Europe

Muckross House and Gardens | Ireland | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Europe, Groups, Ireland, on 21 February 2020, by , 0 Comments

We’ve received over a dozen requests for Ireland over the last few weeks, along with a number of general questions. Here are the answers to the top 13 commonly asked questions we’ve received.

How is the weather?

Get the rundown on Ireland’s climate and seasons here.

How populated is Ireland?

Ireland’s population as of 2016 is estimated to be about 4.7 million – about the same number of people who live in the state of Louisiana.

When should I travel?

Whenever you can! The busy season is June-August, when Ireland is crowded with tourists. Those who can travel in the “shoulder months” of April/May and September/October will be rewarded with less hustle and bustle and pleasent weather. But anytime of yeat there are wonderful places to visit and things to do and see in the Emerald Isle.

Is Northern Ireland a part of Ireland?

No. In 1922, after violent uprisings, the Irish Free State was created within the British Empire. In 1948, most of Ireland became an independent country, while six mainly Protestant counties in the northeast remained a British territory.

Should I drive?

You’ll certainly have the most freedom with your own car. However, keep in mind the driver’s seat is on the opposite side. If you plan on staying in Dublin, we do not recommend driving as the city is quite small and very walkable. If you’re not keen on driving, traveling by rail will allow you to take in the lush green landscapes from the train window as you speed between chaarming cities and unmissable natural attractions. Operated by Irish Rail, most trains operate to and from Dublin with frequent rail service to most parts of Ireland.

What is the tipping policy?

Tipping is generally 10-15% in restaurants and some hotels, but check your bill as the gratuity (service charge) may already be added. People generally do not tip in pubs, but for higher end bars with waiter service, leave about €1. Taxi drivers or hackney cab drivers, who make the trip for a prearranged sum, don’t expect tips.

What kind of money is used there?

The euro (EUR) is the currency of Ireland, like much of Europe. However, if you’re traveling to Northern Ireland, the currency is the pound sterling (£).

Do I need an adapter?

Yes. Irish electricity is roughly twice the voltage in North America, so you will need to bring suitable transformers and/or adapters.

Is there Internet access?

More and more hotels, cafes, and retailers in Ireland are signing on as Wi-Fi hot spots, meaning you won’t have to stay in your hotel room just to get free Wi-Fi. When in doubt, just ask!

Will my cell phone work?

The short answer is “probably.” Ireland uses the world-standard GSM network, which is used by both AT&T and T-Mobile. When using a cell phone abroad, it’s advisable to turn off your data services function to avoid exorbitant, unexpected fees. If you plan on making calls, consider purchasing an International Plan or using a SIM card to avoid racking up roaming charges once you’ve arrived. You can also use for apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Google Hangout to make calls online (You will need WiFi).

Do I need my passport?

Yes

What if I need medical help?

If you become ill while visiting Ireland, you can visit any one of the walk-in clinics in most major cities. For emergencies, dial 999 or 112, the European standard. And we highly recommend a travel insurance policy that includes medical coverage.

Is Ireland safe?

Rest in comfort while staying in Ireland. Anytime you’re abroad, you should be a little weary of those who may wish you ill, but Ireland has a very low crime rate and has been ranked safer than many of the states. Of course, with any city comes the risk of theft, but keeping your wits about you will keep your wallet on you!

Interested in traveling to Ireland but not wanting to go it alone? Join us as we visit the Emerald Isle this September. See the full itinerary here or contact Maria for more information.

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Europe | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Europe, on 10 January 2020, by , 0 Comments

Most people are familiar with the standard or “popular” European destinations such as places like London, Paris, Rome, or Barcelona. This post doesn’t include them. We started looking at the European destinations we are being asked for more often, are trending to become more popular, and are standing out from all of the secondary cities.

Bilbao| Ingenious Travel

 

  1. Bilbao, Spain
  • The Guggenheim Museum
  • Capital of Basque country
  • Azkuna Zentora – the cultural center
  • Over 40 Michelin starred restaurants
  • Ideal for: Culture Mavens

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Vienna Beethoven | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Theme Vacations, Europe, Groups, Music, River Cruising, on 6 December 2019, by , 0 Comments

Did you know that Beethoven’s 250th birthday is in 2020? The classical artist spent most of his life in Vienna, and as a result, the capital of Austria has many plans underway to celebrate him. While his birthday is actually in December, and the largest of celebrations will happen then, you can enjoy concerts and festivals in his honor all year long. One of the best ways to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday in Vienna is with a river cruise. 

A River Cruise in 2020 is a Classical Music Lovers Dream

Some of the river cruise lines that sail the Danube and Rhine rivers have created itineraries to commemorate and enjoy the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. One such cruise is the Amadeus cruise line which will host a special Rhine River cruise October 27 through November 3, 2020. Their itinerary features private concerts at stunning landmarks, as well as an exclusive concert onboard the ship.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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Luxury | Ingenious Travel

Posted in River Cruising, Africa, Australia, Europe, Food, Golf, Luxury, New Zealand, 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.

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Travel Insurance | Ingenious Travel

Posted in Travel, Africa, Australia, Cruises, Europe, New Zealand, 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.”

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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?

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