Monthly Archives: August 2015

Plan Your Honeymoon Early!

By | Honeymoons and Weddings, Romance | No Comments
For Best Results Plan Early!

 

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I often see articles suggesting that you should plan to book your Honeymoon 4 to 6 months in advance and often that is fine, but frequently it is far too late!

Depending on the destination you have in mind, and the type of experience you desire, reservations should be confirmed more like 10-11 months in advance

If you are headed to Orlando, FL or Las Vegas, NV for example there are dozens of flights that can get you from where you are to where you want to be at decent rates even 30-60 days in advance, but if you are interested in  something a bit more off the beaten path such as St Lucia or Grenada or Bora Bora then you had better reserve your spots several months previous or be prepared for overnight layovers and significantly higher prices

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The Pitons in St Lucia- view from an open wall suite with in-room infinity pool at Jade Mountain

 

Additionally, if you are thinking you would like to enjoy something really special such as a swim-up suite or a private plunge pool or even an overwater bungalow then you need to remember that those are the first to be reserved, often more than a year in advance so plan accordingly!
Your best advice is to get with a travel planning specialist at your earliest convenience, as soon as you have your wedding date established,  so that you and your Honeymoon specialist can work through your best alternatives

 

EZTravelPad is a travel agency specializing in Honeymoon and Destination Wedding planning. If you are not currently working with a travel consultant then get in touch with “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad

Renew Your Vows in Paradise!

By | All-Inclusive Resorts, Caribbean, Romance | No Comments

Vow Renewal is a Hot New Trend

Ready to do something special for your spouse? Is it time to plan a very special anniversary celebration? Thinking about relighting the fire in your relationship?

Sandals ReTie the Knot

Vow Renewal ceremonies are a very popular trend at Caribbean destinations. Perhaps you really wanted that beach wedding several years ago, but family pressures or logistics prevented it from happening….so why not do it now? You can get away with just your spouse – or you can include yourselves and a few close friends – or the whole family & all of your friends can join in the celebration.

Many resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico are getting in on the trend and offering some excellent packages with everything already thought through and professionally prepared – and often the complete ceremony is even FREE!

  • Beautiful Beachfront Location
  • Officiant
  • Flowers
  • Music
  • Cake
  • Reception
  • and much more…

Sandals Resorts offers a complete package much like a Destination Wedding ceremony – see complete details at this link

For more info, ideas and complete details on how to celebrate your marriage in style…no matter how long since your last ceremony….contact EZTravelPad Today!

 

Awesome Adventure Cruising with Un-Cruise Adventures!

By | Adventure, Blog, Cruise | No Comments

 

Cruise in Alaska on a Small Ship Offers Unparalleled Experiences

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Size Matters

Many people have experienced the wonders of Alaska on a large cruise ship doing a 7 night itinerary either southbound, northbound or perhaps a round trip on the inside passage – large ships with entertainment and casinos can be a great way to see many of the wonders of of largest of these United States of America – but few have experienced the intimate nature that can only be realized from a small ship cruising Alaska

Itineraries that range from 7 nights to 21 night are available from April until September

There are several companies who offer amazing vacations of discovery that range from adventure to luxury – from wildlife discovery to nature hikes  – to interacting with locals who are completely off the beaten path in areas that simply are unattainable on a larger ship

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One such option is Un-Cruise Adventures formerly known as Innersea Discoveries or American Safari Cruises
Un-Cruise adventures range in style from

  • Active Adventures
  • Luxury Adventures
  • Heritage Adventures

you can even charter your own vessel on ships that range from as few as 22 guests to a maximum of 88 guests on the largest ship in the fleet

A Heritage Adventure is a completely unique experience aboard a Victorian style replica of a coastal steamer which is scheduled for a greater quantity of shore visits and port calls and where on-board presentations are delivered by knowledgeable historians and characters appear in period costume.

Fine wines, Premium spirits and micro brews are included as well as the freshest excellent cuisine

Active Adventures are defined by play – be it in the water, in the woods – or even in the mud. The outdoor activities include more outdoor guides on staff to help with kayaking and stand up paddle boarding – hiking and treking – glacier viewing, glacier hikes, whale watching, wildlife observation & Polar Bear Plunge….all this and more are experienced on a daily basis

Luxury Adventures are slightly different in that although the itinerary might be similar Premium wines, Premium liquors and Micro Brews enhance the gourmet cuisine and finer dining which is served over several courses. Cabins are larger and more luxuriously appointed, the full bathrooms often feature jacuzzis and heated tile floors, Temperpedic memory foam beds and more… Fitness equipment, Saunas, On-deck hot tubs and even complimentary massage enhance the Alaska experience in ways you never thought possible

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Take the Kids on a an unforgettable adventure – let them kiss an iceberg up close and personal!

Take your spouse on that special trip that none of your neighbors, co-workers or Facebook friends has ever experienced

Have a 1-of-a-kind Honeymoon experience

Take yourself to new heights of discovery….experience!

For more info on this or other vacation options get with “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad

Is a Time-Share a Good Deal?

By | Blog | No Comments

 

A Brief Yet Interesting Conversation

 

time share

I just returned from a local business professionals networking event where I had a brief conversation with a fellow member about her time-share situation and how much she loves it.

Funny thing was, I can’t understand why…

During the conversation she related that a trip to Hard Rock Punta Cana (a fantastic all-inclusive  resort nn the Dominican Republic) will cost her only $2793 for the mandatory all inclusive add-on to the time-share value she and her husband already possess. If they were taking the kids then $3593 for all 4 of them….

Now I know that the Hard Rock Punta Cana is an excellent resort, but that struck me as just a bit higher than I would have expected so I came back to the office to see what my price would be (without the time-share value it must be significantly higher, right?)

  • So what was the retail price I pulled up if EZTravelPad were booking it? $2944 or with adding in 2 children then $3302
  • So what was the price going directly to the Hard Rock website? $2984 (yep, $40 higher)

Both prices (not sure about the time-share though) also include $1500 in resort credits (free money in the casino, spa, golf, tours, room upgrades, etc)

To be fair I do not know some specific details about the time-share cost she related, for example-

  • Were they in some sort of high end suite?
  • What specific dates?
  • Was she talking about 2 weeks instead of just 1?
  • Are there monthly maintenance fees involved?
  • Is there a booking fee per trip?

or…

  • Do they pay her to retain the time-share in exchange for her paying more than she otherwise would on her vacation? (ok, that’s just my humor coming out)

Seriously though, this is just another example of the effectiveness of a great sales pitch convincing a consumer that by pre-paying for vacations that they may take sometime in the future they can save a ton of money – when if fact it is just not the case…. I’ve seen it over and over again

Do yourself a favor – find yourself a good travel consultant who you trust and respect. The odds are that they will help you find the best solution to your unique vacation wants & needs – plus probably find it at a lower price than you could yourself – thus, get you the best “Deal”

If you do not currently work with a travel consultant (agent) then consider giving EZTravelPad a call… and check out the video below for more info!!

Reviewing Riu Montego Bay

By | All-Inclusive Resorts, Blog, Caribbean, Jamaica | No Comments

Riu Montego Bay – a Review

The Riu brand of all inclusive resorts is one of the more popular choices of the many Spanish owned resort chains operating throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, and Riu Montego Bay is one of the more popular choices in Jamaica. As a large hotel & resort brand operating across much of the globe, Riu offers a good value and is certainly a good option for many – but does that mean it’s the right choice for you?

 

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EZTravelPad will try to help you make that decision with some insight, photos, video and more….so read on

 

Recently spending a few nights at the resort gave me a good chance to get a pretty good feel for the pluses and minuses of the resort and traveling with several other travel agents also lent some additional perspective and insight

 

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Overall Design-

 

With nearly 700 rooms in a fairly small amount of acreage, the space to guest ratio is fair – comparable to direct competitors but far from spacious compared to some brands pricing just a bit higher so competition for beach and pool chairs starts early in the day….

 

For so many the all inclusive resort vacation is all about the party and if that is your main focus then this might be a good option for you – especially if you and your group are aged in your 20’s. The party at the main pool’s siwm up bar was definitely on full tilt from 10a-6p daily due in large part to the design of the pool & swim up bar. With in-pool “booths” and tables and jacuzzis and bar stools the architect created a fantastic space for enjoying the pool and the bar

 

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As many resort designs include several sections of room blocks located individually across the resort grounds Riu was no exception but falling a bit short when it came to tying everything together. Many competitors will have covered walkways which offer shelter from the frequent tropical rains that will pop up anytime day or night – your umbrella is the only option for staying dry when walking from room to restaurant – some covered walkways would be a good thing

Rooms are comfortable with decent space, modest furnishings and extra firm mattresses. Bathrooms are spacious yet a huge design flaw in my thinking was that the small bathtubs were very hard to maneuver in since the tubs are rounded as opposed to flat – tough to turn, even stand while taking a shower – good space but poor tubs = fail for me on that aspect

 

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Food

 

It’s interesting how perceptions are so individual. For example I am generally fairly critical of food quality and selection wherever I travel. I appreciate good food quality and selection – and good service. Interstingly, I found the food selection and quality to be pretty good considering the cost of the resort overall – compared to some competitors I felt they did a good job in this area, but many others that I was traveling with felt the food was less than impressive – and so it goes for opinions….

 

The main restaurant buffet consistently offers a wide range of offerings prepared reasonably well – the a la carte options (both the Italian “Little Italy” and the Asian “Kalu”) that I experienced were more than adequate yet certainly not overly impressive from a culinary standpoint

 

Location-

 

One of the attractive features of this moderately priced resort is it’s close proximity to the airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Being located close to the airport definitely helps to maximize your resort time but it can be a mixed blessing though – being located directly in the flight path means that frequent low flying jets will bring a stop to the conversation for a few seconds several times per day

The beach at Riu Mo Bay is not bad. A bit of seaweed washes us, and sand that is less than powdery is a bit of a drag but overall the space is good and the view at sunset is very good. Few peddlers exist since this is a private beach for guests only, but the occasional salesperson will find their way onto the beach and attempt to sell some things.

 

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Intangibles

Overall I found the service to be ok – certainly nothing close to the level of service at some of the higher priced options. Staff was generally polite but not really friendly with few exceptions. It seemed they were going through the motions and doing their jobs but not really loving it so we all found the overall level of service and training of staff to be fair – could definitely use some improvement

Some people only require cold beers and sodas to enjoy themselves – others have a more discriminating palate. I found the limited beverage selection to be disappointing and the wine selection was nearly undrinkable. That said, blended drinks and simple mixed cocktails are hard to ruin so there are options…

Due to the family friendly nature of the resort, if a Destination Wedding is something that you are considering and keeping the budget as low as possible is a top consideration then this is a good choice since people of all ages can enjoy the resort

Check out this video for more…

 

 

Overall I would say that for a certain set of clientele this is a good option – and for others not so much. It’s not so much about price, but finding the right fit and that is exactly what a good travel consultant should be doing for you – finding the best fit for you!

When it comes time for your next all inclusive trip find a travel advisor like EZTravelPad to help insure that you make the best choice possible – after all, wasting money is not fun but wasting life’s most precious commodity (yout TIME) is a shame!!