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.
Happy New Year! We’ve had a lot to celebrate here at Destinations HD – 2018 marked our best year yet, thanks to all of you and your referrals, which has led to our boutique agency being nominated in the TOP THREE for "Travel Company of the Year" in the Kansas City area!
While we can’t wait to get dolled up for the Awards Gala announcing the finalist on January 26 (fingers crossed), we have something else to share with you. Destinations HD is proud to announce the addition of a new service we now provide...
Pick My Brain Travel Service
Working with Destinations HD, ensures you get a tailor-made travel experience with each detail personalized to what YOU need, want and desire from your precious time away. However, as we have grown, and travel has become more readily available – and affordable – to a wider number of people, we’ve noticed an increase in both spontaneous and research based travelers.
These are the people who either spend hours poring over reviews and forums to determine just what they want OR the people who don’t know what they want and like to have more flexibility while they are away. Less itinerary and more “seize the day” type vacations.
This is where our new service comes in – Pick My Brain! We offer this new service to those who know they want a travel advisor in their corner, but don’t necessarily want all of the bells and whistles of our travel planning concierge expertise.
To these clients, we offer the following as part of our new service with trusted and expert advice:
We are excited to be able to offer this new service to our loyal clients, old and new, and can’t wait to get started helping you create memories to last a lifetime! Call us to discuss your travel plans and see how we can assist you! (913) 244-9195 #experiencesawait #destinationshd
I hope you have been enjoying the holiday season thus far. I can't believe this year is almost over!!
Recently, I have received a lot of questions regarding passports and travel requirements, and with the most recent event of a couple getting kicked off their cruise in South Korea for not having the proper documentation (which you can read the article online here) - I thought it was a good idea to address a few details regarding Passport Laws...
Now that you’ve chosen your destination there’s no stopping you from day-dreaming your way through the work week about the imminent travel bliss that will soon be yours. But take note, before you go packing three bathing suits because you can’t pick just one, now is the time to talk about the not-so-fun stuff that could ruin your entire vacation – or stop it from happening altogether.
Before You Leave
Odds are, you already know that you need a passport to travel internationally and to reenter the United States. What you may not know, is that many countries have strict regulations on entering and exiting their country when your passport is close to its expiration date. As an example, if your passport expires within six months of travel, you won’t be able to enter St. Lucia, Italy, Canada, Mexico and many others. Additionally, if your passport expires within three months of your departure for the U.S. from France, you won’t be able to leave the country at all. While getting stuck in France indefinitely and taking up a new life as a French fashion icon might sound fun, it might not work out so perfectly in reality. Passport restrictions are different depending on the destination you’re visiting, which is why you definitely need to be educated before you go!
So, what could really go wrong? You’re not a criminal and you have a certified passport, so whatever hiccup occurs could certainly be easily fixed, right? Not quite. Not adhering to a countries passport laws could cost you quite a lot of money and in the worst-case scenario could result in you being detained in a foreign place, unable to return home until you can get a passport renewal expedited. It is your own responsibility to know the regulations of the country you are traveling to. Otherwise, when you arrive you may learn some devastating news.
Also be aware of the layovers you may have in countries other than your destination because you are also going to be held accountable for that countries passport laws too, even if you don’t leave the airport. If one place requires three months to consider your passport valid, but your connecting flight requires six you could get stuck in limbo.
When you renew a passport or apply for a new one, a routine application can take up to six weeks to process – and that’s if there are no discrepancies or errors with your documentation. You can pay for “rush” processing, but the expedited fee isn’t cheap and you will still wait around three weeks, unless you pay even more and go through a third-party agency.
As if the ins and outs of passport laws and customs weren’t overwhelming enough, you also need to have an understanding about the actual laws of the country you are visiting. For example, several countries place restrictions on entry towards people who have a criminal conviction. Passengers without proper documentation, or that fail to meet destination requirements, can be denied entry at the destination and won’t be entitled to a refund or future credit. Do not pass “Go”, do not collect $200. On top of how stressful that would be, you’d also still have to coordinate your flight home – and bear in mind, most of us tend to buy tickets that can only be used on the dates we purchased them for, so that new ticket home would have at your own expense.
It would be terrible to ruin your well-deserved vacation by getting stuck in another country and having to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on unexpected additional travel costs, so take the measures to make sure that doesn’t happen.
You can find out everything you need to know about the destination you’re visiting and its passport laws via The Department of State’s Passport Services website and by talking to your travel professional.
Visa requirements are another process and should also be considered depending on the country you will be traveling. Before you make the travel plans, ensure you have enough time and will meet the requirements to obtain a Visa before your trip.
Take a tip from the above couple in the article who was kicked off their dream vacation, and hire a professional travel agent that will ensure you know before you go - don't let this happen to you on your next adventure!
Ready to explore the world? Call Destinations HD to discuss your travel plans and see how we can assist you! (913) 244-9195
In the Spirit of the Holidays...
We seem to all get along better and open our hearts to each other during this season. It would be so lovely to keep that going all year, which brings me to my topic today...
Living in the 21st century requires being open-minded. The best way to become so is to meet as many different people and experience as many cultures as you can. All of which can be achieved while traveling. Traveling helps you broaden your perspective, and gain new skills.
You pick up foreign language phrases, become more communicative, and create some amazing memories - usually while having a blast. If you understand the true power of travel, you know that seeing places you've never been to before, out-values all the material things you could ever purchase. Travel allows you to invest in yourself and your life experience, which is certainly more important than owning the latest iPhone or other luxury goods.
Nowadays, due to the internet and social media, we get the feeling that the world is smaller than it actually is. It's easy to connect with people from every corner of the globe. We see their problems, world-views, life philosophies and get the impression of understanding them.
But social media statuses from other countries, compared with the actual awareness you obtain from traveling to them, are two very different things. While traveling, you physically see different countries and how they live, meet other people, learn about cultures and customs, and can have empathy for them.
You see things that you usually don't in your home life, which helps you change yourself and your world perception. You get to know other people's true lifestyle and perspective, and maybe let them become a part of your own.
Also, when traveling, you constantly test your comfort zone, and personal boundaries. There are many problems that you could face while being in an unknown place. For example, you could find yourself in a situation when there are no English speakers, and you have to find a creative solution to communicate.
On the more negative end - somebody could steal your money, or you could miss a plane or bus and have to scramble to figure out what to do next. Knowing how to deal with things like this can carry over into your daily life, providing with innovative ways of handling situations you may encounter.
If you don’t change anything, nothing ever changes. Hence, you need to change your daily activities, and routine. Traveling teaches you to be more patient, kind, and helps you think out of the box. It changes you for the better, and makes you grow as a person.
You’ll witness first hand that people are inherently good, and most people in the world want the same things you do. They want to be happy, and to see their families survive and thrive. They want their children to grow up, fall in love, and have families of their own. You’ll also see that you may be more privileged than you previously thought.
When you start traveling, you may find you can't get enough. You’ll want to see more, as frequently as possible. You’ll learn to appreciate the moment, and everything else becomes less important. Social media and the demands of our typical days fade away, and you develop a desire to deeply explore, and focus on the things in front of you.
In the past, traveling was reserved for the upper class. These days, anyone can travel. The world is big, and there are so many interesting things to see. There are so many life lessons waiting to be learned. Make the opportunities happen. Make your travel dreams, reality. Explore. Soak in new experiences. Create some life-lasting memories, and grow as a person.
Ready to explore the world, and change your views? Call Destinations HD, at (913) 244-9195 today!
I was recently preparing for my adventure in Costa Rica and realized I was quickly running out of time to get everything done. I got super busy a couple weeks before, between life and work and I procrastinated more than usual, making my week before a fun vacation, much more stressful than it needed to be.
Because of my experience, I wanted to check in and have you ask yourself: Are you prepared for your next trip?
Unfortunately, for many people (including myself), the answer is no. Why? Because it’s more than just packing a bag, and taking off. It’s okay though, I have you covered! Below are a few things you simply cannot forget to do before you travel. Hopefully, it will inspire you to create a to-do list before your next trip, so you can relax knowing everything has been taken care of...
Here’s what you need to do before you leave:
There are several more items that could be added to this list. Like I said at the beginning though, the goal is to get you thinking about the things you need to do before your next trip.
Speaking of trips - I hope when you’re ready to book your next getaway, you think of Destinations HD! Just call (913) 244-9195 and let us handle the logistics so you can just enjoy yourself and explore the world!
It's always a good time for a reminder on the importance to slow down and enjoy the moments living life. Build those special memories before they pass you by! This is also so true with the vacations you plan...
Consider for a moment what the purpose of a vacation is. It’s to rejuvenate and renew. Still, a tale that has become a sad trend these days, is travelers coming home exhausted, if not more exhausted than when they left for their vacation in the first place.
Here’s why: They leave to these new and exciting destinations and want to cram as much as they can into their getaway. The fear of missing out takes over and before they know it, they have an itinerary so packed that sleep is lost because rest takes a backseat to the “thrill” of seeing something new. With that in mind, here are some things to consider so you can enjoy your vacation fully, and come home refreshed:
1. Be cautious of the tourist traps
Not everything that a destination offers is right for you. In fact, you might find that doing some of them is boring, or even uninteresting to you. For example, if everyone swears you have to visit the museums of a city, but you loathe museums, why put yourself through the torture?
Don’t do every activity available at the traps either. For example, if you want to go the popular beaches, that’s all well and good. But, but do you really need to plan every activity possible while there? Instead of jet skiing, and an evening cruise, and snorkeling, and intro to scuba diving, and all the other things you could schedule, why not pick one or two and leave the rest of your itinerary open?
2. Don’t try to see every city in a 20-mile radius
Just because you are visiting one city in a country, doesn’t mean you need to try and do excursions to all the cities that are surrounding it. Even a visitor to Disney World couldn’t see the whole park and get the “full Disney experience” in a day or two. Therefore, trying to see all of an entire city in one day, and then another the next, and another the next will leave you tired and missing most of the best aspects of each destination.
Give yourself time in one destination to check out the cool coffee shop that all the locals visit. Or delve further away from the tourist spots and tap into the true flavor of the space, rather than the “expected” hot spots.
Besides, it’s important to keep in mind that all the traveling from city to city is going to take up precious vacation time. So stop stressing about trying to cross off more destinations from your bucket list, and give yourself a chance to truly enjoy the surroundings and culture.
3. If you want to destination hop, make it a faster trip, or a better one
For example, if you simply can’t stand the thought of only seeing one country on your trip, in lieu of driving or taking a train, take a flight. Flying to Paris from Rome is 2 hours, but driving will take 14 hours or more. And, a train isn’t that much shorter at 11 hours. Then again, if you insist on a train ride from one destination to the next, at least get one that will be scenic, and relaxing. In other words, instead of taking a train ride at night, take one during the day with a window seat so you can see all the sights along the route.
4. Don’t plan an activity for every hour of the day
Leave several empty spaces in your schedule to avoid stress and overwhelm. Avoid trying to see every landmark too. A better choice is to pick between one and three hot spots you really want to see and leave wiggle room for the rest.
Besides, travel never goes exactly as we plan for it too. Long lines at tourist spots, and transportation between places that takes more time than you thought it would - these are two things alone that can cause many people to begin panicking that they are going over the time they have allotted for the experiences on their itinerary.
Don’t forget the time you lose if you get lost trying to find your way around. I have personally been lost in many major cities trying to find my way - which can end up as one of the best and most fun travel memories! Therefore, give yourself time for those unexpected detours that may lead you to something more enjoyable.
Bottom line - the more free time you give yourself on your trip, the more you will enjoy yourself.
Remember, the whole point of a vacation is to calm down, and take things slow. Recharge your batteries, don’t burn them out. Don't try to squeeze too much into your trip. If you’re going to hustle to the point of exhaustion, you could have stayed home and gone to work instead.
When you are ready to plan your next adventure - call Destinations HD (913) 244-9195! Let us handle the logistics so you can just enjoy yourself and explore the world!
It's almost been a month since my Mexico trip to scout resorts and I'm already trying to figure out my next getaway. Reality is just not as fun, is it?! :)
There is a saying that goes something like, “Travel is the only thing you spend money on, that makes you richer.” The trouble is most people spend too much time wondering if they can travel, when they should be wandering the planet instead! Travel has so many benefits including the fact it can improve your mental, physical, emotional and even your spiritual health.
Are you curious if you can travel more? Today, we’ll explore exactly how you can add more travel experiences to your life faster than you may have thought possible...
Stop Wondering and Start Wandering...
How to Travel More
The first thing people think of when it comes to traveling, is money. With that in mind, here are some money saving tips you can use to travel more:
With our daily careers and work life, some people find it very difficult to set time aside for travelling. However, you can still travel more by:
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 can't believe it's almost summer - where did this year go to already?! With the upcoming graduations, mother's day, father's day, etc... I thought it would be a great time to think about gifts that will make a lasting impression.
Whether it’s for graduation, an anniversary, or some other occasion, these days "experiences" matter more to gift recipients than things. Sure, you can buy expensive jewelry, ties, or clothes, and your recipients may like it. The trouble is those gifts may sit in the drawer more often than worn. Instead, how about arranging a special vacation to create memories that will last a lifetime? If you can't afford a trip, make it as simple as just getting them a passport and having them think of the endless possibilities they can explore and they can plan something on their own!
Travel Is Better Than Stuff
Travel is memorable and gives pleasure that simply can’t be created from commercial goods. The truth is most people can’t remember gifts that were given to them for any given occasion, regardless of how much money you spent on them. But, ask them about trips they have been on, and they will likely be able to tell you with unbelievable accuracy the details of that trip!
Stuff comes and goes, memories are there forever. Traveling gives us stories to tell, and inspires new dreams within us. Travel helps us to share experiences in a way objects cannot.
Travel Yields Deeper Bonds
Consider for a moment what happens when you give the gift of an object. You hand it to the recipient. They may or may not light up with joy in the moment, but then it’s over. You have nothing further to discuss other than a comment if they wear it or use it from time to time.
Now consider what happens when you go on a trip... You can plan it together. You can visit the various sites together. You share the views, the culture, the food, etc... You’re experiencing the trip together. Then, when you get back you have memories to call upon together. It’s not a one-sided experience anymore. It’s something you can truly bond over.
As we travel and interact with new things, we are mentally stimulated. We ask more questions. We feel more engaged. We feel present in the moment, and more excited to be with those we’re experiencing the trip with.
Now, I know what you may be thinking - what if you give the gift of travel to someone, and you’re not going on the trip with them? You’ll still enjoy many benefits that you wouldn’t get to have with gifts of objects. For example:
Would you like help creating the perfect travel gift? Just call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 today and see how we can. We even offer travel gift certificates!
I am currently on an adventure in Europe... and I always get so excited to explore foreign lands, as I love learning about other cultures and our history!! It gets me thinking how powerful travel can be when it comes to meeting new people and discovering new experiences.
Does travel create better humans? That's the exact question that a study by Contiki tours recently posed. The company believes that “life's greatest lessons are learned through travel.” Therefore, it's no surprise that this company decided to do this study to prove what they believe. Below you'll find some of the results of their research, and it may just inspire you to take your children on a trip abroad sometime this year!
What Contiki Concluded From Their Study:
People who travel tend to have higher self-esteem, and are more willing to think outside of the box when it comes to how to solve problems. Those who travel also have better satisfaction in their relationships. They’re more likely to seek out new friendships, and tend to donate more time and money to their communities than non-travelers.
Bottom line: Travel helps make for more well-rounded individuals. And, when you start traveling from a young age, you are better able to cement these positive traits within yourself. However, you don’t have to take our word, or Contiki’s word for it. You can test out these positive conclusions for yourself simply by adding more travel to your life.
Call Destinations HD at (913) 244-9195 today. We’ll help you design the perfect trip to expand your mind, and open you up to the positive power of travel!
Destinations HD is a different, better kind of travel agency that offers a one-of-a-kind travel planning service!