Fun Ideas For The Whole Family

Posted by Justin Murphy

October 19, 2017 at 7:30 AM

Planning a family vacation isn't always an easy task. You must attempt to accomodate the preferences of adults and children alike. If you're looking for luxury family travel without the hassles of planning the itinerary, allowing you and your family to truly relax while you're on vacation, look to VIP Travel Experience. We have some excellent options that are great for children as well as their parents.  Lately we have seen a big rise in Moms/daughters bonding trips and well as dads/sons golf and fishing trips!!  What a great Christmas idea right?  And there is no shopping neeeded, one phone call is all it takes.

New York

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New York is an incredible destination for your luxury family vacation. Depending on the time of year you choose to visit, you'll enjoy all kinds of attractions the kids will love.  What kinds of things REALLY excite your children, which hobbies and interest, let us know and we will seek out activities that will personalize this vacation and make you look like a ROCKSTAR!!  

Just a few ideas include Broadway  shows or perhaps your daughter may be interested in a Rockette dance class and a backstage tour?  Visit the many great historical sites and museums the city has to offer, but have you considered some of these tours by night?  Shopping Anyone? There is something for all ages.  Did you know that you can visit the hip boutiques of SoHo and NoLita or get exclusive access to Designer Showrooms and Wholesale pricing in the Garment District along with a fashion guide or even have a private stylist guide you?   For the foodies . . . many, many food tours, baking , pizza or chocolate making classes.  Of course, New York City boasts some of the best nightlife and restaurants the country has to offer. 


Italy

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Italy is such a vast, and varying AMAZING country. From the flooded streets of Venice, through the Renaissance town of Florence & Tuscany countryside, to the romantic elegance of Rome, there is something for everyone to enjoy! In Venice everyone can enjoy an authentic gondola serenade. For those of age, wonder around the amazing vineyards in beautiful Tuscany  and you will find tastings of these  amazing Italian wines are plentiful. Or for the whole family, consider going to the market with a local chef and purchase the ingredients to prepare your delicious meal with a local chef.  Italy is a great family travel destination with ancient ruins, parks, spooky places and even children museums.  How exciting, they can be a Roman gladiator for the day or create carnival masks in Venice.  Italy is a hands-on history lesson with many opportunities to bond while learning.

 

Ireland
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Ireland, it hold all things old and new and AMAZING VIEWS. Ireland is one of the safest places to travel, so if worry free vacation is what you're after, look no further. Ireland is becoming one of showbusiness favorite new locales with filming from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and the Game of Thrones series which could be fun tours for everyone to see where these were filmed. You can attend a medieval meal with authentic food and drinks in a REAL LIFE CASTLE! While there make sure you take a quick kiss of the "Stone of Elloquence" so you will be well spoken from then on. Also wonder around all of the rich history Ireland abounds. Book of Kells, Trinity College, Cliffs of Moher, and much much more for the entire family to enjoy


When it comes to luxury family travel, no matter where you go, every one of your needs will be anticipated and taken care of, for every member of your family. You'll finish your vacation feeling relaxed and ready to tackle whatever challenges await you. If you'd like more information about our fabulous luxury vacations for yourself, or for your entire family, contact us for a quote today.

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Topics: Italy, #passportpassion #viptravelexperience, #group travel, ireland, travel, new york, #familytravel, luxurytravel

Historic Hawaii

Posted by Justin Murphy

October 12, 2017 at 1:52 PM

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Hawaii is a bucket list trip for many!!  If you’ll be traveling to the spectacular Hawaiian Islands, you probably already know that attending a luau is a must.   Not only will you have the chance to try a variety of fabulous traditional dishes, but you’ll enjoy it all while taking in a show filled with Hawaiian music and dance – usually topped off by a couple of complimentary Mai Tais. To appreciate the experience even more, you may want to know a little about the history of this ancient tradition. 

There are tons of Luaus advertised, it helps to have someone that has the inside scoop!!  Ask us about an authentic, unique experience.

Ancient Luau Practices

The Hawaiian luau dates back to ancient times, but the first recorded Hawaiian luau was held in 1819 by King Kamehameha II and his stepmother, Queen Ka’ahumanu. This event was said to have been the catalyst for the luau that is known in Hawaii today. In ancient Hawaii, men and women ate their meals separately due to their powerful religious beliefs that only royalty could eat certain delicacies. There was a fear that women could steal the men’s spirit, known as mana, while they were in the relaxed state induced by the generous feast. Women ate at what was known as the hale aina, or women’s house, while men ateScreen Shot 2017-10-12 at 1.48.47 PM.png at the hale mua, or men’s house. The beginning of the modern luau In 1819, the King enjoyed the feast with women as a symbolic act to end these religious taboos, and the modern luau was born. It is not known why he made this decision, but some feel it may have been due to his recently acquired Christian beliefs. Prior to this date, a Luau, as it is held today would have been punishable by death under the ancient Hawaiian law that was governed by the kapu system. The feast The traditional feast was eaten on the floor where Lauhala mats were rolled out with a magnificent centerpiece made from Ti leaves, native flowers and ferns that was about 3-feet wide laid across the mat. Some of the foods included the traditional pig roasted in an underground oven, or imu, bowls filled with poi (pounded taro root ground to a consistency almost like pudding), dried fish, salted meats, sweet potatoes and a variety of fresh fruit – all put onto the Ti leaves. Hawaiians ate all of these wonderful foods with their fingers, which is how poi got its name. Poi of various consistencies was known for the number of fingers required to eat it such as three finger, two finger, or the thickest – one finger poi.(Ask me about my favorite luau where you still have option to sit on matts on the ground and you actually see the underground oven, and wait don't miss the gorgeous sunset on the water right next to where you are!!)

The word for this celebration, “luau,” comes from the favorite traditional dish at these feasts. Taro leaves that are blended with chicken and baked in coconut milk are known as luau – today, this dish is called “luau chicken.” Luaus weren’t held as part of a regular meal but as a large feast with great numbers of people invited. Royal luaus were held on a massive scale. In 1847, King Kamehameha III threw a luau that was said to have included nearly 500 large bowls of poi, thousands of taro plants, more than 2,200 coconuts, over 3,000 salt fish and almost 2,000 fresh fish as well as 271 pigs and a host of local fruits and other fine foods. King Kalakaua was known as the Merry Monarch due to his love of celebration, with over 1,500 people invited to his 50th birthday party luau – fed in three different shifts of 500 guests served in each. There are a large number of different luaus available to visitors today in the Islands and we know the pros and cons of each. I would be very happy to steer all my readers and clients in the right direction, as there is a wide variation in ambience, entertainment value and food quality. But to me, the best luaus are the traditional, private family luaus which are still given to celebrate milestone events, like weddings, graduations and major anniversaries. Be sure to include the luau experience in your next trip to the islands! 

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Topics: hawaii

Home Away From Home For the Holidays

Posted by Justin Murphy

October 5, 2017 at 7:56 AM

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Home for the Holidays? Maybe not this year! Have you ever considered taking it on the road over the holidays? No? Why the heck not??? It's getting close to some of everyone's favorite holidays. Even more importantly some MUCH needed time off for many. So why not travel to an amazing destination and learn how different cultures celebrate the holidays. 

Here are Five great reasons why a holiday AWAY makes perfect sense:

1. Use Fewer Vacation Days

Extending a holiday that most people already have off minimizes the amount of time needed off from work. More bang for your buck! Save those vacation days for later!

2. Step Away from The Hustle Bustle

Holidays can be a source of major stress for families (especially moms) as they juggle preparations, strong personalities of relatives, coordinate meals, shop for gifts and more. A resort getaway helps them put the “pause” on all the planning. Sure, there’s preparation involved, but when the major decision of the day is deciding between the beach or the pool, it doesn’t seem too terribly taxing. Plus...I’m here to help with the planning and preparation...you just pack and go!

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Wake up early to watch the sun rise over the horizon. Visit a volcano. Explore the local music scene. Try new foods. Visiting a new destination can awaken the possibilities and a sense of adventure in the whole family. Sharing a unique, common experience is one of the best ways to strengthen bonds and create memories that you will all cherish forever!

4. Leave the Housework At Home

For the big holiday dinners, many hotels and resorts also craft special menus for the day to celebrate the occasion. Whether it’s a traditional turkey dinner, or infused with local flavors, it’s sure to be deliciously fuss-free.  Ever thought of  sharing Thanksgiving dinner with your family in Hawaii over a huge spread of sushi.  You can be just as thankful for sushi as turkey. And no one has to wash any dishes!

5. Teach an Old, Young Or Young-At-Heart Dog Some New Tricks

Families can take advantage of being in a different environment by soaking up some new knowledge or acquiring a skill. Learn how to surf. Learn some foreign phrases. Explore a local museum. Doing so will help stimulate their brain and body in ways they wouldn’t be able to if they were at home in their comfort zone (AKA in front of the video game screen).  If your kids are a little bit older, you can agree to limit actual gifts this year to just a couple special surprises and put your gift budget towards a fantastic family vacation...Most kids these days have more than enough “stuff” but not enough interaction with their family. So think about it....but don't think about it for too long because popular destinations are already filling up with other families just like you! Let us help sort through the options and plan your perfect Holiday Escape this year!

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Topics: holidays, holidaytravel

Voluntourism

Posted by Justin Murphy

September 28, 2017 at 6:00 AM

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Prior to visiting Jamaica a few years ago, we discovered that we could bring school supplies to help a local school that the resort was sponsoring. What a nice idea!  We were glad to contribute and our group collected quite a nice stash of supplies for the local kids.  This summer we visited a luxury resort in Exuma, Bahamas on vacation and donated supplies and financial support to their school efforts.  When we travel, we can indeed help others. Depending on the destination and the need, there are many ways to do this. Today, I will cover three.

1. SUPPORT A LOCAL ORGANIZATION THROUGH YOUR RESORT
Last year we visited Sandals, a luxury resort in Jamaica. This resort is built along a beautiful beach in the midst of a primarily poverty-stricken area. Resort management gives training to and hires locals to give them employment they would not otherwise have, thereby improving their quality of life. They also reach out into the community through The Sandals Foundation with donations to enable and support local schools. They provide a list of school supplies that guests may bring to donate to the school. They also offer opportunities to their guests to visit these schools, volunteer for an afternoon to read to children, or to do whatever needs done. Many resorts have a similar program, I mention Sandals because I am familiar with it. Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 3.36.13 PM.png

 2. BUY HANDMADE CRAFTS FROM LOCALS
You contribute to the well-being of locals when you purchase the handmade items from them. For example, in Mexico, I had the choice to purchase small woven bracelets made by local women or visit a typical tourist-y gift shop. By purchasing the bracelets, I could give some happiness to several women in the area and contribute to their income. Support the local artists, wood carvers, weavers etc. with at least some small purchase. A purchase is a business transaction and gives people some pride in their work, as well as a few dollars in their pocket.

 3. PARTICIPATE IN VOLUNTEER TRAVEL
What is volunteer travel? Most of us have heard the term. Basically, it’s travel where you give something back to the local community you are visiting. You learn about another culture, another country. You give of your time, skills and knowledge, which benefits others and helps your heart grow a few sizes – remember the Grinch?? There is even a new cruise line called Fathom that incorporates hands-on volunteer opportunities into its weekly schedule in the Dominican Republic.

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Options include teaching English, pouring cement floors into local homes, assisting locals in a chocolate factory and re-forestation by planting trees…what a great way to enjoy a new place and make a difference at the same time!

There are many reasons to volunteer while you’re traveling and there are literally thousands of charities and organizations that look for help from passing travelers. For example, the Maui Humane Society has the "Helping Paws" program where visitors can come spend time with the animals. Some, who are staying on Maui for a longer time, can actually "temporarily adopt" a dog or cat for their whole stay. Most end up taking them home with them at the end... Where can you find out more? Do a search on “volunteer travel”, and many opportunities will appear. Churches also offer mission trips and encourage members to participate as a group, usually in some specific area such as building a school.


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We may not have a lot of time to give, but maybe if we each look for some small opportunity, we can all make a difference. The next time you take a vacation, consider asking what you can do to help. We are happy to assist you in learning about these opportunities as you plan your vacations. Have you ever participated in a program that you would like to share? Let us know and we will put it "out there" for all to see!

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Topics: Voluntourism

Alaska: Adventure Into The Last Frontier

Posted by Justin Murphy

September 21, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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Alaska is a destination rising to the top of everyone’s bucket list. Its immense, ethereal beauty is simply magical. It entices the eyes, yet calms the heart. Alaska is a destination for one or for all. It offers adventure, tranquility, and culture that are comparable to few. Alaska can best be described if you break it into 5 regions. The Far North, Interior, Southwest, Southcentral, and Inside Passage.

The Far North is the white wonderland of Alaska. Think game of thrones “beyond the wall”. It is extremely cold here in the winter and there are zero

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hours of sun light in December. As you visit Alaska’s far north you’ll cross the Arctic Circle. Some say that many pilots give the plane a slight jiggle letting their passengers know they’ve crossed into the arctic circle so don’t be weary if you think there’s a tad bit of turbulence. This region is home to the Inupiat Eskimos, many who still carry on a subsistence way of life and still preserve their history verbally from generation to generation, which is the prime reason the far north is mostly cultural/historic attractions. Some cities in the far north are Nome, Barrow, and Coldfoot.

Next, the Interior is Alaska’s heartland; Where you’ll see the continent’s tallest peak, Denali, and endless expanses of icy tundra. The national forests are teeming with wildlife and bird life ranging from the grumpy old grizzly bears fishing salmon from the rivers, to 

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stately herds of caribou to the state bird, the Willow Ptarmigan. It is a very unique place where you can experience the sun at midnight in the summer or the magical northern lights during the winter. Wildlife can be seen anywhere you look from the highway that runs by Denali National Park by visitors traveling to and from Anchorage and Fairbanks.The Interior is the original birthplace of Alaska’s Athabascan Native Americans. The interior is a steadily growing tourist destination, which offers anything you could possibly imagine to the wide-open expanse of the hill country, to the urban settings of the ever-growing cityscape. Some cities in the interior are Fairbanks, Fort Yukon, and Denali National Park.

Alaska’s Southwest is for those with a naturalist travel personality, there are few places on earth that compare with the wonders of Southwest Alaska. 

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Brown bears rumble along the stunning hills and plains, and over 240 bird species call Alaska’s Southwest region home. The region’s diverse terrain ranges from a landscape of volcanoes in Katmai National Park created by the eruption of the Novarupta volcano in 1912, to the windswept Aleutian Islands that created a 1,000-mile sweep toward Asia. This regional is famous for the wildlife viewing (especially bears). Some cities include Kodiak, King Salmon, and Dillingham.

Southcentral Alaska is home to over half of Alaska’s population. It provides a plethora of 

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activities including world-class fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Along with mountains and 

lakes, southcentral offers the advantages of remote wilderness, but the convenience with itbeing linked via roads. World-class rainbow trout and salmon are abundant, beckoning anglers to toss out a line. Southcentral includes all the luxury travelers seek, while serving as a gateway to the wilderness experience as well. Some cities in southcentral are Anchorage, Seward, and Cordova.

Lastly, but certainly not least is Alaska’s Inside Passage. It was sculpted by the astounding force of massive glaciers crashing together millions of years ago, Alaska’s Inside Passage 

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possesses wildlife-filled fjords and lavish island scenery — viewing bald eagles, sea lions, porpoises and whales. Its mountains are flowered with encompassing forests. The Inside Passage Alaska is home to native Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Indians whose history is reflected in the towering totem poles surrounding the areas. It is perfect place to adventure and Eco tour. It is also the most popular destination for Alaska cruising. Some cities include Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan. 

Wrapping up, you see Alaska has a place for everyone, and everyone should add a place on your bucket list for Alaska. Those whose interest were piqued today can call or email today for inquiries into your Alaskan adventure into the Last Frontier.

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Topics: travelinsurance, why use a travel agent

STEP Up and Travel Smart

Posted by Tammy Murphy

September 14, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Step Up, And Travel Smart So You Aren't Left In the Dark!

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Are you a U.S. citizen or national? (U.S. citizen or native of American Samoa or Swain’s Island (AS) included) 

Are you traveling/residing abroad?

  • If you answered yes to either of the above questions then, my friend, I’m going to let you in on a little secret I recently discovered that could make the biggest difference should anything unexpected happen. It’s called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

"What is STEP," you ask? Well, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals (U.S. citizen or native of American Samoa or Swain’s Island) traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.       

Meaning…

  • You will receive up to date, important, relevant information from the Embassy nearest your destination about safety conditions in the country you’re traveling to, assisting you in making informed decisions about your travel plans.
  • Registering yourself in their online database will help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, natural disaster, civil unrest, and/or family emergencies.
  • This service also helps family and friends get in touch with you should an emergency arise from home.
  • Though many events and disasters will be aware to you by various news outlets this service is specific to your destination, and will give you plans and protocols for those types of situation to best help you to safety.

How do you sign up?

To avoid being overcrowded with information I recommend enrolling 2-3 weeks prior to your departure. It is so easy and it takes no longer than a few minutes! All you need is your passport and a copy of your travel plans.

To enroll a trip:

Stay Informed, Stay Connected, Stay Safe! 

Now, if you aren’t traveling right now don’t let stop you from staying informed in monitoring safety conditions for specific destinations abroad, sign up for email alerts to receive the latest Travel Alerts and Warnings when they are posted on travel.state.gov.

To subscribe:

  • Visit: https://step.state.gov/STEP/Pages/Common/Subscribe.aspx
  • Provide your first name, last name, and email address.
  • Then select one or more countries from the list (use Ctrl + click to select multiple) and use the “>>” arrows to move your selection to the right-hand box.
  • When you are finished, click Submit.
  • (You will receive an email requesting you to confirm your subscription; follow the instructions from the email to complete your request.)
    • You can also use this same page to unsubscribe from these lists later if the information becomes overbearing or you become disinterested in the destination.
    • Just select “I want to: Unsubscribe,” provide the email address, use the “>>” to move the appropriate country name(s) to the right-hand box.
    • Click Submit.

For additional information on destination that interest you visit the Travel Alerts & Warning page. Link above.

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Topics: travelinsurance, why use a travel agent

Six Stunning Travel Destinations for Couples

Posted by Tammy Murphy

August 31, 2017 at 7:01 AM

What’s better than a romantic getaway with your partner? Couples every year plan special trips to relax, bask in the sun and enjoy each other’s company. Whether it be to celebrate a honeymoon, an anniversary, a birthday, Valentine’s Day, or just for fun, there are plenty of perfect places to travel to. You can certainly make a couples iStock_000022040490_Smalltrip out of almost every destination around the world, but there are a select few destinations that are made for just that. Here’s a peak at VIP’s list of the top six stunning destinations for couples.

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Topics: travel destinations, Italy, Provence, St Barts, Romance Travel, Belize, Islands in the Sun

Hiring a Professional Chauffeur: "Let Us Handle It"

Posted by Justin Murphy

August 7, 2017 at 5:45 PM

 

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Whether you’re catching a flight for a business trip or splurging for that dream vacation of a lifetime. Trying to keep a schedule while taking in every little experience you can get your hands on from event to event, hiring the elite, skilled, professional help of a chauffeur service is the always the way to go. Chauffeuring is an extremely handy, affordable, view finding means of transportation that provides exorbitant benefits, and no one knows those benefits better than our on the ground, experience based, knowledgeable company’s drivers. Having served satisfied customers of the all over Europe.

 

“ I cannot express to you enough, how much this trip meant to all of us!!"

-Tom


"We saw wonderful places and the views were so much better and I know we would not have been able to see as much as we did, if we had tried to drive ourselves or small group!!"

-Sara


"Our favorite part of the whole trip were the drivers! They were all awesome!! Especially in Ireland our driver searched for 3 days to get the perfect authentic shillelagh”

-Linda


"Thank you for suggesting the private driver in St. Thomas/St. John." We saw so much more than we imagined AND hearing the stories and suggestions of local, good eats--great value!"

-Lynn  

Having a driver serves multiple benefits from punctuality to the ability to seamlessly handle rough weather with a drivers’ years of experience, hiring a professional chauffeur service for your next trip could change the way you feel about transportation to the airport, make a country side tour much more insightful, an exploration into hidden gems only the locals know about, and with that one on one experience that lets you decide what you want to do and where you want to go offering wide range of other locations off the beaten path waiting to be explored.

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Highest Trained Professional, Personable Drivers:

  • All of our suppliers’ professional chauffeurs are held to the best of safety standards that make other transportation services pale in comparison. Any destination, anytime, you can be stress free that no matter what comes your way your driver has been trained and is ready for it.

Our Drivers are On Time, Every Time:

  • These highly trained professionals are always on time. Our suppliers can solemnly swear that they do everything in their power to ensure they are present and awaiting your arrival and you waiting in line somewhere trying to rent a car, or standing on side of the road in the rain waiting to catch a cab (believe me, it happens).

Luggage Support:

  • Our entire registry of suppliers offer the most personable of drivers that take care of every one of your travel needs. While their drivers can’t go in and meet our clients at the baggage claim, our friendly greeters are more than happy to assist in gathering, carrying, and transporting any luggage you may no matter how big or small.

 

We Offer Suppliers All Over the World:

  • Be proffessionally Chauffeured is perfect for almost any occasion. It just adds that little extra touch of luxury to any type of destination for any motive including business meetings, bachelorette or bachelor parties, themed trips, medical appointments, or just a fun night out.

 

Bad Weather, No Worries:

  • The extremely trained professional drivers of a chauffeur service are qualified in handling any type of inclement weather, reassuring any worries of staying on schedule. We make sure you’ll make it to your destination safely and on time.

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As I hope you can see by now, hiring a professional, vetted chauffeur has many diverse benefits that insuring the decision of hiring the service a no-brainer. These are just the few reasons we want to help your next experience in a new land something that you’ll always remember and to adventure somewhere you’ll never forget. So call VIP Travel Experience the next time you need a reliable ride.

 
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Topics: #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, #passportpassion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, Italy Vacation, Italy Travel, Italy Travel Tips, Anniversary Travel, Honeymoon

Venice, Italy - The Trip of a Lifetime

Posted by Tammy Murphy

August 1, 2017 at 7:30 AM

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Venezia, a city unlike any other! Not just in Italy, but NO OTHER.  Show me a bucket list of travel destinations and I will be SHOCKED if Venice is not on it.
 

City on Water

I will NEVER forget the MAGICAL moment stepping into the water taxi andIMG_0413-2.jpg watching the city come to life.  Typically you will arrive in the morning and as your water taxi motors you to your hotel, you watch in amazement . . .  supplies arriving from the mainland and just the idea that there are NO CARS.  It is fabulous . . . the Grand Canal, the quiet hidden canals, narrow bridges!! Travel CAN change your life and it sure did that for me!

DON'T

Relax, breathe, slow breathing now, you're in the greatest travel destination I can think of!!  It's Italy and its slow and easy here.  Don't expect FAST service, enjoy the slow eats and slow living.  It's part of the Venice charm!!   Don't attempt to see all the sights I include on your itinerary . . . This is just plan B, C, & D depending on area you are in.  Don't miss the Bellini or Proseco!

No stress way to enjoy your Venice vacation

  • Book early so that we can get you a quaint hotel in a great location with back access (you really don't want to pull your luggage on cobblestone streets).  
  • When is the best time to go to vacation in Venice?  ANYTIME!!   I like  April/May, it's always busy, but LESS busy and the weather is great. 
  • Take a locally guided tour of the HOT SPOTS and see them properly.  Sometimes if you don't know the story behind things, you can't fully appreciate the beauty and significance of it. How many times have you looked at something iconic and wonder "what's so great about that?"
  • Hire assistants to transfer you at the airport, to the train station (and sometimes to your gondola  ha ha-you can and WE DID get lost-we could see it but with the alleys that just end, we just couldn't get there). I do believe in no-stress traveling.
  • Hire drivers that will be waiting for you at the end of the train tracks.
  • Take a walking guided tour with reputable, Italian based company.  Don't you want to hear unique stories of locals that were born and raised in Venice.  Oh the stories, they are amazing!  Skip the ques and get access to the sights, guides have pre-ordered priority access (included in tour) and you will make your way straight up to the mezzanine.  Get a close up view of the17110033096_e18d30173f_z.jpg gold mosaic St. Mark's Basilica with marble inlays (this time I happened upon the Basilica right in time for mass-it was so beautiful).  Soak up all of the history, guides will take you a step back in time to the city's glorious past!!  As you walk along the corridors of Doge's Palace, your guide will share fascinating history of the Republic of Venice. Truly, don't skip the guide for St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace.  Oh and Cross the Bridge of Sighs and imagine for a moment the sadness of the prisoners taking their last look at beautiful Venice.  Ask about the most famous prisoner.
  • Pick a couple of must-see spots, enjoy them, take it ALL IN!!  
  • IMG_0279-2.jpgPrivate, serenade Gondola Ride (most people think they all include serenade, not so).  Definitely a highlight for me, the sweetest and most passionate serenade you can imagine--feels like you are the only people in Italy.
  • Because everything in Italy revolves around food, take a Cicchetti Crawl.  Enjoy appetizers while sipping wine in a typical bacari and wander from the Cannaregio District to Strada Nuova and to the Rialo area.  With private tours, the owners will have your tapas and wines ready and waiting as you arrive.

Throw away the map

  • Then throw the map away and wander, wander the Jewish Ghetto, hidden alleys, campo, piazza, cross the bridges.  Enjoy the fact, that you are walking in a maze.  Allow yourself to be surprised by venice in every turn. Enjoy getting lost in Venice.
  • Use all of your senses, not only see all of the beauty, but take time to hear the beautiful Italian conversations, the chiming church bells, the serenades. Smell the wonderful fragrant, fresh fruit stands, or the earthy scent of truffles or pastries, spices as you pass the restaurants and salt water in the canals.IMG_0410.jpg

When you feel like it's a dream come true, it just keeps getting better!

The most important thing is to enjoy your Italy vacation.  Be  a traveler, not a tourist.  Sharpen your photography skills so you can capture "a snapshot in time" to remember the experience and preserve the memories forever  as you explore Venice, the city on water. Looking at my photos BRINGS ME BACK and its always such a beautiful memory! Justin Murphy shares some cool photo tips in this previous blog article.

I truly hope you get to go to Venice, call me, I would LOVE to help you plan the perfect Trip of a Lifetime!  Please tag us when you show off your Venice Travel Adventure  @VIPTravelExperience! (P.S.  don't get too caught up in the photos that you MISS the moment)

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Topics: #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, travel concierge, travel consultant, #passportpassion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel, Italy Vacation, Italy Travel, Italy Photographer, Italy Travel Tips, Anniversary Travel, Honeymoon

Professionally Pack Your Suitcase Make Sure You Never Leave Something at Home Again!

Posted by Justin Murphy

July 27, 2017 at 8:30 AM

 

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So I think what most of us, travellers, stress and dread the most about our vacation is the packing, or at least for me it is. Trying to figure out how many bags to brings, how many outfits, pairs of shoes, jackets, etc. Well I'll give you one tip to right off the back: GET ORGANIZED BEFORE YOU PACK! This usually includes making a check list of everything you will need.

Here is a link for an example of a packing checklist: Packing List

  1. packing flowchart.jpgNarrow it Down. Gather all of your clothes that you need to bring, want to bring, and think you mightneed. Now cut your choices in half, and then separate what you'll definitely need from things you want to bring. Now put together different outfits and lay them out on your bed, spare bedroom, or couch, etc. Now time for the tough part, you need to make choices. Choose which outfit goes with each day. A plan saves you time later so you dont have to decide each day what you want to wear. Contrary to what you might think you don't need 3 outfits for 1 day. Now that you've narrowed down all your outfits take what you didn't choose as an outfit and put that back in your closet. (Travel Tip: Pack clothing that be used for multiple things, ex. yoga pants can double as pajama pants or a sarong can double as a  swimsuit coverup, or scarf)
  2. Drape longer pieces like pants. Fold pants in half (leg over leg) and lay flat at bottom of suitcase and line up waist lines with center of suitcase (ex. 2-3 per side) with the pant leg draped over the sides hanging out of the suitcase. (After you have put all of your rolled clothing on top of the pants inside the suitcase wrap the legs over the top of the rolled clothes to keep it tightly packed all together.)
  3. Roll don't Fold. Tighly rolling your softer, wrinkle-resistant garments, like T-shirts and cotton pants, and place them along the base of the bag. Jeans should be rolled, too. Also if your suitcase has separate pocket/storage for undergarments those should be rolled as well.
  4. Fill In With Smaller Items. Look for nooks and crannies to fill with smaller items, like bras and socks. (Travel Tip: Stuff the cups of your bras with rolled-up socks to maintain bra shape and snake belts around the perimeter of the bag.) Then cover the whole pile with a dry-cleaning bag that can double as a dirty clothes hamper while you're on vacation plus thanks to the bag’s slippery surface, clothes won’t stay in one place long enough for creases to set.
  5. Choose Shoes Wisely: As a general rule pick three pairs of shoes, like a casual sandal or loafer, sneakers, and an evening shoe –go for styles that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Wear the heaviest pair en route and pack the others along the sides of your suitcase in resealable bags. (Travel Tip: If shoes are dirty you can put in gallon ziplock bags or strech a shower cap around the bottoms to keep them together and protect them from dirtying your clothes.
  6. Pack Your JewelryAre you tired of spending tons of time untangling bracelets, necklaces, and earrings from one another after you unpack? Stow inexpensive jewelry in a seven-day plastic pillbox or a 35-millimeter film canister. Wear any fine jewelry en route to ensure it won’t get lost or stolen.
  7. Last But Certainly Not Least, Cross Pack! If traveling with another person try to cross pack between each other's suitcase putting at least 2 outfits in the other's suitcase. Also if checking bags make sure to have at least a clean pair of underwear, 1 outfit, and a swimsuit in your carry on just incase your luggage doesnt make it the same time you do to your destination.
Bonus!
Airplane Tote Packing Tips! 
  1. Laptop. A laptop computer is always a good idea to bring especially if traveling for business, just be sure you'll have a safe place to store it in your room when you get to your destination. Access to the internet in this day and age is crucial. 
  2. Small Pouch for Toiletries/Essentials: small pill case with allergy medicine, travel Advil, Chapstick, travel lotion, travel tissues, floss, etc. Just remember if bringing any liquids on board they must be less than 3 fl. oz. I carry this pouch with these contents daily. While traveling I make sure to have lotion and chapstick with me because my hands and lips get dry on long haul flights. I also MUST have headache medicine. I once had a migraine in flight and no one around me had medicine. It was absolutely AWFUL.
  3. Reading Material. All that time strapped in your seat on a flight I often like to take the opportunity to journal, read my bible, book, or magazine (Travel Tip: This time is also great to look over your printed out itinerary from VIP.) Otherwise, I'm working on my computer on the flight. If driving I don't carry these things in my tote and opt to pack them in my suitcase instead.
  4. Small wallet. My daily wallet is much bigger, but when you travel you should always try to bring less. A little pouch is all I need to hold cash and essential credit cards.
  5. Headphones & iPhone Charger. These are two essentials to all of my travels, and they MUST be in my carry-on. I've been stuck on long layovers one too many times with low battery and no charger to have learned my lesson. Also, in case I had to check luggage and it gets lost, I don't want to be without a charged phone. (Travel Tip: An old glasses case that is not being used is great for storage for earphones and chargers it also makes them easier to find and not get all tangled.)
  6. Sunglasses with a little pouch or case. Sunglasses are a must for me on any vacation, but I strongly reccomend them for all my caribbean travelers. Also bring something to clean them with.
  7. Water bottle & Snacks. Make sure it is empty until through customs and security. A water bottle is an absolute must, and it also helps to have something insulated to keep cool longer. A good example is a stainless steel and insulated, keeping water cold (if you put ice in it) for up to 24 hours and hot up to 6 hours, and snacks because traveling hangry is bad for everyone involved.
  8. Light Layers. A Light cardigan. I get cold on flights, so I always bring an extra layer. (Travel Tip: I've noticed window seats are colder than aisles.) I try not to bring a super thick layer because I don't like carrying heavy or bulky stuff through the airport. The extra layer needs to fit nicely in the tote, along with everything else, without taking up the entire tote. 
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Topics: #girlstrip, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, different travel styles, travel concierge, travel consultant, #passportpassion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel, Italy Vacation, Italy Travel, Italy Photographer, Italy Travel Tips, Anniversary Travel, Honeymoon

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