International or Domestic Travel

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Determining Which Type of Travel is Best For You: International or Domestic Travel

Knowing whether to choose international or domestic travel is hard enough on its own, but COVID has made things even tougher. So which type of travel is right for you? And how do you know? Let’s look at the Pros and Cons of both International and Domestic Travel!

International Travel – Pros

International or Domestic Travel: clear glass museum during golden hour

So you want to see the world. GREAT! Me, too! But it’s not like you just wake up in the morning and think, “I’m going to go to England today.” Or maybe you do, but I certainly don’t! It will take time, money, research, and planning!

Meet Incredible People

When you travel, you will meet all kinds of people from all walks of life. These people will have different dreams, aspirations, values, experiences, stories, and more! When you travel internationally, you can meet people where you travel, and you may meet people you are indirectly traveling with, like on a group tour, for example.

Explore Somewhere New

This one is fairly obvious, but needs to be said. Your local Metroparks may have great hiking trails or nature preserves, but there is something special about, say, hiking Machu Picchu. Sometimes, you’ll visit somewhere you’ve dreamt about your whole life. And sometimes, you’ll step outside of your comfort zone and discover something new about not only the world, but also yourself!

Have an Adventure and See the World

I’ve always been a fan of adventures. The Lord of the Rings, Treasure Island, the Call of the Wild: these were some of my favorite books growing up. So why not have an adventure of your own?

See the Beauty that Lives All Over the World

Maybe you want to see the sunrise over the Mediterranean, or take an African Safari on the Serengeti. Whatever your heart’s desire, there is so much beauty in the world. Travel and see some for yourself!

International Travel – Cons

International or Domestic Travel: busy city during night time

Unfortunately, International travel is not for everyone. So let’s explore some Cons of International travel.

The Cost is HIGH

So unfortunately, traveling isn’t free. And traveling abroad is no exception. Not only do you need to pay for transportation, lodging, and food, but, depending on where you go, you may need passports and visas and inoculations, as well as these days, COVID testing. So the cost can add up quickly.

It’s Exhausting

To be sure, all travel can be exhausting. But when you’re traveling all over the world, you can encounter several different time zones in one day. So the phrase “I need a vacation from my vacation” is not all that inaccurate.

There’s Potential Danger

Yes, there’s potential danger in literally everything, but some parts of the world are just not safe. Make sure to do all the necessary research and be smart!

You Might Have to Go Home Again

And, worst of all, this “vacation” thing might end, and they will expect you to go back home one day! They won’t just let you stay indefinitely!

Here Is a Taste of Where You Can Go!

paris
International or Domestic Travel: crowded street with cars along arc de triomphe
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
singapore
International or Domestic Travel: Singapore, view of illuminated buildings at night
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
peru
photo of machu picchu
Photo by Chelsea Cook on Pexels.com

Domestic Travel – Pros

Domestic Travel: adventure autumn california country

So what about domestic travel? There is a ton of natural beauty to see right here at home, so let’s not overlook it!

More Affordable than International Travel

Despite the price of gas, it is still more affordable to drive cross-country, exploring the National Parks, than it is to fly off to Europe. And transportation isn’t the only thing that makes domestic travel more affordable! Lodging can be cheaper, food can be cheaper, and some places, like U.S. National Parks, are low in cost, if not free, to visit.

No Cultural or Language Barriers

It’s not likely that traveling within the United States will be hindered by language or cultural barriers, which is a plus! Sometimes it’s hard to know all the etiquette and rules of a location overseas. And it’s true, we do not all speak the same language!

Easier to Plan Domestic Travel with Friends

Either traveling with friends or visiting with friends at their home, domestic travel is easier to plan with friends than International travel.

Support Local Economies and Businesses

There are so many areas in the U.S. that rely on tourist economies to survive. Domestic travel keeps that money here, bolstering the people that live in touristy areas nationwide.

See the Beauty of THIS Country

Yes, the world is beautiful, but that does not mean there isn’t a ton of beauty right here at home! The Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe, there is plenty of beauty right here!

Domestic Travel – Cons

brown grass field

You take the good, you take the bad, right? So what could be bad about traveling domestically?

No New Cuisines

American food is American food, whether it is plant-based, deep fried, or raw. You won’t be getting too far out of your comfort zone by picking another big chain restaurant located in another part of the country!

No New Cultures

Just like with cuisine, you won’t be heading into new cultures inside the U.S.

It is Harder to Disconnect from Real Life

Going off the grid in International travel is much easier. You can simply just not buy an International plan from your cell phone provider. Simple as that. But here, it’s much harder to completely and totally disconnect.

Here is a Taste of Where You Can Go!

Oregon
Domestic Travel: Crater Lake, Oregon
Photo by Andrea P. Coan on Pexels.com
jackson hole, wyoming
teton range and lake jackson in wyoming
Photo by dennis George on Pexels.com
washington, D.C.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Contact me to talk about all your International or Domestic Travel!

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Safely Travel to Mexico

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Read Time:2 Minute, 33 Second

Tips for Americans to Safely Travel to Mexico

Our neighbors to the south have a lot to offer, like amazing food, ancient ruins, and some of the most incredible beaches in the whole world. But it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. The US State Department has labeled Mexico as a Level Two on their Travel Alert scale. This means that Americans are encouraged to travel, but they should be alert and aware of their surroundings. Here are some tips to help you safely travel to Mexico, and enjoy everything this beautiful country has to offer!

Safely travel to Mexico
Mexico is Home to some of the BEST Beaches in the World.

Make Copies of All Your Important Travel Documents

You may feel that having your papers on you at all times is the safest. But having a copy is best to avoid pickpockets. Keep the originals locked in a safe in your room and carry the copy instead.

Do Your Research!

Safely Travel to Mexico

You don’t want to find yourself in one of several “Level 4: Do Not Travel” locations, so it is best to know where you’re going. Or, even better, get yourself a travel agent that can guide you on where is the safest and best location for your budget!

Watch What You Eat and Drink

Safely Travel to Mexico

I’m sure you’ve heard “don’t drink the water” before. And this is SO TRUE in Mexico! Take and drink bottled water everywhere you go. And you will see food vendors all over the streets, and it will smell amazing, but you should only buy food from vendors with long lines full of tourists AND locals. That short line may seem enticing, but there’s probably a reason it’s short.

Do NOT Get Super Drunk

Tequila, Mexico
Tequila: Where Tequila Comes From

Tequila is like water in Mexico, there is Mexican beer everywhere, and HEY! You’re on vacation! But safety first! Do not accept drinks from strangers, do not walk back to your hotel drunk in the dark, and be mindful of your surroundings.

Have Emergency Contacts At The Ready

Mexico now uses the same 911 system that we use in the United States, but you will also want to have the American Embassy and Consulate numbers handy. And, of course, copies of your important travel documents!

Consider an All-Inclusive

Cancun All-Inclusive

All-Inclusives are the BEST way to travel. Not only is everything prepaid before you get there, but you rarely need to leave your resort. Also, if an all-inclusive isn’t for you, but you don’t plan to leave the pool and/or beach, stay at the most popular hotels.

Do Not Use Lyft/Uber to Get Around

It is best to stick with a registered cab company for transportation. While tourists are generally not kidnapped in Mexico, it, again, is better to be safe than sorry!

Learn Basic Spanish

Learning some basic Spanish will help you get around safely, and make you seem less ignorant. Not to mention it can greatly increase your chances to NOT get swindled!

Contact me today to book your SAFE vacation to Mexico!

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Enjoy Hawaii!

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Read Time:8 Minute, 6 Second

Three Unique Things To Do on Each of Hawaii’s Islands to Help You Enjoy Hawaii!

Enjoy Hawaii
Hawaii’s 6 Islands

Hawaii is a tropical paradise tucked away in the Pacific Ocean. It is made up of 6 islands, and each one has plenty to do if you choose to visit. Here are three things to do on each of Hawaii’s islands, and they are sure to help you enjoy Hawaii!

The Big Island: Hawaii

Enjoy Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii is home to the world’s most active volcanoes, but don’t let this keep you from visiting! They have warnings for these sorts of things. In fact, the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea, has been actively erupting since 1983! So what is there to do on the Big Island?

  1. Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, though it is closed on most holidays, so it’s best to check before you go! And you can purchase a pass online that will be valid for 7 days from purchase. Enjoy day hiking, back country hiking, the Crater Rim Drive tour, the Chain of Craters Road Tour, the Kahuku Unit, and visit two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. To truly take in the most of this natural beauty, you should plan to spend at least one day exploring the park.
  2. Akaka Falls State Park. Here, you can see two gorgeous waterfalls on one short, .4-mile hike uphill through a lush rainforest filled with wild orchids, bamboo groves, and draping ferns.
  3. Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi that last erupted approximately 4000 years ago. At 13,796 feet above sea level and over 33,000 feet from the bottom of the ocean floor, Mauna Kea is the tallest sea mountain in the world. In the Hawaiian religion, the peaks of Mauna Kea are sacred. Stop by the Visitor Information Station, the best amateur observation site on Earth! Also, the Onizuka Center holds free nightly stargazing sessions from 6-10 pm. And on weekends, guests can take part in Mauna Kea summit tours!

The Valley Isle: Maui

Enjoy Hawaii - Maui

Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest Hawaiian island. And Maui has been voted “Best Island in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler readers for more than 20 years!

  1. The Road to Hana Tour. This tour has something for everyone, including the INCREDIBLE beauty of Hawaii! You will be able to catch a roadside waterfall, or enjoy an off-the-beaten path hiking trail. Also, some of the best banana bread stops in the state! Guests can either drive themselves or take any number of guided tours.
  2. Haleakala National Park Maui. Towering over the island of Maui, 10,023 feet above sea level, in fact, the Haleakala Crater is a dormant volcano with breathtaking views. Haleakala means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian, and legend goes that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last longer. (You’re welcome.) Catch the sunrise, or the sunset, and learn about how Haleakala contributes to the fragile ecosystem of Maui.
  3. Ka’anapali Beach. Three miles of white sand beach and crystal clear waters: the literal definition of paradise. And, of course, the ideal way to enjoy Hawaii! Here, you can take in one of the world class golf courses, or zip line above the breathtaking coastline and see the incredible beauty of the beach for yourself. Each night, a cliff diver lights the torches of the cliffs known as Puu Kekaa, diving off Black Rock in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s revered King Kahekili.

The Gathering Place: Oahu

Chinaman's Hat - Oahu

Chances are, everything you know about Hawaii is on Oahu. Beacause Oahu is the most populous island in Hawaii, the home of Waikiki and Pearl Harbor.

  1. Kailua Beach Park. The main park here is 35 acres of green space and sand dunes and, since Kailua Beach is less developed than Waikiki, it has more natural beauty. Enjoy the white sand beaches and crystal blue waters as you enjoy Hawaii in this amazing paradise.
  2. Pearl Harbor. There is a TON to see and do, as well as learn, at Pearl Harbor. It is certainly more than just the USS Arizona, though that is the most important part.
  3. Diamond Head State Monument. Created about 300,000 years ago by a violent volcanic eruption, the Diamond Head crater has become Oahu’s most recognized landmark!

The Garden Isle: Kauai

Enjoy Hawaii - Coast of Kauai

Kauai, the oldest island of the Hawaiian Islands, is a place where worries vanish in the trade winds, warm saltwater laps the golden sands of Kauai’s Beaches and the rain-forests of Koke’e host earth’s rarest plants and birds. While here, you will experience the secrets of The Garden Island as you dive into the beauty Kauai has to offer. There is truly no place like the Garden Isle of Kauai.

  1. Waimea Canyon. Waimea Canyon State Park is the largest canyon in the Pacific. Here, you will find several Insta-worthy photo spots and overlooks to capture the breathtaking sights. Surrounding the Waimea Canyon is the Koke’e State Park, which occupies 4,345 acres of land. Norfolk pines, Koa hardwoods, native plants and wildlife are just a small fraction of what you will see here. State operated cabins and hiking by permit is available year-round with advance reservations.
  2. Na Pali Coast. This rugged coastline stretches along the Northwest side of Kauai, and is absolutely GORGEOUS! Here, you can take in the high cliffs, sea caves, cascading waterfalls, and lush green valleys of the coast. During your visit, you can go snorkeling, take a catamaran tour, helicopter tours, and more!
  3. Hanalei. This idyllic town, located on Kauai’s north shore, is home to everything from historic places to contemporary art galleries. Here, you will find the Waioli Mission House, where you can learn more about the history of beautiful Kauai. Or maybe you would like to see a ukulele concert at the Hanalei Community Center. Also, you can take in the breathtaking beauty of the misty green mountains and try to figure out words to describe their beauty. Fans of the musical South Pacific may recognize the Hanalei Pier, which was featured in the movie version.

The Friendly Isle: Moloka’i

© Avichai Ben Tzur 
Moloka'i Hawaii

Moloka’i is the fifth largest Hawaiian island. So this island is TINY! In fact, it is only 38 miles long and 10 miles wide. And it has some of the highest sea cliffs in the world and the longest continuous fringing reef. It is said that Moloka’i is the most urban and most “Hawaiian” of all the islands. It is also quite rugged, so it is not for the faint of heart!

  1. Kaluapapa National Historical Park. In order to even access Kaluapapa National Historical Park, you have to take a 3-mile mule ride. Like I said, Moloka’i is NOT for the faint of heart! Here, you will find the highest sea cliffs in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This serene park is a breathtakingly beautiful place of preservation and education.
  2. Papohaku Beach. Known as “Three Mile Beach,” this three mile stretch of white sand beach is home to, well, nobody. You will enjoy the “Friendly Island” vibe while taking in the amazing sands, without all the foot traffic. There are campsites, indoor and outdoor shower facilities, restroom facilities, and picnic grounds. And you can take in the incredible views of Oahu from the serenity of the beach!
  3. Moloka’i’s Seacliffs. The absolute best way to take in the beauty of the Moloka’i Seacliffs is to take a helicopter tour from Maui. What an awe-inspiring way to enjoy Hawaii!

The Pineapple Island: Lanai

Enjoy Hawaii

Once a pineapple plantation, Lanai is now owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, and he is turning it into a playground for the super rich. This is the smallest Hawaiian island that tourists are allowed to visit.

  1. Munro Trail. This rugged 12.8 mile trail can only be hiked or biked, you cannot drive. It was named after the New Zealand Naturalist, George Munro, who arrived in 1890. Munro introduced the Cook Pine Trees that you’ll find along the trail.
  2. Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods). The rock towers, spires, and formations formed by centuries of erosion are at their most enchanting at dusk. But know that the area is only accessible via four-wheel drive vehicle or mountain bike. The area actually used to be part of a native dryland forest, parts of which have survived today. As the sun sets, it casts a warm orange glow on the rocks illuminating them in brilliant reds and purples. And on a clear day, visitors can see the islands of Molokai and Oahu from these high elevations. 
  3. The Cathedrals. For SCUBA divers, the Cathedrals offer an underwater wonderland full of rock formations, coral, and native sea species.

How You Can Visit and Enjoy Hawaii

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The Anaheim Hotel

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Read Time:5 Minute, 0 Second

Read my FULL REVIEW of our recent stay at The Anaheim Hotel!

The Anaheim Hotel
The Anaheim Hotel

Unlike Walt Disney World, Disneyland only has 3 on-site hotels. Naturally, that does not create a ton of availability for guests. Also unlike Walt Disney World, there are a TON of Good Neighbor Hotels within walking distance of Disneyland. The Anaheim Hotel is located directly across the street from Avengers Campus, at the corner of Harbor Blvd and Disney Way. It is merely a 10 minute walk to the main gate. In fact, it’s closer than the Disneyland resorts. This hotel offers plenty of basic amenities, including on-site dining, laundry, fitness facilities, and a pool.

LOCATION

The Anaheim Hotel - Guardians of the Galaxy

Like I said, this hotel is pretty close. In fact, there are only a handful of hotels that are closer than this one. Every morning, we could see the Avengers Campus as we set out towards the park. For the price point (depending on WHEN you’re going, it’s usually between $150/$200 per night), you won’t find much better as far as location is concerned.

LOCATION: 11/10

DINING

The Anaheim Hotel - Pizza Press

To be honest, we never ate anything in our hotel. We were so close to Disneyland and Downtown Disney, so it was incredibly easy to just walk across the street. But the Pizza Press is right there in the hotel and it was ALWAYS busy. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the menu looked decent, but as someone with celiac, I don’t like to eat in places like this with shared kitchens. So we avoided it.

The Anaheim Hotel
The Front Room Lounge

Located just outside the Pizza Press, in the lobby, is the Front Room Lounge. Serving cocktails, beer, soft drinks, etc, as well as breakfast nibbles, this seemed a cozy option. But, again, we did not go there because HELLO! Disneyland is ACROSS THE STREET! They also offer in-room dining and poolside service, as well. I found it to have relatively decent offerings but nothing that said “I have GOT TO eat this.” If they offered free breakfast, my rating would be higher.

DINING: 6/10

AMENITIES

Laundry

Is this a 5-star resort? No. It’s a motel across the street from Disneyland. But the Anaheim Hotel does offer a decent amount of amenities for its guests. The on-site laundry, which was available 24-hours, is reasonably priced ($2.75 per wash $2.75 per dry) and clean. There is no detergent available in the laundry room but you can purchase it in the gift shop. Having said that, having the option to buy individual sizes would be nice. We had 2 loads of laundry and did not need a whole bottle of detergent.

fitness center

The Fitness Center is incredibly basic but it definitely has enough to get the job done. There is a good mixture of cardio machines, dumbbells, and free weights, as well as stability balls, pilates, and yoga. You will also find safety dividers between the machines.

pool

The Anaheim Hotel has a BIG pool. They claim it is the largest pool in Anaheim. I don’t know if that’s true, as places like the Howard Johnson have water parks, but nevertheless it is a large pool. They have poolside movies in the summer and the pool is heated for the “cooler” seasons. Much to our surprise, there was also a hot tub, which we happily enjoyed to soothe our sore muscles from walking 10 miles a day! There are no slides or kiddie water play areas, but the large pool gives everyone room to enjoy themselves. There are also games in the area, like ping pong tables, cornhole boards, etc, and poolside food and drink service.

We had daily housekeeping, too, which was fantastic. The room was clean, the lobby area was clean, the grounds were clean, and the staff was amazing. Nothing at all like you would expect in a motel.

AMENITIES: 8/10

ROOMS – Deluxe King Room with Two King Beds

Now for the rooms. They are not fancy. If you want fancy, this is not the hotel for you. This is a motel. BUT they were clean and updated. We were in a Deluxe King Room, so we had 2 king-sized beds. The vanity area is separate from the shower and toilet, and the double sinks were very large. We had plenty of space for everyone to get ready in a timely manner and not be in each others way.

Yes, the beds were king sized. Yes, the beds were uncomfortable. Now, if you like a soft mattress, you may like them, but I need a firm mattress. The first night I didn’t sleep that well. But the rest of the week, I was so tired, I just passed right on out! If I had it to do all over again, I probably would have booked the standard 2-queen room, if only to get the balcony. It would have been nice to enjoy the GORGEOUS California weather on a balcony and/or patio off our room.

All we used our room for was bathing and sleeping. We didn’t need to do anything else, because we were there to go to Disneyland, and that was where we spent the majority of our time. This was perfect. If you are going to be in California for an extended period of time, I would consider something nicer with more amenities, like the Disneyland Hotel or the Howard Johnson Water Park. But for just going to the parks? This is perfect.

ROOMS: 7/10

See my YouTube Review

Overall, I would give this hotel an 8/10. It served the purpose that we needed it for, and didn’t give us any problems. I would definitely consider this for future Disneyland trips!

Are YOU ready to head to Disneyland? Contact me today for more information!!

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Tahiti: Island Paradise

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Read Time:3 Minute, 14 Second

5 Things to Do in Tahiti: Island Paradise

If there was ever a place that embodies the beautiful duality of the French Polynesian archipelago, it’s Tahiti. The largest of the French Polynesia’s 118 Islands, Tahiti is often referred to as two separate islands, even though they are joined by a tiny land bridge. The larger, northern section is called Tahiti Nui, and it contains the capital city, Papeete. The smaller section is more secluded, called Tahiti Iti. Tahiti is an island paradise in the South Pacific, and is breathtakingly beautiful. Quiet beauty coupled with seclusion makes it the perfect place to visit when you need to destress, unwind, and unplug.

5 Places to See in Tahiti

Tahiti: Island Paradise - La Plage de Maui
1. La Plage de maui

This pearly, white sand beach, located on Tahiti’s Southern Shore, is known for its crystal clear waters and it’s white sand beach. A lot of beaches in the island paradise of Tahiti have volcanic black sand. This beach stands out!

The water is said to be perfectly clear, so you can easily see the bottom of the ocean! It’s truly an island paradise here! The snack bar here serves fresh fish and seafood, and is exceptionally popular with visitors and tourists!

2. fautaua waterfall
Tahiti: Island Paradise - Fautaua Waterfall

This gorgeous, natural wonder cascades into a large pool. It is quite a challenging hike to the falls, which is said to be part of the adventure, so it is highly suggested you take a tour with a large group. The falls can be difficult to find, so better safe than sorry!

3. papenoo beach
Papenoo Beach
Papeenoo Beach

This small village is located east of Papeete and offers a reminder of the island’s volcanic history. This beach is less crowded with tourists than La Plage de Maui, but it is known to attract the Island’s surfing community. It’s black sand beach reaches down into the crystal clear blue waters of the south pacific. It is close enough to Papeete that you can go into the city before or after, but, if you take a taxi, you’ll want to arrange pickup times in advance!

Capital City of Papeete
4. papeete, capital of tahiti and all of french Polynesia

Shopping, dining, nightlife, and sightseeing, OH MY! You’ll want to shop for black pearls and unique island crafts here.

Also worth a visit, head to the Municipal Market. This Market is full of fresh veggies, fruits, meat, fish, flowers, and goods like hats and souvenirs. Chinese, French, and Italian cuisine are the most popular at the local restaurants.

6. The island of moorea
Tahiti: Island Paradise - Moorea

Tahiti’s sister island of Moorea is much more rugged. The island features a jagged outcropping, called Magic Mountain, that is covered with lush, tropical foliage. This is popular for ATV tours and hiking tours. There are also various beaches, including Temal Beach on the north coast.

The Lagoonarium offers scuba diving and snorkeling. The Moorea Dolphin Center offers the chance to see many marine mammals.

When to Visit

Tahiti: Island Paradise

The best time to visit this island paradise is winter, between May and October. This is Tahiti’s Dry Season, which means lower humidity and less rain. The average temperatures range from the upper-60s to the mid-80s.

How to Visit

CONTACT ME! I can help you book the vacation of your DREAMS! Book by March 27, 2022, through me with Pleasant Holidays, and you can save up to $600! You can choose from Garden Bungalows with Private Plunge Pools, to Family-Friendly Hillside Villas, to indulgent Overwater two-story Presidential Bungalows!

All overwater bungalows have viewing panes in the floor to see the fish and most have lights to illuminate the viewing area at night. Most resorts also include a free breakfast. These deals through Pleasant Holidays include Round-trip Flights, Hotel Accommodations, taxes, and more!

There are also South Pacific cruises available! Contact me today to book your dream vacation!

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Visit Puerto Rico!!

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Read Time:6 Minute, 49 Second

Contrary to popular belief, Puerto Rico is actually a part of the United States, and I’m going to tell you why if you never visit, you’re missing out! This tropical paradise, located in the Caribbean Sea, is an archipelago made up of the main island, four smaller islands, and hundreds of cays and islets! When you visit Puerto Rico, you will experience amazing sights, sounds, and tastes!! You can experience the Island in an immersive way through its food, drinks, and music! Taste exotic infusions in dishes and cocktails, dance to the rhythms of salsa, reggaetón, and more, experience first-hand the pride of Puerto Ricans in exciting festivals.

Start in San Juan

Puerto Rico

If you’re visiting Puerto Rico for the first time, you’ll probably want to see a little bit of everything. And that’s EXACTLY what you should do! Start in San Juan, and get an authentic taste of the Caribbean! Head over to the Piñones neighborhood of the nearby town of Loíza.

Located just 15-minutes outside of San Juan (and only about five minutes from the airport), enjoy this amazing strip of oceanfront kiosks and restaurants! Grab a sit-down meal at one of the many amazing restaurants, and enjoy fresh local seafood platters like whole-fried red snapper, shrimp-stuffed mofongo, or garlic mahi mahi. Or go kiosk-hopping (what locals call chinchorreo) and grab your first taste of Puerto Rican fritters like alcapurrias, bacalaítos, and piononos. Embrace the local culture and be sure to wash them down with an ice-cold beer or fresh fruit frappe!!

Visit Puerto Rico - La Posita Beach

You can’t visit Puerto Rico and not go to the beach. Since you’re in the Piñones neighborhood, change into your swimsuit and head to La Posita. This quiet beach is framed by a rock formation that creates a quiet shallow tidepool. Relaxing, right?

San Juan For families
Visit Puerto Rico - Old San Juan

You’re in Old San Juan, so take it all in! This 500-year old city has a lot to offer! Visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a citadel high above San Juan designed to protect the island from being attacked from the sea. You could also visit Museo Casa Blanca, the former mansion of Ponce de Leon, the first governor of San Juan.

For history buffs, like me, you’ll want to visit the Cuartel de Ballajá, which was originally built as housing for the Spanish and Puerto Rican armies. Now, you will find it still fully functional, housing many things like the Museo de Las Américas , where you can learn about the conservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of Puerto Rico. You can go on your own, or book guided tours, but it’s not something you’ll want to miss!!

San Juan has many museums and more!
El Morro
Head to Casa BACARDÍ Puerto Rico for a tour and a rum tasting!!
  • Historical Tour – First tour starts at 9:15 a.m., last tour starts at 4:30 p.m.
  • Rum Tasting Tour – First tour starts at 10:00 a.m., last tour starts at 4:00 p.m.
  • Mixology Class – First tour starts at 10:30 a.m., last tour starts at 4:30 p.m.


Enjoy a welcome cocktail at the waterfront Bat Bar Pavilion, then join a guided tour to discover how BACARDÍ rum is made, and learn about the family-owned company’s history of craft and innovation. Other experiences include a rum tasting tour, mixology class and bottling your own BACARDÍ.

Puerto Rico – A Land of Beauty

El Yunque National Forest

Puerto Rico - El Yunque

One of the current hottest trends in the US is visiting all the US National Parks. Well, if you want to do that, you NEED to visit El Yunque National Forest! This is the ONLY Tropical Rainforest in the US National Forest service! With an average rainfall of 120 inches a year, El Yunque has a very diverse ecosystem, hosting hundreds of unique plant and animal species, including the Island’s famous coquí frog.

Coqui Singing Frog
El Yunque
Yunque know before you go – Reserve your spot!

To guarantee visitors and the Forest Service employees’ safety and health, you must wear a facemask at all times and reserve your visit in advance through www.recreation.gov/. 

Only one reservation per vehicle is required, and it can be booked up to a month before your visit. Tickets for your car are free, but the booking engine charges a small fee payable by credit or debit card. Your entry ticket can be used to enter from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. Recreation areas close at 5:00 p.m.

hiking el yunque

If you love hiking, you’re going to LOVE El Yunque! You will enjoy hiking to one of the natural pools to cool off with a swim. Head over to La Coca trail and hike down to one of several ponds along the route for the perfect way to cool off.

For fun in the form of a rope swing, choose El Angelito trail, where a 4km hike can end with a dive into its lagoon. There are plenty of additional options for trail with varying levels of difficulty throughout the park.

Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bays

Puerto Rico has three of the five bioluminescent bays in the world.

In 2006, Mosquito Bay was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. Its glow-in-the-dark phenomenon is due to an abundance of tiny dinoflagellates — about 1,000,000 to 2,100,000 microorganisms per gallon of water! The lack of light pollution further enhances this natural spectacle as you move through the bay by kayak or electric boat.

Explore the underground in puerto rico’s caves

Get off the beaten path on an underground adventure. The caves of Puerto Rico offer adventurous visitors the opportunity to go hiking, spelunking, rock climbing, rappelling, or rafting in some of the Island’s less-visited parts.

Wade through narrow rock openings waist-deep in an underground river with only a headlamp for illumination. Rappel through the mouth of a cavern alongside a giant waterfall. Discover indigenous hieroglyphs after a climb. Or, if you’re looking for an easy hike and some stunning pictures, that’s readily available, too. Visiting the caves of Puerto Rico offers diverse and unique ways of experiencing the Island, which not many tourists or even locals know about. 

Caves of Puerto Rico
Toro verde nature Adventure park
Visit Puerto Rico

Toro Verde Adventure Park is located in the town of Orocovis, about an hour and 45 minutes from San Juan and hidden between rolling mountains covered in dense forest. The area boasts some of the most breathtaking mountain views on the Island, which you’ll see flying beneath you, if you choose to go ziplining.

Since the park opened in 2009, its network of ziplines and suspension bridges has steadily expanded, and now includes two enormous ziplines, The Beast at nearly 1.5 kilometers and The Monster, the second longest zipline in the world!!!

Life’s a beach!
Puerto Rico beaches

And, of COURSE, you cannot visit Puerto Rico without going to the BEACH!!! Puerto Rico has over 270 miles of shoreline and over 300 beaches to explore! Black sand, white sand, pink sand, all in one sand, there is no shortage of beaches to help you relax when visiting Puerto Rico! Read about the best beaches in Puerto Rico here!

I could go on and on and on about what you can do in Puerto Rico! I haven’t even gotten started on the shopping, dining, and nightlife!

How Can I Visit Puerto Rico?

You may be asking yourself “how can I get to Puerto Rico tomorrow to experience all of this?” Well there are a ton of options! First off, you need to CONTACT ME!!! I can book any option you may choose!

Pick a cruise with a day (or two) in Puerto Rico. OR EVEN a cruise that LEAVES from San Juan, and tack on a couple days before embarking on the cruise! You can book a land only stay, too! The opportunities are never ending!

Are you ready to go to Puerto Rico?!?!?! Let’s do it!

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Travel Agents Work for YOU

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Read Time:5 Minute, 53 Second

Pandemics and Other Disasters: Why You Will Want Travel Agents Helping You With Your Vacation Planning

Using a Travel Agent is a hot button issue. Some people don’t want to think about anything other than arriving at their destination and relaxing, so their first inclination is to always use a travel agent. Some people want to control every aspect of their vacation, and they think using Travel Agents means they have no control. These are the people I’m specifically speaking to right now. Let’s talk about WHY you should ALWAYS use Travel Agents!

Travel Agents Are Already Built Into the Price of Your Vacation

My services are 100% FREE to you. Naturally, I cannot speak for other agencies, but I can tell you unequivocally that I will never charge you a cent over what your vacation costs. All of the companies that I deal with pay me directly when you travel. Why? Because the cost of using Travel Agents is built into the price of your vacation, whether you use one or not. So, why WOULDN’T you use a travel agent? You get what you pay for, right?! So there will never be a worry about how you’re going to pay me. You only need to pay for your vacation. Period.

If There is An Emergency, Travel Agents Can Handle All the Details for Cancelling and/or Rescheduling Your Trip

Sometimes, Pooh happens. And when it does, who doesn’t love a smackerel of honey? But unfortunately, poo also happens. And when it does, I am here to take care of everything for you, so you will have one less worry. When emergencies happen, the last thing you want to do is sit on hold trying to figure out something that, depending on the situation, may truly be the least of your worries, even if thousands of dollars are involved. I will sit on hold so you don’t have to.

Travel Agents are Up-To-Date on Current Travel Requirements and Restrictions

It is literally my job to keep up with not only travel restrictions via the US, but also the world. I wouldn’t want to plan a whole vacation, only to find out that the country I’m planning to visit is not currently open to me! That’s why you need a travel agent! I am always reading what is happening in Disney Parks and all Disney Destinations, Universal Studios, Cruising, International Travel, and more. For example, I recently had a client inquire about a Mediterranean Cruise, but they were concerned about whether or not Italy would let them into the country. I happen to know that Italy IS letting Americans into the country, and what the requirements are. They didn’t have to look anything up, because I already knew!

If You Use a Travel Agent, You Deal with The Same Person EVERY TIME

Speaking of calling someone, if you need to contact Disney or Universal or Royal Caribbean or Beaches/Sandals, etc, during the entire pre-vacation phase of the vacation planning, you will talk to several different people. If you go with a Travel Agent, you get me each and every time. This not only gives you a better sense of security, but it also lessens the chance that Bob gave you a piece of information that Janice now says is wholly inaccurate.

Travel Agents Have to Train Every Year, So Travel Agents Have all the Latest Information about Your Destination

I can help you make the tough decisions. Not only should you choose Pop Century or Caribbean Beach for your family, but also really important decisions like “do I really need travel insurance?” or “should I pay for this cruise in full even though it won’t happen?” I am here for you, and I will help you every step of the way.

As a Travel Agent, Your Family’s Needs are My NUMBER ONE Priority

I will get to know your needs and help you plan everything that your family SPECIFICALLY will want, not just a bland vacation full of basic stuff that you may not want. You’re more than just a commission to me! I LOVE to plan vacations for people, and I love to help people discover new destinations! And for Doubters, nothing makes me happier than the “I told you so!” after someone completely falls in love with their vacation!

Travel Agents have an Enormous Catalog of Personal Experiences

I have been to Disney several times and stayed at different resorts, eaten at tons of restaurants, and I’ve ridden every ride. I can give you advice and opinions! Again, something you won’t have to Google! Just ask me! I have also visited many other locations (believe it or not) and cruise ships. And if I don’t know, I know someone who does, and I will get your that information!

Not Only am I A Travel Agent, I’m a Travel Agent with Knowledge of Special Needs, Disabilities, AND Food Allergies!

I have experience traveling with an amazing autistic human with sensory processing disorder and severe anxiety. It IS possible to have amazing vacations, and I have the information to help set your mind at ease! I also have experience dining in the parks with food allergies. I know how Mamas and Papas can panic and worry about their small humans that have these extra challenges and I am here to help guide you through it.

Travel Agents Are Like Walking Guidebooks

I can help you save time by giving you little tips and tricks to get on that ride you REALLY want to ride (get in line for it before the park closes and stay there til you ride it!!). I have navigated through tons of scenarios and I can help you get to everything you will have time for. Not sure if you should get off the ship in Nassau or just enjoy an empty ship for the day? I can help! Trying to choose between Jamaica or Barbados? Want to know the best time of year to visit Alaska?

Travel Agents Can Find the Deals

I can help you save money. Yes, it’s true! I PROMISE! You can start booking your Disney packages 499 days out, but that doesn’t always mean discounts will be available. I will continue to monitor your reservation, and if a discount pops up that will save you money, I will go ahead and just apply it to your trip, and BAM! Money saved! It really is that simple! I have a few other tips and tricks up my sleeves to help you save money.

The same goes for other destinations, too! If you book a Royal Caribbean Cruise and the price goes down before you embark, I will get you the best price. You never have to worry about spending too much, because a GOOD Travel Agent will track prices and discounts!

So here is just TEN ways using an agent is the way to go. Want to book a trip? Contact me today and I will help you make your Vacation Dreams come true!!!!

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Things To Pack That You Might Not Think About

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Read Time:7 Minute, 18 Second

I hate packing. I do, I hate it. I hate packing for overnight trips, I hate packing for long trips, I hate packing to move. I. Hate. Packing. That said, it is a necessity, and it is especially important for Disney vacations. Walt Disney World, especially, is a MASSIVE place. You will be far from home and far from many things, like cheap groceries and clothes that don’t cost the same as a mortgage payment. Of course, now you can order things, which makes things a little easier, but if you’re like me, you’d rather just do it right the first time.

So here is a list of 20 things that you simply MUST pack, but it goes beyond underwear and t-shirts!

  1. Lysol I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “well we’re in a pandemic, DUH!” but no, that’s not why this is on my list. How to say this….many of your hotel situations will involve just one bathroom. And in close quarters. Disney generally involves a lot of eating. And….. so anyway, I’ve always brought a travel can of Lysol to store in the bathroom. Everybody does it….
  2. Reusable Straws So Disney is trying to do the right thing and reduce their carbon footprint. YAY DISNEY! Unfortunately, this means paper straws. I don’t know about you, but paper straws just don’t cut it for my super thick milkshake. So bring some reusable straws! There are tons of them: metal, silicone, bendable, straight, bamboo, whatever you fancy. Get them in many colors and each family member can easily keep track of which one is theirs. You can also get a cleaning brush and wash them in the sink in your room each night.
  3. Reusable Silverware Along those same lines, if you, personally, try to reduce your carbon footprint, instead of using plastic, bring your own!
  4. Gold Bond Powder or Spray/Body Glide So this one, you may be saying “what in the world?” But listen, not all of us have been blessed with a thigh gap. And some of us just don’t enjoy the boob sweat and boob chafe. Body glide is GREAT to keep the thighs from starting a friction fire and Gold Bond keeps certain areas cool and dry (your unmentionables). The Gold Bond powder also provides cool relief at the end of a day of walking and sweating. Trust me, you’re going to need it.
  5. Multi-plug Outlet Your entire family has a phone/iPad/tablet/laptop/computer. As much as Disney has refurbished their hotel rooms, there is not always enough places to plug all your stuff in at the end of the day. Bonus tip: get one with USB ports AND regular plugs to maximize outlets.
  6. Reusable Water Bottle Save OODLES of money by not buying drinks. If you bring your own water bottle (I personally like the Brita bottles because Florida water gives me the bubble guts), you can fill up at the filling stations OR get FREE WATER at any Quick Service Restaurant (or table service before you leave the restaurant) and keep your bottle full. You can also fill up at the refill stations in every hotel (which are now REOPENED!!), but only water, unless you buy a drink. Anything other than water is gonna cost you!
  7. Hand Sanitizer Again, in COVID times, this is a big DUH, but honestly, if you weren’t already using this in the parks…..EW! Have you ever thought about what you’re touching?!?!?!?
  8. Extra Travel Deodorant or Deodorant Wipes I like to throw this in my bag and take it into the park with me. Sometimes, you smell people. I like to make sure that I never walk by someone and become the topic of their conversation (well, because of my scent, at least).
  9. Travel Face Wipes Along those lines, I also like to put these in my bag. Washing my face throughout the day makes me feel SO much better as I continue to sweat.
  10. Light, Small Umbrella/Cheap Ponchos So many thoughts. First of all, they DO sell ponchos in the parks. But for the price of one pretty poncho with Mickey Mouse, you can get a 20-pack on Amazon. It pretty much is guaranteed to rain at least once on your vacation, especially in summer (it will literally rain every single day in the summer) but it usually (NOT ALWAYS) passes by quickly. When you get yourself a 20-pack, you can use it, take it off when the rain passes, and just throw it away. NO CARRYING WET PONCHOS. Me, personally, I hate ponchos. So I stick an umbrella in my bag. If it is raining REALLY hard, I will pull out a cheap poncho, but not usually.
  11. Chilly Pad/Frog Toggs/Cooling Towels The summer in Florida is the surface of the sun. I know this because we usually go in July or August. Teenagers can’t miss school as easily as younger kids, so there ya have it. Anyway, so you get these cooling towels, get em wet, ring em out, and VOILA! You have a cooling device! The towels we currently use can double as a headwrap/bandana, which is really nice because keeping your head cool helps the rest of you out. BONUS TIP: a cheap personal fan also is nice to have.
  12. Portable Rechargeable Cellphone Battery Charger You’re gonna use your phone. You’re gonna take photos and videos, you’re going to post to social media, you’re going to buy things, you’re going to use My Disney Experience. Your battery will last about 15 minutes. Get a charger. You won’t regret it!
  13. Sunglasses and Sunscreen The Sunshine State, y’all. It’s not ironic. The sun is bright, the sun is hot, and there is really not that much shade at Hollywood Studios or World Showcase. You need Sunglasses. And probably extra sunglasses. I left my prescription sunglasses in the hotel one morning and ended up dropping $25 on Mickey Mouse sunglasses. My mom’s sunglasses grew legs and walked away one morning, so she, too, had to get some Mickey sunglasses. And you should wear sunscreen anyway. Cancer is bad.
  14. Disposable Masks In addition to your super cute masks that perfectly match each and every outfit you packed, bring some disposables. Splash Mountain, Kali River Rapids, rain….these are all scenarios that will likely result in wet masks. Why not put a disposable on so that pretty mask doesn’t get soaked? Also, pack EXTRA super cute masks because going to Disney is not like a jaunt through Trader Joe’s!
  15. Extra Plastic Storage Bags, Assorted Sizes Stick some baggies in your park bag to keep electronics dry on water rides (or through heavy rains, RIP Halloween candy), stick wet bathing suits in a baggie to get them home without them getting everything else wet, pack your toiletries in giant baggies so your conditioner doesn’t get all over your favorite tank top you JUST got from Etsy.
  16. Tylenol/Advil/Aleve Etc Yes, this is all free at First Aid Stations (HIGHLY endorse them, they were incredibly helpful during someone’s unexpected lady days), but what about when you have aches and pains in your hotel room at 3am? Having these in your room will be a life saver, especially when you see that 20 pack of Advil in the hotel gift shop for $57.99.
  17. Moleskin/Bandaids (and Medical Scissors to cut it) You’re going to walk. A LOT. Most people are genuinely surprised when their feet hurt. Moleskin can make it incredibly more comfortable to walk the next day, too. And it can make kids whine less about their feet hurting.
  18. Epsom Salts Sometimes you might swell up from dehydration and the heat (don’t drink Dasani, they add salt to the water which then dehydrates you faster. Oh and Disney sells Dasani). A nice soak in some Epsom Salt can make feet go back to normal size and also feels really good!
  19. Extra Shoes/Flip Flops/Sandals Like I said, it’s going to rain. The last time I went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a tropical storm rolled through and those shoes were soaking wet for a week. Thankfully, I had two more pairs of shoes and a pair of sandals in my suitcase.
  20. Light Jacket/Sweat Shirt/Hoodie While it is 300 Kelvin outside, some of the restaurants and shows are -400F. Initially this can feel really good. Then, once your sweat freezes to your skin, you’re shivering and miserable and you cannot enjoy your $59 steak at Le Cellier. Stick a hoodie in your bag and you’ll always be fine!

So there you have it. My tried and true “don’t leave the house for Disney without em” list!

Looking to plan a Disney vacation? Contact me today!!

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