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Travel Agent Appreciation Month!

We have a month!  Travel Agent Appreciation Month!  Yes, we still exist and service thousands of clients and their travel needs each and every year. When you use a Travel Agent or Travel Planner as we call them, you receive miles of value in return.  The world is big, there is a lot to see and do and each of us has their own idea of what they would like to do and how to do it to create their travel moments, but how do you sort it all out? Where to you look?  Who can you trust? Simple -contact your travel planner!

Here are just 4 or many reasons why you can appreciate a travel planner:

  1. Their time!  It takes a lot to research what is best for you.  There are no cookie cutter vacations. Your travel planner takes the time to talk with you about what you want to experience, discover your budget, and take some notes.  Then they are off to work, researching locations, promotions, and setting up quotes for you to review together. The average vacation can take up to 5 hours for this portion of your vacation depending on what you want to do and where you want to go.  Then the booking process and administrative work can add several other hours and so on. They are in the service industry so they are available for you, and many work far beyond their normal business hours to accommodate their clients needs.
  2. Their expertise!  Well, you may think we just travel the world for fun, but it is really for you.  We travel and learn at the same time. Attend conferences to learn from suppliers, visit locations to attend what the industry calls site inspections to view hotels, resorts, and ships. We may not have visited all the locations you want to go, but we know where to go and who to book your vacation with.
  3. Relationship!  You are not just a person that wants a trip — you are a client.  A person that your travel planner will get to know and you will get to know them.  They are with you for a lifetime of journeys. With social media now an everyday thing, you can connect and stay in touch in between traveling.  It is a great thing. They truly care.
  4. Advocate!  There have been times when clients can’t travel for unforeseen reasons. Best thing – you are not alone!  When you are in the midst of a crisis, the last thing you want to do is have to handle changing plans, you want to be in the moment of your crisis.  That is where your relationship with your travel planner comes in. Just a quick call will set them in motion to relieve that stress. You may be saying that won’t happen to me – but there is always a what if?  

If you have a travel planner, send them a note of appreciation!  If you don’t – let me know and I would love to talk to you and connect you with one of our expert Must Love Travel Planners so you too can experience what it is like to plan your vacations carefree!  Drop me a quick note at Laura@MLTGRP.com  and let me know you want to be connected!

River Cruising

Sail away to explore the world on a river cruise. Intimate, luxury, and adventure are just a few words that describe a journey aboard a river cruise.

River cruising is the fastest growing travel segment today. Most likely because it is a perfect way to see many iconic cities and historic locations. Unlike ocean cruising, your entire sailing is in view of beautiful scenery. Whether you are watching from your balcony or from one of the public areas aboard you will be engulfed in the
view.

Many river cruises are all inclusive in nature and some include excursions as well. They dock right in the heart of the city allowing ease to set out and explore.

If you are a first time river cruiser, the Rhine is a perfect choice! It is beautiful any time of year! Sailing through the Rhine gorge is one of the most scenic sections of the Rhine sailing past castles, churches and vineyards!

There are many wonderful River Cruise lines to choose from. You will want to talk with your Travel Planner and discuss the best options for you.

Gratitude is a great word

Gratitude is a great word! The definition is: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. It is a word that everyone should think of often, one that shares positive insights no matter whether there are difficulties, disappointments, or elation. We can have gratitude in a good day or a bad day.

Must Love Travel is a company of gratitude. We are not the originators of course, we adopted this as a company value after attending a conference organized by one of the suppliers we work with, The Mark Travel Corporation. Conferences can be long, tiring and exciting, but this conference was more than that. Gratitude permeated throughout each session, each dinner, each event and left us with a strong “we can do this” attitude and one we wanted to bring to our company.

We start each meeting with gratitude statements and anyone can participate along with the management team. It doesn’t have to be work related, it can be personal as well. We consider our team a family and care deeply about their lives, both at work and home. We are a team of encouragers. It is always hard to see team members go through difficult times and is much easier celebrating success, but either way we share gratitude.

One of our travel planners shared this week, how a difficult client who was unkind during a rather difficult booking, lead her to gratitude. Grateful for the learning experiences she came away with, she now has a new perspective on situations that may be similar in the future. We have all encountered people like this, and in any industry that serves people you will find the majority grateful, but always have those few that bring the challenge to the table. Staying firm, steady the course, act kind and always be in gratitude helps those few situations disappear rather quickly.

This isn’t really a travel article, but a personal insight into something that moves us everyday and allows us to work closely with our clients, suppliers and each other. We are truly grateful for all the people we serve while planning and booking their vacations. Being in business for over 22 years we have met many people and each one has impacted us in some way. Many have become lifelong friends. We are grateful for our supplier partners that we have the privilege to send our clients to on their vacations, weddings and other celebrations. We are grateful for our travel planners and support staff that work diligently to service their clients. The job is not an easy one and we know that they would not be here if they couldn’t say, “I Love My Job”. And we know they do.

I hope you can experience gratitude everyday!

Peek Behind the Scenes of a Travel Professional

Let’s address the myth out there about what really a travel planner’s job is. Many think we are always flying off to some wonderful vacation. True, we do take vacations just like you. However, many of our other trips are trips to educate, learn and discover new locations for our clients. These are long days of what we call site inspections. Granite they are in wonderful locations so that makes our work a bit more pleasant.

So what is behind the scenes of a travel planner? For many of us the day starts early when the home office is quiet and we can be prepared for the day. Many hours are invested into quoting and planning vacations. The quoting process alone can be 2-5 hours depending on the details of the trip. Even specializing in certain destinations, a travel planner will want to ensure they are matching up everything the client is looking for. It can even exceed the 5 hours it is an involved Itinerary to ensure the client is receiving multiple options just to get them started! From there the choices are narrowed down and then final quoting is done before completing the booking. Prices and availability can change at anytime so keeping up on it all is sometimes a challenge.

Once the client is prepared to book and deposit their vacation the administrative work begins. Reviewing and recording of information for accuracy takes time and is an extension to their customer service. Calendar reminders are set to ensure on time payments and important dates such as booking dining for a Walt Disney Resort guest. Once the booking is complete, then Itinerary planning begins! Meetings with clients to determine their most desirable activities and then research to find the best options to meet those needs. There are many hours of phone calls to make it all happen! They love it!! They do this for each of their clients and can be juggling many of these things each and everyday.

In addition, to servicing our clients, we are marketers and students. We spend time attending webinars, reviewing promotions from our preferred suppliers, and keep up on our social media, websites and local events. There are also occasions where travel planners have to troubleshoot and assist clients when things come up and plans need to change. This is a very important service we do as typically when things like this happen the client needs to be with family and just simply can’t focus on getting things done. There are times we joke that we dream about our clients vacations because the brain is always thinking!

Needless to say, there are many reasons to choose booking your vacations with a travel planner. They are you personal connection to your vacation. When using the services of a travel planner you don’t pay more money for the booking of a resort or a package as those are the same no matter how you book them. They can save you money as they receive the most updated information about various promotions and news about different destinations. Often, planners don’t charge a fee, however, when they do it is for the costs not covered by commissions. Just like we pay a lawyer a fee for their professional advice, travel planners may charge a fee for their research and itinerary planning. For many clients, this is well worth the money, as you can see it save many hours of time and headaches! You can always discuss this with your travel planner.

The real perk for a travel planner is the amazing people they meet. Lifelong friendships develop and knowing that they are responsible for helping their clients create moments that will last a lifetime is so rewarding. The best compliment for a planner is sharing their information with others and giving them feedback post trip. I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into some of the aspects of the job of a professional travel planner!

Why Choose a Guided Vacation?

Year after year, travelers are getting more and more savvy with their choice of locations and how to visit those locations. Gone are the days when you loaded up the station wagon and backed out of the driveway all loaded up with snacks, picnic lunch, the family and yes your atlas just to go visit the relatives! Now families are choosing from traveling across the country to traveling across the globe!

When I think of traveling, I want it to be as hassle free and safe as possible. Even though I am a professional travel planner, I don’t want to have to piece together every detail when traveling to a destination I have not visited before. This would take days and days of research and quite frankly you are still left with a little bit of thought, “Am I staying at the right hotel?, Am I taking the right transportation? Will I be able to get to everything I think I want to see?” Too many questions going unanswered. If I haven’t been to a location, especially international, I opt to travel on a guided tour and have loved every minute of it and felt I had the best well rounded vacation!

Guided Tours offer so much to a vacation that you will want to think twice before dismissing this option. There are several wonderful companies that we have worked with that offer some of the best itineraries and guides in the business. Here are a few reasons you will want to explore when deciding if you want a guided tour.

  • Expertise! Your tour operators have invested a lot of time, money and effort in exploring the perfect itineraries for their guests. They employ the experts who are knowledgeable in the area you are traveling as well as problem solving and making the trip extra special. The hotels are ready for you and have been tested. They work with locals to enhance the cultural experiences.
  • Budget! You may be stretching your dollars a lot further when on a guided tour because you are taking advantage of the savings your tour operator is getting by having a group travel. Hot spots tourist sites work with groups to ensure guaranteed access. Traveling alone you might just be shut out and not be able to experience the one thing you really wanted to do. Your trip is pretty much pre paid and you don’t have unexpected expenses racking up an already expensive trip.
  • Safety! Tour operators know the area! Traveling in groups is safer in general, haven’t we heard that all of our lives? It eliminates the language barriers and allows tourists opportunity to see and do much more! You can travel even as a single and not feel like this is just a vacation for one!
  • Carefree! You don’t have to worry about anything! You have peace of mind that you are going to the places you want to go, the way you should get there and everything is taken care of for you. You have time to do as much or as little as you want on most tours and someone is always available for questions and to problem solve if necessary.
  • Social! Although you are traveling with a group – most tour companies have very small groups. Small enough to get to know others and not miss anything. You do have customized tours and ones that you just join in on. You are still on YOUR vacation, but you have the benefits of experiencing it with others as well. That in and of itself is a great way to see the world. My family has met some wonderful people we now call friends!

Don’t miss it! Explore the idea of a guided tour with your travel planner and I can assure you you won’t be disappointed. You will be able to see more and do more when everything is taken care of for you. #MustLoveTravelMoments

So what does all inclusive mean?

Right now a beautiful all inclusive resort situated on the beautiful shores of a vast ocean sounds like a perfect place to be! With the “yucky” weather still lingering in the north nothing screams more than sunshine and warmth!

All inclusive resort vacations can be the perfect match for many travelers. If you are like me, once I plan my vacation I just want to enjoy it. I want it to fit the budget. Include everything I need and no surprises!

So what does all inclusive mean? For most resorts it means your package includes, your room, all you can eat dining, all you can drink beverage, and some onsite activities and entertainment. You basically can travel to these destinations with everything taken care of and few out of pocket expenses. Easy!

There are some differences throughout the all inclusive industry. Some resorts capture a niche like Sandals that includes many beach and water activities or Karisma resorts that boast gourmet dining and top shelf drinks and exclusive Canadian Beef weeks. Others you may need to upgrade to get those added to your package.

In addition room categories leverage one brand over another too. Over the water bungalows are the hottest rage right now and are exclusive to Karisma and Sandals in the major island markets. Exclusively designed suites like Casitas at El Dorado or beach front Bungalows in Sandals Antigua offer the luxury of exceptional views, privacy and restful vacations.

There are moderate all inclusive resorts that are nice on the budget and offer everything you will need to steal away for some sun and fun. You will find clean rooms, beautiful pools, great food and plenty of pool bars to try out some of your island favorites.

Day trips to local attractions and activities are typical for someone that wants to get a little more culture. You can swim with dolphins, sail away on a catamaran, Rose a camel or scuba dive! There is plenty to choose from. Cultural excision to the Mayan Ruins or museums and cities are great options too. You won’t be disappointed.

Many Weddings and Honeymoons are taken at all inclusive resorts. It has everything for everyone and creates a perfect backdrop for these special occasions. And certainly don’t forget th anniversary!! Capturing the romance is their specialty!
The ultimate in luxury for me is visiting the spa. Although this is an additional charge you can prepay services if you choose to do so. The spas located at these island resorts enhance the overall relaxing experiences of your vacation. And if you get a little sunburn you may want to stop in for a little therapy to sooth the burn!

There are many fantastic resorts to choose from and our travel planners have their favs they would love to share with you! The nice thing about these type of vacations are that you can plan ahead or even check it out last minute for a quick trip!

Helpful tips for Traveling Outside of the United States

Many clients have inquired about traveling outside of the United States and in particular to Mexico, Jamaica and other locations that have had recent travel advisories. I thought I would share some insight as to how to best know where to get your information and some best practices when traveling outside the United States.

First, let me say that no matter where you travel, even in the United States, you should take precautions to ensure safety and be discerning. When purchasing your trip, it is highly recommended to include Vacations Plans or Travel Insurance. This will protect you should you become ill or injured, and require medical treatment and/or evacuation. This is particularly important when traveling to foreign countries.

Mexico is a fabulous destination to visit, in particular the resort areas of Cancun, and Riviera Maya. These resort properties work very hard to ensure safety for their guests and employees. Recently, the travel advisory has been lifted to these areas and you can read the complete details on https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html.

Just as you would view your life at home, common sense is your best protection. Follow your instincts and avoid any areas or situations that seem as though they could become dangerous.

  1. Stay in the well-known tourist areas of the cities.
  2. Know and respect the laws in the country you are visiting.
  3. Visit only legitimate businesses and tourist areas, and avoid areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur.
  4. Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member back home. Contact them should you plan to deviate from it.
  5. Check with your cell phone provider prior to departure to see if your phone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G/4G international networks
  6. Do not display expensive looking jewelry, large amounts of money or other valuable items
  7. Make every attempt to travel during daylight hours, and stick to main roads
  8. If traveling with children, be sure to keep an eye on them at all times, especially near water as the resorts do not offer lifeguards.

When traveling to a specific area you can stay abreast of the latest advisories by visiting the https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html and also to register your travel https://step.state.gov.
Here you will receive the most accurate and updated information and can make an educated decision about your travel arrangements. Be careful not to get caught up in the media stories and stick with this official source and work with your travel planner. As Must Love Travel Planners we keep abreast of the latest information and work with our clients to assist them in adjusting plans should it become necessary.

#MustLoveTravelMoments

Moments are a very brief period of time or an exact point in time.  There is significance in a moment that can have huge impact on your life. The day you met the love of your life, witnessed the birth of your children, spent time with good friends, you name it!   The moments of your journey are ones you don’t want to forget but collect them and etch them as memories forever.

Must Love Travel Planners seek vacations that will give you opportunity to experience once in a lifetime moments. As a result of many of our clients sending us testimonials and pictures of their special moments,  we have established this awesome hashtag — #MustLoveTravelMoments to capture and collect  of those moments.. We believe as the famous Italian poet, Cesare Pavese once said, “  We do not remember days, but we remember moments”. The first time you stand on the soft sand watching the sunset with your new spouse on your honeymoon or capture the joy of your children as you explore the world, these are moments that need to be shared and remembered.

Here is a moment from one of our family vacations to Dollywood in TN!  We had a great time!

Great ways to capture #MustLoveTravelMoments include anything from quick snaps on your phone, professional pictures from the photographer onboard a ship, travel journals that you write, draw in and sharing them with friends and family on social media. Sharing your moments can be inspiring to others.  We would love to see your moments on our brand new Must Love Travel Group. It is a public group to share and be inspired!

Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/405874653192913/

Are you ready to go to Hawaii?

Planning your trip to Hawaii

It will be hard to choose which of the six islands of Hawaii to visit as you can see from our series on the Hawaiian Islands. This state hosts so many wonderful wonders from breathtaking waterfalls, volcanoes, tropical delights, ocean greatness fit for watching sea life, snorkeling and surfing. It is a destination within reach. No need for passports, great weather throughout the year and plenty to do! It is a destination for families, honeymoons and romance.

So if you are like me, Hawaii is a bucket list destination for you and how are you going to plan for such a trip. You may want to visit all the islands or atleast many of them to get the full experience. Afterall, it may be your only visit to Hawaii right? Although after you visit you this may be your go to destination! As with any vacation, planning is key. You will need to plan your time off, set your budget and make a list of your must do’s. Many visitors to Hawaii set aside 7-14 days depending on how much they want to see. Your budget will need to be a healthy one as you can only arrive by land or sea. Airfare ranges between $880 – $1500 and fluctuates often. Resort costs are fairly typical, but as with any travel to islands food can be a little higher than you are used to at home.

One cost effective way to travel to Hawaii is via cruise. I say cost effective because your vacation is pretty much paid for before you leave home since your food is included in your cruise package. One of my favorite ships to sail is the Pride of America on Norwegian Cruise line. Recently renovated, the Pride of America has been sailing to Hawaii for many years. It has recently been voted the best Hawaii Itinerary. With a variety of Itineraries, you can hit most of the highlights. You can choose packages that include pre cruise land stay or just cruise only.

If you are more adventurous or a little shy of cruising and want to dive into one or more islands on your trip there are packages that will include your flights, accommodations, excursions. This way gives you the flexibility to customize where you want to be and when.

Whatever way you want to go – land or sea, you will want to work with your Must Love Travel Planner to help you create a spectacular vacation. Plan ahead. This bucket list destination is a place you will not want to miss. The history, gorgeous views, culture and volcanic wonders are calling your name! If you missed any of the island articles we have recently published, go back and check them out!

 

Island of Hawaii – The Island of Inspiration

Nicknamed “The Big Island” the island of Hawaii is the youngest and the largest of all the islands. Host to the Hawaii Volcanoes National park, you will find molten magma flowing as well as snow-capped heights of Maunakea. Many of the world’s climate zones can be experienced on the Big Island. The Island of Hawaii has 6 regions, Hamakua Coast, Hilo, Puna, Kau, Kona and Kohala. There is certainly plenty to explore and do!

Hamakua Coast is located north of Hilo on the northeastern side of the island. Experiencing 84 inches of rainfall a year, this region is filled with tropical rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and tranquil green valleys. Plan a trip to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden and World Botanical Gardens where you will see the triple-tiered Umauma Falls. The Akaka Falls is 442 foot hight and the Kahuna Falls is 100 feet tall. The Hamakua Coast was the boyhood home of King Kamehameha I and is known as “The Valley of the Kings”. Check out the Waipio Valley Overlook at the end of the Hamakua Heritage Corridor drive. Here you will see the amazing sites of this incredible area.

The Hilo region is a perfect mix of open markets, shopping, gardens, and beautiful state parks.
In downtown Hilo you will find the Hilo’s Farmers Market. You will find, locally grown and roasted coffee, tropical fruit and sweet treats like butter mochi. The market also feature beautiful plants, outside crafts, local souvenirs. It is open year round every Wednesday and Saturday with some vendors open every day.

One area of Hilo you will not want to miss is the world’s largest authentic ornamental Japanese garden outside of Japan itself. It is open 24 hours a day and you can experience this for free. The Liliuokalani Gardens, named after the last reigning monarch, Queen Liliuokalani is location on 24.67 acres and was dedicated in 1917. It is truly an amazing and tranquil place. Don’t miss the amazing falls in Hilo as well. Wailuku River state park is best know for the Waianuenue (Rainbow Falls) and Akaa Falls State Park features the Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls.

Looking for some Lava? The region of Puna just south of Hilo in the town of Pahoa you can experience the designs of Pele, the volcano goddess who continually creates and recreates the land. This area features, black-sand beaches and lava features as well as more natural wonders forged by the power of volcanos. What could be more relaxing that to experience one of Puna’s coastal geothermal baths heated below the earth by Kilauea’s steam. A don’t miss spot on Puna is Lava Trees State Park. in the 1700’s, lava flow swept through the areac coating the trunks of ohia trees leaving tall lava molds of the tree trunks in their wake, frozen in time.

Kau is host to the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea. The eastern slopes of Kau host macadamia nut orchards, coffee farms and cattle. 45 miles south of Hilo, is the Hawaii Volcano National Park. It is 333,000 acres from the summit of Maunaloa to the sea. Manualoa last erupted in 1984 and Kilauea has been erupting since Jan. 3, 1983. Check out this area to learn more about the amazing dynamics of volcanoes. Learn more about these volcano’s click https://youtu.be/gNoJv5Vkumk

The West side of the island is Kona. If you are a coffee lover, Kona has some of the best coffee as it hosts many coffee farms. Kona’s calm and clear waters make it perfect for snorkeling, diving, sailing and spotting dolphins and honu ( Hawaiian green sea turtles). During the month of August, Kona hosts the International Billfish Tournament. Located in south Kona, is Honaunau Bay where there is a 180 acre national historic park.

 

This historic park was once the home of royal grounds and a place of refuge for ancient Hawaiian lawbreakers. Kapu, or sacred laws, were of utmost importance to Hawaiian culture and the breaking of kapu had its consequences, including death. If one were to break kapu, their only chance for survival was to evade his pursuers and make it to a puuhonua, or a sacred place of refuge. Once there, a ceremony of absolution would take place and the one who broke kapu would be able to return to society. Puuhonua o Hanaunau remains one of the most sacred historic places. Visit the Historic Kailua Village and Hulihee Palace where you will be transported back to the days of Hawaiian monarchy.

Finally, Kohala. This is the area of some of the best resorts and as you travel this area you will find amazing lava fields. In north Kohala, there is a small town called Kapaau. Her stands the original King Kamehameha I Statue which is not far from where the famous King was born. Historians believe he was born in 1758, the year Halley’s Comet passed over Hawaii. Kamehameha stands for The Lonely One. His story is amazing so you will have to visit to receive the full appreciation of this amazing sense of history. Pololu Valley Lookout and Hapuna Beach offer breathtaking views and amazing beaches.

The Big Island has a lot to offer tourist and you will want time to explore! #MustLoveTravelHawaii

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!

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