Friday, December 28, 2007

Doing something you Love...

Recently joining The Travel Team in Seattle, WA has been one of the best moves of my life. I've traveled fairly far and away, met incredible individuals, jumped off cliffs and lived in a bus. Many people have varying opionions on the phrase, "Find something you love to do and find a way to make a living doing it." One opinion is not to mix work with pleasure. That's what the owner of the company I left to work here told me on my way out the door after a mere month and a half on the job. I am taking the phrase literally. Anyone who has traveled knows what I'm talking about. How can I incorporate this life passion into making some cash.

Trust yourself when your intuition says you need to hit the road and travel. Work can wait. Life will not. Traveling IS life. That happened to me as I was standing in the cold office of my previous employer, "You need to find a job in the travel industry or travel." I've had this thought since I was nineteen and here it is again, ten years later. This time, I've chosen the work part.

Only a month into my former job, I found myself on trusty old craigslist looking for something different. Third listing down in a job category I normally don't check...Travel Assistant and Marketing Manager position in Seattle. Brilliant!

Here I am almost two months into the job and I don't even flinch when I have to get up for work. I look forward to it.

See how The Travel Team can change your life with an adventure to Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific or on a Luxurious Cruise. No time like the present my friend!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cruise in Style

As I was cutting out paper snowflakes last night for an upcoming holiday party, it dawned on me…winter has arrived and with that comes dry skin, cold feet and layers of clothing that do nothing for ones figure, male or female.

Ditch those layers, start lathering on the sunscreen, dig out those flip flops, your heading on a cruise. Cruising is becoming a lifestyle. When you walk onto the ship you “check-out” for the rest of the journey. Never mind packing and repacking your belongings as you move from destination to destination, leave your bed unmade, your toothbrush on the sink and tour the many towns you will visit along the way. Your meals are usually included and the workout room is around the corner. It’s a floating city folks with more to do in one day than most of us can think of accomplishing in a week. No cars to get into, no traffic to deal with. Just kick back and relax. Take part in the activities offered or don’t. It’s your choice.

There are cruises available that take you all OVER the world. Not just the Caribbean, around Hawaii or up to Alaska, but Australia, China, Africa even Tahiti. The right cruise for your pocket book, length of journey, desired destinations, style of onboard activities and weather full of sunshine is there for you.

If you have a bigger pocket of Benjamin Franklin’s and you’re thinking of a more private cruise adventure, you’re in luck. The Titantic days are not long forgotten. Cruise lines are now offering private sun decks, V.I.P. pools and escorted tours at land ports away from the crowds. You can find luxury in this personalized arena if you are willing to pay. It takes you away from the masses and into seclusion, one of the reasons many of us travel.

There are many reasons to take a cruise. Here are just a few:

· Experience many diverse cultures without taking heaps of cramped flights
· Luxury of doing everything or nothing at all
· Never seeing a price on the restaurant menu
· Everyone in the group will find something to do whether they want to or not

Check out these cruise deals that will knock your socks off! You can search by cruise line or by destination. It's up to you!

Remember, the world is 2/3 water and you really haven’t seen the earth until you step on board the ship deck. Welcome aboard!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Tramping New Zealand

Looking to add some adventure - and exercise - to your vacation? Consider going tramping (New Zealand for hiking) - a wonderful way to see this great county’s scenic highlights.

The “Great Walks” are the most well-known and traveled treks, as they cross through some of the country’s best scenery. These 9 tracks are operated by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, offering higher standards of trails and lodging than you might find along other tracks in New Zealand. Consider adding one (or more!) of these treks to your vacation:

  • Lake Waikaremoana Track (3-4 days through Hawke’s Bay region)
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit (3-4 days through the North Island’s volcanic region)
  • Whanganui Journey (5-day canoe trip in the North Island’s southwest)

  • Abel Tasman Coast Track (3-5 days through Abel Tasman National Park)
  • Heaphy Track (4-6 days through Kahurangi National Park along the South Island’s west coast)

  • Routeburn Track (3 days through Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks)

  • Mildford Track (4 days from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound)

  • Kepler Track (3-4 days through Fiordland National Park)

  • Rakiura Track (3 days through Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island)
Rather than driving to Milford Sound, wouldn’t it be much more exhilarating to tramp through Fiordland National Park? Or, pretend to be Frodo as you journey through Tongariro National Park (Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings).

Don’t be intimidated: there are treks for all abilities, ages, and fitness levels. So, if you have a few more days off, think about adding some tramping to your New Zealand vacation. Check out our
Tramping New Zealand package, combining city sightseeing with some guided day-tramps in Tongariro and Marlborough.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Experience the Professional Travel Agent

The Travel Agent is making a welcomed reappearance in the travel industry. Stop spending hours online searching and comparing and trying to remember where you saw what, when. Enjoy your time outside with your dog or chat with a friend. Call a travel agent, talk with her for a few minutes and let her take it from there. How much easier can planning a trip be?

These individuals are specialized in your destination of choice and can get you great airfare and a trip you’ll wish you had taken sooner. They’ll book your accommodations, tours, transfers, flights; give you suggestions…heck they can even get a dozen roses sent to your room before you arrive, all with one phone call.

Agents will work within your budget, share testimonials from other travelers and be more than happy to discuss any concerns you may have. They are professional and have a lot of years under their belt to get you exactly what you want with little effort on your part.

Here are a couple of testimonials from travelers who have booked through an agent:

"Everything about our trip was perfect."

"I would also recommend you to anyone in need of a travel agent - you're the best!"

"All your arrangements were flawless!"

"It's so much nicer to have a friendly, knowledgeable
person to guide me through the process."

"...the best airfare and special attention..."

Bring the personal touch back in your life. Hear the voice of a helpful professional whom you can communicate directly what you desire to experience during your vacation. No surprises, just the simple luxury of having a flawless itinerary and the knowledge that you can call the agent during your trip to tell them how great everything is going or if you need help working out a glitch.

When it’s all said and done, your time is worth a lot – take those hours spent on the internet and spend them doing something you desire to do like bake some cookies or read a book.

The Professional Travel Agent is here for you every moment of your adventure (of course during business hours because they want to go home and read a book too!).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Australian Wine Tour

The Australian Wine Industry is the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world. They also consume as much as they export – 400,000,000 liters per year. They must of heard that red wine is full of anti-oxidants and being the health conscious bunch they are, what other reason would an Aussie need?

If you find yourself on a walkabout in the beautiful country, your palate will be delighted with wine made from grapes grown in all seven regions: Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory – who could get bored? See the Hunter Country Valley website for some interesting artistic visuals.

As an oenophiliac (guru of wine) you can taste your way across the continent with escorted tours (so you don’t have to drive) or with a sober friend willing to go through the adventure wineless…and behind the wheel on the right side of the car, driving on the left side of the road with the determination not to get stuck going around in circles in the Australian round-about…entertaining at least. I say sign up for an escorted tour.

Want to take a wine tasting class? I happened to meet an Australian mate in Port Macquarie who was taking a college course in just that…wine tasting. The class went through all components of the ritual: the swirling, the smelling, the swishing and the spitting! I’m sure one could find a day course along the journey to shed some light on the whole process. I found it enlightening and educational - I wasn't so aware of how the tongue is divided into "flavor zones" before the class. Plus, I feel more comfortable ordering a simple bottle of wine at a restaurant when they show up at the table, pour a bit of wine in your glass and stare at you as you wiggle in your seat wondering what the heck you’re supposed to do. You’ll know your way around the swirling, smelling, and swishing (but hopefully not spitting at the table) ritual without embarrassment.

One of the better sites out there to help you with your Australian Wine Adventure is Wine Region Tours. It offers up a lot of useful information including wine tour guides specific to each region in PDF form to get your mouth watering and your trip planning phase in gear.

If you have traveled through Australia visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, etc. already, why not pop over for a relaxing tour of the wine country taking you out of the city and into the hills. As I heard from an ATT Australian/New Zealand Tour Guide, “Life’s too short to make bad wine.”

What are you waiting for? It’s well worth the journey for an experience never to be repeated. Check out our great Australia and New Zealand Wine Tour.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fully Escorted Coach Tours of New Zealand

Escorted Tours are a great way to see other countries – you can focus all your time and energy on seeing the sights, rather than driving, booking accommodations, and reading guidebooks. With our wide selection of escorted coach tours, your trip to New Zealand will be full of memories, while completely free of hassle and worry. (Let your tour guide do the work for you; you’re on vacation!)

New Zealand has some of the world’s most beautiful scenery and intriguing cultural experiences. Plus, with your tour guide there to give advice, you’ll have the inside scoop on what to see, where to eat, and where to shop.

Riding in the coach, you’ll have informative commentary to accompany your sightseeing. You’ll stay in some of New Zealand’s finest hotels. And, you’ll meet some truly fascinating people.

Please take some time to browse some of our
Fully Escorted Coach Tours of New Zealand. We have hundreds of other escorted tours not listed on our website so call a Travel Team agent to find out more.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Air Tahiti Nui

Tahiti is one of the world’s top tropical destinations; temperatures are always in the 80s. Located directly south of Hawaii, half-way between Los Angeles and New Zealand, it’s not that far away, either.

If you’re planning a trip to the South Pacific, think about taking the “boutique carrier”: Air Tahiti Nui. Constantly rated one of the world’s best airlines, a flight on Air Tahiti Nui is an experience in itself.

1st class is a treat: Small and quiet, you’ll enjoy a fully-reclining bed with a duvet (and your own pajamas!). Coach is also very comfortable, with double armrests, extra legroom, and in-seat video monitors.

The flight attendants are some of the industry’s best, winning awards for best cabin staff. Serving travelers delicious French cuisine while dressed in traditional Tahitian clothes, you will feel like you’re already in Tahiti.

Once you land in Papeete, either stay in a hotel on Tahiti, or board another Air Tahiti Nui flight to another island: It’s a 45 minute flight to Bora Bora, while Moorea is only 7 minutes away!

With daily service from LAX, Tahiti is not as far away as it seems. And, don’t forget, travel on Air Tahiti Nui to Sydney or Auckland, and you can have a free stop in Tahiti. Check out some of our great Tahiti packages, many that include a flight on
Air Tahiti Nui. French Polynesia is calling!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Some Concerns about User-Generated Websites

You’ve done some research on travel review website (like and, right? They’re great resources for independent travelers who are trying to decide what destinations to visit, where to stay, which cruises to sail, or where to eat.

But, haven’t you noticed how some hotels (or cruises, or restaurants, etc.) can have several great reviews . . . and then one absolutely horrid report? You probably write off the one bad review and go with what the majority wrote, but it still leaves some doubts, doesn’t it?

Then, there are the reviews that are too good to be true: Is that 3-star hotel on Waikiki Beach really the best hotel in the world??

Lots of these reviews can simply be written off to the fact that people like to exaggerate. However, an even more disturbing thought is that the reviews aren’t even written by customers!

Earlier this year, the famous guidebook author, Arthur Frommer, wrote an article for the San Francisco Chronicle:
Why online travel buzz might be bogus. He discusses the emerging PR tactic called “Buzz Marketing.” Basically, companies within the travel industry are paying people to post reviews on user-generated websites (including, etc.) – positive reviews about the company, negative reviews about the competitor.

Maybe that’s why Steve Kaufer, the founder of,
still uses a travel agent for his own trips.

User-generated websites are great to get the ideas flowing. But, follow that up with a call to your travel agent – someone who can give you an unbiased opinion. We at the Travel Team like to think we’ve got a lot of unique and useful knowledge to offer. Why don’t you check out
our website? Then, give us a call for some vacation advice, based on our own travels. The Travel Team Agents are your Australia and New Zealand Experts.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


If you’re traveling to New Zealand, make sure to hit-up the “thermal wonderland” – Rotorua, 3 hours south of Auckland. Built over a geothermal hot spot, Rotorua is a city constantly erupting with steam, hot water, and mud.

Some of the must-see highlights of Rotorua include:

  • One of the Thermal Parks –Te Puia or Wkakarewarewa Thermal Village
  • Skyline Skyrides – ride a gondola up Mt. Ngongotaha for great views of the area

  • Rainbow and Fairy Springs – New Zealand wildlife park

  • The Agrodome – a park/museum about rural life in New Zealand (Don’t miss the sheep show!)
  • Attend a traditional Maori Hangi (feast)
Rotorua is right on the shores of Lake Rotorua, while several other lakes are in the surrounding areas. Spend a day on the water, whether that’s trout fishing, boating, or relaxing on the shore. Spend another day hiking or mountain biking in the nearby Whakarewarewa forest or traveling up north to the sunny Bay of Plenty.

Learn more about
Rotorua by visiting our website. Then, view some of our New Zealand Packages and Tours that include a stop in Rotorua.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Australia and New Zealand Tours

Planning to travel those 14 hours across the Pacific? Rather than just visiting one country, why not take some extra time off from work and hit up both Australia and New Zealand in one vacation?

Many airlines offer very affordable (sometimes, even complimentary) stopovers, allowing travelers to easily create multi-city itineraries. Consider the following schedule: Fly from the USA to Sydney, travel around Australia for 2 weeks, return to Sydney to fly to Auckland, tour New Zealand for another 2 weeks before flying home to the USA. Many of our clients have done the same (or very similar) itineraries for their own vacations to the South Pacific.

The options are endless:

  • Rather than return to Sydney after touring Australia, consider flying to Auckland from Brisbane
  • Instead of flying, there are frequent cruises between Sydney and Auckland
  • Maybe add another stopover onto your trip: Fiji
  • Travel from the USA to New Zealand before traveling on to Australia

The list goes on and on! View some samples of our Australia and New Zealand tours. Then, call an expert Travel Team agent for more travel ideas and to help with all the logistics.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Air New Zealand

Since many of our customers fly to Australasia via Air New Zealand, we decided it would be nice to provide a little overview of that popular airline:

Based in Auckland, Air New Zealand is NZ's official carrier. Servicing the major destinations in New Zealand, it can make a lot of sense for tourists to travel via air within New Zealand. Please note that in addition to the major cities of Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington, Air New Zealand also services the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Dunedin, and Invercargill, among others. (For more information on domestic travel in New Zealand, see our previous post.)

As a Star Alliance member, Air New Zealand is also a well-respected international carrier. Not only does the airline fly into the major cities of Australia and Asia; it also offers non-stop flights to and from San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA, as well as Honolulu. From Los Angeles, travelers can fly to London, UK, where they can make connections to other European cities.

Currently, Air New Zealand offers 4 classes on its airplanes. Business Premier is the highest level of service, offering its passengers fully lie-flat beds. Immediately below is Business Class, followed by Pacific Premium Economy. This new Premium Economy class has more legroom, larger seats, and greater seat reclines than Economy Class. A major perk of flying Air New Zealand is the recently instated on-demand entertainment, available to all classes of service on roundtrip flights from California, USA to Auckland, NZ.

Now that you know a bit more about New Zealand's national carrier, consider flying Air New Zealand for your next trip to Australasia. You won't be disappointed! Visit our website to view some of our great airfares on Air New Zealand.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Blue Mountains

Have you noticed that almost any travel package of Sydney, Australia includes (at least) a day in the Blue Mountains? Unfortunately, most Americans do not know much about Sydney’s nearby natural neighbors. So, we thought we should provide a short overview of the UNESCO World Heritage Area, the Blue Mountains . . . and why it’s one of Australia’s “must sees”!

The Blue Mountains offer some of the most spectacular scenery on the Australian continent. Its 1 million hectares contain rainforest, canyons, forests, and waterfalls, as well as a wide array of animals and birds. The area is named after the mist created by eucalyptus tree oil which hangs in the air.

The most popular sight in the Blue Mountains is The Three Sisters: A three-point rock formation. Learn about the legend of the Three Sisters,
here. Travelers should also try to visit the impressive Kanangra Falls and Jenolan Caves.

Home to some of Australia's best hiking trails, the Blue Mountains offer many exploring options for all hiking levels, from the casual walker to the more adventurous expert. Tromp through the canyons, up the impressive peaks, past the many waterfalls, and through remote caves. Many companies offer guided tours.

There are several golf courses throughout the area, while several of the villages have art galleries and museums on various topics. And, don't forget the wonderful Bed and Breakfasts and nature resorts - you'll feel on vacation from your vacation!

If you plan to visit the Land Downunder during the winter (June, July, August), make sure you attend the Blue Mountains’ Yulefest. Several hotels and restaurants celebrate with log fires, decorations, caroling, visits from Santa, and meals of turkey, ham, puddings, and mulled wine. Now that’s really “Christmas in July”!

The Blue Mountains are easily accessible for the independent traveler, either by car, bus, or Inter-City train from Sydney. (Actually, many of the Australians that live in villages of the Blue Mountains commute about an hour to Sydney for work.) So, there is no excuse not to go – even for just a day! Learn more about
The Blue Mountains, and then contact one of our great agents at Travel Team to book your travels to Australia.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Facts on the Great Barrier Reef

Recently, the Great Barrier Reef was voted best destination by the World Travel and Tourism Council. So, what makes this place so special?

Established as a park in 1975, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest marine protected area in the world at almost 348,700 square kilometers. Found off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is home to over 1,500 species of fish, 400 species of coral, 4,000 species of mollusks, and 500 species of seaweed, as well as several species of birds, sea snakes and sea turtles.

What exactly is a coral reef? It is made up of both dead and living coral, located just below the water’s surface. Colorful coral is the living part of the reef, while white coral is dead. The Great Barrier Reef is actually comprised of roughly 2,800 individual reefs; it is not a single, continuous barrier.

Located north of the Tropic of Capricorn, the Great Barrier Reef has beautiful temperatures all year long. However, it is largely agreed that the best time to dive is October through December, while January through March can often be quite rainy.

The Great Barrier Reef is a snorkeling and scuba diving adventure park! Popular diving spots include some of the many shipwrecks found within the Reef. Additionally, the Reef is breeding grounds for humpback whales.

Sounds exciting, right? Well, there’s no time better than the present to start planning your vacation to “The World’s Best Destination!” View packages to Australia, many which include an unforgettable trip to the Great Barrier Reef.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cheap Airfares in New Zealand

Often a highly underrated way to travel, vacationers can gain a lot from learning about the possibilities of domestic airfare. If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, we urge you think about booking some domestic Air New Zealand flights to make the most out of your trip.

Cheap airfares in New Zealand are not hard to come by. Quite often, any one-way flight within New Zealand costs less than $100 USD. With cheap airfares like this, wouldn’t you rather spend more time in the places you want to be than riding in a bus or driving in a car, day after day?

If your trip to New Zealand is crunched for time, may we make some itinerary suggestions? Rather than driving from Auckland to Rotorua and then all the way down to Wellington, crossing over on a ferry, and continuing down to Christchurch…why not simply take a flight from Rotorua to Christchurch? Then, you have more days to see the sights on the South Island.

Conversely, if you are more interested in seeing the Bay of Islands, Lake Taupo, and the vineyards on the North Island, book a flight from Wellington to Queenstown, so you can still see that gorgeous city, Milford Sound, and maybe even Mt. Cook National Park.

With cheap domestic flights within New Zealand, your vacation possibilities are endless! Contact us for more information on
Cheap Airfares in New Zealand and further travel advice.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Last Minute Cruise Deals to Australia

While it’s getting harder and harder to find last-minute cruise deals, especially to the most popular cruise destinations – the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe – there are still areas of the world where great cruise deals can be found. One such example is in the South Pacific.

Though more and more travelers are heading to the Land Downunder for their vacations, few realize the grand possibilities of cruising Australia. With the fabulous coastal cities of Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, plus the amazing Great Barrier Reef, Australia is an ideal cruise destination.

Most Australian cruises take place during the summer months (winter in the northern hemisphere), with itineraries ranging anywhere from 4-40 days. While Sydney is the most popular departure city, most cruises travel along the Pacific Coast of Australia, allowing passengers to disembark at Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Brisbane, Cairns, and Port Douglas for diving adventures in the Great Barrier Reef.

While you have traveled so far, you might as well see New Zealand while you are there! The beauty of cruising is how easy and affordable it is to see both great nations of the South Pacific. See Auckland, the “City of Sails”, Wellington, New Zealand wine country, and Milford Sound. What a wonderful voyage!

Visit our website to view the various cruise itineraries in the South Pacific and find great
Last Minute Cruise Deals to Australia! Additionally, consider a cruise in combination with a land package, for an up-close look at Australia’s famous Outback.