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Maria Stefanopoulos, Author at Ingenious Travel
 
 
 
 

Posted in Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Groups, on 7 August 2020, by , 0 Comments

So you’ve crossed off the last item on your “to-do” list, and you have a few minutes of extra time. Even if you are actively counting down the days to your next dream vacation, it can’t come soon enough. Since instant gratification for wanderlust is so hard to find, allow us to introduce the next best thing: a daydream vacation.

Why not take a “me” moment right now? The beauty of a daydream vacation is you get to go any time, regardless of how many vacation days you have saved. Refresh your coffee, mute your inbox notifications, and pull in a few calming breaths. Ready? Great, because we’re going to the Galapagos Islands!

Galapagos | Pinnacle Rock | Ingenious Travel

Pinnacle Rock

Our journey begins at Pinnacle Rock on Bartolomé Island – the most visited island in the Galapagos. The cone you see is basalt formed from the eruption of an underwater volcano. Let your eyes slip out of focus as you breathe in the salty air and abandon yourself in reverie of the stillness around you.

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Posted in Europe, River Cruising, on 24 July 2020, by , 0 Comments

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is certainly one of the most delightful cities to visit in Europe. It boasts of impressive architecture, cool green spaces, vibrant cultural scenes and rich historical heritage – all of these earned the city a much-deserved nickname of “Pearl of the Danube”. Budapest is also strategically located at the center of Europe’s similarly popular destinations such as Austria, Croatia and the Ukraine, among others.  Also, it offers tourists great value for money, without sacrificing on the quality of sights and overall travel experience.

Getting Around Budapest

You can simply hop on a plane from dozens of major cities in Europe, Asia, North Africa and Middle East to get to Budapest. Direct flights are not hard to come by because there are several airlines servicing the area. The country’s major airport is located about 10 miles from the city center and taking a taxi to get to your destination remains the most efficient, albeit most expensive, transportation option.

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Barossa Valley | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Wine, Australia, Tours, Travel, on 10 July 2020, by , 0 Comments

The Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s most significant wine regions. Its thriving community retains strong links to its rich European heritage, now combined with the down-to-earth Australian spirit to create a rich and diverse lifestyle in a relaxed, rural setting close to Adelaide. European farmers (German in particular) and English migrants settled the Barossa Valley from the 1850s, and their rich cultural legacy is evident today in superb Barossa specialty foods and historic architecture. Historic churches, stone buildings, and cottages abound while walking trails, reserves, and forests offer easy access to breathtaking landscapes and scenery.

The Barossa Valley is home to the world-famous Barossa Shiraz and Eden Valley Riesling plus other premium wines, a large range of unique regional produce, and acclaimed restaurants. The Barossa’s vineyards are tended by around 500 grape-growing families, many sixth-generation. There are many small boutique wineries where exquisite wines are sold out within weeks of their launch, along with larger enterprises associated with household names such as Peter Lehmann, Henschke, Seppelt, Yaldara, and Yalumba.

(To explore more wine experiences in South Australia, check out wineries and wine opportunities in the McLaren Vale!)

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New Orleans | Jackson Square | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Weekend Getaway, New Orleans, Travel, on 19 June 2020, by , 0 Comments

New Orleans is open! For those of you looking for a long-weekend destination, but not wanting to travel too far, visting the Big Easy is a must.

Party like it’s Mardi Gras – even in the fall! New Orleans has so much to do year-round. With joyous festivals, sizzling street food, and mariachi bands around every corner, New Orleans is like nowhere else! Read on to discover the best events you can attend this September.

New Orleans | Ingenious Travel

The Photo credit: Paul Broussard

1. Southern Decadence

Catch this fun LGBT+ festival from August 6 – September 1! Each year you’ll find parades with glamorous costumes, street parties, jazz concerts, and much more! Over 200,000 people attend every year, bringing “Gay Mardi Gras” to a city that knows how to party!

Address: French Quarter New Orleans, LA  

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Yosemite National Park | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Groups, skiing, on 5 June 2020, by , 0 Comments

With many of us planning to stay closer to home this summer, more and more people are looking at visting national parks, with Yosemite National Park at the top of their list.

Hiking, rock climbing, skiing, biking or plain nature sightseeing – Yosemite National Park is one of the best places in the United States to do all these and more. The natural beauty of the area, with its verdant forests, scenic meadows, gorgeous waterfalls and giant sequoias, qualify the park to be on top of any nature lovers must- visit US sites.

You don’t have to be in top form to fully enjoy the scenic vistas and picturesque views of the park. You can easily reach its attractions in your car or you can hop on the open tour bus for a scenic drive around the area.

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Kenya | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Africa, Safari, on 22 May 2020, by , 0 Comments

KENYA is the birthplace of the safari experience, and the movie “Out of Africa” can lay claim to triggering North America’s interest in East Africa safaris. We are also drawn to the Great Migration of wildebeest seen on National Geographic documentaries with cunning carnivores in hot pursuit. Here are things to experience when visiting Kenya.

Narobi | Kenya | Ingenious Travel

Nairobi, a modern African City

Travelers to Kenya are often pleasantly surprised when they realize how modern Nairobi really is. A thoroughfare for safari adventurers, be sure to stay a few days Nairobi, which has transformed into a buzzing city. Step back in time to visit natural museums, explore the Coffee Garden and Cottages where Karen Blixen (author of ‘Out of Africa’) lived, dine in upmarket restaurants, and dance to African reggae music in hip bars.

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Wellington | New Zealad | Ingenious Travel

Posted in New Zealand, Wine, on 1 May 2020, by , 0 Comments

Visiting New Zealand for the first time? Here are some helpful tips and tricks before your trip!

Visas and Customs

When entering New Zealand, you may be questioned at the airport even if you don’t have anything to declare. This is because of the strict laws in place to preserve the country’s biodiversity. If traveling with any outdoor gear (hiking boots, poles, etc), it is recommended to clean them thoroughly before traveling to New Zealand. This also applies to the shoes you’re wearing to enter the country! It is best to clean the soles before your arrival. If traveling with food, it must be packaged in recognizable wrappers and completely sealed. Be aware that you have to declare all food items and any gear that you’ve used previously in an outdoor environment upon arrival.

As of Fall 2019, New Zealand is requiring visitors to obtain an electronic visa waiver, or eTA. The form can be completed entirely online. Once completed, it is valid for up to two years and multiple visits!

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Virtual Vacation | Ingenious Travel

Posted in River Cruising, Australia, Theme Vacations, Travel, Wine, on 26 April 2020, by , 0 Comments

If you are anything like me, you’re totally over being trapped inside and just eager to escape…we all miss travel. While right now the best place to be is in the safety of our homes, there will come a time when the world will be open again for us to explore.

To help you escape, a few friends and I have partnered to bring you a new Virtual Vacation Series. We’ll be highlighting a new destination every Thursday!

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Family Travel | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Travel, Family Travel, Groups, on 10 April 2020, by , 0 Comments

In its current state, the world we live in can feel like a scary place. Every ounce of normalcy in our day-to-day lives has been uprooted, and many of us fear to leave our own homes for essential items, let alone for travel. And while the days of social distancing and extended school closures may not be over yet, there will come a time when things will go back to normal.

There will be many things that we’ll get back in our lives and the ability to move around freely and begin traveling again is certainly one of them. Travel can be a great way to reconnect and bring families back together after weeks of panic and uncertainty.

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movies | Petra Jordan| Ingenious Travel

Posted in Theme Vacations, Unique Getaways, on 27 March 2020, by , 0 Comments

Since we are staying home, and most schools are closed as well, I thought it might be a help to recommend some of my favorite travel-themed movies that you can easily find on the many streaming services that are out there. What better way to spend a couple of hours with your family than watching together, dreaming together, and getting inspiration for your next trip?

  1.  Eat, Pray, Love (2010) – A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to “find herself” in Italy, India & Bali.
  2. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) – Based on the book by Frances Mayes, the film is about a recently divorced writer who buys a villa in Tuscany on a whim, hoping it will lead to a change in her life. The beauty of Cortona and the Italian people are featured.
  3. Letters to Juliet (2010)traveling to Verona Italy with her busy fiancé, a young American journalist gets involved in an adventure based on a love letter a tourist left at the monument to Romeo & Juliet’s unrequited love.
  4. Mamma Mia (2008) & Mamma Mia: Here we go again (2018) – based on the wildly successful Broadway musical with a score from ABBA, this story tracks the lovely story of Donna and her daughter Sophie as they both grow and learn from the past.
  5. National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)  – Just for giggles, follow the Griswold family through their comedic adventures in France, Italy & Germany because we all need a laugh right now!
  6. Out of Africa (1985)  – Meryl Streep and Robert Redford star in this tragic love story about a married baroness who falls for a big-game hunter, based on the autobiographical novel by Isak Dinesen. Filmed on location in the U.K. and Kenya, including the Shaba National Game Reserve.
  7. Roman Holiday (1953)  – A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and royal obligations to explore Rome on her own. She meets an American newsman who, seeking an exclusive story, pretends ignorance of her true dientity. But his plan fails as they fall in love.
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