Sunday, October 5, 2014

Found over Indonesia on a Lombok Tour Package

Found over Indonesia on a Lombok Tour Package, Lombok Island in Indonesia which is beautiful may not be as popular as its neighbor very much hyped Bali, but only worthy of exploration as a travel destination. Especially for the most dedicated travelers, good, satisfactory travel experience not only means exploring the most popular places that ever existed on the planet. It also means that less popular across his own gift of popularity, one of the rewards of the lesser known destination may actually offer untouched natural beauty, which, after all, is one of the main goals was traveling around different places far from home. On this note, Lombok tour packages will surely be a good choice, both for its natural beauty and pure as to its affordability.

Below are some of the attractions that make it a good investment objectives of the passage of time and resources:

Mount Rinjani National Park: Mount Rinjani National Park is the area of ​​41 330 hectares (159.6 square miles) of nature reserves and water catchment and includes an additional 66,000 acres (250 square miles) of protected forest adjacent. Mount Rinjani as a whole is the second highest peak in Indonesia, and is increasingly becoming popular among mountain climbers. Locals regard as a sacred mountain, and the crater is a place for pilgrimage Saganak thousands who believe that making offerings in the waters and bathing in the hot springs can cure the disease.

Gili Islands: Popular among tourists who after experience remote island, Gili Islands consists of three islands are coral made ​​naturally perfect and stunning white sand dotted with pine trees. The government has banned the use of cars in islands, and the means of transport available is called cidomo carriage, or alternatively, by foot or bicycle. Incredible coral formations, as well as most of the rich marine life has been diving in Gili popular activity among visitors and locals alike.

Mas: Mas is a stunning beauty, decorated on the left with gently rolling hills and small rural villages sheltering under a green valley. On the right side is the sea stretching, which paint the beautiful blue color in the sun. Among Mas and Taun township sprawls a magnificent arc of white and water.

Senggigi Beach and Resort: Known as Lombok's most developed tourist area, is home to Senggigi and comfort facilities such as bars, cafes, discos, and restaurants, most of which are found on the main beach road.

Kuta Beach: South Beach is known as Kuta Lombok. Kuta offers a stunning bay is characterized by white sand and crystal clear waters, and good surfing waves. Kuta is less busy than other parts of Lombok, so it is perfect for a quiet holiday. Various accommodation is available, ranging from relatively luxurious hotels most affordable homestay. The most popular activities in this area include surfing, relaxing in the sun and surf.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Grateful Blog

Saw a thread on Facebook that showed a jar and said that every day you should write something good that happens every day for 2014 into the jar and read them all New Years Eve 2014.

Great idea and instead of putting them in a jar, I am adding them to this blog post.

Jan. 1, 2014 - got to spend the day with my two grandsons before they went back to Virginia.
Jan. 2 - airline canceled my flight to Florida due to the blizzard we are expecting. While I am sad I won't be able to see my cousins, I am relieved to not have to stay in a hotel tonight and worry about digging my car out of the snow to make a flight.
Jan. 3 - grateful the snow wasn't as bad as predicted and my husband had a snowblower to easily plow the cars and sidewalks.
Jan. 4-  read on Facebook that our neighbors pipes had frozen. Found a space heater, Neil took it over with a fan to help thaw out the pipe. Glad we did something helpful!
Jan. 5 - the weather is getting a little better!
Jan. 8 - great meeting today!
Jan. 16 - made a new friend today.
Jan. 17 - our VFW Auxiliary members have stepped up to make our March fundraiser awesome! We asked them to donate an item for auction baskets, many volunteered to make whole baskets! They were awesome.
Jan. 23 - went to Virginia today with oldest daughter to surprise younger daughter for her birthday. Boy was she surprised!
Jan. 24 - went to the movies with my oldest daughter.
Jan. 25 - took my youngest grandsons to get their birthday pictures taken. The two photographers at
Potrait Innovations in Midlothian, VA were awesome!
Jan. 26 - made it home in 6 hours from VA! It was great not having to drive!
Jan. 29 - Dr. Said no damage done to my knee when I fell down steps 3 weeks ago.
Jan. 30 - visited with Mom, she feels much better than yesterday. Spent day helping Dad with paperwork.
Feb. 2 - Superbowl. Was a beautiful day for the Polar Bear swim!
Feb. 3- made it home safely after going to the drugstore in the snow!
Feb. 4 - in Virginia to celebrate Jakes birthday Thursday.
Feb. 5- spent a few hours out with Logan today to give his Mom time to make cupcakes for Jakes class party tomorrow. universita-degli-studi-di-cassino-la-guida-di-europeme, agenda, back-for-good, barcellona, bologna, borse-di-studio, concerti, concorsi, consigli-erasmus, cultura, davide-faraldi, erasmus, esn, esperienze-erasmus, eurogeneration, europa, europeme, firenze, generazione-erasmus, germania, guida, guida-dello-studente, guida-universita, guide, guide-universita, identita-europea, ipod, italia, lavorare-europa, libri, libri-sullerasmus, lorenzo-moroni, low-cost, meipi, napoli, partecipazione, roma-lazio-universita, salerno, sondaggio, spagna, stage, studenti, studiare,

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hotel Review - Valentin Maya - Riviera Maya, Mexico

For wise travelers looking for value, the Valentin Maya adults only all inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico is an outstanding choice. Located on Riviera Maya just south of Cancun the resort is about 35 minutes from the Cancun airport. The property is huge and the rooms are among the largest you'll find at a resort - entry level rooms are junior suites with plenty of room and one of the largest bathrooms we've seen.  The Riviera Maya is not known for outstanding beaches, but the Valentin had a great beach with none of the artificial reefs that look so horrendous off shore. You'll have relaxation and romance here.

The land the resort sits on is very large and secluded.  There are 14 buildings spread throughout the property and most offer seclusion and quiet. There are 524 junior suites with balconies or terraces and 16 suites. Room categories start at Deluxe Junior Suites that are 516 sq. feet with garden views and either a king or two double beds. The Silver Suites are the same size but with a garden or pool view and have king sized beds. Golden Junior Suites are 656 sq. feet, overlook the pool and have balconies. Golden swim up suites are the same size with oversized terraces on the ground floor where you can enter the pool from our room  between buildings 6, 7 and 8. Emerald Suites are 624 square feet and are located on the beach in buildings 9-14. Diamond suites measure 1.032 square feet and have a separate living room, roof terrace and include Privilege amenities (more about that later) and are in buildings 1 - 5 (not on the ocean) . Finally, Imperial suites are the same size as the Diamond suite and are corner rooms located in buildings 2 - 8 and also have roof terraces and Privilege amenities.

Each room has the following amenities included:
  • Private furnished terrace or balcony
  • Full marble bathrooms
  • Separate shower cabin
  • Separate Toilet
  • Vanity mirror
  • Hair dryer & Scale
  • Bathrobes (& Slippers upon request)
  • Phone in bathroom
  • Satellite TV
  • Air Conditioning with in-room climate control & Ceiling fan
  • Radio/Alarm Clock with I-Pod dock
  • Direct dial telephone with voice mail
  • Free Internet connection (Wall)
  • Free electronic in-room safe (up to 15" laptop size)
  • Coffee/tea maker set
  • Mini bar
  • Iron & Ironing board
  • Turn down service available in Silver, Golden, Golden Swim up,
    Emerald, Diamond and Imperial categories
  • Umbrella 

The Valentin Privilege amenities is an interesting concept that you can have even without staying in the Diamond or Imperial suites. As of the time of our visit, anyone could pay $60 per person per day extra and receive the following additional amenities:

  • Private check-in and check-out at the Valentin Privilege Club.
  • Pre Arrival Concierge services at
  • Early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability).
  • Daily newspaper room delivery
  • Fruit platter & petits fours once per stay
  • In room fresh flowers once per stay
  • Bottle of sparkling wine in room upon arrival
  • Tailored Minibar (Your selection of Premium drinks out of our Privilege Menu)
  • Beach bag
  • Lobster included at Lobster and Seafood Grill (no extra fees).
  • Restaurant reservations through Privilege Lounge Concierge if desired
  • Reserved lounge chairs under guests name at pool OR beach
  • Exclusive access to privilege lounge (7:00am – 11:00pm) with:
    • WiFi service
    • Concierge service
    • Ultra premium bar service
    • Snacks at Privilege Club (5:00 pm – 7:00pm)
There are palapas on the beach and around the pool that will be reserved for your use only. You'll find your name on the palapa so that no one else can use it.  We did not have these extras but we never had a problem finding a lounge chair around the pool or a palapa (if we were up early enough) for the "ordinary folk". The pool is huge, one of the largest in Mexico so lounge chairs weren't an issue when we visited.

The high points of this resort:
- The rooms size. The rooms and bathrooms are huge with plenty of storage space and plenty of room to spread out.
- Cleanliness - rooms and floors were very clean, restaurants were clean, grounds were well maintained.
- Quiet and romantic. No screaming kids or loud partying adults.
- Excellent food. We didn't have a bad meal, in the restaurants or the buffet. Even the coffee was good.
- Friendly staff - always had a smile and a hello.
- Beautiful chapel on property. If you are Catholic and looking for a Destination Wedding, the chapel is just beautiful here.
- Grounds - the grounds are gorgeous. There is much greenery and tropical plants. We loved the privacy of our balcony with our gardenview from building five.
- Many options for activities. There are two scheduled bike rides around the property daily, lots of pool activities (even a water ballet show!) and activities and shows at night. Some were very corny but funny.
- Beautiful beach. Take a walk down the beach and walk to the left - you'll find plenty of lounge chairs on the beach.
- The optional Valentin Privilege package. If you like to be treated like gold, book the package if you aren't staying in one of the room categories that offers it. Nice beach and pool palapas reserved just for those with the package.
- Daily replenishment of the mini bar in your room.
- Extensive room service menu. Probably the biggest menu I've ever seen at a hotel for room service.
- The value for your dollar. You won't find a resort this nice for this price point.

The resort advertises itself as a five star resort. We didn't feel that it warrants a five star rating for several reasons that all point to service. Let me preface this by saying as travel agents, we make note of things that many people would never notice. We have to for our clients so no one comes back unpleasantly surprised  so we are much more critical than an ordinary traveler. And I will also say that we met many guests who are repeat customers and come back to Valentin over and over. These are the issues we found:

- The terry cloth bathrobes were dirty looking, old with obvious wear and so small they didn't fit around either of us.  The resort should junk them and purchase new waffle robes that come in bigger sizes.Towel quality was similar - 5 star resorts offer big fluffy towels. They should all be replaced with new toweling.
- Housekeeping wasn't up to five star standards. We would leave our dirty towels on the floor signaling we wanted them replaced. The towels were removed but not replaced. We had to call twice to have towels replaced. When they finally got it, the bath mats weren't replaced and we had to call again.
- There is a great mini bar with coffee maker but no milk or coffee creamer rendering the coffee maker useless for us.
- Food was excellent but if you arrive at the restaurants after 7 PM the waits were horrific - at least an hour wait regardless of the restaurant.   I attribute it to the fact there is no buffet restaurant open for dinner, only breakfast and lunch.  The largest restaurant on property, Le Marche, is their buffet and these waits could be avoided if they opened the buffet for dinner.  We also didn't always want a big sit down meal every night and would have welcomed the buffet restaurant.
- The property is so large that it is difficult to get around. Our room was in building five and at least a five minute walk to the restaurants. When we checked in, we were told all we had to do was call for the golf cart, but after we were taken to our room, we never saw a golf cart again. One night we waited at the lobby for a ride to our room - we waited a half hour before it arrived.  On the day we were leaving, we called to have a cart pick us and our luggage up for check out. We were asked if we were ready and we told them we were. We waited a half hour and no one ever came for us. We ended up dragging our luggage for a 10 minute walk to check out.
- We had a massage at the spa, which was excellent. When I was given a robe, I noticed the slippers were not new, they were merely washed and they looked dirty. Use disposable slippers or replace them.
- At our favorite restaurant on property, Ginger the Japanese restaurant, the service was terribly slow - almost two hours for dinner. After waiting an hour to get in, we waited 45 minutes between courses.  After the dinner course was brought, it was after 9:30 PM and I didn't want to wait another 45 minutes for ice cream. I asked our server to bring me the ice cream for dessert right away.  After finishing our dinner and waiting a half hour, the dessert still never appeared.  I finally told the waiter to disregard the request for the dessert and his response was "Oh, you wanted it already? You don't want to relax?" There were only two waiters for the entire restaurant. We also found the Restaurant Manager to be very inflexible. There are Hibachi tables that you must make reservations for. We witnessed an incident where one of the tables had four empty seats because whoever reserved them never showed up. A party of four asked if they could take those seats and the Manager refused, saying they didn't have reservations. So the four seats went unused. We didn't see poor or slow service like this at any of the other restaurants.

None of this ruined our stay and I would come back to Valentin Maya in a heartbeat. For the price it is an excellent value.

- chi-siamo, documenti, universita, link, contatti, agenda, maggio-2011, giugno-2011, luglio-2011, news, guide, campania, lazio, toscana, erasmus, interviste, libri, testimonianze-erasmus, consigli-erasmus, sondaggi, europa, studiare, viaggiare-europa, lavorare-europa, tempo-libero, musica, cucina-internazionale-tempo-libero, video, 2013/05/01/intervista-a-isabella-ricco-autrice-di-erasmus-istruzioni-per-luso, consigli-erasmus,

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Destination Weddings-What You Need To Know About Legal Requirements

Ah, the romantic notion of a destination wedding in a villa in Italy. Or standing barefoot on a beautiful beach in Mexico, Jamaica or any other Caribbean Island. Maybe you've dreamt of being married while on a cruise.

All these scenarios are possible and can save quite a bit if money versus a wedding in your hometown. With all the planning that goes into a destination wedding, one thing the bride and groom need to keep in mind are the legal requirements for a marriage by non-citizens in foreign countries.

In every location outside the United States or a U.S. territory, a passport is required (and some require a tourist card which you usually get on the airplane), certified birth certificates may be needed, and if the bride or groom have been married before,certified copies of a divorce decree which may need to be translated into the native language of the country you are marrying in or a certified death certificate is one party has a deceased spouse. Other documents can be required as well. And these requirements will add to the cost of your wedding. You will also need witnesses with the number

Mexico's legal requirements are some of the most stringent. In addition to the above, the wedding couple must arrive in Mexico three to four days before their wedding ceremony as there is a waiting period depending in the state you are marrying in. You also may be asked for a certified copy of birth certificates that have also been translated into Spanish. The legal ceremony also must be performed in  a local registrars office in Mexico to be recognized as legal in the U.S.  You will receive a Marriage Certificate that you must paybto have translated into English to bring to your City Hall to have your marriage registered. Mexico also requires a Health Certificate with blood tests that are generally done at your resort with results usually in 24 hours. Again, additional costs for these.

As if this isn't enough, the United States Department of State requires that all weddings performed in Mexico have what is called an Apostille Seal. Most wedding Coordinators on site in these countries can arrange this for you but there are additional costs.

Other Caribbean countries do not have these requirements. In St. Lucia, for instance you must arrive four days before your wedding with passports, birth certificates and divorce decrees or death certificates if married before.

European Countries have their own requirements. In Italy, for instance, the United States website states these needs:

1. U.S. passport or, if a member of the Armed Forces, identification card;
2. Birth certificate (certified copy), which shows the names of both parents;
3. Evidence of termination of any previous marriage (final divorce or annulment decree or death certificate);
4. Sworn statement of consent to the marriage by the parents or legal guardian if the American citizen is under 18;
5. A declaration (atto notorio) , sworn to by four (4) witnesses before either an Italian consular officer in the United States or, in Italy, at a Pretura or before a mayor or town clerk, stating that according to the laws to which the citizen is subject in the United States there is no obstacle to his or her marriage. Any American going to Italy to be married is urged to obtain this declaration before leaving the United States as it may be much easier to find four witnesses who know him or her sufficiently well to make such a declaration in the United States rather than in Italy.
6. A declaration, sworn to by the U.S. citizen before a U.S. Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Italy, stating that according to the laws to which the citizen is subject in the United States there is no obstacle to his or her marriage. Evidence of U.S. citizenship (passport, naturalization certificate, birth certificate showing birth in the United States) must be shown to the U.S. Consular Officer at the time of making this declaration. U.S. military personnel must also present final approval of his/her commanding officer for the marriage. Presentation of this declaration allows Italian authorities to reduce from three weeks to approximately four days the time you must wait before being granted a marriage license.

Confused? This is why a travel agent an be your friend when booking a destination wedding. We can help sort through all the requirements so you understand exactly what you need to get married out of the U.S. We specialize in destination weddings and honeymoons. Call us at 516-608-0568 to book the destination wedding or honeymoon of your dreams.
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Hotel Review - Radisson Aruba Hotel and Spa

Set on beautiful Palm Beach, the Radisson Aruba is a good choice for a stay on the beautiful island of Aruba. A 20 minute ride from the airport, the hotel is located smack in the middle of the high rise hotel zone on Palm Beach.

My check in was quick and I was lucky enough to find a bellman who took my bags to my room, since I was in the Curacao tower, the furthest away from the lobby and down a flight of steps. Some others that were part of my group complained that check in took 25 minutes and that they were merely directed to the general area of the tower and there was no one to assist with luggage.

My room, 3609, was on the 6th floor (highest floor). There were two double beds, a good sized desk, a cabinets with a t.v. and a refrigerator (empty) and an upholstered chair. The bathroom had an ample counter but only one sink, with a tub/shower combination. There were plenty of vanity supplies - shampoo,conditioner, soap, body wash, a vanity kit, shower cap. and shoe buff. The tub was difficult to get in - it was one of those surrounds with a high side to step over.  Thankfully there were grab bars.

There were two bottles of water which were replenished daily at no charge.  There are two pools - both zero entry, one closer to the Barbados Tower and one close to Gilligans restaurant and was the activity pool.  There is a beautiful beach with plenty of lounge chairs but most are directly in the sun - there are very few that have any shade. Bring sunscreen!

There are cabanas by the pool and beach that can be rented by the day. The price range from $15 per day to $25 depending on where the cabana is located, beachside or poolside.  Those who rent get a fruit basket. To rent a cabin, guests must line up daily at 4 PM at the pool cabana where beach towels are handed out.  We saw lines begin about 3:30.  Cabins can be rented for multiple days - the renters names are written on a sign on the front of the cabana each day.

There are several restaurants on property. Gilligan serves lunch and dinner. Sandwich and salads start at about $14, entrees a bit more. The Sunset Grill, rated the best international restaurant on the island, is located here.  Prices are higher than you would find back home (my lunch consisting of a grilled chicken salad and iced tea cost $21 with tax and mandatory gratuity). The next day I realized I could have simply walked across the street and eaten for less than half the price.

There is a nice walkway at the back of the hotel where you can walk all the way down the beach either way with. The hotel is also ideally located right across the street from many shops and restaurants, making it unnecessary to eat at the hotel if you don't want to. There is also lots of shopping across the street as well.

Our room was clean and the beds were comfortable. You cannot turn the air conditioning down less than 65 degrees, and the air goes on and off constantly to maintain the temperature so if you are a light sleep you may hear it at night.

There is a casino on site which opens at 12 noon for slots -table games begin  later in the day.

There is free wi-fi but it is spotty. We had low reception in our room and I often had to go to the front desk area to get a good signal to use the phone. There is a very nice spa on site for a relaxing massage or skin treatment.

There are planned activities during the day and things going on at night. On Tuesdays there is a fire show, which we missed because we were away from the hotel that night.  (Free to those on property, tickets for sale for those not staying on property.)

One of the best features of the hotel is it's location. Right across the street are restaurants, shops and a night time market. There is a shopping mall with a movie theater within walking distance. If you walk along the beachfront, there are a myriad of restaurants, shops  and activities. The best find is a little coffee place called The Bread Basket, located between the Radisson and the Occidental Resort next door.  They serve gourmet coffee, pancakes and breakfast sandwiches on a beachside setting.

Check out in the early morning was a snap.  There were no lines, I just had to stop and pay the taxes (which average 24% for the various island taxes).

The Radisson is a good choice for a moderately priced  hotel in a fabulous location.
There are very few all inclusive hotels in Aruba and honestly - an all inclusive is not a must. There are many well priced restaurants and if you want to have liquor in your room, you can pick up duty free liquor in the airport and keep it in your room. We loved Aruba and wouldn't hesitate to stay at the Radisson again.
2013/05/01/intervista-a-isabella-ricco-autrice-di-erasmus-istruzioni-per-luso, erasmus-istruzioni-uso-consigli-isabella-ricc, 2012/12/14/goodbye-mamma-le-book-per-chi-vuole-andare-all-ester, studiare-allestero-con-intercultura-iscrizioni-entro-il-10-novembre, concorso-su-facebook-per-celebrare-i-25-anni-di-erasmus, andrea-atzori-un-libro-per-raccontare-il-mio-erasmus-in-estonia, concorso-su-facebook-per-celebrare-i-25-anni-di-erasmus, 2011/01/12/universita-degli-studi-di-firenze-la-guida-di-europeme, 2009/03/06/seconda-universita-degli-studi-di-napoli-sun-la-guida-di-europeme, universita-degli-studi-di-cassino-la-guida-di-europeme, agenda, back-for-good, barcellona, bologna, borse-di-studio, concerti, concorsi, consigli-erasmus, cultura, davide-faraldi, erasmus, esn, esperienze-erasmus, eurogeneration, europa, europeme, firenze, generazione-erasmus,

Friday, November 1, 2013

Let Me Tell You About....Aruba

When travelers ask us  where they can travel to that is tropical and safe, my usual answer is Aruba and with good reason.  In our opinion, Aruba is as American as you can get in a tropical island – in fact it is sometimes called “Arizona in the Caribbean”.  English is spoken, driving is on the same side of the road as in the States, the U.S. dollar is freely  accepted, there is very little crime and most of all - the people are lovely. Did you know their unemployment rate is less than 1%?

Outside the hurricane belt, the weather in Aruba is hot with very little rain but can be humid. It makes an ideal location for Destination Weddings.  The beaches are plentiful with soft white sand and azure blue water.  Temperatures average   84  degrees   year round with trade winds all day and night.  (Don't spend too much time getting your hair done!)  Make sure you bring a hat and use sunblock – the sun is very hot and you can easily burn.

But it is an island of beauty. From the most beautiful beaches  on the South and Western sides of the islands to the harshest and rockiest on the north east side, there are plenty of activities for everyone.  Swim in the bluest water with the most amazing sunsets. Snorkel, scuba dive, snuba dive, hike, walk, run a marathon, see the old goldmine and caves, go 4 wheel driving  or hike to the lighthouse (and a wonderful restaurant.)

The island measures approximately 19 miles long by 6 miles wide with, as our bus driver explained , “12 traffic lights with only six working”.  The island is located below the hurricane belt and has a dry climate with very little rain. The south and west part of the island houses the capital, Oranjestad and miles of beautiful beaches.

On the northeast coast, along the windward shore, you’ll see the island’s fofoti trees. The constant trade winds have permanently bent them.

There is little need for an all inclusive resort stay in Aruba. There are more than 200  restaurants in all price ranges and you can purchase duty free liquor in the airport and leave it in your room. From 4 star restaurants to Wendy’s, there is something for everyone.

There are two main hotel zones – besides downtown Orangestad where you can stay near the airport, most hotels are located at either Eagle Beach (low rises) or Palm Beach (high rises). There are more restaurants within walking distance of hotels in the Palm Beach area than in the Eagle Beach area.

Some hotels in the low rise area are Bucuti and Tara Suites, Amsterdam Manor,   several Divi Resorts, and MVC Eagle Beach. In the high rise Palm Beach area, you’ll find Hyatt, Marriott, Radisson, Occidental, Riu and the newest hotel, the Ritz Carlton.

While you may never get tired of swimming at the amazing beaches  there are plenty of activities on the island. Arikok  National Park is a great place to spend a day. In the interior of the island, Arikok is similar to areas in Arizona, a desert like area full of neat rock formations and lots of cacti.  You’ll also find some of Aruba’s most amazing views, as the ocean crashes against the rugged shoreline below and natural bridges and caves can be found.  It is easy to get around by car, has amazing formations  made of lava, quartz diorite and limestone and many animals that are indigenous to the island. There are three caves and while the beaches are too rough to swim, there is a natural pool to take a dip in. You can go horseback riding, ride ATV’s  or motorcycles here as well.

Did you know that gold was once mined in Aruba? You can explore the ruins of two mines and go to Wishing Rock Beach to make your own wishes and rock formations.

For a destination wedding, nothing beats Aruba and you don’t have to do a cookie cutter wedding at a resort. We have several independent wedding planners who can make your dream wedding come true. Imagine a wedding on Eagle Beach and then watching a brilliant sunset with your new spouse and your guests.  Or have a beautiful wedding at one of the popular resorts, where you’ll be able to enjoy fabulous food and drink on the beach. How about a reception on a catamaran at sundown? We can make that happen for you too.  One thing you likely will not have to worry about is getting rained on.  Aruba averages only about 16” of rain per year, mostly in November and December.  If it rains it is usually a very short shower that washes over the island in a few minutes.

Are you ready to go? We are ready to plan the perfect trip for you. Call us and check our Pinterest pictures to see actual hotel pictures.
Call us at 516-608-0568.

All photos copyright of Promal Vacations May not be used without express permission.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guided Vacations - Value At It's Best

For years when thinking about visiting Ireland, I imagined renting a car and doing a self drive vacation.  I loved the romantic idea of driving and discovering out of the way places, great restaurants and not having to be at a  certain place at a certain time.

A representative from one of my favorite suppliers of vacations to Ireland suggested taking a short tour and then renting a car for a few days on my own. Her thoughts were that we'd be able to hit the Irish hightlights  on the tour and by the time we picked up our car at the end, we'd have a good idea of how to drive in the country and would have enough time to explore on our own.

The reality? I was sorry we didn't go on a a longer tour. Aside from the fact  we knew we wanted to go to a few places such as Westport and Connemara that tours didn't traditionally go to, driving in Ireland was the most tension filled three days I've spent anywhere in my life.  And we missed Liam, our tour guide, who knew anything and everything about every area we traveled through by bus. Our one true discovery was the lovely town of Ennis, when I needed to get off the highway quickly to find a bathroom and we wandered into this quaint town.

Our next tour in Europe, Asia or anywhere else on another continent will be a guided tour. It is truly a pleasure not to have to worry about how to get from the airport to the hotel, where to eat, what to see and the history behind places we visit.

The value of a guided tour is far better than booking all the components individually. The right tour company takes care of everything - transfers, hotels, meals, museum entrances and guides who tell you the history of the areas you are traveling through.All for one price.  One of the best features -  no dragging your luggage from hotel to hotel. On our tour, we simply put our bags outside the room the day we were moving on to another hotel and the tour company took them to the bus,  delivering them to our room at the next hotel.

On a tour or guided vacation, the organizing and scheduling is done for you - all you need to do is be at the bus, boat, train or meeting place at a scheduled time and you are off on your adventure.  When you are visiting a country where English is not the native language, your tour guide that speaks English also makes traveling a lot easier - we've even had tour guides bargain for us when shopping to get the best value!

On a tour you will likely experience true life adventures that you would not be able to do on your own. On one guided tour to Peru, you'll be taken to the private home of a family in Lima and enjoy a home cooked traditional meal. You might be taken to a school to visit and see how children are taught or you might be taken to a center where you  see artisans at work. In Ireland we were taken to a farm where we saw Sheepdog Trials and learned how the dogs are trained to move sheep from place to place. (I had dreaded this stop but it was one of my favorites on the tour - I was amazed at how smart the dogs are and how they can turn the herd by a simple whistle from the farmer).

Another big plus is that you usually will "skip the line" on many tours - the guides already have your entry tickets and go right to the head of the line into attractions. While visiting the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum in Rome, that eliminates hours of lines.

You'll enjoy the company of travelers with similar tastes. You won't have to worry about how you'll get from place to place - just jump on your bus or train and relax with your guide pointing out the history of every landmark you'll be passing.

Your tour company takes the stress out of finding hotels - they have contracts with many hotels and stick with hotels they receive good feedback on. That translates into lower prices for you, as these tour companies better pricing than you could obtain on your own.

There are guided vacations for almost every type of travel you might want.  Want to see two or three countries one one visit? There are tours for that.  Would you prefer to spend six days in Rome to see all there is? There are tours for that. You also don't have to worry about a frenetic pace - most guided vacations allow you enough free time to explore and enjoy the area on your own, too. In Killarney, we had a tour that brought us back to the hotel at about 2 PM and we were free to explore the rest of the afternoon and evening.

A guided vacation take the guesswork and stress out of your entire trip and will save you money over booking each component by itself.  The biggest issue you'll  face is determining which of the myriad of tours available is the perfect one for you.  We can help! Call us - 516-608-0568.