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How to choose the right seat on your next flight

Let’s be honest, being crammed like sardines into a relatively small tube for hours on end isn’t exactly ‘fun’. With airlines, location is everything. I’d love to simply suggest “Always fly first class”, but that is a luxury that most folks can’t afford on a regular basis.

Here are a few tips for making the decision on where to sit.

Window Seat

Window seats are good if you don’t plan to move much. It’s nice to have the wall of the plane to lean into for a little extra room.

Aisle Seat

Aisle seats are good if you have long legs, or know that you will need to be up and down a bit. It’s always awkward to ask the 2 people sitting next to you to wake up so you can go use the bathroom.

Front of Plane

There are a few reasons why the front of plane seats are more sought-after, and often cost more money. If you have a short connection, it’s great to get off the plane right away. Actually it’s always nice to get off the plane right away, I mean who wants to spend extra time on an airplane? Also you are closer to the bathrooms, and these seats are often slightly larger than the seats in the back. And for whatever reason, it’s always much louder in the back of the plane.

Emergency Row

As long as you are not a child, you can sit in the Emergency Row. Some airlines charge a premium to sit here. But if you can grab an emergency row seat, do it! You need to be able to answer the questions the flight attendant asks about being willing and able to help in an actual emergency. So don’t forget how important that is. If you can answer yes, you’ll be rewarded with a few extra inches of legroom and seats near the front of the plane.

Upgrade to Premium Economy

Premium Economy seats are available on the major airlines, such as Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines. These seats have more legroom, are towards the front of the plane, and offer added amenities such as free alcohol, entertainment and early boarding. They come at a premium cost, but they are much less than the price of a First Class ticket. And oftentimes, you can justify the cost for the experience. Consider this option if you have to fly across the country, or take an overnight flight and go right to work when you land. It’s totally worth it.

Contact your Must Love Travel Planner today!

Romance Travel at Sandals Resorts

If you are looking for a perfect couples getaway to the Caribbean or Bahamas, you can’t get much better than Sandals Resorts.

Sandals Resorts are upscale, couples only Resorts with some very romantic touches. These luxury beach resorts are set along the most gorgeous tropical settings and exquisite beaches in Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Antigua, The Bahamas, Grenada and Barbados, feature unlimited gourmet dining, unique bars serving premium liquors and wines, and every land and water sport, including complimentary green fees at golf resorts and PADI® certified scuba diving at most resorts.

With so many Sandals Resorts to choose from, how do you pick the one that is right for you? That’s what we are here for! Talk to your Must Love Travel Planner, let them know exactly what you are looking for. Do you want lots of nightlife? Or your own private pool? How about an Overwater Bungalow? Maybe you’d like to upgrade to a Butler experience…All of this can happen at Sandals!

Talk to your Must Love Travel Planner TODAY to plan your next romantic vacation.

How to avoid getting seasick on your next cruise

I’m going to immediately remind everyone that I am a travel agent and blogger, NOT a doctor. If you have any real concern, such as an underlying medical condition – you absolutely need to talk to your doctor before you take a cruise.

Poor Michelle…

For anyone and everyone else….

Getting seasick is a very real, valid concern. My own wife got horribly seasick on her first cruise, and it took me 6 years to get her back on another cruise. I can honestly say that I did everything in my power to keep her from getting sick. As I give you my tips below, I’ll also point out how we used these tips personally in planning our own Disney cruise. And guess what….she did NOT get sick at all!! She had a wonderful time, and she just sailed on her third cruise last week, also with no issues at all.

Bigger IS Better

Yes, a bigger ship is going to most likely be a newer ship, have more stabilizers, and you tend to feel the motion less. Smaller ships tend to rock more, and other than some luxury liners, they are going to be older ships with older technology. We chose to sail on the Disney Fantasy for her size.

Location, Location, Location!

Stateroom location is super important! You feel the motion of the ocean a lot less the closer you are to mid ship. Now, high deck or low deck….I’ve heard both are better/worse. Personally, I’ve felt the motion more on the lower decks. Choosing a stateroom that is mid-ship and about 3/4 up is about as perfect as you can get. We chose a stateroom that is completely smack-dab mid-ship, on Deck 9 (out of 13 decks), which is as central as you can possibly be.

Stateroom Balcony (aka Fresh Air)

The reason I suggest a balcony is not just because they tend to be on the higher decks or because they are more spacious (which they are), but because you have access to fresh air 24/7. This is HUGE if you are concerned about getting seasick and you want to be able to take a step out onto your private verandah, to breath in that refreshing sea air. We chose a Verandah stateroom.

Less Sea Days

I specifically chose an itinerary that has no more than 1 sea day in a row because sea days are definitely harder for folks with light stomachs, as there is constant motion. Even though I thought I wanted an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, Disney’s all include 2 sea days in a row. So, we went with a Western Caribbean itinerary that has 2 sea days, but they are sandwiched between 3 full port days. For the most part, this gives some relief after just 1 day.

Our itinerary looked like this:

Day 1 – Port Canaveral
Day 2 – Sea Day
Day 3 – Cozumel, Mexico
Day 4 – Grand Cayman
Day 5 – Falmouth, Jamaica
Day 6 – Sea Day
Day 7 – Castaway Cay
Day 8 – Port Canaveral

Understand WHERE and WHEN you are sailing

Our first cruise that Michelle got so sick on was a Houston sailing, and it had 2 sea days at the end to get back into port. I had no idea that the Gulf of Mexico is notoriously rocky. I know this now, so I would never put Michelle on a sailing out of a Texas port; also, we sailed in January and ummmm January is winter…so yeah, getting in and out of Texas was not going to be smooth. Our recent Disney cruise was mid-May, out of Port Canaveral, Florida.

Be Prepared – get the good meds!

You’ll find a ton of blog posts with all natural alternatives and herbal supplements to avoid getting sick….this is not that kind of post. My advice is….call your doctor and get the good meds!! Load up on dramamine, both regular and non-drowsy, and don’t be afraid to take it. I honestly have no idea if I get seasick or not, because I pretty much have a steady stream of dramamine in my system the entire time. Plus I get the ear patch from my doctor. Plus I wear seabands. The whole shebang. Don’t be a hero! If you are at all worried, there are meds out there to help!

Contact your Must Love Travel Planner TODAY to plan your next cruise vacation!

Passports 101: Guidance for International Travel

As Travel Consultants, there are lots of “top questions” we receive on a weekly basis. When is the best time of year to travel? What are the crowds like? Can you work with my budget?

If I had to figure out what the most popular questions are about, I would have to respond with “Passports”. Passport questions can be complicated, so let me break down two of the top questions and concerns about passports.

Question: “Does it matter when my passport  expires?”
Answer: YES! Most countries (including Mexico, the Caribbean and Bahamas) will require you to have a passport that does not expire within 6 months post travel. That means that if you are traveling in June 2018, your passport would need to be valid through January 2019. Otherwise, you may be denied entry.

Always check your expiration date before you book a vacation that requires a passport!

Question: “Do I really need a passport to Cruise? My friend said I only need a birth certificate.”
Answer: This is a tricky answer. Technically yes, you are allowed to sail on a closed-loop cruise, meaning departing and returning from a US cruise port, with a certified copy of your birth certificate. BUT – and this is extremely important – all cruise lines and travel consultants are going to highly encourage you to sail with a passport. The reasons are severe. If for any reason you would need to fly home from a foreign country, you must have a valid passport in order to fly. This includes flying due to a medical emergency. It also includes needing to get home because there is an issue with your ship!

A common myth is that if you need to fly home by fault of the cruise line, “the cruise line would take care of it”. This is false. Even if you are stuck on an island while a ship is being repaired, if you need to fly home, you will need a passport.

I just read a story about a woman who lost an arm to a shark bite while snorkeling in the Bahamas. She needed immediate medial attention, and the doctors wanted to med-flight her back to the US. Because she did not have a passport, she had to stay on the island and receive medical attention at a local foreign hospital.

I’m not telling you this to scare you, but to impress upon you the risk you take by cruising without a passport.

Passports are super easy to get, so do yourself a favor and go ahead and get a passport now; even if you don’t have a trip planned. What if your friend invites you on a last minute cruise? Or your relative decides to plan a last minute wedding in Mexico? You’ll be so glad you already have one!

If you would like more information about how and where to obtain a passport, reach out and ask your Must Love Travel Planner! We are always happy to walk you through the process. 

Norwegian Encore: Onboard Fun

Norwegian’s newest ship, the Norwegian Encore, has officially been christened and has set sail in the Caribbean! I had the pleasure of sailing on this beautiful ship for her inaugural sailing out of Miami, and I was completely blown away with all there is to do onboard! In additional to dozens of restaurants, lounges, bars, and entertainment, you will find the following activities to keep the entire family happy during your unforgettable vacation!

Speedway

Race Track

With over 1100 feet of pedal-to-the-metal action, the largest race track at sea is bigger, better and only on Norwegian. Watch the ocean blur by as you zoom around high-speed curves suspended 13 feet off the side of the ship. And spectators can get in on the action, too! Revolutionary interactivity lets you boost your favorite racer past the finish.

Laser Tag

Discover the secrets of the past in the resurrected lost city of Atlantis, where laser tag meets augmented reality. Hide behind ruins and run past the giant tentacles of the monstrous sea creature to complete your mission. With long lost treasures that virtually come to life with cutting-edge technology, this is an epic battle for the whole family to enjoy.

Laser Tag

Galaxy Pavilion

Galaxy Pavilion
Galaxy Pavilion

Step inside the Galaxy Pavilion and explore a virtual reality world unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Immersive VR experiences and thrilling simulator rides are just the beginning. Use your wits to solve the puzzles of an escape room featuring holograms and enchanted artifacts. Then come back and experience the excitement all over again.

 Aqua Park

Aqua Park
Aqua Park

Slide into the time of your life. With two multistory waterslides on board, Norwegian Encore keeps the thrills coming over and over again. Make it the best of three on Aqua Racer, our tandem waterslide at sea. And then get a thrill as you whoosh over the side of the ship on the double loop, Ocean Loops. Or call it a lazy day and lounge by the pool with a frozen drink in hand. However you like to make a splash, the Aqua Park is overflowing with excitement.

Main Pool

Main Pool

Go for a dip in the pool or a soak in the hot tub. Feel like making it a relaxing day? Lounge back with an expertly made cocktail in hand and catch some rays. Our main pool is the place to be for all the fun in the sun.

 Kid’s Areas

Splash Academy

Your kids will have a blast inside Splash Academy where they can enjoy complimentary creative play, active sports competitions, and engaging activities for kids of all ages.

Guppies

Guppies is perfect for Norwegian’s youngest guests. Parents and babies can enjoy self-guided play, including sensory activities and toy time. Guppies hosted activities are led by an Early Years Coordinator with parent supervision.

Entourage

Movies. Art. Music. Video games. Dance parties. Welcome to Entourage – a retreat for teens looking to have fun and hang out with people their own age. One thing’s for sure: absolutely, positively, no parents allowed.

Kids' Aqua Park
Kids Aqua Park

They’ll splish. They’ll splash. They’ll definitely have a blast. Whether they want to zip down a tube slide or get drenched by tipping buckets or water cannons, kids will have the best of times at our interactive Kids’ Aqua Park.

Spa

Mandara Spa Thermal Suite Norwegian Encore
Norwegian Encore  Mandara Spa

There are plenty of ways to be pampered. Unwind in the Thermal Suite with a steam or a dip in the Vitality Pool. Check out the Salt Room and chill out in our Snow Room. Or simply indulge in a hot-stone massage. Treat yourself. You deserve it.

Fitness

Norwegian Encore Fitness

Staying fit has never been easier at our state-of-the-art fitness center. Feel the burn in a high-intensity RYDE cycling class. Strenthen and tone during a Pure Form Pilates session. Or seek inner peace with ocean view yoga or guided meditation classes.

Casino

Norwegian Encore Casinos

Our award-winning casino offers plenty of thrilling casino games for every type of player, whether you’re a beginner or regular at the poker table. Find your lucky seat at one of our many slot machines and in our non-smoking area. Or play in the big leagues with any number of table games. No matter what you prefer, there’s always a way for you to get lucky.

 Ready to book your next cruise? Contact your Must Love Travel Planner TODAY!

AM Resorts in the Caribbean & Mexico

AMResorts is a collection of luxury resort destinations located throughout the Caribbean and Mexico, each with its own unique personality. Every AMResort features sun-soaked beaches, elegant accommodations, a world-class spa, gourmet dining, unlimited premium drinks, and many other pampering amenities.

With so many different Resorts to choose from, it can seem overwhelming. Luckily, each AMResort falls into one of the following categories.

Contact your Must Love Travel Planner today to book your next vacation! 

Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts

Adult-Oriented

Unplug from daily life and envelop yourself in the tranquility of Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts. Unrivaled luxury and holistic wellness combine with the limitless means of Endless Privileges to offer an experience of attentive bliss known as The Art of Life. Delight in the touches of infinite bliss with daily in-suite sparkling wine, 24-hour gourmet dining, complimentary worldwide calling, laundry services, specialty experiences, and so much more, all included with your stay. Check in or out at any time, and tune into your inner self.

Secrets Resorts & Spa

Adult Only

Dive deep into a romantic retreat at Secrets Resorts & Spas, where adults escape the everyday amid the natural allure of the Mediterranean and Caribbean. World class amenities and unsurpassed personal service are yours as often as you desire. Embark on your secluded getaway in some of the most coveted locations in the world, and discover the unique sophistication found only at a Secrets Resort.

Breathless Resorts & Spas

Adult Only

If you’re ready to escape to an exciting adults-only destination, where seductive beauty and chic style combine with Unlimited-Luxury, you’re ready for Breathless Resorts & Spas. Each Breathless Resort & Spa was designed to offer an authentic experience unique to its destination. While we infuse our resorts with originality (no cookie-cutter hotels here!), you can still expect to find the ideal blend of relaxation and entertainment at all four of our beachfront, all-adult properties throughout the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico.

Dreams Resorts & Spas

Family Friendly

Dreams Resorts & Spas offer families, couples and singles a luxurious tropical escape. Beautiful beachfront locations and exciting array of activities for every age and interest ensure that everyone has their dream vacation. Spacious rooms and suites, graciously appointed and luxuriously equipped provide a picture-perfect vacation experience with welcoming service and romantic inclusions. Beautiful and exciting destinations provide a lovely setting for a wedding, honeymoon, romantic getaway or family vacation.

Now Resorts & Spas

Family Friendly

Now Resorts & Spas offer vibrant beachfront settings for multigenerational travel, families with teens and tweens as well as couples and friends. Enjoy a family-friendly, modern vacation experience, where play and party are just steps away from peace and quiet. Active and lively settings provide entertainment for all ages and are perfect setting for a family reunion, a wedding or a social group getaway.

Reflect Resorts & Spas

Family Friendly

Enjoy these great beachfront vacations offering a variety of locally inspired cuisine, inviting amenities, friendly service and an array of culturally infused experiences all created for memory making moments.

Sunscape Resorts & Spas

Family Friendly

Sunscape Resorts & Spas offer families, friends, singles and couples high-energy, fun-filled vacations and getaways on pristine beaches. Indulge, day and night, in countless activities at our seaside resorts.

What to pack in your Carry On Luggage

First let me say, that the options for carry-on luggage is continuously growing and improving. All depending on how “fancy” you want your luggage, you can find bags that include hidden pockets for personal documents, water bottle holders, charging cords…you name it, they have it.

It can be confusing trying to follow all of the TSA laws when it comes to packing your carry-on. On top of the liquids rule, there are a few other items that should ALWAYS go in your carry-on bag. You won’t find these on the TSA website, as they are more general rules that will make sure you are never without your most important items.

Liquids 3 – 1 – 1

The law reads like this: 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

So make sure you remember Liquids 3 – 1 – 1 when packing your carry-on bag.

3 – 3.4 ounces per bottle

– 1 large ziploc bag

1 –  1 bag per passenger

Because if you are over the liquid limit, it will be thrown out. And that is never fun.

Medications

Medications should always go in your carry-on bag. Just imagine that your checked luggage is lost. Would you be in a panic? You can avoid this by always packing all of your medications in your carry-on bag. Make sure they are labeled with your name. So don’t put a bunch of pills in a ziplock bag – bring the actual bottle so it is clear they are prescribed to you.

Liquid Medications do NOT count towards the 3 – 1 – 1 liquids rule, but be sure that they are clearly labeled as medications with your name on them. For example, vials of insulin.

Passport or Photo ID

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is easy to tuck your wallet into a larger bag while you are packing if it seems to fit better. You will need your photo ID to check your luggage, and also to get through TSA Security. And if you are traveling with a Passport, be sure to keep that safe and with you at all times.

Cash

Most of us aren’t used to carrying cash anymore. I have found that traveling through airports and checking into hotels are one of the few times I really need it. I like to tip at least $1 per bag, whenever anyone handles or assists. So that would be on the shuttle from parking to the airport, curbside checkin, shuttle drivers and bell services at your hotel. So do the math and keep plenty of $1’s and $5’s handy. You’ll give them out like candy on a travel day.

Snacks

If you have a bottle of water with you before you arrive at the airport, you’ll have to throw it out when you go through TSA security. But snacks are allowed! Just make sure your snacks don’t fall under the liquids category – so no yogurt, applesauce, some fruit…I’ve even seen peanut butter thrown out. Stick with chips, crackers, cookies, protein bars…enough to keep you full in the event of a travel delay.

Perfect Day at CocoCay: Thrill Side

Royal Caribbean has recently re-opened their own Private Island called CocoCay in the Bahamas, and it is amazing! There is quite literally something for everyone. If you want to sit at the beach and relax, if you want to play in a party-pool, if you want to visit a water park…it’s all there!

Your Royal Caribbean ship will dock on the island, and offers complimentary shuttle service from the ship to the island. If you choose to walk down the pier, you’ll have some amazing photo opportunities. Even if you enjoy walking, I recommend taking the shuttle around the island, just so you can see everything there is to offer!

CocoCay is divided into two sections – “Chill Side” and “Thrill Side”. The “Thrill Side” includes the super-popular Thrill Water Park, with lots of slides, water activities and a huge wave pool.

Thrill Water Park 

If you’re after non-stop action and pulse-pounding excitement, nothing beats the record-breaking pools and slides at Thrill Waterpark. Fill your day with plenty of wild hairpin turns, bracing zero-gravity drops, big-time tide riding and more. No matter what your threshold for adrenaline, Thrill Waterpark delivers something for every level of daredevil.

Rest and Relaxation

If you’ve had your fill of thrill, kick back and relax. The best part? You don’t even need to leave Thrill Waterpark. Claim one of the complimentary beach chairs by the wave pool or reserve a cabana close to your favorite slide tower and recharge before your next adventure. The nearby Snack Shack is the perfect pit stop for a quick refuel.

 

International Travel: How to Stay Safe

I know there are a lot of fears and worry around traveling right now. As I keep telling my clients (and myself!) this will end, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we all will begin to travel again very soon!

No matter where in the world you are going, here are some easy, standard tips for keeping safe when traveling internationally. Whether you are traveling to Europe, Costa Rica, Australia or Thailand, these tips will help everyone stay safe in a country that is not your own.

Getting There

  • Make a color copy of your passport or take a picture and email it to yourself. This will be a great backup if your passport is lost or stolen.
  • Arrive at your destination during daylight hours so you can check out the surroundings to make sure it’s safe.

Full Service Hotel

  • Consider staying at a hotel that has staff working 24/7 rather than a home share.
  • Write down the exact address of where you’re staying in case your phone dies or gets lost or stolen.
  • Request a room on a higher floor. There is generally a layer of security before you get to the elevators.
  • If you’re riding the elevator with a stranger, let them press their floor number first. If it’s the same as yours, go up another level just to be safe.

During your Trip

  • Check in with family or friends at home shortly after arriving. Share your itinerary with someone at home so folks know what you are doing.
  • Check in frequently throughout your trip.

Around Town

  • Wear clothes that blend in while out in public. You do not want to advertise that you’re a tourist.
  • Only carry what you need, primarily your phone, ID and some cash.
  • Use a purse or pocket that can be worn in the front so that way you prevent pickpockets from reaching into a back pocket.
  • Carry your cash in more than one spot. This way, if your purse does get stolen, you still have some money on you.
  • When enjoying the nightlife, keep an eye on the person making your drink. Don’t ever let your drink out of your sight. And stay sober if you are by yourself!
  • Don’t tell strangers where you are staying. If someone asks, keep it vague. (“Down near the Boat Dock”)

Excursions

  • Book group tours with certified tour operators. Thoroughly read the reviews before booking.

Ready to book your next Adventure? Contact your Must Love Travel Planner today!

Romance Travel to Mexico

Mexico is a wonderful vacation destination, with beautiful beaches, amazing food and high end Resorts. Here are my Top 5 Resort Recommendations for Romance in Mexico.

1. El Dorado Maroma

Photo Cred: El Dorado Resorts

I’m starting with the absolute best. El Dorado Maroma is home to the incredible Palafitos-Overwater Bungalows, in fact these are the only Overwater Bungalows you will find in Mexico! This is a perfect honeymoon destination, with exclusive Butler service and unbelievable views.

2. Zoetry Paraiso De La Bonita Riviera Maya

This is a more boutique hotel experience for couples looking for the ultimate Spa and Wellness vacation. You will experience a high level of holistic well being and overall luxury experiences. When I think of Zoetry, the words “tranquil” and “zen” come to mind.

3. El Dorado Casitas Royale

El Dorado Casitas is the perfect Resort for couples wanting to spend their days relaxing in a quiet oasis, but still having an active nightlight. Although Casitas tends to stay quiet at night, it is very easy to head next door to El Dorado Royale for nightly entertainment. Check out the over-water swings and salt-water pool.

4. Breathless Riviera Cancun

Breathless is the place to be for couples looking for a a perfect combination or relaxation and FUN! This Resort offers plenty of quiet spaces, but also an active entertainment schedule. This is a great spot for couples who want to par-tay!

5. Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun

Adult Only with ultra-romantic dining options. You can even have dinner on the beach. Book a swim-up room and definitely splurge on Club Level.

There are dozens of ultra romantic resorts in Mexico. Contact your Must Love Travel Planner TODAY to plan your next vacation!

Nickelodeon Punta Cana

 

Last week some of our Must Love Travel team spent the week in Punta Cana learning about some of the amazing resorts and properties this beautiful destination has to offer! So many resorts stood out to us! Today I am excited to share with you some details about Nickelodeon Punta Cana.

 

 

This property is a Karisma Resorts. Karisma is a wonderful gourmet all-inclusive resort brand. The Nickelodeon Punta Cana is one of their newest properties. This resort is themed to all things Nickelodeon!

 

 

 

I was wowed by this great resort! Given the name Nickelodeon, I was expecting this resort to be very kid-oriented. Which it absolutely is! This resort is a paradise for kids with exciting activities for them and fun touches from some of their favorite Nickelodeon shows! However, what I didn’t expect was how much was also available for adults which would make this resort a great pick even for couples or families without young children.

 

 

The resort has an on-sight water park which is massive and full of exciting family activities! Additionally, you can enjoy the breathtaking beaches and relaxing pools! The restaurants here are all so well themed. We got to sample some of the food from a few of these dining locations and everything we tried was delicious! There are even night clubs and bars for adults. Adults will love the gourmet food offerings that this resort provides. And of course there are many family friendly options for everyone!

 

 

The rooms here are very sleek and inviting. The Nickelodeon theme is present but not in your face. There are some subtle touches of Nickelodeon characters and pops of Nickelodeon’s iconic orange color. There are room types to fit whatever you might be looking for! From standard hotel rooms, to suites and even pool super villas!

 

 

 

After visiting this resort, I highly recommend it for all that it has to offer. Contact your Must Love Travel Planner today to plan your next vacation!

 

Why You Should Vacation at an All-Inclusive Resort!

 

We all know that when you start to think about your next vacation it can be overwhelming. You want to make sure that you are finding just the right destination for your traveling party and you also want to make sure that you get the best value for your money.  First you will want to contact your professional travel planner here at Must Love Travel!  Your planner will be able to take all the stress away from planning your trip and will save you so much time in trying to find that perfect place and the best deal.  Let’s talk about a great vacation, and that would be an All-Inclusive Resort!  Let’s highlight why an All-Inclusive vacation can be right for you!

 

 

– All-Inclusive vacations are a great way to save money.  There are so many choices; which leads to great deals. We as travel planners know all the new promotions that are available.  With an All-Inclusive there will be no additional cost to you.  Once you budget your vacation you know that all food and drinks are included.  The only extra cost would be up to you if you ad on an excursion.

 

 

– With an All–Inclusive resort you feel like royalty! The wonderful staff makes it apparent that you don’t have to work at all! You are on your vacation and they strive to make everything perfect for you! This means bringing you room service, taking care of your luggage. The staff is always happy to help so that you can relax and enjoy your stay.

 

 

– There are many All-Inclusive resorts to suite your needs.  From 5-star luxury resorts, couples resorts or budget and family friendly alternatives.  We will be able to find you the current deals for the All-Inclusive that fits your needs as well as give you recommendations for the resort that would best fit your interest!

 

 

-At an All-Inclusive each resort has its own entertainment and facilities to keep you as relaxed or as busy as you choose to be! You can spend your time by the pool or catching some sun on the beach. Or you can fill your days with adventurous excursions and resort activities! OR… a little mix of both! There is something for everyone!

 

 

Recently some of our Must Love Travel Planners got the opportunity to visit some of the AM Resorts in Punta Cana!  On this Island they had many resorts and each was tailored to fit a certain demographic and some fit many demographics. There are resorts for couples, friends traveling for fun and family friendly resorts with so many activities to do at each.  So when planning your next vacation you should consider an All-Inclusive and we will help you find what is best for your travel needs!

 

7 Things I Learned on My First Cruise! – Tips for First-Time Cruisers

 

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!

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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!

 

  1. 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!

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Motion Sickness

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!

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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!

 

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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!

Vacation Days – Take them!

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!

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