Saturday, June 9, 2012

The island of Cuba

Cuba has always been an island that I have always had a desire to visit especially since it is another place that was kissed by the slave trade.  The music alone has been a drawing point for me with such artist as Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, and of course Gloria Estefan.  At the moment there is not much I can tell you about the island but I am researching with various travel partners now about bringing a small group of travelers there to experience this island.

Foods of Brazil

One of things I enjoy when I travel is enjoying the food of a particular area or country.  One of my favorite places to discover foods is Salvador da Bahia.  Between the African spices, flavors and ingredients from other countries Bahia is a food lover's delight.  The first thing you can start with is the acaraje.  This is known as the poor Brazilian's meal.  It is made from peeled black eyed peas which are peeled formed into a ball and deep fried in dende oil.  Afterwards it can be split and stuff with shrimp and a spicy hot sauce. 
Of course my favorite is moqueca which is a seafood stew composed of  fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes and any other seafoods you can think of. 
Now I am hungry. That is why I am going to do a group culinary trip to Bahia next year in April. If you want to really do some good eating come join me.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Just finished returning from Santiago, Valparaiso and Villa del Mar Chile.   All  three of these areas are fantastic for experiencing Chile's great wines and food.  If you are a foody like I tend to be at t ime you will find more than your share of great foods in this area.  The best grapes come from in the area of Villa del Mar which is known for it's cooler weather.  Villa del Mar is also known as the more upscale resort area with beaches.  I don't know if I would actually go to this area for beach because the waters are extremely cold and the weather prevents it from being some place similar to the Caribbean. 
Valparaiso really had nothing that I would go out of my way to go visit for and we were constantly being warned of the pickpockets. 
Santiago I loved because of its New York hustle and flow feel. People there dress extremely well and manicured. Downtown Santiago is the finacial area and again many great restaurants and fantastic shopiing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fun Times Silver Spring Maryland

Washington D.C. is my home city and a fantastic and fun place to visit.  The museums, restaurants, cultural neighborhoods, make D.C. the place to see.  But let me introduce you to another little area just a subway ride outside of D.C. that has become quite the place.  It is called Silver Spring, Maryland.  Now when I live there many years ago it was a sleepy little suburban town but wow has it grown up.  Silver Spring now has a fantastic downtown shopping center with high end clothing stores, restaurants and theaters live and film.  Remember the Fillmore in San Francisco?  Well Silver Spring has one now.  The restaurants are numerous, Ethiopian, Indian, Mexican, etc.  There is ice skating also.  Just a 15 minute Metro Subway ride from downtown D.C. getting off at the Silver Spring Metro.  Next time in D.C. check it out.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Travel Insurance

One of the things I suggest to clients as they prepare to travel is to consider purchasing travel insurance.  I use my own personal measuring stick as to whether they should "really" consider it or maybe consider it.  When a client starts spending money in the four figures, they have young children at home that are still at the age where they get sick a lot, they have a spouse or parents who are not in the best of health, or their health is not the greatest and could cause them to cancel that is when I highly suggest travel insurance.  When you look at the low price it cost to purchase compared to how much you can lose by not doing it the purchase becomes worthwhile. 
To give you an example each year I have a group of Girl Scout clients that I send cross country Europe every year.  This particular year the scout leader wanted to deduct the amount of the travel insurance to save money.  I insisted that she didn't.  One of the young ladies going on the trip had to cancel at the last minute because of the discovery of cancer and the hospital wanted to start chemo immediately.  Her mother was extremely worried that she had lost all the trip monies because everything was nonrefundable.  When I explained to her that because of travel insurance she would get everything back she was extremely happy.
Ask your travel consultant what company they use, how accessible the company is when it comes time to file a claim and make sure you are aware of all the do's and don'ts that are in the policy.  Travel insurance is well worth the investment to keep a peace of mind when you travel.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It is time for some Adventure Travel

As you think about your next vacation why not think about something different than just getting a room, doing a tour and then going back to your room.  Why not take a look at the adventure travel packages.    Now adventure travel doesn't necessarily mean mountain climbing or white water rafting although that can be a blast.  It also includes things like ecotourism, cultural tourism, photo safaris, and culinary travel.  According to the Travel Industry Association of America at least 10 percent of Americans have taken an adventure-travel trip, and that it's growing by about 10 percent a year.  Imagine a group of  people traveling to Italy, renting a villa and each night taking a cooking class being taught by an Italian chef and afterwards toasting the meal you just prepared and digging in.  Then there is being in Brazil learning how to Samba or taking camdoble lessons from a Brazilian Maestro.   Try letting your vacation be something completely different than what everyone else is doing.  Let your pictures bring out the WOW!!!!! factors when people look at them. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shopping For Cruises

Have you been sitting at home trying to make that decision on cruising to some exotic destination?  Then stop trying and do it.  This is the time to start booking your cruises for 2012.  Cruise lines are creating tremendous deals to get your business.  Take for instance Regent Seven Seas and its  cruise deals 2-for-1 Fares plus additional bonus savings of up to $4,000 per suite, FREE Roundtrip Air with FREE Upgrade to Business Class Air to Europe in Penthouse Suites and higher! FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions! FREE Luxury Hotel Package or Carnival Cruise where they have deals where you can cruise for less than $70.00 a day.
These are the types of deals any good travel consultant keeps track of so you have no excuse for still sitting there on the coach wishing and hoping.  Making cruise reservations for 2012 now is the smart and economical way to do your cruising.  Many people lose out on the better deals for a cruise because they don't take advantage of all the deals out there.  Align yourself  with a good travel consultant and get on their mailing list to receive updates on the latest deals.  It is time to cruise don't wait another day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Group Travel

One of the best ways to see the world for little or nothing is to create a group whether it is for a cruise, a trip to some exotic area, or a ski trip of Europe.  Group trips not only cut down the cost for everyone going on the trip it allows you to travel for free depending on the destination.  Most travel arrangements  will allow you to travel free at 20 people.  The nice thing about it is most of the work is done by the travel agent.  All you have to do is the marketing, gathering of the people, and gathering of the money.  Otherwise it is the travel agent's job to do all the fact finding, looking for the best prices, doing the negotiations and handling all the documentation.  Family reunions are good for creating a group or just a bunch of friends who like the same destination you do.  Talk with a travel consultant and put that next group together for a cruise or a trip to Brazil.