One of the biggest announcements in the travel industry over the last week has been the four largest airlines removing change fees. This is in addition to many other regional airlines that have already reduced or removed change fees over the past several months.
For years, the only airline known for never charging change fees was Southwest Airlines.
Recently, due to the Covid crisis, JetBlue announced they would remove change fees through February 28, 2021.
But the four largest airlines were still not willing to waive their change fees – until now!
On August 30, United Airlines announced that they are eliminating change fees on all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, effectively immediately. In addition, travelers will not be limited in the number of times they change their flights.
Delta is also ditching change fees. On August 31, on the heels of United’s elimination of change fees, Delta announced that they too would be making travel with them more flexible and allowing travelers to change and cancel their travel plans with no extra fees.
American Airlines also announced on August 31 that they are making it more flexible to travel with them by dropping change fees for First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin tickets for all domestic and short-haul international flying, effective immediately.
Alaska Airlines also joined the no-change-fee club. The airline announced on September 1 that they were eliminating change fees permanently on all domestic and international tickets.
This is all very good news for travelers! As a reminder, every airline has certain rules and policies around the change fees, so make sure you check with each airline for all of the fine print.
The Travel Industry is slowly starting to reopen. Many Caribbean islands are welcoming back travelers, airlines are starting to offer more flights, and domestic travel is at an all-time high!
Now is a great time to book future travel, as many cruise lines, all-inclusive resorts, and tour operators are offering amazing deals for travel in 2021, all with very flexible change and cancellation policies.
Take a look at how some of our favorite suppliers are protecting your future travel plans to offer complete peace of mind when booking your next vacation. Contact your Must Love Travel Planner for complete booking details.
All of the major cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival, Viking, AmaWaterways, and more…) have announced Flexible Booking and Cancellation Policies. This allows you to book your future cruise now, with the ability to move your sail date, sometimes as close as 15 days prior to sailing.
Many of our favorite All-Inclusive Resort brands have announced flexible “Peace of Mind” policies, along with detailed Cleaning Standards for current and future vacation dates. Some of our favorite brands are Karisma Resorts, who will allow you to change travel dates or cancel up to 48 hours before arrival (*new bookings). and AMResorts, who have implemented an impressive CleanComplete Verification 360-Degree Safety & Hygiene Protocols, elevating their standards of quality and cleanliness.
Walt Disney World
The Walt Disney World Resort has offered incredibly flexible change and cancellation policies to existing reservations. For existing and new bookings, you have until 7 days prior to arrival to change your dates without penalty.
When the Theme Parks and Resorts reopened in July, Disney implemented a thorough checklist of new policies and procedures to keep guests safe. As the Resorts and Theme Parks have now been open for a few months, it’s clear Disney has been doing a great job of keeping their guests safe and happy, and with plenty of Disney Magic.
Do you have Bucket List travel dreams? I sure do – and I was able to check a big one off my list after experiencing Italy with Adventures by Disney.
Any time you travel outside of the country, it can be a bit intimidating. Disney takes that fear away, as they meet you right outside of Customs at the airport. They even had my luggage ready for me!
We were whisked away to our 5-star hotel, The Gran Melia in Rome, where we met our 2 Adventure Guides. Every Adventures by Disney Tour includes 2 Adventures Guides – a local expert, and an American guide. Together they make the entire experience seamless.
Our tour started right away, with special backstage passes at the Coliseum. We were allowed onto the actual stage where the gladiators fought. It was incredible!
All along the way, you are given backstage, front-of-the-line, VIP passes everywhere you go. The highlight of Rome for me was getting a special after-hours, private tour of the Vatican Museum, which concluded with a private tour of the Sistine Chapel. And Shhhhhh don’t tell anyone, but they even let us take pictures (normally this is forbidden!).
After Rome, we took off for Tuscany, which is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. Don’t get freaked out by being on a bus – it is an AWESOME bus, and the Guides do a great job of keeping everyone entertained on the longer stretches. Although, there are hardly any long rides. Everything is always broken up with more Adventures. For example, on our drive to Tuscany, we stopped for lunch at the medieval town of Orvietto and had a beautiful lunch on the top of the countryside.
Checking in to our Tuscan Hotel was a dream. They had a private courtyard waiting for us, with delicious food and prosecco. We all nibbled on cheese and enjoyed our wine while our Adventure Guides got us checked in to the hotel.
The highlight of my entire Tuscan Adventure was the day spent at Sara’s Farm. We received a special tour, met some of Sara’s lovely family members, enjoyed a private pasta-making class with Sara, and wined and dined outdoors while enjoying a delicious lunch and wine tasting, all while overlooking the rolling hills of Tuscany. It was just delightful!
Venice began with a Gondola ride, which was made even more special with the addition of a singer and accordion player, who were right in my Gondola. It was so beautiful!
If you want to feel completely immersed in the culture, and experience everything like a VIP rock star – Adventures by Disney is the best!
The Travel Industry is currently in an extremely fluid state, where the rules change often, sometimes overnight. In an attempt to stay on top of it all, we’re going to take a closer look at current policies and keep you posted as guidelines and travel restrictions continue to evolve.
Today we’ll take a closer look at what you will experience when flying domestic on American Airlines. Keep in mind, this was one person’s experience on a short 1.5-hour flight. Longer flights may have different procedures in place.
This information was documented on August 7 – 10, 2020.
Airport #1: Reagan National Airport (DCA)
Airport #2: T.F. Green Airport (PVD)
At TSA Security, there were markers on the ground for social distancing in line. Masks are required and worn by all TSA employees. Liquids were allowed to remain in your bags when going through screening. The airports were quiet. Not all of the shops and restaurants were open. (For my New Englanders out there, rest assured that Dunkin Donuts WAS OPEN!)
At the American Airlines gate, social distancing signs were present, but seats were not spaced or blocked off. These flights were not full, so passengers waiting were able to space themselves out. Boarding was slower and in smaller groups.
Hand sanitizer was given to every passenger. There was no food or beverage service onboard. The flights were not full, so once onboard, passengers were able to move their seats to give everyone their own row. This may not be possible on all flights, as many American flights have been full. Masks are required the entire time you are boarding, in-flight, and deplaning.
Royal Caribbean is excited to announce the establishment of RoyalCaribbean Group’s Healthy Sail Panel — a team of the best minds and leaders in public health, biosecurity, epidemiology, hospitality, and maritime operations.
This diverse team has been enlisted to develop recommendations and guide the cruise industry forward with unprecedented standards in response to COVID-19. Their combined expertise will help reinforce current safety procedures onboard ships, create new ones, and ensure our vacation experience.
Their collective efforts will be shared across the cruise industry, as well as other industries that may benefit from their findings — because we’re all in this together.
Often times, the destination of our vacation is not as important as the travelers we spend it with. Time away from the hustle and bustle is time together with family and friends, allowing us to form deeper connections with people who enrich our lives.
As travel professionals, we love to help families and groups find the ideal setting that lets them connect and see the world in a brand-new way. We surround you with like-minded travelers, helping you form new connections and make new friends, and we introduce you to amazing guides and friendly locals when possible. Travel is all about that human touch, which is why booking travel through a human produces more authentic and life-changing experiences.
That’s why we vacation — Contact our expert advisors today to connect with those who matter most.
During our agency event aboard the Celebrity Infinity our very first port of call was Key West Florida! For many of our team including myself this was our first time ever in Key West! To say that we enjoyed the town would be an understatement! We absolutely LOVED IT! Many of us all began talking that night once back on the ship about how we want to plan a full Florida Keys vacation to be able to experience even more of what this wonderful and vibrant town has to offer!
The vibe in the air is so laid back. The streets of Key west are full of history, story and breathtaking sights! From the colorful pastel buildings to the shadows of the palm trees – everything is so picture perfect!
For a group of us our day began with an Incredible breakfast at Blue Heaven! This eclectic joint is a local favorite and the atmosphere was perfect to get us in that Key West state of mind. After breakfast we set out to start exploring. We first made our way to a Key West icon – the southernmost point! We invented our own pro tip for getting a picture with the southernmost point! There is always a massive line to take a picture with the southernmost point. The line can get well up to over a half an hour wait! We discovered if you sit on the wall in front of the southernmost point and wait until people are in-between going up for a picture, you can snap a perfect selfie with the point in the background!
After grabbing out selfies we made our way to Duval Street and took in many of the shops and sights there was to see! We then made our way to schooner wharf where we met up with a large group of our team to enjoy drinks and live entertainment on the marina. I loved the atmosphere here and getting to see the beautiful crystal blue water and gorgeous boats in dock.
For lunch a group of us went to Conch Republic Seafood Company. I order the Gulf Red Shrimp and and it was absolutely incredible! I had never before had Gulf Red Shrimp. I taste more like lobster meat than it does shrimp. SO GOOD!
A group of us then set out to continue exploring the town. We enjoyed checkin out more iconic locations such as Sloppy Joe’s Bar and Margaritaville. We also enjoyed doing one of the hop-on-hop-off trolly tours. This was a great way to get around the town and get to see all the locations that we wanted to check out. During your ride on the trolly tour your host also gives you information and facts about the town of Key West. It was a great way to learn about the history of all the sights we were gettin to tour!
You can watch highlights from our Key West day in our new YouTube video:
Contact our team at Must Love Travel to plan your next adventure!
Our Travel Planner Annette Colburn recently visited Hawaii! I sat down with her recently via a video chat to talk all things Hawaii! Annette shared with me that the islands of Hawaii are one of her absolute favorite destinations! Through our conversation, she shared with me a few of the reasons why Hawaii is her happy place as well as why Hawaii is a perfect destination for truly everyone!
Annette shared that Hawaii is ideal for couples, families, kids, truly everyone! Everyone can find something that they enjoy! She detailed that Hawaii is filled with romance making it a great spot for couples! From renewing your vows, to your honeymoon or even a romantic getaway, Hawaii can provide the most amazing backdrop for you and your partner! Families can enjoy some relaxing time on the beach or choose to take some incredible once in a lifetime excursions to experience everything the islands have to offer!
I asked Annette what her favorite excursion was and she said she loved snorkeling and whale watching! She showed me the incredible photo she captured of a whale jumping out of the water and it is so breathtaking! Annette shared with me that she loves wildlife so seeing these beautiful creatures was a real stand out moment!
You can hear more in our new YouTube video!
I personally have always wanted to travel to Hawaii and now that I have heard Annette’s stories I am even more excited to one day get to experience this beautiful state!
I would like to thank our wonderful Must Love Travel Planner Annette Colburn for sharing her incredible Hawaii experiences with me! Contact our Must Love Travel team today to plan your next vacation to Hawaii or to wherever your dream destination is! We are excited to make your travel dreams a reality!
This past November I embarked on a brand-new travel adventure, MY VERY FIRST CRUISE! Our 2018 Must Love Travel Agency Event took us aboard the beautiful Celebrity Infinity. This trip was my very first cruise that I had ever been on and it was such an amazing experience! I learned so much about so many new and exciting places that I had never been to before such as the Florida Keys and the Bahamas! I got to enjoy fellowship and education time with my wonderful colleagues! I also came away from the trip with an in-depth knowledge of cruising!
Prior to this first cruise I was filled with so much excitement as well as so many questions. I didn’t know what to expect with this new mode of travel and was so curious as to how it all worked. Like with everything in life, we learn through first-hand experience! Through my experience onboard the Celebrity Infinity I came away with having all of my cruising questions answered! Today I am excited to share with you 7 of the things I learned during my first cruise! I hope that this information and tips help you know what to expect whether you are about to embark on your first cruise or your 100th cruise!
Get a Drink Package
Many cruise lines offer a drink package. We all had the option to add one of these drink plans on before our sailing. I opted not to get a drink package, I enjoy indulging in a drink or two but that’s about my limit. For me personally I didn’t feel that I would get my money’s worth out of having a beverage package. I was planning to just pay for any drinks I wanted outright throughout the cruise. When the day came to set sail, I was checking in at the terminal and received such a kind upgrade! The Celebrity crew member at check in saw on my license that I had recently celebrated my 21st birthday and gave me the drink package complimentary. What an amazing start to my first ever cruise! Here was where I had my first learning experience. I feel that I definitely made the most out of having a beverage package. What I was unaware of was the fact that even drinks such as iced tea, coffee, sodas and other fountain drinks are all additional charges. Having a drink package allowed me to get these beverages as well as enjoy some alcoholic beverages. In the end when you crunch the numbers having a drink package definitely will save you money in the long run. It is important to know that every cruise line is different in terms of what beverages are included free and what drinks are an up-charge. Different cruise lines offer different types of drink packages and many cruise lines even have different tiers of beverage plans. The best way to know which plan is best for you is to talk to your Must Love Travel Planner! Our team has already done the research and can offer you the best advice to save you money and maximize your vacation experience.
Bring a Lanyard
On a cruise, you will be given your stateroom card, this card does so much more than just open your cabin door. This card is also your form of onboard payment, your ID, and it is loaded up with any credits you may have such as a beverage package. You find yourself using this little card all the time. With that in mind it is a good idea to have a lanyard with a clear pouch to house this card in. This eliminates the need to carry your wallet or bag with you throughout the ship. I saw many people on the ship who had cruise lanyards. I instantly made note that I needed to get one after seeing how useful this item was! The onboard gift shops will sell lanyards; however they are going to up-charge you quite a lot on the ship! I saw lanyards in the gift shop for around $20. That is why my best tip is to plan ahead and purchase your lanyards before you set sail. You can find generic lanyards and even some very cute and stylish lanyards on sites such as Amazon for right around $5. Trust me, this item will be super convenient!
Optimize Device Charging
Staterooms on a Cruise Ship can be much smaller compared to a standard hotel room. This is just something to be aware of when planning. With proper planning, you will be able to maximize your space to the fullest! Something I encountered was the fact that our stateroom had just one outlet with 2 plugs. Only 2 devices could be plugged in and charging at one time. Once again this was just how it was on our particular ship. Many newer ships come equipped with more outlets and plugs. However, just because you are limited on outlets doesn’t mean you can’t still charge all your devices and gadgets, bring a charger block or a power strip. Devices such as these will allow you to plug multiple device into just one outlet. Another tip I can give is to bring a European adaptor if you have one. Our Stateroom also had a European outlet with two European plugs. This is common on Cruise Ships because they sail all over the world and have passengers from all around the world! Had I brought along a European adapter I could have gained a whole other outlet to use!
Cell Phone Use Onboard
One of the things I was most curious about prior to my first cruise was how cell phones worked at sea! I ended up being able to use my phone during the entire duration of the cruise with these tips. I put my phone in airplane mode to make sure I would not get roaming charges. Be aware of the fact that your phone may still work out at sea but you might get hit with extremely high roaming charges. I recommend talking to your cell phone service carrier prior to your sailing to know your range. Even in airplane mode I was able to still call and text with people back on land because I enabled wifi calls and texts. This is a feature that most smart phones have that you can use wifi to call, text and even facetime! I purchased the ships wifi package in order to do this and found that the onboard wifi was very strong and I always got a great connection. If you are wanting to use your phone in port in a different country I would also recommend talking to your service provider before your sailing telling them where you are traveling so you can find out if you can get service. My cell phone company offers a great program where I can pay for an international plan per day. I was able to utilize this during our day in port in Nassau Bahamas.
As a first-time cruiser, motion sickness was a fear in the back of my mind. I am happy to report I was absolutely fine during our sailing and never felt any motion sickness symptoms. My best advice to you if you are concerned with motion sickness is to just be prepared. I picked up motion sickness pills prior to sailing to keep with me as a precaution. I also bought a product called “Sea Bands.” These are bands that go around your wrist and apply pressure on certain pressure points that are supposed to naturally reduce the feelings of motion sickness. The first night of our sailing we were just getting out to sea and in this area the water was a bit choppier. I was noticing the motion more so choose to put these band on as a precaution. I felt great the entire night so I definitely think this product works wonderfully!
Prepare to put Luggage out the Night Before You Disembark
The evening before you disembark you may be instructed to place your luggage outside of your stateroom to be collected by your host. They take your bags away so that the next day they can handle getting the luggage off the ship for you. Every cruise line has different procedures but this is definitely helpful. The morning you depart you don’t have to worry about maneuvering your luggage all around the ship! It is a great system; however, this is just something that you need to be aware of so you can plan ahead. Know that on your final evening of the cruise you will have to gather from your luggage any items that you need for that evening or for the next morning. I just had my backpack with me and I definitely had to do a lot of consolidating and reorganizing to get my essentials to fit in my small carry-on. I made it work but in the future I would definitely plan to bring along a packable tote bag that can be used for this exact purpose. With a packable tote, you can repack just those essentials for that night and the next day and not have to worry about not having enough bag space.
Plan with Your Must Love Travel Planner!
My first Cruise experience definitely gave me the cruising bug! I saw that there is so much to do and see during a cruise vacation! You are onboard a floating luxury hotel that is whisking you away to new and exciting destinations! A cruise is multiple vacations inside a vacation! You can make your cruise relaxing, adventurous or a perfect mixture of both! There are so many options to choose from when it comes to activities to experience on the ship, to excursions you can take in port! With this in mind it is important to go into your cruise vacation with a plan and a knowledge of all of your choices so that you can guarantee you won’t miss out on anything that you really want to do. This prior research will allow you to make the most out of your vacation! The best way to do this is by contacting your Must Love Travel Planner! Our team can use their knowledge and experience to give you recommendations and tips that will enable you to get the most from your vacation! Your job is to relax and enjoy while we do the work part for you!
Hear more in our new YouTube Video:
I hope these 7 things I learned on my first cruise will answer some of your questions about cruising. I highly recommend planning a cruise vacation. I am already counting down the days until I get to set sail again! If you still have questions about a cruise, know that your Must Love Travel Planner will be your advocate and answer any questions you may have! As always, our team at Must Love Travel is happy to help you plan your next vacation! Happy Cruising!
Holidays bring family together. For some, it is the one time a year everyone comes together for a grand celebration, while for others it is a small intimate dinner sharing games and great conversation. Regardless of the reason you come together, it is a very special time that brings special memories.
More and more families are choosing to celebrate this time at a destination other than the family homestead. They want to be together, but want a little something different and why not travel! It provides an opportunity to relax, try new things, have someone else cook for you and most important be together in a more stress-free environment.
So what is the perfect destination and how does someone go about planning? There are a lot of great destinations and it does take some planning. Here are just a few starter tips to get you thinking.
Tip #1. Plan ahead!! I like to see families planning a year in advance so that everyone has the opportunity to budget, get the time off and explore together the ideas.
Tip#2: Have an expert help! Ask your professional travel planner to start working with you and your family to explore ideas, communicate with family members and put together a perfect choice!
Tip#3: Think of your budget and what you can afford to spend on a holiday getaway – this way you won’t be put in an uncomfortable position when the planning begins. Get the whole family involved too, even the kids, they love to plan and anticipate exciting new opportunities.
Tip #4: Agree to not have everything your way only! Be patient and enjoy the process. Let’s face it, when there are a lot of people involved or even just another family traveling with you there can be differences. Let your travel planner help with this. We have great ideas that will offer everyone the opportunity to meet their desired vacation expectations.
As you gathering some of this information, your travel planner will be able to point you in a direction that can get you started. Great destinations like All – Inclusive resorts in Mexico, Turks and Caicos, for example, can hit a lot of budgets and offers many different activities for the whole family. Of course, an all-time family favorite is Walt Disney World or Disneyland. These too can satisfy a variety of budgets, keep the kids entertained and well, frankly the adults too! One of my favorite holiday vacations is a cruise. Entertainment, great ports, great food, and a variety of staterooms to fit the budgets and best of all relaxing! It is fun to try something different.
This year when you gather around the family homestead for your holiday celebrations, suggest something different for next year and start planning your next holiday gathering at an exciting destination!
We all have bucket lists right? Or at least we have some grand ideas of things we want to do in our heads but yet to write them down. I have a little bit of both! I have my list of things I would like to do by myself, another list of things to do with my husband and then there is the list of things to do with friends. Regardless of the list, there is one item I have on all of them and I was able to check one of those off this month! What is it? Well, my dream has always been to have the resources enough to at the drop of a hat ( or within days) to say I want to go ……. And then just do it! Yep – last minute travel to somewhere!
Last week I checked off that by planning a very very last minute trip to Jamaica with a friend, who too is a travel planner with our company. We have traveled many times together and we just know what we both like to do, what we like to eat, when to work and when to relax. You might say we are perfect travel companions in that respect. Our trip came up because I have been caring for my dear mom whose terminally ill and is at home. We don’t have a large family as it is just my brother and myself along with our dad. My brother is out of state but has come in to help as much as he can, but for the most part, I am the closest caregiver. My Aunt wanted to visit from another state and help out so I could get some rest time so when my friend asked if I could get away it seemed like a perfect time. 4 nights in the Caribbean fit the bill.
Last minute travel proved to be exhilarating! That may seem like an odd way to put it, but it was! From the moment we said let’s do it and got the ok from our spouses, we searched the resort and booked it, checked out flights and booked those, finished up some household chores, and packed a carry-on of only the essentials and took off! 3 days and we were off! We selected an All- Inclusive, Sandals, Royal Caribbean, as our destination because we didn’t want to worry about where to dine, and what to do. It was all there! Now typically, Sandals isn’t a “girlfriend” getaway, as it is for couples, but we wanted to see it and made it work. With free wi-fi, we were able to keep up with our work and stay in contact with my parents.
Packing for this trip was the easiest thing I ever did. It maybe took me 30 minutes! I threw in a few bathing suits since that would be the main activity, a few sundresses, two pairs of shoes, minimum makeup and toiletries, and my computer! That was it. I was sooo proud of myself for having done that as everyone laughs at me because I typically need one suitcase for my shoes and jewels! So since packing was so easy – so was unpacking when I got home!
We took advantage of the entertainment provided by Sandals, which was excellent! There was something going on every night and since there are a few Sandals properties in the Montego Bay area, you have privileges to utilize all the amenities at each of them so that made it more fun. Our room was in the most perfect location. Just about 20 steps out our patio door was a beautiful pool right on the beach. We had the best of both worlds. I felt a little guilty but I hogged the float for the entire 4 days! I only got off to go running to the bathroom, because our favorite person to see was Clarissa who just handed us our tropical delights right in the pool! Can I say amazing! Our food was prepared and brought to us if we didn’t want to head to the restaurant, and there was such a variety that we felt like we were also on a culinary journey.
I have also always wanted to crash a wedding, and even though we didn’t officially “crash” a wedding, we did stroll by several that took place at the resort while we were there. It was hard to resist photobombing, but we remained respectful!! LOL. Destination weddings are very popular and Sandals does know how to make them special. In fact, romance is a fragrance that is all over a Sandals property. Candlelight dinners, photo shoot opportunities, couples celebrating makes for the perfect backdrop. So you see when I say we made it work, we simply enjoyed the resort and meeting all the people. Relaxation was our motive!!
I am so looking forward to doing this again someday. It was one of the best getaways I have ever been on and yes it was so exhilarating!
Gorgeous white sand beaches, savory dining experiences, opulent accommodations, unlimited refreshing beverages, exciting watersport and more! Sandals are adult only resorts while Beaches are for families.
Sandals and Beaches is a privately owned and their resorts are hand-picked by the owner Gordan Stewart. Their own In-House design team is responsible for every aspect of the design incorporating some of the most cutting-edge design developments. They work with local experts selecting a theme for all of the Landscapes and gardens that reflect the local attributes, they have custom-designed dive boats, and some of the most extravagant and creatively designed suites in the Caribbean!
Sandals and Beaches offer more quality inclusions than any other all-inclusive destination. Award-winning service, the most pristine beaches, unlimited scuba diving, quality land sports, state of the art fitness centers, unlimited golf at select locations, free weddings, more unique suites, more discovery dining, more entertainment and more island adventures. Exclusive to Beaches resorts, Sesame Street Characters, Very Important Kids Camps, X=Box and Kinect and water parks.
Everyone loves unique dining experiences and Sandals and Beaches resorts have it all. Menus are well thought out including regional Italian specialties, Signature dishes, and wonderful themed buffet experiences. Premium Liquor and Fine wine are a trademark, ranging from Appleton rums at all resorts and Beringer Stone Cellars top quality pouring wines. Not to mention their authentic beer selections from around the world.
Sandals and Beaches are also one of the top Destination Wedding locations in the world! Their exclusive WeddingMoon packages are– Your Wedding and Your style. Such things as special suites, romantic private dining, Red Lane Spa’s and Snap Shots photography make your wedding perfect! Your Wedding Designer will work closely with you and your travel agent to ensure you have everything you need to make this one of the most memorable days of your lives.
My personal favorite is the Personal Butler Services offered with some of the top-tier categories. This is an only Sandals, Butlers trained by the guild of professional English Butlers. Your Butler wants you to expect the unexpected – prepared to be wowed with this awesome experience.
Make your next vacation a Sandals or Beaches vacation! There are many destinations in the Caribbean. Rooms sell out fast so plan ahead. Call Your Must Love Travel Planner today!
Vegas is one of those places the invokes many feelings, thoughts, concerns, and fun! Vegas lights, Vegas casinos, Vegas shows, one has to admit Vegas goes big!
I just returned from Vegas with my family. I have three “newly” adult children and we wanted to experience some of the things we could do by staying in Vegas and not having to rough it so to speak.
The highlight of our trip was by far visiting the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. No one could put in words or even take a picture that could adequately describe their experience standing in the edge of this amazing natural wonder. We decided to rent a car and drive ourselves rather than taking one of the bus tours. It turned out to be a great decision for us. We were in our own time. The drive was very easy, clearly marked, and great roads.
Our first stop in the drive was the Hoover Dam. The power source for many states. You can choose to just drive over or you can walk. We chose both! There are tours to visit the inner workings and learn all about the dam or you can just take it in yourself.
Hopping back in the car and heading to the west rim we drive across the barren land. Even though there was nothing green in sight we could not help but express it as beautiful. At one point we drove through an area that was filled with odd-looking trees! We find out they were called Joshua Trees. You could see them for miles!
Soon as we turned the corner there it was!! The Grand Canyon! Ahhhh! We visited the Hualapai Indian ranch. There are about 1350 Native American Indians in this tribe in Arizona. They have created a great tourist site to view the canyon via helicopter, boat, or just walking around. The Glass skywalk was worth every penny as you venture over the canyon. We ended our day eating at Sa NYU Wa restaurant, a one of a kind Grand Canyon experience. Food was excellent!
The rear of our week was filled with shows and shopping. Blue Man Group at the Luxor never disappoints. Fun at Excalibur with the dinner show cheering for our favorite King. A slip of the hand watching the magic of Nathan Burton winner of America’s Got Talent. All of them were perfect family fun. To view all the lights we decided to not only walk the strip, but also take the Big Bus Tour. Our guide was wonderful and shared the little secrets of the strip.
We celebrated our daughter 18th birthday at a fantastic Brazilian steakhouse in our own little room. Dining at Otto in the Venetian we were treated to Opera and even chimes in a few times!
Vegas was filled with girlfriend trips, guys getaways, honeymooners, no frills weddings even at the local Taco Bell, and yes plenty of families. There are some crazies here as I may call it, but good planning can make this a very enjoyable trip.
Visiting family and friends can open up the door to crossing off a bucket list destination and sharing it with them as well. Last week I had the opportunity to visit my brother’s family in San Francisco, CA. This has been a destination I have wanted to visit for a long time, and since he was stationed in the Coast Guard there and being that it was my niece’s high school graduation it was perfect time to check that destination off my list!
The highlight of this trip was our day to Napa. A scheduled tour of the Silverado Vineyards, established in 1981 by Ron and Diane Miller. Diane just happened to be Walt Disney’s daughter so that was extra exciting for me as a Disney fanatic! I asked for permission to share our day with you for this week’s blog post, so here goes!
(except from their brochure)
Ron and Diane Miller established Silverado Vineyards to make wines from the historic sites of their estate. The winery borrows its name from the abandoned mining town at the top of the Napa Valley, where Robert Louis Stevenson stayed and wrote over a century ago. Three generations of Millers are still “prospecting” for wine, making something beautiful from the land under their care.
The ranches themselves were first planted to vineyards by Napa pioneers between 1865 and 1895. Each ranch played an important role in establishing the reputation of its growing area; Carneros, Coombsville, Yountville, Soda Canyon and Stags Leap District. The beautiful fruit from these vineyards is the exclusive source of Silverado Vineyards’ Estate and Single Vineyard wines; the Miller’s highest expression of the Napa Valley they love and admire.
Our wine tasting tour began with a sample of a Rose that they only share on site, as we were introduced to our Host, John Marchesini. John was a wealth of information and made our tour comfortable and informative. As we walked the halls of the winery, we were introduced to Diane’s passion for posters from the early 1900’s. She loved the colorful display these posters offered and wanted them displayed for all to see. There is actually one from the more recent movie Ratatouille that is now one of only 2 in existence. As we continued we were introduced to Ron’s passion for the arts. He collected a variety of paintings, some were paintings used on trains to entice visitors to come to San Francisco.
As John opened the door to the room of wine filled barrels, we caught the scent of the wine that escapes through the barrel and that they affectionately call the “Angels Share”. It put a smile on all of our faces! John shared how the barrels are labeled, made and stored. We proceeded throughout the pressing room, which is nothing short of impressive as we learned about the very large press to create and separate the juice and then to the bottling room. The Silverado Winery bottles their own wine which is rare as it is quite the operation and the machines are expensive. Although they were not bottling that day, it was fascinating to see the different stages the machine goes through to fill and package the bottles.
Jon Emmerich, Winemaker has been with the winery for 25 years and notes, “What can we do to make the wine better? My work is to show the qualities of the estate in the wine so the wines show harmony and depth.” This was evident as we proceeded to our tasting, which was situated in the main area as we were sat near the grand fireplace at a small table overlooking the vineyards! Picture perfect. A nice welcome menu with our name a top, listed our tastings; 2016 Chardonnay Carneros, 2013 Merlot, Mt George Vineyard (limited quantities), 2013 GEO Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville, and 2011 SOLO Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District. Each had a beautiful quality and it was hard to say what the favorite was. I did favor the SOLO, however. John sat with us and answered our many questions and brought over some additional wines for us white wine lovers. We enjoyed hearing how the grapes change with the weather and how each growing season presents its opportunity to continued creations of fantastic wines.
I was so glad we had the opportunity to visit Silverado Vineyards. It was a testimony to the importance they place on the people that work there, the quality of product and presentation. To be successful it these are great qualities for any company to possess. I would have expected nothing less coming from someone from the Disney family! It made for a lovely day and one that I hope you may have the opportunity to have someday!
Visit Silveradovineyards.com to watch a wonderful video, learn more about the winery and maybe even order some wine! I want to thank John Marchesini for being a wonderful Host and for indulging us with the answers to all our questions!
Many families are winding down their schools years with their children graduating to their next season of life. Whether it be graduating from Pre-K, HIgh School or College, there is no doubt a new chapter of their lives calls for celebration.
This year my youngest will graduate high school and end the chapter of childhood and join adulthood with her brother and sister as we celebrate her 18th birthday just after graduation. It has become a family tradition to be “on vacation” when her birthday takes place and this year is no exception. With this double celebration of graduation and birthday we are headed out west to discover some of the grandeur of our United States.
What are you celebrating? Or would the better question be, How are you celebrating? As a travel planner for over 15 years, I can recall many stories of how my clients have celebrating the milestones in their lives. Special trips from a favorite, bucket list destination like Europe or Hawaii, to celebrating a magical Disney vacation to Walt Disney World to visit the land of Princesses and Pirates. For some it was to step into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and walk the streets of Diagon Alley and ride the Hogwarts Express. All of them have been memorable and have been filled with surprises.
Celebrations take planning, especially surprise celebrations. I love those! The secret emails, texts and calls are just as exciting as the main event. This is especially true when children are involved. The anticipation of seeing their excitement when they first meet Cinderella or Buzz Light Year can be really hard to conceal. Not as easy to plan is for and adult surprise. There are schedules and payment to consider that make it a tad more difficult. I have to say some spouses I have worked with have been right on it! One of my favorites, but by all means not the only one, was a surprise for a wife and mother on Mother’s Day. Gifts were hand-made, love letters to mom and wife were written, celebration dinner schedule and the perfect Walt Disney World location was decided upon. Yes, you might guess, the background was Cinderella Castle, the location was on the beach of the Polynesian Village Resort at sunset. I was home in my office waiting for a text from “dad” on how it all went. Then it came….Perfect! Tears filled my eyes with joy knowing that I helped make that happen.
There was our families own surprise for our children. Their first Disney Cruise, which happened to be when the Disney Channel stars were aboard. The plan was elaborate, so well thought out that when we actually pulled into the port, we just told the kids I wanted a picture of them with the ship in the background that mommy had been on. (They thought we were on our way to see relatives) I had set them up a bit telling them all about the Disney Channel stars sailing on Disney Cruise LIne that summer, not to mention they saw all the advertisements on TV. So when my husband opened the back of the van, while I took their picture, and begun taking out the suitcases the kids were in disbelief. The youngest, the wise one, said are we going on the ship? Of course! It was an amazing trip filled with big surprises everyday. Pictures taken with their favorite stars and my personal favorite, we received a note at dinner to be private guests of the characters on board before the final farewell. So cool!
Think about what you want to celebrate and let us help make it happen. Whether a surprise or not, the planning is so much fun.