complications you could endure while on a group getaway if you don’t go all-inclusive. Let’s say you go out together for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. What happens when the bill comes? First, there’s the awkward moment where everyone tries to remember what they ordered. Next, comes the calculations related to who owes what. And, inevitably you will have at least one or two people who doesn't have enough cash, and they’ll ask if you can spot them and pay you back later. For the group organizer that means you might end up being stuck paying for more than you initially planned on.
With an all-inclusive vacation however, everyone's meals are already included in the upfront price. If they happen to add on additional items that did cost extra money, you'll never have to worry about that - it will be charged to their room/cabin, and you'll be none the wiser.
Another benefit of doing an all-inclusive vacation for your group getaway is that much of the entertainment and/or excursions will be managed for you as well. Sure, there may be optional fees for adding on activities related to these excursions, but all of the organization of things like transportation, timing, and other particulars will be handled for you.
Imagine being able to just send one or two emails to your entire group letting them know who your travel agent is and your dates of travel, and then being able to just show up at the resort or on the cruise ship and simply enjoy yourself! No running around trying to track arrivals/departures, managing payments or handling any special requests/needs, as the itinerary is set up already and your travel agent is coordinating the behind-the-scenes details. No hassling with opinions from friends/family on what they want to eat because everything they could possibly want to eat is most likely already on the resort property or the cruise ship.
Make your trip even easier by hiring Destinations HD
You likely now see why all-inclusive is the way to go for your group travel. Want to make things even easier on yourself? Hire Destinations HD to manage the rest. When you book a group with us, we handle everything related to your trip on your behalf. We help match you to the all-inclusive resorts or cruises that fit your expectations and needs to assist you with picking the perfect one to make your group vacation the most memorable!
All you have to do is give us the contact information for the people in your party, and we take care of the rest! Their flights, accommodations, transfers to/from the resort, special requests, group tour/excursions, and any additional help anyone may need along the way. I manage your entire vacation, so that you can just focus on relaxing and enjoying quality time together!
As an added benefit of you being the group organizer, you may qualify for complimentary nights or even a completely free stay. To learn more about what resorts and cruises offer the best complimentary accommodations for group organizers, call us at (913) 244-9195 today. I can't wait to help you create the perfect vacation for your group!
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!
Fall is my favorite time of year with October being my most favorite - mostly because Halloween is near (and many of you know how excited I get for this holiday!!) Not only is it getting busy planning for the upcoming holidays (whether you are traveling, hosting or both), but travel planning can become overwhelming as you try to coordinate all the holiday events and kid's schedules, in addition to organizing your holiday or winter vacation(s).
Think about the last time you went on a vacation. Did you really escape? When you returned home were you just as exhausted before you left? If you're like a lot of people, you took off, and got back just as stressed as you were prior to your departure. The number one cause of not full enjoying a vacation? It's 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 everything you need to bring with you on your trip, and 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 about what you needed instead of going about packing haphazardly.
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 in. 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.
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.
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 needs 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 they barely sleep. Yes, a getaway is exciting, but you'll enjoy it more with a good night's sleep each night.
The final tip is to hire a travel agent. When you work with a travel agent to coordinate and schedule your travel accommodations and transportation, you're allowing them to take some of the work off your plate for you. 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.
For your next trip, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195. 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.
Can you believe it's already mid-August?! I've seen holiday decorations in stores already - where does the time go?!!
Have you been considering staying in an all-inclusive resort this winter? The reality is, not all all-inclusives are the same, and you need to be mindful of this when choosing one. For some people they think that their best bet is to choose the cheapest one, for others luxury is all the rage, and other still fear that they'll choose a place that doesn't give them everything that they're really looking for on vacation. If you’re looking for help in choosing the perfect all-inclusive resort for you, these considerations may assist you in making your choice...
First, look at the cost for staying there. Yes, you will want to consider the price you're paying. However, don't stop there. Take a look at what that price you're paying gets you. Unfortunately, the world all-inclusive doesn't necessarily mean “all-inclusive.” Some resorts will charge you a low price, and then sneak in a bunch of fees for everything from steak at dinner to using your in-room safe. It's important to look at the fine print of what your all-inclusive resort really includes.
Next, read reviews on each of the resorts that you are considering. It's no secret that in today's internet fueled world, tourists are ready, willing, and able, to tell the truth about the experiences that they're having at destinations worldwide. That gorgeous photo that you saw of that spectacular looking resorts on that private island, could in fact be massively photoshopped and look nothing like the photo in real life. At least real travelers are sharing the photos of what the place was actually like... which could be considered a blessing and a curse :) Just make sure to take in the information with caution, as not everyone has the same level of expectations or tastes, among many other factors accounting for their positive or negative thoughts.
Work with a reputable travel agent that will tell you what you really need to know about the all-inclusive resorts that you're considering. Destinations HD has the 411 on the hottest, most reliable, safest and overall knowledge on quality all-inclusive resorts that provide the best value. We only work with the best in the business, and we pass our personal experience and knowledge of these spectacular destinations onto you.
By not going in with your eyes wide-opened, you could end up with a second-rate vacation. We want to help you avoid that. When you’re ready to book your all-inclusive getaway, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195. We’ll help ensure you get the most bang for your travel buck and have a quality experience!
As summer vacations are in full swing, some of you may have family reunions to attend. There are few things as wonderful as going on a trip for a big family reunion. However, sometimes it's time for a change and experience something a little more memorable than a park picnic for a few hours. Is it time to upgrade your family reunion and actually spend quality time together?
When it comes to a large group trip, you shouldn't try to manage all the planning on your own. A handful of family members inevitably get stuck with handling far too many of the elements of the vacation. Avoid this recipe for disaster by hiring Destinations HD as your travel coordinator. We have some great options for all ages that will spice up your family reunion and create memories that will be discussed for a lifetime!
There's more to it than just picking a place and a time. The family can all vote on a place to go, and even the week/weekend you will all show up together, but then the real planning begins! When will everyone arrive and depart? Will you be flying coach or first class? Will anyone be staying an extra day or leaving early? How will you all get from the airport to hotel? Who still owes money? Does anyone have allergies or disabilities that need to be addressed with the hotel/cruise? These are details you don't need to worry with.
By hiring Destinations HD as your travel coordinator, we take care of all the particulars of your trip for you and your family. Instead of a few of your family members needing to make a second job out of preparing for this event, we can book the flights, the hotel, the cruise, the transportation, even the dinner reservations and activities if necessary.
Will it be a cruise, a stay at an all-inclusive resort, or some other adventure overseas? Destinations HD can help you decide that too! We help match you to the best vacation destinations, and create the perfect trip itinerary to fit your family's needs and expectations.
Destinations HD can handle the group communications, and payment processing as well. Why worry about whether or not Uncle Joe paid, or if Aunt Suzie received the schedule update? By allowing us to take care of the heavy lifting, your focus can stay on what you need to do to enjoy your trip. Plus, we also offer payment plans to make it more affordable for everyone (depending on how far in advance you make travel arrangements).
No one will be left in the dark either. We work with you to keep you and your family informed of any, and all things, you need to know related to the trip. By hiring us, you can rest assure that you have a professional on your side, working on your behalf to ensure that your family reunion comes together as seamlessly as possible. You don't have to worry about communicating with the hotel on each guest’s dietary needs/requests or answering the same travel questions over-and-over regarding if they need to pack a towel, how far shopping is, or what travel documents are required - We take care of all the details so you can enjoy the excitement with the rest of your family!
Trips big and small – we've managed them all. Now we'd like to help you manage your family reunion next year. Plan early to get the space you want at the hotel/cruise AND it gives everyone enough time to save. When you're ready to start planning, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195. You'll be glad you did!
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!
Do you two have different ideas on where you want to go for your honeymoon? If so, you are not alone. Planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip together can be very stressful. You want to go to sandy beaches in the Caribbean while he has always wanted to see historic Italy. So now what??
Before this turns into a stressful fight, take a breath and sit down with separate pads of paper...
Each of you write down your list of essentials - hiking, beach, swim-up pool bar, relaxing intimate time together, or active exploration of a new destination? Once you have a clear picture of what would make an ideal honeymoon to you - share notes and see what you have in common.
Next, determine your budget and rule out destinations or ideas that may not match your savings plan. Be sure to keep in mind the time of year you will be traveling to your destination - traveling during height of hurricane season may not be ideal for your Caribbean island paradise. You might just come up with a better idea or see why your soon to be spouse has a great plan!
Once you have discussed and determined your list of essential details and budget for your honeymoon - contact a travel expert. A professional will have a better idea on what you are looking for and could even recommend something you never even thought of based on the experiences you are looking for.
In the end, just remember you will be with the person most important to you for the rest of your life - Maybe you can go to the other destination for your first year anniversary or other milestone celebration in your lives together!
Destinations HD is a different, better kind of travel agency that offers a one-of-a-kind travel planning service!