Travel Blog

Travel Agent | Ingenious Travel

Posted in General Travel Information, Travel, on 12 July 2019, by , 0 Comments

“Do people still use a travel agent?”

It’s a question I hear often, and my answer is always the same…

ABSOLUTELY! At least, the smart ones do.

While the internet is chock full of information about every destination under the sun and there you will find a multitude of web sites dedicated to allowing you to book your vacations yourself, travel professionals still provide a valuable service for today’s savvy vacationers.

A quick Google search will put hundreds, if not thousands, of articles, blog posts, reviews, trip reports, photos and more at your fingertips. It can be more than a bit overwhelming!

How do you know what information is up to date and correct? Can you be sure those reviews are accurate and unbiased? Are those photos current and unedited?

And if you’ve ever said to yourself that you would never book with a travel agent because you prefer to do it all yourself, let me fill in on a little secret…

Those web sites you are using to search for the best price? They are all travel agencies.

Not only that, they typically have more restrictions and fees than working with a personal travel agent should you need to make a change or cancel your vacation unexpectedly. And then there is the issue of customer service, or in the case of many of these big online agencies, “customer no-service.”

Take a moment and compare the cancellation policies of your favorite travel discount website with those of the airline or resort directly. You’ll usually find them to be rather unforgiving. When you work with a travel professional, we typically have multiple travel partners we can use to customize your vacation, and we will take their cancellation and change policies into consideration in selecting the best option for your family.

And what about payments? Most of the time you will need to pay for your vacation in full when you book with an online discounter. A travel professional will be able to book your trip with a deposit and in many cases will allow you to make multiple payments on your vacation if you’d like to spread the cost out before you travel.

As a travel professional, I work with my clients providing them with top-notch service from the time they reach out to me until well after they return from their vacations.

I take the time to listen to their vacation wants, needs and expectations. I get to know them. I ask lots of questions to help make sure that the recommendations I make are right for them.

Sure, some of my clients come to me knowing exactly what they want down to the specific details, but more often than not what they’ve found either isn’t the right option to meet their expectations, or it isn’t the best value for their hard-earned vacation dollars. I am able to use my personal experience and vast industry network to recommend options tailor-made to meet their wants, needs, expectations, and budget.

Once we’ve found the perfect destination for them, I make sure that the options that go into their itinerary are the best value for their budget. I’ve spent years cultivating a network of relationships within the travel industry, and as a result, I am often able to secure additional perks or upgrades for my clients that they would not have been aware of had they planned their vacation themselves.

The services of a travel professional don’t end once you book your vacation. In fact, that’s often where the essential services begin.

It’s often the small details that make the difference between a good vacation and a well-planned, well-executed, outstanding vacation. Knowing that all of those little details are taken care of and have been double and triple checked by a professional means you can relax and enjoy your time knowing everything is taken care of for you.

You can also relax knowing that if anything should go wrong, you’ve got a professional in your corner helping to solve any problems and advocate for you should the need arise.

Whether it’s transportation delays or an issue at your resort, you need only contact me, and I will be working behind the scenes to resolve the situation. Because of my connections and the resources available through my travel partners, I can often facilitate a resolution sooner than you might expect.

Working with a travel professional is like having a personal concierge dedicated to ensuring that your vacation is expertly planned and customized to your family’s unique expectations. Allowing someone else to take care of the details and eliminate the stress and overwhelm of planning is a luxury you deserve to experience.

Planning the perfect experience begins with scheduling your vacation consultation call. Click here to request a time for us to meet. We’ll discuss the details and what you are looking for in your dream vacation. I’ll give you my suggestions and explain how we can best work together to plan the vacation of your dreams.

Continue Reading...
Planning a Luxury Safari | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Adventure Travel, Africa, Family Travel, Groups, Luxury, on 28 June 2019, by , 0 Comments

An African safari is on the travel bucket list of many of our clients. It’s absolutely a life-changing experience you will never forget.

Planning a luxury safari is one type of vacation where the advice of an expert travel professional is invaluable! From selecting the right location, the right time to see and experience the things you want to see, the perfect accommodations, the proper documentation, and the ideal safari guide, you’ll appreciate having someone “in-the-know” taking care of the details.

Here are some of the top things you should keep in mind when planning a luxury African safari…


Where to go?

Africa is a vast continent with diverse cultural and wildlife experiences. While many people consider a safari to be a “once in a lifetime” trip, the truth is that you can plan multiple safaris without repeating experiences.

Over 50 million tourists visit Africa each year with the majority coming from the US, UK, and France. US visitors tend to favor Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, and South Africa. The French prefer Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, and Mauritius. British tourists opt for Egypt, Gambia, South Africa, and Mauritius.

Planning a Luxury Safari

What to see?

Deciding where you want to visit can feel overwhelming but knowing precisely what animals you hope to see on your safari can easily help narrow down the choices. During our vacation consultation, we will discuss what experiences you are looking for, and your travel advisor will offer suggestions based on those preferences

Africa offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the world. While there are a considerable number of animal species in Africa, most first-time safari guests are hoping to see “the big 5” during their time in Africa. The big five is made up of lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants and Cape buffalos. If this is what you are looking for, then your choices will include Botswana. Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Another popular request is for gorilla trekking. If you are hoping to commune with a silverback and company, then you’ll want to focus on Uganda, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Planning a Luxury Safari

Photo ©Cottar’s Safari Camp

Where to Stay?

There are a wide variety of options available for accommodations on your safari vacation. For a luxury safari, most guests tend to choose either a five-star safari lodge or a luxury tent camp. Quite often when we help our clients to plan a safari, we recommend that they allow for enough time to experience both options in multiple locations.

A safari lodge or game lodge will typically feature more resort-like amenities while a luxury tent camp is often the ultimate romantic experience that feels entirely authentic.

The primary differences between a safari camp and a safari lodge tend to be the size (lodges, in general, are bigger), amenities, and of course having four solid walls around you! Don’t let the name fool you; there are tent camps available that are almost decadent in their level of luxury!

Planning a Luxury Safari

When to go?

In real estate, location is everything. When it comes to a safari vacation, timing is everything! Visit at the right time, and you’ll be treated to a fantastic experience with abundant wildlife that takes your breath away. Plan your trip during the wrong time and you the animals may be few and far between.

The best advice tends to be to plan your trip during the dry season when water is a bit scarce. The animals will seek out watering holes, and this makes it easier for your guide to predict where and when you are likely to find them. It is also easier for safari vehicles to navigate the dirt roads of the game reserves.

One of the most amazing experiences happens each year from June to September with the great Wildebeest migration in the Serengeti National Park. While this is peak season, and that is reflected in the price tag, it has earned the title of “the Greatest Show on Earth!”

These are just a few of the things we take into consideration when planning a luxury safari for our clients. Other factors include how to get around, what type of travel documentation is required, if any vaccines are recommended, safety, and what (if any) ways our client would like to give back to the local communities.

Ready to experience an African safari for yourself? It all starts with a personalized vacation consultation. Click here to request a time for us to meet. We’ll discuss the details and what you are looking for. We’ll give you our suggestions and explain how we can best work together to plan an unforgettable safari experience.

Continue Reading...
Oktoberfest | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Europe, Food, Groups, Theme Vacations, Unique Getaways, Weekend Getaway, on 7 June 2019, by , 0 Comments

Imagine a two to three week festival dedicated to beer and traveling funfair. Not only does it exist, Oktoberfest happens every year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany! In fact, this annual festival has been held since the year 1810, and even though several celebrations exist worldwide, the one in Germany was the first, and is still the biggest.

When to Visit Oktoberfest

The best time to visit Oktoberfest is generally in September. Yep, this beer fueled event actually kicks off before October officially arrives. The weekdays of the event are the quietest, and understandably so the weekends are the busiest. For full details of the best days to visit, click here.

Costs

While the grounds of the official Oktoberfest are free to enter, everything inside has a fee. From samples of beer to amusement park rides, luggage storage to special events – Oktoberfest can get expensive fast if you’re not keeping track of your budget. One liter of beer at Oktoberfest was nearly 12 Euro (roughly $13.50 USD) in 2018. Keep your eye out for specials. Also, consider going during the quieter times when vendors offer discounts to keep the beer tap flowing.

Continue Reading...
Seljalandsfoss waterfall Iceland | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Europe, Travel, on 24 May 2019, by , 0 Comments

Iceland has become an increasingly popular destination for luxury travelers. It is the perfect trip for seasoned travelers, solo travelers, or adventurous families looking for a unique experience. Iceland is considered to be one of the safest countries on earth, so it is a popular destination for solo female travelers.

An Icelandic vacation can be filled with outdoor adventure or laid back and focused on its vibrant art and restaurant scenes. Regardless of what brings you to Iceland, it’s guaranteed to be a vacation you will never forget.

Most visitors are attracted to Iceland’s unique and varied landscape – this ice-capped, unspoiled, land is almost indescribable. Iceland’s dramatic vistas take center stage in many movies and tv shows. Its spectacular black volcanic fields, rocky beaches, majestic mountains, impressive glaciers, and vast areas of pristine snow have been the setting for productions such as Interstellar, Thor: The Dark World, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Game of Thrones.

Continue Reading...
River Cruising | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Africa, Asia, Europe, River Cruising, on 4 May 2019, by , 0 Comments

Over the last couple of years, river cruising has become one of the fastest growing travel trends around. It a vacation option I recommend to many of my well-traveled clients looking for a different type of experience for their next vacation.

If you’ve been curious about river cruising, here are a few things you ought to know…

Where do they go?

While Europe may be the most popular river cruise destination, it is definitely not the only choice.  Some of the other places you’ll find river cruises are along the Volga river in Russia, Amazon river in Peru and Brazil, the Nile river in Egypt, the Yangtze River in China, and the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia.

In Europe, some of the most popular itineraries include the Danube, Rhine, Rhone, Saone, and Seine. I typically recommend European itinerary for most first-time river cruisers unless there is another location that you have been dreaming of for quite some time.

Continue Reading...

Posted in Europe, Luxury, Miami, New Zealand, on 19 April 2019, by , 0 Comments

Private pools, breathtaking views, dedicated 24-hour butler service, delicious cuisine, impeccable service, and decadent suites are a few of the things that come to mind when you think of the ultimate romantic luxury vacation. Whether you are planning your honeymoon, celebrating an anniversary, or just ready for a dream-come-true romantic holiday, we’ve got something spectacular for you!

Escape to an elegant but rustic riverside lodge in New Zealand, bask in the seclusion of a private island resort, relax at a luxury spa, or delight in a five-star hotel on the Grand Canal in Venice. Here are some of the world’s best luxury vacations for couples…

Blanket Bay – New Zealand

Blanket Bay is a stunning rustic luxury lodge in the shadow of the snow-capped Southern Alps on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand. Voted one of the world’s best lodges by the likes of Conde Nast Traveler, Virtuoso, The Robb Report, National Geographic, and Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, Blanket Bay is a year-round adventure getaway. Enjoy activities such as fly-fishing, heli-skiing, hiking, kayaking, 4WD tours, vineyards, flight-seeing over the World Heritage Fiordland National Park or Milford Sound, and so much more then retire to your luxurious room or suite at the lodge before an evening of elegant dining and fine wine. (photo ©Blanket Bay)

Continue Reading...
Luxury | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Africa, Australia, Europe, Food, Golf, Luxury, New Zealand, River Cruising, Tours, Travel, Wine, on 23 March 2019, by , 0 Comments

Here at Ingenious Travel, we’ve always defined our “niche” as luxury travel, but I’ve found that this means different things to different people.

There are some people to whom “luxury” means gilded walls, gold chandeliers, velvet covered furniture… and of course a hefty price tag. That’s not how we define luxury, and it’s not what most of our luxury travelers are looking for when it comes to their vacation.

We tend to focus more on exceptional, authentic experiences, a high level of service and hospitality, and a focus on comfort and convenience. Each client’s experience is customized and personalized to their wants, needs, and expectations. Moreover, we don’t focus solely on price because “more expensive” doesn’t always mean “better.” We look at the value rather than the price when evaluating travel experiences.

While it’s true that most of our clients book exclusive cabins and high-end suites, that isn’t the case for every vacationer. We also have clients who are less selective when it comes to accommodations and choose to focus instead on activities, experiences, and dining options for their vacation.

Continue Reading...
Travel Insurance | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Africa, Australia, Cruises, Europe, New Zealand, Travel, on 8 March 2019, by , 0 Comments

Think about the last time you rented a car.

Did you take the optional insurance?

Do you see that insurance as a good investment or a waste of money? It seems like a good percentage of travelers say no to this optional upgrade for a variety of reasons.

The most common reasons are that they believe themselves to be a “good driver” and that they have car insurance at home that will cover them in a rental car… or that the credit card they used to pay for the rental offers additional coverage as well.

I don’t have strong opinions on rental car insurance, but when it comes to travel insurance, I’m always ready to hop up on my soapbox and let my clients know what I think!

I, like any travel professional worth their salt, recommend travel insurance to each and every one of my clients. Unfortunately, most travelers don’t understand what the policy covers and when they really should be spending the extra money to purchase travel insurance.

“We know we aren’t going to cancel so we don’t need cancellation insurance.”

Continue Reading...
Collect Experiences | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Adventure Travel, All-Inclusive, Baby Boomers, Europe, Family Travel, Golf, Groups, Luxury, River Cruising, Unique Getaways, on 22 February 2019, by , 0 Comments

As a travel professional, I value great experiences. The moments spent in awe of a beautiful view, a priceless piece of art or the wonder and pure joy on the face of a child as they experience something new and exciting are worth far more than the price of admission.

We all have a limited amount of time and money, and we are often faced with the dilemma of what is the best way to spend – or to invest – both of those resources.

We can choose from an endless assortment of high-tech gadgets, sparkly things, and material luxuries that will impress our friends and family… for a short time at least. Children (and some adults) have lists of the gaming systems, toys, and fashion labels they want for their next birthday or holiday gift.

But once we’ve bought the latest smart phone or the expensive shoes, how long do they last? How long will they continue to bring joy? And how likely are they to be truly treasured by those around us after we are gone?

Continue Reading...
Group Trip | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Groups, Tours, Travel, on 16 February 2019, by , 0 Comments

Recently on the blog, we talked about taking the stress out of hosting a group trip. One of the more stressful pieces of a group trip, is deciding where to go. In this post, we’ll dive a little deeper into how to make that decision.

It’s hard enough choosing where to go on a vacation with your significant other, or just with your family. Throw an entire group into the mix, and suddenly you might have a plethora of conflicting opinions with everyone wanting to go somewhere different. How can you narrow the list, and choose a place that will make everyone, or at least the majority, happy?

The first step is to figure out a budget for everyone who is attending. Someone in the group should act as team leader and create an anonymous survey that allows everyone to write in their ideal budget for the vacation.

Why anonymous? Some people get uncomfortable talking about their true desires, and their budgets. You’re more likely to get honest answers if everything is anonymous.

Continue Reading...