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What country will I be blogging about this weekend?

Here are a few hints:

  • It is the only South American country to use the U.S. dollar as its official currency
  • It is about the size of Colorado
  • Square mile for square mile, it is the most bio-diverse country on the planet

Any guesses?


A cruise is a great option for multi-generational vacations, but what about the very youngest family members? How easy is it to cruise with an infant?

In my opinion, it depends.

It depends on the child, the parents, the ship, the destination, and whether you have other willing helpers (grandparents!) along for the ride. Granted, if you’re traveling with an infant (on land OR at sea) it’s not going to be the same relaxing experience you enjoyed pre-children, but some careful choices up front — along with the guidance of an experienced travel professional — can make all the difference.

Some cruise lines, like Disney, are clearly aimed at families and would be expected to offer kid-friendly amenities (and they do). But you might be surprised by some of the more upscale lines that also go out of their way to make things easier for moms and dads. Cunard, for example, provides nannies, late-night babysitting, and a well-stocked children’s library.

For a great round-up of some of the most baby-friendly cruise lines — and a guide to some of the important things to think about when planning a cruise with your little ones — check out this article.

Haven’t made your plans for the December holidays yet?

Thinking about running away with friends and family to sit on a beach in the Caribbean this year?

It’s not too late! 


Normally, by this time of year, you’d be hard-pressed to find availability for Caribbean villas over the holidays, and any that were still available would be requiring a two-week minimum stay. But not this year.

I’ve been receiving promotional emails from several of my villa vendors touting last-minute availability (and decent pricing) for 3-, 4- and 5-bedroom villas in Turks and Caicos, Barbados, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and the USVI.

Caribbean villa

Just imagine…your own private beachfront hideaway, surrounded by your closest friends/family, with staff (if you want it) to do the cooking and cleaning. That sounds like a holiday to me!

If you’re interested, don’t delay. Give me a call today.

If once-exotic destinations like Costa Rica, Belize and Panama just don’t do it for you anymore, how about Nicaragua?

As I learned at the Adventure Travel Expo this past weekend, Nicaragua is an up-and-coming hot spot that offers all the nature, adventure, history and culture that you could want — at prices significantly below its better-known Central American neighbors.

Nicaragua volcano

In a country that’s just slightly smaller than the state of New York, you can enjoy Spanish Colonial art and architecture in the historic city of Granada…hike to the rim of an active volcano…flyfish and SCUBA dive among Caribbean islands…surf an unspoiled Pacific beach…explore the only fresh water lake in the world that has sharks….and sand board down the side of a dormant volcano. If that’s not enough, there’s nightlife, wildlife, and resort life.

Worried about getting there? There are daily direct flights from Atlanta, Miami and Houston.

I think that Nicaragua may have just made it onto my “short list”. What about you? Interested in checking it out before the secret is out?

I was in New York City this weekend for the Adventures in Travel Expo, and came back with lots of great new contacts, exciting ideas, and “inside scoop” to share with my clients.

The best seminar I attended was a talk by well-known travel guru Arthur Frommer.  He talked about current travel trends (like the increase in “a la carte” airline fees, and the rise of small group adventure tours), he gave some great advice for traveling on a budget, and — most interestingly to me — he gave his predictions for the three hottest destinations for the next six months.

Per Arthur Frommer, the biggest deals and best promotion of this winter will be for travel to Iceland, Ireland and Italy. Fortunately for me, those are three destinations that are already very much on my radar, and I’ve already been seeing some great opportunities for my clients.

So, if you’ve been dreaming about seeing the Northern Lights and taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon….or enjoying a pint of Guinness in a Dublin pub….or maybe gazing in awe at the Sistine Chapel….now is the time!  You heard it here first.

Read a great article by travel guru Rick Steves today about the Eurostar train between London and Paris. Talk about easy! You go right from one city center to the next in about 2.5 hours flat, without any of the hassles of air travel.  No need to get transportation out to the airport, deal with security lines, pay extra for your baggage, etc. 

With high speed rail service like this, there’s really no need to have to choose between fish and chips in a London pub or wine and cheese in a Parisian cafe — you can have both in one trip!

I have some clients who used the Eurostar this summer for a quick trip to London and Paris. They were lucky enough to grab a promotional discount for the upgraded “Leisure Select” service (complete with a gourmet meal, private departure lounge, and more) and they absolutely loved it:

It was great. Super comfortable, announcements in all languages, good food, and very fast.  Such an easy way to travel – beats the plane any day!

I know that a trip through the Chunnel is on my “bucket list”.  How about you?


I just read in a travel agent trade publication that U.S. airlines made in excess of $1.2 billion in baggage fees during the first half of the year. To put that in context, it was their number one source of “ancillary revenue” (meaning everything besides the actual airfare). It was even more than they made in cancellation/change fees (which we ALL know are ridiculously high).

Am I the only one who thinks that’s a heck of a lot of money to make on something that the passenger really can’t control? I can live with charges for food/drinks (bring your own), headphones and blankets (ditto), and even a last-minute cancellation (that’s what travel insurance is for), but how am I supposed to go away on vacation without any luggage?

Guess I’ll have to stick with the few airlines who actually give my bags a free ride (like Jet Blue and Southwest), and stay away from the “legacy” carriers (like USAir, United, Delta, Continental and American) who, in most cases, charge $20 for the first bag and $30 for the second! Ouch!

Looking to check out the fees for yourself? Click here.

October 2009
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