Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Blue Waters Resort Antigua

Blue Waters is a family resort with a breakfast plan or all inclusive plan.  It has several multi-bedroom villa options. It's perfect for people who want a stunning view, but don't necessarily need a long beach.  This is a great resort for a girls' trip or retreat.  A kids' club is available or 4 - 10 year old. One unique feature is the Cove section. It's limited to guests 16 years old and older. Each buildings has its own pool with waiter service. Live band entertainment every night. 

Thank you to the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority for sponsoring my visit. 

Take a peek:

If this looks like the right resort for you, click here to request a quote.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Beyond Disney World: A Guide to Central Florida Attractions

Things to Do in Orlando and Tampa

Arguably the two most popular attractions in the Orlando area are Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. There are however plenty of other things to see and do to add to your theme park vacation or come to Florida to do these on their own.

Kennedy Space Center

Located about 42 miles from the Orlando airport on Merritt Island, the center of which is known as Cape Canaveral. Since 1968 it has been NASA’s primary launch center for human flight into Space. The visitor center features exhibits, displays, historic spacecraft, memorabilia, shows, two IMAX theaters and bus tours. Admission tickets can be purchased in advance online as well as add-on tours. Recommended add-on tours include Lunch with an Astronaut and KSC Explore Tour, which gets visitors up close to restricted areas such as launch pads, and the Vehicle Assembly building. Some tours can be booked online as a package with admission tickets. The visitor center is open 365 days a year at 9 am each day, closing time varies depending on the time of year.


Located in Winter Haven, almost right between Tampa and Orlando this theme park opened in 2011 at the site of the old Cypress Gardens. Legoland preserved the botanical gardens and re-themed the park with the various Lego brands. The park is designed for children ages 2 to 12, and has over 50 rides, shows, attractions, restaurants, shops and a water park. There is also an adjacent Legoland Hotel and Legoland Beach Retreat. The park is open most days of the year at 10 AM, it is often closed on Wednesdays and sometimes on Tuesdays in the fall and winter when school is session. Tickets and accommodations in the hotels can be booked online.

Sea World*

A marine zoological park and theme park located just 12 miles northwest of Walt Disney World.

The park has seventeen rides and attractions, seven main animal exhibits and five live shows. The park is open daily at 9 am when schools are out of session and 10 am when school is in session. Closing time varies throughout the year.

Discovery Cove*

Located in Orlando adjacent to Sea World, this all inclusive park has dolphin encounters, snorkeling with rays, bird feeding & a lazy river. Advance reservations for the park are required and the admission also includes unlimited food and drink and a ticket to Sea World or Aquatica Orlando. Package enhancements to your admission include swimming with dolphins and trainer for a day.

Aquatica Orlando*

Located next to Sea World and Discovery Cove, this waterpark has a wide variety of attractions some of which pass by or through animal habitats. There are two wave pools that share a white sand beach with chairs, sun beds, and umbrellas. There are also eight slides, two lazy rivers and two children’s areas. The park is open daily through January 1st then it closes for a couple months until the Spring.

*Ticket packages combining two or three parks are available at a savings. Dining packages are also available for Aquatica and Sea World.

Titanic Exhibition

Located near Universal Studios, the Titanic Exhibition features 17 galleries of artifacts with guided tours led by trained actors in period dress. Recently over 100 new artifacts have been added including a 3-ton section of the ship’s hull. The museum also has full scale recreations of the Grand Staircase, First Class Cabin, Verandah cafe and more. The museum hosts dinner events recreating the tragic night the ship sank. Guests interact with some of the most notable passengers while enjoying first class food and a first class show. The museum is open daily from 11 am to 10 pm.

Holyland Experience

A Christian based theme park located in Orlando just northeast of Universal Studios. The park recreates the ancient city of Jerusalem and has 43 different exhibits including restaurants and retail shops. The park also has a full schedule of live productions shows. The park is open from 10 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed on New Years Day, Christmas Day, and Thanksgiving Day.

Crayola Experience- This attraction offers 26 hands-on exhibits at Orlando’s newest family destination The Florida Mall, located less than 12 miles from Disney World and about 5 miles from the Orlando International Airport. Over 70,000 square feet of fun awaits visitors from naming and wrapping their own crayon to seeing their digital art come to life on a huge interactive wall. Discounts are available for purchasing tickets in advance and teachers get in free with a valid ID. The attraction is open daily at 10 AM, closing time varies during the year.

Busch Gardens

An African Animal themed park in Tampa Bay with an adjacent Adventure Island Water Park. Busch Gardens has 8 roller coasters and two water rides plus animal attractions, a Sesame Street area and several other rides. Busch Gardens is daily at 10 AM until 5 or 6 PM with extended hours in the summer and school breaks. Adventure Island has 10 water slides, 2 pools, a lazy river, and two areas just for little kids. The park is only open in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Its open typically when school is not in session, with special hours on certain days of the week and weekends when school is in session.

The Florida Aquarium

There are thousands of plants and animals to see here including sharks, alligators, seahorses, stingrays, sea turtles, river otters, birds, and other native fish. Located next to the cruise port in Tampa, the aquarium will store guests luggage for free for those visiting pre or post cruise. The aquarium is open daily from 9:30 am - 5 pm daily, except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Spring Training

15 MLB teams hold their Spring Training in Florida, of those 7 are within about an hours drive of Tampa. Games start towards the end of February and run through almost the end of March, coinciding with Spring Break for many across the country. The players tend to be a little more accessible for autographs and pictures before and after games then they are during the regular season, and the game tickets tend to also be a little cheaper than they are for regular season games.

Atlanta Braves- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Kissimmee, FL

Baltimore Orioles- Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota, FL

Detroit Tigers- Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland, FL (between Orlando and Tampa)

New York Yankees- George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, FL

Philadelphia Phillies- Spectrum Field, Clearwater, FL

Pittsburgh Pirates- LECOM Park, Bradenton, FL

Toronto Blue Jays- Dunedin Stadium, Dunedin, FL

Tampa Area Beaches

Spend a day or two at the beach, below is a listing of the best beaches in the Tampa area.

Caladesi Island State Park-This top beach is only accessible by boat. Beach goers can take the Ferry over from Honeymoon Island or rent a kayak and paddle over. The island also has 3 miles of nature trails and kayak trails. The park has a marina with electric and water hookups, as well as a snack bar and gift shop.

Honeymoon Island- This island neighbors Caladesi and until a hurricane in 1921 the two used to be connected. Visitors love the 4 mile stretch of this beach perfect for swimming, fishing and collecting shells. There is also a section of beach for pets. Nature lovers enjoy the 3 miles Osprey trail where horned owls, osprey and eagles can be seen nesting. There are two snack bars in the park, a pavilion, cafe, and umbrellas, chairs, kayaks and bicycles available for rental.

Fort De Soto County Park- The largest park within the county park system it is made up of 5 interconnected islands. The area is home to native plants, mangroves, wetlands, and over 328 species of birds. Loggerhead sea turtles nest here between April and November. This area is perfect for kayaking or just relaxing on the beach. The park has restrooms, playgrounds, camping, and an area for dogs on the beach. Lifeguards are stationed from March through Labor Day.

Ben T. Davis- If you are staying in Tampa Bay and just need a quick shot of Vitamin D, this beach fits the bill. Located along the causeway it is perfect for a quick visit for some sun and surf.

Indian Rocks Beach-3 miles of beautiful beach along the Gulf of Mexico. There are 27 beach access points.

Treasure Island-Located on a barrier island west of St. Petersburg, there are nearly 4 miles of beautiful beaches to enjoy. 3 beach access points have both public parking and restrooms including Sunset Beach Pavilion, Gulf Front Park, and Municipal Beach. All parking is $2 per hour.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Jewel Grande Montego Bay Jamaica

The Jewel Grande Montego Bay is a family all inclusive resort about 20 minutes from the Montego Bay airport. 

The highlights of this resort: 
  • Large one and three bedrooms suites 
  • Butler service 
  • Excellent Spa 
  • Cove beach with clear blue water 

Take a peek: 

If this looks like a great resort for you, click here to request a quote. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Norwegian Sun Updated with 2018 Dry Dock

Norwegian Sun underwent a dry dock in 2018 updating the restaurants and the ship overall. It looks great! The ship now has the benefits of a larger ship while sailing on a smaller ship. 

Take a peek: 

If this looks like the right ship for you, click here to request a quote. 

Mobile Passport versus Global Entry versus TSA Pre-check

TSA Pre-check is a membership program designed to expedite your way through security. 

Global Entry expedites your way through security and United States Customs and Immigration. 

Mobile Passport expedites your way through United States Customs and Immigration. 

Here's what you need to know: 

To apply for TSA PreCheck, visit: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck

To apply for Global Entry, visit: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry

To download Mobile Passport, check your App store or visit https://mobilepassport.us/

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Verandah Resort and Spa Antigua

Verandah Resort and Spa is a family all inclusive resort. The rooms are a one bedroom suite and a two bedroom suite. Some of the two bedroom suites have a plunge pool. Two a la carte restaurants, a beach grill, and a buffet are included. The resort is walking distance from Devil's Bridge National Park. A supervised kids' club for ages 3-12 can keep your kiddos busy from 9 am - 10 pm.

Big Thank You to the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority for sponsoring my visit to this resort.

Take a peek:

If this looks like the right resort for you, click here to request a quote.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Curtain Bluff Antigua

Curtain Bluff is a family all inclusive resort. It's known for having excellent service and the highest repeat guest percentage. All rooms are oceanfront with a view of the surf beach. So you'll fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing. Beach concierges make sure you have everything you need at the calmer family beach on the other side of the bluff. 

Thanks to the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority for sponsoring my trip. 

Take a peek:

If this looks like the right resort for you, click here for a quote.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

USA Series: The Greenbrier Sulpher Springs, West Virginia

As part of our USA Series, Katy, the Trips with Angie concierge, reviewed her stay that The Greenbrier in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. 

The Greenbrier is a beautiful resort located in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, near White Sulphur Springs of which I had the privilege to stay at recently. This place is filled with some amazing history, it has hosted 26 presidents, and countless celebrities.

The property dates back to 1778, when a local woman visited the area to get relief from her chronic rheumatism from the spring of sulphur water that runs through the middle of the property. For the first 125 years the resort, then known as White Sulphur Springs, was a destination for people to escape the coastal heat and diseases in the summer.

The current hotel was built in 1913 by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. In 1942 the hotel was commandeered by the U.S. Army for use as a hospital during the World War II. In 1946 the hospital closed and the railroad bought the property back. The railroad then hired internationally renowned interior designer Dorothy Draper to completely redecorate and restore the property. Draper was known for her use of bright, exuberant colors and large prints that would encompass whole walls. She incorporated black and white tiles, rocco scrollwork, and baroque plasterwork. She also combined different colors, fabrics, and patterns together, combining stripes with floral patterns. The hotel is still decorated in her design style today.

The hotel is also the site of a massive underground bunker meant to serve as an emergency shelter for Congress during the Cold War. The bunker is now available for tours.

There are 10 restaurants on the property ranging from casual establishments to tie and jacket required. Casual establishments include the Coffee shop, Draper’s, Tree Tops Cafe (located poolside), and The Pizza Shoppe. Business Casual or Resort attire is required at The Forum, Prime 44 West, Sam Snead’s (overlooking the golf course), and Slammin’ Sammy’s (also overlooking the golf course). Tie and Jacket is required in the Main Dining Room, and at In-Fusion.

The resort has an indoor pool, an outdoor infinity pool, and two fitness centers. 

There are also indoor and outdoor tennis courts and a tennis pro shop. The resort will soon have 5 golf courses. The original four, including The Old White TPC where the Greenbrier Classic is played as part of the PGA Tour each year, and a new 3 par course opening late summer 2018. The Mineral Spa offers guests a wide variety of services to choose from including services utilizing the healing properties of the native sulphur waters. A Casino was added to the property in 2010 offering slots and traditional table games. Jackets are required for men in the Casino after 10 pm.

In addition to golf, tennis, swimming, and the spa guests can also enjoy horseback riding, falconry, bowling, bocce ball, fishing, fitness classes, glass blowing, jewelry making, kayaking, laser tag, shuffleboard, white water rafting, cooking classes, history tours, Segway tours, hiking, ice skating in the winter, shopping, and an escape room experience. There is also a kids club available for children ages 3-12. Complimentary coffee is available each morning in the Upper Lobby as is tea and cookies in the afternoon.

Tours of the resort are offered daily with outdoor tours and indoors tours offered on alternating days. Tours last just over an hour and I highly recommend them if you are interested in learning more about the history of the property and the area.

Kid Friendly Hawaii: Excursions in Oahu

All Ages

Tour: Authentic Ali’i Luau & Spectacular Show- After a 45 minute narrated coach ride arrive at the Luau with a lei greeting. Explore the grounds and see presentations depicting different Pacific cultures. Join in for the “imu” ceremony, the traditional roasting of the pig. After words enjoy the feast of pork, chicken, fish, and poi. Following dinner is the spectacular Polynesian show, HA: Breath of Life.

Duration: 11 hours

Tour: Pearl Harbor- Full and Half Day Tours available- Gain insight into the events surrounding Oahu/Pearl Harbor and WWII with a tour of the Road to War Museum at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Also visit the USS Arizona and the USS Missouri.

Duration: Varies

Tour: Learn to Surf- Your surfing adventure begins with a 15-minute safety briefing in which you'll learn basic surfing fundamentals such as proper paddling, standing, turning, maneuvering over waves, and water safety. To ensure personalized attention, each instructor is limited to 3-4 students at a time. Then spend almost 2 hours in the water as the instructor assists you with catching and riding the waves. Children 14 and over can be part of a small group lesson. Children under 14 will need a private instructor for safety reasons.

Duration: 2 hours

Tour: Polynesian Cultural Center- From the ship take a scenic drive to Pali Lookup before getting an inside visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Then head to the Polynesian Cultural Center for a guided tour and demonstrations of Tongan drumming, fire making, coconut tree climbing and traditional dances of Fiji, Hawaii, the Marquesas, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti and Tongo. Island-style BBQ lunch included.

Duration: 8.5 hours

Ages 8 and up

Tour: Hollywood Movie Sites, Ancient Fish Pond & Tropical Garden- Enjoy a full day tour of some of the best attractions in Oahu. Start out by visiting the sites of some of your favorite movie and TV shows including, Jurassic Park, LOST, Hawaii 5-0, Pearl Harbor, Windtalkers and much more. Next you will visit an 800 year old fishpond and learn about the sailing traditions of early Hawaiian settlers. Finish your tour in a beautiful tropical garden overflowing with tropical fruit, trees and exotic flowers. A buffet lunch is included.

Duration: 6 hours

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cocos Hotel Antigua

Coco's Hotel is 35 cottages built into the cliff between Jolly Beach and Valley Church beach Lots of stairs. Lots of privacy. Pool cottages are amazing. It's all inclusive with one a la carte restaurant plus two beach bars. The resort is adults only. 

Thanks to the Aruba and Barbuda Tourism Authority for sponsoring my visit. 

Take a peek: 

If this looks like the right hotel for you, click here to request a quote. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Family Friendly Hawaii: Excursions in Hilo

Ages 5 and up

Tour: Zipline through Paradise- Traverse nearly 2 miles over beautiful tropical gorges across 8 different ziplines. The last line is a half mile long and goes directly down the middle of a river.

Duration: 4.5 hours

Ages 6 and up

Tour: Hilo Beach Snorkel- A great tour for beginners and experienced snorkelers alike. Spend 2 hours snorkeling in calm, clear waters teeming with wildlife. If you get tired of snorkeling check out the tide pools or simply go for a swim.

Duration: 2 hours

Ages 8 and up

Tour: Waterfall, Cave & Black Sand Cove- This is a great small group half-day adventure to see waterfalls, walk through a lava tube, and search for the endangered Green Sea Turtle on a black sand beach.

Duration: 4 hours

Ages 10 and up

Tour: Hilo Bay Kayak & Waterfall Adventure- Kayak along Hilo’s shoreline and across the Bay one mile to Wailuku River, then paddle under the “Singing Bridge” and up the river to a beautiful waterfall where you can cool off. Watch for a glimpse of Mauna Kea Summit during your journey.

Duration: 2.5 hours

Ages 12 and up

Tour: Kilauea Volcano Biking- Pedal your 21-speed mountain bike eight miles to the crater rim of Kilauea. After the ride hike through the forest, and through a lava tube. Stop at the Jaggar Museum and see real time seismographs and eruption footage.

Duration: 6 hours

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Carlisle Bay Antigua

Carlisle Bay is a family resort with meal plans available. The resort is very laid back. The guest relations director described it as shabby chic. No dress codes. Yoga, snorkeling, and non-motorized water sports are included. Kids club programming is available for ages 3-12 years old. The two and three bedroom suites are fantastic. This is a great fit if you don't want to pack pants for dinner.

Take a peek: 

If this looks like the right resort for you, click here to request a quote.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Family Friendly Hawaii: Excursions in Kauai

All Ages

Tour: Waimea Canyon & Wailua River- This is a great tour that covers it all in Kauai. Drive up 3,400 feet for an amazing view of the canyon, see Sprouting Horn and Opaeka’a Falls. Then board a riverboat for a trip long the Wailua River Valley. Arrive at Fern Grotto and enjoy a performance by local musicians. Stop at a local restaurant before returning to the ship.

Duration: 8 hours

Kauai Garden Luau- The evening begins with the Imu Ceremony - the unearthing of the traditional pig, cooked in an underground oven. Listen to traditional Hawaiian songs and chants as you participate in a feast of kalua pork, beef teriyaki, chicken adobo, and sweet-n-sour mahimahi. After dinner join the dancers for a hula lesson. Afterwards sit back and relax and enjoy the show.

Duration: 4 hours

Tour: Waterfall Hike and Kayak- Enjoy a guided paddle to a secluded spot and then hike to a secret waterfall. Enjoy a picnic lunch and swim near the water fall. All participants should be of moderate physical ability.

Duration: 4.5 hours

Ages 5 and up

Tour: Mudbug Waterfall Off-Road Adventure- Arrive by mini-van to the Old Koloa Sugar Mill where experienced guides greet you and give you your protective mud clothing, a helmet and goggles. Board your all terrain fully automatic Mudbug for a dirty adventure that takes you down back road trails, cane fields and through streams, offering amazing views of the ocean and the south shore. Picnic lunch is included and weather permitting swimming in a secluded pool.

Duration: 5.5 hours

Ages 7 and up

Tour: Zip and Splash-Enjoy Kauai as you traverse across a series of suspension bridges and six ziplines. Four of the six lines are tandem so you can go with a friend. Afterwards take a short hike through a bamboo forest and have a picnic lunch by Blue Pool and Water Zip.

Duration: 4 hours

Ages 8 and up

Tour: Horseback Riding Adventure- Explore beautiful Kauai from horseback. Along your journey guides will share the ancient history of the area and local lore.

Duration: 3.5 hours

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tips for Traveling during hurricane season

If you are scheduled to fly during a time when a hurricane is brewing - be sure to check your airline's website for advisories. This is even more important than checking your flight status. Most airlines have a banner across the top of the page with updates. 

Airlines will often issue "waivers". This means you can change your flights without paying the change fee and, potentially, not paying the change in fare. Pay careful attention the dates the airlines are using. These are the airlines best estimates for when their operations will be impacted by the storm. 

If I am traveling and trying to get home, I rent a car from the departure airport now. You can always cancel without penalty. This is a great back up plan in case flights get cancelled and gives you an option. I also check with the hotel to see if they will hold a room for me for a couple nights in case flights are cancelled.

Sandals Royal Bahamian Adults Only All Inclusive

Sandals Royal Bahamian is an adults only all inclusive resort in Nassau, Bahamas.  One of the biggest draws is the offshore island, variety of restaurants and crystal clear water. 

Take a peek: 

Heading to an all inclusive resort?  Text ALLINC to 22828 for my ten tips to make the most of your all inclusive resort stay.

If this looks like the resort for you, click here to request a quote. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Family Friendly Hawaii: Excursions in Maui

All Ages

Tour: Maui Whale Watch- Join a certified marine naturalist for an opportunity to see Pacific humpback whales up close. See them surface, slap their tails and spout water into the air,  then listen to their haunting songs through underwater headphones. Tour is only available December through April. Whale sightings are not guaranteed.

Duration: 3 hours

Tour: Haleakala Crater- Visit Maui’s massive dormant Haleakala volcano, travel from sea level to 10,000 feet above. At the summit is a crater 7.5 miles long by 2.5 miles wide, and 3,000 feet deep. If the day is clear you may be able to make out Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island.

Duration: 4 hours

Note: Sunrise and Sunset tours are also available. Temperatures at the top of the crater can range between 40-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Please dress accordingly.

Tour: Maui Ocean Center- Enjoy 2 hours to explore the park. The center hosts many amazing exhibits including the Living Reef, a Marine Mammal Discovery Center, a Touch Pool and the Living Journey where you can walk through a 54-foot underwater transparent tube surrounded by Marine life.

Duration: 3 hours

Tour: Atlantis Submarine Adventure- Descend to depths of up to 125 feet and see vibrant tropical fish, thriving coral gardens and giant moray eels, as well as a sunken vessel: the Brig Carthaginian.

Duration: 2 hours

Note: While there is no minimum age for this excursion, children must be at least 3 feet tall and able to navigate a vertical 12-foot step ladder.

Ages 5 and up

Tour: Maui Pineapple Plantation- Tour the pineapple fields and learn about how the pineapples are harvested packed and shipped. Taste pineapples during their various stages of growth and learn the history and facts of this fruit. Finish the tour with lunch on the slopes of the Haleakala Volcano.

Duration: 4.5 hours

Ages 6 and up

Tour: Lanai Snorkel Sail-Board a luxury catamaran for a trip 7 miles out from Maui and spend the day snorkeling among the vibrant reefs full of marine wildlife. Your guides will fit with your snorkeling gear and if you choose take a guided reef tour with a naturalist. Continental breakfast and lunch included.

Duration: 8.5 hours

Ages 10 and up

Tour: Rappel Waterfalls- Drive along the famed Hana Highway to a botanical garden. Upon arrival get suited up and learn the ropes of rappelling. After a dry rappel, move on to the waterfalls. Afterwards swim in the pools beneath the falls before hiking through he jungle. Enjoy lunch before heading back.

Duration: 6 hours

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Galley Bay Resort and Spa Antigua

Galley Bay is an adults only all inclusive resort. You have the option of a beachfront suite or a cottage with a private plunge pool. The beach is great with snorkeling right from the beach. The resort even puts snorkel sets in the rooms. I absolutely loved this resort. The staff is incredible. The resort has bikes you can ride to explore the 42 acres or take a challenging ride to a nearby fort. Tennis is included for an hour a day. 

Thank you to the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority for selecting me to participate in a Familiarization trip that included a 5 night stay at this resort. 

Take a peek:

If this looks like the right resort for you, click to request a quote.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Kid Friendly Europe: Excursions in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain is a great city filled with history, museums, and a beach. 

All Ages

Tour: Barcelona Highlights & Montjuic Cable Car- Visit the Olympic Port and the architectural wonders of Poble Espanyol. Experience Barcelona by bus and on foot, enjoy Barcelona from the air at the Montjuïc Cable Car. End the tour discovering the secrets of the Gothic Quarter.

Duration: 4.5 hours

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Unico Riviera Maya

Unico Riviera Maya is an adults only all inclusive resort about an hour and a half from the Cancun airport. It's a modern resort with two kinds of suites: Alcoba and Estancia one bedroom suites. 

One great benefit is that select spa services and excursions are included. You pay the 20% service changes. The resort has an active vibe. 

One great feature for introverts is their App. You can order drinks to your lounge chair, room service, book spa services or excursions, and make a dining reservation. 

Is this the resort for you? Request a quote by visiting: https://www.tripswithangie.com/quote-request.html

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Kid Friendly Europe: Excursions in Florence and Pisa via Livorno

The port of Livorno is a jumping off spot for Florence, Pisa and Tuscany. You can pick scenic tours, history, or head a beach. 

All Ages

Tour: Florence and Pisa- Enjoy a scenic ride through Tuscany to Florence. Upon arrival embark on a walking 2.5 hour guided tour of the city. Afterwards enjoy 2 hours of free time to shop and have lunch on your own. Following lunch board your motor coach for a 60 minute ride to Piazza dei Miracle in Pisa and visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa, enjoy 60 minutes of free time before taking the motor coach back to the pier.

Duration: 10 to 10.5 hours

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Hyatt Ziva Cancun

Hyatt Ziva Cancun is a family all inclusive resort in the Hotel Zone of Cancun. 

It has three towers for rooms: Pyramid, Adults Only, and Club. 

Premium are the entry level junior suites. I highly recommend the ocean front views. 

The Adults Only tower is built on top of the Spa and has access to a roof top infinity pool. The video does not include the Spa. 

The Club level are the larger suites with access to a concierge lounge. 

The dining was very good. I loved the food trucks near each pool and the micro-brewery. 

The video tour does not include the kids' areas, but they do have a kids' club with slides and a splash park. You can also swim with dolphins on site.

If this looks like the right resort for you - request a quote. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Kid Friendly Europe: Excursions in Rome via Civitavecchia

Rome is a bucket list destination for so many people: Coliseum, Vatican, St Peter's Basilica, Trevi Foundation and all the great food! 

All Ages

Tour: Best of Rome- Visit the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican Square. Have lunch at an Italian restaurant, before heading to the Trevi fountain and Colosseum.

Please note it is a 90 minute ride each way from the ship to these attractions.

Duration: 10.5 to 11 hours

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Azul Beach Riviera Cancun

Azul Beach Riviera Cancun is family all inclusive resort about 30 minutes south of the Cancun airport. 

The resort has a family, premium, and adults only section. Families love the Nickelodeon kids' club. The premium section includes Bali beds that can be booked at 3 pm for the next day. 

One unique feature is the Le Chic restaurants onsite. It is one of the best restaurants in the Riviera Maya area. The restaurant has a special reduced price menu for resort guests. 

Be sure to check out the Thursday night Mexican buffet on the beach. 


Is this the right resort for you? Request a quote:  https://www.tripswithangie.com/quote-request.html

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Kid Friendly Europe: Excursions in Naples

Naples, Italy has so much for families. You can experience the history of Pompeii, the gorgeous sites of the Amalfi Coast, visit Capri or hike Mt Vesuvius. 

All Ages

Tour: Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri for Families-From the marina take a 60-minute jet boat ride to Capri, enjoy an Italian ice before setting sail to Faraglioni Rocks and the Marina Piccola. Afterwards head to Sorrento to shop and enjoy lunch on your own. After lunch the tour continues to Pompeii for a 90 minute visit. The tour finishes up at a cameo factory before heading back to Naples

Duration: 9.5 to 10 hours

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Live Aqua Cancun Tour

Live Aqua is an adults only all inclusive resort in the Cancun Hotel Zone focused on relaxation. 

Some unique features are the six pools with different temperatures and different colors of blue. 

It's definitely worth an upgrade to a suite here. You'll get access to the concierge lounge and have a Bali bed each day - either on the beach or by one of the pools. 

It's a great resort for people with food allergies - especially celiac. About 80% of the menus are already gluten free. 

Is this the right resort for you? Request a quote:  https://www.tripswithangie.com/quote-request.html

Saturday, August 4, 2018

When's the best time to book a vacation?

Cruises: The Earlier the Better
It's to your advantage to book a cruise when the schedule comes out. It's a win/win because you can book a refundable deposit and adjust your booking for any new promotions that are released between when you book and your final payment date.
  • Groups - If you book when the sailings are released, you can secure group rates if you plan to sail with at least 5 cabins. For instance, I'm working with a group who booked their November 2018 cruise in August 2017. They are paying hundreds less than the current rates.
  • Alaska -  If it's important to you to have the best cabin and best views, it's critical to book a year in advance because 50% of the cruise inventory is usually sold out by December for the next summer. 
  • Luxury and river cruises are good to book at least one year in advance and sometimes two years out because the ships are small and popular routes sell out. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Tour and Review

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach is a family hotel in the Hotel Zone of Cancun. 

It's unique because you can customize what's included. The resort has three options:
- European Plan: No food or drinks are included
- Club Level: The Club Lounge has a light breakfast and lunch with drinks and an evening happy hour.
- Unlimited Experience: An all inclusive plan 

I think this is a great option for groups or if you plan on spending a lot of time outside the resort. 

Other benefits:
- 4 pools including 3 swim up bars
- A massive kids' club that had a 2 million dollar renovation
- A fantastic Spa
- One of the very few 5 diamond restaurants.

Join me on a tour: 

Think this is resort for you? Request a quote 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Kid Friendly Europe: Excursions in Villefranche

Villefranche (Monte Carlo/ Nice)

All Ages

Tour: Monaco, Monte Carlo and Eze- Highlights of this tour include Le Rocher de Monaco, home of the royal Grimaldi family, the Oceanographic Museum, the Monaco Cathedral, and Prince’s Palace. Drive along a section of the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit. Enjoy a three course lunch at the medieval village of Eze. Free time is included at several of the stops.

Duration: 8.5 to 9 Hours

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Azul Beach Riviera Maya 2018

Azul Beach Riviera Maya is a great family all inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. 

This resort is a great fit for families with small kids: 
  • It has a small footprint so it's easy to get around. 
  • The resort has all the "stuff" so you don't have to sherpa your entire house onto the plane. 
  • Dining is kid-friendly including baby food
  • The family suites are fantastic 

Does this look like the resort for you? Request a quote 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Family Friendly Excursions in Anchorage, Alaska

It's worth planning some extra time at the beginning or end of your Alaska adventure. Here's our family friendly suggestions: 

Tour: Alaskan Wildlife- Minutes after your guide picks you up, you will find yourself surrounded by the majestic peaks and water views of the Turnagain Arm area. Along the way your guide will help you look for wildlife such as sheep, moose, and beluga whales. Arrive at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and you will visit with elk, bears, moose, caribou, and the Arctic Musk Ox.

Duration: Around 4 hours

The Alaska Zoo-Set on 25 acres of the Anchorage Hillside, it’s smaller than most Zoo’s, but the animals tend to be more active because of the cooler temperatures than traditional Zoo’s. The Zoo specializes in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, many of the animals were found orphaned or injured. Open daily, hours vary monthly.

The Anchorage Museum- Known for it’s displays of Alaskan history and art, there is an excellent Imaginarium for kids complete with touch tanks, science experiments, and a play area. Open 9 am to 6 pm daily from 5/1-9/30.

Reindeer Farm- Tours are guided with information about the animals, and you will be able to enter  the pen to pet and feed the reindeer, Dolly the Bison, Rocky the Moose, and a small herd of Elk. Open 10 am to 6 pm daily from 5/1-9/3, plus limited hours the month of September.

Byron Glacier- The best glacier to visit with kids. The walk from the parking lot is only a mile long on an easy, flat trail.

Thunderbird Falls and Eklutna Lake-  Thunderbird Falls is a great family hike! The trail is wide enough to push a stroller, although there are a few steep spots. After a short climb you will arrive at the Falls. Eklutna Lake is a great place for a picnic lunch, playing in the water and doing some geo-caching.