Different Strokes for Different Folks

Posted by Tammy Murphy

September 22, 2016 at 4:30 AM

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.
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. 
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. 
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.
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, travel planner, planning the right trip, Italy, different travel styles, #travelentrepreneur, #passportpassion #viptravelexperience, travel concierge, travel consultant, St. Lucia, #passportpassion

7 Secrets to Bucket List Success

Posted by Tammy Murphy

July 9, 2016 at 9:00 AM

What do you want to do before you kick the bucket?  Yikes-I'm sorry if I'm scaring you!!  But seriously, that is the question I ask myself each week because I'm starting to realize that my list might be longer than my years!  ha ha  I used to think  that Bucket Lists were for people with a serious illness or over 40 or 50 years olds.  After taking the steps below, I realized it is actually A WAY TO LIVE!!  
Do you have a bucket list in mind or on paper?  Do you think of things on your bucket list and stop mid-way because you think it's impossible? Do you have a list and hope for the best?  Or do you hope for the best and make a plan?
Of course, bucket lists consist of more things than travel, however, travel bucket lists are the things I hear so many friends sharing.  What I have learned about my bucket list is that when I write it and believe it will happen, unbeknowst to me, it happens.  I guess once something takes the form of a written list, I subconsciously think about it more often, somehow opportunities arise out of the blue (I tend to think its blessings), but most importantly I have that desire to CHECK OFF a list. 
Some people look at other people and wonder why all the good things seem to happen to others.  But friend, I'm here to tell you, it can happen just as easily to YOU!!  The world is full of miracles, opportunities and possibilities.  What is there to lose?? If you need some inspiration to get started, here's a link to my BUCKET LIST .   Here are some tips that I hope will inspire you to write your bucket list today:
  • Dream 
  • Write your list or put pictures on a Dream Board
  • Commit to your dreams & share with a friend
  • Immerse yourself in the joy and love of it
  • Don't get caught up in the HOW
  • Wait for your opportunity
  • Take action

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Topics: #overwaterbungalow, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, bucket list travel, #gobr, bucket list, #travelentrepreneur

Customized Travel Experiences that Align with Your Personality

Posted by Tammy Murphy

July 1, 2016 at 10:53 AM

I love a good challenge, details and I love travel, so this career was a perfect fit for me.  Creating itineraries for clients is so exciting to me.  It is also challenging and extremely time consuming.  Sometimes I have clients that know exactly where they want to go, what they want to do, and exactly what they want to spend, the flip-side is having clients who don't know exactly where they want to go or what they might enjoy while traveling.  Both options are exciting in their own way.  I have a family departing soon for an absolutely amazing trip to Yellowstone National Park.  They had never been to any national parks or any place in the United States for that matter, and they were seeking a fully customized, off the beaten path trip--amazing vacation that was all their own. 
The hard part at the beginning though, was being able to uncover what the experience was they were after.  My client knew exactly what her family wanted to do while visiting the Grand Canyon.   She provided great details on the web itineary questionnaire, we had a great phone consultation.    What followed were weeks of planning and tweaking, until the trip that evolved was simply perfect for her family and she was so excited and amazed at "what almost happened" had we not really connected the dots of where and how.  Keep reading, I think you'll be surprised how we arrived there.
Well it became a bit challenging when I realized that the activities that were important to each family member were on 4 opposite points of the Grand Canyon and she had already shared that she was not a fan of traveling from Point A to Point B, to C, to D.  In addition, the temperature would be well over 100 degrees and torrential rainfall during the time she planned to travel.  Once she realized that IF she had booked her hotel and air on her own then worried about the excursions afterwards, it would have been a horrible surprise to learn all of the driving required and the experience would not be what they hoped for.
I was very thankful I was able to save her from that kind of vacation.  She is super excited and they are about to depart for an amazing adventure to  . . . YELLOWSTONE.
  • Convertible Jeep Rental (not available at airport rentals but we found it for her)
  • Private Morning Wildlife Tour of Grand Teton National Park
  • Scenic Float on the Snake River
  • Overnight Camping in a Riverside Teepee
  • Whitewater Rafting on the Snake River
  • Jackson Rodeo
  • Flight Seeing from Jackson to West Yellowstone
  • Private Guided Tour of Yellowstone National Park
  • Private Trail Ride
  • Covered Wagon Cookout Dinner
  • Lots of free time each day to just explore their resort and nearby towns
  • Added an extra day for rest
Would I try to talk you out going to the Grand Canyon?  Absolutely not, I would love it if everyone could visit the Grand Canyon.  In this particular instance, the time of year and the activities on their wish list just didn't work for that particular client, so it turned out that Yellowstone and Grand Teton were more closely aligned to their personalities (and the time of year they were traveling).
My favorite thing about their trip is that it is their's.  What they may not have known at the beginning of the planning process, they were able to better describe and decide on as the planning process was underway.  And the best part is that they have a live person to contact and reach out to throughout (and prior) their trip with questions are additional assistance, as well as someone at the destination.  Vacation planning may come naturally to some after years of doing it, but it can be quite intimidating to many.  I am available via email, phone and text while they are away.
I plan travel for seasoned travelers as well as new travelers.  My biggest goal is to always help you have the trip that aligns with your interests, personality.  Whichever traveler you are, I would love to partner with you on your next trip.  Contact me to get started.
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Topics: travel ideas, travel tips, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, planning the perfect vacation, National Parks, Yellowstone National Park, #travelentrepreneur

6 Benefits of Travel

Posted by Tammy Murphy

June 23, 2016 at 4:56 PM


1.  New Perspective

Vacation helps us see the similarities and differences we cannot imagine--until we see for ourselves.  From family life, work life, homes and social interaction.  
"We need sometimes to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what", wrote philosopher George Santayana in "The Philosophy of Travel."
2.  Appreciation
There is no place like home.  We like to vacation to enjoy a slower pace, so I try to relax and remember that when traveling away from home, don't expect the same experiences as I receive at home. Appreciate that slower pace and new surroundings.  An added benefit is a renewed appreciation of home.   
3.  Unplug
We read so many articles about Americans having a reputation for being unable to unplug or feeling guilty about taking time off.  One of the greatest benefits of our devices is how accessible we are, but it's also to our detriment--since we always have our devices, even on vacation, its that much harder to step away from work.   When I do truly UNPLUG, I do realize how much it is for my physical and mental health, as well as having bigger and better ideas when I return.  It's that word again, PERSPECTIVE, after stepping away, I can see things more clearly.  I also realize that it helps others when I can delegate and reciprocate, building a stronger team.
4.  Strengthens Relationships
Unfortunately, everyday life and living in the fast lane gives us lots of opportunities to step on other's toes or maybe just not recognize or honor others as much as we should.  Slowing down and vacation allows us the opportunity to make memories and share happier experiences.   Sharing a glass of coffee or wine and discussing other's lives serves us much better.  Sometimes, its even a stranger, "new friend", I always gain a new understanding for someone else's life by having a simple conversation with someone from another state or country while traveling.  Shared travel experiences can easily build lifelong bonds.  
5.  Builds Confidence
Not only is vacation good for those of us looking for a little escape from work, but for young travelers looking for a little independence, travel teaches us things we never knew about ourselves.   I love watching these young travelers build confidence while navigating their way through another state or country, discovering their resourcefulness, and recognizing and appreciating other people's customs and cultures.  I must admit, its not just the learning of young travelers, I learn something new each time I travel.  I especially appreciate being reminded of gratitude in each new day.  The happy faces I meet while traveling remind me of how much I have to be thankful for.  I know it is said so often, but it is so true, we have so much to be appreciate living in the comforts of this country.
6.  Unique Experiences
Vacations are so much more than seeing iconic monuments and landmarks.  Take a moment and see how small we really are in comparison to the majesty of Mother Nature.  Recently I stood atop a lookout point in St. Lucia and gazing from the sapphire blue Caribbean waters to the lush green Piton Mountains to the sugar white sand, I could not stop thinking of the things I think are so important at home, and I'm just a dot in this very large, very beautiful world.  Every destination has a unique history, style, tempo, and the right experience, the right tour guide can take you from an innocent tourist to a passionate traveler.    My challenge to you is become immersed on your next vacation, find a world that is completely different than the one in which you live today.  You won't regret it, your life will be changed forever, and hopefully, you get the chance to change someone else's perspective as well. 
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Topics: #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, #travelentrepreneur

All Inclusive . . . Which is the best one for me?

Posted by Tammy Murphy

June 10, 2016 at 1:10 AM


Which is the best all inclusive resort?  That's a great question and it's not one size fits all. 
All Inclusive Video

Amenities at all-inclusive resorts vary greatly.  There are literally thousands of all inclusive resorts to choose from which is why it is a great idea to work with a travel professional to streamline your decision. The more of your interests that you share with your travel expert, the better your experience will be. What would you like to do other than rest and relax?  Using a travel professional can make your travel experience so much easier, wouldn't it be easier to talk with someone that has experienced it, or has friends or clients that have. Sandals guarantees the price on their website is the same price you pay using a travel agent.  The value that a travel professional provides reaches far beyond the best resort for the best value,  its all of the inside information about room views, dining, activities, meals, etc.  A fellow travel professional recently made the comparison, I CAN file my taxes online, but I CHOOSE to use a tax professional because I don't even know what I don't know.  
The top three areas I compare when choosing an all-inclusive resort is Meals, Drinks, and Water Sports. 
Meals . . . Are all meals and snacks included?  Room Service?  Specialty Restaurants?  I recommend an all inclusive that has multiple restaurants that offer ala carte meals (at no additional charge) with multiple ethnic food choices.  Food is subjective.  I encourage you to try different ethnic foods that you may not normally try at home.  Since there is no additional cost, be adventurous, if you don't like it, there is always room service or stop in at another restaurant.  Note:  Ask if room service is included in your room category.
Drinks . . . Are all drinks included at all times of the day?  Be sure to understand if sodas,  wine and alcohol are included.  Some may offer sodas, alcohol or wine during mealtime only.  Others still may limit the choices.
Water Sports . . .  Are motorized sports included in addition to non-motorized?  Some resorts may list that water sports are available, but that doesn't mean its included.  
Entertainment . . . If you are interested in entertainment, is that included?  
Location . . . Is the resort in a remote area or near town center?  Depending on your preference, sometimes remote is nice, but you may spend tons of time driving to your excursions.  Is transportation to/from airport included?  
View . . .  Do you want view of gardens, ocean, beach, pool, mountains?  Sometimes it may be confusing to know what your view will be, your travel professional can help you decipher which rooms have which views and what is optimal location.   
Excursions . . . Which excursions are tourist traps and which are true adventure or immersion?  It can be confusing choosing the best excursion, its important to share your interests and experience--if you routinely rent ATV and explore at home, you will not enjoy a guided tour on ATV with limited choices.  It's important to know if you are most comfortable with guided tour or independent traveler.  I recommend that you choose your excursions prior to leaving home, so that you can use all of your precious travel moments ENJOYING not trying to weigh options of tours.  
Sand . . . White, black, volcanic?

Water . . . Carribbean can be calm and relaxing, while the Atlantic can be quite spunky.  
Lagniappe . . . Are you bringing your family or looking for adults only?  If you are looking for adventure, your friend's favorite resort may not be the best pick for you.  What time of year is your vacation and what is temperature or crowd like at that time of year?  
BEST VALUE:  Plan early to get the best view and best flight times to make most of time in destination.
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Topics: all inclusive resort, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, Sandals, #travelentrepreneur

Best Vacation . . . What Ignites Your Happy?

Posted by Tammy Murphy

May 28, 2016 at 9:00 AM


What is the best vacation?  That's a great question and also the million dollar question.  

I get many emails and phone calls asking me that very question, OR what I think about Destination X because Sally went and said it was fabulous!!   Friends are always great resources for travels, but before you put all of your vacation dollars on Destination X that ignited Sally's happy, ask yourself, do we like to do the same things?
FABULOUS vacation to . . . Betsy is lying on the beach all day from sunup to sunset enjoying cute umbrella drinks;  Candace enjoys packing her itinerary with every iconic site there is to see while traveling 90 to nothing across 3 countries;  Bob enjoys going off the beaten path, eating at the authentic "hole in the wall" local spots and really connecting with the locals. Tom enjoys hiking the Grand Canyon and sleeping in a teepee.  Sally enjoys luxury service in her private villa with a chef and housekeeper so that all of her time can be spent in the pool with her children, etc.  You see my point, While chilling at an all inclusive resort may be perfect for Sally, Candace would go nuts on that vacation. 
My goal is to get to know the interests, hobbies and past travel experiences so that I can guide you to the vacation that is best for you.    Three questions that will help you get a jump start on finding that perfect vacation:
First is what does the setting look like?  Does it include beautiful swaying palm trees on a quiet white-sand beach surrounded by 52 shades of turqoise?  Maybe its a city vibrating with a wide variety of nightlife, shows, casinos and shopping?  Or a luxurious resort where you don't need to lift a finger, his and her spa treatments, golf, excursions? Maybe its a secluded cabin in the woods, mountains or rainforest with a serenaded by frogs and crickets?
Secondly, what is my budget?  This is probably the driving factor, some vacations are more value while others are more bucketlist vacations.
Third, what activities are you doing in your mental picture?  reading, exploring, communing with nature, soft adventure, extreme adventure?  And ask everyone in group the same questions.  Think about what is important to you once you arrive and then what memories you want to come home with.   Discuss all of these ideas with your travel professional.  The more information and details she has the better experience you will get.  There are millions of options.  
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Topics: #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, #travelentrepreneur

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