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US National Parks Like You Have Never Experienced Before!

By | Adventure, Blog, Family Travel, Uncategorized | No Comments

You don’t have to Leave the US to Experience Volcanoes and Waterfalls

Imagine cruising through some of the most pristine scenery that the American West has to offer, the US National Parks and Monuments, and doing so in a style you have never even before imagined – with a group of friends – or with your entire family – riding in style with a professional driver in a tricked out vehicle called a Limo Liner.

It’s a very comfortable vehicle with leather sofas, large windows, comfort controls and also features

  • In transit WiFi
  • In transit Television

It’s an all-inclusive ride for almost a week checking out the best of the west (that’s right – a hospitality chef will be serving guests throughout the day with included wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee, tea, seasonal fresh fruits, snacks & much more)

Tour options include

  • Badlands and Wind Cave
  • Yellowstone and Grand Teton
  • Crater Lake and Redwoods
  • Salt Lake City, Moab, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Las Vegas

and several other options as well…

Of course you won’t spend the night on the Limo Liner – you will be sleeping in comfortable hotels, lodges & resorts along the way

Why in the world would you drive yourself when you can enjoy the luxury and safety of such a journey?

For much more info and to get your adventure started reach out to “Your friends….in the travel business” contact EZTravelPad today!

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

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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?

Join EZTravelPad as we Cruise the Mediterranean in 2018

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Cruise the Mediterranean in Style with EZTravelPad

That’s right – please consider joining us on a Mediterranean cruise aboard Celebrity Constellation sailing from Barcelona, Spain on June 30, 2018

We will be hitting some of the best and most historic ports in Europe such as Rome –

Italy, Rome, Colosseum, monument, historical, couple, scooter, Shore Excursions, Europe, sightseeing, Vespa

Italy, Rome, Colosseum, monument, historical, couple, scooter, Shore Excursions, Europe, sightseeing, V

 

…and many more!

You will never forget the times we share as we sail the Italian Renaissance itinerary to the following cities-

 

DAY PORT ARRIVE DEPART
1 Barcelona, Spain 5:00 PM
2 Cannes, France 10:00 AM 8:00 PM
3 Genoa, Italy 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
4 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
5 At Sea
6 Kotor, Montenegro 10:00 AM 6:00 PM
7 Zadar, Croatia 11:00 AM 7:00 PM
8 Venice, Italy 6:30 AM
 Number of Nights: 7

 

If you prefer a visual, here’s the map

Italian Renaissance Cruise map

 

Seriously – how awesome is this itinerary!!??

Of course we will be doing lots of exploring on the mainland and we will be kicking things off a couple days early arriving in Barcelona early enough to catch a few of the sites and doing the same in Venice at the end of the cruise

Pricing is as follows (just a sample of some)

  • $1209 per person on a Cat 9 Inside Cabin
  • $1689 per person for a Cat 4 Oceanview cabin
  • $2159 per person for a Cat 2A Balcony cabin

Also the current sale gets 1 free perk with options including-

  • Free Unlimited Beverage Package (includes alcohol drinks)
  • Free WiFi
  • Prepaid Gratuities

So are you interested in joining us to go see Europe in style?

Contact Scott for complete details!

 

Friends Party at Private Villa – Chic Mansion

By | All-Inclusive Resorts, Caribbean, Dining, Luxury, Uncategorized | No Comments

Seriously- how cool would it be to share this amazing mansion with 5 other couples?

This is an 11,500 square-foot luxury house with six stunning guestrooms each with dedicated en suites. As a part of one of the hippest adults-only all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic.

The villa offers guests six suite-style bedrooms which mean that you and eleven friends can enjoy the house’s private amenities and the resort’s Diamond Club™ privileges together.

Your stay in the Mansion include luxurious round-trip airport transfers, butler service, private pool cabana with attendant and even a complimentary spa treatment for each guest. The villa has its own private pool, hot tub, patio, sound system and games room with a pool table.

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It’s gorgeous, it’s spacious, and it’s perfect for a private party such as a couples retreat or even to celebrate a Bachelor/Bachelorette party

Check out the Private pool complete with hot tub!!

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Game room is complete with bar, pool table and stripper pole (not pictured)

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Amazing living space with huge screen and more…..

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and when the smallest and least amazing bedroom looks like this….

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oh wait….you also get a private dinner with private chef!

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But remember – this is not just a stand-alone mansion, it’s also located on the same property as one of the coolest 5 Star Adults-Only All-Inclusive resorts in the Caribbean

Dine around outside the mansion at restaurants (included!) featuring cuisine such as

  • Italian
  • Ceviche
  • Steak House
  • Middle Eastern
  • International
  • Pub Grill

…and more

With nightly entertainment, a terrific beach, several bars and even a mermaid pool this is something to experience and share with your friends

All this and you can get in for under $1500 per person for 5 nights!!

So what are you waiting for…get your friends together for the ultimate couples retreat!

Contact “Your friends….in the travel business? at EZTravelPad for more info

 

For Caribbean’s Best Honeymoon Experience

By | All-Inclusive Resorts, Caribbean, Honeymoons and Weddings, Romance, Uncategorized | No Comments

Learn how we can help you plan the perfect Honeymoon or Destination Wedding at Virtual Sandals Caribbean Night

Sandals Royal Caribbean (2)

Tune in to our live webinar at 8pm EST on Wednesday October 19, 2016 to learn what the Sandals experience is all about during Sandals Virtual Caribbean Night event.

For decades Sandals resorts have been synonymous with romance on some of the Caribbean’s best islands, learn why Sandals luxury included resorts are so often couples’ first choice when thinking about Honeymoons, Destination Weddings & romantic vacation experiences in the Caribbean

EZTravelPad is one of a select group of Certified Sandals Specialist agencies and teams with Sandals Resorts to bring you this unique event and opportunity to learn why Sandals may be your best choice for your next trip to the Caribbean

Learn-

  • What the Sandals experience is all about and why it’s different
  • Which islands Sandals resorts call home
  • What differentiates each resort with varying inclusions and unique personalities
  • How you can earn an additional $250 spa credit (and maybe even another surprise perk!) simply by attending

This 45-60 minute presentation is offered to you free of charge and from the comfort of your own home – register now by using this link

Ask all the questions you like and learn from others – gain vast knowledge – score a great deal!

The EZTravelPad team hopes that you are able to join us in sharing one of the best resort experiences anywhere and why Sandals might be your best option for the most important trip of your life…YOUR Honeymoon or Destination Wedding!!

 

Napa Wine Country – A Memorable Experience

By | Adventure, Honeymoons and Weddings, Romance, Uncategorized | No Comments

A Honeymoon, Anniversary or other Romantic Getaway in Napa Valley

 

Is a romantic getaway on your radar this year? Are you planning a Honeymoon? Anniversary celebration? Maybe a fun getaway with some friends? With current events such as the Zika virus, terrorist threats, etc  many are opting to stay in the U.S. this year.

 

Sure, staying in the U.S. might cost a bit more than jetting off to an all-inclusive beach resort in the Caribbean but for many, sacrificing a few extra $$ and forgoing the fruity drinks with umbrellas in them are a trade-off that they are comfortable making if it means they can opt for a fantastic Cabernet in California’s wine country

EZTravelPad has cultivated a great relationship with one of the best options in the region – Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. Not only can we expertly curate the entire adventure for you, we can leverage our relationships to your benefit and even arrange for some extra inclusions that you would not otherwise be entitled to!

Enjoy spending some quality time in one of the beautiful Bella suites…

Bella Suite The Meritage

Bella Suite The Meritage

 

Experience a morning bike ride through the vineyard….

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A hot air balloon ride followed by a champagne brunch…

 

Hot air ballon over Napa vineyard at daybreak

Spend some time lounging at the pool….

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Treat yourself to some of the nearby local wineries on a tasting tour….

Spend some time before or after in one of America’s great cities….San Francisco and the greater Bay Area

With so much to experience, and the safety and security of the “Good old U S of A” leaving you with little to worry about you will find yourselves having an unforgettable romantic experience.

For more info on this or other great options for your next great vacation experience get in touch with “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad today!

Sandals Resorts Zika Virus Update as of Feb 17, 2016

By | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Planning your Sandals Resort Trip?

Here’s an update on the status of the various islands that Sandals resorts operates on:

  • Jamaica

    • Has had only one confirmed case
    • There was one case that was recorded, but was not confirmed to be locally transmitted. The patient has been cured and there has been no known spread of the virus.
    • That same individual has already recovered and nothing since has been reported. As of February 3, CDC has added Jamaica to the list of Zika affected countries.
  • Saint Lucia

    • No Zika Virus Cases have been reported.
  • Bahamas

    • No Zika Virus Cases have been reported.
  • Barbados

    • As of February 3, there have only been 3 confirmed locally transmitted Zika Virus Cases.
  • Turks & Caicos

    • No Zika Virus Cases have been reported.
  • Antigua

    • No Zika Virus Cases have been reported.
  • Grenada

    • No Zika Virus Cases have been reported.

 

Of course things can change, but as of February 17, 2016 there does not appear to be a tremendous amount of concern for the islands where Sandals exists – but precautionary insect repellent is always advised.

Surf’s Up at Moon Palace

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That’s Right – Now You Can Surf on Dry Land!

flowrider

You may have heard about the Flowriders – surf simulators that exist on some of Royal Caribbean’s newer ships. They are very popular and based on most reports, alot of fun!

Now you can enjoy the same experience on land – at Moon Palace in Mexico!

Moon Palace is an amazing resort located south from Cancun along the Mayan Riviera – or Riviera Maya area – fantastic destination for an all-inclusive resort vacation!

For more info please contact “Your friends….in the travel business” –  EZTravelPad

Reviewing Sandals Barbados

By | All-Inclusive Resorts, Caribbean, Honeymoons and Weddings, Romance, Uncategorized | No Comments

Sandals Barbados – a Review

Like all Sandals resorts, this property appeals most to adults couples looking for a stress-free luxury Caribbean vacation. Excellent for Anniversary celebrations, Vow Renewals, Destination Weddings and Honeymoons

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If you haven’t been to one of the NEW Sandals resorts – or one of the the resorts that they have recently upgraded then you might not understand how much they have stepped up their game. Simply put, this resort is fantastic. From the grounds and layout to the rooms to the general decor to the staff to the cuisine I am having trouble finding fault.

(Note- the photos contained in this post are all my own, so photo quality and staging are not professional but for a fantastic pictorial look professionally put together then check out Sandals Barbados “Flipbook” at this link )

As a Certified Sandals Specialist I feel it is critical to my business and credibility to visit and completely understand not only Sandals resorts – but all resorts that complete in the adults-only all-inclusive genre throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. I have been to, experienced and come to understand each of their great resorts throughout the Caribbean and I can say without hesitation that this is certainly one of, if not THE best in class.

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The grounds and layout – are terrific. It feels great to walk the gardens between the lobby, bars, spa, various room blocks, restaurants & beach.

 

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The quiet pool has a chic and luxurious feel with red & white striped cabanas.

 

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The active pool at the beachfront includes a swim-up bar, ample and comfortable lounge chairs and plenty of floats to chill in the pool as you move to the groove of the music and vibe – or have fun and get some exercise playing pool volleyball

 

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The lagoon pool is totally chill and open to all guests but mostly for the use of the Club Level and Butler Level guests with swim-up suites surrounding the meandering pool

As I sit at the poolside bar writing this review I am struck by the gorgeous view past the pool and beach to the blue ocean just beyond

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steak lovers will appreciate this supper club with classic decor and a great vibe

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at night the pub is one of the centers for socializing

Dining options are plentiful with reservations required at both Kimonos Teppanyaki Grill and  the widely acclaimed Butch’s Chophouse but other good specialty dining options which do not require reservations include

  • Portofinos’ (Italian)
  • Bombay (Indian)
  • Schooner’s (Seafood)
  • Soy (Sushi)
  • Bayside (International)
  • Merry Monkey (British Pub)
  • Mariner’s Grill (Seaside Grill)
  • Dino’s (Pizzeria)
  • Cafe du Paris (Pastries, Coffee and Ice Cream)

Oh yes – and there are several bars serving top shelf international liquors and wines

Rooms-

a glass window between the shower and main room space can be closed off by the sliding photo - a great feature!

a glass window between the shower and main room space can be closed off by the sliding photo – a great feature!

This is where the real improvements are taking place. Even the entry level rooms all feature comfortable 4 poster king sized beds, coffee maker featuring Blue Mountain coffee, patios or balconies and all the normal equipment but the decor and styling are a huge cut above both the competition and many of their own sister resorts. Features like no-slip showers and very comfortable lounging space – super-quiet and efficient A/C, Smart TV, Complimentary WiFi (that works pretty well) and many more subtle styling features

  • Upgraded suites feature a wide range of enhancements such as
  • Beachside & Oceanviews
  • Swim-up Suites
  • Tranquility Soaking Tubs on Balconies & Patios
  • 1 Bedroom Suites
  • and of course many of the rooms & suites come standard with the legendary Sandals Butler Service
butlers prepare your cabanas with towels and coolers with your favorite beverages

butlers prepare your cabanas with towels and coolers with your favorite beverages

Butler level guests will often reserve space in the terrific cabanas which are first-come first-served

The Playmakers entertainment staff keeps everybody engaged if they want to be, but are not in your face over loudspeakers every 10 minutes so everyone can enjoy the fun…or not, depending on their inclination

Location –

The location is terrific as well with a prime location  on the Maxwell coast only about 15 minutes from the airport and easy and safe walking distance (about 10-15 minutes) to several of the local restaurants, bars & clubs in St Lawrence Gap or a short taxi ride to Oistin’s Fish Fry (a must visit on Fridays) or Bridgetown for shopping & more. Streets are lively at night but as clean and safe as anywhere

Clientele tends to be slightly more British and skews a bit older than many other lower priced options but plenty of young Americans are still actively enjoying their

Keeping it real….at the time of my recent visit the beach was undergoing some reconstruction – a breakwater was being installed in an effort to improve water conditions and will be completed in late October. The beach would have been a weak spot for many but every other aspect of the resort was fantastic!

For much more info reach out to Scott or one of the other EZTravelPad consultants who are especially skilled at making sure that your vacation is as AWESOME as you dream for it to be (and maybe even a little more)

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St Thomas – a Review

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Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St Thomas, USVI is good choice for All Inclusive Resort

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A large part of my job as a travel consultant/adviser with EZTravelPad revolves around touring, experiencing and understanding a wide variety or resorts to better be able to help people with deciding what their best choices are on their next vacation

Often there is a great deal of similarity between resorts and even between destinations, but sometimes I find something that is unique, and I believe Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St Thomas to be one of those – a family friendly resort that is not fancy, but delivers on their promise of being a laid-back spot, managed by the owners and it’s definitely the kind of place WHERE EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR NAME!

 

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is a family friendly resort located on the island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. As such, a passport is not required for US citizens to visit so this is a popular choice for those people wanting to experience an authentically Caribbean island feel without straying too far from the feel of the US. It is significantly more affordable than the other US island destination of Hawaii, which is also very popular for Honeymoons (but Hawaii does not offer all-inclusive resorts)
Couples wanting to enjoy a tropical island without the need of a passport should consider the US Virgin Islands
On the surface the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is a bit primitive- not fancy or luxurious in the least, but when you scratch the surface and look a little deeper the friendly service and family feel of the resort more than make up for the rather dated accommodations.
Upon entering the resort, honestly, I was a little disheartened with what felt like a motel that hasn’t changed much in the last 40 years – as depicted in this photo of the front desk
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The rooms were very basic, the restaurant and common areas were not grand, and the beach was not vast
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BUT- I had a total change of opinion ofter spending only an hour or so with my resort host Colleen (who quite obviously DOES know everyone’s name)
Sure, Colleen was welcoming and polite and nice, as all resort management always is when hosting a travel agency having a look around – but this went a little deeper. She was more engaged with her staff and more friendly with the guests….and more American (a California transplant to the island many years ago) than most – in short, she sold me on the fact that this place is different – it’s like going to your home…. in the Caribbean!!
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Bolongo Bay Beach Resort may not be fancy – it’s not luxurious – but it is most definitely welcoming and friendly and clean and comfortable, which is not a bad thing!
For so many people comfort and clean and friendly are more inportant than luxury and the “wow” factor, and if this describes you then this might be an excellent choice for your next vacation to the Caribbean
Honeymoon couples staying 7 nights can enjoy inclusions such as
  • a sunset catamaran cruise
  • a catamaran cruise to snorkel with sea turtles
  • a la carte dining including lobster, steaks
  • and much more…

 

Competitive pricing vs. other resorts in the USVI make this resort with an all-inclusive option a strong contender for those vacationers (especially Honeymooners)  who choose not to acquire a passport and would prefer to saty on “U.S. soil”Some fun things to do include

  • Paddleboarding
  • Windsurfing
  • Scuba lessons
  • Hobie cats
  • Water trikes

Oh – and napping under a palm tree – that’s a fun thing too!!

 

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There is much more to convey, so when you are ready to decide on your next vacation turn to EZTravelPad where we like to think of ourselves as – “Your friends….in the travel business”