Christmas Gift Ideas

Have you ever thought of gifting a travel experience for Christmas? I mean really. What do you get that person that has everything? What do you get that person who goes out and buys whatever it is they need or want for a particular project? What do you get that person whom when you ask them for ideas on what to get for Christmas – they shrug their shoulders and say “whatever you want to get me”?

Well, travel is an excellent gift. We christmas gift imagescan put together a weekend getaway for a couple or a family. How about an all-inclusive stay at a resort in Mexico? You could even get them a cruise to the Caribbean, Alaska and even Europe or Asia. There are also cruise ships that sail up and down the Mississippi River and stop in some very cool cities along the way like Minneapolis or New Orleans. The possibilities are endless.

Even better, organize a group trip for the family and invite brothers, sisters, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Can you imagine the look on their face when you present them with a certificate or flyer that talks about a group of you traveling together as a family or friends? Give us a call at 618-687-2100. We can work with you to make this the most memorable Christmas ever.

 

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Being Thankful

We are so grateful this Thanksgiving season  for the love of our friends, families, and customers who’ve become our friends. We are thankful for good food (especially pumpkin pie), those that take the time to prepare said foods and the gatherings wherein Thanksgivingwe can enjoy them. It is so wonderful that we have a holiday which allows us to reflect on the good things that have come to us and perhaps some not so good things that we’ve endured but have survived.

Keep in mind that being thankful can actually help you emotionally. Even when things are not going so well, try to find at least one thing that you can be thankful for. It may surprise you to find that there may be more than just one thing.

May you and yours be so blessed with the richness of family and friends this season. We Thank you for being a part of our lives and our business.

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Bungalows Over the Water

SRC OTWVB TRADEI’ve wanted to stay in a bungalow or hut over the water ever since I found out they existed. It’s been a few years. But, for the longest time, the only ones around were in the South Pacific which is pretty pricey given the airfare and took a full day maybe even 2 to get there because of the flight schedules.

Not any more! Meet the bungalows over the water at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Jamaica. On top of them being on the water, you have a butler. How cool is that? You could literally stay in the bungalow and not leave the entire week except to dive into the ocean and then back up to eat or snack.

The Great House (main part of the resort on land) boasts a British influence with manicured gardens, afternoon tea and a game of croquet. Then, offshore, you have these Oriental style huts over the water. This collection has it’s own Thai restaurant to complete your transition from Britain to Bali. Add to this, 8 restaurants to chose from for dining, 5 bars, unlimited scuba diving (if you’re certified), FREE wifi, FREE wedding (for stays of 3 nights or more) and so much more. Give me a call and book your vacation to paradise today!

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Cruising Solo

Cruise-news-booking-2018-cruises-930700Some people assume cruising is only for couples, families or large groups. But the fact is, single cruising is actually more fun that you think, because cruise ships are giant buffets of fun. Whatever you want to do—from active pursuits such as rock climbing, ice skating and hitting the gym, to taking a photography class or attending a wine tasting, to relaxing poolside with a loaded Kindle—you can easily do it on board a cruise ship, all while visiting several countries and cultures. So, take a cruise solo traveler. But, take our advice:

Contrary to popular belief, there’s a right and a wrong ship for just about everyone. Some people prefer the larger ships—where there’s more on board activities, and it’s easier to blend in with the crowd. Other solo journeyers may opt for something a little more intimate, like a boutique cruise ship or river cruise, to mingle with fellow guests and make new lifelong connections. Also, each ship and cruise line has a personality and it’s our job to find the one that works for you.

Make friends with the staff – This is a universal rule for any type of cruiser, but it becomes imperative when you’re sailing alone. The staff can become go-to confidants when it comes to choosing seat mates at dinner, signing up for excursions and choosing the most fun nightlife options. Plus, they often know the best places in each destination to go out, giving you a great option when exploring the local nightlife.  Ask them about special singles get-togethers on board, either arranged by staff or informal ones.

The best ways to throw yourself into a new friendship is by signing up for the ship’s excursions. These port side adventures break interested parties into manageable groups of 10 – 50 passengers who all share the common interest of the excursion, be it a nature hike or catamaran cruise. Small groups plus common interests creates easy and fun conversations.

Participate  – Show the world how fun you are by singing karaoke during talent night or taking part in a poolside contest. Being front and center can be a lifesaver if you’re trying to make friends. Plus, getting on stage will put you in the good graces of the staff and will make it much easier for other passengers to recognize you later to chat.

In the past, solo cruisers were required to pay a “single supplement” that can almost double the cost of the fare. Now there are ways for solo travelers to avoid the single supplement, including booking a stateroom designed for single occupancy or cruising on specific departures where the single supplement has been decreased or even waived altogether. Let us match your cruise interests with departures offering solo traveler savings.

Borrowed from our Travel Tips Quarterly Newsletter

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Black Friday Travel Deals

Funjet VacationsKeep in mind that Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc. aren’t the only ones with Black Friday Deals coming up. For example, Funjet Vacations is starting their deals right now and is going through Nov 29. This is for travel between now and April 30, 2019. You can save from $200 – 600 on your booking to select hotels and depending on the number of nights you stay. They have a great group of hotels with non-stop flights from St. Louis to Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Cabo San Lucas. You can click on the logo to be taken directly to Funjet and book it yourself or give us a call. We’d love to help you plan your 2019 Spring Getaway.

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Autism Certified Resorts

Beaches Family Resorts by SandalsIf you’re a parent, you know how difficult it can be at times to travel to new places with children. But, imagine how much more difficult it is with an autistic child. Their needs and in some cases disabilities can make traveling quite an ordeal.

Beaches Resorts by Sandals is tackling this predicament head on. They are the only Autism Certified set of Family Resorts in the Caribbean. Their staff has been Autism trained to help families with these needs. Beaches Buddies are always close by looking out for the kids and helping them and the parents when needed. They proudly sponsor Sesame Street and feature “Amazing Art with Julia”. They have art projects for the children conducted by this sweet and curious 4 year old Sesame Street character with autism. Sometimes, just being with others (either parents or children) who know and understand what you’re going through can often make the trip worth while.

These resorts include so many amazing and fun things to do with your kids whether on land or in the water. And, with the aide of a staff trained to help immerse your child with autism into these new experiences, you can’t go wrong. They have two resorts in Jamaica (Negril and Ocho Rios) and one in Turks & Caicos. Call us to make the arrangements. We would love to see you and your family enjoy the beach with an Autism Certified staff.

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Planning a Trip to Disney World

Disney World – it’s the happiest place on earth. With four amusement parks, two water Mickey_Mouseparks (although one is closed for refurbishment right now), and 25 uniquely themed hotels and resorts, it can be challenging trying to navigate your Disney vacation. To help, here are some planning tips to think about prior to giving us a call to book the trip.

Stay at a Disney Resort – You’ll pay a little more to stay at a Disney hotel, but you’ll love all the perks. We can help you figure out which one is best for you and your family.

Orlando is a big town and even when you get a hotel that is close to Disney, it can be daunting to navigate the traffic to get to the parks. The Disney resorts have shuttles constantly running between your hotel and all the theme parks and even Disney Springs.

You’ll also get extra time in the parks, aka “Extra Magic Hours,” which are for Disney hotel guests only and allow you to enjoy a less crowded experience. Plus, when you stay onsite, you get the “Magic Band”. This wristband acts as your key to your room, key to getting on rides that you’ve set up with a FastPass and when you purchase things at a store in the parks or at Disney Springs, you can have it delivered to your room. This way, you can walk around the parks unencumbered by bags of stuff. Speaking of the FastPass, by staying onsite, you can book your FastPasses earlier than those who don’t.

You’ll also enjoy special Disney-themed activities that you won’t get just anywhere. Many Disney hotels offer character dining, so you’ll be able to treat your family to dinner with their favorite stars.  The whole family will also flip for themed-hotels, including a Caribbean Beach resort and wild animal themed resort, the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The pools are nothing to scoff at either, from a sandy lagoon to pirate themed splash parks, there’s a little something for everyone.

Purchase a Multi-Day Hopper Pass – The cost of a single-day Disney Pass is about $109 or $164 with the hopper option (plus taxes, of course). If you are planning on enjoying the parks for a few days, consider purchasing a multi-day hopper pass.  This pass allows you to hop from one park to the next on the same day. The benefit is that you can spend the day at the Magic Kingdom, then go to your room and take a nap or get your feet off the floor for a little while. And later that night, go to another park to enjoy their fireworks or a special event. Plus, the longer you stay, the per day cost per ticket decreases. You could pay as little as $69 per day if you purchase a 7-day pass.

Travel in the Off-Season – During peak season which is typically June through August and over the holidays, both Disney hotels and hotels in the vicinity raise their prices. Save on lodging, food and entertainment by visiting Disney in September through March.

Enjoy FREE Attractions – You can take the monorail through some parks for no fee. Or enjoy the ferry to the Magic Kingdom. If you visit at night, you can see the Magic Kingdom’s Electrical Water Pageant Show without entering the park. If you want to experience a little magic for no cost, this could be just the ticket.

Talk to us about all the great options available for your Disney adventure. No matter what you’re seeking, we’ll help you plan the magical escape you and your little ones (or older ones) dream of. Call us at 618-687-2100 for your Disney Dream Vacation today.

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