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...
I just returned from an amazing Alaska and Vancouver experience and can't wait to upload my photos to our Facebook photo albums to share. If you haven't done this trip yet, call me so we can get you there next season. It was incredible!!
Since we cruised after the kids are back in school, it was more of an adult experience which started a group discussion about traveling with kids; and is an easy leeway to our topic...
The decision of whether or not to bring your children on your next vacation can be a difficult one. How can you decide if it should be an adult only trip, or a family getaway? Although the decision will ultimately be a personal one that is up to you, here are a few things you may want to consider when planning your next trip:
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...
As summer living is in full swing, I am getting a lot of vacation requests - not sure if this is due to kids driving parents crazy now OR it's just the season :) I'm receiving many inquiries for upcoming milestone anniversary and celebrations and the most common destination inquiry for these events is the dreamy islands of Tahiti. I thought I would take this time to discuss other options for Tahiti for those that want to see many islands, but don't necessarily have the time or budget to island hop.
Tahiti is one of those utopia destinations that is incredibly popular, not only because year-round warm weather, but also the gorgeous surroundings, spectacular beaches, and the friendliest people you will ever meet! The average year-round temperature is just 79 degrees. Couple that with the water temperature average of 79 in the winter and 84 in the summer, and you've got practically perfect vacation conditions. You will be embraced by Mana, the life force that connects all things in Tahiti, as soon as you arrive. With 118 islands and atolls spread over five archipelagos, there is something new to experience at every turn. Each island offers a verity of activities and accommodation experiences, so if you're looking to explore the islands, and want to do it in a unique way, you might want to consider a Tahiti cruise!
On a Tahitian cruise, you'll get to see multiple destinations, and you'll travel aboard what is essentially a moving hotel – unpack once and explore the beauty around you! Doesn't that sound just amazing?
Let's take a quick peek at some of the options for cruising Tahiti:
High-End Cruising Aboard a Luxury Liner
There's cruising, and then there is luxury cruising. When you're on a luxury liner you're treated like the VIP that you are. Once you step aboard, all of your meals and lodging are included, and some cruise lines offer extra perks like alcoholic beverages, a personal butler and/or private excursions. Just imagine visiting French Polynesia by day, and being waited on like the rich and fabulous by night!
One thing to note though, on some luxury liners, you will find these are more extended vacations that combine stops at several of the Tahitian islands, but starts or ends in destinations like New Zealand or Australia. If you have the time to spare, these are great cruises to see so much more than just a beach paradise. However, if you don’t have that much time to explore, there are dedicated cruise lines that only focus on the French Polynesia and some offer all-inclusive pricing with meals, drinks and entertainment all included!
Yachting from Island to Island
The difference between a large high-end cruise line and a yacht? The level of intimacy and the number of your fellow boating mates. Some of the larger lines can host as many as 3,000 guests, where as smaller yachts could be limited to 350 people, or even as little as two guests (some with a personal cook).
Smaller cruise boat options like yachts can also get into areas the larger boats can't, and this will give you the opportunity to do things like snorkeling in secluded spots, paddle boarding or kayaking in picturesque settings, or relaxing with little to no noise and slipping completely into vacation mode.
Low Key or Extreme Adventure
Regardless of whether you choose to go with a large liner or a small, intimate cruise, your Tahitian cruise can be what you want it to be. The options are truly limitless. You can choose casual, calm excursions intent on helping you relax. However, if you prefer a more extreme cruise experience, there are excursions such as swimming with sharks and sting rays, or intense rides on a 4X4 amidst sheer cliffs that get you up close to a volcano!
Your Cruise is What You Make It
Believe it or not, we've barely scratched the surface of the options available to you for cruising Tahiti. If you would like to learn more about the perfect cruise that fits your needs, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195. However you choose to island hop, we'll make sure your trip fulfills as many of your vacation dreams as possible. Experiences Await...
When I receive cruise inquiries and start discussing all the category options, most the responses I hear are “Oh, I wouldn’t have even thought about that.” If you have ever priced out cruises online, you know there are many price points and category types - and for good reason… the location, views, space and amenities, all play a role in your cruise vacation experience.
There are several stateroom options when cruising. The options can honestly be quite overwhelming. Will you have a jogging track with people stirring about outside your ocean view window? Will the balcony be off-limits when you are in port due to location? Is there a life boat obstructing your balcony or window views? The list goes on of things to think about when mapping out your room location/category. How then, can you determine which cabin is right for you?
Let's explore your options a little further to help you better determine what your choice is…
Will you be near the elevators?
The determining factor here is whether you are seeking convenience or quiet. Rooms that are closer to the elevators experience quite a bit of foot traffic, so you could find yourself hearing footsteps in the wee hours of the morning. If you can sleep regardless of noise, however, the convenience of being close to the elevator may be valuable depending on the location to activities you want to experience, friends/family rooms, mobility issues, etc...
Do you want to be at the back of the ship, the front of the ship, or in the middle?
In all honesty, this one is a little tricky. It can depend on what is above or below you. For example, if you're directly above or below the dance club, theater or the ship's casino your room could be filled with the vibrations and thuds of music, slot machines and other murmuring. It's a good idea to look at the layout of the entire ship to see what elements could be around you.
Balcony, Suite or Interior?
A room with a balcony is always worth the investment, especially for special occasions. Think about it, if you're cruising somewhere spectacular like Alaska, you can take your morning coffee amongst views of scenic glaciers. And, let's not forget how romantic a dinner for two on the balcony could be. Interior cabins with no view may be a little cheaper, but for some cruise goers, this can also mean they are more likely to get seasick because they can't see what's around them. You will also enjoy the space – the interior and ocean view staterooms can feel like closets for those that may be claustrophobic or if it’s your first cruise experience - make it more enjoyable by selecting the right stateroom.
If you're cruising for a major event such as your honeymoon, 50th birthday party or a milestone wedding anniversary, consider upgrading to a junior suite or full suite. They are significantly more spacious, and you'll feel like a VIP, especially when you consider that most cruise lines offer additional perks and amenities to suite guests!
How long do you plan to spend in the room?
For some cruise goers, they just want a place to sleep at night. Others enjoy hanging out in their cabins for longer periods of time, such as on sea-days. If you know you will be spending more time in the cabin, you will most likely want a larger space to spread out. So, perhaps the better question is, what kind of traveler are you?
Of course, there are many other factors you may want to consider before making your cabin or cruise choice. If this sounds like you, Destinations HD can assist you in making the perfect decision for your needs. Give us a call at (913) 244-9195, today!
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!
Most people that know me already know I'm a huge fan of European River Cruises. Well, the travel gods have smiled on the world because the next big thing in river cruising is themed river cruising. Why is this so spectacular you ask? Because not only can we travel to several destinations with only one ticket and mode of transportation, but now we can do it with like minded people who like the same things we do!
What better way to explore your favorite hobby than to take a trip with folks who enjoy it just as much, if not more, than you? Today, I'm going to share with you just two of the themed cruises that are available, and if you would like to learn about other themed cruises give me a call.
Wine Themed Cruises
Let the wine flow! Wine enthusiasts and foodies will adore a wine themed cruise. On a typical wine cruise you'll explore the places the wines are made, learn about the acclaimed wine regions of the world, and enjoy talks from experts all the while sipping on this delicious fermented grape juice. An added benefit is that many of them include food pairings that teach you which foods are best with the various types of wine.
Get historic and get cultured in all things wine cellars and vineyards. Learn the centuries old traditions of wine and take solace in the fact that you'll never be without a designated driver on this adventure.
Each wine themed river cruise will typically have excursions that fit in with the theme as well. From actually visiting wineries and witnessing the process from grape to glass to simply tasting a variety of wines you will know everything you wanted to and more about what it took to make the perfect vino you love so much. You might even get to go grape stomping depending on the cruise you take! Talk about an unforgettable experience!
Art River Cruise
Though the word art can mean many things to many people, an art themed river cruise is guaranteed to give you an experience unlike any other you've had to date. Depending on the one you take you could visit museums and learn about how the sculptures and paintings were created, you might enjoy lectures of the great artists of the past or you could even make art while you drift from port to port.
Each of the destinations you will see are sure to inspire and you'll walk away with at least a few tools in your knowledge tool belt! Some of the most exciting art themed cruises feature step-by-step painting classes as well as easy to understand art lectures. There's no telling what you could create or at least learn about on one of these fun cruises.
Just a few of the additional cruise themes we've heard of include Christmas market cruises, culinary adventure tours and heritage cruises. There are so many cruises to explore and I'd love to share them with you. Call me today at (913) 244-9195 and I'll help you discover the best theme for your next getaway on the water.
Many European countries are found on the bucket lists of travelers worldwide. However, for some people the idea of visiting many countries in one trip seems like a dream that would be too expensive and confusing to ever become a reality. Besides, the amount of time that a person would need to visit each spot just for traveling between each destination could zap a week's vacation faster than you can say Champs Élysées. Enter the European cruise. Today, I'll walk you through why your first trip to Europe should be a cruise and I'm confident by the time you get to the end, you'll agree with me.
Access to the top European Sites and Destinations
Regardless of which European cruise you take (ocean or rivers), many well-known destinations will be included in your itinerary. You'll get to learn which places you want to visit again for an extended stay, and you'll get to quickly leave the places that didn't tickle your fancy. All the planning will be handled for you too allowing you to simply focus on each destination you visit, take in the sites, and relax.
When you book a European cruise you'll get to stop in several countries in one trip. Most cruise boats and ships arrive in their next port of call quite early in morning after sailing at night, thus allowing travelers a full day to sight-see. Cruise ships also typically offer guided tours or some type of guided excursion eliminating the guesswork of navigation, hunting for transportation and more.
For just the cost of your food and lodging you will be transported to several countries. You will have a large designated driver should you opt to drink at lunch and dinner (how very European of you we might add). You'll not have to stress over the costs of various hotels because all lodging is in one moving hotel. You won't need to fuss as much with local currencies because most of your purchases will be on board the ship anyway. And, most if not all of your meals, entertainment, activities and more will be covered with your cruise fare. Again, let's not forget your transportation between countries is covered. Train and taxi prices can kill a budget quickly, but you shouldn't have to worry with any of that on your cruise.
Unlike train trips or driving on your own, you only have to un-pack once on your European cruise. You'll be able to stay comfortable in lieu of packing up daily, waiting around for your ride and then unpacking again after hours of travel to the next stop. Remember, you're traveling between destinations while you sleep and each morning when you wake up you will be in a new spot. The best part? That sleep you'll be enjoying will be in the comforts of a bed rather than perched against a car door, or worse, a stranger!
Finding an English Speaking Person Should be a Breeze
Of course, most European countries speak English, but some people fear visiting places where there is the potential for a language barrier. The good news is that unlike traveling on your own, most of your cruise ship operators and staff members should speak English in the event you're visiting a non-English speaking country. But, they will still be able to assist you with local information at each port. Anything you need will be available and you won't have to hunt for a translator to get it!
So, what do you think? Do you agree with me that your first trip to Europe should be a cruise? If so, call me today and let's get started booking your European getaway! 913-244-9195
I love this fall weather - don't you?! It's my favorite time of the year! I hope you are enjoying your fall season as much as I am. This week, I wanted to chat about group travel... Traveling as a group can be a wonderful thing and an amazing trip to take as a group, is a river cruise. But, you may be thinking, what's so great about going as a group as opposed to solo, couples or family travel? I'm so very glad you asked, because I've got five reasons your next river cruise should be done as a group!
Top 5 Benefits to River Cruise as a Group
Some river cruises offer discount for groups saving you money. For example, a group of 10 or more can save as much as 10% or more off of standard pricing. Remember, the goal for any cruise line is to fill up all the cabins and groups mean they are more likely to fill up the spaces. That is why they will offer a discount as an incentive to get groups to book together. PLUS, and this is the BEST part... You may be able to cruise FREE as the group leader, depending on how many cabins you can fill and cruise line!
2. Safety In Numbers
When traveling in an unfamiliar place, it’s much safer to travel with a group. And, it doesn't hurt that you will feel more safe and comforted in the company of friends rather than strangers. At the various ports you will also be less likely to be the victims of crimes as a group as predators prey on singles and couples because they are easier to approach.
3. Having People You Know To Do Things With
Group cruising brings together a sense of togetherness. Whether it's friends or family members, you will have stronger bonds with the people you are traveling with by the end of your trip. Few things create common ground better than travel. Widely-traveled members in your group may also act as resource centers describing in detail the part of the country you are cruising through. They may also recommend attraction sites that the group might like to see.
4. Discounts May Extend Beyond the Cruise
Not only will your group enjoy group rates on the ship, you may get additional discounts for airfare, trip excursions at various ports, tours and more. Again, vendors like to fill up slots and that is why they love groups! Less work filling all the slots for a vendor translates to discounts for your group!
5. You'll Have Someone to Eat Dinner With
One of the greatest benefits of group river cruising is that you will know everyone that you're seated with at dinner. Some people get very anxious about who might be at their table because they don't like being seated with strangers. However, with a group you'll likely be seated together and not have to worry about that. Plus, the dinner will be a great time to re-group, talk about and vote on the next day's plans and ensure that everyone is getting what they want out of the trip.
Whether you are exploring the New England Islands or the Rhine River in Europe, bringing a group with you will make your trip even better!
Ready to book?! Call us today to discuss your options: (913) 244-9195
Destinations HD is a different, better kind of travel agency that offers a one-of-a-kind travel planning service!