Between all the summer activities, getting ready for the upcoming school year, and the insane holiday season just around the corner, thinking about planning your next vacation may feel a bit overwhelming right now. However, if you plan to travel this winter or upcoming Spring Break, it's important to get reservations made as soon as possible before prices continue to increase and availability becomes more scarce.
Below are some simple tips for taking the stress out of travel...
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.
Let's discuss how to avoid this...
Plan your travel early. Time goes by so fast these days, and in a blink of an eye you only have a couple months left to figure out your travel plans. By then, the best accommodations are full, the good flight schedules are sold out or no longer have seats together, and prices tend to be higher.
I see this too often and many people end up no longer traveling because the price has increased so much more since I quoted them months prior. There is a common misconception that waiting until the last minute offers the best deals. This use to be true many years ago, but hasn't been the case for a long time. Don't forgo your vacation because you waited too long to book. Everyone needs a break and you will find the best deals by making your arrangements well in advance.
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.
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. Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195.
As the new domestic air travel regulations get closer for many of us (some states already have this requirement), I want to take the time to discuss what the REAL ID Act is and make sure you know that it will soon be required for ALL domestic flights.
Believe it or not, your state issued driver’s license will no longer be enough to get you on an airplane. With the implementation of the REAL ID Act, you will need an additional mark on your identification to fly anywhere - even within the United States.
So, what is the REAL ID Act, and how soon do you need to worry about it? I’ll answer these questions and more below:
What is REAL ID?
Per the Department of Homeland Security Website, the REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 by Congress to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.”
It is effectively an upgrade to your driver’s license or state-issued identification card. The idea behind this act is to make it more difficult for terrorists and other criminals to gain access to federal agencies and facilities, or a commercial aircraft.
“Starting October 1, 2020, every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft's. This is what is call ‘card-based’ enforcement.
The card itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport. The Act does not require individuals to present identification where it is not currently required to access a Federal facility (such as to enter the public areas of the Smithsonian) nor does it prohibit an agency from accepting other forms of identity documents other than documents from non-compliant states (such as a U.S. passport or passport card).”
You May Already Have a REAL ID Driver’s License/ ID Card
Some states have already begun implementing the REAL ID Act. You can tell if your license or identification card is REAL ID compliant by finding a gold or black star in the top right corner of it. However, not all facilities have added these stars to their driver’s licenses - even those that are supposed to have already added this security measure. To make things even more confusing, some states have been granted permission to use a symbol different from a gold or black star. Check with your state to find out what their symbol is, and whether or not your driver’s license/state-issued identification is compliant.
Without a REAL ID compliant identification card, flying may be difficult soon
When October 1, 2020 arrives, if your license or identification card does not have the compliant marking, you will not be unable to board a plane, enter federal areas, and/or be unable to gain access to military bases.
Want to learn more about the REAL ID Act? These links may help you out:
-- REAL ID Act general information
-- FAQs about The REAL ID Act
-- TSA List of Acceptable Documents
Before the summer gets away from you, don't forget to get your winter vacations planned NOW before rates get even higher and space sells out! Just give us a call to start discussing your vacation plans. Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195.
It's always a good time to revisit some safety tips for keeping your home safe while you are off enjoying your trips! When you are traveling it's a good idea to take the necessary precautions to ensure your property and possessions are protected when you are away.
Here are just of few of those precautions you can take...
Hire a House Sitter
The presence of a house sitter can deter potential robbers because most robberies tend to occur when homes are vacant for more than a couple of days. If you don't hire a house sitter, at least have a neighbor keep an eye on the home. Have them collect mail and newspapers as well so that it's not abundantly obvious no one is home.
Leave the Place Organized and Lawn Manicured
If an intruder peeks in your window you don't want them to see your luggage that you didn't use stacked and the mess strewn about from where you packed in a hurry. This could allow them to speculate you're away. Cut your lawn right before you leave and if you will be gone a while, consider hiring someone to cut it while you're out.
Lock Away your Valuable Items
Money and high-cost items like jewelry, computers, television sets, digital cameras etc, are the main targets for criminals. Even if you don't clean your place completely before you leave, at least be sure that these items are not visible. In fact, consider locking your valuables in a safe and placing it in a concealed location to make your valuables difficult to find. This way, if someone does break in they will be less likely to get your good stuff. And, if you do have a safe, take the keys to it with you on your vacation.
Don't use Social Media to Announce Your Departure
Announcing your departure publicly on social media is a great way to tell would-be burglars that you're space will be empty. As tempting as it may be, don't do it! If you simply must state you're leaving for a trip, at least tag a relative/friend/neighbor with a “Thanks for house sitting post!” even if it's not true. Just remember, when you post that you will be away, the news could be seen by the wrong people that are not so trustworthy.
Consider Threats Such as Fire/ Natural Disasters as Well.
Although it's unlikely anything horrible will happen while you are away, it's not a bad idea to unplug all electrical appliances before you leave and even kick a few breakers to prevent the chance of electrical sparks that could start a fire. You can also shut off your water to prevent frozen and bursting pipes (seasonal). While you're at it, make sure your home owner's/ renter's insurance premiums are up to date. This way if something were to happen while you're away, you won't have to worry about whether or not there was a lapse in service.
All of this may seem like overkill, but like all things, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Haven't planned your summer getaway, but ready to get away?! Give us a call to discuss your plans! Book your consultation or call (913) 244-9195. I'll help you design the perfect vacation for your needs!
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.
One of our biggest new trends we've been selling more often these past few years is River Cruising (mostly European River Cruises).
This experience is also one of my personal favorite ways to explore the more remote and charming towns of Europe without having to unpack and figure out how to get around on my own. Sometimes you just need less stress on vacation, and when you still want to see as much as you can - this is a great way to get around and visit multiple countries.
What is better than enjoying a unique and adventurous river cruise one of the many rivers in Europe? Cruising for FREE!! Am I right?! Traveling as a group can be a wonderful thing and an amazing trip. I have five reasons your next river cruise should be done as a group...
Many river cruises offer discount for groups saving you money. For example, a group of 10 (that's just 5 rooms 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 the cruise line!
2. Safety In Numbers
When traveling in an unfamiliar place, it’s safer and your feel more confident when traveling with a group. It's always nice to feel safer and more 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 the criminals tend to go after 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.
Bringing a group with you is sure to make your trip even more memorable! Now is the time to start planning for your Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 River Cruise experiences to ensure space is available for everyone. Let's discuss the different cruise options and experiences you can expect on the various brands to determine which one is right for you! Book your consultation or call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195.
One of the most common questions I receive, is how to make a vacation more affordable. The truth is we all want to travel like celebrities on even the smallest of budgets. So how can we get a luxury travel experience with a not so luxurious price tag? The easiest way to save money is to book ahead of time!
Why Planning in Advance is the Best Way to Make Luxury Travel More Affordable?
When you book ahead of time, you are more likely to enjoy:
1. Early booking promotions which could include:
The longer you put off booking your travel, the faster the cheap accommodations and transportation will fill up. The quality options and best schedules are first to go. It's kind of like if you want to go to the popular restaurant in town, a reservation is recommended if you hope to get a table Friday night. You'll need to book your reservation as soon as possible, or you probably won't be able to get in and have to settle for something else you don't want.
Book With a Travel Agent to Maximize Savings:
At the risk of sounding self-serving, another way to make luxury travel more affordable, is to book with a travel agent. There are some deals that are simply not online, or even available to the general public. When you work with Destinations HD, you get access to the insider secrets for the best deals on flights and hotels you might not be able to find anywhere else.
For example, let's say you want a 7-day trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We might know of a new resort that is going to be open by the time of your trip. As a result we might be able to get you a discounted room in celebration of the grand opening. That's the benefit of working with a reputable travel agent. We keep up with the travel news that most people not working in the industry won't be aware of.
Believe it or not, your luxury travel experience might not be as expensive as you expect. Book your consultation today for a stress-free vacation experience. We’ll help you design a vacation that meets your needs and budget!
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.
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.
Destinations HD is a different, better kind of travel agency that offers a one-of-a-kind travel planning service!