Destination Wedding Dreaming….

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Find out all you need to know about Sandals & Beaches Resorts Destination Weddings during this Aisle to Isle Virtual party

 

Are you envisioning a “feet in the sand” wedding experience?

or maybe a beautiful garden gazebo overlooking the tranquil Caribbean?

For either just you and your loved one – with a few family members – or a huge group of friends down for the party?

In any case Sandals and Beaches Resorts are one of the Caribbean’s best choices and a terrific value all considered.

Did you know they offer a FREE wedding?

Find out all you need to know about the Caribbean’s best at this webinar style Virtual Party

Wednesday, September 12th at 7:00pm EST
Saturday, September 22nd at 2:00pm EST

Just click this link to get started then let them know you were invited by-

Scott Jones

EZTravelPad

574-825-8079

[email protected]

Check it out – it may be the start of the most memorable experience of your life!

EZTravelPad’s Annual Photo Contest is ON Now!

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Be a Winner!

It’s time for our 5th Annual EZTravelPad Photo Contest and you can win one of several prizes to be given away!

 

Based on participation we will be giving away some Starbucks gift cards and other swag for runners up, but the best 2 photos overall (see rules below) will win one of 2 Grand Prizes….each is a $50 Amazon Gift Card

 

We are looking for photos of your – 
  • Honeymoon
  • Destination Wedding (or a Destination Wedding that you attended)
  • Family Vacation
  • Friends Getaway
or any other great EZTravelPad vacation experience – like these past submissions…
Rules are simple – and there are 2 Ways to Enter & Win- (and yes, 2 Grand Prize Winners)

 

Speed matters-

 

Method #1- 
Open to EZTravelPad clients traveling during the period from August 1, 2017 to August 30, 2018

 

Simply email your photo(s) to EZTravelPad with the subject “Photo Contest 2018”
Quality matters- Make sure they are good ones – interesting – something you are proud of. We don’t need 50, just a couple of the best will do – photos with YOU, not just scenery or landscapes (although if you have a simply amazing photo of an iconic destination it will be considered this year)Cut-off for submission is September 30th, 2018 so just a few weeks to get in on the action. Beginning on October 1st the EZTravelPad team will review submissions and pick the 10 best to submit to our professional photographer team for final decision on the 1st Grand Prize WinnerNOTE- By sending in your photos you agree that it is ok for EZTravelPad to use your photo(s) on our website and/or post to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and also use your first names (no last names will be posted)
Email photos to [email protected] with the following info

  • Who is pictured in the photo (main characters at least)
  • Where photo was taken
  • What sort of fun was taking place at the time

 

Method #2 –

Open to ALL clients who have ever traveled with EZTravelPad, but the photo needs to have been taken during an EZTravelpad booked trip

Simply…

  • “Like” EZTravelPad on Facebook (if you haven’t already you should) and then
  • Post your photo(s) to the EZTravelPad timeline and then
  • Tell all of your friends to “Like” the page and “Like” YOUR photo(s) (plus write a brief comment about what they like about the photo(s))….
Most “Likes” by September 30, 2018 wins the 2nd Grand Prize
Simple as that, we look forward to seeing your submissions-
Thanks in advance and
Best of Luck!!
Scott

Krka National Park in Croatia – simply gorgeous

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Croatia is a HOT Destination in Europe

Well, it’s warm in the summer and cool in the winter – but as far as popular destinations are concerned Croatia is HOT!

Why? Well there are many reasons –

  • Croatia is one of several destinations made more popular by the HBO series Game of Thrones
  • Croatia offers a terrific array of  medieval cities
  • Croatia offers some amazing small ship cruises (mostly from cruiselines you have never heard of)
  • Croatia offers some of the most spectacular natural beauty to be found

Krka

Krka National Park is a popular place for hiking and enjoying the natural beauty of pristine waterfalls and more. On a recent cruise vacation we enjoyed a stop in the port city of Zadar (famous for it’s Sea Organ – a very unique piece of musical art). The Krka National Park was an offered excursion from Celebrity cruises so we checked it out and here’s what we found….

 

a beautiful forest populated by dozens of cascading waterfalls (too many and too vast to experience them all)

 

The hike was too short,..but it was beautiful

 

with some swimming possible…

 

in the waters just past the most beautiful of the falls in this area

 

Zadar-

Whether spending some time in port or staying in a hotel or nearby resort, the city of Zadar is a good place to spend some time shopping or dining. Actually I could not believe how affordable it was to purchase some great pastries!

There are some cool tours that allow you to experience the city by foot, bike, segway, kayak or e-scooter – or do something really exhilarating like going skydiving!

Yes…Croatia is beautiful with several national parks and other places of outstanding beauty, but there is so much more. Whether it’s an excursion while cruising on a mass market cruise ship, or a small ship cruise with several stops along the long Croatian coastline, or a fully independent yet structured tour incorporating several stops such as Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik & other parts of the interior of the country you can count on “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad for sound advice and the ability to leverage our relationships to make sure that you have the best possible experience!

 

Cruising into or out of Venice as a Port

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Venice, Italy – A lovely city to start or end your cruise vacation

There are not many things more enchanting than arriving to your Venice hotel in a water taxi.

Words and photos are not entirely capable of describing the emotions that you experience- the sounds, the sights, the sunshine on your face – the anticipation of visiting such an iconic destination.

Hotels-

Of course there are dozens and dozens of terrific hotels with varying levels of service. We chose the lovely Hotel Danieli located just steps from The Bridge of Sighs leading to Doges Palace and Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Plaza) – terrific service and as convenient as it gets.

Venice is a city built on 118 islands (some small and others tiny) connected by hundreds of bridges that make up the city. The history of Venice dates back around 1600 years so as you might imagine there are some amazing examples of many different types or architectural influences including Gothic, Byzantine, Islamic & more.  Below is but 1 of many gorgeous buildings

If you are a lover of any style of art and craftmanship then a visit to Murano is a must-do. Murano is a small island about 15 minutes boat ride from Venice. Complimentary tours are available and you will not see a better array of glassworks than you will here. The island is home to hundreds of glassblowers who have different specialties. The glassblowing demonstration is amazing

but what is more amazing is the showroom which consists of room upon room with unbelievable displays of artistic genius ranging from chandeliers to wine glasses and every type of glassware in between

St Marks’s Square & Basilica along with the Doges Palace are also must-see

Water Taxis and Gondolas

Of course no trip to Venice would be complete without spending some time on the water. Whether touring by water taxi…

or enjoying a gondola ride complete with serenade…

 

these are the memories that you will carry with you for many years to come (and of course taking a few photos helps too)!

Shopping

There are more shops that you can ever hope to get to even if staying for weeks – and cafes & restaurants are also in no short supply so save up some energy for that!

After a few hours of touring and shopping then a Spritz or 2 in a cafe is not to be missed

 

In short – Venice is simply magical and unforgettable.

When it’s time for your trip to Venice (or other bucket list destination) then you know you can turn to “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad for expert guidance and the best values to be found.

Unico Hotel Riviera Maya

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UNICO 20º87º – an Overview

When it comes to Adults-only All-inclusive resorts there are all sorts of options in Mexico and the Caribbean!

Some specialize in accommodating couples only, some others are open to anyone as long as they are 18 years or older – some are budget friendly, some quite luxury. Some are tranquil, others are party-central.

Some are on fantastic beaches – some are not. Even within a given brand there are wide differences based on the size of the resort, the age, the destination and specific location within the destination…so many variables!

One variable that is often overlooked are the things that are actually included – and at Unico Hotel Riviera Maya that list is long indeed!

Sure, they include all food and beverage (very good food and premium brands of spirits) – and they include entertainment – and activities on both land and in the water – but they also include something else that no other resort does…unlimited spa, golf & select off resort tours – Included!

You do pay a tax on the value of the spa, golf & tours that you consume, but it is a steal when you consider what you experience and what you would have paid for those experiences elsewhere

To get a sense of the vibe and feel of the resort check out this short video-

 

Your Local Host

It’s not exactly butler service, and it’s not exactly concierge service – probably best described as something in between, but the Local Host assigned to you will be very helpful with all sorts of things-

Your local host service brings the UNICO 20˚87˚ experience to the next level

  • Insider’s guide into the local scene—from hard-to-get reservations to the best-kept secret spots
  • Assistance with check-in and check-out
  • Late check out requests
  • Restaurant reservations
  • Tours, golf, and spa reservations
  • Planning special events or occasions
  • Packing and/or unpacking
  • Shoe shine, ironing and steaming services
  • Laundry service
  • Cleaning and maintenance requests
  • Spa tub preparation
  • Bag pick-up at check-out
  • Mixology program
  • Pillow menu request
  • Additional bathroom amenities
  • Aromatherapy

For more info and insights into the Unico experience click this link

Escape to Imperial Europe

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The more I experience Europe the more I want to go back…it gets under your skin…it lures you to return…it stays with you

A couple hours at Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the perfect way to unwind after a long flight

Imagine an 8 night itinerary beginning in Budapest for 2 nights, then 2 nights in Vienna, 2 nights in Prague, and finishing with 2 nights in Berlin

  • Transfers included
  • 8x Breakfast Included
  • 3x Dinner included
  • Guided Tours included
  • Good hotels (Hilton, Marriott, Mercure, Crown Plaza, etc) in the heart of the cities
  • Vacation Highlights

    BUDAPEST
    Welcome dinner; guided sightseeing, panoramic view from Fishermen’s Bastion

    VIENNA
    Guided sightseeing, visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral

    PRAGUE
    Guided sightseeing, Astronomical Clock, visit the Hradčany Castle grounds; [LF] farewell dinner at a local restaurant

    BERLIN
    Guided sightseeing, take pictures of Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial, visit Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church; farewell dinner

    Now imagine this

    …all of this

    Including International flights (from Chicago for example)

    All for under $1999 per person (based on double occupancy)

    Perhaps it’s time to get in touch with “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad

    Escape to Ireland

    By | Europe | 2 Comments

    There are many ways to vacation. You can go luxury (EZTravelPad specializes in more luxury accommodations normally relying on the best travel partners and the best locations) – or you can go more budget (normally this is what people do on their own in an effort to achieve the lowest price possible)

    Well now EZTravelPad has a very modest budget solution for several popular destinations, and you don’t have to sacrifice stability by risking doing business with a less well known provider

    Globus Tours is widely recognized as the world leader in escorted tours across the globe. They operate 4 distinctly different brands serving 4 different travel styles with the Globus brand being the flagship luxury solution.

    Now Globus is operating some itineraries that are achieving some unheard of price-points on some of the more popular destinations such as Italy, Great Britain, Greece, Peru (think Machu Picchu) & many others

    Below is a Globus brand itinerary that hits an unbelievably low price point from $659 per person on set departures for 6 nights including several meals, transfers, hotels & even some guides in the destination. Add flights from any US points of departure and and you can come in around $1300 per person!

    Unreal!!

    So what do you sacrifice?

    Well, normally on a Globus tour or other great EZTravelPad custom tours in Ireland you would be staying in luxury hotels, Manor Houses and even Castles.

    You would experience in depth guided tours of some of the most unique destinations and experiences on the island. In this case, at this price you would have fewer guided tours, fewer amazing meals, and would stay in nice but more basic yet still clean and nice accommodations

    See much more detail and specifics below-

    Inclusions of tours and transportation as well as a Full Irish breakfast daily; 2 three-course dinners with wine and choice of menus including a welcome dinner in Dublin

    Overview

    Vacation Overview

    Escape to the lush landscapes, charming cities, and friendly people of Ireland during the low season so you can experience it all without the crowds and, most importantly, without the high-season prices. This Ireland tour is an ideal introduction to the Emerald Isle for first-time visitors who have limited time. You’ll relish in some of Ireland’s most magnificent scenery as well as its most famous towns. You’ll start and end in Dublin, and you’ll also have overnights in Ennis, Killarney, and Waterford. Highlights of this tour include the 668-foot Cliffs of Moher on Ireland’s west coast, where you’ll savor breathtaking views of these sheer cliffs dropping into the ocean, and the Ring of Kerry, a 100-mile panoramic drive through rugged and awe-inspiring landscapes. Words cannot capture the magnificence of this natural beauty; it must be witnessed in person!

    You’ll also have time to enjoy bustling Dublin, the “Fair City,” Adare with its pretty thatched cottages; medieval Waterford, home to the famous crystal; and Kilkenny, one of Ireland’s prettiest and liveliest towns. From the scenic beauty to the unique interactions and experiences with the down-to-earth locals, this Ireland trip is sure to delight all of your senses, and at a price you just can’t miss!

    Itinerary

    Day 1 – ARRIVE IN DUBLIN, IRELAND

    Céad míle fáilte! A hundred-thousand welcomes! Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax in Ireland’s capital city. This evening, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.

    DinnerDinner

    Day 2 – DUBLIN

    The morning’s orientation drive in the “Fair City” includes statue-lined O’Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares with their tall red brick townhouses, colorful doors and wrought iron-decorated windows, Oscar Wilde’s Trinity College, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the city further, or you could join an optional excursion to the Guinness Storehouse and learn all about the world-famous beer: from how Guinness is made to the ancient craft of barrel-making in the cooperage. The evening ends with a sample of “The Black Stuff,” followed by dinner.

    Breakfast Breakfast

    Day 3 – DUBLIN–GALWAY–CLIFFS OF MOHER–ENNIS

    Your day begins with a drive to Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan center with colorful shops and a busy café and bar culture. Then, a scenic route takes you across the limestone plateau of The Burren with its strange and beautiful karst landscape to the 668-foot CLIFFS OF MOHER, where you savor the breathtaking panorama of the Clare coast.

    Breakfast Breakfast

    Day 4 – ENNIS–RING OF KERRY–KILLARNEY

    A day full of splendid scenery as you head south and stop at quaint Adare with its pretty thatched cottages. Continue on to Killorglin on Dingle Bay to join the famed RING OF KERRY for a 100-mile panoramic drive around the island’s southwestern tip. There is plenty to focus your camera on here: sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and the breathtaking panorama of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. Travel on to the popular resort of Killarney for an overnight stay.

    Breakfast Breakfast

    Day 5 – KILLARNEY–BLARNEY–WATERFORD

    Across the Kerry Mountains and through County Cork, the route brings you to Blarney, renowned for its magical Kissing Stone. There is time here for lunch, to walk up to the castle, and to shop for traditional Irish handicrafts. In the afternoon, proceed via Cork to Waterford, a stronghold founded by the Danish Vikings, and home to the famous crystal. After dinner this evening, enjoy an  IRISH COFFEE DEMONSTRATION.

    Breakfast Breakfast
    DinnerDinner

    Day 6 – WATERFORD–KILKENNY–DUBLIN

    Kilkenny, one of Ireland’s prettiest towns with medieval cobblestone streets and Old-World charm, is your first destination today. You will have time to discover the town on your own, visit the castle or the Design Centre or simply wander through the charming streets and be part of the Irish day-to-day life. Then, travel back to Dublin, and tonight, as a fitting farewell to Ireland, consider an optional evening with dinner, followed by dance, song, and laughter.

    Breakfast Breakfast

    Day 7 – DUBLIN

    Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

    Breakfast Breakfast

    Sound awesome?

    Then get with “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad to pick your dates and get this scheduled….check this amazing destination off your bucket list!

    Escape to Costa Rica for 7 Days from $659 per person

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    Here’s a Great Deal on a Fantastic Vacation to Costa Rica

    Visit the Eco-Paradise that is the country of Costa Rica with inclusions of daily breakfast, tours with a Naturalist, comfortable accommodations & much more on this unbelievably low priced tour-

    Itinerary for Costa Rica Escape with Globus  

     

    Itinerary

    Day 1 ARRIVE IN SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA

    Arrive in San José, where you will be met by a Globus representative.

    Day 2 SAN JOSÉ–MONTEVERDE

    This morning, depart San José for the cloud forest of Monteverde. Situated on the continental divide under a misty cloud coverage, Monteverde is one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet. Exploring the trails here reveals green habitats teeming with life. Over 3,000 species of plants, 400 species of birds, 60 species of bats, 1,200 species of amphibians and 700 species of butterflies – to name a few – call this area home. It is also one of the last remaining places in the world that is home to all six species of cats: ocelots, jaguars, jaguarundi, pumas, oncillas, and marguays. If you are lucky, this is also a great spot to catch a glimpse of one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful birds, the resplendent quetzal.

    Breakfast Breakfast
    Day 3 MONTEVERDE

    Today, visit SANTA ELENA CLOUD FOREST RESERVE during a Naturalist-guided walking tour. Established in 1989, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve comprises an area of 765 acres, and is home to forest fauna such as sloths, jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, coatis, and numerous species of birds. With almost 100% humidity throughout the year, the cloud forest experiences almost 12 feet of rain per year. This afternoon, you may wish to explore this verdant area further or perhaps head into town or venture into the rainforest canopy for a bird’s eye view of the region.

    Breakfast Breakfast
    Day 4 MONTEVERDE–ARENAL

    Depart Monteverde for the must-see town of Arenal located in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. Currently, Arenal Volcano is in a resting phase but prior to 2010 the volcano was known for its consistent lava flows and gas emissions. Arenal is home to cascading waterfalls, thriving rainforests, abundant wildlife, and a plethora of outdoor activities. After settling in, experience the magic of the resort’s pool and Jacuzzis or consider a walk along the nearby nature trails in search of 300- to 400-year-old trees, colorful frogs, monkeys, birds, and possibly small animals native to the area.

    Breakfast Breakfast
    Day 5 ARENAL

    Today will be spent exploring ARENAL NATIONAL PARK and its vast primary rainforest, and learning about its rich biodiversity. Venture into the jungle canopy on the ARENAL HANGING BRIDGES, which consist of 15 bridges suspended in the treetops and allows your Naturalist to point out various species of plants, birds, butterflies, monkeys, sloths, and other animals commonly found here. On a clear day, you will get a 360-degree view of the tropical rainforest, as well as stunning views of Arenal Volcano. This afternoon is free to explore at your leisure. Tonight, perhaps take an optional tour to the world-famous Tabacón Hot Springs. These natural hot springs are the result of rainwater heated by magma in the Earth’s interior that then rises to the surface, taking with it minerals found in the Earth’s crust. Enjoy time to relax in the waters that are so beneficial to your skin and body.

    Breakfast Breakfast
    Day 6 ARENAL–SARCHI–SAN JOSÉ

    En route to San José, visit SARCHI Village, known as the center of Costa Rican handicrafts and where you’ll see the artists in their workshops making the famous ox carts. Enjoy time here for lunch before continuing to San José for a short city ORIENTATION to see the historic National Theater, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and other sites in downtown San José.

    Breakfast Breakfast
    Day 7 SAN JOSÉ

    Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.

    Breakfast Breakfast

     

    Contact “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad for specific dates and details then get ready to go see one of the most environmentally friendly nations on the planet and discover abundant wildlife all along the way

    2 Days in Barcelona Pre-cruise

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    Barcelona – easily one of the most enjoyable cities on earth

    La Ramblas – the tourism hub of Barcelona

     

    There are many reasons why Barcelona is generally regarded as one of the Top 5 cities to visit in Europe….

    I’m not gonna lie, flying all night then arriving in a foreign country, checking into a hotel for a quick change then off to a e-bike tour on virtually no sleep is a bit aggressive, but I’m glad we did it (not sure my wife feels the same lol). It’s either go tour and be active or go to sleep and lose several hours of exploring time. We chose to see all we could in the short time we had there

    e-bike tour booked through Viator – 12 participants – a good time all around

    We covered alot of ground on those bikes – From landmarks to archaeological excavations to parks to the beach and more

    Interestingly the beach area in Barcelona is relatively new, and a key component of the revitalization of the city. Investments into re-imagining the city as a tourist destination rather than an industrial powerhouse led to the 1992 Summer Olympics being held in the city and they haven’t looked back – now Barcelona is widely regarded as one of the top cities in the world for tourists

     

    After some sightseeing on the e-bikes then it was time to sample some tapas from one of the more famous tapas restaurants – Els Quatre Gats (4 cats) which is widely known as one of Pablo Picasso’s favorite bars

     

    But on to other things….

    La Sagrada Familia

    If there is one thing that Barcelona is know for (besides tapas) it’s Antoni Gaudi’s masterpience – La Sagrada Familia

    Construction continues at La Sagrada Familia

    Imagine a work so vast that the architect knew, at less than 30 years of age, that construction would last well beyond his death. While this looks massive now, it will eventually soar to a much taller height and a much broader footprint when complete

    Construction began in 1882 – they are hopeful of completion by 2026 (in honor of the 100th year anniversary of Gaudi’s death)

    The inside is an homage to nature as much as it is to Jesus and to fully understand I recommend a good guide – it’s so worth the extra $$ and photos just do not do justice to this masterpiece

    We booked a 3 hours guided tour of La Sagrada Familia in conjunction with a tour of the Hospital Sant Pau. Initially I was indifferent to the tour starting at some hospital, eventhough I was understanding that for there to be a tour it must be something worth seeing. That said, I was blown away. Not only was this once public hospital a masterpiece of efficiency it was also architecturally amazing and beautiful.

    our Context Tours guide Zaida was both charming and an expert in the Catalan culture

    Once again photos are difficult capture the overall feel but imagine that this is just one of the many separate buildings serving patients with varying illnesses

    and here is a model of the fully functional hospital where the main building served as an admittance and admin building then patients were transferred to the appropriate wing via underground tunnels that were well lit from skylights strategically placed throughout the gardens filled with healing herbs and aromatic plants.

    So what else does Barcelona offer?

    Well…the $15.50 EU bottles of Cava at the cafe across the street from the hotel were pretty great….

    and there is SO much more to relate!

    For help planning your next great getaway – be it Barcelona or anywhere else amazing please consider turning to “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad where we leverage relationships on a daily basis to help insure that you have the time of your life on each and every vacation

     

    Congrats on EZTravelPad’s 10 Year Anniversary

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    It’s now been a few days since EZTravelPad turned 10 – and I love it!

    To say that there was a clear sense of what EZTravelPad would become would be a huge exaggeration – there was a dream that I could make a living helping people with their vacation planning… at a time when the US economy was at the depths of it’s worst recession since the great depression and the general thinking by most people was that travel agencies were dead and everyone was going to plan all their travel on their own with only the help of the internet – WRONG!

    It’s crazy really, to think that someone like myself – with no experience in the travel industry could start at such an inopportune time with woefully inadequate funds (remember that recession thing – it had taken it’s toll let me tell you) and make it a success, but it happened – and YOU are part of the reason why!

    Thank You!

    It is because of the trust of so many that I was able to grow this little idea into something respectable. We have been the recipient of many awards, including Karisma resorts, Funjet Vacations, St Lucia Tourism Board, WeddingWire’s  “Couples Choice” award  &  The Knot’s “Best of The Knot” in each of the past 5 years running achieving  Hall of Fame status!

    We have a strong team here at EZTravelPad and we are getting stronger every day thanks to the great reviews, repeat trips and referrals that we receive so often from previous clients just like you – so one more time…THANK YOU

    We will strive to do even better for the next 10 and beyond!

    Here are a few of my favorite photos in some of my favorite destinations