Dominican Republic – Is It Safe?

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Dominican Republic in the News Recently

There certainly has been more than a little news about the tourism industry and the safety concerns in the Dominican Republic lately –

  • Is it safe?
  • Should I go?
  • Should I cancel?

Well, I’ll take a crack at each of these questions – here goes

Is it safe to go to The Dominican Republic now?

Of course not, but neither is it safe to go to Mexico, or Europe, or for that matter, it’s not safe to go to many places in The good ole USA if you go to the wrong neighborhoods, hang out with the wrong crowd, get caught up in a situation that you knew you should not have in the first place, go to school, church, work, etc (lots of mass shootings you know). Best bet is to stay home…ground floor (stairs are dangerous).

Of course I am joking – kind of.

NO WHERE IS SAFE!! (at least that’s what the media might like for you to believe…after all, your clicks = profits for media!)

Statistically speaking you are extremely safe flying to a resort destination, finding your pre-arranged transfers at the airport, and hanging out at the resort beaches and pools all week – even if you add in a couple of organized adventures off resort! Keep in mind that you tend to get what you pay for – higher priced resorts tend to deliver more dependable quality of food so you are less likely to find food related issues at the nicer more brand-name resorts as opposed to the lower priced options – and trust me on this, the real danger is having an intestinal issue for a few days, that is not uncommon at all.

Should I go to the Dominican Republic?

That one is purely a matter of taste. If you want to go to a pristine beach at a comfortable resort hotel where you can eat, drink, dance and enjoy all sorts of entertainment options for 1 low price – then maybe so, Dominican Republic has a great array of all-inclusive beach resorts to choose from (best to get with a travel adviser who knows a thing or 2) and these resorts typically price very, very competitively. If you are looking for the kind of place where you can rent a car, drive around on your own in a beautiful tropical setting, get into adventures on your own, find the little “hidden gems” off the radar, etc then the DR is probably not for you – consider Hawaii.

If you have a level of comfort in other countries having experienced & enjoyed other places such as  Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Cozumel, St Lucia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St Thomas, Costa Rica, etc then Dominican Republic might be a great option – if you were previously in any of the places I just mentioned and did not feel safe, then the DR might not be for you.

Should I Cancel?

That’s totally your call, it’s all about level of comfort and level of apprehension. Looking at the stories in the news media lately there are more questions that answers.

It sounds like David Ortiz might have been a victim of mistaken identity in a “hit” gone bad – tragic, but unless you are from the DR I would not suggest being out at a late night club in the capital of Santo Domingo. Bad things do happen to unsuspecting tourists all the time – in every country (including in the US).

The stories of people dying suddenly after having drank from the mini-bars, those are just baffling. I can’t imagine what the common thread could be that would have people dying quite infrequently (last I heard was 8 reports in the past year) at various hotels, different brands, and different places hundreds of miles apart. Toxicology reports will hopefully solve the mystery. If you were smart and purchased the travel protection offered when you booked your vacation then you may be able to cancel (for any reason) and get your money back so if you do want to cancel then check with your travel adviser for the best options. Don’t go if you don’t feel comfortable – your time is valuable and you should enjoy it the most!

To wrap it up, do I feel uncomfortable in the DR, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta or the Riviera Maya? Heck no, those places are awesome for the value that they provide and I send lots of vacationers to those places all the time – almost everyone loves them! But it’s YOUR vacation – and if you feel more comfortable in a more expensive destination (Hawaii, Bahamas, Aruba, Turks & Caicos, Bermuda, Bora Bora, Cote d’Azur, etc then we sure do help with all those sorts of trips as well. Beef up the budget and go enjoy yourself where you are comfortable – but either way…GO ENJOY YOURSELF

For more info this is a link to a NY Times article from a few days ago

at EZTravelPad we like to think of ourselves as “Your friends….in the travel business” and as your friend i would never suggest going somewhere that I felt was unsafe…. reach out anytime at this link

Great deal on Paris to Zurich River Cruise + $499 for flights this Summer/Fall

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You’re Considering a European River Cruise Aren’t You?

It’s ok – a European River Cruise is an amazing experience that, having experienced, I can attest – it’s unforgettable!

There are many choices (there are many rivers in Europe) but here is one that caught my attention – starting off in Paris, visiting 4 countries with 10 included tours and much more included (like food, beverages, etc)

Check out this brief video for a quick overview of a few of the highlights

But there’s much more to learn-

For Expert Help and the advice you need turn to

“Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad

Virgin Goes For Resort Feel On the Sea

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Think Adults-Only Resort + Cruise to Havana (and more)

Virgin Cruise Ships will debut as Virgin Voyages set sail in 2020

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Empire + Cruise + Adults-Only

One of the most exciting developments in leisure travel in recent years is the unveiling of the new Virgin Voyages brand which will set sail in the summer of 2020 with 4 Night Sailings & 5 Night Sailings to Bahamas + Havana  or Bahamas + Mexico or Bahamas + Dominican Republic (plus more to come)

What’s exciting about it?

Well, to name just a few things, the vibe, the commitment to “Green”, the inventive cuisine, the 1st Tattoo parlor at sea – and much more

The overall feel is proclaimed ‘Rebellious Luxe”

Make no mistake- it’s gonna be a party – and it’s virtually all-inclusive (except for alcoholic beverages) so bring your game and your dark sunglasses to hide the dark circles because you are over-nighting in Havana and that can make it a LATE night! (other itineraries do exist if Cuba isn’t your top pick)

 Want to see what it looks like on board?

Been On A Cruise Before? – This One Is Different…Here’s How

No Gratuities – They Are Included!

No Buffets – 20+ Innovative Dining Options!!

No Disconnecting – Free WIFI – They WANT you on Social Media!

Group Fitness Classes Included so Get Your Spin On for Free!

Lots of other ways that extra charges are NOT the style on this ship…its cruising the way it should be – care free and inclusive!

But there’s much more to learn-

For Expert Help and the advice you need turn to

“Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad

Another Year, Another Great Opportunity and Recognition

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It is with great pride that I announce –


As a recognized leader in the romance vacation market, I’ve been asked to be a part of the exclusive 2019 Romance Travel Forum!

I was personally chosen out of hundreds of travel sellers from across the US and Canada to be among this select group of top professionals!

With my destination wedding and honeymoon clients in mind, I’ll be experiencing first-hand all that Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit has to offer, including attractions and visits to the most sought-after hotel properties!

Plus, I’ll have the chance to meet with top providers on a global level representing the most romantic destinations, hotels, packaged vacations and so much more! Just 1 more reason why EZTravelPad should be your pick to help make your romantic vacation dreams a reality!

Paris in the Spring – THIS Spring!

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That’s right – EZTravelPad is going to Paris in April 2019 – Care to join us?

Scott & Michelle are going to Paris, Amsterdam & even a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bruges, Belgium

Highlights include-

  • Non-stop flights Round trip from Indy to Paris
  • Train (round trip) from Paris to Amsterdam
  • 3 Nights hotel in Amsterdam
  • 2 Guided tours while in Amsterdam
  • 5 more nights at city center hotel near Arc de Triumph & Eiffel Tower
  • 6 Tours (both guided and independent) in Paris
  • Day trip to Bruges with  Guided Culinary Tour

All this for just over $1850pp!!

Can’t get away for the whole 10 days but want to join us in Paris for a few days?

No problem, great rates are available!

Want to strip out the tours and just go shopping, or skip Amsterdam & just stay in Paris? – no problem, the itinerary is completely customizable!

See a complete suggested itinerary at this link

Contact us for more info and availability

Help Navigating TSA

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Recently I received an email from one of our travel partners (International Holidays) with some good travel tips that I wanted to share-

In today’s world of strict security mixed with the on the go traveler, navigating airport TSA checkpoints can be a bit cumbersome and test anyone’s patience.

We’ve outlined a few steps you and your clients can use on the go.

  • Make sure you have what you need before you go through any TSA line. You don’t want to find yourself having to circle back for a forgotten necessity. Transversely, don’t bring anything you shouldn’t. Having to forfeit your favorite pair of scissors isn’t a fun way to start a vacation. 
  • Be comfortable, we no longer live in the era of wearing a 3-piece-suit when we travel. Know that you may need to remove your shoes or belt.
  • Make sure those shoes don’t lace up to your knees or require a small fortress to pull them off. Wear comfortable shoes that are easily removed and put back on.
  • Leave the jewelry at home; avoid removing and misplacing your favorite accessories.
  • Pack a snack! Airport food prices can be exorbitant. While there are many liquid restrictions (3.4oz) on what you may bring through the TSA, solid foods are allowed. A long line can be a bit more digestible when accompanied by a delicious and affordable snack. Don’t wait until you’re stuck in line and hear your stomach growling.
  • Airport lines are about as predictable as the weather. You’ll want to arrive early. Check your airport’s website for any recommended arrival times. Any seasoned traveler will tell you, “The TSA does not care if you miss your flight”. Nor will they typically go out of their way to make sure you get to your flight on time. With that fact in mind, don’t take a gamble showing up at the last minute. You could easily find yourself stressed beyond belief.
  • Get a rejuvenated start by electing to kick off your vacation at a comfortable Airport Hotel that includes complimentary shuttle service & free parking (we can help with options)!
  • Be sure to fully charge your mobile devices. Leaving electronics off until necessary will help preserve the battery. Investing in a small battery bank can allow you to re-charge your own device if everyone seems to be hogging charging station ports. Battery banks can come in useful when traveling with children who could use some ever needed entertainment.
  • “Smart luggage” can sometimes be dumb luggage. Beware of battery banks that are built into luggage as these are often unacceptable as carry-ons or checked luggage. You don’t want to find yourself buying alternative luggage at those ever so pricey airport boutiques. 
  • While not currently available due to the government shutdown, Global Entry and TSA Pre-check are both pay for services that allow for expedited airport travel. TSA Pre-check provides expedited security screening benefits for flights departing from U.S. Airports. Global Entry provides the TSA Pre-check benefit plus expedited US customs screening for international air travelers when entering the United States. TSA Pre-check costs $85 and Global Entry costs $100 for a five year membership. Travelers interested in Global Entry must apply through the Trusted Traveler Program website.

These tips can help make airport travel more affordable and enjoyable.

Safe travels!

**Thank to International Holidays for sharing these tips!

FYI – International Holidays is a fantastic partner that we use regularly for pre-flight hotels which include parking your vehicle for up to 2 weeks & comp airport shuttles and they offer these at terrific prices so get with us for options on your next pre-flight hotel stay!

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



[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


  • “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!!

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 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  




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


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

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

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

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

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

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