Fantasy Friday

Every Friday let’s post our fantasy trips – where would you go?  What’s your dream trip? Maybe you’ll get some ideas for planning your next adventure.  I’ll start with one of mine (yes, I have a few), but the top number one fantasy trip for me would be Tahiti – specifically Bora Bora is top of my list.

6/8/18 –  I didn’t have this destination on my list until I arranged a trip for my cousin and his daughter –  the photo’s that he has shared have been nothing short of amazing and the feedback on his trip has been nothing but positive.  So, now my next Fantasy trip is without a doubt, GREECE.  They visited Athens, Santorini and Mykonos – spending a few new nights in each location.  I’ve stolen some of his photo’s and this just makes me want to go more!!

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6/1/18:  An overwater bungalow

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Look at the color of that water –  what a beautiful location!   Just the thought of spending sometime in this peaceful and tranquil location – completely unwound – is a dream trip for me.

It’s not as difficult to get here anymore – from New York I can take a direct flight to Los Angeles (5 hours) and then a direct flight to this amazing destination (yes, it’s another 8 hours, but if I spend a day or two on the west coast first it wouldn’t be that bad).

There is plenty to do here so mixing a little bit of activity with lots of relaxation would be wonderful.

Matira Beach is one of the only public access beaches in Bora Bora making it extremely popular with visitors. The water is crystal clear and the sand is soft and downy. Matira Beach is also peppered with resorts, shops and eateries, so it’s a convenient place to spend most of a day.

beach

Mount Otemanu is one of two extinct volcanoes at the center of the island. Rising 2,400 feet above the lagoon, this volcanic remnant makes for a dramatic photo op or an adrenaline-pumping adventure. In fact, many say a trip to Bora Bora isn’t complete without a visit to the top of this breathtaking mountain. And fear not, hiking isn’t your only option; you can enjoy Mount Otemanu in all sorts of ways — a 4×4 tour, a boat tour, a helicopter tour or even some casual snapshots on the beach.

mount o

On a small islet just east of the main island and directly across from the Sofitel Marara, you’ll find a gorgeous coral reef. Because the reef isn’t far below the water, all you need to bring with you to spy the cache of colorful fish is some snorkeling goggles. But keep in mind that the beaches are filled with coral and not sand, so it gets a little rocky. Many past travelers recommend bringing water shoes or aqua socks to save your feet.

coral

Tour companies offer snorkeling, and shark and stingray feedings and encounters. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with native blacktip reef sharks and stingrays in their natural habitats. And if you don’t feel comfortable feeding the stingrays and sharks, you’ll still be able to enjoy snorkeling the reefs and seeing the plethora of rainbow-colored fish.

shark

What a beautiful part of the world and it’s definetely #1 on my wish list!

 

Travel Trivia Thursday

Okay, how about this – every Thursday I will ask 10 travel questions – let’s see how many you can answer correctly?  You’ll have until next Thursday to submit your answers.

May 31, 2018

  1. What city has the most people per capita listed in Who’s Who?
  2. Where is the largest annual fair in the USA?
  3. What is the most heavily fortified International border on earth?
  4. Where is the Tennis Hall of Fame?
  5. What’s unusual about the crabs in Fiji?
  6. What country has the most golf courses per capita?
  7. What is the most northerly capital city?
  8. What is the southernmost city in the US?
  9. What is Machu Picchu?
  10. Where is Timbuktu?

Wild Wednesdays

Every Wednesday I will post some thrill seeking, wild adventure you might want to add to your bucket list – hey you never know!!!

June 20, 2018

Free dive at Dean’s Blue Hole (Bahamas)

Don’t be fooled by its poetic name or its tropical location: Dean’s Blue Hole is deep, dark and intimidating. But, if you’re up for it, you can tame the world’s deepest known seawater blue hole by learning to become a free diver.
You probably won’t beat William Trubridge, who broke the unassisted free diving record by diving 100 meters here in 2011. And you certainly won’t conquer all 203 meters of this light-and-oxygen-deprived sinkhole. But you’ll have a great time getting close.
blue hole

 

 

June 6, 2018 –

Cage of Death (Australia)

You can stare into the faces of some of Australia’s biggest saltwater crocodiles for 15 minutes, separated by nothing more than a couple inches of glass.
The cage houses two people at a time, so there’ll be someone there to hold your hand. Yes, there are people who are insane enough to want to do this, I am not one of them!!
crocodiles

 

May 30, 2018 –

This one might be a bucket list cliché, but there’s no adrenaline rush quite like the fear of being gored and trampled by one of the world’s most powerful land mammals. The biggest Running of the Bulls event occurs during the nine-day festival in San Fermin (July 6-14) in Pamplona, Spain. Fifteen bulls charge through the streets of the old city, to be herded into the bull ring. If you get cold feet, they run for seven consecutive mornings so you have plenty of chances to build your nerve. There is a down side — at least 15 people have died in the event since 1924.
Bull_Run_Clemson

Tuesday is Travel Tip Day

Every Tuesday I will post a new travel tip for you!

June 26, 2018 –  Hire a professional!!  I know, I’m a travel agent, what else would you expect me to say.  We spend hours and hours every week learning about new products, special offers, training with the multitude of vendors.  You can scour the internet for the best deals available, and the minute you book, a better deal comes up.  Our job is to find you the best trip for the money you are spending.  It does NOT  cost you any more money to hire a professional to do it for you, then doing it yourself.

We are your advocate when traveling – have a problem, we are there for you to help. 

Book your trip online and expect to pay for it in full, when you book it –  use a Travel Agent and most times you are able to make a deposit and pay your trip off over time.  Nope, we haven’t been to every resort in every country, but I betcha we have a fellow travel agent that’s been to that resort that your interested in.  We have access to first hand information. 

Yes, we can price match – don’t be shy to ask, if you’ve found something better, let us know and again, in most instances we can get you the same price, and maybe some additional amenities to go with it.  We watch the prices of the trips we book, to ensure that a sale or special offer comes along, we can get that for you.

Who pays us to do this for you?  The resort or cruise line or tour operator, again it does not cost you more money to work with a travel agent.  Many times, these companies will promote a special offer available only through a travel agent. Even if you are premium status on a cruise line – you’ve gone on 25 cruises with Carnival and you get all the perks you think you can get – hmmm, probably not.  It could be an upgraded room, transfers to/from your resort, an on-board credit for your cruise.  You would be surprised what a travel agent can do for you –  give it a shot, I’m sure you will not be disappointed. 

 

June 19, 2018 –  Insurance – never leave home without it!  I’m really serious about this topic and recommend to everyone (regardless if they book their vacations with me or not). YOU NEVER KNOW!  There are a multitude of reasons to have it.  You plan your vacation (most times way in advance) and to protect your investment insurance is critical.  For some unknown reason, the week before your scheduled to go – something happens – someone gets sick, someone gets hurt and family member has an issue, you lose your job – vacation ruined – money is lost!!!  Or even worse, your on vacation and something happens – something unexpected – some one gets hurt. I have two stories – one was my husband – swimming in the caribbean and steps on a sea urchin. Multiple stingers in his foot, he cannot walk – $400.00 for a wheelchair for (1) day!! Ouch! or a friend of mine who fractured her arm while snorkeling in the Bahamas. Needed emergency evacuation to the states, on Christmas Eve! The costs involved where astronomical!!

June 4, 2018 –  For anyone traveling outside of the United States I strongly recommend registering on S.T.E.P.  CLICK HERE TO ENROLL!  In today’s day and age, you just never know and by enrolling you receive these benefits

  • Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
  • Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
  • Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

May 29th –  You should always leave a copy of your passport with someone at home when you travel. You should also make an extra copy to keep with you. It is much easier to replace a lost or stolen passport if you have a copy of it.!

Princess

I’ve only sailed on Princess once, it was my graduation cruise for becoming a Princess Commodore (Princess has an intense training program, and the reward at the end of completing the program is a cruise).  It was the first time my husband and I cruised together.

We had an inside cabin, which is only the 2nd time I’ve ever been in an inside cabin (the first was my very cruise).  It was very spacious, I loved the way it was set up and I did not feel claustrophobic at all.

One of the highlights of this cruise, for me – was afternoon tea.  We choose to have it in our cabin and it was wonderful.

Carnival

Let me start by saying – I like Carnival!!!  There I said it.  My first cruise was on Carnival and besides cruising on spring break (with 1100 kids on the ship) I have thoroughly enjoyed every single Carnival Cruise.  I hear all the time, oh it’s to much partying or there are just to many kids.  Like I said, except for that spring break cruise it hasn’t been my experience at all.

I like the itineraries they offer, I like the ships and I like how they take care of their guests.

I’ve sailed Carnival from New York, Tampa, Ft Lauderdale, Miami and Long Beach California.

Here are some photo’s from our Carnival Inspiration out of Long Beach

We did the Chef’s Table, and it was amazing (that photo of the 4 of us, Joe, myself and our friends Diane and Charlie) where from the night of the Chef’s Table.

It was held in the Library and was absolutely wonderful

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I have a story about Carnival – we sailed on the Carnival Breeze (yes, this was during spring break – don’t know what t he heck I was thinking).  We had a cove balcony (wasn’t really pleased with it, just a personal preference) it felt very claustrophobic to me – it was very cool being close to the water, but that was the only positive about it. It’s on Deck 2 – so everything was far away and traveling during spring break – it was difficult to get an elevator. Besides that, the ship was great, the food was great – we enjoyed our cruise immensley.  It was a Southern Caribbean itinerary (which I really like).

Two things happened on this cruise – first I got sick – not sea sick – I ended up with an absolutely miserable cold.  When we got to Aruba, I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed. Joe was diving, so he went off to his dive and I stayed in bed for the entire day.  Before he left, he found our cabin steward and let her know that I wasn’t feeling well and would be in the cabin.  Well, she was amazing –  she took care of me the whole day – checked on me a few times, even brought me soup for lunch.

The second thing that happened was when we got off the ship when we arrived in Miami. We got off the ship and headed up to Ft. Lauderdale.  We stopped at Denny’s for breakfast and when we sat down, I looked down and realized that I had left both my engagement ring and my wedding ring, in our cabin on the ship in a shot glass.  Now, these rings belonged to my mother-in-law, family heirlooms.  I was in a major panic – first I had to tell my husband I lost his mothers rings, and then I had to pray and hope that I could get them back.  Back in the car, on the phone with Carnival – mad dash for Miami.  Carnival told me to find security at the port and explain what happened. And I did (let me tell you I wasn’t alone – there were 3 other girls who had left their jewelry on the ship as well).  I stood there for about an hour, panic setting in – Joe was waiting in the car and I was praying I didn’t have to tell him they were gone.  Well, they found them – I got my rings back.  I’ve heard so many horror stories about people doing this and never getting their items back. It was just amazing!

So, besides liking Carnival for their ships and itineraries, returning my jewelry to me was over the top!

Next up Princess Cruise Lines . . .

 

 

A little rant (then back to cruising)

I’m a full time travel agent, I also have a full time job –  I spend a lot of time putting together a trip when you request one.  Time you do not see.  I research your destination, look for the best prices, and try my hardest to make it everything you expect it to be (and more).  There is a tremendous amount of behind the scenes things that I do for you.  I reach out to my contacts at the resort, I request added amenities for your trip. I prepare at least (3) options for your trip.  I do all of this technically for free.  Until you book and travel I receive not a penny.  Most vendors pay after your trip is completed.  I am not bitching about doing any of this,  here’s what I’m bitching about –  I do all of this, I send you the information and you never reply.  I follow up 2 or 3 times, waiting for a response – nothing!!!!

So, here is what I ask – for myself and for my fellow travel agents –  just a quick reply – sorry, not interested – plans changed – out of my budget – found it elsewhere for $5.00 less than you quoted to me.  Something!  Don’t feel bad about letting us know that your not going to book, and you don’t need to tell us a big story – thanks, but no thanks is fine.

Okay, rant over, thank you for listening.