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As professional travel advisors, it’s our job to stay up to date and keep you informed about the ever-changing world of travel. We will send you travel tips like these throughout the year to help you travel better. Please read on and, if you have an additional question regarding these topics or others, we’re only a phone call, email or text away.
Everyone wishes to make the most of their vacation time. It’s one of the main reasons travelers turn to professionals like ourselves: Travel advisors can streamline your vacation, so you spend less time waiting and more time enjoying. Here are a few of our favorite ways that you can save valuable time on your next getaway.
The first bottleneck many vacationers face is waiting in the long security checkpoint line that seemingly snakes for miles through the airport. To bypass this holdup, join a pre-screening service that accelerates the security process.
TSA PreCheck gives you a faster screening experience at domestic airports that is often less obtrusive.
Global Entry expedites entry via air, land and sea into the U.S. and includes TSA PreCheck.
CLEAR uses your eyes and fingertips to verify your identity and get you moving through security. All three programs cost money to join, but several travel credit cards waive the fees.
Start your cruise off on the right, faster foot with priority boarding which allows you to use a dedicated security and check-in lane. This lets you skip the usual long lines at registration, and typically your accommodations will be ready before others. Priority boarding is often an included perk for suite passengers and cruise line loyalty members, but many cruise lines allow any passenger to pay for this worthwhile privilege.
After a long flight to your destination, the last thing you want to do is queue up in a long taxi line or try to figure out where exactly your Uber driver might be. Have a professional transportation service booked and ready to whisk you away as soon as your luggage is secured. These services can either meet you inside the airport or can be easily accessed near the taxi area.
Most main attractions and museums require a ticket to enter. And for anyone who’s seen the early-morning line at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence meander down and around the Piazza della Signoria, you know how long those ticket-purchasing lines can be. Skip this line by buying tickets online before you go. Most sights have a limited number of spaces each day, so if you buy your tickets way in advance, you can guarantee your place.
When a travel advisor plans your vacation, these tips and more are usually baked into the entire experience. We excel at making your travels as smooth and stress-free as possible, so you never have to worry about a thing. How to get to your hotel? Tickets to the museum? Details on shore excursions? Relax … we have it all under control.
Have you ever needed a vacation after your vacation? Did you spend so much time and energy trying to jam in all the attractions and activities during your vacation that you returned home exhausted and in need of more rest? It doesn’t have to be that way. Extending your vacation by a few days gives you the time and space to achieve your to-do list while also taking a few moments off to relax. Here are some additional benefits.
Vacation mode is not a myth. It takes time to shake off the daily routine and mentally accept that you’re far away from the hustle and bustle of home life. When you give your vacation the proper space it deserves, you put yourself in a better position to de-stress and embrace the numerous benefits vacations should provide. These include a better mental state, greater physical health and a boost in overall happiness.
If you’re traveling far for your vacation, it makes sense to explore as much of that region as you can. Extending your vacation gives you the time to properly explore your vacation destination, take a day trip to a lesser-known area or even dip into a neighboring country for the day. For cruisers, a longer vacation lets you book a pre- or post-cruise experience. These are packages booked through our agency that allow you to tour the city your cruise embarks from or arrives at.
In the modern world, many people are finding it possible to work from home without missing a beat. If you are able to do this, then bringing your laptop to another destination and putting in a few hours of work is worth it if it means extending your vacation. Plus, work tends to be easier to enjoy when you’re typing away from a tropical resort, hearing the call of macaws and smelling gardenias.
There isn’t much you need to know about a hotel room before you book it, besides the size of the bed, whether it’s a garden or sea view and how close it is to the ice machine. But choosing the best cabin on your next cruise entails a bit more knowledge. While cabins once were simply classified as inside, outside, veranda or suite, some ships now have more than 20 categories. Choosing one based on price alone is not wise. If you don’t like your cabin, you won’t be so thrilled with your cruise, and we don’t want that to happen. With that in mind, here are some helpful insights into picking the cabin that’s best for you.
Inside Cabins: roughly 120-180 square feet, with no porthole or window
Outside Cabins: typically mirror images of interior cabins but with ocean views via a porthole or window
Balconies or Verandas: slightly larger cabins with sliding glass doors, giving you access to a small balcony large enough for a couple of chairs and a small table
Suites: expanded balcony rooms with either a small sitting area or separate bedrooms. They can be massive with multiple rooms, a grand piano or even a private whirlpool on your balcony.
Location, Location, Location
Usually, the least expensive, lower-deck cabins are best for those who feel the effects of motion discomfort the most, for they provide a smoother ride in rough seas. The downside is proximity, for they are the farthest from, well, everything you’d want to do on a ship. Cabins on the higher decks usually cost more, but they are close to all the fun stuff, making it immensely easier to run back to your cabin after lunch to grab your novel before hitting the pool deck. Midship cabins offer a good compromise when it comes to cost, proximity and motion control. Some staterooms are located in a private part of the ship with an exclusive restaurant and sun deck. Location matters.
Today’s ships are packed with enough activities to keep you on your toes (or on a rock-climbing wall) 24/7. But don’t assume you’ll never step foot inside your cabin. With so many things to do on board, you’ll need a good place to chill between activities. Or maybe you’ll just need a quiet sanctuary to relax, watch a movie or have a private dinner on the balcony. Every passenger spends different amounts of time in their cabin, but you’re likely to spend more time in there than you originally think.
Cabins range from compact to grandiose, with price tags to match. The least-expensive cabin on every ship is an interior one with limited space. Spend a little more, and you get an outside cabin with a window, and oh what a difference that window makes. Spend a little more and you get a balcony, where you can enjoy fresh air as you watch the next destination slide into view. Spend a little more and you’re in a suite, a luxurious home base for your family to reconnect after a day of adventuring. A splurge to a higher cabin category goes a long way, in our professional opinion. No one has ever complained about booking a suite, but we understand that budgets vary.
Each ship is unique, and new ships are launching yearly. How is it possible for you to keep track of all the different cabin types? Easy — ask us! Travel advisors make it their business to sail on or tour as many cruise ships as we can, so we have seen many of the cabins first-hand. Feel free to pick our brains about your next cabin selection anytime.
For those who avoid traveling in the summer to evade the higher temps, you’re missing out. A little heat isn’t so bad, especially when you’re walking down cobblestone alleyways and exploring ancient temples. Plus, there are a few major advantages to traveling during the height of summer, several of which are outlined below. The key to enjoying your time is to not sweat the small stuff, even if you’re sweating through everything else.
Locals in the countries you visit have a long history of surviving the off-season heat, which led them to create many of the cultural treats and beverages that are now internationally enjoyed, such as gelato and other frozen confections, as well as national beers. Experiencing these treats in their country of origin on a wonderfully warm day is an experience you never forget.
We often push ourselves too hard during vacations, trying to see every major site in a 50-mile radius of the resort. While this is a perfectly acceptable strategy, you often return home drained and in need of another, more-relaxing vacation. Traveling during a heated summer solves this dilemma. You typically wake up early in the morning, leisurely enjoy one or two crowd-free attractions before the sun rises too high in the sky, and then return to your luxurious hotel for a swim and a nap. You awaken late afternoon, as the sun and the temperature descend, feeling refreshed and ready to relish the local nightlife.
Summer is the best time to deliberately dawdle in some of the world’s greatest museums, when you can take your time appreciating masterpieces without fighting the crowds. Plus, during summer travel, museums become chilled sanctuaries from the heat since they must keep the halls properly air conditioned to protect the art.
Two major advantages of traveling in the off-season, when rumored heat waves keep less-adventurous tourists away, are smaller crowds and lower prices. It’s only natural for travelers to plan their holidays around the weather, aiming for sunny, 68-degree days so they can enjoy standing in line with millions of other tourists who craved similar forecasts. During summer, those lines melt away in tropical destinations, making it much easier to enjoy major attractions.
Contact us at any time to talk about the best places to visit during the summer. Europe, Asia, Australia, Mexico, Las Vegas … all these fabulous destinations have off-seasons you can take advantage of.
This resort exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know what to expect since I was not real familiar with this property. My daughters (young adults) loved it also. If you are traveling with guests 18 years and older, I recommend the upgrade to Select Club. A few extra amenities including private pool and beach club for adults only. Rooms are located closer to lobby although away from beach. We were a short walk from shopping and many restaurants. Fresh fruit in our room was a nice touch. Staff and food were wonderful. Eduardo was an awesome guide on our bike tour. We saw him around the resort and he was very helpful. Couples can visit Concierge and sign up for the free boat ride with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Jesus will probably be your guide and he was awesome!!
The grounds are rather large, 24 acres. They have shuttles if you need to hitch a ride. There are ruins on site where they perform some evening shows depicting the story of Mayans. The jungle is full of animals from donkeys to spider monkeys to bunnies AND deer (8 babies during our stay). Coatis and cats were around the resort. We did experience mosquitoes so pack repellent although they had dispensers available.
Eco at this resort refers to 3 things: sustainability (solar, recycled water and less disposable waste), eco-education (several eco-activities scheduled daily) and giving back to the community. This refers to vendors on site selling local handcrafts. The resort accepts clothes, shoes and school supplies at the drop off near theater. I wish we knew ahead so please take note. The only negatives, not a big deal, is wifi in common areas only. If you are located near those areas, you may pick it up nearby. I had access all over while my girls were limited to lobby. Not a bad thing for a mom. Beach area is not huge and rocks in the water. Take watershoes if you want to enter the ocean. Otherwise walking down the beach is fine. There are some decent areas in the water and people were snorkeling. Apply plenty of sunblock and grab a cold drink before venturing out. Beach spa offers 60 minute massages along with a 5 minute trial. Price was $35 during our stay and my daughters said it was great. I was good with the free session.
Activities are numerous such as beach/water volleyball, zumba, swimming in the cenote, bike tours, etc. You don’t have to worry about boredom. The Aquapark includes slides for teens and adults, not just kids. Check it out. They offer snacks like hot dogs, hamburgers and the best ice cream. We tried a new drink called Horchata made of rice. Delicious! It is located near the Chill Pool if you don’t want activities but music and time to relax. Kids allowed but it is located away from the main pool. Let me know if you want more information. This resort is not the right fit for ALL travelers so let me help guide you to one best for your vacation.
I went on an awesome adventure recently. Starting in St Louis we drove for a total of 8 days, 1850 miles and saw numerous attractions. First stop was Tupelo MS where we saw Elvis’ Birthplace. We then headed south to Mobile and spent a day touring both sides of the bay. Enjoyed lunch at Montego’s Caribbean Cafe and spent the night at The Battle House Renaissance Hotel. What a fabulous hotel with beautiful decor and some history. Stopped for a quick photo of the USS Alabama Battleship. Then off to enjoying time in Daphne AL where we stopped for a drink at Manci’s Antique Club. Once featured on Diner, Drive Ins and Dives we listened to some live music while talking to locals.
The next day we went down the West side of the bay toward Dauphin Island. Saw some cool beach houses then checked out Fort Gaines which was imperative to the Battle of Mobile. Cool history there as we started our Civil War history part of the trip. Grabbed a bite before boarding the ferry across the bay to Fort Morgan, another historical part of the battle. Then we viewed more beach homes on the way to Gulf Shores. You can’t help but be a little jealous when living in the Midwest all of your life. Took a break from driving for a few days to enjoy some beach time. Dined at a few popular venues including the Pink Pony, The Hangout and famous FloraBama where we heard some live country music. (Oh, they had bingo downstairs also).
Then off to a dolphin cruise on the Cold Mil which was awesome. We saw at least 4 dolphins including a 2 week old baby. She was jumping waves like a big dog. Also in site were a bald eagle and osprey along with pelicans taking perch on the journey. The next adventure was a stop in Birmingham to see some Civil Rights sights such as Four Spirits Sculpture. We saw the 16th Street Baptist Church. There is some history if you want to research the events related to these locations.
Back on the road with a surprise stop in Franklin. I was just looking for a cheap hotel outside of Nashville. This turned out to be a highlight of our trip. We did some quick research on the area and had dinner at the Bunganut Pig. Turns out a place to spot celebrities although we didn’t get so lucky. However we enjoyed dinner outside listening to some local music. The next day we started off running as we returned to Civil War history. Carnton Plantation was so interesting. The home was turned into a hospital and later a private Confederate Cemetary. Some other visitors on the tour talked us into one more stop, Carter House. We were so happy we went. Their home was actually in the middle of the battlefield. So sad as you could see the bullet holes inside and outside. This is real history. The Battle of Franklin lasted 90 minutes but thousands of casualties on both sides. Horrific event took place in this small rural town. The downtown area is so quaint and we really needed another day. Before departing, we took one last sidetrip to see Winstead Hill where the Confederates looked at the Union troops before making their move.
On to our last stop, Nashville. I had one thing on my list left, Country Music Hall of Fame. My last visit was over 30 years ago in the old location. It is huge and right in the middle of downtown. Plan on a few hours for your tour and purchase the audio option to enhance your visit. This is a fabulous city to explore if you have time. Check the calendar for special events so you can avoid crowds (and high hotel rates along with low vacancies).
This was a great roadtrip although so much time traveling and researching along the way. I learned so much about the Civil War and battles. Next time we might just focus on Tennessee. There is so much to see and learn. I believe seeing is much better than just reading.
Wouldn’t you love to take a travel agent or an expert traveler with you on every trip? Someone who would know exactly what to do in every situation? Someone who could get you where you needed to be as quickly as possible? Well, you can’t always choose who your travel partners are, but you can make sure you’re aware of the latest travel tips and tricks.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, there’s a lot of opportunity for stress. Flying, staying in hotels and navigating your destination can all be a hassle. Make jet-setting a little easier with this insider knowledge:
Complete a before-you-go checklist
A few days in advance, make a checklist of all the important to-do items you’ll need to accomplish before you embark on your travels. This list should include locating your passport and necessary documents, confirming reservations, calling your bank and credit card companies to let them know where you’ll be, and tending to your household needs. Your trip will be off to a seamless start when you ensure everything is taken care of from the get-go.
Always carry-on if you can
Take advantage of the ability to carry a smaller suitcase on the plane with you. Invest in a reliable, carry-on sized roller bag that will work no matter what kind of trip you’re taking. This not only drives you to pack efficiently, it also saves you the hassle of ever having to check a bag.
Innovate on your transportation
When you finally arrive at your destination, the last thing you want to do is figure out how to get from A to B, especially at the airport. These days, smartphones make getting a ride more convenient than ever. The ridesharing app Lyft aims to eliminate traffic congestion and give people safe, easy and affordable transit alternatives for getting around. “I’ve used Lyft during all my layovers for the past two years,” says Las Vegas flight attendant, Cheryl Ross. “It’s great for airport travel as well as a safe solution to drinking and driving when you’re out at night. The drivers are people from the community and they often make the best tour guides.” Best of all, payment is done directly through the app, so no need to worry about carrying cash. If you’re a new user, you can redeem $20 off your first ride with the code FLYLYFT20.
Speak up about special occasions
When staying in a hotel, make sure to mention if you’re celebrating a special occasion at the front desk. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon, the hotel might just upgrade your accommodations. Additionally, if you’re staying at a larger chain hotel, it never hurts to join their free loyalty program. If they know you’re a member, you could receive extra perks like early check in and late check out.
Act like a local to stay safe
When you’re in an unfamiliar city, it’s always important to take extra safety precautions. However, one of the best ways to make sure you don’t become a target is to maintain a confident attitude. It’s often the times when people are unsure, lost or stressed out when they run into trouble while traveling. Remain calm, cool and collected and always walk like you know where you are, even if you don’t.
Follow these tips and you’ll be telling stories from your adventurous travels, instead of waiting in line and calling around to find your lost luggage. For more information and travel tips, visit lyft.com/airports.
Tracy Arm is a fjord in Alaska near Juneau. It is named after the Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Franklin Tracy.
Canada, stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north, is filled with vibrant cities including massive, multicultural Toronto; predominantly French-speaking Montréal and Québec City; Vancouver and Halifax on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, respectively; and Ottawa, the capital. It’s also crossed by the Rocky Mountains and home to vast swaths of protected wilderness.
From the lush green Pacific coast of Vancouver board VIA Rail’s The Canadian for a once in a lifetime overnight train journey. Relax in the dome car and experience panoramic views of snow capped mountains, glacial lakes, rushing rivers and the sheer unspoiled wilderness of Canada. Arrive in Jasper and see the dramatic Maligne Canyon and its picture-perfect lake, where you enjoy breakfast with a view! Travel one of the world’s most spectacular roads, the unforgettable Icefields Parkway. Feel like royalty while overnighting at the fabulous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and Banff Springs Hotel. Discover the natural beauty of Morainne Lake, the powerful Bow Falls and impressive Hoodoos. Experience a day on a Ranch in the Alberta plains, complete with a wagon ride in search of buffalo and a BBQ lunch in the great outdoors. End your journey in cosmopolitan Calgary.
Relax for 7-nights and enjoy the epic Alaskan scenery from aboard one of Princess Cruise lines lovely ships. Cruise through Northern splendor, including the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay. Enjoy four nights at stunning Princess’ Lodges and Hotels. Ride a Luxury Domed Rail to Denali viewing incredible landscapes from glass-ceiling railcars and open aired observation platforms as guides provide expert commentary. Travel deep into Denali National Park for the best opportunities to view the region’s wildlife. Explore Alaska’s gorgeous capital, Juneau. Visit Ketchikan, the “Salmon Capital of the World.” Enjoy lively entertainment and a hearty feast at the Music of Denali Dinner Theater. Explore vibrant Vancouver.
This resort is actually in the Riviera Nayarit area. You will find a beautiful, long stretch of beach on the south side of Banderas Bay. Still only a short ride from the Puerto Vallarta airport and a taxi or bus ride to town. They have several room categories to fit any traveler’s need. The resort isn’t too big so you won’t need a map to navigate the property. Recently they expanded the spa and kid club areas. You will find a quiet pool along with a fun family one that has slides for the kids. I love the celebrity exhibits that you will find like Christina Aguilera’s dress and so much more.
Breathless Punta Cana is a vibrant, adult only resort located on the northern area of Punta Cana.