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Why you should put Fiji on your radar

People kayaking in the waters of Fiji islands

I want to share why you should put Fiji on your radar for your next family vacation or romantic getaway! I am so excited that Fiji is reopening. I know many of my West Coast clients are not too excited about Hawaii anymore as it’s so close and been there often.  Lately, you also hear about the overtourism there. Mexico doesn’t appeal. The Caribbean is too far.  Tahiti is not family-friendly ( although I disagree! ).   Fiji in the South Pacific plans to open the borders again on December 1, 2021.  Just in time for the holidays. The Fijians have been getting ready for the last year and a half. They have prepped well and have health and safety protocols in place and now an 80% vaccination rate as well. 

Some quick facts about Fiji:

No visa is required for US or Canadian citizens.
English is the official language.
Tipping is not customary.
Their currency is Fijian Dollar FJD

Fiji is a year-round tropical destination.  It is a 10hrs flight from Los Angeles. 2 meals, 2 movies, and a quick nap and you’ll arrive in paradise.  Once you arrive, you will really feel a sense of relaxation like no other.  It is a place for visitors to reconnect—with nature, with their loved ones, with themselves.  There are no nightlives or high rise or lots of shopping. It’s a place to disconnect from every day and reconnect with your family and loved ones.

Royal Davui Sunset-Plunge-Pool-Villa-Livingroom
pc: Royal Davui resort

There are 2 large islands with multiple little ones.  Most vacations I plan either have clients go straight to their island resort and spend a week enjoying water sports and some hikes offered on that island, or they stay in Viti Levu, the large island you arrive on, which offers much more tours and cultural activities when staying along the Coral Coast.  Another fun way to see the country is to combine a resort stay with a 3-day island cruise.

Fijians are very friendly and many families take advantage of their resort staff as full-time nannies while parents enjoy R&R.  Or enjoy tours like river tubing, ATV, zip-lining, golf, sailing, diving, kayaking, and more. It’s a place for adventures.

Some resorts are brands you’re familiar with—Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental, but most are luxurious independent resorts offering a very delicious travel experience. Instead of bungalows or hotel rooms, you stay in bures. There are garden bures and more popular beachfront bures. Steps from the warm water.  Some properties also have overwater bures where you can just jump into the water and snorkel and swim just like Tahiti.

Fiji is a great place for divers and nature lovers.  While she has some very luxurious 4, 5, and 6-star resorts, they are not overdeveloped. They are conscious of sustainable tourism. Some islands are small enough that you can take over the entire island with your own party.

I like Fiji as a destination because it exudes the no worry vibes.  You arrive.  You relax at the resort. If you choose to do some tours, drivers pick you up. No need to worry about driving or GPS.  It’s a place with great hospitality and for some much-needed sun & fun, but learn about a different culture that is unique.

beachfront resort in Fiji
pc:JeanMichelCousteau Resort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been immersed in more training the last few weeks and onwards because a lot of resorts have done renovations and upgraded their experience and I always try to stay up to date!  If I can help share more about Fiji or help you plan a nice family or romantic vacation, pls go to the Plan a Trip page to get started!

Why I recommend Guided Vacations for your next Family Vacation

The biggest benefit, I say, is to have someone on the ground with you, taking care of everything for you. If you’re are reading this blog, chances are your desire to travel the world is high. Some of us have put our passports away for almost 1.5yrs.  We long to travel but feel unsure still if it’s safe or how things will be the same or not.  Our desire to travel remains high. Though I’ve planned a lot of custom-tailored independent travel, I do feel that guided, escorted vacations are going to be your best friend and can elevate your travel experience especially in the next year or 2 as we get the pandemic under control.

Many people have misconceptions about guided tours.  Thinking you will be stuck on the bus all day? Or that your schedule is so rigid and you have to go to tourist sites one after another all day long? Or that you’re staying at boring hotels and eating standard American dishes? Perhaps thinking you’ll be fighting for space with 50 other travelers?  Please think again. Or be informed.

Guided vacations are so much more in tune with the demands of travelers. Since Covid, a lot of tour operators are running small group tours of 12-16 guests. Even better, gather 6-8 friends and form your own private group with discounts built-in.  Everyone is either tested or has been vaccinated before they can sign up so you can feel comfortable with your travel mates.

There is a lot of leisure time built into the itineraries.  There are also choices.  Some tour companies now offer a few options for each city—maybe you want to go to a museum with a guide, or you want to go do a round of golf instead, or you want to have free time and do some shopping, these are all possible.

Transportation is almost always door-to-door service and you don’t have to stand in lines to get admission tickets. And now with the pandemic, they have special team handling and being on top of the travel entry requirements.  If anything changes, they’re on it.  They figure out the logistics of getting your Covid test done before returning to the USA.  And if anything becomes an issue, they’re responsible to help you with the next steps.  Can you feel the peace and security that can come with this? I say it’s priceless!

See this other long list of benefits:

All-inclusive pricing:  you have your lodging, your meals, your tours all budgeted in advance.

Exclusive experiences: because of their connections and network, you have privileged experiences… such as an after-hours visit to the Sistine Chapel or King Tut’s tomb with your own group vs in a room packed with hundreds of others.  Or having creative dining experiences that you cannot buy on your own.

Flexibility: it’s not as rigid a schedule as before.  Lots of free time and also choices of activities.  Some tours travel between cities using trains or flights or even yachts!

Guides and Tour Directors: Your best friend!  They really are so passionate about their work and care about you.  I often have clients who sign up with whatever tours their guide does next.

Destinations:  there is a tour for almost every destination.  It’s especially great for places where you feel you can have more hand-holding due to the language barrier or difficulty of transport. Egypt, China, Africa, S. America area is great for guided tours.

Pricing:  there are a variety of tour companies and each has different programs.  Whether you need something affordable or very luxurious with extraordinary experiences, I can find something that matches.

Great Company: Guided tours are great for solo travelers to meet others, families wanting to meet other families so kids have same-age companions, and also great for multi-generation travel!  Imagine taking your family of 12 everywhere!

There are so many tour companies and within each, so many tour options. Take advantage of my service and knowledge to help select the right tour for you.  Plus, I can arrange airline tickets and offer insurance recommendations.  Get in touch and get started planning your next trip!

Top 10 Travel Ideas You Can Use Now

excited little traveler sitting on suitcase with arms extended

A lot of my clients are feeling that we’re finally seeing the end of the tunnel. After all, it’s been a full year of extremes. The pandemic hit so sudden and changed our lives in so many ways. Many are truly feeling a big relief and freedom from getting the protection of the vaccine and are ready to travel again.

Here are some of the many ideas that you can consider. I might come back with part 2 next time!

1. Iceland   Iceland's waterfalls Iceland has announced it will open to all tourists who have been fully vaccinated or have been previously infected with Covid. They will not need to quarantine or test. Iceland has had very good control of the disease cases. If you travel a little beyond Reykjavik and the usual waterfalls that attract tourists, you’ll see there are so many vast landscapes and adventures to experience and be very socially distanced and feel safe. I plan many custom-tailored itineraries so do connect if you are interested. OR I can find you the right tour. The short distance from the US makes it very attractive, no?

 

2. Greece Though still fighting a surge in cases, Greece believes they will have it under control by mid-May as more citizens get vaccinated. picture of Santorini GreeceStarting May 15th, they will allow travelers who have been vaccinated, had Covid-19 antibodies or a negative covid test to enter. You can experience all the historical culture, the food, the beach. Cruises here, unlike Iceland, will resume. Celestyal Cruise line, a preferred partner of our agency, is worth checking out. I also have other travel partners who can whisk you off to a remote island if you prefer to stay away from the usual Mykonos, Santorini, or Crete.

 

 

3. Alaska   Alaska without the large cruise ships guests will be the perfect place to visit! And there are no testing requirements to return home as you’re still in US soil. You will need a negative Covid test result to visit but I think it’s worth it. I can design a land-based touring itinerary for you and you will be able to see the glaciers, the polar bears, and bald eagles in natural habitat, and how about dog sledding on ice or glacier trekking for those who want real adventures? If you still want to cruise, my clients always rave about Uncruise Adventures. It may be the only cruise player this season. It’s a small ship and will clear CDC requirements to operate.

4. Caribbean Cruises   Crystal Cruises led the pack and announced it will resume sailing in June with a 7 days Bahamas itinerary to ONLY fully vaccinated guests. They prioritize safety for crew and guests and this is what their loyal guests want to start cruising again. You ask, they give. Then, other cruises like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity will follow as well. For Royal Caribbean, adults must be fully vaccinated and children will need a negative Covid test to board.  This will be the first time medium and large size ships will be sailing since last March.

5. Galapagos   Combine a Galapagos cruise with a visit to Ecuador and you’ll have a full itinerary of culture, nature, and wildlife for sure.a pair of blue footed booby from Galapagos There are small yachts and small ships perfect for navigating the islands and you’ll have an experience just like pre-pandemic. If you’re interested, hurry because of the small size of ships and large demand. Don’t miss the boat!

 

 

 

6. Africa.   If you can handle the long flights, you’ll enjoy an even more untouched Africa. Many of my colleagues have traveled and returned and had a fantastic experience on their safaris. My recommendation will be to Tanzania and finish with a beach escape in Zanzibar. Other countries are requiring negative tests and can be tricky over there when you travel from one country to another.
Here’s a wonderful itinerary to consider: https://africantravelinc.com/safari/discover-the-wonders-of-tanzania

Arenal Volcano Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano Costa Rica

7. Costa Rica

a great destination with a diverse array of activities. Whether you want to visit the coffee farms or hike to the volcanos, zipline across the rainforest, or bird watch in the cloud forest, then finish with a beach escape in the Pacific coast in a luxury resort or private villa, Costa Rica will not disappoint. You have so much space and the Ticos are so friendly. This is a top choice for families with teens.

 

 

 

a Jungle Lodge in Belize, the Blancaneaux
PC: Blancaneaux Lodge, a Cappola Family Hideaway

8. Belize  another fabulous sort of off-the-radar Central American country. This small country is full of natural attractions such as pristine beaches, lush tropical rainforests, Mayan ruins, challenging cave systems that you can explore, and the second-longest barrier reef in the world! I love combining a jungle & reef itinerary and introducing my clients to the numerous eco-lodges in the jungles on treetops! An amazing experience for couples or families with teens.

 

 

9. Disneyland   After a year-long closure, Disneyland is reopening its doors in June. Combine with a stay at the Disneyland Resort or the Grand California resort and you will have kids showering you with hugs and kisses all the way. Invite the Grandparents and let’s visit The Happiest Place On Earth.

 

10. Kauai     Kauai is finally relaxing quarantine requirements. Starting April 1, you can visit just like other Hawaii islands with a negative Covid test from a trusted testing partner. The islands are still trying to figure out if they will lift that requirement for fully vaccinated travelers. The lush jungles, the Waimea Canyon, and of course, the lovely beaches that Are Hawaii. How can you resist? All the resorts will be welcoming with open arms. And don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Hawaii Guide to your right.

Na Pali cliffs coastline, Kauai, Hawaii
Na Pali cliffs, Kauai, Hawaii

There are at least another 10 ideas I can offer. So, feel free to call, email or schedule a time to chat to get started with planning. Make up the year lost and save it with a family vacation that you know you want.

Hit the Plan a Trip button above and let a travel expert help take care of you. From brainstorming travel ideas, to planning the perfect itinerary and making all the reservations, we are with you all the way. We’ll even deliver your travel itinerary and documents in a digital app.

We will be just a text away when you travel.  The peace of mind… priceless!

 

Why you should consider Tauck tour and cruises for your next family vacation

a brochure cover from Tauck tours with some lake and mountain scenery

Tauck has been around for over 95 years. They are a family owned tour company. Started with a local tour in New England.  Their commitment to service has won them a loyal following and they have greatly expanded their tour offerings across the globe and now also offers their own river cruise ships and have chartered small ships to different parts of the world with a showcase of interesting itineraries.  Whether it’s their land tours in Europe and Africa or the very popular family river cruises for multi-generational groups, Tauck products have consistently win the highest mark from my clients. They truly excel in all aspects of a tour.

Many of their guests are repeat guests.  Most enjoy traveling as a group with other like minded travelers and who enjoy cultural explorations and traveling with ease.  When tours started canceling last April due to the pandemic shutdown, over 80% of their guests have chosen to rebook the exact same tour with them for a year later.  And for those who did not rebook, got all their money back.  That isn’t the case with all travel / tour companies. Many chose to hang on to the guests’ funds.  It is a testament to Tauck’s strong financials and integrity.

a large family all wearing berets posing in front of Eiffel Tower in Paris during their Tauck tour
pc:Tauck; Tauck Family Adventures in Paris

Tauck has won Travel & Leisure’s “World’s Best” list for 23 consecutive years.  What made Tauck so popular?

  1. A wide presence, offering tours everywhere. You can choose to travel all 7 continents with Tauck if you love their consistent service.
  2. Exclusive access. Tauck’s long standing relationships have gained them partnerships with suppliers and museums to create unique experiences built in to their itineraries.  For example, they have exclusive after-hours access to the Sistine Chapel so you’re visiting with your own group of 40 or 20 fellow tour mates and not packed with the general public of thousands.
    They have special lunch in castles or exclusive performances arranged for their guests that turns every trip into a trip of a lifetime.
  3. Tour directors and local guides are their true assets. Their tour directors not only ensure a seamless travel experience, but their knowledge and caring attitude fosters a deep connection with guests.  Sometimes, I get requests to do the next tour with the same tour director wherever he/she is assigned due to their thoughtful, personal service.
  4. Great value. Tauck is not about spending as little as possible. But about giving you the best they can give for your money.  Quality hotels & ships, exclusive access and experiences, and itinerary planning that showcases the best a destination has to offer so that everything you should see is already included in the tour price and nothing extra to offer on tour.  In addition, gratuities are included in tour price so you don’t have to stress about getting local currency during tour.

You’ve heard from me and my clients’ feedbacks. Would you like to hear from Tauck directly?
This Thursday, 2/4/21, at 3pm PT, or 6pm ET, will you please join me on this virtual live presentation with Tauck? Hosted by Steve Spivak, Vice President of Global Sales and Partner Relations, the event will cover the current status of travel and what you can expect this year, along with great destinations to consider.  Here is the link to register.
https://tauck.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VWcu3823SE2-e_G0YvphGw
If you have another commitment, you can register and they will send you a recording afterwards. But if you can attend live, there will be opportunity for Q&A.

Space is Limited! Register now by clicking the link below:

Thursday, February 4, 2021 3:00 PM PST

https://tauck.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VWcu3823SE2-e_G0YvphGw

Maybe I’ll see you on Thursday! And of course, if after the presentation and you are interested in finding out more about joining their tours or need help selecting an itinerary, I’ll be honored to help.  email me, call me, or click the plan a trip button up on top!

Here are a few of Tauck’s popular tours:
America’s Canyonland

Danube Family River Cruise and Tour

Galapagos Island Family Tour and Cruise

All other guests favorites

If you’ve missed this event and would like to be notified of future opportunities, please sign up for our newsletter!