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

Memories Fade, But A Photograph is Timeless!

Posted by Justin Murphy

July 20, 2017 at 8:35 AM

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Smart phones these days can take great photos and videos, but there are a few simple things to know to make sure your memories are captured best. Try a few little tricks, shooting great photos/video with your smartphone will be as easy as 1-2-3 and the footage will look like it was taken by a professional.  YES, you have amazing potential to capture incredible photos/videos right in the palm of your hand.
 

Ample Lighting is Crucial

Try to capture your photos in brightly lit areas to  avoid unnecessary shadows over faces and grainy/blurry areas in your picture. Most smart phones these days offer touch focusing if you find your camera/phone is focusing on the wrong area of your portrait, just tap on the screen where you'd like it to focus. Once you're finished setting the focus on the most aweinspiring aspect of your photo, your camera's automatic exposure control will have an easier time making small adjustments if lighting conditions begin to change. Now with all of the improvements to the smart phone cameras, they do most of the hard work for you.

Be Aware of Background Noise

The quality of your audio effects is just as important, if not more, than the quality of your visual effects. It’s oh so common to hear wind and other unnecessary environmental noise that will completely drown out or distort any important audio while shooting a video outside. Try to shoot your video in a quieter place or protected from wind and other audible distractions, or maybe indoors if possible with less ambient noise. If you have to video in the elements, stay close to the audio source you're recording and try to shelter the phone’s microphone (without covering it completely) with your hand or body to protect it from other sounds. You can even purchase microphone for your iphone.

Keep it Steady, Eddy

Keeping your phone or camera as steady as possible is probably the most important part of capturing a clear focused photograph or video. A selfie stick (or tripod for cameras) comes in handy and will help to keep your shots clear and steady. If handheld, try your absolute best to keep your camera as steady as possible, using both hands will help to keep it focused. The shot doesn’t have to be perfectly steady, especially with all the advancement in your cameras and smart phones, but the steadier the better.

Try to Avoid Shooting Portrait (Vertical) Video

We live in a tecnocentric world now, everything we do get's blasted all over the internet due to facebook, instagram, snapchat, and various other social media applications and nearly all of them focus with a landscape (horizontal) orientation template. Laptops, websites and social media probably won’t tell the whole story due to the automatic cropping or "drag to fit" features. Try holding your phone horizontally and you’ll get everything you need in your snapshot.


Try to Avoid Using the Zoom Feature on Your Phone

As tempting as it may be to use the zoom feature to expand your shot, try to avoid it because the lens isn’t zooming optically therefore the picture is getting bigger but the pixels are going to getting blurry (if you try to blow up a 3x5 picture into a 8x10, you will see a visible blur because the picture wasnt formatted for that dimension). Using the zoom feature only enlarges the picture digitally, causing unsightly pixels. There are multiple clip-on lens adapters that work great for wider shots and some even add great effects like fisheye, bubble, etc.


There's an APP for that

Most built-in camera apps work well, and there are plenty of downloadable apps that will take your photography skill to the next level, allowing you to tinker with color, focus, exposure, fast and slow motion, depth effect, and time-lapse images.  Ask your friends which apps they love, and try a few.  You will enjoy reliving your vacation with these tips to improve your video and photo skills. I like to use Camera+ for scenery and either FaceTune or Airbrush for portraits. (pictured below taken with iPhone 5s using Camera+ app in France)

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Have Fun With It!

The most important thing about capturing photographs is to use it to take "a snapshot in time" to remember the experience and preserve lasting memories, so have fun, explore the world and make sure to tag us when you show off your photography skills @VIPTravelExperience! The more energy you put into it, the better your photos will be. Capture as much as you can and remember to look for those special active and meaningful moments as well as those gorgeous scenic landscapes that will look great in your photos.  (P.S.  don't get too caught up in the photos that you MISS the moment)

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

Travel Professionals Are Alive & Well

Posted by Tammy Murphy

July 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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All this rainy weather tried to spoil the fun for some of my clients and made my afternoons very tiring.  The end result though is that we pulled off alternate plans when flights were canceled, and everyone had a fabulous, relaxing time and is home safely.  While I was sitting on hold for hours making alternate arrangements (I had a lot of time to think).  One thing occurred to me is what are travelers doing that didn't have a Travel Expert? Are you missing the last piece of the puzzle?
 
1) You know how crazy schedules are the day or two before you leave to go on vacation?  Would your work schedule allow you to sit on hold for hours making alternate arrangements?  OR
2)  What if you didn't know YOU COULD make alternate plans?  Many travelers canceled their trip altogether when they were notified of canceled flights.   
3)  What if your flight is delayed and you miss your connecting flight?  Where will you stay for the night?  Will I lose that day at my resort? How will I beat the crowd to get on the next flight?  (Sometimes, there is only one flight going to the islands per day per airline).
 
If I had a dollar for every time I am asked "Do people still use travel agents?"  My response is all day, everyday (keep reading, I think you will be surprised at what a travel agent is).  And the really well informed travelers are using a travel expert INSTEAD of a travel agent. 

If you have asked the question, "What can a travel expert do for me that I can't do for myself online?" 
A quick example of what a travel expert would do:  If your flight was delayed and your connecting flight would be missed, your travel expert could re book your flight before you landed saving you from standing in long lines of angry travelers at the ticket counter, book you in a hotel for the night* if no other flights for that day and make alternate arrangements at your original destination resort.   Of course, no one wants to HAVE to be the hero in this story, but sometimes travel plans go awry despite the BEST laid plans. Travel experts frequently are holding extra pieces of the puzzle, just in case.. .
 
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Travel Experts take pride in offering incredible service and value for our clients hard-earned vacation time and budget.  Service that begins with their dream and ends when they are unpacking after the trip.  This goes WAY beyond clicking BUY NOW on a computer screen.  Travel experts spend hours custom-crafting YOUR vacation to provide you with the EXPERIENCE you are dreaming of, collaborating with colleagues to check the best values, amenities. Travel experts don't just "sell travel", we won't try to fit a square peg in a round hole . . . we research hotels, resorts, destinations with YOUR interests and hobbies in mind, if we have not visited the particular property or destination, we have long lists of vetted properties and excursions, in addition to being an engaged member of consortia to obtain unbiased opinions (you can't exactly believe all opinions you read online). 
 
ARE WE A GOOD FIT?
You may not need all the services we provide?  We review your answers on the questionnaire and schedule a complimentary phone consultation to see if we are a good match.  We will let you know if you don't need our services.  We will ask questions to find out  what a perfect vacation looks like to you?  If your anniversary dream includes relaxing at a kid-free pool cabana with an umbrella drink?  I'm going to steer you towards an Adult-Only property with amazing service!  Are you looking for a hopping, party atmosphere or some place to relax and disconnect? That may be yet a different resort or destination.
 
Are you dying to show your children the Caribbean, but you really want a resort that has a nice adult-only section to sneak away to while the children take advantage of sports clinics or learn to fly on a trapeze before you all meet up a few hours later for some quality family fun?  I have the perfect place in mind to make everyone happy.
 
We can also provide benefits to the traveler that loves the challenge of researching travel and finds the exact hotel and excursions they want.  That's when our inventory to properties that may show sold out online or our vetted suppliers come in handy.  We may have amenities or upgrades at the resort you've chosen without the added cost.  We may have a vetted supplier for excursion or a private tour excursion for the same price you found for a big group tour.

WHY SO MANY QUESTIONS?
So these are why we ask so many questions, not to be nosy, we want you to have the best EXPERIENCE possible.  We take all of your answers and put together the puzzle to match little dream in your head.  More times than not, that takes hours and hours of detailed research and planning to put each little piece together
 
Many times, we have access to things that YOU may not be aware of.  Would you like to visit the Sistine Chapel after hours?  Would you like a photopher on location? Would you like a cooking lesson in the chef's home as opposed to cooking institution or restaurant?  Would your kids love a truffle hunt? You may be able to get a private experience for nearly same price as big group excursion.  And much more, we can't reveal all of our secrets, right. 
 
Will you really get what you think you're getting online? Buyer beware, last week a client sent me an email asking if I could get them a room for 4 at a specific price at a specific resort during Christmas holidays.  Well, turns out I could get the room (which appeared sold out online), however the price shown online did not accommodate 4 people, the price for the room that would accommodate 4 people was significantly higher.  Saving money is great, and I'm all for staying within budget and getting a good value for your hard-earned travel dollars.  That is why we ask for your budget.  I really do have your best interest in mind . . . trust me, I will do my best to find you the perfect fit for the greatest value.  
 
Many think they are saving money "booking themselves", but what they may not realize is that the booking engine is a "large corporation travel agent", you will receive confirmation numbers and that is the end of that story, there is no service during and after the sale.  AND if something is not as you perceived it to be, you probably won't receive a live person that sincerely cares about your time and money.  When you give me or any other hard working travel professional, the "go ahead" to book that same vacation (often at the same price or better), most times, you are not paying in full on that day, you will receive first class service, well-organized travel documents, app with your day-to-day itinerary plans via mobile phone, destination information, restaurant recommendations and sightseeing recommendations, along with the peace of mind that we are available for you each step of the way.  If anything goes wrong on the trip, we typically have affiliates on-location and/or good working relationships with the hotels, resorts, cruise lines.  We sincerely advocate FOR YOU. Just ask yourself or the agent you are working with, what is included in the sale.
 
Insure your vacation
Your travel expert can help you choose the best policy for YOU. 
One of the greatest surprises why you may want travel insurance is not just for trip cancellation.*(more on this next week).
Read more

Topics: #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, different travel styles, travel planner, travel concierge, travel consultant, planning the right trip, #passportpassion, #group travel, #girlstrip, #reunion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value

Mobile passport = Fast Pass

Posted by Tammy Murphy

June 9, 2017 at 12:10 AM

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Are you looking for a secret express lane through customs?  Again, "There's an app for that".   A free app for Apple and Android phones, Mobile Passport, allows you to skip long lines and avoid searching for a pen to complete the pesky customs forms and the passport scanning kiosks at the airport.  Simply wave your phones over a scanner, and VOILA its like magic, step quickly to the customs agent.
 
Don't misunderstand, its not a substitute for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, but its a good option for avoiding long lines to re-enter the United States, if you don't have precheck or global entry.  Currently its accepted at 1 cruise port and 23  United States Airports, including, but not limited to ATL, JFK, MIA, SEA, ORD and SFO, with more to follow.Click here for complete list
 
What's behind the magic?
Innovative software authenticator that allows you to generate one-time passcodes instantly on your phone.  
 
5 easy steps

DO Steps 1-3 before you leave

Step 1: Download the app to your smartphone
Grab the app off of the App Store or Google Play. This is also going to require you having your phone charged by the time you arrive at your home airport, so don’t let the battery die listening to music for 10 hours!
 
Step 2: Set up your profile
Enter your profile information as it appears on your valid, official passport. You can set up profiles for your entire family. Your information will be encrypted and shared only with CBP.
 
Step 3: Answer a few questions
Answer CBP’s four brief questions about your trip, and carefully review all of your information for the trip.

Steps 4-5 on return trip home only after landing in United States, because its only good for 4 hours:  
ONLY AFTER YOU LAND IN connecting airport, you’ll have to connect to your cellular network or wi-fi and submit your data to CBP.
 
Step 4: Submit to CBP
Within a few seconds, you will receive a receipt with an encrypted barcode. Your receipt will be valid for 4 hours.
 
Step 5: Skip the line and save time
Follow the MOBILE PASSPORT CONTROL signs and skip the lines!
Show your passport to the CBP officer and scan the barcode on the CBP receipt. Wave goodbye to all the people giving you the side eye in the normal lines.   

Recently my friend downloaded the app and whizzed past me at the global entry kiosk.

 

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Topics: #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, different travel styles, travel planner, travel concierge, travel consultant, planning the right trip, #passportpassion, #group travel, #girlstrip, #reunion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, mobilepassport

Mobile passport

Posted by Tammy Murphy

November 2, 2016 at 9:38 PM

                                             mobilepass.jpg                                                                                              
 

Are you looking for a secret express lane through customs?  Again, "There's an app for that".   A free app for Apple and Android phones, Mobile Passport, allows you to skip long lines and avoid searching for a pen to complete the pesky customs forms and the passport scanning kiosks at the airport.  Simply wave your phones over a scanner, and VOILA its like magic, step quickly to the customs agent.
 
Don't misunderstand, its not a substitute for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, but its a good option for avoiding long lines to re-enter the United States, if you don't have precheck or global entry.  Currently its accepted at 20 US Airports, including, but not limited to ATL, JFK, MIA, SEA, ORD and SFO, with more to follow.Click here for complete list
 
What's behind the magic?
Innovative software authenticator that allows you to generate one-time passcodes instantly on your phone.  
 
5 easy steps

DO Steps 1-3 before you leave

Step 1: Download the app to your smartphone
Grab the app off of the App Store or Google Play. This is also going to require you having your phone charged by the time you arrive at your home airport, so don’t let the battery die listening to music for 10 hours!
 
Step 2: Set up your profile
Enter your profile information as it appears on your valid, official passport. You can set up profiles for your entire family. Your information will be encrypted and shared only with CBP.
 
Step 3: Answer a few questions
Answer CBP’s four brief questions about your trip, and carefully review all of your information for the trip.

Steps 4-5 on return trip home only after landing in United States, because its only good for 4 hours:  
ONLY AFTER YOU LAND IN connecting airport, you’ll have to connect to your cellular network or wi-fi and submit your data to CBP.
 
Step 4: Submit to CBP
Within a few seconds, you will receive a receipt with an encrypted barcode. Your receipt will be valid for 4 hours.
 
Step 5: Skip the line and save time
Follow the MOBILE PASSPORT CONTROL signs and skip the lines!
Show your passport to the CBP officer and scan the barcode on the CBP receipt. Wave goodbye to all the people giving you the side eye in the normal lines.

 

Read more

Topics: #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, different travel styles, travel planner, travel concierge, travel consultant, planning the right trip, #passportpassion, #group travel, #girlstrip, #reunion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value, mobilepassport

Why use a Travel Professional?

Posted by Tammy Murphy

October 17, 2016 at 4:34 PM

IMG_0064.jpg
 
Hurricane Matthew tried to spoil the fun for some of my clients and made my afternoons very tiring.  The end result though is that we pulled off alternate plans when flights were canceled, and everyone had a fabulous, relaxing time and is home safely.  While I was sitting on hold for hours making alternate arrangements (I had a lot of time to think).  One thing occurred to me is what are travelers doing that didn't have a Travel Expert? Are you missing the last piece of the puzzle?
 
1) You know how crazy schedules are the day or two before you leave to go on vacation?  Would your work schedule allow you to sit on hold for hours making alternate arrangements?  OR
2)  What if you didn't know YOU COULD make alternate plans?  Many travelers canceled their trip altogether when they were notified of canceled flights.   
3)  What if your flight is delayed and you miss your connecting flight?  Where will you stay for the night?  Will I lose that day at my resort? How will I beat the crowd to get on the next flight?  (Sometimes, there is only one flight going to the islands per day per airline).
 
If I had a dollar for every time I am asked "Do people still use travel agents?"  My response is all day, everyday (keep reading, I think you will be surprised at what a travel agent is).  And the really well informed travelers are using a travel expert INSTEAD of a travel agent. 

If you have asked the question, "What can a travel expert do for me that I can't do for myself online?" 
A quick example of what a travel expert would do:  If your flight was delayed and your connecting flight would be missed, your travel expert could re book your flight before you landed saving you from standing in long lines of angry travelers at the ticket counter, book you in a hotel for the night* if no other flights for that day and make alternate arrangements at your original destination resort.   Of course, no one wants to HAVE to be the hero in this story, but sometimes travel plans go awry despite the BEST laid plans. Travel experts frequently are holding extra pieces of the puzzle, just in case.. .
 
FullSizeRender5.jpg
 
Travel Experts take pride in offering incredible service and value for our clients hard-earned vacation time and budget.  Service that begins with their dream and ends when they are unpacking after the trip.  This goes WAY beyond clicking BUY NOW on a computer screen.  Travel experts spend hours custom-crafting YOUR vacation to provide you with the EXPERIENCE you are dreaming of, collaborating with colleagues to check the best values, amenities. Travel experts don't just "sell travel", we won't try to fit a square peg in a round hole . . . we research hotels, resorts, destinations with YOUR interests and hobbies in mind, if we have not visited the particular property or destination, we have long lists of vetted properties and excursions, in addition to being an engaged member of consortia to obtain unbiased opinions (you can't exactly believe all opinions you read online). 
 
ARE WE A GOOD FIT?
You may not need all the services we provide?  We review your answers on the questionnaire and schedule a complimentary phone consultation to see if we are a good match.  We will let you know if you don't need our services.  We will ask questions to find out  what a perfect vacation looks like to you?  If your anniversary dream includes relaxing at a kid-free pool cabana with an umbrella drink?  I'm going to steer you towards an Adult-Only property with amazing service!  Are you looking for a hopping, party atmosphere or some place to relax and disconnect? That may be yet a different resort or destination.
 
Are you dying to show your children the Caribbean, but you really want a resort that has a nice adult-only section to sneak away to while the children take advantage of sports clinics or learn to fly on a trapeze before you all meet up a few hours later for some quality family fun?  I have the perfect place in mind to make everyone happy.
 
We can also provide benefits to the traveler that loves the challenge of researching travel and finds the exact hotel and excursions they want.  That's when our inventory to properties that may show sold out online or our vetted suppliers come in handy.  We may have amenities or upgrades at the resort you've chosen without the added cost.  We may have a vetted supplier for excursion or a private tour excursion for the same price you found for a big group tour.

WHY SO MANY QUESTIONS?
So these are why we ask so many questions, not to be nosy, we want you to have the best EXPERIENCE possible.  We take all of your answers and put together the puzzle to match little dream in your head.  More times than not, that takes hours and hours of detailed research and planning to put each little piece together
 
Many times, we have access to things that YOU may not be aware of.  Would you like to visit the Sistine Chapel after hours?  Would you like a photopher on location? Would you like a cooking lesson in the chef's home as opposed to cooking institution or restaurant?  Would your kids love a truffle hunt? You may be able to get a private experience for nearly same price as big group excursion.  And much more, we can't reveal all of our secrets, right. 
 
Will you really get what you think you're getting online? Buyer beware, last week a client sent me an email asking if I could get them a room for 4 at a specific price at a specific resort during Christmas holidays.  Well, turns out I could get the room (which appeared sold out online), however the price shown online did not accommodate 4 people, the price for the room that would accommodate 4 people was significantly higher.  Saving money is great, and I'm all for staying within budget and getting a good value for your hard-earned travel dollars.  That is why we ask for your budget.  I really do have your best interest in mind . . . trust me, I will do my best to find you the perfect fit for the greatest value.  
 
Many think they are saving money "booking themselves", but what they may not realize is that the booking engine is a "large corporation travel agent", you will receive confirmation numbers and that online booking travel agent gets a huge cut of the cost and that is the end of that story, there is no service during and after the sale.  AND if something is not as you perceived it to be, you probably won't receive a live person that sincerely cares about your time and money.  When you give me or any other hard working travel professional, the "go ahead" to book that same vacation (often at the same price or better), most times, you are not paying in full on that day, you will receive first class service, well-organized travel documents, app with your day-to-day itinerary plans via mobile phone, destination information, restaurant recommendations and sightseeing recommendations, along with the peace of mind that we are available for you each step of the way.  If anything goes wrong on the trip, we typically have affiliates on-location and/or good working relationships with the hotels, resorts, cruise lines.  We sincerely advocate FOR YOU. Just ask yourself or the agent you are working with, what is included in the sale.
 
Insure your vacation
Your travel expert can help you choose the best policy for YOU. 
One of the greatest surprises why you may want travel insurance is not just for trip cancellation.*(more on this next week).
Read more

Topics: #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, different travel styles, travel planner, travel concierge, travel consultant, planning the right trip, #passportpassion, #group travel, #girlstrip, #reunion, why use a travel agent, Best Vacation Value

Group Travel, Redefined

Posted by Tammy Murphy

September 28, 2016 at 12:18 AM

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Most people love hanging out with friends, colleagues, associates, ... and what better way to do that than connecting and having fun IN STYLE and experiencing some great travel times together?  No need to worry about all the details - no one needs to shoulder all of the planning responsibility when we would love to do it FOR YOU.  
 
VIP Travel Experience can help your group find the perfect getaway.  It may be family reunions, milestone birthday or anniversaries, girlfriends, class reunion, sorority/fraternity reunion, college reunion, business team, professional association meetings, corporate incentive travel, continuing education meetings, wine clubs, mission trips, family heritage, art or music groups.  Whatever your group needs may be,  we will relieve you of all that travel planning stress and create the perfect custom itinerary based on the interest and focus of your group.    
 
WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
  • Caribbean All Inclusive Resort
  • Caribbean Cruise
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • Hawaii 
  • Africa
  • Alaska
  • Holy Land
  • Any place you can imagine because who says that business getaways have to be in a big city? Aren't you more inclined to soak it all in when it's combined with awesome scenery, great activities and luxury accommodations?

WHAT MAKES OUR GROUP TRAVEL DIFFERENT?

You can RELAX, we've got this!!  VIP Travel Experience can customize group travel with excursions or immersion experiences for smaller groups within larger groups.  For example, some attendees may have business meetings or group practices during the trip that other group members aren't required to attend.  NO WORRIES!  We can plan activities for the others with diverse interests.  The best part is that you can travel as a group, but you are not limited to only large group activities.  We love the challenge of diverse group travel options!
 
Our specialty is exploring group tours that will take you off the beaten path into the real heart of destinations.  If you LOVE life and have a burning desire to travel and really EXPERIENCE this wonderful world we live in, call us today.  

We have millions of negotiated fares all over the globe and connections with on-location partners.  Regardless of your destination, we can accommodate groups of 25 or 250 and still maintain a personal memorable experience for all.
 rafting-444743_1920.jpg  cruise-830876_1920-1.jpg  castle-829311_1280.jpg
 
 
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Topics: #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, different travel styles, travel planner, travel concierge, travel consultant, planning the right trip, #passportpassion, #group travel, #girlstrip, #reunion, incentive travel, business travel

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Posted by Tammy Murphy

September 22, 2016 at 4:30 AM

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I was reminded recently of a perfect example where "opposites attract" can prove tricky.  We can be very different from our dearest friends.  About 20 years ago when we first traveled with some of our dearest friends, I was surprised to see how many different directions I was being pulled.  Being friends for 10+ years, you would think that was plenty time to know each other's personalities and interests.  But traveling with someone is quite different.
 
Why eat dinner so early?
 
Why were we touring Carlos & Charlie's instead of the Mayan ruins?
 
Why stand in line for hours to be first off the ship?maya-542091_1920.jpg
 
 
We had so much fun on that trip, we are still laughing at so many things from that trip!  These friends are easily the most flexible, fun people on Earth.  Sure they liked to tour strange places more than the average person should, but nobody's perfect.  I learned an important lesson on that trip though.  It's not that difficult to travel with groups of friends who have a different travel style, but one thing is for sure, you must PREPARE.  Unless of course, they want to ski Banff and you want to bask in the sun at an all-inclusive resort in Exuma, there may be some issues.
 
Here are some practical tips that we learned for the next 8 years we traveled together.  Hopefully these tips will allow several different travel styles to blend perfectly for future travels.
 
SPLIT UP
 
Some of our favorite travel companions are those that speak up & say "We want to see this, y'all are welcome to join us"  and they really mean it.  For instance, we toured the Mayan Ruins the next time, some chartered a pirate ship, some shopped, etc.  It was so much fun to gather at dinner and hear what everyone did that day.  It also gave us great ideas for future years on that same cruise. 
 
 
COMBINE YOUR INTERESTS
 
Another example on a recent Italy trip, the girls wanted to catch all of the local iconic sites and the guys were all about no plans & relaxing.   So we planned some excursions each morning and left the afternoons to leisurely walk around, get lost (you know how men DON'T ask for directions), long casual dinners.  Another great idea was the first 7 days of our trip were hopping city to city, each day pretty planned out  & the last 3 days were in Positano to relax and recharge before our return to the real world.  This was hands-down my favorite trip of all time!!
 
Whatever the case may be . . . city exploring and wine country immersion, culture and romance, adventure and beach. . . regardless of the destination, with some planning and strategizing, each person can get the desired experience.  In many cases, it may make a good trip a great trip because you experienced a different type of travel. 
 
SPEND TIME ALONE
 
Sure, you are traveling with good friends, but that doesn't mean you can't steal some alone-time.  I realized a long time ago, we love to be with our friends, but it's just as important that we spend some quiet time together before returning to the real world.  So we split up one or two nights and explore a little and have dinner on our own.  Funny enough, we did that in Italy and ended up walking in one restaurant when our friends were walking out, how funny is that?  They recommended an awesome appetizer and snapped our pic, (great example of choosing the perfect friends to travel with).IMG_0553_2.jpg
 
Sometimes we may want to do some of the things others are doing, but we may  opt out of the 2nd part of their day and do something different.
 
If you are the only one in your group that wants to enjoy a specific experience, small group tours are an awesome way to be surrounded by people with similar interests.  I did this recently on a river cruise, when my son & I split up for the evening, and experienced a great night of baking baguettes with some awesome NEW friends.
 
NEW EXPERIENCES
 
We have traveled to many beautiful places over the last 30 years, sometimes we chose iconic tours over experiencing the culture.  As crazy as it seems to me now, my husband wasn't a great fan of extreme adventure, and with our crazy, busy parenting lives, I was OK to sightsee then chill. 
 
Now that our children are grown and we live a little slower pace, we do seek out adventure.  Sure it takes time away from our relaxing, reading and beaching time, but because of experiences like our recent zip-line and hiking, I'm quite anxious to plan our next adventure trip.
 
Sometimes opening yourself up to things outside of YOUR norm allows you to find different things to appreciate, and sometimes love.
 
These are the many reasons we ask SO MANY QUESTIONS when planning travel.  I want the experience as a whole to be great, and for everyone involved to enjoy themselves immensely.  Usually that takes a little strategy, but it always proves to be a worthy cause.  We are all individually inspired and motivated by different things.  If you and your friends are ready for an awesome travel experience, but you you are not crazy about taking the lead, I would love to help you and your friends begin mapping out what your dream trip looks like for you and your travel partner(s)!
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Topics: #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, #travelentrepreneur, different travel styles, travel planner, travel concierge, travel consultant, planning the right trip, Italy, St. Lucia, #passportpassion #viptravelexperience, #passportpassion

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