Check out our new YouTube Video for some of this weeks latests travel deals!
Check out our new YouTube Video for some of this weeks latests travel deals!
You never know when the opportunity to sneak away to an exotic island, visit Europe or maybe another great location on your bucket list. We have had many clients over the years be surprised by a relative that wants the whole family on a vacation or they may have just won an incentive trip from their company and they have to get their ducks in a row so panic sets in. What do I need? Where do I get it? How long will it take? These are all great questions and important to make sure you are all set and ready to go. I have 3 things I have found for our family that has prepared us for any such occasion to get out of town!
These are 3 simple things that can be done ahead of time and at any time to get you prepared for travel anywhere!
Have you ever been on vacation and thought, wow I think so and so would love this place! Or you have spent all your vacation time traveling to family and friends and just wish you could for once go somewhere other than the homestead? Not that you don’t like home, just that you might want to see some more of the world. Well, you can. Next time you are together with family or with a group of friends, suggest you take a trip together. Multi- family travel has become more and more popular as it gives everyone a chance to get away, but still enjoy being together.
Here are some tips that will help you and your travel professional pull it all together.
Traveling together can be so much fun! There is always something to do something with – guys don’t have to shop against their will and girls don’t have to watch a sports game on the big jumbo tron if they don’t want! There are so many places to go and see – why not do it together!
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!
Wine Bar George opened just a little over 3 weeks ago in Disney Springs across from the Hangar Bar and The Boathouse. Disney’s website invites you to “Make yourself at home in an estate-style wine bar offering more than 130 wine selections from acclaimed wineries and up-and-coming regions—handpicked by Master Sommelier George Miliotes.”
Naturally, my husband and I, being the wine lovers that we are decided to stop by to see what Wine Bar George had to offer. The amount of wine available is impressive. Guests will find the wine menus divided into sections..Reds, Whites, Outstanding by the Ounce, and George’s Finds. As we ordered, we chatted with the bar server and the sommelier for some recommendations, asked about varieties that we liked, but didn’t see and for other tips.
One thing I noticed right away was no mention of a wine flight option…and that is because even though the menus don’t list it, you can get all of the options you see in 1 ounce, 3 ounce or 6 ounce pours. This makes it simple to create your own wine flight, which is exactly what we did. George’s Finds are “on draft” so to speak while the Outstanding by Ounce are liable to break the bank depending on your palate.
As you can see from looking at the wine menus, there is a range of everyday favorite table wines like Kendell Jackson or Jam Jar, to the highly prized wines that come with the high price tag. Surprisingly, there was a distinct lack of French Wines & Italian Wines available, more specifically Chateneuf de Pape, Cote du Rhone, Bordeaux and the Montepulciano Wines. This was a disappointment on our part, as we expected a more balanced menu in terms of various regions. But they have only been open about 3 weeks and, if I had to make a guess, they are trying to see what is going to sell.
In addition to the wine only menu there are small plates available such as charcuterie boards, hummus, burrata, house made meatballs and crispy mac and cheese bites to name a few. Seating is available both downstairs and upstairs, but I highly recommend heading upstairs for a less cramped feeling and for the great view. Keep an eye on their social media because they offer wine tastings from time to time as well.
Overall, we loved spending a little over an hour here, people watching out the front windows, sipping our wine, seeing what flavors we could pick out and just generally relaxing. Adults, this is a great place for a date night or even a pre or post dinner drink if you’re headed elsewhere in the Springs.
I think our favorite wine out of the selection below that we tried was the Villa Antinori. Antinori wines never disappoint.
Next time you’re around Disney Springs be sure to stop in and try a glass. If you have any questions, I’m always available to help you! Feel free to contact me at Carrie@MustLoveTravel.com.
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.
That is a loaded question! Everyone thinks they have the latest tips and tricks to purchasing airfare and although there may be some trends airfare is a line item on your budget that needs a healthy amount to cover you for your vacation.
As travel planners, we are familiar with the standard air prices from some of the most traveled cities and can give you a good idea of what you should budget for airfare for your next trip. There are a few tips that do help such as purchasing airfare around the 50 days prior to departure time, planning to travel the middle of the week and sometimes purchasing airfare on Tuesdays around 3 or after that may hold true to getting you a great price.
Here are a few guidelines that we have found helpful when looking for airfare for our clients.
These are not all tried and true but may answer some of your questions. The bottom line, traveling by air gets you to where you need to go, but needs to be considered in your vacation budget in order to plan the rest of your vacation fun!
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!
Every year people leave their vacation days on the books and have a million excuses why they can’t take time away. No time, kids schedules, not in the budget and on and on. Are you one of them? The people that have these excuses? I hope not but, if you are, I want to give you some reasons why you should think twice before letting those well deserved days pass you by!
You need time to rejuvenate! You work hard every day at your jobs, at home, volunteering and everything in between. Body and soul need time to rest. Shut off the distractions and noise of your surroundings.
You need to explore the world! It is healthy to see the world and experience different cultures and meet new people. In our everyday bubble we can close ourselves in and forget that there is a big world out there and unique experiences can enrich our lives.
You need time to reconnect with your loved ones. We are busy and there can be days that go by without taking the time to have fun together, dine together and just talk to one another and enjoy each other’s company. Vacations have a way of allowing us to have that time.
You earned it! You have earned whatever amount of vacation time you have received. Take it! There will always be something pressing that requires your attention, but nothing can replace the time you have to just sit back and get away from it all.
Recently, my husband and I finally took some time away. It had been close to 10 years since the two of us were able to travel together. Yes, we both have been places on our own or with friends, but not together. We always make sure we take one family vacation a year so we can all be together, but find it harder to just have the two of us travel. Our jobs and our lives are demanding. You will find as the children get older, they will need you more. My mom always told me that, and it is so true! So we bit the bullet and scheduled a short getaway. I had the opportunity to visit a new ship that was coming into commission and was allowed to bring a “plus one”. You go it, I told my husband this time he was going to be my plus one! It was only 2 nights, but it was just what the doctor ordered. We both realized that there really is a lot to talk about and we had missed having fun together and relaxing. Also, the world keeps going and was just fine when we returned. No one burned the house down!
It is not always easy to budget and plan for time away but you need to do it! Whether it be the family vacation or time away with your plus one, it is important. Make the planning by contacting your Travel Planner. They can help with the details and that will take a load off your plate and ensure the details are taken care of so when you are ready to head out you will be ready to enjoy!
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.
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:
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!
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
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! 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!
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!
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.
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