Unique Honeymoon Destinations

Scoot up the coast of California and escape the crowds. The 90 mile stretch of coast from San Simeon to Carmel offers beautiful scenery, history and unique beaches that invite the adventurous. Pfeiffer beach is one of those beaches.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 8.44.18 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 8.46.55 AMFodor's

If you are looking for a special honeymoon spot or just a unique place to vacation call us to put together the trip that is as special as you.

Andrea Savitch 703-986-0934  Email- asavitch@uniquetravelevents.com

Visit Unique Travel Events

Owner, Unique Travel Events

Owner, Unique Travel Events

Advertisements

Thinking about Italy

Next April is the trip to Italy, so I am learning and came across this wonderful blog, Manger and my mouth started to water. Really looking forward to indulging in the tastes of Umbria.

Thoughts on the Disparaged Tourists

We see these folks in every city, cameras around their necks, fanny packs protruding from waists, groups huddled around a cell phone trying to make sense of a Google map or simply pointing and staring at street signs hoping to figure out if downtown is left or right.

Though experienced travelers scoff and the media teases, I for one say ‘hooray’. Even though I am a travel professional, I have been that person and sometimes still am in a new city.

But these are the folks willing to shed the confines of comfort and the streets they know for places unseen, people whose language is a mystery and try foods they would never find at the local diner.

Traveling should be part and parcel of life. Everyone needs to start somewhere. So applaud those willing to take that first big step, become one of them, for they will grow and change and probably make the world a little better for sharing a few kind words with a stranger.

Where to go on the Spectacular Vacation- Part I

Where to go on that spectacular vacation

So often I am asked, ‘where should I go on vacation?’

Unless we’ve been bff’s for years the standard answer is I don’t know, but let’s figure it out.

The world is a big place with thousands of opportunities exploring, learning, relaxing and just plain fun. But for each of us, fun has a different meaning.

So I will try over the next few months to help you explore your options, continent by continent, country by country, even cities.

Let’s start with something familiar, North America. You may think that North America is the USA and Canada, maybe Mexico in there as well, but try again. There are about 23 countries in North America besides some additional lands owned by European nations.

Most people love the idea of warm sands, cool waves and lots of sun, so let’s head to the Caribbean and a lot of those countries.

Below are most of the places you would want to visit. Many are easily accessible by cruise ship.

Until about 2 years ago Cuba was forbidden fruit, but today you may visit. There is a lot of history and great food in Cuba. If you choose this destination, work with a travel agent and reputable tour company. There are still lots of rules and you wouldn’t want to go it alone.

Jamaica is probably one of the most popular places to visit. It is warm year round, has nice beaches and a wide variety of all-inclusive resorts. It’s also a common port for cruise ships.

If you are a nature lover, Costa Rica may be the place for you. There are habitats, a mini version of the Amazon and lovely beaches as well.

Each country has its own unique culture and geography.

The Caribbean offers

  • Guatemala
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Nicaragua:
  • Costa Rica:
  • Panama:
  • Jamaica:
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Bahamas:
  • Belize:
  • Barbados:
  • Saint Lucia
  • St. Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Grenada:
  • Antigua & Barbuda:
  • Dominica:
  • Saint Kitts & Nevis:

 

When you are planning that spectacular Caribbean vacation consider these points:

  • Time of year- The Western Caribbean is warmer than the Eastern Caribbean, so if you are planning on a summer vacation, be prepared for 100º weather in the Western Caribbean.
  • Shopping-Expect to have many shops closed on Sunday so if you are cruising be aware and if you are flying in, consider which days you will be there.
  • Flights- Places like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica are relatively easy to get to, although there is a good chance you won’t get a direct flight. The smaller island countries can be trickier for transportation. Check which days the airlines go to the islands or if you have to get a local flight from a larger neighboring island.
  • Money- US dollars are accepted most everywhere, but check ahead just to be sure.
  • PASSPORTS- Yes, you need a passport to visit any of the Caribbean nations. Tip: Although you may be able to use just an ID and birth certificate for the cruise, if something goes wrong and you have to fly back, it will cost time and additional fees to get your passport to board the plane.

As always, plan ahead. Most people are going on vacation during the summer and holiday weeks, so the cruises and resorts book up quickly. Today you are rewarded for that early booking.

If you’d like an email of today’s tips, Like my Facebook page, Unique Travel Events or sign up for my free newsletter on www.uniquetravelevents.com

Do you have a great idea for travel preparation? I’d love to share your idea with my readers.

Lots more tips to come on the do’s and don’ts, advice from good sources and more

Remember, travel is medicine for the heart, mind and soul and your travel agent has the cure.

Email- asavitch@uniquetravelevents.com

Andrea

 

 

That Spectacular Vacation- Ready, Set, GO

Your bags are packed, the taxi’s waiting, but are you ready to go?

I’m a believer in checking and re-checking, so here are a few last minute preparation tips.

Day Before Travel

1)If you are flying, print out or download your boarding pass

2) If someone is taking you to the airport, cruiseport or train station verify what time they will arrive to pick you up.

3) Have you let the post office you know you’ll be away? If not, do it now or make sure someone is picking up your mail and newspapers. An overflowing mailbox and a stack of papers  advertise that no one is around.

4) If you are boarding pets, today is a good day to drop them off instead of stressing about it tomorrow when you are ready to leave.

5) Re-check your luggage, make sure everything is in there. Tip: Luggage tags should be on each piece but don’t put your home address or phone, use a business address instead. One less way to invite the ‘wrong’ kind of guest.

6) Let a neighbor you trust know that you will be away for a while.

Here is a link to some advice from the TSA.

Day of Travel

1) Make sure your passport/identification and boarding pass are readily available at the airport, cruiseport, etc.

2) Bring the minimum number of credit cards. Tip: Let your credit card companies know that you are traveling to avoid the ‘frozen account due to security measures’.

3) Check your carry-on for the essentials, medications, electronics, toiletries and one change of clothes. Tip: Carry an empty water bottle that you can fill up after you get through security at the airport.

4) If you are driving to the airport, check the traffic reports. Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. Tip: If your boarding pass shows ‘pre-check’ you can save time at the shorter lines where you don’t need to take off shoes and such. TSAPre-check link

5) If you are sailing, have your cruise line luggage tags on the luggage. For most cruise lines your cabin should be available around 1pm. If you arrive early treat yourself to lunch onboard the ship at the buffet.

6) Make sure the appliances in your home are off. Leave a light on somewhere in the house.

7) If you are traveling outside the USA and haven’t gotten any foreign currency, get about $50 worth at the airport.

Now, go and have a great time.

If you’d like an email of today’s tips or more info, Like my Facebook page, Unique Travel Events or sign up for my free newsletter on www.uniquetravelevents.com or send an email to asavitch@uniquetravelevents.com

Do you have a great idea for travel preparation? I’d love to share your idea with my readers.

Lots more tips to come on the do’s and don’ts, advice from good sources and more

Remember, travel is medicine for the heart, mind and soul and your travel agent has the cure.

Andrea

 

That Spectacular Vacation- The Dreaded Paperwork

That Spectacular Vacation- the Dreaded Documentation

While envisioning all the great things you’ll be doing on your trip the idea of the ‘paperwork’ needed to make it happen makes most of us cringe.

Yet, without the proper documentation the trip may not happen.

Let’s keep it simple.

The Basics

 ID– If you remember nothing else when you leave for your trip, remember your ID.

For domestic travel bring your drivers license or other photo id. Keep it readily available for inspection at the airport.

For foreign travel it can be a little more complicated.

For any travel outside the USA a passport is required.

  •  If you don’t have a passport it is not difficult to get. There are two requirements, besides filling out the form. Go to state.gov  for the form new or renewal.(If you are not a US citizen contact the country of your citizenship)
  • You must have a birth certificate from a government agency
  • You must provide two passport photos

If you do have a passport, check the following

  •  Expiration date- There are a variety of rules regarding how long your passport must be valid to enter a country, it varies a lot
  1. Visa pages- Make sure there are at least two available for Visas and passport stamps
  •  If your passport is expired or close to expiring get it renewed. If you are traveling in less than 3 months use an expedited service.
  •  Visas- Each country has different requirements. There is a good website visahq which can let you know what you need.

Tip-Many people ask about passports when cruising. As of today (it does change), technically you can use your birth certificate and government id or passport card in lieu of a passport when sailing on a ‘closed loop’ cruise. This means that you leave and return to the same port in the USA. Keep in mind, if you had to fly back from a Caribbean island, you would need your passport, the other forms of ID will not work at the airport.

Boarding Passes- There are a variety of options for boarding passes on the airlines.

  • Print out your boarding pass –Tip-If you are traveling internationally you may not be able to do this if it’s the first time you are flying internationally with the airline
  • Download the boarding pass to your phone
  • Pick it up at the airport at the check in desk

 Cruise Line boarding pass

  •  Print it out at home- You will generally need to do your online check-in to do this
  • Get it at the check in desk

Printing out boarding passes at home saves time.

Tour companies vary and your travel agent should be able to give you the proper documentation.

Train Tickets-

Amtrak- Depending on where and when you travel you may be able to print out your boarding pass at home or at the train station. Note-Many Amtrak stations do not have personnel or machines for printing out your pass

Eurail- These vary depending on where and when. Check with Eurail or your travel agent.

Luggage Tags-Cruise lines will usually allow you to print luggage tags at home or mail them to you. This helps get the luggage to your cabin.

If you’d like an email of today’s tips or more info, Like my Facebook page, Unique Travel Events or sign up for my free newsletter on http://www.uniquetravelevents.com then send me an email to asavitch@uniquetravelevents.com

Do you have a great idea for travel preparation? I’d love to share your idea with my readers.

Lots more tips to come on the do’s and don’ts, advice from good sources and more

Remember, travel is medicine for the heart, mind and soul and your travel agent has the cure.

Packing for that spectacular trip

Packing for the spectacular vacation

Obviously if you are spending a week in Paris your suitcase won’t have the same clothes as if you were spending a week on the beach, but there are still some simple guidelines.

First, less is better. Just how many pairs of shoes do you really need? Beyond the fees that airlines are charging, the pain of ‘schlepping’ bags gets old really fast and makes the trip less enjoyable.

Hint: Leave some room in your suitcase for souvenirs.

Pack your medications, toiletries, cell phone and one day worth of clothes in your carry-on.

Critical Items

Medications– Keep them in their prescription bottles. Note: Many insurance companies limit how often you can purchase medication so make arrangements with your doctor and the insurance companies to make sure you have enough for your planned travel PLUS a few extra days.

Money- Keep it on you in your front pockets, money belt or small purse that closes and can stay close to you. Hint: Always have some small bills in American dollars and get some foreign currency from your bank before you leave. ATM’s are not on every corner overseas like they are here.

ID– Same as money

The Basics

Clothes- Underwear- bring enough to last through the trip plus one or two extras.

General clothing- Consider what you will be doing, how long you’ll be gone and if you will have access to free or inexpensive laundry facilities.

For casual trips- Plan on wearing outfits at least twice. People touring are far more interested in the sites than what you are wearing. For a week, 4-5 shirts, 3-4 pairs of pants or shorts.

Don’t bring that new dress or expensive suit unless there is a specific event that you know you’ll need to wear it. It takes up space and you’d hate to lose it to that great ‘black hole of lost luggage’.

Bring two pairs of comfortable shoes and one for the beach or an evening out if needed.

Toiletries- Bring your toothbrush and toothpaste. But, unless you really want to use your own soap and shampoo, save space and money by using what is provided by the hotels.

If you do use your own make sure to follow the 3-1-1 rule. Places like Target sell the bottles in a bag which can make your life a lot easier.

Electronics- Its always good to have a cell phone when you travel. Unless you are traveling for business leave the laptop home, its just one more thing to carry and risk losing. Don’t forget your chargers and if you are leaving the USA, make sure you have the proper adapter and or converter as needed.

Some good ideas are

Bring a small first aid/personal items kit- Band-aids, small toothbrush, aspirin,

Bring anti-diarrhea medication, cough drops, sunscreen, antibiotic ointment

Use old luggage

More tips- Packing tips every traveler should know

If you’d like an email of today’s tips, Like my Facebook page, Unique Travel Events or sign up for my free newsletter on www.uniquetravelevents.com

Do you have a great idea for travel preparation? I’d love to share your idea with my readers.

Lots more tips to come on the do’s and don’ts, advice from good sources and more

Remember, travel is medicine for the heart, mind and soul and your travel agent has the cure.

When to go on your spectacular vacation

Now that you have figured out where to go, the next step is when.

Many of us have narrow windows, like summer when school is out or business is slow. And most of us need to coordinate with family, bosses, friends, dog walkers, etc.

If you know you can only go during certain times of the year, make it easy.

PLAN AHEAD! Get a jump on everyone else that has to go in July or August and start planning a year ahead.

Here is a simple schedule

Pick your destination a year before you go

9-12 months before you go, book your cruise, resort, tour, hotel

Most of the time this gives you 6-9 months to pay for it.

6 months before you leave research your activities.

3 months before book your activities

2 months before make the list of who needs to know and who DOESN’T (telling everyone on Facebook that your house will be unoccupied for two weeks is like saying ‘come rob me’)

1 month before start the packing list, clothes, medication, electronics, entertainment, documentation, money

2 weeks before- If you are flying figure out how you are getting to the airport and getting back

1 week before- Start packing

The day/night before-fill up the car if you are driving, check the bags one last time

If you’d like an email of today’s tips, Like my Facebook page, Unique Travel Events or sign up for my free newsletter on www.uniquetravelevents.com

Lots more tips to come on the do’s and don’ts, advice from good sources and more

Remember, travel is medicine for the heart, mind and soul and your travel agent has the cure.

Let me know how I can make your travel dreams come true. Email- asavitch@uniquetravelevents.com Call 703-986-0934

Andrea

Plan ahead to make your vacation spectacular

As a travel agent I book lots of trips for clients and they ALWAYS start with the plan.

The plan starts with two questions.

Where do you want to go and when do you want to go there?

Often the where is the hardest part.

When someone says, “Andrea, where should I go  on vacation?”

My response is, “I don’t know, but let’s figure it out.”

The world offers amazing places to visit, from lazy beaches to thrilling rides, heavenly food to trekking through the mud.

So, begin your plan with where you want to go.

If you need help figuring it out, Like my facebook page, Unique Travel Events or sign up for my free newsletter and I’ll send you a simple way to narrow down the options and finish the first step of your plan.

Then on to when.

Remember, travel  is medicine for the heart, mind and soul and your travel agent has the cure.

CASTLES, CUCKOOS AND CHOCOLATE

We all love tours and this is especially when we are taken to the most exotic and fun places together with the undertaking of fun activities guaranteed to remain etched in our minds. It is not a hidden fact that most people associate beer with Germany and Austria with Mozart and Julie only that there is more to be experienced in this tour that will leave you in awe of what they have to offer. This is in regards to the natural beauty that will most definitely appeal to nature lovers and this is because of the scenic beauty they will indulge in during the tour. In addition to that, there will be historical treasures that will be on display for visitors and natives alike to identify with and this is in regards to what history has to offer. Passing through the flourishing modern cities will enable you enjoy the various fun activities associated with each city and this is not forgetting their tantalizing cuisines together with the breads, signature sausages, cheeses and chocolates of the region. Not forgetting sipping wine along some of the most famous wine routes of the world will absolutely bring about an unforgettable experience.

What about a ride on the convertible caravans of Germany? What an experience it would be! With all the fairy castles together with the most magical castle town of Heidelberg, a botanical island of flowers and picturesque villages in the very heart of Alps, you will definitely be tempted to stay on a little bit longer!