Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Virtual Vacations: The National Parks of the USA

During this time of staying at home for the COVID-19 Pandemic we thought we would bring you some virtual vacations you can take with your family from the comfort of your couch. To kick off this series we thought we would start with our National Parks.
 
When I started looking at virtual options it quickly became clear what my top choice was, The Hidden Worlds of our National Parks from Google Arts and Culture. 



Parks in this series include Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Kenai Fjords National Park. This series offers 360 degree views of the parks and is well narrated, very informative and very entertaining. Virtual experiences include kayaking the Kenai Fjords, soaring over an active volcano in Hawaii, flying like a bat through a cave in Carlsbad Caverns, horseback riding through Bryce Canyon, and diving through a shipwreck and swimming through a coral reef in Dry Tortugas. 

Through Google Arts and Culture you can also explore more than 100 other National Parks.  


Another great tour is Virtual Yosemite, visitors can click different highlighted points on the map and read about that part of the park, while listening to the natural sounds of that area of the park.


Google Earth offers interactive photos and beautiful views of more than 30 National Parks including Acadia National Park in Maine, Everglades National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Redwood National and State Park, and Yellowstone National Park to name a few.  
 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Secrets Resorts - Secrets St Martin


Secrets St Martin is an adults only all inclusive resort on the Ansel Marcel beach on the French side of the island. It had a pre-opening in March 2020. 

The resort has a small beach with great views and one of the largest pools in the Caribbean. I think this opening is great for St Martin. It provides Secrets lovers with another location to explore and those who want an adults only all inclusive on this great island a place to stay. 
 
Take a peek:
 
 
 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sanctuary Cap Cana - Adults Only All Inclusive Resort


Sanctuary Cap Cana is an adults only all inclusive resort about 15 minutes from the Punta Cana airport. The hotel took over an old church and fortress. It's been a hotel since 2007 and added a new tower in 2018.  The resort is very unique offering several different types of accommodations including a two bedroom suite attached to a little island. 

A big thank you to Sanctuary Cap Cana for the resort tour.

Take a peek: 


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Turtle Beach Family All Inclusive Resort Barbados



Turtle Beach is an all suite family all inclusive resort just minutes from the Barbados airport. It has three restaurants, a coffee shop, ice cream shop and two bars. The beach and location is great. The rooms are large. This is a terrific value for a Barbados vacation. 

Take a peek: 


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Majestic Elegance Costa Mujeres



 
 
I have to be honest. I was wow'd by my first impression of Majestic Elegance Costa Mujeres. This is a family friendly resort split into the adults only Club section and the family section. It's important to know for families that it is family friendly, but not family focused. This is a good choice for families that tend to spend their time all together versus the kids hanging out in the kids' club. It has a zero entry pool and most of the areas are accessible without going up stairs.

The Club has butlers, room service 24/7, a la carte breakfast and lunch, liquor available in the room, and clubs in each building. The Club section makes up about 70% of the rooms.  The rooms are terrific. The beach is wide and gorgeous. The Bali beds are first come first serve.
 
Take a peek:
 
 

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Now Natura



Now Natura is a brand new family all inclusive resort in Puerto Morales, Mexico. It opened March 2020. This video was filmed before it opened.
 
I loved the design of this resort. Each space has its own personality and air conditioning.  The ice cream cone themed Coco Cafe and the cenote themed spa are two of my favorite spaces. 
 
For rooms, they added It's one of the few resorts where some of the swim up suites offer a peek of the ocean. The Presidential suite has its own plunge pool and an outdoor shower. The resort will have a fun water park and splash zone. 

The resort is well equipped to handle large families and groups. Most of the restaurants have areas that could be available for a semi private dinner. 
 
Take a peek:
 
 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Hard Rock Riviera Maya Heaven and Hacienda



Hard Rock Riviera Maya is a family friendly resort with an adults only section called Heaven. This is a fun, active resort that's a great value.
 
Most bookings come with a limitless inclusion package. This means select excursions, spa treatments and on resort experiences like Bali beds and Chef's dinner are included. You pay a 25% service charge. We did the Couples Dolphin Swim for $100 for both us, a Bali bed for $50, and the Chefs Dinner for $58 for both of us. Such a deal!
 
The dining and service are great. It's a terrific resort for groups. This is also one of the very few adults only resorts I've visited that had true nightlife. 
 
Join me on a full resort tour:
 
 



Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados



Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados are adults only all inclusive resorts about 7 minutes from the airport. 

What's the difference between Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados? The rooms. That's it. 

Currently, these two resorts have full exchange privileges. You likely won't know when you are crossing from one "resort" to the other. Foodies will love the 17 different restaurants. You have the choice of quiet pools, quiet pools with swim-up bars, active pools, or active pools with swim-up bars. What more could you want? Oh! A great beach and this resort has that, too. Plus one the first bowling alley at a Sandals resort. 

Take a peek: 


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana Family All Inclusive Resort Tour


Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana is a family all inclusive resort about 15 minutes from the Punta Cana Airport.  It opened in 2019. It's right next door to the adults only Hyatt Zilara. Adults can access the Hyatt Zilara. 

What sets this resort apart is: 
  • Fun Water park with lazy river and slides for all ages, 
  • Huge main pool, and 
  • Great dining. 
I recommend upgrading to the Club Level to gain access to a special pool, beach area, and a la carte breakfast.

A big thank you to Playa resorts for choosing me for a sponsored stay.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Norwegian Encore Cruise Ship Tour with the Haven plus Differences between Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Bliss


The Norwegian Encore debuted in 2019. I sailed in December 2019. I must say it was the best food overall I've ever had on a cruise ship. (If you've followed me for a while, you know the best singular meals I've ever had were on the Holland America Koningsdam.)

The Norwegian Encore made some changes from the Norwegian Bliss.
  • The Encore replaced Margaritaville with The American Diner. The American Diner menu is comfort food focused. I highly recommend the lobster sliders. The American Diner is not included in the cruise fare and charges by the item.
  • La Cocina has been the Italian restaurants on the Breakaway class ships including the Bliss. It's replaced by Onda by Scarpetta. A welcome change in my opinion. Onda by Scarpetta is not included in the cruise fare. It is included in the specialty dining package or you can pay by the item.
  • The Encore shows are Kinky Boots and Choir Men.
  • Galaxy Pavilion - a virtual reality arcade - debuted on the Norwegian Encore. It is not included in the cruise fare.
  • The laser tag is outdoors and themed on the City of Atlantis.
Take a peek:

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tour of Royalton Antigua - Family All Inclusive Resort


Royalton Antigua is a family all inclusive resort about 10 minutes from St John's and 35 minutes from the airport. The resort within is set on a bay and white sand beach. Fort Barrington is walking distance. The resort hosts guided hikes twice a week. I recommend upgrading to Diamond Club for included access to the spa and special pool and beach areas. 

Take a peek: 


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Celebrity Summit Cruise Ship Tour


The Celebrity Summit is one of my favorite cruise ships. I like the size, the layout and the staff. It also helps that it sails one of my favorite itineraries: the Southern Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Take a peek at ship tour:



If you are interested in sailing on the Celebrity Summit, please email me for current offers, pricing and availability.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Traveler Review: TRS Coral

Alisha and her husband contacted me to plan a trip to celebrate their anniversary. After chatting and reviewing the options I recommended, they chose TRS Coral - an adults only all inclusive resort north of the Cancun, Mexico airport. Here's the review:





We had a wonderful relaxing celebration for our 25th and will gladly recommend ‘Trips with Angie’.  You and Katy did a wonderful job from booking to follow up.  We hope for a similar opportunity in the future.  Tom & Alisha
 
 

 - Our Experience -

 CanadaTransfers.com was excellent.  We loved both drivers, Luis and Carlos Martinez, who were professional and pleasant; we would use them again.  Thanks again for providing transportation to and from hotel!

 TRS Coral Pros:

Staff: very attentive and friendly, all spoke English

 
Beach: Easy access with plenty of chairs and umbrellas; Bali beds are also available to rent as well in pool area.  Great for long walks; there are no resort buildings to the immediate north of the Palladium section; those to the south blended in well with the beach.

 

Food: I read a few reviews whom complained about the quality of the food but found it very good to great.  Portions were smaller but this is not a complaint.  This made it possible for us to restaurant-hop to multiple eateries in a single evening, enjoying a larger variety of choices.

 
TRS Pool:  Has a daily barbeque set up so you didn’t have to leave for lunch.  Offered lots of meat choices such as chorizo sausage, shredded chicken, hamburgers and various side dishes for taco and chip selections.

Activities:  There were daily events sponsored by the TRS hotel POP team (Jessica & Cloe specifically) with yoga on the beach, water aerobics, dance lessons, etc. along with evening activities, such as Casino night, making it easy to mingle with other guests

Swim-up Bar: never over crowded; plenty of servers for pool and beach area, refilling your beverage need.  Beach a little slower but who’s in a hurry.

Our final evening was topped off by our butler Juan Jose who filled the room with rose petals, balloons and a bottle of champagne on ice.

 
Cons:

* Hotel check-in combined with the timeshare sales pitch.  We were aware of this ahead of time but we were exhausted from our long days travel. Once checked in, we were shuffled quickly to a side meeting, offered drinks then provided with what we thought was a simple overview of the hotel for our benefit, but unfolded as a cleverly disguised timeshare pitch as a special breakfast celebration for their 1 year anniversary, with hotel owners staying at resort. When they wanted us to sign committing to attending breakfast, we said no thank you.  Those not familiar with the process would be overwhelmed and commit with out thought.
 
* The included (ie: free) wine options are very limited; better quality was available for a price

* Beer choices are Heineken or Dos Equis; I'm not a beer snob

* Too many strollers/children on Palladium side, especially at night when heading for dinner which was only time we ventured over to other side.

* Xtra Time Sports bar was not quite what I expected.  I stopped in at 11:30pm one evening to find a large number of TVs with various sporting events.  However, it     was also filled with a large group of 10yr olds playing with the billards

 
Total Snorkel was awesome and we’d recommend!

Family All Incusive Resort: Pueblo Bonita Rose Cabo San Lucas

Pueblo Bonita Rose is a small gem of a family all inclusive resort near the marina in Cabo San Lucas. The beach is one of the few swimmable beaches in Cabo. The resort has one main restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner with a pool menu available at your chair or at the restaurant for lunch. All the rooms have two beds with a small kitchenette. You can choose to pay or add an all inclusive plan. A four diamond Italian restaurant is available for a fancier dinner.

Take a peek:



I post new videos every Tuesday. If you sign up to have them delivered to your inbox, I'll also send you my top 10 tips for all inclusive resorts and how to choose a family or adults only all inclusive resort. Click here to sign up.

Overwhelmed planning a trip? I am here to help. You'll get the same prices you find online plus my expert help choosing the best resort for you. It's just a $99 deposit to get started. Click here to email me.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Caribbean Princess Ship Tour



 
 
 
 
Join me on a ship tour of the Caribbean Princess:
 




If you are thinking about booking a Princess cruise, I'd love to help. Click here to email me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Adults Only All Incusive Resort: Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort and Spa

If you are looking for a fun, active resort with nightlife, Breathless Los Cabos is a perfect choice in the heart of the action of Cabo San Lucas. You can choose the quiet pool located in the building with all the rooms or the infinity pool at the beach club with a sky deck nightclub with great views of the marina. No swim up bar. All the rooms are basically the same with a marina view.

Take a peek:



I post new videos every Tuesday.  If you sign up to have them delivered to your inbox, I'll also send you my top 10 tips for all inclusive resorts and how to choose a family or adults only all inclusive resort. Click here to sign up.

Overwhelmed planning a trip? I am here to help. You'll get the same prices you find online plus my expert help choosing the best resort for you. It's just a $99 deposit to get started. Click here to email me.

Friday, January 24, 2020

What is REAL ID?

 
 
 
What is a REAL ID?
After the terrorist attack on 9/11, the government identified a major issue with DMVs across the country. They were not collecting adequate identity information when issuing photo IDs and driver licenses. A set of reforms was put into place including REAL ID. Obtaining a REAL ID requires you to present additional identity information to secure your government photo  ID.
 
Why should I get one?
Beginning October 2020, a REAL ID will be required to access Federal facilities, enter nuclear power plants, and, board federally regulated commercial aircraft.

How do I get one?
You may already have one. Many states implemented the REAL ID requirements early. Check your license for a gold star or contact your local DMV to confirm if you have a REAL ID. If you don't, your local DMV should be able to issue one. Be sure to specify that you want a REAL ID. It may have an additional fee.

Do I need a separate REAL ID if I have an Enhanced Driver’s License or Passport?
People who live in border states may have the option to get an Enhanced Driver’s License. This allows passage between the US and Mexico and Canada by land. This counts as a REAL ID. A passport is also a REAL ID. I personally got a REAL ID driver’s license in addition to my passport so I don’t have to take my passport on flights within the United States.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Family All Inclusive Resort - Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta

Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta is a family all inclusive resort in the heart of Puerto Vallarta. It's a great headquarters if you'd like to explore the downtown. It's worth the upgrade to the Club level for access to the great upper level adults only area and the Veranda deck for a special happy hour.  I think this resort is a great value and the whole family will enjoy the swimmable beach and large pool.
 
Take a peek:
 


If you sign up to have them delivered to your inbox, I'll also send you my top 10 tips for all inclusive resorts and how to choose a family or adults only all inclusive resort. Click here to sign up.

Overwhelmed planning a trip? I am here to help. You'll get the same prices you find online plus my expert help choosing the best resort for you. It's just a $99 deposit to get started. Click here to email me.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta



 
 
Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta is a family all inclusive resort with gorgeous views. The beach is public, but feels exclusive since large rocks block walking access on each side of the beach. The pools are infinity pools facing the ocean. 
 
I love how you can have a la carte breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
 
One of my favorite room categories is the Club Level Swim Up Suites because the bar waiters will visit your swim up pool. The resort also has two adults only pools. The resort has two towers. One tower does not have balconies. The Club Level Tower has balconies.
 
Take a peek:
 
 
 
 



Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Now Amber Puerto Vallarta

 
Now Amber is a family all inclusive resort in downtown Puerto Vallarta. It has an active pool vibe and a swimmable beach. The rooms are large and I love that you can book guaranteed connecting rooms. The Explorers' Club for ages 3 - 12 is large and one of the best I've seen at a Now resort.

One unique feature is that Now Amber is the only all inclusive resort with a casino inside. It's only open hotel guests and includes a sports bar.

The Secrets adults only resort is right next door, but Now guests do not have exchange privileges except for one adults only dinner you can set up through the Sip, Savor and See program.
 
Take a peek: