December 7, 2017 at 6:30 AM
November 30, 2017 at 6:02 AM
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.
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.
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.
October 26, 2017 at 11:36 AM
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.
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
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
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.
October 19, 2017 at 7:30 AM
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, 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
October 12, 2017 at 1:52 PM
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 ate 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!
October 5, 2017 at 7:56 AM
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
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!
September 28, 2017 at 6:00 AM
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.
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.
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.
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!
September 21, 2017 at 8:00 AM
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
August 7, 2017 at 5:45 PM
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.
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"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”
"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!"
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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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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July 27, 2017 at 8:30 AM
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
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