Though this may seem like the most Captain Obvious statement we could make, foreign countries are, for lack of a better phrase, foreign. In our daily lives we get very used to things that are familiar to us, and that can cause quite a bit of culture shock for people that have never traveled to other countries (besides the tropical resorts that tend to offer luxuries we recognize). With that in mind, here are a few things you should keep in mind before traveling to a foreign country so that you have better expectations before you arrive...
Understanding Foreign Countries Are… Well, Foreign
With that said, most people have no problems at all in any of the countries they visit. However, education and awareness never hurt anyone. Doing research on any place you are considering visit ahead of time is always a good idea. These are just a few differences to keep in mind, there are many others to consider and prepare for to ensure you aren't disappointed or shocked when you arrive.
It’s also a good idea to work with a travel professional that specializes in the destination(s) you are traveling to, who can be there for you should anything go wrong while you are out of the country. Book your consultation today for a stress-free vacation experience. We do everything in our power to keep you informed, help you have the perfect vacation, and come back safely.
It’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
As Spring slowly rolls around the corner, it's time to start thinking about your summer and fall vacation plans. In the next few months, vacation planning will spike again. Get ahead of the game before others book and dwindle the availability of the travel dates, flight schedules, or the accommodations you really want. During this time, I get many inquiries about European River Cruise vacations, so I thought it would be a great topic to discuss.
In recent years, travelers have been opting for river cruises over the traditional ocean liners like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise lines. Why? In short, river cruises are more intimate, offer ports of call the ocean liners simply can't pull up to, and they deliver a higher level of customer service that makes you feel like you are on a unique vacation, rather than just one of a massive crowd. Some of the most popular river cruises available, are on the rivers of Europe. Here are a few of them for your travel consideration...
1. Rhine River –
Along the Rhine River are the countries of Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, the Principality of Liechtenstein, and the Netherlands. Many have said that cruising the Rhine River is the best option to see some incredible castles and medieval architecture. Cruises along the Rhine are also perfect for romantics, wine lovers, the curious epicures and nature enthusiasts.
2. Danube River –
The Danube River is the second-longest river in Europe, and it runs through 10 countries including Germany, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria and more. More than a dozen languages are spoken on its banks! Two places not to be missed if you are cruising the Danube are Vienna and Budapest - even more so during Christmas time where you can find their famous Christmas Markets that will transport you into a fairytale Christmas experience. The Danube is also great for visiting several palaces, indulging in a variety of cultures and cuisines, and learning a lot of history.
3. Seine River –
Though this river is mainly a waterway within the north of France, spilling out into the English Channel, it's still a very popular river traveled by river cruise liners. This river is perfect for the cruise goer that wants a Parisian experience, but also wants to see more that France has to offer. You will blend your passion for the good life with culture, art, architecture and timeless landscapes. In addition, you will visit one of the most magnificent monasteries, the unforgettable beaches of Normandy and be inspired by great works of art.
There are additional rivers to cruise in Europe. However, these are the three most popular and in my opinion, the best rivers to begin your journey into River Cruising. We look forward to helping you learn about the vast cruise line options and how they differ in experiences, so together we can plan the perfect vacation to match your expectations and style! To learn more about river cruises available to you, call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 today.
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...
Can you believe this year is almost over?! Where did the time go! With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy for romance to take a back seat. Deadlines, rushing to work, the kids extracurricular activities, etc...they all seem to take precedence over our love lives, don’t they?
We are quickly approaching the holiday season too, which only continues to take priority in life. If this sounds familiar, perhaps you and your honey should take a moment to breathe and consider a romantic getaway to ignite a spark.
Here are 5 destinations that may be exactly what you’re looking for to fall in love with your sweetie all over again:
Most people think of Paris when they think of France. But, there are so many other French destinations that offer all the romance without all the tourist hoopla. Carcassonne is a stunning hilltop town in the south of France. It’s famous for its medieval feel, and one of the most romantic spaces in the city is the Hotel de la Cite. This hotel is a well-preserved medieval castle featuring spiral staircases, stained-glass windows, stone walls and formal gardens. You’ll truly feel like royalty here.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Imagine a lovers escape to the Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxford. This luxury hotel boasts itself as the perfect destination for a gastronomic weekend or a romantic retreat. This gorgeous manor is one of the United Kingdom’s first, and most intimate hotels. It has just 32 uniquely designed rooms, but it’s a breathtaking place you won’t want to leave for days on end. And, considering the fact they have some of the best food on site that makes even the world’s top chefs blush, you might not need to go off property for anything but sightseeing.
Chania Balos Beach in Crete
Move over Santorini, this might just be the new Greek hot spot for lovers on holiday. Chania Balos Beach in Crete is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece. From the hills above the beach it looks like a lagoon, and its white sand, soft seabed and crystal waters provide some of the most picturesque views imaginable.
Prague, Czech Republic
Though it may surprise you, many folks consider the capital of the Czech Republic to be one of the most romantic places on the planet. By day wander around amazing attractions such as Prague Castle and the St. Nicolas Cathedral. During the evening, you can enjoy a peaceful walk around winding cobblestone avenues lit by subtle road lights, cuddle in a horse-drawn carriage, or take a boat ride at sunset down the Vltava River while soaking in the rich environment.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
As we round out this list of romantic destinations to bring back some spark, we couldn’t leave out the winter wonderland of St. Moritz in Switzerland. Located in the Swiss Alps sits this amazing ski town featuring adrenaline inducing slopes, panoramic views, bobsledding, casinos, nightclubs and more. You’ll quickly see why St. Moritz is called the number one winter playground of international jet setters. Spend the days on powdered mountains, and then spend the nights enjoying delicious cuisine and snuggles by the fire.
To find your perfect destination for romance (or just a winter getaway with friends or family), just give us a call at: (913) 244-9195.
Visiting Europe is no longer a distant dream to most people because the place has opened up to tourists in more ways than one can imagine. When making plans to visit, however, many folks haven't the slightest clue where to begin in terms of designing their itineraries, sites to see, places to eat, etc…
Enter the escorted European Tour! These guided tours are created just for you and your unique needs, and they are designed to handle the logistics and confusion that can often come with planning a vacation. Every possible detail will be taken care of from your attraction reservations to your transportation, even your dinner plans be they exotic or a simple nearby cafe. All you have to do is show up and enjoy the sights and sounds of the vast and beautiful continent while the professionals take care of the complexities...
Believe it or not, escorted tours can save you time and money as well. Rather than risking paying price gouged tourists rates, you will not only find the best deals possible within your budget, but you'll have an advocate on your side that can work with your schedule often securing reservations that might not even be available to the general public. These tour guides are well trained and knowledgeable professionals who are familiar with the history and customs of the land. These professionals will explain the history behind famous tourist spots and even take you to lesser known places where you can enjoy the moment of peace and tranquility. With a guide, you can see Europe through the eyes of a native who knows his way around every town and stories that make this land so great.
Imagine for just a moment having every detail of your journey planned for you: no last-minute mix-ups, no miscommunication, no maps, being safe and secure with a group that does this regularly and having an entire vacation that runs smoothly without any hiccups. Doesn't this sound like a real vacation to you? They do all the work and you are just along for the ride! And, the best part is there are a vast variety of escorted tours available in pretty much every European destination you can think of!
Just some of the escorted tours available include:
Want to learn more about the escorted tours available to you?
Give Destinations HD a call at (913) 244-9195 today! Experiences Await...
Italy is considered on of the most romantic countries in the world. From the canals of Venice to the sunsets of Tuscany, Italy is one of those special destinations that has folks form all over the world traveling here for the perfect lover's getaway. With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the cities of Italy and explore what it is about them that makes couples swoon.
Rome lives up to its name when it comes to romance. This is because it mixes history with a touch of the modern to create a perfect blend of old and new. Taken in the sights of the Colosseum by day and enjoy elegant candlelit dinners and dancing under the moonlight. Rome also provides high culture entertainment with lovely orchestral music as well as plays of ancient lovers such as queen Cleopatra and the Roman general Mark Anthony.
Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is renowned for its elegant canals that separate the city's 117 small islands that rest on a marshy lagoon. Due to tightly squeezed roads transport in the city is largely done by taxi boats, bicycles and on foot all which are perfect activities for couples looking to experience romantic travel in a place without noisy vehicles and traffic jams. Couples can admire art that emerged from the Italian Renaissance period as well as visit historical sights like the location of the congress of Vienna that ended Napoleon's wars.
The serene beauty of Sicily was best captured in the movie The Godfather when protagonist Michael Corleone fell in love there and married a local woman. There is an agelessness to this Mediterranean island that captures the hearts of couples who enjoy nature and a sense of mystery. Sicily has its own unique culture of architecture, cuisine and music. The warm Mediterranean climate is perfect for swimming and relaxing on nice sandy beaches with no worry in the world.
Then again, nothing says romance quite like a trip to Tuscany. Couples from all over the world visit Tuscany annually to escape stressful modern life to yesteryear where life is much simpler and relaxing. Roads are made of cobblestone, vineyards stretch for miles and a lot of buildings were put up centuries ago to create a sense of rich history and awe. Some of the worlds greatest artists and sculptures lived in Tuscany as well. For example Giotto, Giovanni Fattori and famous painter Cimabue. Their beautiful works remain to this day and can be enjoyed by anyone who vacations there.
The Amalfi Coast is popular with celebrities and couples looking to spend time on the beach watching beautiful sunsets, swimming in the ocean and taking romantic boat rides. The Amalfi Coast also features a gorgeous backdrop of mountains that seem to reach the clouds as well as old villages filled with locals eager to tell mythical stories of their past.
Piedmont is located in the Northwestern part of the country and offers couples a nice view of mountain ranges that form part of the alps as well as ancient castles and majestic palaces. Piedmont is perfect for couples visiting Italy who would prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of major cities like Rome in preference of the serenely isolated rugged beauty in the country side.
Finally, there's Naples, the perfect vacation spot for young couples more interested in excitement rather than relaxation. Located in the southern part of Italy, Naples' streets are ever filled with friendly Italians and the night-scene is pretty lively with a few cool nightclubs. Close proximity to the ocean means couples can easily go for a swim or just enjoy the sun laying on the beach.
Are you ready for your romantic Italian getaway? Call us today at (913) 244-9195
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.
Can you imagine anything more romantic than a road trip with the one you love? No? Okay - what about a road trip on the Emerald Isle? An Irish road trip is the ideal romantic getaway for couples and I'd like to share with you why this should be your next lover's escape!
Longest road trip in the world
A road trip from Donegal to Cork and you have officially gone on the longest single road route in the world. Along the Wild Atlantic Way you'll enjoy upwards of 150 landmarks. The scenery will be stunning and the coastline awe-inspiring. Take your time over several days so that you can see as much on the route as possible.
It's a camper's paradise
RV and camping enthusiasts will love the trip. Travel to the Dingle Peninsula and it will feel as though you've made it to the spot where the world ends. At Dunmore Head you'll find yourself at the westernmost point of Europe’s main land. The astounding coastline could stir romance into any two love birds a midst the glorious sunsets. Then, once the moon is shining take advantage if the still of the night sleeping under the stars after a stroll along the beach.
Live out some movie romance
Wicklow Mountains National Park is the perfect place for a stroll with your partner. The array of nature’s gifts on display here will all but leave you speechless. You'll feel as though you've stepped onto the set of a romantic flick. Because of this it probably won't surprise you that romantic scenes have been shot here including a scene from the Valentine's Day film “P.S. I Love you” where Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank's character have their first encounter. Re-create your perfect romantic scene and fall in love all over again.
Take your love to the royal level
The enchanted castles of Ireland will have you and your prince or princess swooning in no time. Castle Leslie, Ballynahinch Castle, Johnstown Castle and Ross Castle are just a few among the many medieval charms that await.
Well, you won't want it to end anyway. The beauty of such a road trip is that the adventure is a creation of your own. The Irish landscape is endowed with features that will not let you down. Whether you stop on the way for a quick meal at a fabulous eatery or to see a coastline attraction, you can rest assured that on this trip, you are bound to have many memorable moments.
Want to learn more about the Irish adventures that await you? Give us a call at 913-244-9195
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
Destinations HD is a different, better kind of travel agency that offers a one-of-a-kind travel planning service!