Intriguing Travels – Vacation Trends & Ideas!

August 8th, 2016 by Tina Weiss | Posted in All Inclusive Resorts, Europe, Family Travel, Hawaiian Islands, Multigenerational Travel, Value of Vacations

Intriguing Travels

St. Lucia Honeymoon

St. Lucia Honeymoon

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to share a picture of our daughter and new son-in-law on their honeymoon just after they got married in June.  The Wedding was beautiful and a surreal experience to say the least!

Our daughter and son-in-law did not have a Destination Wedding.   I did have the honor of planning their Honeymoon with her Fiance  as a surprise for Lindsey.  They both wanted sun, activities and the beach.   We surprised her with a trip to St. Lucia.  They both loved it which made me a very happy mom… who just happened to be their travel planner 🙂

I thought I would share some ideas for your next trip that might tweak your interest.

Whether you crave sun  & beach or immersing yourself in culture & history, we need to continue to seek out new destinations to explore, rejuvenate and marvel at what the world has to offer us.  Whatever your dream destination is, I would very much like to help make it come true.

Gratefully,

Tina

It is an understatement to say that we are all different.  Your dream destination may not even be on my wish list.  If you are retired, then you probably have more time and resources to travel than someone building their career.  I hear from a lot of people that they wish that they had traveled more when they were younger.  No matter what age you are or how old your children are, there is a travel opportunity ready to unfold that will enhance your life forever.  Here are just a few trends amongst an endless supply of journeys that await you.

River Cruise on the Rhine

River Cruise on the Rhine

River Cruising

River Cruising has become an extremely popular travel experience.

Demographic –  Typically 50+ but edging downward.

Highlights –  Unpack & pack once.  Ability to see many destinations on one trip.  Cultural immersion. Tours, food, wine & beer with meals included with majority of cruises with upgraded amenities included on others.  Ease of getting on and off of the ship.  Ability to customize pre & post stays in nearby cities.

A Good Friend's Oasis

A Good Friend’s Oasis

Custom Tours, Individual or Group

Demographic – All ages

Highlights –  Control over entire itinerary.  Thoughtful planning with travel advisor to feature your own interests.  Intimate and very personal.  Ability to choose hotels and tours that match your travel style and budget.  Travel with companion or group of your choosing.  Custom arrangements can be as detailed as you need from having a private guide every day to incorporating some private tours and leaving some free time.

Viking WinnTomWineTastingGuided Tours, Individual or Group

Demographic  –  All ages

Highlights –  Ideal for the more social travelers who want to meet and travel with “new friends.”  Great for groups of  friends & families who don’t mind mixing with others.  Many escorted tours have a theme that tends to attract like minded people.  For example, adventure, wine, or culinary themes woven into a particular trip.   Structured itineraries.  Bus transportation is typically used to get from point A to B.  Quite a few meals are built into the program.

Girlfriend Getaways

Demographic –  All ages usually women 40+ celebrating a milestone birthday

Highlights –  4 or 5 day trip.  Typically involves wine 🙂  and a beach location.  Women are naturally good at bonding and this experience enhances their feeling of being connected with other women.  Yoga classes, cooking experiences and excursions round out these trips.

Babymoons

Demographic –  Couples expecting their first child

Highlights – a romantic getaway before the family dynamic completely changes.  The Caribbean was very popular.  The Zika Virus now makes that a challenge.  Hawaii has become a destination for babymooners.

England/Edinburgh/Paris Vacation

England/Edinburgh/Paris Vacation

Multi Generation

Demographic –  Every age group within the family

Highlights –  all inclusive resorts are popular for this type of group.  Villa Rentals are becoming very popular as well.  Most resorts have kid’s club options for all ages.  Families have the opportunity to bond and still have their own space.  The location is “neutral” so that no one has to physically host.  Many times this helps with the family dynamics.

To sum it up – there a many, many ways to travel!  What factors are important to you?  Are you needing some time with your extended family because you live all over the country?  Is it time to take that romantic river cruise to explore places you never knew existed?   Take some time to think about your next dream vacation.

I’m here to help you plan memories that you (& whomever you decide to travel with) will cherish for a lifetime.

To help plan your next vacation, please contact Tina at tweiss@intriguetravel.com or 317-660-2080

How to Choose the Right All-Inclusive

May 20th, 2015 by Tina Weiss | Posted in All Inclusive Resorts, Caribbean, Destination Weddings, Family Travel, Group Travel, Holiday Celebrations, Honeymoons, Multigenerational Travel, Punta Cana, Romantic Travel

Intriguing Travels

Zen Garden

Zen Garden

Hello Everyone,

Happy Belated Mother’s Day!  I received the gift of four wonderful cards from my children and husband.  It means so much to me.  Their words will last forever.  I actually took pictures of what they wrote to put in my first electronic card file.

I was in Punta Cana about a week and a half ago at a Romance Forum.  The forum was very productive and I had the privilege of inspecting some beautiful properties.  One of them, the Paradisus Palma Real, had an exotic Zen Garden.

Between the trip and the cards, I feel inspired to travel (a) alone with my husband and (b) with my family.  How fortunate I feel to have the opportunity.  Now I just need to make it happen.

Gratefully, Tina

2015-05-05 16.44.24 I just returned from a Romance Conference and a few days of site inspections to various properties in Punta Cana.  We flew down the Southeast US Coastline then over the Atlantic Ocean to the balmy shores of Punta Cana.  I noticed that the land seemed somewhat barren and flat, as I looked over my neighbor’s shoulder on the plane.  The beaches however, beckoned over long stretches of unobstructed coastline.  Waves seemed to gently lap against the shore as if to invite us to join them. The Eastern Shores of Punta Cana were calling my name.

Punta Cana International Airport is open and airy.  We were a little hot while waiting for our luggage to come off of the carousel.  Since this portion of the building was open, the air was definitely humid.  Huge fans kept it from being intolerable.  This was not my first rodeo.  I wore a sleeveless top and layered over it for the plane ride.  The layers came off quickly once we arrived, but it was a great feeling.

Hard Rock Resort Club

Hard Rock Resort Club

The first few days were spent in conference rooms at the Hard Rock Resort without windows.  This may have been a blessing because we were unaware of the warmth of the Dominican sunshine as we donned our light sweaters to combat the air conditioned rooms.  The resort is very large.  It has a lively vibe and their motto is fun.  It can be any type of fun, romantic, group or business.  Shops, restaurants and clubs lined my walk to the conference each morning.  Hard Rock has a stunning beach, it was torture not be to able to spend any time on it.  The Romance Forum was designed for Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists or any type of Romance travel for that matter.  It was productive and served its purpose. I had the opportunity to inspect quite a few properties in breakout sessions with the group and others on my own.  Visiting properties first hand is an invaluable experience.  It helps give me a perspective that provides more of an insight to matching my client’s dreams to the right resort.

Wedding Reception

Wedding Reception

The first step is to match the destination with my client’s needs and dreams for their vacation.  If it is a Destination Wedding, then we also need to factor in the guests and personality of the whole group.  Obviously, the primary focus needs to be on the Bride & Groom. Punta Cana is primarily a beach and water sport destination.  The sand is powder soft; seemingly all along the Eastern Shores.

I like to walk the beach as far as I can in order to get a lay of the land.  I had an hour of free time while staying at the Hard Rock Resort and another hour or so while staying at the Paradisus Palma Real.  I also got up early the day of my flight out to walk the beach in the other direction at the Paradisus Palma Real.  The sand is wonderfully soft and sinfully toe worthy 🙂  The water was comfortable to the toes as well.  I did not have a chance to do the full body temperature test.  However there were plenty of people enjoying the water!

If you are looking for mountains, jungles, volcanoes or Mayan Ruins, this is not your destination.  I did hear about a zip lining experience available. but would need to research that further.  If you dream about long stretches of beach where you could walk for miles in soft white sand, this would be an excellent choice!

The next step would be to qualify you for the right resort.  I visited resorts like the Paradisus Palma Real that had stunning, lush grounds.  The wow factor of the lobby blew me away.  Every meal was delicious.  I even enjoyed their general buffet as much as I enjoyed “Royal Service” breakfast and buffet.  The ala carte options made for a perfect dinner but personally, I enjoy a quality buffet for breakfast.   So here’s the catch, generally speaking you are going to pay more for a higher quality experience.  Buffet dinners can be tiring and generic.  If I am sending a group, we need to make sure that there are enough activities for the guests while also considering the intent of the trip – Destination Wedding, Family Reunion, Multi-Generation or Family Spring Break Trip.  People may be willing to spend much more for what they deam a “special Occasion” than for a Spring Break Trip.

2015-05-04 16.18.31Here are some things to think about before choosing an all-inclusive resort.  What is the occasion?  How large of a group do you anticipate going?  Where is that “sweet spot”  price point that will allow most  of the invitees to travel or at least the people most important to you to be there.  Does the size of the resort matter?  What type of vibe are you looking for?  Consider the importance of food quality and how that intersects with the size of the resort and budget of the guests.   Club or Premium Level options often give certain guests the opportunity to upgrade their experience while allowing other guests to select a more affordable room category at the same resort.  The larger the resort, the more difficulty you may have in being able to secure dinner reservations in those coveted ala carte restaurants.  These things need to be weighed against the amenities and/or favorable pricing of some of the larger resorts.

Bottom line, there is something for everyone. Each quality resort has a slightly different appeal.  It becomes a matter of drilling down to make a selection that will benefit most of your guests.  If it is just the two of you, then it becomes a little easier.  In most cases, we are able to identify the most important features for clients, as well as the deal breakers.  After that, we try to manage expectations.  That being said, there are many quality all inclusive resorts that will provide a high end, luxury experience.  If you are looking to be pampered and taken care of from beginning to end, Butler service may be just what you need.

Automatic experience booster, I’m just sayin….