Friday, October 31, 2008

Sounds of Silence Experience

Set in a lone sand dune in the middle of Ayers Rock Resort/Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, almost anyone who’s ever experienced the Sounds of Silence calls this a “must-do” in Australia.

The evening begins over sparkling wine and canapés while you watch the beautiful sunset over the Australian Outback. After that, sit down to a candlelit feast of traditional Australian BBQ, including beef, kangaroo, crocodile, emu, freshly baked breads, bush salads, classic desserts and some of Australia’s finest wines, all under the stars.

Following dinner, the resident astronomer takes the stage to guide you through unbeatable star gazing and storytelling with telescopes, while the digeridoo is played in the background.

Planning a Trip to Australia? Make sure to book this once in a lifetime experience! Contact an Australia Specialist for assistance and for other suggestions today!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Affordable Family Vacations

Trying to figure out a way to afford a family vacation this year? There are some great promotions for family travel this fall and winter! Some of the best deals and promos include:

All Club Med Resorts offer Kids under 2 stay & eat free, kids under 4 pay just 30% of the adult price, and kids between 4-12 pay just 50%. Also, many Club Med Resorts have free kids clubs to keep the kids busy and offer daycare (at additional fees). Club Med has resorts all over the world, including Mexico, the Caribbean and the US.

Beaches Family Resorts is offering a Fall Promotion, of Stay 7 Nights, Get 1 Night Free! This resort chain is very family friendly, featuring the Sesame Street characters live at the resort! Beaches have locations in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos.

Atlantis Resort, located in the Bahamas, has some huge price drops for stays this Fall and Winter, not only for accommodations, but also for dining options.

Universal Orlando is offering a Kids Stay & Play Free promotion with at least a Four Night stay. The hotels in this promo include Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific Resort. All are located within walking distance to the Universal Studios Park.

Dreams Resorts is an all-inclusive luxury resort with properties in Mexico and Dominican Republic. They are currently doing a Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free! Two kids can stay, play, and eat free when traveling with two paying adults. This offer is good for travel completed by Dec. 19, 2008.

For 2009, Disneyland Parks in California is offering Free Admission on your birthday to either Disneyland or Disney California. You must register and receive confirmation online ahead of time.

Disney Cruises have reduced their rates for families cruising in November, December and January. Cruises are a great option for family vacations, as there are activities for everyone, including free kids clubs.

Costa Cruise Lines are offering a winter 2008-2009 promotion of Kids Sail Free! This offer is valid on any of their winter cruises, including Christmas and New Years.

Every January and February, Alaska Airlines brings back there very popular Kids Fly Free to Disneyland Promotion! This is typically valid for travel to any of the Los Angeles area airports, and is for travel between January-June, but must be booked by the end of March.

To get started planning your next family vacation, contact a Professional Travel Agent today!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why Fly Business or First Class?

Do you think Business and First Class Airfares are just too expensive and not worth the extra money? If so, we urge you to take just a moment - before you plan your next trip half-way across the world - to learn about some of the perks of business class. We believe you'll find, as many others have in the past, that with the considerable benefits over economy seats, business class is often the intelligent choice.

Consider the benefits of business class:
  • Speed of check-in, security, and boarding
  • Increased Comfort
  • Personal Service
  • Privacy

These days, probably the most obvious reason to book business class is the ease and speed of checking-in and getting through security. With your own business class lines, you’ll quickly be checked-in, through security, and on your way to relax in the Business Class lounge. While conversely, due to the increased security measures, economy passengers may be held-up for hours!

After enjoying a pre-flight drink or snack, or even grabbing a quick shower or nap, you’ll leave your business-class lounge for your gate, where you’ll be the first to board the plane. While everyone in economy is fighting over luggage storage space to the sound of babies crying, you’ll be peacefully relaxing in your comfy chair in the privacy of the business class section, sipping a glass of complimentary wine or scotch.

One of the main benefits of choosing business class is the added comfort it brings to air traveling. By now, most of us travelers have seen pictures of the famous British Airways Flat Seats: airline chairs that fold full-back into a 180 degree bed. (Also available on airlines such as Qantas, Air France, Lufthansa, and SAS are Angled Lie Flat Seats which recline to a slightly less 170 degrees.) And don’t forget: along with these flat seats comes increased seat-width and legroom, to give you plenty of space to stretch out, even when seated upright.

Not only is the sleeping better, but the food is tremendously better, as well—choose your meals from menus prepared by world-class chefs. And don’t forget: alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as snacks, are complimentary during your whole trip.

Providing great personal service, flight attendants will be there to attend to your every need, with one attendant serving 3-5 passengers, compared to economy, where the ratio is—as we all know—significantly higher.

Enjoy video and music on your personal player, with most airlines offering Audio and Video on Demand (AVOD) for their business class passengers. Power-up your laptop or cell-phone, or even surf the web, as more and more airlines are offering an internet connection.

Remember the bathroom lines in economy? Well, no need to worry about that, since business class has its own bathrooms.

Once you land, you’ll be the first off the plane and into the customs lines. Thanks to your flat seat, you’ve a had good night’s sleep, so rather than wasting your first few days of vacation recovering from jet lag, you’re refreshed and ready to see the sights and enjoy your vacation!

And so, why not choose business class for your next trip? Why fly half-way across the world, only to waste the first few days of your valuable vacation time, only to recuperate from the flight? Enjoy yourself; you deserve it! Look into flying business class—you’ll find the added investment is well-worth the comfort and relaxation you’ll get in return.

Still not convinced business class can be affordable? Check out our website for our
Business and First Class Airfares to anywhere in Europe and the South Pacific or contact a Travel Professional today!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Getting Married in Paradise

I got married in the beautiful Fiji Islands back in 2000. My fiancé (at the time) and I decided that we wanted to go to a tropical beach to tie the knot. We considered Hawaii, or even the Caribbean, since we reside in Seattle, we mainly just wanted to go somewhere warm!

About 6 months prior to our wedding date, I went to Fiji on a Travel Agent Familiarization trip. Upon exiting the airplane, I was basically swept off my feet. The aroma of the sugar cane fields, the warm tropical breeze, the lush vegetation everywhere, and the friendliest group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet made it easy to decide that this would be the perfect place to start our new lives together.

Upon my return to the U.S., it wasn’t hard to convince my husband-to-be that this tropical paradise would be the perfect place for us to get married and honeymoon, so we started planning the details right away. One of the great things about getting married in Fiji is that there isn’t much to it. All we had to do was pick our dates, book the flights, and decide where we wanted to stay, and the wedding coordinator took care of everything else.

The wedding package that we purchased included a fresh orchid bouquet and boutonniere, a professional videographer, the minister, services on the beach at sunset, a Fijian Warrior and Bridesmaid, both dressed in traditional Fijian attire, a 12 person choir, a 5 course gourmet dinner on the beach, a bottle of French champagne, and a day trip to our own private island, including a lobster picnic. The price was a mere $600 USD (however, this was several years ago).

We flew Air Pacific from L.A. to Nadi, unfortunately the flights from the U.S. to Fiji all arrive in the early morning hours, and we arrived at 5:00 am. After clearing customs and collecting our travel documents at the tour desk located inside the airport, we caught a taxi to our first hotel, the Sheraton Royal Denarau (which is now the Westin Denarau Island Resort).

We spent our first two nights at this beautiful resort, which is designed and decorated in traditional Fijian décor and surrounded by lush, fragrant tropical flowers and gardens, and also located on a private white sand beach. We stayed in a garden view room, which was very spacious, and we even had a patio with a table and chairs on it, where we were able to enjoy our breakfasts.

On the morning of the third day, we were transferred to our seaplane to make our way to Matamanoa Island, where we would be married. The seaplane flight was spectacular, one of our highlights of the trip. It was an awesome way to see many of Fiji’s 330 beautiful islands, and the coral reefs that surround them. One of the best parts of the flight was the landing. Of course, we landed in the water, and so had to climb out of the plane in the warm tropical waters and make our way up to the beach where the wedding planner was waiting for us.

Matamanoa Island is what one might picture a true island paradise to be. The island is so small, that it takes a mere 30 minutes to walk all the way around it. There is a volcanic cone jutting out of the center, which is lush and green, and is covered in banana trees, papaya trees and wild hibuscus plants. About two-thirds of it is surrounded in powder white sand beaches, and it is situated in crystal clear turquoise waters filled with colorful marine life! The best part is, there are only accomodations for 50 people on the entire island!

After going over our wedding plans, and getting situated in our ocean front bure, we made our way to the beach. One of the reasons why we chose Matamanoa Island as a place to get married was because it is an adult’s only island, so it is quiet and relaxing. Our wedding was scheduled right at sunset, since we wanted a “sunset beach wedding”, which was at approximately 6:00 pm that evening. Around 4:00 pm, we decided to head back and start getting ready.

Upon arrival in our bure, my white orchid bouquet and my husband’s boutonniere were delivered to us, along with a basket of fresh island fruits. After he got ready, he headed down to wait at the resort bar until it was “time”, and to allow the bride to get ready. Just as I finished getting ready, there was a knock at my door, and I could hear beautiful loud music coming from outside. To my surprise, the bridesmaid, Fijian warrior, videographer, wedding planner and 12 person choir were waiting for me outside!

I was ushered through the resort and down the beach barefoot in my wedding dress, with this huge entourage and angelic music following, until I was standing next to my love. It was such a magical moment. We said our vows there in the warm soft sand, with the gentle waves lapping behind us, just as the sun set. Everything was just as perfect as we could have ever imagined, and completely stress free.

We plan to return to Fiji one day for one of our anniversaries.

To plan your dream wedding or honeymoon, or just a vacation of a lifetime, contact a Professional Travel Agent today!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Benefits of Utilizing a Travel Agent

Travel Agents have been helping travelers plan their vacations and trips for decades.
Now that almost every home in America has a computer and internet access, many people are trying to do it all by themselves. For an international trip, the typical person will spend many, many valuable hours online doing research and making reservations if they do it alone. Why not just go to a Travel Agent? That’s what they are for.

There are many benefits of using a Professional Travel Agent.

Your time is valuable. Instead of spending your precious time searching the internet, going from website to website, comparing prices, itineraries, hotels and destinations, you can make just one call, and have a Travel Agent do all the planning.

Service. There is something to be said for good, old-fashioned service. This is something that you will not get with an online booking. Travel Agents are happy to help you with your travel arrangements.

Knowledge. Travel Agents have the most up-to-date information about specials, promotions and rates. Because they are professionals in the industry, they are usually notified of all current special rates and promotions.

Specialized. More and more Travel Agents are becoming specialized in a specific geographic region or type of travel. This means that if you are traveling to Australia, for instance, and want assistance from someone who really knows that country, the best places to visit, the climate, the exchange rates, etc, a Travel Agent is a great resource.

One-stop shopping. With a Travel Agent you can book all your reservations and services in one place. Travel Agents can book everything from airfare to car rentals, to tours and show tickets. This also means you only have to give your personal information, like credit card details to one business.

Someone to call in case of an emergency. If you should have some type of a glitch or emergency while abroad, trying to get through to an actual person at an airline or online agency can be practically impossible. It can be very reassuring knowing that you have someone that you can call in case of an emergency.

Unique Travel Itineraries. Travel Agents can help you put together a trip and itinerary based on your interests. Tell a Travel Agent what you like to do during vacation, how active you want to be and your budget, and she will give you suggestions based on that. This usually results in a more enjoyable vacation that following an itinerary of a friend or family. Just because your friend enjoyed a specific tour doesn’t necessarily mean that you will.

Current information on hotels. Most Travel Agents have up-to-date information on hotels that are under construction or being refurbished. You do not want to arrive at your hotel, only to find that the reason why you got such a great deal is because they are doing construction on the pool.

To book your vacation of a lifetime, contact a Travel Agent today, or visit us on the web.