Monthly Archives

September 2017

Caribbean Update

By | Blog, Caribbean | No Comments

Post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria Recap of the Caribbean Situation

The past few weeks have been horrific in terms of hurricane related devastation. It truly is unparalleled.

There are tons of photos and videos documenting the widespread destruction – here is just 1

With that in mind I wanted to share a recent update from one of our preferred tour operators – Mark Travel brands

This is a pretty good snapshot of where most of the primary vacations destinations are in terms of impact as of now.

The Mark Travel Corporation

To Our Valued Travel Partners:

To those affected by either Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria, we want you to know that we are thinking of you and we are here to support you. As an organization that has been family owned and operated for over 43 years, we consider each of you to be a member of our extended family. And when tragedy strikes you, it strikes all of us as well. During these challenging times, we encourage you to keep the conversation going with your Business Development Manager or Specialist and rely on them for support with issues you and your clients may be facing.

For all our valued travel agents, we want to give you a brief update on the status of several Caribbean islands that were affected by the hurricanes:

Please note: Aruba, Bonaire, Bermuda, Barbados, Curacao, Grand Cayman, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis were not impacted by either Hurricane. All hotels are open for business and all off-site venues are operating normally.


  • V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU) is open.
  • Hotels on Antigua are open for business.
  • All activities and off-site venues are operating normally.

Turks & Caicos

  • Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is open.
  • All off-site activities have been suspended at this time.
  • Coral Gardens, Ocean Club, Ocean Club West and Seven Star Resort are open for business.
  • Alexandra Resort, Blue Haven, The Palms, The Sands at Grace Bay and Royal West Indies are currently closed. Exact opening dates are still to be determined, but they are expected to re-open by mid-October.
  • Beaches Turks & Caicos is closed through December 13th, 2017.
  • Additional updates on hotels and off-site activities will be provided in the days ahead.

The Bahamas

  • Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau is open.
  • Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) is open.
  • Hotels in Exuma, Nassau, Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island were not impacted and are open for business.

The US Virgin Islands

St. Thomas

  • Severe damage was sustained across the island.
  • Cyril E. King Airport (STT) remains closed.
  • All off-site activities have been suspended at this time.
  • All hotels are reporting some level of destruction; therefore, hotel inventory has been closed for 2017 and 2018 travel.

St. John

  • All hotels are reporting some level of destruction; therefore, hotel inventory has been closed for 2017 and 2018 travel.

St. Croix

  • Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) is closed.
  • Reopening dates vary by hotel, starting in November 2017 and going into early 2018.

St. Martin

  • Severe damage was sustained across the island.
  • Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) remains closed. Until further notice, the airport is serving as a dedicated hub for emergency and evacuation flights only.
  • All off-site activities have been suspended at this time.
  • All hotels are reporting some level of destruction; therefore, hotel inventory has been closed for 2017 and 2018 travel.

Puerto Rico

  • Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU) is open, but operating on a limited schedule from 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM EDT.
  • The island is without power making communication with the island challenging.
  • Hotels in San Juan are reporting varying levels of damage; most hotels will reopen in November.
  • Hotels in Rio Mar and Farjado have extended closures through the end of 2017.


  • All Jamaica airports are open.
  • Hotels in Jamaica are open for business.
  • All activities and off-site venues are operating normally.

Dominican Republic

  • All Dominican Republic airports are open.
  • After some minor issues, hotels in the Dominican Republic are now open for business.
  • All activities and off-site venues are operating normally.

Warm regards,

The Mark Travel Corporation

Certainly this does not go into deep detail since some of these destinations (Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico & St Martin) are likely to be significantly disrupted for months and months.

This info also did not touch on cruise ports- keeping in mind that the ports of San Juan, St Thomas and St Maarten are among the busiest and most popular in the Caribbean it will be a long time and a tough road back for these destinations.

We encourage you to do what you are able to do for the people of the impacted areas, and in the Caribbean as a whole. One of the more respected charitable foundations serving the Caribbean has a familiar name – The Sandals Foundation does good work so consider it as a starting point.

If you have specific questions please reach out to “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad – and please don’t stop going to the Caribbean – it is a wonderful region with some amazing destinations, many of which were not impacted at all…

Paris- I Can’t Wait!

By | Europe, Family Travel, Romance | No Comments

Paris in the Spring

I don’t know how many times have I heard how wonderful Paris is in the spring…and NOW we can get there from Indy non-stop starting THIS spring at a very reasonable rate (think from around $1600+ pp for a few nights incl flights + hotel!)

Sure – figure on spending a few $$ on some amazing food & wine + tours (explaining the food and wine) but leaving home in the late afternoon and arriving in one of the world’s greatest citiesthe early(-ish) morning just in time for a full day in the city + a few more…Yes!!

Rest assured that  “Your friends….in the travel business”  at EZTravelPad are checking out the options so you can have the time of your life…no matter how much time you have!

Imagine touring the Louvre with a small group (no more than 6 people) and your Docent is this young lady…


Time to go!

Actually – if you can’t wait until spring and you want to join Michelle and I there for Thanksgiving come help us explore!

We’ll be experiencing things so YOU get the best advice possible!

When you are ready reach out to us

Don’t go to Mexico! (or almost anywhere else in the world because you’re scared??)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

C’mon People – Can’t You See Thru This Hype?

If you care to make informed decisions of where to go on vacation, and if it is safe to enjoy a Mexican Beach Vacation then the following letter from Apple Vacations’ President Tim Mullen does a nice job of calming fears (stoked for obvious political reasons). Look at the facts, don’t feed into the hype

Sep.1, 2017

Dear Travel Partner,

As you know, there have been a number of unfavorable stories about travel to Mexico in the media over the course of the last month, from the tragic story of the young woman from Milwaukee who died while on a family vacation, to the recent Travel Advisory issued by the US State Department.

These stories are especially disturbing to all of us for a variety of reasons. First, we want all of our customers to return home safe after a relaxing and enjoyable vacation. Secondly, we know that Mexico is a wonderful destination for a beach vacation, and Apple Vacations has been sending guests to beautiful resorts across Mexico for nearly 50 years. Finally, we all make our living in this business, and when tourism to Mexico gets a bad name, business suffers.

Mexico is one of the world’s great tourism destinations. We are confident that our customers are safe when traveling to the resorts we offer. Apple Vacations intends to be more active in working with our travel partners, the Mexico Tourism Board, and others to tell the full story, address safety concerns, and put some of the recent stories in perspective.

In response to concerns that visitors to all-inclusive resorts have been offered tainted alcohol, we have requested that all of our partner resorts confirm their liquor handling processes. Mexico’s federal and state governments have conducted searches and inspections, and are generally increasing enforcement. Our sister company, AMResorts, is conducting an especially rigorous review of its processes. We are stressing the importance of drinking responsibly, never mixing medications and alcohol, and taking normal precautions to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion or other health risks while on vacation in Mexico…or anywhere else.

The State Department’s travel advisories are important and cannot be dismissed. However, they should be read carefully and taken in context. The crime and violence rates referenced in the recent travel advisory are for broad regions, while the incidence of this activity tends to be highly concentrated in areas which are not frequented by travelers. It is also worth noting that the crime statistics referenced in the advisory for Mexican destinations are lower than many U.S. cities. In fact, many countries have issued travel advisories to their citizens, warning about the dangers of travel in the U.S. In both cases, visitors who use common sense and travel in areas frequented by other tourists are safe and have enjoyable visits. Finally, it’s worth noting that our customers are picked up by Amstar DMC at their arrival airport and spend their time in restricted access, security patrolled all-inclusive resorts which are well-staffed and offer many activities and amenities.

When addressing concerns with your customers, it is helpful to reference sources not directly involved in our business, since they are objective and offer more credibility. Click here for a message I received from the Mexico Tourism Board which has links to stories in various U.S. and international publications about travel to Mexico. I encourage you to read these articles and forward them to customers who may have concerns.

As always, thank you for your continued support. I am confident that through our combined efforts, we will be successful in persuading potential travelers that they can travel to Mexico with confidence, and enjoy a safe and enjoyable vacation. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please contact your Apple Vacations Sales Representative.

Best Regards,

Tim Mullen
President, Apple Vacations


Tim does a better job than I can of rationally laying out the case for Mexico – and the link to several news articles can help to put things into perspective

If you want to go to Mexico (or think you might) because you like the idea of experiencing a terrific all-inclusive resort on a great beach with warm weather then Mexico is a top pick.

If you don’t like the beach, or aren’t interested in all-inclusive, or hate Mexicans, then maybe best to make another choice

As for me…

Dos margaritas más por favor y que camino al baño?