Monday, September 30, 2013

A unique way to ring in the New Year | Act now to save 40%

AmaWaterways - Leading The Way In River Cruising


Take an AmaWaterways luxury river cruise in Europe this December and celebrate the new year in either vibrant Amsterdam or Linz. Let us take care of your accommodations as you journey through different European cities. And best of all – you only have to unpack once!

Your cruise fare includes:
Fine Dining | Unlimited wine, beer & soft drinks with lunch & dinner
Shore excursions in every port | In-room Internet and Infotainment

New Year's Eve in Amsterdam
Treasures of the Main & Rhine
7-night cruise sails December 25th aboard the AmaPrima
from Nuremburg to Amsterdam
Starting from $2,299 $1,379 per person

New Year's Eve in Linz
Christmas Time Cruise
7-night cruise sails December 28th aboard the AmaBella
from Nuremburg to Budapest
Starting from $2,499 $1,499 per person

Both cruises offer optional land extensions in Prague


For reservations, please call Vacation Side Travel toll free at (855) 822-8747
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Terms & Conditions: 40% discount offer off the cruise only portion is valid on new bookings made by Oct. 31, 2013, not combinable with any other offers, applicable on select departures, and is limited to availability. Rates listed are in U.S. dollars; reflect applicable savings; based on cruise only in a Cat. E, double occupancy stateroom. Single supplement waived for solo travelers, excluding Suites. Land program, airfare, and port charges are additional. Other restrictions may apply. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.


Travel Insurance: A Tale of Two Families - Play the Travel Insurance Game to Find out what happens!

Life is full of unexpected events and you never know when something might come up forcing you to change your travel plans. Be Smart. Get Travel Insurance.

On a typical vacation package, with air, car hotel and ground transportation included, let's add the up the fees for a simple change and cancellation. Obviously this is only an example and real numbers would depend on the supplier, destination, type of airfare, how many days in advance your changing or cancelling and a myriad of other things.

Airline tickets are generally non-refundable without exception (unless it's full fare, business or first class) so without insurance, you're likely never getting that back. You can, however, usually apply the value of your tickets towards future travel for up to 1 year. You do have to pay a change fee though which averages $200 bucks per person.

The tour company used for the vacation will usually charge you a minimum of $50-$100 per person as long as you do it at least 30-45 days before you leave.

Hotels vary - many will let you cancel all the way up until 6PM local time date of arrival. If it was booked as part of a package or is a resort, however, the cancellation may cost nothing but likely will cost at least 1 night's stay.

So, for 2 people, that's $400 for air, $200 for the tour company, 1 night's stay for the resort (let's say $400) plus any other fees. Already, we're at $1,000 just to change the reservation!

Travel insurance is wayyyy cheaper than that. Sometimes, it's $69 per person, other times it's $129 per person. A small price to pay for the saved headache later!
"Your Entire Vacation should be Worry Free! If you can afford it up front, travel insurance can save you a ton down the line."
"I didn't want to pay that extra $180 bucks when we booked our honeymoon last year, especially because that much money buys an excursion, lobster dinner or couples massage! After hearing what Vacation Side had to say, I bit the bullet and bought it and boy was I glad I did! Our entire neighborhood flooded and there was no possible way we could fly off to Cabo. I say go for it - you never know what might happen."

 Travel Insurance: A Tale of 2 Families

To further illustrate my point, I'll throw in a few infographics (I love these things):

Safe travels,

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A Brief Guide to Facebook Privacy and What it has to Do with Unemployment

I just came across this post and thought I'd share. There are many times when I have to do a "double-take" because  I can't believe what I see being posted on Facebook, by people I know! Now do you see why I have my Facebook setup so that I have to approve things being added to my timeline?

If, after reading the post below, you feel inclined to setup your Facebook the same way, I'll include a quick step-by-step to walk you through it.

Online activity that's keeping you unemployed
Abridged: Mashable

"CHICAGO, IL -- You've heard it before: "The Internet is forever." So you should know that when your friend posts a picture of you staggeringly drunk on Facebook, it may come back to haunt you. Employers are using social networking sites to scope out applicants, and that embarrassing picture -- and other bad behavior found on your profile -- may make your job search more difficult. 
In a recent Jobvite survey, over 40% of companies said they reconsidered candidates based on the content of their social profiles, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Employers are more likely to view a candidate negatively if there are signs of illegal drug use or posts of a sexual nature on their profiles. Positive posts can influence decisions as well; over 60% of companies involved in the study said that evidence of volunteering or other charitable acts reflected well on the applicant.
Pictures aren't the only pieces of content that can change an employer's mind -- text is also a major factor. Nearly two-thirds of participating companies said that profanity as well as spelling and grammar mistakes in statuses and tweets reflected poorly on job applicants."

I guess most of us already knew this was going on but to see actual statistics like that really brings the idea home. Whatever you out on Facebook or in a comment on a blog or any other social medium can follow you forever. I recommend taking a few seconds to think before posting.

I also strongly believe that private matters between 2 people should stay private, not turn into a Facebook war or worse, nameless passive aggressive posts where all your friends comment on your passive aggressive post and all their friends on theirs. If you do resort in that type of immature Facebook behavior - I know you'd never work for me if I see it on Facebook ;-)

Now, for the Facebook settings I promised

The Basic Privacy Settings: What Shows Up On Your Timeline

You can regulate every facet of your timeline's personal privacy with Facebook's Privacy Settings page, and even make sure absolutely nothing reveals on your timeline without your consent (it could still reveal on various other individuals's pages, however not your timeline).

You can see the most basic setting by clicking the privacy icon in the top left-hand leading of edge Facebook (the one that looks like a padlock). Below, you'll see a couple of areas with fast setups you can set.

Personal privacy: Who Can Look You Up and See Your Stuff.

The first area you see in the sidebar, called Privacy Settings and Tools, determines who can see your posts and look you up on Facebook. The setups consists of:

The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy

  • Who can see future posts? You can choose who sees a specific post by setting it in the condition box as you compose, and it won't revert back to the default later on.
  • Review all your posts and things you're tagged in: This takes you to the activity log where you'll see every update that goes to your profile. It could be a song you listened to, a new photo you uploaded or were tagged in or teh status of a new friend. From this log, you can change who can see each individually update and tell Facebook whether you want it on your main timeline. 
  • Limit the audience for past posts: If you have any posts in the past that were viewable by Friends of Friends or Public, you can use this option to limit all posts to Friends only. This is a great way of "starting fresh" and to ensure that none of those past posts were marked public by accident.
  • Who can look you up utilizing your e-mail: This is quite obvious. I normally set this to "Everyone," because the only individuals that understand my e-mail are individuals I 'd most likely wish to be buddies with.
There are many more settings but that's all the time I have today. For a comprehensive guide to Facebook privacy, I recommend  checking out the Lifehacker Blogs. Links below!

More on Employers Checking Facebook


Safe travels,

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Looking Ahead: Save these Important Dates for Planning Next Year's 3 Day Weekends

Did you ever wish you could map out the entire year in terms of three-day weekends and school holidays so you could plot your clients’ travel ahead of time? Here's a list of dates to keep in mind for future travel plans:

  • Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 20: This long weekend has proven to be strong for girlfriend getaways, report hoteliers.
  • Mardi Gras, Tuesday, March 4: Carnival, anyone? New Orleans starts the party early with parades and celebrations before the big bash; tourism officials suggest getting to town by March 1. Other hot places to celebrate in are Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago and Italy. Be sure to check exact carnival celebration dates prior to planning.
  • Valentine’s Day, February 14: In 2014 it falls on a Friday, meaning you can easily pitch a long romantic weekend getaway to clients. President’s Day is the following Monday, so you’ve got four days of bliss to pitch.
  • Presidents’ Day, February 17: As always, this holiday is on a Monday. It often precedes a week off of school for many, so start planning now.
  • St. Patrick’s Day, March 17: In 2014 it’s on a Monday. Why not suggest to your clients that they take it as a holiday? Ireland is the obvious option, but so is Savannah, GA, home of one of the largest parades. New Orleans, Boston, New York and Cleveland (among others) also celebrate heavily. Verify exact parade dates. Check to see if hotels offer packages and scout out the top Irish pubs for your clients to enjoy.
  • Passover starts the evening of April 14 and runs seven days (Reform) or eight days (Orthodox and Conservative). Consider a family reunion for those who want to celebrate with kin from all over. The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis just opened a kosher kitchen and launched a special menu for kosher diners; Loews Hotel in Santa Monica also has a kosher kitchen.
  • Easter Sunday, April 20: Again, consider getting a family reunion or perhaps your clients would want to travel to Europe to scout out their roots and celebrate Easter as their ancestors did.
  • Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11: Need we say more?
  • Memorial Day, Monday, May 26: If you haven’t planned your clients’ summer vacations by now, you’re late!
  • Father’s Day, Sunday, June 15: How about celebrating with Dad off-site this year by attending a special event that piques his interest?
  • The Fourth of July: In 2014 it’s on a Friday. Three-day weekend! Consider a trip to Washington, DC, where parades and fireworks abound and most museums are open on the national holiday. Check out
  • Labor Day, Monday, September 1: If you thought Labor Day came early in 2013, be on the lookout for next year when it falls on September 1. It’s a three-day weekend but it also means that many kids across the country will go back to school September 2. Those last two weeks in August might be used for school supply shopping trips so work that family getaway in earlier than usual.
  • Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 27: To avoid skyrocket prices on air, ask months ahead if kids are flying home from college or if clients need to fly somewhere. Suggest as well that it’s a great four-day weekend for those who can forego the turkey and family get-together.
  • Hanukkah starts Wednesday, December 17, and continues for eight days.
  • Christmas, Thursday, December 25, and New Year's Eve, Wednesday, December 31, are just screaming for long weekends in 2014. Advise clients they may want to ask for January 2 off ahead of time since it will fall on a Friday.

Safe travels,

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Explore Roatan - One of Central America's Hidden Gems

Explore Roatan - One of Central America's Hidden Gems

Roatan is one of Central America’s hidden gems. An island located off of Honduras, it is a collection of picturesque beaches and rain forests that make it an ideal destination for those looking for a remote and relaxing getaway. The turquoise waters are inviting to anyone, in particular snorkelers and divers. Located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Roatan has become a popular destination for scuba divers. The activities aren’t limited to the water, Roatan offers incredible eco-tourism and exciting activities for every type of traveler. 

60-Second Geography
Roatan, Honduras
Woman Scuba diver in Roatan
  • Roatan is a remote island in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Honduras. A quiet and peaceful destination, Roatan offers a wide array of things to do ranging from water sports to eco-tourism. The natural beauty of Roatan makes it a destination worth exploring.

  • Roatan’s proximity to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef makes it an ideal destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. The reef is the largest in the Caribbean and second largest in the world.
  • The eco-tourism of Roatan offers activities such as zip-lining, nature walks, bird watching, and cave diving.
  • The temperature is moderate and the water temperatures are perfect. They range from 77 to 82 degrees with visibility ranges up to 110 feet.
  • The beaches are some of the most beautiful in Central America. With a mountainous range in the backdrop, the waters are crystal clear making them ideal for swimming.
  • Roatan’s eco system is incredibly important to the culture of the island. Many resorts are eco-friendly and support conservation efforts.
  • There are a large array of accommodations for every type of traveler, from budget hotels to all-inclusive resorts.
  • Explore parks where you can hold and play with White-Faced monkeys and Black Spider monkeys!

Want to learn more about Roatan? For the best learning experience, book a trip! Contact us via (855) 822-8747 or on our website We'd love to help plan your trip to Roatan!

Just to give you an idea of some packages and specials we have to or close to that area, I'll list some real opportunities below:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Non-Stop Punta Cana Flights Offered by Bring the Beach Closer than Ever Charlotte to Punta Cana, Nashville to Punta Cana and Cincinnati to Punta Cana

Non-Stop Punta Cana Flights Offered by Bring the Beach Closer than Ever
Charlotte to Punta Cana, Nashville to Punta Cana and Cincinnati to Punta Cana

Atlanta - September 17, 2013 - Punta Cana vacation packages have never been more accessible with new non-stop flights offered exclusively by VACATIONEXPRESS. Tour operator Vacation Express will expand its seasonal non-stop charter flights with the addition of Charlotte, Nashville and Cincinnati to Punta Cana where travelers will find the most spectacular beaches of the Dominican Republic. Known for affordable flights and more frills vacation packages, Vacation Express gives the convenience of well-timed flights that allow passengers more beach time. With 2014 summer flights leaving in the mid-morning and returning in the afternoon, travelers enjoy the best days of the week or weekend, depending on the departure city.

In addition to the new non-stop flights heading to this piece of paradise from Charlotte and Nashville, Vacation Express is introducing two new resorts to Punta Cana from their sister company. The Memories Splash Punta Cana and Royalton Punta Cana will both be opening November 30, 2013. As well as being wonderful accommodations for families and couples, both will have access to the new Splash Park, which connects both resorts together. Ready to book?

So why Punta Cana? Imagine groves of coconut palms touching its pure white beaches as they set the perfect scene for a vacation in paradise. Sun worshipers and adventures alike will find plenty to enjoy in Punta Cana. Thrill seekers will discover new adventures from swimming with dolphins and sharks to flying through the air on a zip line, riding horses on the white sand beach or kicking up some dust in a dune buggy. Those looking to relax will find just that on a Bali bed by the pool or a day in one of the tranquil spas offered at many resorts. After a day of excitement or relaxation, vacationers will savor the delicious Dominican food like paella with fresh fish, pastelitos, also known as empanadas and kipes.  Ready to book?

Charlotte vacationers will enjoy non-stops starting May 18, 2014 for a six-night vacation package. These Miami Air International operated flights will depart on Sundays and return on Saturdays with air-only starting at $571. Six-night vacation packages including air will begin at $799, four star resorts from $929 and $1089 for five stars. "Honeymoon couples have always been attracted to our Sunday departures and we expect this flight to be particularly enticing to them," said Rene Jongmans, President of Vacation Express.   Ready to book?

Nashville based travelers will enjoy a six-night vacation package operated by Miami Air International starting May 19, 2014 with convenient Monday departures and Sunday returns. Non-stop airfare begins at $541. These summer vacation packages will start at $789. For four star accommodations, prices begin at $899 and five star resorts start at $1099. Never before offered, Nashville to Punta Cana non-stops save time and money for both couples and families.   Ready to book?

Cincinnati continues their 2013 non-stop flights to Punta Cana until October 19, 2013 withSaturday departures and returns for a seven-night package on Sunwing Airlines. Round-trip air starts at $470. For those wishing to purchase flight and resort deals, prices start at $799. For four star resorts, prices start at $899 and $1299 for five stars. Starting spring 2014, flights will resume on March 15, 2014 for a seven-night vacation package departingSaturday and returning Saturday. The air-only option will begin at $501 with packages including resort and air starting at $849 with four stars beginning at $999. For five star resorts, pricing starts at $1319; including taxes. On May 10, 2014, flights will switch to a six-night schedule. These Miami Air International operated flights will depart on Saturdays and return on Fridays. 

Those seeking air-only, the flights will begin at $501. Great vacation packages to the beautiful beaches and crystal clear water begin at $749. For a four star option, prices start at $859 and $1059 for five stars. In addition, a new four-night vacation package will begin May 15, 2014. With Thursday departures and Monday returns, these non-stop flights are perfect for a long weekend at some of the world's most beautiful beaches. Airfare will begin at $501 with vacation packages starting at $669. A four star all-inclusive resort with air begins at $739 with five stars options from $879.  Ready to book?

Partnering with top rated airlines like Miami Air International, offering a first free checked bag, with affordably priced premium economy options; all of the flights are available exclusively through Vacation Express. The non-stop flights are ideal for couples, families and groups looking to get away. A leader in private aviation, Miami Air International caters to rock stars, professional sports teams, corporate executives and now Vacation Express travelers. In addition, Vacation Express also continues to team with Sunwing Airlines for select low-cost, high-frills flights from Cincinnati. Ready to book?

In addition to charter packages, Vacation Express also offers air and resort packages from cities nationwide using most U.S. carriers.

Another Vacation Express advantage - easy low deposits! For an additional $10 per passenger, Vacation Express provides Reduced Deposit Plans, irrelevant of ticket cost, carrier or class of service. The total deposit per person is as low as $75 for exclusive charter flights to $235 for scheduled flights. Ready to book?

# # #

About Vacation Express: Vacation Express, part of Sunwing Travel Group Inc., has been in existence for 25 years and offers quality vacation packages to over 35 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica with a focus on value and client satisfaction. Vacation Express prides itself on affordability, convenience, customer service and great vacation experiences. While most agencies book online, travelers may also reach the Vacation Express call center seven days a week at 800.486.9777.

Editor's Note: All rates are per person including taxes, are accurate as of release date and are subject to change. Vacation packages prices are based on double occupancy. See operator/participant agreement for details.  Ready to book?

Safe travels,

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Save 10% on 2013 departures to Italy, France, Spain, and Turkey!

We have six, hand-picked destinations for you. An Italian adventure, where you can visit Florence, Rome and Sorrento for 11 days with excursions to some of Italy's most compelling sites; a wonderful taste of Greece, packed into six delightful nights; a ‘Royal Stay’ in France that lets you experience the treasures of France in regal style; a seven day escorted tour introduces you to five cities in the central and southern interior of Spain; a sample of the history and culture of Turkey on a seven day hosted program; and a special itinerary exploring Portugal - providing you with a great opportunity to discover charming locations, romantic settings and a unique opportunity to experience local flavor firsthand.
Treasures of Spain
7 Days from $1112
Madrid - Seville - Granada
Treasures of Spain
Best of Italy
10 Days from $2380
Rome - Florence - Sorrento
Wonders of Turkey & Anatolia
7 Days from $1190
Istanbul - Cappadocia - Izmir
Wonders of Turkey & Anatolia
Royal Stays in France
12 Days from $2950
Paris - Strasbourg - Vougeot - Saint-Symphorien - Montbazon - Rouffach
Fly & Drive
Royal Stays in France
Highlights of Greece
7 Days from $655
Kusadasi - Santorini - Mykonos - Athens - Crete - Patmos
Land & Cruise
Highlights of Greece
Charming Portugal
8 Days from $1010
Lisbon - Porto - Estremoz - Coimbra
Fly & Drive
Charming Portugal
Take Advantage of these Exclusive City Adventures
4 Days from $427 
Italy's Northern Highlights
6 Days from $524 
Italy's Northern Highlights
6 Days from $708 
Italy's Northern Highlights
*Offer valid on any 2013 Escorted Tour for Italy, France, Spain, and Turkey when booked and paid in full by October 15, 2013 with a tour’s start date from June 1 to November 30, 2013. For Italy, tour’s start date must be from October 10 to November 30, 2013. Offer is not combinable with any other offer/discounts/promotions, nor for group travel for which special rates apply. Additional restrictions may apply.
 From prices are per person based on double occupancy. Additional nights, transfers and optional tours are available. Terms & Conditions Apply

Safe travels,

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(855) 822-8747 ext 801

Monday, September 9, 2013

Planning Accessible Travel

Travel is about access to new and different possibilities. To those individuals with physical or medical disabilities, however, the word "access" takes on an a multidimensional meaning. Accessible travel is a goal, an adventure, a state of mind. Increasingly, accessible travel is a concern for the tens of thousands of senior adults that are now seeking new experiences in all corners of the globe. As used here, "accessible travel" means travel that takes into consideration both the physical and cost hurdles that often face those with physical or mental impairment.

There is a growing awareness on the part of destinations and tour operators of the economic impact of failing to adequately compensate for accessible travel. As a result, more travel than ever falls into the general category of "accessible". Nevertheless, a bit of planning is always in order when deciding on a vacation, where you must condsider issues such as wheelchair or scooter acces or if restaurants allow service animals.

A good travel consultant is an invaluable ally when making accessible travel choices. Travel agents have professional research tools that provide inside information on the efforts that destinations have undertaken to accommodate travelers who need special access or assistance. Your travel consultant will contact tour operators that specialize in providing accessible travel. These tour operators have relationships with tourism offices, dining facilities, hotels and attractions and are the best possible resource in researching a trip. However, it is important to use a tour operator that has a reputation for solid customer service. Your travel agent's research tools will quickly determine the top tour operators to use for any destination.

In planning, be sure to give your tour operator details about special needs you have as early in the planning process as possible. Just as importantly, however, let your agent know what you are willing to take on as a challenge. For example, many articles indicate that cobblestone streets or buildings without elevators are not suitable for wheelchair users. However, such decisions are best left to the traveler. You are the best judge of what is or is not appropriate for your own physical abilities. A frank discussion with your travel consultant will make sure that you receive the greatest possible value and that your expectations are met.

Travel can be physically taxing on any traveler. Speak with your physician about the best practices for visiting your selected destination as well as the particulars of your own condition. Doctors who are familiar with travel medicine can work with you to make sure all of the appropriate immunizations and special considerations of your destination (i.e., altitude) are taken into account.

If your condition requires special equipment such as wheelchairs, scooters or oxygen, your travel consultant can assist you with determining the best way to either ship your own equipment or obtain similar equipment at your destination. Most airlines and cruise ships are acquainted with the need to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters, but vary on whether they must be checked or may enter the main cabin. Some airlines also require that batteries on motorized scooters be gel-batteries rather than wet cell, so ask your travel agent to find these requirements in advance. 

Knowing the airline and cruise ship policies in advance makes it much easier to cope with any requirements when necessary. Remember, too, that it may be difficult to get your wheelchair or scooter serviced in a far-off locale, so if possible, have your equipment serviced before traveling. Again, your tour operator will provide good indications of the availability of repair and supply services at your destination.

Likewise, undertake proper planning with regard to any medications you might need. It is best to travel with an adequate supply as well as with a prescription to acquire more medicines should the need arise. Always travel with your medical supplies, especially medicines, on your person, when possible to prevent problems arising from lost baggage.

Traveling with service animals can be difficult when crossing borders. Many countries have very stringent quarantine requirements regarding the importation of animals to prevent rabies and other canine diseases. Special vaccination requirements and paperwork may be in order. Likewise, make sure that any hotels, B&Bs or other accommodations permit service animals in advance. If possible, acquire letters from your accommodations in advance acknowledging their acceptance of your animal companions. Finally, do a bit of research on local veterinarian offices in case your dog requires any attention while traveling.

If you are traveling with a tour operator specializing in accessible travel, it is highly likely that your itinerary will take into account special considerations your condition might require. However, if you are not traveling with a specialist tour company, make sure that the rigors of the daily itineraries are suitable for your needs. 

In some instances, you may find yourself confronted with inaccessible buildings, museums, walkways or distances. Days may be long without adequate facilities for your comfort. Again, these aspects of a trip are yours to determine and choose, but to the extent that you can properly anticipate any obstacles early in the planning process, the better equipped you will be to handle situations as they arise.
The world is a big place, make it your own.

Safe travels,

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Travel Tips Quarterly - Fall 2013: Trip Planning Mistakes, Find Luggage Faster, Global Entry, World Heritage Sites

Travel Tips Quarterly
OneFive Biggest Trip-Planning Mistakes
OneHow to Make Your Luggage Easier to Find in Baggage Claim
OneIntroduction to Global Entry
One8 World Heritage Sites You've Never Heard Of
Know Before You Go – Rules for Bringing Items into the U.S.
Weather Info for Your Destination
Airline Passengers' Rights
State Department Travel Page
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Center
Tips for Traveling Abroad
Airport Status and Delays Info
Worldwide Directory of Tourism
Center for Disease Control Travel
Trusted Tips from Your Travel Advisor
Vacation Side Travel
Being your travel advisor is more than offering you enchanting vacations to the far reaches of the globe. It also involves offering you personal support and helpful advice to enhance all your travel experiences, whether near or far.

The Travel Tips below are chock-full of important information that will help you travel the world safely and efficiently. Our agency simply wants you to have the best experiences possible, wherever you travel.

As always, please feel free to contact us about your future travel plans.

Happy travels!
Vacation Side Travel
Five Common Trip-Planning Mistakes
Because there are so many variables involved—from the plane tickets and hotel reservations to meals and entertainment—self-planned journeys often go off track or way over budget. As someone who plans trips for a living, professional travel advisors like us have seen our share of mistakes made by even the most experienced travelers. Here are five you should definitely avoid:
Sticking to Set Dates – Airlines and hotels know when people travel most, so they typically raise their prices accordingly. You can save hundreds of dollars by being flexible with your travel dates.
Ignoring the Fine Print – The internet is filled with incredible travel deals that seem too good to be true. Before hitting that “Buy Now” button, take a moment to question how this company can possibly afford to sell their product for such a low price. The answer is usually in the fine print, where that low price comes with a slew of restrictions that will definitely damper your vacation.
Forgetting to Breathe – Many travelers return from a vacation exhausted due to over-planning. To see all of the must-see sights at their destination, they race across town from dawn to dusk, never stopping to soak it all in. It’s okay to miss a few sights, as long as you take the time to enjoy the ones you do see. Travel agents always suggest spending more days at your destination, or to arrive at the embarkation port a day or two early, to give you that added time to breathe.
Stuffing the Bags – Some globetrotters cram all of their items into one carry-on bag, thinking it saves time and reduces baggage fees. However, after a week away—a week spent shopping—those travelers suddenly have no place to pack their newly-purchased items, so they have to buy another bag or suitcase. Moral of the story: always pack with room to spare. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you return home with more items than you left with.

Picking the Wrong Season – Every destination has a perfect time of the year to visit and not to visit. Under the “not to visit” times are those seasons that are too hot, too cold, too crowded or too expensive. Make sure you know before you go…or simply ask us.
How to Make Your Luggage Easier to Find in Baggage Claim
We’ve all been there, standing next to the conveyor belt in baggage claim, jostling with strangers to get a good view of the bags as they’re making their turn, hoping that the next black one is yours. The wiser solution is to travel with a bag that’s so visually unmistakable, that you can relax away from the black bag parade and casually wait for yours to arrive. Here are some ways to make your luggage stand out from the maddening crowd:
Tape it Up – Duct tape now comes in a wide variety of colors and themes. Find a roll that suitably expresses your style and tape a few stripes across your bag or on the handle.
With a Bow on Top – Festive ribbons and bows are not just for presents. Tie one on your luggage handle to spot it a mile away.
Get Artsy – Grab some stencils and shake up a can of spray paint. You can creatively stencil your initials in big, block letters and paint on a colorful design.
Iron Man – Iron a distinguishing picture or logo onto the luggage fabric. Be sure to put one on every side so that you can find your bag from different angles.
Stick it To ‘Em – Give your favorite five-year-old a packet of stickers and tell them to go crazy on your plastic bag.
Introduction to Global Entry
If you’re an active international traveler like we are, then you should know about Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.
At participating airports, program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs them to baggage claim and the exit.
Even though the program was created for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify. You will need to get pre-approved for the program, which includes a rigorous background check and interview, and pay a non-refundable $100 application fee.
Global Entry is open to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Dutch citizens, South Korean citizens and Mexican nationals. Canadian citizens and residents may enjoy Global Entry benefits through membership in the NEXUS program.
To learn more and apply, visit
8 World Heritage Sites You've Never Heard Of
Few travelers know what UNESCO stands for (it’s the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), but whenever they hear that a UNESCO World Heritage Site is nearby, they head straight to it. These World Heritage Sites include such heavy hitters has the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Pyramid of Giza. But not all World Heritage Sites are greatly known, including these eight gems that you should definitely visit if you’re in the area.
Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump – Canada
For more than 6,000 years, Blackfoot Indians chased buffalo herds off a cliff here and then carved their bodies in the valley below.
Semmering Railway – Austria
The spectacular mountain views will make you forget that you’re riding on one of the greatest feats of civil engineering, built between 1848 and 1854 and still running today.
Tsodilo – Botswana
Known as the “Louvre of the Desert,” this historic section of the Kalahari Desert is home to the highest concentration of rock art in the world thanks to more than 4,500 paintings.
Longmen Grottoes – China
Here you will find the largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art of the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties (316-907), representing the high point of Chinese stone carving.
Paphos – Cyprus
Inhabited since the Neolithic period, Paphos still holds the remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs.
Old Rauma – Finland
Situated on one of the oldest harbors in Finland, Old Rauma is an outstanding example of an old Nordic city constructed in wood.
Surtsey – Iceland
A volcanic island that formed nearly 50 years ago, Surtsey has been protected since its birth, providing the world with a pristine natural laboratory.
Aldabra Atoll – Seychelles
Comprised of four large coral islands and protected by a coral reef, isolated Aldabra is home to more than 152,000 giant tortoises, the world's largest population of this reptile.

Safe travels,

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