People are always talking about taking their “dream vacation” — but largely what people mean when they say this is that every detail of the trip was planned flawlessly, everything went according to plan, and the service and food were stellar.
But what if the key to having the best vacations of your life has as much to do with how you approach traveling as it does with where you go and the number of stars on your hotel?
Here are 5 Traveler’s Resolutions you can make right now to make this the best year of travel yet:
A common thread among these resolutions is the ability to let go of anxiety, relax and enjoy yourself. Hiring a Travel Professional is one of the best ways to avoid the most stressful parts of travel altogether. I can do all the planning, handle all the details, and you get to enjoy. I will also be on call for you while you are on your trip to handle any complications or emergencies that may come up.
Let me take all the stress out of organizing and leave all the pleasure to you. Book a Complimentary Exotic Travel Planning Session
Journalists are used to making a home anywhere. They often stay for days, weeks, or months in a place to report on a specific event. They stay in hotels and homes. They get to know language and locals. They walk the landscapes, eat the food, learn the transportation systems.
But what are the places that have so utterly captured them that they return, again and again, even when there’s no story going to print? Here are a few,
highlighted in a recent Guardian article.
If you’re the adventurous trekking type, consider the lesser-known but breathtaking mountains of the Jalori Pass in India You can book a fully-accompanied mountain treks — complete with air mattresses and ponies that carry all your gear — and costs include equipment, food, lodges, and expert guides. Take in the mountain vistas, forests, high meadow lakes, and centuries-old temples where pilgrims pray. It is a place, as journalist Emma Graham-Harrison says, that is “surprising, always beautiful, and entirely special.” In the vast landscape, taking it all in, passing few people along the way, she said she and her fellow travelers “were happy to be out of contact and suspended in time.”
The Seychelles are probably the most widely known African islands for romantic beach vacation. But like a sweet little secret in the Atlantic, the tiny twin-island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe sits peacefully tucked in the Gulf of Guinea. Known for its cocoa production, this place also attracts outdoor enthusiasts who come to enjoy the pristine bays and beaches, the heart-stopping beauty, the amazing cuisine, and the unique populations of rare birds and butterflies.
Very sparsely populated, the islands still boast a number of luxury hotels. With the interesting mix of African and Portuguese histories (the islands were formerly a Portuguese colony, and they are dotted with many now-defunct cocoa plantations), there’s an ease to the pace of life, and a fantastic, rich culture to enjoy. As a honeymoon destination, it rivals many of the more well-known islands — and it has the added advantage of not being overcrowded. As one traveler put it: “Between lunches of grilled red snapper on the jetty, I passed my days snorkeling amid shoals of tigery-looking fish, kayaking to distant beaches and falling asleep to the ebb of the tide on my own private beach. I was in danger of setting up shop here...”
Now that Cuba is on more people’s travel radars, it’s a great time to explore this lush, extraordinary place. Playa Bacunayagua, Cuba, is an absolutely charming location which sits quietly along the northern coast of Cuba. From any larger hotel in Havana, it’s easy to hire a guided car to take you to Bacunayagua. Along the way, you can stop by any number of roadside piña colada stands and enjoy a leisurely cocktail made from palm-fresh coconuts, cream, and pineapple.
On the way to the playa, you’ll cross the tallest bridge in Cuba — the Puente de Bacunayagua — which at over 1,000 feet long and over 300 feet above sea level, is rightly considered a marvel of civil engineering. The coastline, once a well-known pick-up point for boats smuggling Cubans to Florida, now holds plenty of undisturbed beaches that look out onto pristine, azure waters. It’s a perfect day trip and a wonderful way to see all that Cuba has to offer.
Are you looking for a perfect vacation that has all the thrill of a popular tourist destination, but that feels like a secret hideaway just for you? If that’s what you’re craving, I can help you get there! Together we can discover a place that you’ll want to return to again and again.
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When it comes time to buy a travel-loving friend a gift, it’s easy to feel stuck on what to get. Journals are great — but not all travelers are journalers, and those that are often have at least a few blank ones on hand. Here are unique takes on classic ideas for the various kinds of travelers in your life.
For the foodie: send delicious global flavors right to their doorstep. Try The World with top chefs from Argentina to Morocco and assembles gorgeous boxes filled with curated delicacies from each country. Delivered every month, each box contains descriptions for how to use the tasty and exotic flavors in your own recipes.
For the well-accessorized: customize a favorite map to make cufflinks bracelet, or pendant. Have a special place you want to commemorate? Maybe the place of a first date, or a favorite childhood destination? This can be a beautiful and deeply personal way to show your traveler that you know what matters to them most.
For the crafty commemorator: check out this simple, beautiful way to re-trace steps and wonderful memories with a map and thread. The maps can be titled, as well. Imagine a wall decorated with these minimalist representations of adventures!
For the traveler who has everything and wants to give back: Why not make a donation to a favorite cause in your traveler’s name? You can choose organizations that support environmental stewardship, advocate for people in crisis, promote education, or help bring beauty.
For the traveler who’s always up for adventure: I’ve written before about how experiences pack the biggest punch, happiness-wise. At Experience Days you can give the gift of a lifelong great memory to someone you care about. Try everything from hang gliding to art lessons throughout the United States. What a great surprise for honeymooners or a friend’s next big adventure!
For the gadget-junkie: this funky, color-coded 4-in-1 adapter (is perfect for the tech-savvy traveling family and will help ensure everything stays running smoothly. For the hardcore gadget-junkie, what about these stylish vests, hoodies, and jackets with interior pockets (for men and women) to hold everything from smartphones to keys to water bottles?
For the photographer: If your friend is never without her smartphone or camera, why not make it easy for her to create beautiful, lasting photo albums, calendars, or prints of her best shots? At Artifact Uprising , she can connect directly with her Instagram account and assemble her most gorgeous memories.
If you need help planning the next adventure to fill an album, stitch on a map, or wear around your neck — contact me today! Let’s get started!. Book a complimentary Exotic Travel Planning Session.
Many of us believe that because we’re going on holiday, we should take a ‘real’ camera but it’s a pre-smartphone mindset that deserves challenging. Sure, if you’re an avid photographer with expensive equipment and a range of lenses, this won’t be the case. But for most of us, we take photos to remember our experiences and share them with friends and family. So here are 5 reasons why your phone might be all you need:
Your camera can’t do any of these things, and with space in your luggage always being a premium it’s hard to justify packing a one-trick-pony camera.
Smartphone photo-specific printers are very affordable and have some fun applications. Better still, they’re small enough to take with you, meaning that you can almost turn your phone into an instant camera. (Remember those?)
Need some inspiration on where to travel, check out our selection of virtual tours. https://www.amazingtravel.com/virtual-tours.html
Ready to start planning your next vacation, book a complimentary exotic travel planning session.
Nobody loves standing in long security lines, and I don’t know one person who is thrilled by the fact that most airline seats only recline about four inches, if you’re lucky.
But I do know people who love to travel, door to door — not just when they arrive at their resort. I know people who almost always have a great flight, no matter what. I’ve talked to people whose trips got rained out, or who missed connecting flights, or who got lost, or who even had passports stolen — and when I ask them how their trip was, they smile and say, “It was great!” and proceed to tell me the full exciting tale.
So what’s their secret? I’ll tell you: they’ve let go of the Perfectionist Mindset and adopted the Adventure Mindset. The difference between these two paradigms changes everything.
The Perfectionist sets unrealistically high expectations for themselves, others, and situations — and when things don’t go well, they often fall into self-blame or blaming others. The Adventurer makes a plan and is prepared, but is willing to roll with what comes along that might not fit with “The Plan.”
The Perfectionist often avoids risk and only goes with the obvious path in an attempt to avoid “failure.” The Adventurer is less concerned with control and more interested in creative approaches and critical thinking when it comes to problem solving.
The Perfectionist focuses on what isn’t working and is often impatient and critical. The Adventurer sees what’s going well and what there is to be grateful for and is quick to offer appreciation, flexibility, and help in tough situations.
As author and coach Naomi Teeter points out, the Adventurer knows how to ask “quality questions” when faced with a challenge, questions like:
If I’m honest with myself, I know that there are times I fall into the Perfectionist Mindset, in travel and in life. But I also know that at any moment, I can choose something different. I can always choose an attitude of adventure. And as a lifelong traveler, that has made all the difference.
If you’re ready to plan your next great adventure, I’d love to help you get there. Schedule you complimentary Exotic Travel Planning Session BOOK MY SESSION
Entering a new chapter in your life with your partner is one of the most beautiful phases of a person’s life. It’s a celebration of you and your beloved along with friends and family. And what’s better than going away to a secluded destination to celebrate this holy matrimony? Luckily, India is home to some of the most beautiful locations you can tie the knot in. Right from expansive beaches and panoramic mountains to majestic palaces, brilliant forts and the most ridiculously extravagant wedding venues.
Here’s a list of fantastic wedding destinations in India that can make your special day nothing short of a magical experience:
Mumbai is a city of infinite possibilities and dreams. It is one of the well connected cities in the country with flights from almost every corner of the world. This makes it extremely convenient for your wedding guests to attend your wedding. And, the city has a cornucopia of wedding venues right from 5 star resorts and hotels to incredible private banquets and lawns that can host your celebrations. This city is a true melting pot of culture and traditions. It is a great location for your wedding as there are a number of pretty banquet halls in Mumbai, as well as, offbeat places nestled in the outskirts.
With its ancient palaces, gorgeous forts and incredible mansions, Jaipur might be an ideal option to host the most regal wedding celebrations at the numerous resorts, and the sprawling lawns in these properties. The couple is bound to feel like royalty, to get married at spectacular venues that double up as picture-perfect backdrops. Adding to the splendour of the ceremonies would be the local mehendi artists, folklore specialists, pagdi walas and more. Jaipur is easily accessible via air, rail or road.
Image Via - Artfoto
Kerala has towns and cities that are nestled in a quaint and picturesque setting that is beyond perfect for the celebration of your union. Whether you decide to get married along the beaches of Kovalam or the tranquil backwaters of Alleppey, you’ll find endless options for resorts and banquet halls that are sure to mesmerize your wedding guests. We recommend you to indulge in Kerala’s rich culture by serving tantalising South Indian fare on banana leaves or get the party going on a traditional houseboat.
When you dream of getting married whilst the ocean wets your feet, Goa inevitably comes to your mind. Goa has something for everybody. Right from a pristine coastline, awe-inspiring sunsets, modern resorts, historical churches and lush forests that can serve as locations for your pre-wedding shoot. Your guests can also revel in Goa’s party frenzy by enjoying the haldi and Mehendi festivities by a swanky pool, or a night of endless cocktails on the beach.
Rishikesh is one of the most holy cities in the country. Isn’t it fitting to begin your marital journey here? It would be gratifying to take your pheras along the river Ganges underneath the starry sky. The soothing sound of the river flowing paired with the chants of mantras and the ominous sounds of bells will quench the spiritual thirst. There are many wedding venues aplenty in Rishikesh for you to choose from.
Asia is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Among the many countries in the region, Malaysia stands out for being a bastion of culture all while providing a tourist-friendly atmosphere. This is why Business Insider's ranking of the most visited countries places Malaysia near the upper half of the list, as the country was visited by more than 13 million people last year alone.
Now that travel to other countries is starting to go back to normal, many of you may be planning your own trips to Malaysia. To help you out with this, we've put together some things that'll make your adventure even more enjoyable.
Avoid the Tap Water
Nothing will ruin your trip faster than getting sick. And while there has been a lot of material talking about the importance of being wary of malaria when traveling to Southeast Asia, you'll have a low chance of actually contracting the disease when visiting Malaysia. However, one thing you have to be wary about is the water.
The tap water in Malaysia isn't the best for drinking, unless it has undergone filtration. Either way, it would be in your best interest to stock up on bottled water. Luckily, bottled water is quite affordable in the country. If you don't want to keep buying water, it would be wise to bring your own container and fill it up from a filtered water source so you can just bring it around with you wherever you go.
Familiarize Yourself with the Transportation System
Once you land, you'll need a way to get around. The common option for tourists is to take the taxis. However, we don't recommend doing this as Malaysia, in particular, is fraught with subpar taxis. In fact, The Coverage details that Malaysian taxi drivers are ranked the worst in the world due to their hostile nature and egregious rates.
While you're there, you may as well travel like the locals. Expat Bets’ guide to Malaysia highlights how the country’s mass transportation system consists of expressways that run along the east and west coasts of the country. So you can basically get to most major destinations via their mass transport system. They also have a reliable railway system that can give you access to the eastern regions of Malaysia.
Lastly, you'll want to be prepared for Malaysia's climate, as packing the wrong clothes could end up making your trip pretty uncomfortable. Keep in mind that Malaysia, like the other countries in South East Asia, has a tropical climate. The climate in Malaysia can get rather warm, but what you'll really want to be wary of is the rain.
It would be best to bring a jacket around, especially if you'll be going there during the rainy season (April to October) to make sure that none of your plans will be hindered by a sudden change in weather.
If you're looking for more travel tips for other countries, check out our guide on what you need to know before going to Australia.
Ready to start planning for your next trip, book a complimentary Exotic Travel Planning Session.
Anyone who has traveled across time zones knows the foggy, headachy, dragging feeling of jet lag. It’s awful, and it can interfere with productivity and enjoyment on any trip. Especially if you have a somewhat limited time — say, a week in London — jet lag can cut into the fun of half your trip!
Jay Olson, a psychology instructor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, studied the latest research on jet lag and developed a free app called Jet Lag Rooster, which aims to help travelers incrementally adjust their waking and sleeping patterns in order to tap into the body’s natural circadian rhythms to avoid or greatly diminish symptoms of jet lag.
The setup is easy enough: you simply input your flight itinerary information, your normal sleeping pattern, and indicate whether you want to start changing your schedule before or after arrival — starting before you depart can really help especially with long east-traveling journeys — and JLR pops out a printable schedule with hour-by-hour guidelines. Using a calculator that’s similar to the ones used by the Mayo Clinic’s sleep center, Jet Lag Rooster can determine when it’s best to sleep, to seek light, or to take melatonin (this is optional) to help the body adjust naturally to time changes without the mind-bending fatigue of jet lag.
When JLR prompts you to “seek light,” ideally that means sunshine, even on a cloudy day — but if it’s the middle of the night in your destination city, you can also use a travel version of a full-spectrum lamp. Likewise, if “avoiding light” is impossible, you can don sunglasses that block the blue light that has the strongest effect on the body’s clock.
If the time change is drastic, adjusting circadian rhythms can take days. It can be a little inconvenient upon arrival to, say, avoid sunlight after 2pm in Tokyo — but the reality is that the average person can only adjust their internal clock by an incremental amount of 60 to 90 minutes a day. Trying to get the body to accommodate a 13-hour time difference cannot be done in one day. That is, after all, what causes jet lag in the first place.
So, does it work? According to the research, it does. And thousands of alert, savvy travelers seem to agree.
Come on, you know you want to try out Jet Lag Rooster! Click the link below to schedule a “Let’s Get Acquainted Session” with me today and let’s find somewhere fabulous and far away for you to try it out yourself.
Whether you’re going for a couple of weeks or even for months together, there are some foundational things that are critical to making travel with someone else successful. Ashlea Halpern is an editor at Traveler magazine who recently spent a year globetrotting with her boyfriend. Here are some of her best tips for making it work so you can come back from your journey stronger than ever.
Get clear on what you’re good at and what you’re not good at — and play up each other’s strengths. You might be awesome at small details, or you might be more of a big-picture kind of person. Either one is fine, of course — but be honest with yourself about where you excel. Use your gifts to help make the trip better, and let your travel partner do the same. If you hate navigating and you’re no good at it, then don’t insist on being the one to find the hotel at 11pm in a city of ten million people. Find another way to get that done. When you see yourself and your companion get more done when you balance each other out, then differences don’t have to be catastrophic.
Go ahead and step out of your comfort zone, but be clear about your boundaries. Yes, traveling is all about expanding and learning, and it’s good to try all kinds of new things. But don’t be afraid to set limits. If you absolutely do not want to go skydiving, don’t do it — but if it’s someone else’s dream, offer to be there cheering her on. If you really want to try roasted beetles, go for it! But if your friend refuses, respect that and move on. There are plenty more adventures ahead to enjoy together.
Find small certainties within the chaos. So much of travel is uncertain — you’re in a new place, surrounded by things you might not recognize, trying to navigate through language and cultural barriers. If you’re traveling long-term, you know the agony and exhaustion of flight changes, train schedules, taxi rules, late nights, early mornings. Fatigue can make you vulnerable to illness, impatience, and arguments. Take an honest look at yourself and identify one or two things you need to do every day to keep you grounded. Is it a good breakfast? A great cup of coffee? A reasonable bedtime? An afternoon walk? Time with a good book? Then, to the best of your ability, try to honor those needs, even when everything is up in the air. Compromise with your travel partner — if he’s an early riser and you’re a sleeper-inner, find a way to meet in the middle, or try to accommodate those natural tendencies. Maybe he gets up at six and reads the paper or works out while you snooze for an extra hour. These small concessions will pay huge dividends later on when the time comes where you have to make sacrifices due to schedules or other needs.
It’s okay to spend time apart. Especially if you’re an introvert, you might need alone time to stay sane. Or you might just want to spend an afternoon exploring on your own, talking to new people, doing different things. It’s okay! It’s normal to get sick of spending weeks at time in close quarters with the same person. A little pre-planned, cordial time apart might be the exact thing that helps you be at your best together.
When things get tough, stand together. It’s normal to bicker about small things. Everyone does. But when there’s something major, remember that you are a team. Hold off on blame, engage empathy, and get to work — together.
Don’t forget to be silly. Laughter has saved many a relationship. It brings us back to what matters. It helps us take ourselves less seriously. It reminds us that it’s more important to be connected than it is to be right. Recognize when your travel partner is trying to lighten the mood, and don’t be afraid to let go and be goofy together. That time when everything was going wrong, and you stopped and realized how ridiculous it all was, and you laughed so hard that you both had tears rolling down your cheeks — that will stay with you forever. Go with it.
If you’re ready to embark on the fun, crazy adventure of traveling with a loved one, give me a call! I’d love to help you make it the best experience yet. You can reach me by clicking here.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a trinket from a trip that you almost immediately forgot about. It’s a common experience!
It’s easy to breeze through the duty-free area on your way home and pick up a few (dozen) chocolate bars — and sometimes that is just the right thing to do. I’ve certainly done it myself, so no judgment there.
But if you love to dig around for souvenirs and gifts that have personal meaning and that reflect what was most meaningful to you about your trip, here are some fresh ideas to bring with on your next vacation.
Keep an eye out for things that don’t cost a thing. If the idea of the souvenir is that is connected to and will spark a pleasant memory, those objects often come just in our everyday interactions on a trip. Complimentary items on planes and in hotels, for example, might remind you of great service or the incredible view from your balcony. Ticket stubs, programs, interesting city maps — all these things can remind you of adventures, art, and beautiful days in a favorite city.
Look to nature. Of course bearing in mind specific laws regarding transporting plant material across borders — there are natural objects that can mean much more than anything purchased in a store. A flower petal or leaf pressed in a book, a beautiful unique pebble, a jar of sand or sea salt — these are simple things that can be incorporated into your décor at home that will make you smile every time you see them.
Boost your learning. If you’re buying for yourself or for someone else, consider something that will offer an inside view of the culture, language, history, music, or food of where you’ve visited.
Don’t be afraid to ask. Laura Palmer Peach of Kaufman Mercantile reminds readers that it’s okay to inquire at restaurants or bars or coffee shops if you can add the price of a dish to your bill. So if you’ve had a particularly wonderful experience somewhere, share that enthusiasm with the waiter and ask if they’d be okay with you buying something to take home. Imagine sipping your morning tea or coffee from the very same cup you sipped from in Paris. What could be better?
Something old, something new. One of the best adventures in a different place can be to scour antique shops for quirky treasures. If you have a reader in your life, a gorgeous old book might bring immense joy. Vintage postcards or photos can be a collector’s dream. Jewelry, scarves, cuff links, bags — these all give a glimpse into style and history and make a statement, and they don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Plus, you’ll have a great story to tell with every compliment you receive.
If you’re going for something new, consider a practical item — something you can use in your everyday life that will bring happy memories. Ms. Palmer suggests that an umbrella or a nice bag can be a great option. If you love to cook or bake, perhaps a cooking tool or recipe book would be just the thing. Even a small musical instrument can be a great gift for kids — a flute or shakers, for example.
Tell your own story. One cool thing about smart phones is that you have instant access to a world of creative sharing. Even if you don’t use your phone while you’re away, it can make a wonderful, portable, decent-quality camera — and when you return, those photos can be easily turned into souvenir books for yourself, family members, or friends. ChatBooks (link name to this ==> https://chatbooks.com/) is a free app that allows you to effortlessly create and customize photo books from Instagram, Facebook, or your regular photo library for as little as $8.
Whatever your tastes, there are tons of ways to approach the idea of a souvenir that ensure you’ll bring something back that will have personal meaning for you and that will spark many wonderful memories months and years after you’ve come home. And don’t forget the chocolate bars on your way out!
If you’re ready to start your own hunt for the perfect souvenir in the perfect getaway, give me a call today and let’s get started! You can reach me by clicking here.
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