As we begin to move forward with vaccines and testing, travelers wonder if and when they can travel safely following new protocols.
The protocols vary as widely as the destinations, sightseeing, and event centers we wish to experience. Our tour operators are keeping us up-to-date on requirements. Some require vaccinations, others testing prior to arrival, and many require an online health screening form of some type. It is a target that is moving not only daily, but hourly, so let us help direct you to the location of the best information. We are here to help!
Traveling through airports — What program is best for you?
Global Entry designation is best used for those traveling internationally regularly to ease re-entry to the US. It costs $100 for 5 years and includes TSA pre-check which enables you to keep your shoes on, not have to take off your jacket or sweater, or take out your laptop.
TSA Pre-Check is a $120 cost for 5 years, so is a great option for those who travel domestically frequently. In either instance, all travelers of your group need to have the same designation or you have to stand in the regular TSA lines for customs and immigration.
The latest is the CLEAR Program which is touchless processing through airports. $15 per month (or there could be a promo!). The latest shows $179 for 12 months.
Couples choose a destination wedding for a few reasons. They may just have too many friends and family to invite which they cannot fit into their budget for a home wedding. Others dream of beautiful white sandy beaches, beautiful blue waters, and a gentle breeze for the most important day of their lives. Most importantly, they get to choose what they want!
Home Weddings can be very pricey because of the cost associated with location, reception venue and catering, photography and videography, flowers, wedding planner, and so many more little items which run the costs up and over the desired budgets of couples and/or their families.
Destination weddings can offer a very budget-friendly option with costs for guests of 3 or 4 nights an average of $1200-$1400. An all-inclusive package can include air, roundtrip airport transfers at their destination, hotel, and taxes.
All-inclusive resorts include accommodations, all meals, and entertainment as well as non-motorized water sports. Some resorts will offer resort credits for all guests for a 3-night stay to be used for spa or sightseeing in the area (Mexico). The wedding couple can receive comps (credits for the number of room nights booked), and they can earn free daily events as well (based on the number of rooms or number of nights booked).
Wedding packages can be free for a basic “symbolic” (not legal, couples get married prior to arrival) wedding, and the couple can upgrade adding the amenities they choose at a very reasonable price. Some can be as low as $5000 inclusive of the reception for guests, décor, meals, some photography (upgraded packages are offered). They can offer music options such as a DJ, small combo, or iPod connections so couples can bring their own playlist. The choices of resorts and locations vary widely from very small and boutique resorts to very large mega-resorts. They can be adult-only, or family-friendly, and gay-friendly. Call us for a Destination Wedding specialist for the ease of planning and reduction of stress!!
Happy Sailing! When it comes to choosing a cruise, it can be a bit confusing with so many choices in cruise lines and types of cruises. The term "cruise" is usually applied to ocean cruises while there is also a river cruise alternative for those who may have already been on several "big ship" cruises.
There are many factors to consider in choosing and your travel professional (hopefully a Certified Cruise Counselor - CCC, or Master Cruise Counselor - MCC) can hear the amenities and experience you desire.
Traveling with children, you want to choose the length of cruise and onboard amenities that allow for them to be entertained and still give them a place to safely be while you have adult time in the evening if desired. If you are only adults traveling, there are other cruises offered that are not children-focused. Also, there are other cruises that are multi-generational with something for all-adventure and relaxation options included.
Your travel professional hopefully is listening to your points and directing you to the right cruise line and cruise ship. Do you like to dress up, or like resort casual? Do you like dining choices and are "foodies"? Do you want to visit as many ports as possible? Do you wish for a themed cruise such as biking, hiking, historical, wine? Make sure all the extras are given to you such as transfers to and from the ship, gratuities, shore excursions, beverages, specialty coffees, soft drinks, alternative dining at an upcharge, and most importantly insurance. These can add a lot to the cruise costs and result in a hefty onboard account as you disembark. Do you have to have a credit card for these purchases and add-ons, or can you do a cash deposit as an alternative?
Traveling with a group is best handled by a professional agent who has experience in this area as there are amenities that may be offered from which to choose. A small deposit on the cabin such as $50 per person does not secure that cabin should the cruise line need cabins later down the line. It is best to pay the full cabin deposit and get your names on the desired cabins early to protect your group of cabins. This is my suggestion as a protection for those participating.
Traveling slowly with a river cruise is a slow, 7 mile per hour experience to see middle America or the Northwest close up and personal. Did you know beverages are included and ala carte dining has no increased charge and there are shore excursions included (premium excursions would be an additional cost)? The dining and service is more personal, the variety of food plentiful and you can avoid being told what to do and when which can happen on the large cruise ships. Themed cruises are offered and varied.
Barge cruising on purpose-built vessels is another great option. There are options for the more shallow rivers such as the Loire in France, or Po in Italy which add to the variety offered.
The bottom line: use a travel professional who hold the credentials to do business in your state (if required).
Traveling to an All-Inclusive Resort can be fun and easy. All-Inclusive resorts come in all sizes from small to mega-resorts. Some are adult only, some are family-friendly and others for couples only. The freedom lies in prepaying for the package for hotel, transfers, gratuities with air, local tours, and insurance included. The benefit is not having a large hotel tab upon departure. Salons, spas, local tours, motorized water sports, and incidentals are paid separately at the resorts.
Adult Only resorts offer different entertainment options, perhaps different cuisine, sporting, and water activities. Couples-only resorts are just that, so most guests would be celebrating an anniversary or honeymoon, or special birthday. All resorts offer dining options and non-motorized water sports.
Family resorts provide facilities for children of all ages with the latest in fun games and toys and activities to keep them happy and busy when parents wish for some free time. A new option for parents of children with Autism are the Beaches resorts which will tailor the activities to the children’s level. A little bit of information given to the resort prior to arrival insures a successful and happy experience.