Category Archives: General

Month of Romance: Plan a special vow renewal trip with your spouse

February is Romance Month, with Valentine’s Day sitting prominently in the middle! of the calendar!  This year, consider planning a special vow renewal vacation for you and your spouse.  Make the trip for just the two of you, or extend the love by inviting friends and family.

My favorite locations for vow renewals are

  • Bora Bora (Tahiti) at Bora Bora Pearl Resort or Hilton Bora Bora Nui
  • Riviera Maya at the Dreams, Now, Secrets, and El Dorado Resorts
  • Cabo at Secrets Marquis and Riu Palace Resorts
  • Jamaica at one of the four Couples Resorts
  • Moorea (Tahiti) at the Moorea Pearl Resort
  • Maui at one of the gorgeous beach locations
  • Cancun at the vibrant, luxurious Live Aqua Cancun Resort

If you are interested in planning your own vow renewal vacation, or even have plans in the near future for your own destination wedding, just let me know and we can look at the options that will best fit you.

Happy travels!  Cindy Grant, CTA Expert Family Travel.  Located in The Colony/Frisco Texas (Dallas-Fort Worth metro area)  972.625.6200

 

 

Flip flops in the winter

Christmas and New Years are behind us, the decorations are put away.  Now what the next two or three months will be is cold weather, bleak skies, and slippery walkways.

So, no wonder mid January through mid March is the time to escape the cold weather and head to the tropics.  If you are entertaining the idea of getting away for a week (or even a weekend), here are some suggestions:

-Cancun Mexico — offering all-inclusive resorts in the moderate to luxury range.  This destination is more suited for adults, but there are still some family friendly options in the Hotel Zone for all price points.  If you haven’t been to Cancun in the last decade, the biggest changes are the addition of some top-of-the-line luxury resorts.

-Riviera Maya Mexico — still reigns my favorite destination in terms of the quality of the resorts and the best “bang for the buck” in the upscale and luxury all-inclusive market.  There are resorts here that range the size ranges (from tiny boutique to huge mega-campus).  Plus, you can’t beat the flight times from the US.

-US Virgin Islands — a great tropical choice if you don’t have time time or energy to get your passports before heading south.  Resorts here range from 3 to 5 stars, mostly without meal plans.  Anticipate needing one connection with your flights each way, so a longer (4 nights or more) stay is best suited.

-Disney Cruise Lines — now with four ships instead of two, your options are double!  Winter itineraries depart from Port Canaveral (Orlando), Miami, and Galveston (Texas).   If you can travel during a week that schools are normally in session, pricing is pretty good.  Spring Break and Easter dates are pretty full (and pricey).

-Tahiti — this is actually Tahiti’s low season and their summer.  So if Bora Bora is on your bucket list, maybe this is the year you get to go!  If you are looking to travel within the next 3 months, having some flexibility on travel dates, island, and resort will help (since space does book up early, especially with the overwater bungalows in the 5 star resorts).  This is an ideal second honeymoon suggestion.

-Hawaii — A little bit of luau, plumeria in the air, and beachfront walks can do wonders to alleviate the winter doldrums.  Maui is a great “first visit” choice, but you’ll need to rent a car.  If you want to avoid driving, Oahu is your best option.  Kauai is a little more adventurous (and by that, I mean more outdoorsy stuff to do).  Big Island is where you get to see the active volcano.   Stick to one island, unless you have at least 8 days to vacation.

Cabo, Mexico — Cabo is quite popular in the winter.  The weather is milder (in the summer, it can get hot), and this is the season for whale watching.  Cabo is also known for golfing and nightlife.   New on the scene are some great 4 and 5 star all-inclusive resorts.  I’m personally staying at the Secrets Marquis Los Cabos later this month — I can’t wait!  A great choice for adults wanting a little luxury and  to replenishment, and there are also some great family friendly choices.

 

US Virgin Islands

Now, these are just a few suggestions.  There are many others…in the Caribbean, South Pacific, Central America…so just ask!

In search of the overwater bungalow

So, maybe you are wondering — where in the world can you find overwater bungalow accommodations?

The “True” Overwater Bungalow

French Polynesia (Tahiti) is perhaps the most famous destination offering overwater bungalows, and of these islands Bora Bora tops the list.  Here you’ll find pontoons with multiple thatched-roof bungalows sitting on crystal clear, super-calm lagoon waters.  The Tahitian islands offering overwater bungalows include:

  • Bora Bora
  • Moorea
  • Tahiti (including the capital city of Papeete)
  • Huahine
  • Taha’a
  • Tikehau
  • Manihi
  • Rangiroa
  • Raiatea

Fiji has one property — the Likuliku Lagoon Resort — offering 10 overwater bungalows (called “bures”).

Cook Islands in the South Pacific has a deluxe resort featuring seven overwater bungalows.

Upolu, one of the Samoan Islands (also located in the South Pacific) has one resort that offers a couple of overwater bungalows (“fales”) along the shoreline.

The Maldives has more of the classic overwater bungalows than any other destination.  Located in the Indian Ocean and with few flight options from the US, the Maldives is an impossible destination for most Americans due to the flight costs and travel time.  There are more than 75 resorts in the Maldives offering overwater accommodations from budget to luxury.

The Overwater Accommodation

These properties aren’t quite what you envision when you think of an overwater bungalow.  Perhaps they offer over-the-water building, or hang over the shore’s edge in some way.  Or, maybe the water isn’t the clear, calm lagoon that invites an easy dip.

The Caribbean

Panama has three very small, very budget, no-frills resorts that have overwater hut-type accommodations.  These properties don’t have the upscale or luxury touches to make them good choices for the honeymoon couple, however.

Roatan Honduras has three properties that have bungalow-type accommodations that sit perched over the water’s edge.  The water isn’t going to be crystal clear or calm, and you won’t find upscale or luxury touches here either.

Belize has four small properties ranging from budget to luxury, offering a few overwater type bungalows.  While not on the quality you’ll find in the South Pacific or the Maldives, this is the closest you’ll find in the Caribbean to an overwater bungalow experience.

Sandals Grande St. Lucia anticipates opening it’s overwater bungalow category beginning early 2013.  Expect sell-out status and a high price tag.

Travel – it’s a mindset!

My 12 year old daughter and I are headed to Japan this summer.  While we are there, we’ll be visiting my 20 year old daughter who is studying in Kyoto for a year.  This is, by the way, my older daughter’s fourth trip to Japan.

Yesterday, the little one announces “this will be my first trip to Japan!”  Not my only trip, or my only chance…but first trip.

I was reminded of a client recently who said, “this trip to Tahiti we’ll focus on Bora Bora.  Next time we want to visit Taha’a and Moorea.”

And herein lies the difference between my clients who manage to travel and see the world and my potential clients who shop from time to time and yet never manage to take a trip.  It’s all a matter of mindset!  In order to travel, you need to make it a priority.  Otherwise, a jet plane will not whisk you away as you feign protest.  It’s all up to YOU to make the decision that you want to see the world, to relax on a beach (instead of the living room couch), to cross things off your bucket list.

So, where’s your next vacation taking you?

Happy Travels ~Cindy Grant, Travel Consultant, Reconnect Travel/Expert Family Travel, DFW metro area 972-625-6200.

 

 

 

Valentine’s – gift a trip for your special someone!

Looking for a last minute gift suggestion for Valentine’s?  How about booking a romantic getaway for a weekend in the Spring to a gorgeous beachfront all-inclusive resort.

Then, here’s the fun part.  Print off a picture of the resort you booked, such as:

The lovely Ladera Resort in St. Lucia (Hilltop Dream Suite)

Wrap it up elegantly complete with box and ribbon, and voila!  You’ve got one memorable gift.

To get started, call or email with your travel dates, the destination (or type of destination such as Caribbean luxury resort), departure city, and approximate budget.  We can get your booking confirmed that day.

~Happy Travels.  Cindy Grant, Reconnect Travel/Expert Family Travel  972-625-6200.  Located in the DFW metro area serving clients across the US and Canada.  Near Frisco, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Carrollton, Plano, Irving, Richardson Texas.

 

Scuba bucket list for the “Easy Does It” diver

Okay, some of us enjoy scuba diving, but so long as it isn’t overly physically challenging or dangerous.  Here’s a great list of dive spots that will give you the thrill without the chill :)

  1. Cozumel Mexico (recommended resort:  Iberostar Cozumel)
  2. Moorea Tahiti (recommended resort:  Hilton Moorea Resort)
  3. Turks and Caicos Caribbean (recommended resort:  Beaches Turks & Caicos)
  4. Nassau Bahamas (recommended resort:  Riu Palace Paradise Island)
  5. Manatee Swim, Central to South Florida
  6. Ambergris Caye, Belize (recommended resort:  Ramon’s Village)
  7. Rangiroa Tahiti (recommended resort:  Hotel Kia Ora)
  8. Maui Hawaii (recommended resort: Sheraton Maui Resort)
  9. Vanava Levu, Fiji (recommended resort:  Jean-Michael Cousteau Resort)
  10. Roatan Honduras (recommended resort:  Anthony’s Key Resort)

~Happy Travels, Cindy Grant, Reconnect Travel/Expert Family Travel 972-625-6200.  Travel agency located in the DFW area near Frisco, Plano, Carrollton, Little Elm, The Colony, Lewisville, Irving Texas.

Travel 2012: book early

The economy is recovering, thank goodness.  Travel is recovering as well, and there’s a pent up demand for a good, top notch vacation.  Experts predict a stronger year in 2012 (compared to 2011) in terms of vacation travel.  Yet, the airlines have decreased their air lift to many of the more popular vacation destinations over the last few years.  Where the airlines used to provide seats to meet demand, their revised strategy is to provide fewer seats than demand (with the intention to fly full planes).

What does this mean to you?  Book early (6 to 9 months in advance) if your dates and destination choice is pretty firm.  You have more leeway if your dates or destination is flexible.  While hotels will have availability, those darned flights will definitely fill up, causing prices to inch higher the longer you wait.

~Happy travels, Cindy Grant travel consultant at Expert Family Travel/Reconnect Travel in DFW metro area (Frisco, Plano, The Colony TX) 972-625-6200.

Sometimes you just need a treat

I was having “one of those days” last week.  Computer issues, vendor issues, and my stress level was rising.  Finally, I stopped what I was doing and got a mani/pedi at my corner spa.  A bit of pampering and two hours later, I came back relaxed and refreshed, and was able to solve my day’s problems without much panic or fanfare.

Amazing what a difference your day can be when you can hit the Reset button.

Well, a well-timed weekend getaway can serve as your Reset button, too.

Imagine a 3 night quick break, nonstop flight, and a beachfront resort.  A couple of days on the beach, with a spa visit or two…drinks with umbrellas in them, sleep in as you desire.

Makes Monday morning work conference call much more tolerable!

~Happy travels, Cindy Grant, travel consultant at Expert Family Travel/Reconnect Travel DFW metro area 972-625-6200

 

Give the gift of travel

If you’re still searching for the perfect gift for your special someone…how about surprising them with a vacation package?  The gift of travel is a wonderful treat!  Some suggestions include:

  • Overwater bungalow in Bora Bora
  • All-inclusive beachfront resort in Jamaica
  • Adults only resort in Riviera Maya with a focus on spa and golf
  • Tour for two to Italy in the Winter
  • Walt Disney World for the whole family
You can wrap a “representative” gift, and attach the vacation details (or a resort picture).  Say, a bottle of Jamaican rum with a picture of Couples Swept Away Resort tied with a bow on the bottle?  Or, a stuffed Mickey Mouse with a resort brochure nestled underneath?  Or, a bottle of Chianti and a Guide to Italy map?  Get creative on how you present it, and you’ll  be sure to make their day!
~Happy travels, Cindy Grant, travel consultant at Reconnect Travel/Expert Family Travel 972-625-6200 Frisco DFW metro area Texas.

Resolutions

As I get ready this week to take a 5 day hotel site inspection trip, I’ve realized how little travel I’ve actually done this year!  Now granted, most of my travels are work related, but I still get to travel to some awesome destinations and resorts, and I’ve always enjoyed my trips even if they are crazy-busy with little precious leisure time to spare.  But travel is my passion and the reason why I’m in this business.

So why the dearth of travel for myself in 2011?  I can blame it on pet health issues (harder to get sitting for them), a busy work schedule, and challenges in coordinating my mommy schedule to meet the hotel site inspection trips.  But it’s resolution time!  In 2012 I’m going to make time for more trips.  After all, my clients love my personal, firsthand knowledge of the resorts I sell and the ability to match my clients to the right destination and accommodations to fit their own taste and preferences.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!