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Molokai the Friendly Isle

Molokai, known as the Friendly Isle, is the 5th largest Island and home to the longest continuous fringing reef, at 28 miles long. This is a perfect place for scuba diving and snorkeling where you will see natural “finger” coral. The adventure traveler will love this island as it is absent of attractions and commercial activity.

At 38 Miles long and 10 miles wide, this island makes it easy to discover the jungles, and some of the most remote parts of Hawaii. Visit Halawa Valley on the east end and you will not be disappointed by the breathtaking vistas and cascading waterfalls including Mooula Falls.

Beaches on Molokai are beautiful but not necessarily the best place for swimming. Despite their wonderful views, the current can be strong and most beaches do not have lifeguards. The beaches welcome picnics which can provide for a great afternoon.

Home to a historic coconut grove in Kaunakakai is a must see on this island. It was planted in the 1860’s during the reign of King Kamehameha V. Watch out for falling coconuts!

You may want to just take a peek at the island by taking a helicopter from Maui for a fly over this island full of nature. Even though this is a great option you may miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in historic, beautiful natural locations of this great island.

Traveling with Autism | Make Vacation Fun Again

Planning for a vacation is typically an exciting time for a family.  They are looking forward to time spent together at their destination, plenty of activities to experience, the food etc., and few expect any challenges to get in the way.  But for some families, vacation planning is stressful and something to be avoided all together.  Those families may not think vacationing is an option for them because someone in the family is on the Autism Spectrum and trying to plan a trip to accommodate them is overwhelming.

As a Certified Autism Travel Professional I would like those families to know that I’m here to serve them and make vacation planning enjoyable and stress-free.  Every family deserves some time to bond, create memories and share a destination without having to worry about how a family member on the spectrum is going to cope, because the details have already been taken care of.  With one in 68 children in the US today diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum Disorder according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it’s important to me to be able to provide a vacation experience that is memorable for those families.

I’ve been specially trained to work with these families by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) and together we can make vacationing a possibility.  Each person on the Spectrum has different needs, different triggers etc.  By working with the family to learn what those are I can then work to find destinations, vendors and resources that will enable me to present options.

For instance, did you know that it’s possible to take a “practice run” through security at the airport for those that might be prone to sensory overload and where change is hard?  Alerting TSA ahead of time is also an option.  Certain companies such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Beaches Family Resorts are even Autism certified, making a trip with them that much easier on a family.

YOU deserve to work with a Travel Professional who understands the challenges you face and I’m here to help you.  I hope you will contact me, so we can work together to create a lifetime of memories.

 

Blogger, Traveler, Wife, Runner….I’m known as many different things.  But I’m here to be your Travel Professional.  Ever since I was a little girl I had an interest in travel. I would collect the postcards books that my grandparents brought back to me from their travels and I kept them in a special box that I loved to pull out and flip through. As I traveled with my family I started collecting postcards on my own and pictures, maps, and other mementos of my travels.

 

Believe it or not, I still have those postcards and every once in awhile I’ll bring them out and flip through smiling at the memories they bring back. Although I might not collect postcards anymore I collect photos, stories and information on my travels. I love to soak up a destination, reveling in the local food life. I absolutely love sharing my travel stories, foodie moments and special encounters.

Carrie@MustLoveTravel.com
(321) 323 – 9835

 

 

Lanai- “Hawaii’s Most Enticing Island”

Lanai is just 9 short miles away from Maui, but don’t let that fool you as Lanai has its own charm and personality and happens to be the smallest of the Hawaiian Islands. If you are one of those travelers that likes a little bit of being away from it all, here is where you want to be. There are no stoplights and only two hotels.

The accommodations are nothing short of spectacular. On the south side, you can stay at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai which overlooks Hulopoe Bay. This oceanside paradise is full of colorful reef fish and hosts protected species such as green sea turtles and spinner dolphins. Of course this is the perfect place for golfing at one of the two world-ranked courses. The second Hotel is the Hotel Lanai, Hawaii’s Best Little Inn. As a historic landmark in Lanai City, it was best known as the hotel for the Dole Plantation Executives. All the rooms in this laid back hotel, feature original art by local artist Mike Carroll. It is small, with only 11 guest rooms, but very special for visitors wanting to step back in time.

There are some great activities besides golfing visitors can do on Lanai. You can visit the Lanai Adventure Center near- by the Four Seasons Hotel where you can explore. Guided UTV tours are available as well as horseback riding. At the Lanai Ocean Sports you can depart from Manele Small Boat Harbor and snorkel, whale watch, watch the sunset and dive. This makes for a great activity day if you are going to even just spend the day at Lanai.

Beaches, and dining are not forgotten on this tiny island. You will find the local mom and pop shops as well as your luxury dining at the resorts. Polihua Beach is very secluded and off the beaten path on the North Shore. From this advantage point you can see Diamond Head on Oahu island. Hulopoe Bay is named on of America’s best beaches. This is perfect for beach goers as you have a picnic area with grills and restrooms with showers.

You can plan your stay on Lanai or if you are staying on Maui head over on the Maui-Lanai Ferry which crosses over 5 times a day every day.

They Valley Isle — Maui

Maui is Hawaii’s second largest island. I don’t think any traveler has not had Maui on their bucket list. We often hear of its beautiful beaches, watching the sunrise from Haleakala, wonderful food, and amazing scenery. Maui has 5 distinct regions, Central Maui, East Maui, South Maui, West Maui and the Upcountry.

The Upcountry is a not to miss hot spot! Haleakala National Park, known as the “house of the sun” is amazing. It’s name comes from an old legend that says there was once a demigod who lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last longer. The Haleakala Crater is 10,023 feet above sea level, which hails visitors to trek to this spot to watch the most spectacular sunrise on the earth. For more hints on viewing the sunrise talk to your Must Love Travel Planner. To view this you will need to make reservations!

Central Maui, at the Kahului Airport, is where you will land when arriving to this wonderful island. As with most of Hawaii’s islands, this is where you can view a variety of the culture and get a feel for the locals. Wailuku hosts wonderful charming wooden storefronts around the Market Street area. The first Friday of every month celebrated the local arts and culture. This street party is held from 6-9PM..

Grab your surfboard and head to west Maui, Honolua Bay! During the winter is the best time to find those big and powerful waves. This is for the pros – but exciting to watch from the bluffs above the bay. If you are not a pro and want to take advantage of learning how to surf or do some diving, you can come in the summer months when things are a big calmer.

In the mood for a refreshing swim? East Maui is home to the Pools of Oheo, also called the Seven Sacred Pools. They are located in the Oheo Gulch area of the Haleakala National Park and will cost $10.00 for a car to enter the park or you can get a 3 day pass for $15. Take a drive toward Hana and stop along the way to experience fresh local seafood, gardens, beaches and more.

Winding out your stay on Maui, you may want to hit the golf course in Wailea. This amazing luxury resort area is located in the sunniest area of Maui and spans over 1,500 acres of land.
Five luxury hotels, including the Four Seasons Resort Maui give way to staying in style while enjoying the beautiful beaches, or great afternoon at the pool or spa visit. Wailea is home to events such as the Maui Film Festival and February’s Whale Week.

#MustLoveTravelHawaii #MustLoveTravelPlanners

The Garden Island – Kauai

There are 5 regions to the island of Kauai. It is one of the oldest and northmost island in Hawaii. This island is known for tropical rainforest, wonderful cliffs and rivers with amazing waterfalls. If you want to have more of an adventurous vacation you will not want to miss the many outdoor activites Kauai has to offer. There are trails in Kokee State Park, kayaking on Wailua river and dive into the ocean for great snorkeling on Poipu Beach. The average temp year round is 69-84 degrees and the water temp is 71-81 degrees, so it is comfortable year round.

The North Shore Kauai, is rich with the beauty of all things natural. Mountains, beaches, cliffs will transport you into breathtaking views. Lumahai Beach for some will take you back to the famous film, “South Pacific” while Kee Beach is great for sunbathing. Ready for a hike or boat tour? You can venture to the Napali Coast which is a 17 mile stretch of coastline filled with cliffs, valleys and cascading waterfalls. If you want the best views take a helicopter or boat tour. The North shore is also famous for the upscale resort area of Princeville.

The East Side or the Coconut coast best suite its name with groves of coconut palms. This area too is great for hiking and a nice Kayak ride down the Wailua River. The beaches in this area are some of the best for families. There are two lava rock enclosed ocean pools that make it great for swimming and snorkeling. Opaekaa Falls is a 151 fool tall, 40 foot wide waterfall and makes for an incredible place to stop.

Lihue is where you will land at the Lihue airport when you venture to explore Kauai. It is the main commercial center of the island featuring culture and history. Kilohana, is a historic plantation estate and hosts a famous iconic luau. There is also a 100 acre sugar plantation founded in 1864. Tours are available by reservation Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and last 2 hours.

The South Shore is most known for its beaches around Poipu and Spouting Horn. For a day of history, visit Old Koloa Town just 20 mins from Lihue. You are welcomed into the town by a Tree Tunnel, a stretch of Maluhia Road lined with Eucalyptus trees. In 1835 this town opened its first sugar mill and opened the opportunity for many immigrants to make there way to Hawaii. You can check out the plantation buildings and discover great food and treats as you stroll through the town.

Finally, the West Side. Home of Kokee State Park, Waimea Canyon, and the valleys of the Napali Coast, the west side transports you to a whole different experience in Hawaii. This is where the locals don’t find too many tourist. Two great little towns to explore are Waimea and Hanapepe. Waimea Bay is where Captain James Cook first landed in 1778. The town celebrates this historic event. Seven Miles south is Hanapepe, the island’s art capital. There too are many shops and dining locations you won’t want to miss.

Explore, Immerse and Let Hawaii Happen!

The Heart of Hawaii

There are six islands that make up this wonderful state and each island has its own personality and desired experience. Besides the wonderful year round weather, tropical yumminess, Hawaii is full of wonderful places to visit.

In this post, I want to take you to the Heart of Hawaii –Oahu. There are 5 regions of Oahu which include, Honolulu, Central Oahu, Leeward Coast, North Shore and the Windward Coast. The island is a perfect mix of the ancient and the modern infused with the Hawaiian culture and experiences.

I plan to travel to Hawaii this fall, and Central Oahu has been on my bucket list for years! Pearl Harbor has its draw that any American would be proud to stand foot on. A moment in time that changed the course of history. Walking the harbor, hearing the stories from survivors, and taking it all in would be a moment no one could ever forget. Planning your day there will require reservations and great walking shoes! The Passport to Pearl Harbor will allow you to see it all.

Passport to Pearl Harbor Tours Include:

Attractions
Adults
Kids (4-12)

USS Arizona Memorial
Narrated Tour
$7.50
$7.50 

USS Bowfin Submarine and Park*
$15
$7

Pacific Aviation Museum
Pearl Harbor*
$25
$12

USS Battleship Missouri Memorial*
$29
$13

* Prices are subject to change


If you are more adventurous, the North Shore will transport you into the world of the surfer. You will want to go between November and February for the big waves, but don’t plan on riding those as they should be left for the professionals! During the rest of the year you will see a more calm ocean. Haliewi is a perfect little surfing town where you can shop, eat and enjoy! Not far down the road you can visit the Polynesian Cultural Center and the old plantation town of Kahuku.

Whale watching is another favorite among tourist. December to May you will find these beautiful Humpback Whales, however February is peak season. These whales are considered native to Hawaii as this is where the vast majority are born. For the Hawaiians these animals are treated with great respect.

ONO! A word you will use often. It means delicious. When you look at the culinary journey you will take on a visit to Hawaii you will be in heaven. Not only is Hawaii rich with their own flavors, but it is a melting pot for many of the worlds wonderful culinary treats. Don’t miss out on the local out of the way places and make sure you don’t pass on all of the street foods!

Rounding out a perfect stay on Oahu is to dive into Honolulu. With cultural arts, food and shopping you can explore for hours! Staying on the famous Waikiki Beach where with Luau’s and beautiful views will take you back in time, perhaps staying at the Moana Surfrider, Waikiki’s first hotel will offer the nostagia you might be looking for.

Stay tuned for more on Hawaii. More islands, in depth look at its culture and more!

Next…Kauai!

Returning to a Favorite… St. Clair Brown Winery

St. Clair Brown is an urban winery and brewery in the city of Napa. You’ll find tables and chairs located outside its quaint greenhouse and in the gardens itself. You can sample brews or wine, along with some tasty treats made from locally sourced ingredients and the on-site garden.


We were first introduced to St. Clair Brown a couple years ago during a small group tour to boutique wineries. We fell in love with atmosphere, the dedication to local ingredients, and the fact that the owners themselves were the ones to conduct our tasting. Having some time on a recent trip we decided to visit our favorite once again.
We were nervous to go back, because you know how sometimes, you remember things differently than they actually were. You have those rose colored glasses and then you go back and you can’t remember why you liked that place? I’m happy to report that was ABSOLUTELY NOT the case with St. Clair Brown. It was just as unassuming, friendly and tasty as we remembered. The staff greeted us warmly, inviting us to grab a seat wherever we wanted in the garden. Locals were perched around the area reading books, relaxing with friends, their dogs at their feet…always a good sign in my book!
We already knew we liked the wine, so we decided to try the beer flight this time. To accompany the 3 beers you see in the picture we ordered hummus and crackers. Again, remember that things are locally sourced and the chef puts her own spin on things. For instance, instead of using chickpeas for the hummus, she was using peanuts as a base, with lemon flavored olive oil from a local supplier. The first thing that hit your tongue and made it water was the flavor of the lemon and the finish was excellent.


The beer options did not disappoint. Typically my husband is not a stout fan if we’re in the States because of the heaviness of it. That was the whole point of the stout brewed here though…it was the taste without the full stomach feeling that you just ate a loaf of bread. As we tested our beers we chatted with staff and asked about their upcoming releases. This winery was where we finally found a California Chardonnay that we liked and we were disappointed to learn they were sold out of it.

Their upcoming releases intrigued us so much we decided it was time to join their Wine Club. We had pondered it a couple years ago, but never made the move to do it. Now was the time, and we celebrated with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc…a free one, as a Wine Club Member benefit.
If you’re in the area of Napa, you HAVE to stop by this winery. It’s worth your time, trust me, we wiled away a couple hours here just relaxing and enjoying watching the Wine Train go by.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blogger, Traveler, Wife, Runner….I’m known as many different things.  But I’m here to be your Travel Professional.  Ever since I was a little girl I had an interest in travel. I would collect the postcards books that my grandparents brought back to me from their travels and I kept them in a special box that I loved to pull out and flip through. As I traveled with my family I started collecting postcards on my own and pictures, maps, and other mementos of my travels.

Believe it or not, I still have those postcards and every once in awhile I’ll bring them out and flip through smiling at the memories they bring back. Although I might not collect postcards anymore I collect photos, stories and information on my travels. I love to soak up a destination, reveling in the local food life. I absolutely love sharing my travel stories, foodie moments and special encounters.

Carrie@MustLoveTravel.com
(321) 323 – 9835

Traveling with Friends or Family

Let’s go on a vacation together! Sounds great when you are all sitting around dreaming of nice sandy beaches, or the romance of Europe, but what happens when you start diving into the planning and organizing, second thoughts? I hope not! Traveling with family and friends can be just as much fun as it sounds like from the get go. The key is to go into it with realistic expectations. Traveling alone can eliminate some of the tension maybe, but traveling with a group can add great memories and perspective to the trip.

When you are dreaming about the trip with your friends or family, start off with some key “need to know” items.

  1. Time of year and Length of stay. It is important before you talk to your travel planner to have your group decide on 3 dates that will work for everyone. Decide how long you can be gone and be assured everyone can get off work for that time frame. If you are just traveling as couples and leaving the children with babysitters, check to make sure the babysitters are available those dates as well.
  2. Budget: Talk about what everyone is willing to spend for the trip. Consider, location, airfare, tours or excursions and misc. Costs. If you need help with a budget range you can discuss this with your travel planner.
  3. Location: Have an idea of where you would like to go or even a set of choices. This way your planner can give you direction on resorts, cruises or activities that would best fit your group.
  4. Discuss expectations on the trip: Take time to layout the “ground rules” so to speak. Do you plan on doing everything together? Have just dinners together or excursions? Do some want to do excursions while others want to just relax? It is always best to have a variety of together time and alone time so that everyone can be on vacation. We all vacation differently and with busy lives and vacation expectations can vary. Your travel planner can help plan a variety of schedules. The worst thing to hear is, “where do you want to eat?” “I don’t know where do you want to eat?” Have a general plan.
  5. Be flexible. Best laid plans may encounter some bumps. Be willing to talk through it and come to a quick consensus.

Friends and Family can travel together just about anywhere in the world! There are great locations near to home and even abroad that will give you experiences of a lifetime. Lean on your travel planner for the best ideas and the voice of organization when planning these types of trips. They have navigated through all aspects and will be the neutral voice throughout the entire process.

What happens when everything is just not perfect on your vacation?

Traveling can be fun, but it also can have hiccups along the way. The first thing you should remember is that unfortunate hiccups don’t have to ruin a trip if you don’t let them. There are things in life that we just sometimes cannot control, but approaching it with solutions can help ease any disappointment.

Before you go, be prepared. Your travel planner will help you to know what documents you need and general expectations of your trip. Make copies of the documents, and keep them with relatives or friends that can be easily contacted should you need them. Call credit card companies if you are traveling out of the country so you won’t get caught not being able to use your credit card. Always purchase a good trip insurance policy.

Travel delays and cancellations. They are bound to happen at some point in your life time of travel. Travel Insurance is your savior in this situation. By purchasing travel insurance many of the policies have trip delay or even cancellation. Often this includes loss of excursions or tours you may have booked during the time you are now not going to be there. Depending on your policy, you may recover this loss.

Resort/ Hotel issues. Your travel planner can advise you here, but your first line of defense is discussing your issues with the Front Desk Manager or Hotel Manager. There are few things that happen that can’t be resolved. Approach the situation to bring resolution, not to just get something for free. Things happen, rooms are not made up on time, a maid forgot to leave more water, room service was running slow, etc. Always keep the details with you; names of who you spoke to, times and dates. Your travel planner can sometimes advocate for you when you have this information, but it always easiest to resolve in person.

Weather. Well none of us can predict the weather when planning a trip. Be prepared by checking the forecast as your date approaches. You can make some adjustments to excursions, and tours, but for the most part I would stick with your plans. If you should encounter a major weather issue your travel planner can help you navigate through it. Keep their number close at hand.

Travel well, be prepared, and don’t let any issues get you down.

Establishing a 5 Year Vacation Plan. Really?

We all have plans or at least we should. When we are young and finishing High School, we set out our plans for college, and getting the right degree so we can start an awesome career. Then we thinking about getting married, and go through the planning and we think about our lives together with our spouse. We ask questions like, when do we want to purchase a home, start a family, retire? We get awesome jobs and we set goals for success. Then we have children and set goals for their lives – milestones that will help them become independent. Let’s face it – our lives are a series of planning and setting goals then striving to meet them.

So, why not establish a vacation plan? How many times have you turned the corner of another year and said, “I wish I had the budget to take a cruise” or “ I wish I would have thought of this sooner so there was availability where I wanted to go.” A vacation plan can help eliminate the stress of last minute planning. It is even more important these days to plan out your time of disconnecting from the everyday, relaxing, reconnecting with your family or friends, and going to places that will help your accomplish just that.

Here are some steps that you can share with your travel planner that will help you establish your 5 year vacation plan.

  1. Share with your travel planner some of your favorite things you and your family like to do on vacation. Do you like to swim, hike, visit historic locations, fish, etc.?
  2. Think about the best time for you to travel during the year. Some vacations may require to travel during months you might not think of and may need to do some creative scheduling.
  3. Make a list of places that you may consider” Bucket List” travel. Going on a cruise, visiting an island, visit your favorite Disney Destination, or going to another country.
  4. Establish a 3 – 5 year vacation budget and share it with your travel planner so they can begin to research the best packages. Many times certain vacations can be planned in advance which will help with the budget.
  5. Lay out a Vacation Calendar with your Travel Planner and beginning dreaming of awesome vacations!

Establishing your vacation goals relieves the stress of last minute decisions, not having enough money to go where you want to go, and just settling for another visit to the same old location you go every year.

Must Love Travel Group specializes in planning awesome vacations across the globe! Contact your Travel Planner and start your 5 Year Vacation Plan today!

Tips for Wine Tastings in Napa Valley

With a growing interest in specialized trips surrounding the interests of couples finding the right Travel Consultant is a must.  You need someone that understands what you’re looking for, whether it includes volunteering your time while on vacation, cooking courses, or expanding your palates with tasting experiences, the right Consultant will be able to assist you with these needs.

If wine tasting is one of your interests, I wanted to pass along some tips that my husband and I have learned from long weekend getaways to Napa Valley.  I hope you’ll find these helpful and I look forward to helping you with an something you’ve always wanted to experience!

1. You can basically expect the winery hours to be 9 – 5pm…they are not open late into the evening.

2. Most small wineries (and these are NUMEROUS) offer tastings by appointment only.

3. If you’re driving, consider having a designated driver or being cognizant of the amount of alcohol you are imbibing on your tastings. Be sure you’ve had a good meal before your tastings, there’s NO excuse for drunk driving. You can also simply avoid this issue all together by letting me book your on a wine tour. Everything from small group to private tours are available. It all depends on the type of experience you’re looking for and the budget you have.

4. Multiple tastings can add up, so be sure to agree on a budget before you head out. The average tasting fees can run from $15 – $60 per person depending on the type of tastings (Reserve wines vs. everyday) the vintner etc.

5. If you plan on purchasing bottles, be sure that you have a way to get them safely back in your luggage. Most wineries or stores in the area will have bubble skins that you can buy or you can ask the winery about shipping rates. They can be quite reasonable, especially if you are considering the purchase of a couple bottles.

6. Many wineries will waive a tasting fee if you purchase a couple bottles or join their wine club.

7. If you don’t know a lot about wine, just be honest with them. A good winery will be more than happy to help you with explanations of what you can expect etc. and share information about their wines.

________________________________________________________________________________

Blogger, Traveler, Wife, Runner….I’m known as many different things.  But I’m here to be your Travel Professional.  Ever since I was a little girl I had an interest in travel. I would collect the postcards books that my grandparents brought back to me from their travels and I kept them in a special box that I loved to pull out and flip through. As I traveled with my family I started collecting postcards on my own and pictures, maps, and other mementos of my travels.

Believe it or not, I still have those postcards and every once in awhile I’ll bring them out and flip through smiling at the memories they bring back. Although I might not collect postcards anymore I collect photos, stories and information on my travels. I love to soak up a destination, reveling in the local food life. I absolutely love sharing my travel stories, foodie moments and special encounters.

Carrie@MustLoveTravel.com
(321) 323 – 9835

Destination — Cancun, Mexico

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico, Cancun attracts about four million visitors each year to its pristine white beaches, its top-notch resort and hotel scene and its crystal blue water. The city is home to hundreds of hotels that line the beaches in an area called the hotel zone, attracting all types of guests, from traveling business people to timeshare owners to families. The city is probably most famous for its Mayan ruins, which dot the landscape around this southern region of Mexico. From El Rey to Tulum, the ancient stone remains are unique archaeological attractions that tell the original story of the now bustling modern city. Many people also visit the area for its great dive sites. Colorful coral reefs and diverse sea life are located right offshore, and a variety of inland cenotes (deep natural wells) attract diving enthusiasts to explore the rich underwater worlds of Cancun.

Couples looking for a luxury wedding or a spicy celebration bursting with entertainment will find what they want in Cancun. Convenient to travel to from origins throughout the U.S., Cancun was designed with the needs of a tourist in mind, which makes it easy to design a dream wedding experience. Including a traditional Mariachi trio during the destination wedding cocktail hour adds a beautiful and soulful soundtrack to make sure guests never forget their incredible experience. Or hosting the reception at sunset on a catamaran allows guests to enjoy the wedding and a breathtaking Mexican sunset at the same time.

 

Destination Quick Facts:

  • U.S. travelers: Valid passport needed for entry
  • Official language: Spanish (English is widely spoken)
  • Official currency: Mexican peso (American dollars are widely accepted)
  • Climate: From October to March, average temperature is 68-86° F and from April to September, average temperature is 75-91° F
  • Currency converter
  • STEP Program
  • Mexico entry requirements

Now is the time to plan your Holiday 2018 Vacation!

As most of you read this today, you are in the the middle of the busiest holiday season of the year! Christmas and New Years. If you aren’t one of those people that like to vacation for the holiday’s I would like to propose the idea for 2018! You may be in the heat of the holiday and are asking yourself why I would suggest that vacation during the holiday next year. That is a great question! Let me see if I could shed some light for you weary of the thought.

A holiday vacation can relieve stress. Yes, I said relieve stress! Your planning is done in advance and it won’t be necessary for any last minute decisions. Your travel planner will help select the best location and you block the time and set it up and that easily your holiday plans are in motion!

Your Holiday budget! Your can budget more effectively as the expense on your trip can spread throughout the year by making payments along the way. Then your trip is paid off and with the exception of a few incidentals, you are paid up and ready to enjoy! You may even eliminate a few of those extra last minute expenses we find ourselves with close to the holidays.

Spending more quality time together is a great family advantage. Whether you choose to travel with your immediate family or extended family not worrying about all the preparation at home and who is hosting this year – you can all enjoy the relaxation and no one will have to do dishes!

Discover cultural traditions. Is your family heritage from Germany? Wouldn’t it be great to head to Munich and walk through the Marienplatz and drink mulled wine and check out the Christmas Market place, or are the kids young and dream of seeing Mickey and Minnie? Try the Very Merrytime Disney Cruise. This is great trip for Multi-generational travel. Or maybe you just want to check out holiday in the sun! Travel to the islands or Mexico and soak it all in!

Christmas is everywhere, from Finland, to Mexico, Orlando to England. You can go cold or warm, the traditions of Christmas can be yours to explore, while you create new memories and possibly a tradition or two of your own!

Packing Tips for the Carefree Romantic Getaway

The hardest part about a trip for me is the packing and the pre planning! Especially for a destination or resort I have never been before. So I wanted to share just a few things with you today to assist you in your packing for your romantic getaway!

Destinations such as All- Inclusive Resorts and Cruises are great for romantic getaways and require a similar packing list. You are headed to warmer climate, will spend a lot of time relaxing and sunning, and then have dining to plan for. Pretty simple right? Well, then there is the question – how dressy?

Below are just a few things to take in consideration when preparing and packing for your trip.

Luggage: Don’t try to cram everything for the both of you in one large suitcase! I have see far too many couples stuck with baggage weight over charges that far exceed the cost of paying for one checked bag per person. Generally this cost is approx. $25.00 per bag each way. I have seen overcharges one way exceed $150- $200. 50lbs is your usual weight limit so invest in luggage scale that you can find just about anywhere to weigh your luggage prior to travel. Never fill it the 50 lbs on your scale just incase it is off a few pounds. Most airlines allow you to bring one personal item and 1 carry on with you on the plane. Make use of this for some extras and especially for the items you will be purchasing at your destination.

Tote Bags: Bring a medium sized tote bag in your luggage to handle items you will be carrying to the pool, beach or on excursions. These totes should be ones that are lightweight and lay flat in your luggage. They also come in handy if you indeed have too many things to carry back home and need just a little more space.

Purses: For women this may be a tough choice. We have cell phones, identification and personal items that you need to bring with you, but not necessarily always carry with you. A cross body purse is your best option. It may not look the best with your dress, but will come in handy when you want to go to dinner and dance afterwards or if you are on an excursion and want your hands free. Clutch purses or satchel styles leave you open to forget them and are cumbersome to carry.

Clothes: Most days you will be in Swimwear during the day. So bring a few bathing suites and a nice cover up for ladies and t-shirt for men when you want to walk around the resort or ship. Cover-ups and t-shirts are required at any dining location as well. A few short outfits for walking, non-water excursions and daytime dining. Evening Dining can range from resort casual to dressy. So for men, always check with your travel agent if any of the locations require a jacket and tie. There are some ships and resorts that do require this. Ladies, simple cocktail dresses or that famous little black dress with great jewelry will be perfect. Long formal gowns are not typical, but always double check with our travel agent to be sure. Appropriate footwear for the outfit is required – but don’t over do it. You don’t need a pair of shoes for every outfit, so consider a nice dress sandal for ladies that will go with everything and nice dress loafer for men. Bring sandals for the daytime and tennis shoes if you want for walking and time at the gym. Don’t over due the variety of clothes you need and bring things such as bottoms that can be worn again with another top/shirt.

Personal care: Most resorts/ships will have blow dryers, shampoo and conditioner so you don’t need to stuff those things in the bag. Ladies, you can limit your cosmetics to a few of the must have items. Remember to bring small sizes 3 oz or under for all liquids. Sunscreen is a must!

Medications: All medications that you bring should be in the original container clearly marked with what it is. It is also good if you are on regularly required medication to get an extra prescription from your doctor to carry just in case.

Lastly, you are on vacation right? Well if you are scheduled to arrive early to your destination through in your bathing suite or a change of clothes as your room may not be ready yet and you will be sure to what to start drenching yourself in all the fabulous sunshine!

So you want a romantic getaway

The ocean is quietly rumbling toward the shore as the sun rises over the Gulf of Mexico. The birds are talking their language to one another as they show off their bright colorful coats. The workers are quietly getting the pool area and all the gardens with precise detail. Perfection! Is there such a place? Yes! A true romantic getaway!

This week I have been staying at the El Dorado Casitas Royale in Mexico. Our room, the Infinity Pool Swim up suite the perfect indulgence for a quiet time away from the everyday life. Staying in this section of the resort your room is in a U shaped section that has its own swim up pool and bar. This section also hosts a small cafe for sandwiches and various shakes. Your room has its own pool with access to the lazy river that will take you to the main pool and bar and not to mention just short steps away from the beach where you can relax in a cabana or beach lounger. You Beach/Pool Butler will be attending to whatever you need.

The Karisma resorts are award winning Gourmet Inclusive resorts. From excellent gourmet food, premium drinks, activities and especially the personalized service you can expect when staying at any of their resorts. Fresh vegetable and spices are grown in their own 70,000 square foot greenhouse located at the El Dorado Royale. There is a variety of 15 dining locations and 24 room service so you are sure to never go hungry. Two of our favorites were Kampai and D’Italia. They also feature Fuentes which is a culinary theater. Activities and entertainment are also available if you want to mix and mingle about.

So here is the question……You want to go on a romantic getaway, but how do you choose? There are so many different resorts and destinations that it does make it difficult to choose. I look at the brand first. What do the brands offer? Are there hidden fees? What level of service do you receive? You typically have consistency throughout a brand. Like Disney Destinations, something we are all familiar with, you can see that whether you go to Disneyland or Walt Disney World you will have some consistency in the level of service and what the brand has to offer. There may be some differences just because of location, but overall they are similar. The same is for the various all inclusive or in Karisma’s case, gourmet inclusive brands. You will see similarities in all Sandals, Excellence Resorts, Palace Resorts, Secrets, and so on. Also, look for adult only resorts for romantic getaways. When planning romance – adult only is the way to go!

Budget is usually pretty high on the list when picking out a resort and destination. Be willing to pay a little more to receive more. You can save on such things as room category or go during low season such as Oct., Nov. and early Dec. Nothing can be worse than spending money on something and the experience doesn’t match up. Plan ahead! There is a time and place for last minute getaways, but when you are planning your honeymoon, anniversary or just that special getaway plan early! This will allow you to deposit your trip and pay a little bit along the way. Planning ahead allows you to stretch the budget a bit to get what you want. Destinations such as Mexico, Punta Cana and Jamaica are usually the most cost effective when looking at airfare and resort packages.

Consider going with a group. You may receive a discount when traveling with a group. Talk it up with your friends or family! It takes 5 – 10 rooms to create a typical group. You can check with your travel planner about those possibilities. Groups make it fun and yet you still have alone time .

When you are away, you will know what it means to relax and enjoy! All- Inclusive is a no worries vacation. Don’t just search the internet though. Work with a travel professional so you will be sure to get the perfect resort and destination. They are there to guide you, answer questions and be your advocate.

If you haven’t experienced an “adult” time away you need to! Destination Weddings, Honeymoons, Anniversary or just because ….you choose the reason and let us help make it happen!

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