Feeling Overworked & Under Traveled?

Posted by Justin Murphy

December 14, 2017 at 6:30 AM


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What? You’re thinking of skipping your vacation again this year? Americans are among the hardest working people in the world...and receive the fewest vacation days from our employers. So why is it that every year Americans throw away an estimated 415 million vacation days by skipping their vacation! If you are in a leadership role at your place of work, not taking time off from work can prove to be more harmful than beneficial for you or your organization. Here are four reasons why you should be going on vacation this summer.

1. Revive your productivity and with it, your team’s

We all know that small breaks throughout the day help us over the short term, but it’s vital that we take longer breaks from work to sustain and even build our creativity and productivity. Being away from your work environment for a longer period of time will help you gain a fresh perspective about your work, as well as providing you with the opportunity to pursue your other interests. By skipping your vacation, you can have a negative effect on the organization’s morale. It creates frustration and resentment and makes the rest of the team think that if the boss isn’t taking a vacation then maybe they had better not take one either.

2. Vacation time is part of your compensation; it’s not a job “perk”

Remember when you applied for the job? Weren’t your allotted a certain number of vacation days per year part of the compensation package? Vacation time is part of your remuneration for doing the job; it’s not a “perk”. It’s a return on the investment of our time and expertise in helping our organization to reach their objectives. Would you not accept a monetary bonus at the end of the year? Of course, you would! That’s how we need to think of vacations.

 

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3. Serve as a role model for others in your team

Whether you are in a leadership role or an employee, you need to take a vacation! Employees will look to their leaders for guidance on what is allowed and what is frowned upon. What you model at work will determine what your employees do. Despite the workloads that may be building on your desks, it still very important to take time off work in order to maintain your effectiveness in your role.

4. So whether you’re in Bora Bora, Paris or Hawaii, show your team they can manage without you!

While we all like to think that we’re indispensable, the reality is we need to encourage the company’s growth and overall morale. Taking time off from work will encourage team members to develop strategies and abilities that will help them learn how to effectively hold down the fort while you’re away. We need our leaders and employees to bring their best efforts to reaching the organization’s goals. And the best way we can encourage this is to make sure everyone takes their vacations so that they might bring a fresh perspective and new ideas on how to attain their shared goals.

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Hopefully, this will encourage you to understand why skipping your next vacation is so not worth it!

Let us help you bring fresh perspective and new ideas to your workplace by planning your next vacation today! Your employer AND your family will be glad that you did!

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

Perks of Packing Like A Pro!

Posted by Justin Murphy

December 7, 2017 at 6:30 AM

 

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The Benefits of Packing Light – especially on an itinerary where you will be moving and changing locations a good bit – cannot be underestimated. In fact, it can be the difference between an enjoyable vacation and a miserable one! You will never meet anyone who says “I wish I had packed heavier” when they return from a journey. Rick Steves, the Public TV European travel guru, only allows the members of his escorted tours to bring 1 carry-on size piece of luggage per person...even when the tour is 3 weeks long! Can’t be done? Yes it can...and it should! I’ve done it myself, and schlepped all over Europe with my kids with one carry-on each for a month!
Admittedly, I was ready to make a big bonfire and burn the clothing in that carry-on when we returned home from our journey, but the advantages outweighed the disadvantages by a huge margin!
Every morning we would dress quickly in whatever outfit was clean and appropriate for the day. I started thinking of my wardrobe as my “travel uniform”. We were there to learn and expand our horizons...not worry about what we were going to wear. Doing a little laundry along the way won’t kill anyone – in fact, it can be a real adventure!
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1. We could move quickly from place to place....No worries about big suitcases and where we would fit our luggage on the train or bus or taxi. A lot of European hotels have no elevator, so lugging heavy bags up and down stairs can be a real bummer.
2. Having too much luggage “marks” you as a typical tourist. Con artists figure you’re helpless and you become a serious pickpocket or scam target.
3. We saved enough money in checked luggage fees to treat ourselves to some special “extras”. We also saved time by not having to wait around at baggage claim. We were off and starting our adventure while everyone else was standing around waiting for the bags to arrive.
4. Here are my suggestions for cutting back on the amount of “stuff” you think you need on your next trip:  Spread out everything you think you might need on the living room floor. Pick up each item one at a time and ask yourself “Will I really use this enough to justify carrying it over the Swiss Alps?” (or wherever you are heading) When in doubt, leave it out!
 Don’t pack for the worst-case scenario...Pack for the best-case and buy yourself out of any jams along the way. Risk shivering for a day rather than taking a heavy jacket. Buy a cheap umbrella from one of the many street vendors who "miraculously" appear when the drops start to fall. If you think it “might come in handy”, it should stay home.
 Pack exactly the same whether you’re traveling for three weeks or three months. Rather than take a whole trip’s supply of toiletries, take enough to get started and replace them along the way. Believe it or not, Europeans use toothpaste, lotion, hair gel, soap and (sometimes) deodorant! It’s fun to go into a general store and stock up on local brands on the fly!
 Invest in a good quality piece of luggage that fits your needs. Rick Steves offers a few options in his travel store at www.ricksteves.com/travelstore that are reasonably priced and come with or without wheels. If you are healthy enough to carry your bag, do it...suitcases on wheels don’t get along with cobblestone streets very well....
So weed out the unnecessary, pack your bag and go walk around the block a few times to get a good idea of what you will be dealing with. You will thank me later! Remember, in your travels, you’ll meet two kinds of tourists – those who pack light and those who wish they had
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If you're interested in a perfect, no worry vacation, email us justin@viptravelexperience.com tammy@viptravelexperience.com
I would love to make your dream come true.

Are you looking for the perfect travel destination?  We would love to help you with travel tips and more.

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Topics: #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, #RiverCruise, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel, experiencesnotthings

Adventures Await Where The Anchor Drops

Posted by Justin Murphy

November 30, 2017 at 6:02 AM

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From fields covered in tulips in April to December's decadent Christmas markets, hundreds of riverboats sail along Europe's abundant, historic rivers and canals, which span thousands of miles. A European river cruise is one of the best and most efficient ways to explore inland Europe, stopping at many ports, towns, cities, and villages that traditional big ships usually can't access.

What makes a river cruise so different from an ocean cruise is emphasis and immersion into the destinations visited. Every day a new port is featured so there are no days at sea. Multiple guided tours are included to go out exploring a new and enlightening city. With this focus, it's nice that river itineraries in Europe feature a diverse mix of intriguing ports.

 Have an “in-Seine” experience in Paris sailing down the Seine River. Roll down the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. Drift down the Danube River to see the best of Budapest, or even take a merry little Christmas cruise. charles-bridge-743669_960_720.jpg

Though most river cruises have the reputation for being adapted to the elder generations U by Uniworld is changing the game offering a cruise line geared toward the younger generations with an age range of 21-45 years. This new line will market and intrigue the next generation of travelers to expand and broaden what experience they can enjoy without the backpacks and hostels. They’ve thought of everything in that you can even rent mobile hot spots for the day so no more outrageous international data plans to worry about. No need for a special converter either because the ship is outfitted with European, American, and USB electrical outlets.

The excursion choices vary depending upon activity level, interests, and destination. Most of the adventures and tours are complimentary, from an evening bike ride along the Danube, a “Midnight in Paris” evening stroll, a canal cruise in Amsterdam, vineyard hikes, castle visits, and so much more. Also if you’ve adventured a little too much or stayed out a little to late and don’t want to explore around the port a certain day there are numerous on board activities offered. Sip wine while you paint on the top deck, take a mixology class and concoct something just for you, relax and center yourself with a yoga class, or have a special culinary experience with the chef’s cooking class. 

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To travel is to fully immerse yourself in another culture. What better way to do that than by trying out authentic port specific foods? River cruising many of your on board meals will be inspired by the local fare of the cities you’ll visit, made from ingredients that were sourced just miles down the road. If you happen to be hungry for something a little closer to home you’ll have classic options, comfort food choices and plenty of vegan, vegetarian and various healthy dining choices as well. Uniworld steps it up a notch with their partnership with VizEat to enhance the authenticity to eat like a local and taste the city and share a meal in the home of a U Host. It’s where authentic home cooking meets immersive travel.

I’m hoping this will open the market to other river cruise lines gearing some of their boats to younger generations as well. These cruise itineraries are great for college graduation gifts, girlfriend getaways, young groups, and even the solo traveler with the social and intimate feel of this smaller boat and crew.

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If this sounds like your perfect, no worry vacation, email us justin@viptravelexperience.com tammy@viptravelexperience.com
I would love to make your dream come true.

Are you looking for the perfect travel destination?  We would love to help you with travel tips and more.

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Topics: #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, #RiverCruise, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel, experiencesnotthings

Savor the Wine & Linger Around Tuscany & Piedmont

Posted by Tammy Murphy

November 24, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Savor the Lands & Wine in Tuscany & Piedmont

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Enjoy the beauty of Italy in autumn.  Imagine how happy you will be --sipping a glass of Brunello at a foliage-filled vineyard in Tuscany!  Relax in your charming Tuscan hamlet with a beautiful view overlooking medieval buildings perched on a hill conveniently located between Florence and Siena, amidst the rolling hills and vineyards of Tuscany.
 
A little excerpt of 6 night small group (15 people) departure:
 
The the later afternoon, you will enjoy a welcome apertivo --including prosecco and Tuscan appetizers.  After relaxing at the accommodation, head to dinner at an esteemed Michelin-rated restaurant in the heart of Tuscany.
 
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Montepulciano & San Gimignano

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel then meet you English speaking driver and sommelier.   Enjoy your day of wine tasting and exploring Tuscany's hilltop towns.  You will be surrounded by enchanting views of the valleys dotted with vineyards, cypress trees and rolling green hills.

Enjoy free time  exploring the charming stone streets to this historic Tuscan town.    Savor a light lunch paired with a private tasting of regional wines at a small batch winery.  Enjoy a guided tour of a historic family-run vineyard with a member of the family followed by a tour of their spectacular estate and cellars.  

Montalcino & Brunello Wine
Your English speaking driver/sommelier will pick you up after a leisure breakfast for a full-day excursion through the stunning Val d'Orcia.
 
Val d'Orcia  boasts some of Tuscany's most picturesque towns - medieval stone hamlets that have remained untouched by modern development.  Begin in scenic Montalcino, a beautiful fortified town known for its production of Brunello wine.  Stop at your first winery known for its astounding exploration (and tasting!) of the world famous wines.  Enjoy leisure lunch at an authentic ristorante nearby.

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Piedmont 

After breakfast, meet your private driver and transfer to Italian region of Piedmont.  Along the way, stop at one of the most influential wine-producing family wineries.    Enjoy a private visit through historic vineyards surrounding the estate and go behind-the-scenes accessing the cellars typically closed to the public.  Tour concludes with a wine tasting and light lunch featuring regional food products. Continue on to your hotel and pause for free time in a seaside town along the spectacular Italian Riviera in Liguria.  From your deluxe accommodations, enjoy sweeping views of the vineyard-draped valleys and snow-capped Alps in the distance.  Settle into your rooms and enjoy a welcome apertivo - including local cheeses, salumi and prosciutto.

Le Langhe

 

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After breakfast. Meet your private driver and wind through the enchanting hills and valleys of the Langhe wine country.

Your first stop will be at a winery recognized as producing some of the finest wines in Piedmont.

Your day continues on to the scenic city of Alba, located high on a green hill, overlooking the vineyards below, Alba is famed for its prized white truffles and fine foods.  Stroll the stone streets to enjoy a lunch at world renowned Michelin-starred-restaurant.  Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour the restaurant's kitchen after the meal.  After lunch, enjoy free time in Alba before heading back to the hotel to relax before the evening hands-on cooking class.  Meet local Italians -- learning about their culinary traditions and passion for slow food.  Learn how to make fresh pasta from scratch as well as some other Piedmontese delicacies.  Enjoy your creations for dinner --paired, naturally with local wines... transfer back to accommodation.

Barolo and Barbaresco

After breakfast at the hotel, meet your driver to explore the wine areas of Barolo and Barbaresco.  Start your day in Barolo located in a hollow of hills covered in vineyards and dominated by a majestic castle dating back to the 10th century.

pienza cheese store-1.jpgIn Barolo, you will tour the historic cellars and a tasting of their wines.  Following your personal tasting and visit, you will enjoy an authentic Piedmontese lunch at La Cantinetta in Barolo.

After some free time in Barolo, continue with another wine tasting in the late afternoon at a winery that has been owned by the same family since 1896 specializing in full-bodied red wines with dark plum and cherry undertones (oh, my fav).   Enjoy your tasting and exclusive visit then continue on to your accommodation.  You will have time to relax and freshen up before the closing dinner at a gourmet restaurant to celebrate a wonderful week in Tuscany.


If this sounds like your perfect, no worry vacation, email me tammy@viptravelexperience.com
I would love to make your dream come true.

Are you looking for the perfect travel destination?  We would love to help you with travel tips and more.

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Topics: #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel

Grab Your Girlfriends and Get Away!

Posted by Tammy Murphy

November 16, 2017 at 6:45 AM

Girlfriend Getaways

One of the fastest growing travel specialties is the "Girlfriend Getaway" and it is easy
to understand why. After all the stresses of everyday life, there is nothing quite as
enjoyable and relaxing as getting away from "reality" with those true friends who
allow (and even encourage) you to totally be yourself without fear of judgement. Of
course, the same goes for men, although they may not admit it as freely. A few days
away with the "buddies" on the golf course can be more valuable than hours of
therapy! Here are a few suggestions for creative escapes:
 
A little Retail Therapy?
Most women love to shop, so why not combine a
weekend in the "big city" with great shopping, dining and entertainment
options? New York City and Chicago come to mind first, but there are many
amazing options out there that are centrally located and served by convenient
airports.
 
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Why not check in to a Spa or Yoga retreat for a wellness weekend?
A little
pampering never hurt anyone,
and you might even come home with some
new healthy habits, and feel a couple of pounds lighter...both good things!
 
"What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas"...you know the old tagline! In addition
to gambling, Las Vegas offers amazing dining, shopping and live
entertainment...and most resorts have ridiculously gorgeous pools and spas!
This destination works well for both genders...great for male-bonding
getaways too!
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A few days spent wine tasting, or possibly signing up for a culinary boot-camp
can be fantastic options for girlfriend getaways! Because wine and good food
are ALWAYS a good idea!
 
A sports-related trip works well for both girls and guys too!
What about a
fitness retreat for those who love to exercise? Or a golf weekend at an amazing
resort with tee times daily? Or a scuba diving trip in the Caribbean? All it takes
is a shared interest and some planning!
 
All-Inclusive Resorts and Cruises are natural fits for this type of travel, where
your biggest decision for the day might be whether to order champagne or a
martini...or whether to sit by the pool or on the beach. Who wouldn't welcome
some mental "down time"
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So, think about YOUR ideal getaway....who do you need to spend some time with?
Most of us have those folks in our lives who we are long-overdue for a meaningful
visit.
 
Why not let VIP Travel Experience help you plan that all-important trip
soon...One of my favorite quotes is from Buddha:
 
"The Trouble is...you think you have time"
 
 
Are you looking for the perfect travel destination?  We would love to help you with travel tips and more.

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Topics: #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel

Tantalizing Tuscany

Posted by Tammy Murphy

November 9, 2017 at 6:30 AM

TANTALIZING TUSCANY
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When you hear "TUSCANY", beautiful scenes of Under the Tuscan Sun are likely dancing in your head ... Chianti countryside of rolling vineyards, amazing sunsets setting over Florence and the Ponte Vecchio, a hot air balloon floating over the hilltops of rolling olive farms.  Tuscany is not exactly a secret among travelers as millions flock to Tuscany each year.
 
The rolling hills of Tuscany are home to sprawling vineyards, charming medieval hill towns and enchanting villages overflowing with history, culture and legend.
 
Tuscany pretty much sells itself, but like many other Italian hot spots, it can be a blessing and a curse.  Hotels book up many months in advance, popular, authentic tours sell out.  Please don't risk missing the authentic Italy.  Enjoy these beautifully charming towns after the day crowds  leave... this is when the villages come alive.   If Tuscany is on your radar for 2018, now is the perfect time to plan.

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Chianti

Sip Chianti and break bread in family-run wineries' private cellars, or vineyards. Taste pecorino cheeses at the farms they are made.  Stroll ancient paths while mesmerizing these medieval towns.  Or partake in a cooking class with a local nonna.

Monteriggioni (Siena)
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There are so many the little hilltop hamlets tucked into the countryside near Siena.  The beautiful little jewel, Monteriggioni is immaculately preserved and is actually a walled castle surrounded by towers.  Travelers may arrive via a 700 year old pilgrimage path to gaze at the beautiful vineyard draped valley below of farms and olive groves  below.
This is Tuscany as you always imagined it.
 

Radda in Chianti (Siena)

Relax and enjoy the sun setting in the comfort of the veranda of your private Tuscan villa while a real-live nonna prepares, cooks and serves a delicious lolieveta.jpgTuscan meal.  Explore the countryside on bikes or have a driver pick you up to explore this charming town encircled in medieval walls and winding stone streets with panoramic views of the Tuscan Wine Country.  Radda is easily reached from Florence or Siena and is a perfect scenic stop on wine tour or an idyllic base to explore the surrounding countryside.

Barga (Lucca)

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Picture-perfect Barga in the mountains of North Tuscany is perched between snow-capped Apennienes (Tuscan Alps) woods and rushing rivers.  Active travelers enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking and skiing.   History lovers will enjoy its perfectly-preserved Romanesque church, while others will cherish this sweet escape surrounded by natural beauty. Barga is a day trip from Lucca, but worthy of a stopover.

Pienza (Montepulciano)

Renaissance fans will appreciate Pienza located in the rustic Val D'Orciapienza cheese store-1.jpgregion.  Framed by green valleys, sunflower fields and lush vineyards, food-loving travelers may enjoy wine tasting tours to Montalcino and Montepulciano.  And did I mention cheese lovers . . .  

Florence

Enjoy free time to explore the cultural treasures of Florence, including Michelangelo's "David." Day trip and discover some of  Italy's best-kept secrets. Enjoy fabulous local wines and the region's famous cuisine.  Venture beyond the same old sights, beautiful as they are.  VIP Travel Experience helps you access the Italy that most tourists never experience--immersing yourself in the people and places beyond the postcard.  No matter how many times I travel to Italy, I always leave longing for MORE. 


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Are you looking for the perfect travel destination?  We would love to help you with travel tips and more.

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Topics: #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel

Adventures Await

Posted by Justin Murphy

October 26, 2017 at 11:36 AM

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Adventures don’t have to bring you half way across the world hiking miles upon miles up a mountain, or have you climbing glaciers seeking one of a kind thrills. Adventures are something that takes you out of your comfort zone and places you in a new, thought provoking environment to learn, see, and do things you never thought were possible for you.  We have trusted suppliers that  offer all without costing an arm and a leg.

Whether it is thrill seekers, family vacations, cultural immersion, or marine exploration we have access to it all! We have divided tours into many sections to offer diverse and immersive EXPERIENCES for everyone! 

Firstly their “18-to-thirtysomethings” tours target the younger generation that were freshly bitten by the travel bug. Youth is a limited-time offer. Squeeze more out of yours with fast-paced and affordable adventures designed for young travelers. Explore the world by day, stay up all night, and do it all over again tomorrow someplace new with friends you’ll want to hang on to forever. You’ve got the rest of your life to take it slow. Live fast now. These tours target young professionals that can’t spend insane amounts of money, but want to experience and immerse themselves in a foreign environment to learn and grow together in a small group setting. 

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A very different, but equally appealing travel style they offer is Local Living. Be where you belong. Have you always dreamed of getting immersed deep inside one of the world’s greatest and most out-there destinations? Now you can. Local Living tours send you undercover in some of the world’s most interesting places to discover life as it’s lived every day by a local. Unpack once at a central location like a Tuscan farmhouse, an Icelandic home, or even a rustic lodge in the Amazon jungle and discover how the locals live with the help of a connected guide who knows the area best. 

Want the rush and thrill from an adrenaline boost? Active adventures let you explore

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and learn all about a destination from kayaking creeks to trekking up mountaintops.  Active adventures get you closer to the destination by letting you hike, bike, and multi sport your way through it. We provide the equipment, the experts, and the opportunity; all you need to provide is the energy. On your mark. Get set. Go…Active. 

Adventure knows no age limits. I’m going to say it again: Adventure knows no age limit. That is why we help determine your travel style fit for the whole family with all sorts of multi generational activities. Just because you’ve settled down and had kids doesn’t mean your adventuring days are over and done with. Family trips open up the world of adventure travel to kids age six and up by letting them experience their planet on their own terms. Everything is new and exciting when you’re a kid. Travel with yours and discover your world for the first time all over again.

Another awesome travel style they offer is for all those water lovers out there. If you swim like you have gills and enjoy seeing what the great wide ocean has in store this Marine travel style is just for you! Sea-ing is believing. There’s adventure aplenty out there beyond

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the shore, but unless you have flippers, you’ll need a ship to find them. Marine tours are designed for travelers of all stripes, from experienced cruisers and sailors to landlubbers who’ve never set foot on a boat. And they go just about everywhere there’s water. If you can float there, you can go there. Set Sail and set your sights on the horizon this will be an unforgettable journey. 

Lastly, these next two are a little more on the higher end with a more luxurious feel. The private tour and national geographic journeys styles will have a little more tailored to fit and let you experience so much more. With a step up in accommodations, meals, activities, and tours these styles will impress any client. 

Private Tours: Your world, your terms

Group travel is a great way to discover your world with people you’d otherwise never meet. But some adventures are best enjoyed with a group of your own choosing. Get your group of four or more and let fun begin by selecting your trip! There are two ways you can go about it: Go off-the-rack by selecting any  existing Adventures group departure OR you can block it off for your group’s private use. Or step it up a notch and go for a more tailored fit. If you want to personalize your trip to really individualize and make the most out of it you can enhance any existing G Adventures itinerary with some great add-ons. Add on a few days; upgrade accommodations; add in some fun activities.

 

National Geographic Journeys: Experience the world with an enhanced adventure from

National Geographic Journeys are a collection of truly unique tours designed to take you deeper and further into the cultures and habitats of the places we explore. They offer more inclusions, greater hands-on exploration, interactions with local experts, and the freedom to roam, all within the structure and safety of traveling in a small group. With these tours you get to explore more.

The feel of freedom; we include plenty of free time for you to do anything you wish on your adventure. Learning all you can with each tour including opportunities to learn about our world through unique interactive experiences with local experts like historians, marine biologists, photographers,  chefs, and others. You have the power to change the world.  Let us arrange your travel with National Geographic Journeys and you help fund community development initiatives worldwide, in addition to supporting the National Geographic Society’s non-profit work in conservation, exploration, research, and education.

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Topics: #viptravelexperience, travel planner, planning the right trip, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, #group travel

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!

3. Create New Family Memories Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 4.22.57 PM.png

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

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