Thursday, December 8, 2011

Want To Walk 40 miles in JESUS' Steps?

CAPERNAUM, Israel (AP) — A new trail across northern Israel offers travelers the chance to walk — or trot — through New Testament sites in the footsteps of Jesus.

The newly opened Gospel Trail winds for 39 miles, heading from Nazareth, across gentle green hills, through Jewish and Arab towns and to Capernaum, the fishing town where Jesus is said to have established his home base. The Tourism Ministry believes the new trail may attract up to 200,000 Christian pilgrims to northern Israel over the coming year.

Christians are a rapidly growing segment of Israeli tourism, comprising about two-thirds of the 3.45 million people who visited in 2010.

On the Gospel Trail, tourists can ride toward the Sea of Galilee on horseback, accompanied by escorts from a nearby ranch wearing jeans, big belt buckles and embroidered cowboy boots with spurs. The scene feels more Texas than Gospel, especially because according to the New Testament, Jesus' mount of choice was a donkey. Horses were considered vehicles of war.

But as the horses canter to Capernaum, past the occasional grazing cow in a grassy pasture, with the sun setting over the distant hills of the Golan Heights, visitors can imagine for a moment that they have returned to the Holy Land of two millennia past.

The Gospel Trail, planned and researched for more than a decade, cost about $800,000. The government paid for two-thirds of it, the Jewish National Fund the rest. Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said the trail is one element of a branding strategy to sell Israel's abundant religious sites to visitors.

Despite the large numbers of Christian tourists, for years little comprehensive information was available to those hoping to hike alone through the Galilee. Walking trails were marked but maps were in Hebrew, Israel's national language.

This began to change when two entrepreneurs developed a path they called the "Jesus Trail" in 2008, following a slightly different route from Nazareth to Capernaum. Founders David Landis and Maoz Inon offer guided hiking tours and a colorful tour book for the region, the best resource available for trekking in the steps of Jesus. Inon also founded a backpacking hostel in Nazareth.

The new Gospel Trail, by contrast, is a government project. It heads south out of Nazareth, beginning at Mount Precipice, where a mob nearly threw Jesus off a cliff after a sermon he made in a local synagogue. The summit provides sweeping views across the Galilee, from ancient Nazareth and down through the Jezreel Valley, today considered Israel's agricultural heartland. From there, the path goes to Mount Tabor, said to be the site of the Transfiguration, when Jesus spoke to Moses and Elijah and became radiant, and God called him his son. Today, priests celebrate Mass in a Franciscan church with soaring ceilings and pristine white marble floors.

From there, the trail winds north, passing, in springtime, through a carpet of anemones and cyclamens. A side path, also marked, heads to Kfar Kana, where Jesus is said to have turned water into wine. Then the Gospel Trail passes double extinct volcanos known as the Horns of Hattin — famous as the site where Saladin's Muslim army defeated the Crusaders in 1187. Today a lone mosque stands as one of the few remainders of an abandoned Arab village on the site.

Nearby is the town of Migdal, named for the ancient town of Magdala, said to be home to Mary Magdalene. Farther north, at Tabgha, the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes commemorates when Jesus fed a multitude with only a handful of food. And finally, travelers pass by the Mount of Beatitudes before heading to Capernaum, where a charming pink-domed white church gives a European look to the lush green surroundings.

The Gospel Trail includes suggestions to take a boat across the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus is said to have walked on water. The boats run between Capernaum and Kibbutz Ginosar, where marine archaeologists found and preserved a 2,000-year-old ancient fishing boat. Another boat route runs to Tiberias, a town dating back to 20 A.D.

All along the way, gas stations, quiet farming towns and luxurious guest houses offer places to recharge. The trail wends through picturesque Biblical landscapes and long stretches of neatly planted vegetables. It also runs alongside less attractive water distillation plants and rock quarries. Ministry spokespeople say they hope the trail will provide an incentive to entrepreneurs to open hotels and restaurants along the way.

A variety of options already exist for travelers, from the Fauzi Azar Inn tucked into Nazareth's Old City, to the luxurious Scots Hotel in Tiberias. There are also country cottages outside Jewish towns, simple beds on farms and homestays in Arab villages. Camping is also easy in the many parks along the trail.

Jose Leonardo, a chemical supervisor from Houston, walked the trail at Tel Kinrot, a hill filled with archaeological finds that looks over the Sea of Galilee. He hiked with a group of Christian pilgrims visiting Nazareth for the day as part of a week-long trip to Israel. Leonardo said he was especially moved by a visit to Mount Tabor. "It's great to walk where Christ actually walked and just to know that so much history is here," Leonardo said. "I think every Christian should come out here and actually experience that walk to get closer to God and know his land and his people."

Contact A Way To Go Travel to set up your journey to Israel in 2012!!!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ten Places To Travel For Happiness

With it long coastline and beautiful scenery. The great trip is to just go up Route 1, ideally late spring or early fall. You can drive from Boston to Portland and then just keep going along, Freeport, Brunswick, Rockland, up past Camden, then Bar Harbor. It goes all the way to Canada.

Orkney Islands, UK
Hard to get to but worth the trip, these mostly uninhabited 70 islands off the coast of Scotland. Visit Skara Brae, a Neolithic settlement and UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the lovely harbor at Kirkwall, the largest town. People have been living there since prehistoric times and they have produced a lot of poets, writers, and musicians. Lots of fresh fish available for seafood lovers.

Long a fantasy vacation destination, then give Bali a try. It has grace and aesthetic appeal. The colors, the artistic sense of the Balinese. Weaving, carving, dancing, play instruments, and singing are some of the talents of the Balinese. The houses are beautiful, the clothes are beautiful, the temples, and the wonderful dances and ceremonies. Many travelers head to Bali's beaches but traditional crafts and ceremonies can best be seen inland around the town of Ubud.

Costa Rica
Guanacaste on the northwest Pacific coast. It has many resorts, is on the Pan American Highway and is easily accessible by air from the USA. Happiness here is related to simplicity.

It has one of the oldest cultures on Earth, plus a friendly populace and welcoming feel. Egypt has the world's treasures, thousands of years of accumulation of Egyptian culture, the Pharaonic culture, not just the Pyramids, but temples all along the Nile, from Alexandria on the Mediterranean to Aswan and on to Abu Simbel. Numerous tour operators offer river cruises and guided excursions along the Nile.

Thailand is both famously foreigner-friendly and inexpensive, making it attractive to expats in retirement. The welcome, the food, the educated populace and the weather, but also the immense variety of travel opportunities. There is coastal Thailand, jungle Thailand, mountainous Thailand, and if you're there you can easily visit Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, or India.

Small villages are self-contained societies that take care of their own. Take a visit to Lake Malawi, a very big, deep lake, with hotels all along the lake shore. The game parks in the north where you can see elephants and giraffes and other animals.

First-timers should make sure to visit multiple islands, as they're all different. Each island has its own character, its own sense of pride. If you're not happy on one island, just find another.

Sicily, Italy
The food in Sicily, the wine, the weather, the crops they grow, all are wonderful things. It's a very hospitable place, and Palermo is one of the great cities of Italy and of Europe too. Because of its proximity to North Africa, it's different from the rest of Italy. To get there via ferry from Sardinia, train from Naples, or on a cruise ship.

Trobriand Islands
Also known as the Kiriwina Islands, complex Pacific society off the coast of New Guinea. This is a place where people feel welcome. The people of Trobriand Islands are perfectly content with what they have. It is far offshore and a hard place to get to, but worth it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shelly's Trip to Hawaii

You know you've reached paradise when you step off your plane to warm breezes, friendly faces and the spirit of Aloha all around.  The Islands of Hawai'i are truly an American treasure. From the lush feel of Kaua'i with magical waterfalls and the vibrant spirit of Oahu, the fun of Maui, and the Volcanoes on the Big Island, the Islands of Hawai'i are truly a magical destination!  If you want to hang out in a hammock or zip line through and old sugar plantation it's all there for you. Some of the best dining in the United States is available from farm fresh pineapples to premier seafood the Islands of Hawai'i have something to please every palate. Best of all no passport is needed!  

Ahhhh The Kahala where the spirit of Aloha welcomes you to it's open air lobby near enough to Waikiki for fun but far enough for a fabulous serene beach area. The Kahala is host to both celebrities and families and their award winning dining gives you a taste of Hawaii. Stingrays, turtle and dolphins are also located on site as part of Dolphin Quest. Comfy beds, tasteful amenities and outstanding staff makes the Kahala the place to be for relaxation on Oahu. Mahalo!

                                                                   The Kahala Lobby

The Waikiki Edition
Urban chic right in the heart of Waikiki - this fabulous property was one of Shelly's favorites!

                                                       Sitting Area at Waikiki Edition

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mardy's Trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!!!!

Just back from a short trip to Puerto Vallarta and all I can say is WOW!
Located in Banderas Bay this destination has the authentic soul of Mexico, warm people proud of their country, and some incredible Mexican and international cuisine.
This wonderful beach resort blends beautiful scenery, an array of outdoor activities and shopping, and still retains the charm of a small fishing village.
Puerto Vallarta is definitely family friendly and has a host of activities that will please adults and children alike. So if you're looking for a week long vacation or just a long weekend, this might be just what the doctor ordered.

Mardy Murray

                                         Yelapa, Mexico

                                         Beach in Puerto Vallarta

                                          Room view from Riu Palace Pacifico                                     

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bargain Beach Getaways

Are you so desperate for a warm and sunny escape—and so convinced it’s beyond your means—that you’ve settled for tanning-salon sessions and homemade piña coladas?
Really, now: Jetting off to a sandy slice of heaven doesn’t have to send you to the poorhouse. There are plenty of budget-minded locales that are light on your wallet, but still heavy on balmy temperatures, swaying palm trees and beautiful beaches.

Culebra, Puerto Rico
Located off the eastern shores of the main island, sleepy Culebra is rich with uncrowded playas edging calm and cerulean waters--plus a small clutch of basic but bright hotels, like Mamacita's, averaging $100 nightly.

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Stretch your dollar in this laid-back Cancún respite, offering diving, snorkeling, shopping and primo sunset- cocktail spots--not to mention inns from charming to chic, like Hotel Cielo or Kinbé Hotel, for $55 to $150 a night.

St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
This unfussy chain of barrier islands along the Sunshine State's west coast really has it all: a variety of wide beaches, cheap seafood-shack meals, a slew of affordable ($65 a night and up) places to stay and a fun nightlife scene.

Grand Bahama, Bahamas
Sugary sand, a relaxed vibe and cheap Bahamian eateries abound in Freeport and Lucaya, where hotels include the Island Seas Resort (from $100 nightly) to the more upscale Radisson Our Lucaya (from $165).


Pink sands, pampering resorts, scenic golf courses and incredible snorkeling are all good reasons to head here- four-night, all-inclusive deals from $699 per person, with options including Grotto Bay Beach Resort and Coco Reef Bermuda.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shanes trip to the Sandals Royal Bahamian

It was perfect timing to take another great trip to the Sandals Royal Bahamian! This was our third time down since 2005 and I noticed some major changes and renovations! First off, I was booked in the Royal Oceanfront One Bedroom Suite with Butler service. With this room, you have private Mercedes transfers a massive room and a butler on call 24 hours a day for your every whim. The butler greets you in the lobby and takes you straight to your room. They already have your dinner reservations set up for you and most importantly reserve your private hut on their private island DAILY upon request. The butler gives you a cell phone where you can call them from any location on the resort at any time! Very good service in that respect.
The main changes to this resort in the last couple of years is the upgrades to the beach, rooms and Royal Village landscaping. They have brought in sand to create 2 extra pristine white beaches, one on Sandals Cay and one on their location at Cable beach. The rooms have all been renovated and look amazing! The Royal Village gardens are just amazing with rose covered trellises and walking trails.

Food quality at this resort is always great! Room service is prompt and is served good and hot. The best places to eat are Gordon's on the Pier, Baccarat and Casanovas.

If your looking for things to do, this is the place! You can tour the Atlantis and go to their water park, go snorkeling on the boat excursion offered by Sandals, Scuba dive, Swim with the Sea Lions and Dolphins, take a boat trip to the Exumas, etc... This is important for me, because I love to keep busy on vacation...Go figure :)
All in all the Sandals Royal Bahamian is an amazing resort, full of good food, good service and most importantly a private island that could rival anything in the Caribbean!

Great Hidden Island Secrets, Now YOU Know

Hollywood scouts were on to something when they skipped over Mykonos and chose a secret island in Greece as the location for Mamma Mia. The movie was a $600-million hit, in part because it fueled peoples’ fantasies of escaping to a secluded island (and yes, those catchy ABBA tunes didn’t hurt). Surprisingly, that picture-perfect movie location, Skopelos, has stayed under the radar. When you hop off the ferry, you’ll be wowed by the view of the shimmering Aegean Sea, the island’s tile-roofed tavernas, and a decided lack of travelers.

There are still gems like Skopelos hidden all around the globe, if you know where to look. We have done the hunting for you to uncover secret islands where you can truly unwind.

Greece: Skopelos
A one-hour ferry ride from Skiathos, the island of Skopelos is so picture-perfect (hidden coves; blue-roofed tavernas; hundreds of Byzantine-era churches) that Hollywood chose its Kastani Beach as a set for Mamma Mia. At the just-renovated Adrina Beach Hotel the 49 pastel-colored rooms face the pine-tree-studded coastline, strewn with daybeds.

Caye Caulker, Belize
There’s nary a traffic light on this laid-back island—a five-mile strip of land that’s a 15-minute flight from Belize’s main airport. Head to Shark Ray Alley to snorkel among nurse sharks and stingrays or go scuba diving at the underwater caves of Blue Hole. Aboveground, try the curried lobster at the roadside Jolly Roger’s Grill. On the eastern side of the Caye, Seaside Cabanas has 10 rooms and six colorful cabins, each with its own roof terrace for taking in those amazing Caribbean views.

Sampson Cay, Bahamas
Partially protected from commercial activity since 1959, the Exuma Cays are normally the domain of cruisers—and a few privileged landowners such as Johnny Depp. But guests at Sampson Cay have access to the area’s thriving patch reefs and isolated islets. At the Sampson Cay Club, the five modest villas include wide patios that are perfect for watching the sunset. While the limestone karst terrain may be rugged, every path ends on a stretch of secluded white sand.

Flatey, Iceland
Don’t expect to see much night sky here: in summer, daylight shines for up to 21 hours on this rocky one-mile hideaway in Breiðafjörður Bay. Lush meadows and multicolored timber houses dot the scenery, and the mainland’s Snæfellsjökull volcano is always within eyeshot. In town, Flatey stays true to simple Scandinavian design (blond-wood furniture; whitewashed walls), and the downstairs restaurant turns into a live-concert venue for local talent at night.

Gozo, Malta
This tiny Mediterranean island is where Odysseus was “held captive” by Calypso after the Trojan War. Take one look at the landscape, and it’s no wonder he stayed seven years. Rolling hills, crumbling castle walls, and a Bronze Age fortress are some of the most endearing features. Check in to Hotel Ta’ Cenc & Spa, with 85 stone bungalows overlooking the sea. From there, it’s a short drive to Dwejra Bay, where you can take a dip, then munch on pastizzi (ricotta-filled pastries) at Tapie’s Bar (St. Francis Square; lunch for two $20).

Andaman Islands, India
These 550 atolls in the Bay of Bengal have all the prerequisites for an idyllic getaway—with an added dose of culture. You can still see a few ancient indigenous tribes. The island of Havelock, a two-hour ferry ride from Port Blair, is arguably the most appealing, thanks to its bone-white beaches. Book a sea-facing villa at the new SilverSand Beach Resort and ask the staff to take you on a trek to the Kala Pather forest.

Rodrigues, Mauritius
Locked in a shallow lagoon, this fish-shaped island has served as a paparazzi-free bolt-hole for Prince William in years past. With its verdant valleys and numerous islets, it’s a haven for hikers and kite-surfers, too. Stay at the beachfront Mourouk Ebony Hotel, with 34 Creole-style rooms. For freshly caught seafood, don’t miss Coralie la Diffe’rence, dinner for two $40).

Great Barrier Island, New Zealand
At 104 square miles, “The Barrier” is the largest island off the Kiwi coast, but it’s also the most untouched. Spend your days hiking through dense kauri woods or exploring jagged inlets. Then refuel over mussel fritters at Tipi & Bobs The four modern rooms at the glass-walled Oruawharo Beach House are designed by New Zealand architecture firm Fearon Hay and have spectacular views of Oruawharo Bay.

Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
Searching for the Bali of, say, 1970? Head to Gili Trawangan, a tiny island near Lombok dotted with countless waterside cafés. No motorized traffic is allowed here—the best way to get around is to rent a bicycle or use your own two feet. The daily agenda involves nothing more than fishing, diving, or kicking back with a cold beer at Scallywag. On the southern coast, Vila Ombak has 115 airy oceanfront rooms.

Mabul, Malaysia
Diving enthusiasts flock to Mabul, off the northeastern coast of Malaysia, where the exotic marine life is on a par with the Galápagos—native sea moths, bobtail squids, and the elusive paintpot cuttlefish are just a few of the inhabitants. At Sipadan Water Village Resort the 45 stilted bungalows are cooled by constant sea breezes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Up to $2,000 Spending Credit with Crystal Cruises!!!!

When your desire for the finer things is only surpassed by your passion for travel, it seems fitting that you'd sail with Crystal Cruises. And whether you choose to explore the picturesque New England coastline, the soft sandy shores of the Caribbean or the legendary lands of the Mediterranean, your Virtuoso travel advisor has every detail covered.

Lighthouses & Lobsters
Crystal Symphony
11 Days • Departs September 13 – 24, 2011
New York overnight • Newport • Boston • Bar Harbor • Halifax • Québec City overnight • Montréal two overnights
Virtuoso fares from $4,495 per person
Includes Fall Fare Savings, Free Air plus a $1,000 per couple
"All-Inclusive. As You Wish." spending credit!
Distinguished Speaker Series theme – CNN Anchor Lou Waters
Enjoy two complimentary cocktail receptions, onboard Virtuoso host, prepaid shipboard gratuities and a shipboard credit in select categories

Pink Sands & White Beaches
Crystal Symphony
12 Days • Departs October 25 – November 6, 2011
New York • Hamilton • St. Maarten • Antigua • Aruba • Grand Cayman • Miami
Virtuoso fares from $4,530 per person
Includes Fall Fare Savings, Free Air plus a $1,000 per couple
"All-Inclusive. As You Wish." spending credit!
Digital Filmmaking theme
Enjoy two complimentary cocktail receptions, onboard Virtuoso host, prepaid shipboard gratuities and a shipboard credit in select categories

Capitals of Art & Architecture
Crystal Serenity
12 Days • Departs August 26 – September 7, 2011
Barcelona overnight • Cannes overnight • Florence • Rome • Sorrento overnight • Dubrovnik • Venice overnight
Virtuoso fares from $6,510 per person
Includes Fall Fare Savings, Free Air plus a $2,000 per couple
"All-Inclusive. As You Wish." spending credit!
Enjoy a complimentary cocktail reception, onboard Virtuoso host, prepaid shipboard gratuities and a shore event in Dubrovnik

Beyond the Bosporus
Crystal Serenity
12 Days • Departs September 7 – 19, 2011
Venice overnight • Katakolon • Navplion • Constanta • Odessa • Yalta • Trabzon • Istanbul overnight
Virtuoso fares from $7,485 per person
Includes Fall Fare Savings, Free Air plus a $2,000 per couple
"All-Inclusive. As You Wish." spending credit!
Enjoy a complimentary cocktail reception, onboard Virtuoso host, prepaid shipboard gratuities and a shore event in Odessa

Mediterranean Treasures
Crystal Serenity
12 Days • Departs October 1 – 13, 2011
Venice overnight • Dubrovnik • Sicily • Sorrento • Rome • Florence • Monte Carlo overnight • Barcelona
Virtuoso fares from $5,955 per person
Includes Fall Fare Savings, Free Air plus a $2,000 per couple
"All-Inclusive. As You Wish." spending credit!
Wine & Food Festival theme – Culinary experts Mark Bittman & André Soltner and wine expert Alexis Kahn
Enjoy a complimentary cocktail reception, onboard Virtuoso host, prepaid shipboard gratuities and a shore event in Dubrovnik

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DOT Requires Taxes, Fees Be Included in Advertised Prices

The Department of Transportation (DOT) officially, finally, unveiled a series of consumer protections rules aimed at increasing transparency and fairness in the airline industry. The rules were proposed last June and won't take effect for 120 days.

Here are the main components of the new rules:

•Airlines must refund bag fees paid for bags that are lost in transit. Note that the rule stipulates bags that are lost, not delayed. That the DOT decided to exclude delayed bags from this provision is probably the most disappointing aspect of the rules. Bag fees ostensibly cover the shipping cost of your luggage. In many retail situations, customers with delayed shipments are often compensated with refunds or vouchers, in what seems like an obvious "make it right" scenario. Not so here. Worse, the definition of "lost" is left ambiguous, and presumably to the airlines' discretion. It can take days and even weeks for an airline to qualify a bag as lost, meaning passengers will have to be patient if they want their $25 back. And as the DOT notes, "Airlines are already required to compensate passengers for reasonable expenses for loss, damage or delay in the carriage of passenger baggage." So this strikes me as a "why bother?"

•Full-fare advertising or bust. Advertised fares will include all mandatory taxes and fees, meaning the price you see is the price you'll pay (prior to tacking on ancillary charges, such as bag fees). This rule applies to any ticket seller, whether it's the airline, an online travel agent, or a human travel agent. Travel agents will also have to disclose bag fee information both before and after the consumer purchases their ticket. The agency had proposed a dual-price system, where one fare included mandatory taxes and another included taxes plus some basic ancillary fees, but this model was deemed too cumbersome to be useful (rightly, I'd say) and was dispatched.

•Bag fee changes on airline homepages for three months. The DOT did follow through on its proposal to require carriers to, in its own words, "promptly and prominently disclose any increase in its fees for carry-on or checked baggage and any change in the checked baggage allowance for a passenger on the carrier’s homepage." The notice should be obvious and remain in place for three months, and the rule also applies to foreign carriers that advertise or sell air tickets in the U.S.

•Web page for all ancillary fees. Similarly, The DOT will require carriers to create "one central webpage on their website, linked from the carrier’s homepage, which lists all ancillary fees." That's all ancillary fees. Currently, most airlines have their fees scattered all over their websites, making it nearly impossible to track them all down in an efficient manner.

•Compensation for bumping gets a bump. The new rules increase the minimum denied boarding compensation limits to $650 for short flights and $1,300 for longer flights, or 200%/400% of the one-way fare, whichever is smaller. The rules will apply to "zero fare" tickets, such as award flights, which are currently exempt from compensation requirements. The DOT will also adjust for inflation every two years.

•Tarmac delay rules extended to international carriers. The DOT will impose a four-hour limit on tarmac delays for international flights, including those operated by foreign carriers. Food and water must be provided, as is the case with the existing three-hour rule for domestic flights. Interestingly, the DOT noted that "The extended tarmac delays experienced by passengers on international flights operated by foreign carriers at New York’s JFK Airport during the December 2010 blizzard was an important factor" in crafting this rule.

•Lots of smaller changes. The new rules also include a ban on post-purchase increase, except when directly tied to new or increased government taxes; require airlines to communicate delays of over 30 minutes at the boarding gate, on its website, and via its telephone system; and allow passengers to hold a reservation for 24 hours without payment and cancel said reservation without penalty.

In sum, these rules represent a meaningful win for passengers, and in most cases hold true to the original proposals put forth last year. Notably absent is any regulation on peanut service, which was a surprisingly controversial component of those proposals. And, as I mentioned above, the bag fee refund policy is disappointing. If an airline loses your bag, you have a lot more to worry about than a $25 fee. In my opinion, the DOT blew a chance to hold airlines accountable for the fee that causes the most pain among consumers.
But from a consumer standpoint, the agencies requirements surrounding fare and fee transparency are huge, and will fundamentally affect the way we shop for airline tickets. Simply being able to see an airline's entire menu of ancillary fees, and compare those fees to other carriers', is a major change. Knowing, when searching, that the price you see is the full price, will allow consumers to make more informed decisions and avoid that awful feeling of being baited and switched.
The fact that we've come to this point, where the government has to mandate honesty and transparency from the airline industry, is more than a little disappointing. Much credit to the DOT for stepping up and giving consumers a voice.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Four Free Travel Apps!!

This app maps out the locations of food, shops and services in several airports. When you are looking for the closest airline club/lounge, restaurant, ATM, shops, etc. search the entire airport or a selected terminal/gate. I have used it to find the Delta Sky Club and Five Guys! This app is designed for the iPhone, but it works on the iPad too.

World Nomad Spanish or French or Name Your Language
If you are headed out of the country and don’t speak the language of the country you are visiting, this one has some great phrases (Basics, Directions, Food, etc) in tons of languages. This one is also designed for the iPhone, but again, it works on the iPad too.

This app appears to have been EVERYWHERE and packed EVERTHING. The lists/suggestions are extensive and if something has been left out, you can add it. It may take a while to make the initial list, but once it is done, you have it. Headed to the beach? Skiing? Europe? Click, pack and check it off the list. I like this one! For 99 cents, you can skip the ads.

Global Tipping
Choose the country and you get a short and sweet lesson on tipping practices. The differences will amaze you!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Best Destinations for Family Entertainment

Among people who plan to travel in 2011, 83 percent will be traveling with family, and 90 percent of those traveling with family will keep their trips domestic, according to a recent survey. What follows is the top 10 destinations where these travelers have the best-rated options for entertainment, dining, and accommodation.  The 10 destinations were determined based on the number of recommendations of users who traveled with family. For each destination, we’ve included the top-rated attraction based also on user reviews—resulting in numerous instances of lesser-known attractions outranking the destination’s most famous ones—and provided an overview of the other popular activities for families.

Sandusky, Ohio

Anaheim, California
Top-rated attraction: Flightdeck Air Combat Center, a flight simulation center for kids and adults from age 13 up.
By comparison, Anaheim was once a sleepy southern California town of orange groves, but it began transforming into a Fantasia for families when the Disneyland Resort opened in 1955.
Now, Disney is the city’s primary employer and Anaheim is synonymous with Mickey-themed entertainment including Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure and more, but it’s not the only game in town. There’s also Adventure City, a small amusement park for smaller kids, K1 Speed Indoor Karting, Hobby City Doll and Toy Museum, and the Old West –themed Knott’s Berry Farm Park including Camp Snoopy park for the younger ones, as well as Soak City Water Park by Knott’s. For more adult-friendly shopping dining and entertainment there’s Downtown Disney, Block at Orange, Westfield MainPlace mall, and Anaheim GardenWalk, which includes a bowling center. Family-oriented dinner shows include Medieval Times and Pirates Dinner Adventure, and the local sporting options include the Anaheim Ducks, formerly the Mighty Ducks NHL team, and the LA Angels of Anaheim.

Wisconsin Dells,Wisconsin
Top-rated attraction: Bigfoot Zipline, a 2-hour ride for nearly all ages of gliding on cables above oaks and northwoods pines.
Set in the dells of the Wisconsin River, this little town has been a summer fun destination for 150 years, and is now claims the title of Water Park Capital of the World. Families can go kayaking, rock climbing, jetboating and jetskiing, and take one of the popular amphibious Duck tours. Wisconsin Dells is home to the country’s largest outdoor water park, Noah’s Ark, and the largest indoor water park, Wilderness Territory. Less active activities include Rick Wilcox Magic Theater and Wizard Quest virtual game. Adult diversions include golf, Ho-Chunk Casino. For a throwback semi-indoor/ semi-outdoor night, try the popular Big Sky Drive- in movie theater.

Wildwood Crest, New Jersey
Top attraction: The beach and boardwalk
Located in the southern part of the Jersey Shore, the peaceful beach community (and dry town) Wildwood Crest is the more family-friendly alternative to the adjacent parts of the Wildwoods (Wildwood and North Wildwood, which come closer to living up to the “wild”). Visiting families stay in any of numerous midcentury modern or “doo wop” motels or in vacation or seasonal rentals. Ocean, beach, and bay activities include boating, jet skiing, fishing, crabbing, whale and dolphin watching, and in the evenings, movies on the beach. The boardwalk is not far, with amusements, rides, and games for children and adults. Area water parks are Ocean Oasis, Raging Waters, and Splash Zone.

Orlando, Florida
Top-rated attraction: Discovery Cove, an amusement park where visitors can swim with dolphins and observe fish while snorkeling.
Orlando is one of the two vacation towns that Disney built—it’s the site of the granddaddy of them all, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center, Animal Kingdom, and the Typhoon Lagoon water park. Other top attractions are Universal Studios, SeaWorld, the Sammy Duvall Watersports Centre, Gatorland, and the iFly skydiving simulation. Popular local evening outings include the comedic magic with unlimited food and beverage at the Outta Control Dinner Show and Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf. This is only a small sample—plenty more family-oriented attractions await in Orlando.

Sandusky, Ohio
Top-rated attraction: Cedar Point Amusement Park and Resort
The big draw of this Lake Erie coastal destination is one of America’s oldest amusement parks, Cedar Point, which has a whopping 17 roller coasters, rated from 2 (mild thrill) to 5 (aggressive thrill). Cedar Point’s water park Soak City also ranks high among Sandusky visitors. Some of Sandusky’s other family attractions include the Kalahari Waterpark Resort, Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, the Merry-Go-Round Museum, and the Sandusky Maritime Museum.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Top attraction: The Carolina Opry, live theater performances
The coastal city of Myrtle Beach has the titular beach, but there are plenty more family entertainment options, such as horseback riding, the Soar and Explore Zipline and Ropes Course, and Mt Atlanticus mini-golf, and Ripley’s Aquarium. For parents, there are golfing and casino cruises, and evening entertainment for all at the Carolina Opry, Alabama Theater and Le Grande Cirque.

Hershey, Pennsylvania
Top-rated attraction: Cullari Vineyards and Winery
No surprise here—the attractions of the company town of Hershey, Pennsylvania are Hershey-themed or affiliated: Hersheypark amusement park, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey Gardens, Hershey Trolley Works, and The Hershey Story museum, and the ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park. As for the non-Hershey attractions: there’s the two-wheeled tours of Segway of Hershey, Dutch Wonderland, an amusement park for small tykes, Antique Automobile Club of America Museum.

Ocean City, Maryland
Top-rated attraction: Old Pro mini golf in four indoor and outdoor themed locations.
Ocean City is Maryland’s popular 10-mile-long, narrow barrier island beach community featuring three miles of boardwalk. Family attractions include of course the free beaches and the boardwalk, as well as Trimper’s Rides and Frontier Town amusement parks, the Ocean City Life-Saving Station and Wheels of Yesterday museums, and the Carousel Ice Skating Rink. The destination’s unique draw for outdoors-loving families is Assateague Island, where overnight beach campers can wake up to glimpse the island’s free-roaming wild ponies. Fishing for billfish, tuna, and wahoo is another popular local draw—and for the more advanced, OCMD is known as the “White Marlin Capital of the World.”

Carlsbad, California
Top-rated attraction: Carlsbad Lagoon for wakeboarding, kayaking, jet skiing, pedal boating, and tubing.
The Southern California coastal city of Carlsbad has an old-fashioned downtown (Carlsbad Village) as well as protected wildlife habitats. Popular local attractions include Legoland California (for kids 12 and under) and Sea Life Aquarium, the state beach, three lagoons for bird-watching, about a dozen golf courses, Carlsbad Skatepark and Carlsbad Raceway. For days when the weather’s not cooperating with vacation plans, there’s the Gemological Institute of America Museum, the Museum of Making Music, and a designer outlet mall.

Panama City, Florida
Top-rated attraction: Yoga for You, offering private classes on the beach.
Located in the Florida Panhandle, subtropical Panama City features that no-brainer combination for family summer fun: beach and amusements. The beaches are popular for activities like jetskiing, parasailing, boat tours, scuba diving, and snorkeling in the warm Gulf waters or just loafing on the white sand. The area’s plentiful parks include Coconut Creek Family Fun Park, Super Speed Fun Park, Shipwreck Island Waterpark, Cobra Adventure Park, Gulfworld Marine Park. Panama City has more family activities like mini golf, Rock’it Lanes and Bowlarama bowling, and movies.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Staying at a hotel on a private island means you don't have to share the terrain with hundreds of other hotel guests or local residents. While amenities such as spa treatments and beach views are par for the course, each of these secluded islands lets you relax in style. Can you hear the tropics calling?

Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach and Private Island

French Polynesia
Located on a small island just off the coast of Bora Bora, you'll find a private dive center as well as a beach. Stay in a bungalow; some are over water and others are built into the hillside. Enjoy access to super-luxe amenities like a cigar cave, a wine cellar, two on-site bars, a spa, and an infinity pool. Cuisine inspired by many regions is served in the fine-dining restaurant Latitude 16°, including dishes prepared in a Tahitian oven. At Manu Tuki restaurant, tuck into lighter snacks, such as BBQ and Polynesian or French specialties. Tahitian plants are incorporated into treatments at the spa.

Kamalame Cay in Andros Island, the Bahamas

The Bahamas
Kamalame Cay takes up 96 acres on this island, providing lots of privacy for guests. Nineteen rooms are housed in a combination of colorful cottages, bungalows, peaked-roof beach houses, and plantation- style villas (one has a 1,000-square-foot game room with a billiards table). Bahamian-style cuisine with a modern twist is served in the Great House. For a more casual affair, the Tiki Bar hosts local bands and prepares fresh fish on an open grill. Adventurous travelers can forego relaxing on the designated three miles of beach area in favor of kayaking through mangroves, deep-sea fishing for King Mackerel, or scuba diving -- all of which can be arranged by the hotel.

Aerial of Guana Island, British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands
Formerly a sugarcane plantation owned by Quakers, this unspoiled 850-acre private island now has seven resort-owned beaches. Guana Island Club's 15 rooms are housed within stone cottages, or you can reserve the entire Beach House for more privacy. Expect a summer-camp vibe, with ping-pong tables, croquet, beach barbecues, and "Old Movie Nights." You can also enjoy snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, 12 miles of hiking trails, or massage treatments and yoga classes offered through the spa. All meals are served in The Club and incorporate locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

Young Island Resort

The Grenadines
Johnny Depp slept in one of Young Island Resort's 30 cottages while filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl -- proof of the island's celeb status. Spa Kalina, in Cottage #15, offers treatments incorporating a product line from Barbados, such as a guava-seed foot. Caribbean-flair dishes (including a five-course menu) are served nightly under a palapa hut or among gardens of tropical flowers and plants. Swim out to Coconut Bar -- owned by the resort and just a few yards from shore -- for a cocktail.

Cayo Espanto in Ambergis Caye, Belize

Belize is the new hot spot in Central America -- yet Cayo Espanto, on a four-acre island in the popular Ambergris Caye area, remains largely undiscovered. Reserve one of seven chic villas, each with turquoise decorative accents, an open-air design for Caribbean Sea views, and direct access to the beach and water. The world's second-largest barrier-reef system is just a short swim away. Staff can help arrange an excursion, whether it's a relaxing deserted-island beach picnic, a jungle tour, or intense scuba-diving or fly-fishing voyages.

Beach House in Manafuru Island, Maldives

The Maldives
With so many amenities to choose from, you won't even think about stepping off Manafuru Island (unless it's for deep-sea fishing or snorkeling). Villa options include the Water Villa, built above the ocean with glass-paneled flooring. At Moden Spa, the signature Maldivian massage uses local white sea-salt sand and Maldivian coconut oil. The resort also has yoga classes, an art gallery, and a tea lounge. Eight bars and restaurants serve everything from regional-themed menus to wines plucked from the undersea wine cellar.

Parrot Cay island, Turks & Caicos

The Turks & Caicos
Life on this 1,000-acre island is pretty sweet -- take your pick of holistic options at COMO Shambhala Retreat; enjoy bone fishing, windsurfing, or hiking; or simply lounge on the mile-long beach. At Parrot Cay Resort, grilled conch and spiced banana fritters are specialty dishes at Lotus restaurant, as are Asian- inspired options like Balinese-spiced mahi mahi. Every Saturday is a barbecue where BBQ Kurubuta baby back ribs slathered in chipotle sauce are the main attraction. Terrace, the other restaurant, is ripe for romantic occasions with an Italian-themed dinner menu and its blueberry hotcakes for breakfast. Lodging runs the gamut from an affordable garden-view room to a duo of four-bedroom maisons (which are owned by Donna Karan).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Save on Ireland in the "Off Season"

Everyone wants to go to Ireland, and it seems that everyone wants to go in the summer. Now don’t get me wrong. There is much good to be said about the warm days of summer on the greenest of islands. However, fall, winter, and spring offer their own special charms, as well as being amazingly affordable times to travel. The scenery is still stunning, the people are still Irish (and maybe more so, relieved of the pressure of so many tourists) and the pub life is especially warm and friendly.

Most destinations have a prime season for travel that coincides with excellent weather. Throughout this “peak season”, the crowds tend to be heavy and the prices high. Ireland’s peak season is the summer months: mid-June through mid-September. When the weather is typically less than balmy, destinations experience a “shoulder season” and a “low season.” Shoulder season in Ireland is April, May, early June and early October. Shoulder season has the distinct advantage of retaining many summer travel perks: longer days, good weather and extended shopping hours. Low season is November through March – the winter-weather months in Ireland.

Rates and crowds lessen proportionally as you travel farther from the warmer months. Airfares are often hundreds of dollars below peak season rates, and hotels offer bargain discounts. But for many, one of the best advantages of traveling in the so-called “off season” is that it’s much easier to enjoy and absorb Ireland’s renowned culture and avoid getting lost in crowds of tourists. Off-season visitors often find that their hosts, hoteliers and shop keepers engage easily in conversation and provide individual attention, increasing the odds for a fascinating and flawless vacation.

Off-peak Ireland is one of the best travel bargains worldwide… short daylight hours and cool weather provide a new, moody perspective on the country. Celtic architecture and cool seascapes fill mornings of exploration, and crisp afternoons call for cozy Irish sweaters and refuge in a warm pub, where visitors mix with the locals.

One of the great attractions of Ireland is that many of its amazing sites are in the wide-open: the cliffs and shores, castles, cathedrals and great stone circles are accessible throughout the year. The countryside, too, holds its famous green, even in the winter when visitors can trace the landscape of long stone walls against a leafless sky and emerald-colored hillsides.

To ensure your comfort while you wander through Ireland, bring heavy sweaters and outdoor clothing and hats. Warm, comfortable (and preferably waterproof) shoes are a must, and pack turtlenecks and windbreakers for good measure. The good news is that because Ireland is situated on the eastern Atlantic side of the Gulf Stream, temperatures are typically more moderate than in continental Europe. Ireland’s average winter temperature is a relatively mild 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ireland can be equally enjoyed through a fully escorted or independent tour, and often at additional savings over already low rates. A good travel agent familiar with Ireland is the best resource for planning your off-season itinerary to ensure that you experience the best aspects of traveling during this time. Travel agents can connect you to highly regarded tour operators who are financially sound and have a reliable history of taking care of the agent’s clients. In fact, Tourism Ireland has a group of destination specialists that can set you down in Dublin in real style.

Monday, March 28, 2011


On November 1, 2011, AMResorts, provider of sales, marketing and brand management services for Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, and Secrets, Dreams and Now Resorts & Spas, will reintroduce the Sunscape Resorts & Spas brand with the opening of Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa (formerly Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa). Following a $10 million USD renovation, the resort will become AMResorts first property in the popular Mexico destination. The Sunscape brand also reintroduces the Unlimited-Fun® vacation concept – a new way to have it all for families, friends and singles.
AMResorts will build on Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa's existing reputation; strong repeat guest records high service standards, quality food and beverage offerings and the best location in the destination. Ixtapa will be the seventh Mexico destination to have an AMResorts property, demonstrating the company's success and confidence in this market.

Located in the heart of the beautiful beach town of Ixtapa on Mexico's popular Pacific coast, the oceanfront Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa, set on Playa del Palmar which has received the Mexican government's distinction for its clean beaches, will treat guests to 285 spacious rooms, including 20 ocean front family style suites, all with private terraces and remarkable views of Palmar Bay. Six international restaurants and three bars will delight guests with regional and international cuisine and unlimited premium beverages, while two pools, including a main pool with two waterslides and a swim-up bar, two-lighted tennis courts, and a vast array of day and evening activities will provide many options to entertain. All these, along with an array of specialty themed dining options and bars serving premium domestic and international beverages and endless day and evening activities, is included in the Unlimited-Fun® vacation concept.

Families with children will appreciate the resort's Explorers' Club for Kids, which offers fully-supervised activities for younger guests (ages 3-12). Exciting program activities include sandcastle competitions, arts & crafts, big screen movies on the beach, daily campout adventures, and more. A brand new Core Zone Teen's Club also will debut to provide dedicated activities and facilities for teens.

The resort's new spa will offer the perfect atmosphere for those seeking relaxation with a variety hydrotherapy rooms and features, and soothing signature treatments. Couples treatment rooms, and oceanfront massage options will complete the stimulating and peaceful experience. The spa also will feature a full service beauty salon offering hair treatments, waxing, and manicure and pedicure services.

Additionally, the property's newly renovated meeting space will have a business center with computer stations, and over 9,000 square feet of dedicated meeting and function space with capacity for up to 550 people in a theater set-up. Four smaller breakout rooms are perfect for group meetings and incentive travelers.

Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa also provides the perfect romantic setting for a destination wedding with many special amenities and a new wedding gazebo available exclusively for the bride and groom.

The resort's multi-million dollar renovation calls for a complete upgrade to all its rooms – from decor to amenities like LED TVs, mini bars and more. A new wedding gazebo, as well as restaurants and bars, including – but not limited to – the company's signature Coco Cafe, Barefoot Grill for pool-side snacks and Desires nightclub, also will be added. Brand new spa and Core Zone Teen's Club, as well as revamped Explorer's Club and meetings facilities complete the project.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shane's getaway to the Fearrington House Country Inn

Fearrington House/Village are part of the Relais et Chateaux, so you know the quality is gonna be A+. Conde Nast Traveller readers have rated " The Fearrington House Country Inn" located in Pittsboro, NC, approximate 8 miles from Chapel Hill, NC, as one of the top 100 rated hotels in the World! There is a reason for this accolade.

We stayed in the "Grand Suite". The value was phenomenal--and Grand it was!!!! We had a separate house (#35) with it's own gated courtyard. And the room had two sitting areas, a library/den/dressing room (with incredible storage space), a master bathroom with Molton Brown products, heated floors, a whirlpool tub, separate shower, dual sinks, and a toilet in it's own large room. There was even a docking station for the iPhone!

The welcome upon arrival was so warm. Soledad who manages the property could not have been nicer. She presented us with The Fearrington House Cookbook, showed us the entire grounds, and brought us to our room (or house!). There was fruit and a tray of petit fours. Every night tawny port and two glasses appeared, along with Ghirardelli dark chocolate, sea salt potato chips, "Jelly Belly" beans,and mineral water. Juan the sales manager showed us around the grounds. This property has fainting goats, belted galloway cows and hiking trails throughout.

The Village of Fearrington consists of many shops and little places to eat. No doubt, this is probably the best venue for a wedding that I have ever seen. They have a decorated barn that can accommodate 300 guests (fully catered) and they also have a wedding planner on site that will do everything from start to finish. You can get married outside in their beautifully manicured grounds or in the barn.

Breakfast (accompanied by the NY Times paper) in The Fearrington House Restaurant was delicious and served professionally. Afternoon tea with scones, jams, clotted cream, pastries, tea sandwiches, etc. was reminiscent of the UK-- without the outrageous cost.

We had the 3 course dinner in The Fearrington House Restaurant and it was comparable to many Michelin starred restaurants in which we have dined. The foie gras, the rabbit and the chocolate souffle were all exceptional. Phillip who served us 2X was excellent, knowledgeable and quite personable.

Massages at the new beautiful spa would be a perfect way to end a stay here!

Shane Lawrence

Leisure and Honeymoon Specialist

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Travel agents are just like Google, only we are human.

Believe in the value of a good travel agent? 
Well- trained travel specialists offer very valuable services and information almost impossible to uncover by yourself regardless of how diligently you search online. A good travel agent will save you time, save you money and provide insights into the logistics of your trip.  Good travel agents keep their ear to the ground.  They know which tour operators to use and which to avoid. They know the difference between a hotel in city center and a cheaper but far less convenient one on the outskirts of town. Travel agents can look at all airlines and give you the best fare that fits your times of travel. If you call US Air they will not tell you that there is a lower fare on Delta.
Most people think travel agents sell travel. The fact is, however, a great travel agent doesn’t sell anything, but instead helps people buy wisely. They research and discuss the options. Travel agents steer away from obstacles and look into nooks and crannies that other online websites neglect. They help to insure the quality of a trip. Time and again, travel agents have saved people money, made good supplier choices and helped people purchase wisely.

How valuable is that?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The exclusive island of ANGUILLA, the Caribbean’s premiere destination for romance and luxury, was featured on The Bachelor on Valentine’s Day.

From an idyllic sunset cruise and dinner date aboard a luxury yacht, to a private concert serenaded by Anguilla’s legendary reggae sensation, Bankie Banx at the cool, hip Dune Preserve beach bar, the island welcomed Bachelor Brad Womack and his Bachelorettes and fulfilled their romantic fantasies. Other highlights of their extraordinary visit to this island paradise included an exhilarating helicopter tour to the picturesque Sandy Island for a day of snorkeling along the coral reef, followed by a gourmet picnic of barbecued fresh lobster, shrimp and fish; and a sunset cruise to the secluded, azure waters of Little Bay.

Brad and his six Bachelorettes were hosted at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa, rated among the top resorts in the Caribbean by both Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. They enjoyed the “suite” life at this splendid vacation resort, with its pristine beaches, five-star amenities, incredible culinary offerings and sprawling state-of-the-art spa facilities. The resort was also the site of a one-on-one date, plus a surprise group date, with a moonlit beach bonfire followed by a vibrant pool party at the resort’s iconic infinity pool.

On another one-on-one date, Brad and his Bachelorette took a bike ride through the Old Valley, Anguilla’s historic capital, past colorful, quaint West Indian cottages, historic buildings such as The Warden’s Place, and lovingly restored gingerbread cottages which are home to eclectic collections of island art. They stopped at Koal Keel’s Patisserie for a sampling of their delectable French pastries, and then headed to a vibrant street festival where they engaged in some fun island pursuits, shopped for a selection of arts and crafts, and savored the warm hospitality of the Anguillan people.

The highly-anticipated Rose Ceremony took place on the beach at one of Anguilla’s stunning luxury villas, Le Bleu, a magnificent estate featuring 10 bedrooms, 2 beaches, 2 pools, glorious gardens, exquisite views of the Caribbean Sea, a private cinema, gym, tennis courts and a dedicated staff ready to cater to your every need. The beautiful villa was the perfect setting for intimate cocktails and candlelight: an elegant backdrop to this special moment.

Want an incredible vacation at an incredible destintion?  Call one of the A Way To Go Travel Specialists.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We Love Client Testimonials!


Thank you for putting together a great trip for us! We had a blast, everything went smoothly, and the resort (Sandals Whitehouse) was simply amazing! A lot of rest and relaxation as well as 85 degrees each day. It is difficult getting adjusted back to the cold weather.

Keep us on your client list for any bargains that Sandals may throw your way! I look forward to working with you again!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Working With A Travel Agent Has Advantages During Winter Weather

The winter weather that the United States has experienced so far has provided many examples of the benefits of  booking air travel with a travel agent instead of an online travel site.  First, went planning a flight that requires a connection, a travel agent will take a common sense approach and look for the lowest fares available with connections in Southern airports where weather is less likely to be a factor during the Winter months.  An online travel site will not.  It will produce lowest fare without considering connections.
Over that past few weeks, we have had clients that were required to fly north or were flying into airports where Winter weather is normally not a problem such as Atlanta or San Antonio.  Our clients are able to call our Travel Agents and get assistance from a real person and someone they know; instead of being stuck on hold with the airlines trying to make alternative arrangements.  Our agents have "real time" access to all available flights and assist clients in getting to their destination during difficult weather.

Travel Agents cannot control the weather or the airlines, but when our clients are in a stuck in an airport they take comfort knowing that they have someone on their side working to get them to their destination.

Monday, January 24, 2011

How To Protect Yourself from Bedbugs

I know that we don't want to talk about it, but bedbugs have become such an issue that several websites have sprung up to help travelers scope out hotels at their destination. Check out and

Whether a hotel has bedbugs is not a reflection of luxury or not. Any lodging establishment can become infested because they provide the food source:  sleeping bodies.

So how do you protect yourself ? First thing to do is to make sure the hotel isn't on a "hot list."  Second, is to get out the folding luggage rack with the metal legs.  Pest Management of Texas President, Brian DiCicco, says, "The bugs have a hard time getting a grip on those legs, so your suitcase and its contents may be protected from an invasion."

Next, he recommends taking the sheets off the mattress and look at the seams on the bed — they can accumulate on the seams." The bugs are big enough to see--about the size of an apple seed.

He also recommends removing and inspecting the head broad. Look for traces of fecal spotting and dark brown stain that results from people's blood.

Just so you know, bedbugs don't generally transmit disease. You can consider that the good news.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Destination Wedding Bliss at Dreams Tulum


We had so much fun, it was the perfect wedding and you were 100% right on with the resort, was so relaxing. The staff grounds and food was just what we needed. We are looking forward to heading back as soon as possible. here are a few pics.

Zeb Herinckx

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You Did Not Proposed Over Christmas, Why Not on Valentine's Day?

On February 14, 2011 the Ritz proposes an unforgettable Saint Valentine's Day. Whether it is in the intimacy of a room or at L'Espadon restaurant for a romantic gourmet dinner, the Ritz Paris will celebrate this special day like nowhere else.

The hotel's floral designer, will create enchanting flower arrangements especially for this occasion. To make this celebration even more special, on the evening of February 14th, the Ritz Paris will offer his guests a romantic ride on the Place Vendôme in a carriage drawn by magnificent horses.


Upon arrival all guests will be offered a bottle of Ritz Champagne and a chocolate surprise especially created by  the Ritz Paris Pastry Chef.

The Ritz will discreetly place a superb rose in the room.

As a souvenir of this very special occasion, each couple will receive one gift to choose from:

For ladies: a "Brigitte Bardot" limited edition of Repetto ballerinas.

For gentlemen: a deluxe shoe shine kit by famous shoemaker J. M. Weston

A Special Valentine's Day offer from 1st to 28th February 2011.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Save Money on a Spa Vacation

Spa Magazine Worldwide Guide 2011 offers tips on how to save money on a spa vacation in their Annual Issue.  All offer great suggestions to maximize your vacation budget.  The tips are listed below.

1.  Consider traveling during low or shoulder seasons.
2. Fly on Wednesdays.
3. Join online club:  like a facebook page, sign-up for spa newsletters.
4. Ask for deals upfront.  Your travel agent can help with this.
5. Book Spa appointments early in the day.
6. Explore other options in your destination.

A Way To Go Travel received advanced copies of the Worldwide Guide 2011.  Look for it on newstands.