4 Reasons You Should Still Travel to the Caribbean

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Hurricanes Irma and Maria attacked the Caribbean as if it was their mission this September, leaving billions of dollars of damage in their wake. Reports say that Barbuda (sister island of Antigua) is no longer inhabitable, and a tragic news story about Puerto Rico comes out every day.

And, let’s not forget about St. Maarten and Dominica, where as much as 90 percent of the islands were destroyed.

While all the bad news may make you wonder if the Caribbean is worth visiting, it’s important to note that there are still plenty of reasons to visit the selection of islands that make up this part of the world. Before you eschew the Caribbean and book elsewhere, consider these reasons to visit anyway:

Plenty of Islands Are Outside the Hurricane Belt

If you’ve been dreaming of visiting the Caribbean but are worried about running into damage that might ruin your trip, keep in mind that plenty of Caribbean islands are outside the hurricane belt—and that many didn’t encounter a hurricane at all.

Barbados, Curacao, Grenada and many other islands aren’t anywhere near the typical hurricane zone. Many others like Jamaica and Grand Cayman saw no damage at all while some resort destinations like the Dominican Republic and St. Kitts/Nevis saw only a passing blow.

Damaged Islands Need Your Money and Help

Since many Caribbean islands rely on tourism as their main source of income, actually visiting an impacted island is one of the best ways you can help.

By spending your money at hotels and restaurants, you’re putting cash right into the hands of people who can desperately use it.

 

Many Damaged Islands Are Already Back Up and Running

Some islands that noted damage were able to turn around and reopen to tourists rather fast.

Antigua, for example, is mostly open and just as beautiful as ever, its CEO of the local tourism board told The Telegraph. Anguilla appears to be on its way back in business, and the islands that make up the Bahamas are mostly back up and running as usual.

The Caribbean Offers Any Travel Experience You Could Want

You could fly to Europe to experience Dutch, French or British culture, but several islands in the Caribbean offer European flair—and often food—since they are colonies of larger countries across the pond.

Visit Curacao for a taste of Dutch delicacies like bitterballen and stroopwafels, for example.

And, don’t forget that the Caribbean is more than just beautiful beaches. The islands boast mountains you can climb, amazing snorkeling, plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and amazing foodie experiences featuring local ingredients like seafood and spices.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria may have battered part of the Caribbean, but the islands still have plenty to offer visitors. Whether you love seafood or snorkeling or giant stretches of white sand beach, you can still find it in the Caribbean.

And right now, they need you more than ever.

Let Our Group Handle Your Group Travel Needs

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Whether you are planning a corporate meeting or incentive trip, a destination wedding, family reunion, bachelor party or girls’ getaway weekend, our Group Specialists can customize a deluxe itinerary including flights from multiple departure cities, transfers, tours and activities. Add our deluxe hotels and tours to a pre- or post-cruise itinerary in many port cities.

We offer a variety of hotels, condos, all-inclusive resorts, villas and homes at some of the world’s finest destinations. We can also book tours for groups who are doing a pre- or post-cruise in one of our destinations, or in conjunction with one of our specialty products, like Paul Gauguin, Blue Lagoon, and Mooring Yachts in the Caribbean and Mexico, Endless Blue Yachts in the Mediterranean, and Orion Adventures Down Under. The options are endless.

 

Our Group Packages Offers These Important Advantages:

  • Customized group packages that deliver the best values and itineraries designed to meet your exact needs.
  • Expert recommendations for hotels and resorts that cater especially to group travel.
  • Travel insurance for cancellation protection.
  • Customer Service assistance throughout your entire trip.
  • A dedicated team of Group Specialists to ensure a seamless process, from the initial quote through post-trip.
  • Beautiful documents for each party (electronic documents are also available)
  • Rooming lists and accounting spreadsheets

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Welcome to United Vacations

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Elite Travel Consulting Now Features United Vacations

Your vacation memories start here
United Vacations combines the best fares on United with everything you need to create the vacation experience you’ve dreamed of. With over 50,000 resorts and 10,000 activities in over 400 destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East, the world is in your hands. When you vacation with us, you can earn MileagePlus® bonus award miles in addition to credited flight miles.

The experience that’s right for you
Make your vacation special with our recommended selections for all-inclusive, family, and luxury vacations, as well as honeymoons. United Vacations also offers getaways tailored to ski and dive enthusiasts and escorted or independent tours. Enhance your experience by choosing United First® and United Business® airfares. If you are traveling with family and friends, Groups Your Way offers flexible options to easily book your vacation together. Every United Vacations package also comes with our Best price guarantee and easy payment options.

Caring service from beginning to end
We care about your vacation and will be there for you from beginning to end. Our Customer Care team can support you with any questions during your booking process and is available 24/7 during your vacation. We go out of our way to notify you of schedule changes or major events that could impact your trip. For the ultimate peace of mind, you can purchase Vacation protection that lets you cancel for any reason before you go. It also comes with price protection and during-travel insurance including 24-hour worldwide emergency travel assistance, baggage protection, trip interruption/delay reimbursement, medical coverage, and more.  Learn more about United Vacations or plan and book your vacation today!

Elite Travel Consulting Re-Brands Honeymoon Registry

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Elite Travel Consulting recently re-branded its Honeymoon Registry Site. Formerly known as Dream Excursions Honeymoon Registry http://cmtravelonline.com), Elite Travel Consulting Honeymoon Registry can now be found at http://elitetravelconsulting.honeymoonwishes.com/. Elite Travel Consulting’s Honeymoon Registry is powered by Honeymoon Wishes, the World’s only Full Service Honeymoon Registry.

Elite Travel Consulting’s Honeymoon Registry give wedding couples a way to register their entire honeymoon online. It works just like a wedding registry – the wedding couple wants to have parts of their honeymoon experience as wedding gifts. Instead of buying them a crock-pot you can choose a “Sunset Cruise” or instead of a toaster oven, you can give them part of their “Nights Stay on the honeymoon.” The wedding couple has listed their ‘honeymoon Wishes’ and costs of each experience for their friends and family to purchase as a wedding gift.

For Newly Weds;
You’ve found the place for the perfect honeymoon or wedding spot! Browse through our honeymoon registry for suggestions on all the wonderful items your friends and family can give you as a wedding gift. Design your custom wedding registry from ideas we’ve showcased or include your personalized honeymoon wishes. Create a stunning honeymoon registry and wedding website ~ you’ll be on your way to the honeymoon of your dreams.  Please call us at 1-888-898-3628 to learn more about our Honeymoon Registry our visit our site today.    Thank You!

Amazing Thailand Romance Travel Guide

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Just because you didn’t steal Sean Lowe’s heart on this season of The Bachelor doesn’t mean you can’t plan an adventurous and refreshing Thai vacation!

Whether you’re a fan of ABC’s The Bachelor or just a fan of Thailand, Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Travel Guide Northern Edition makes it easy for you to plan the vacation of a lifetime.

This season on The Bachelor, Sean Lowe took the final-three ladies to Thailand’s Trang province, then made his final decision in picturesque Chiang Rai. While looking for love, the women and Sean experienced many facets of Thai culture and enjoyed Thailand’s beautiful scenery. Our first travel guide for southern Thailand takes you through the Trang province and nearby areas, ensuring you have enough recommendations for a fun-filled vacation.

“Chiang Rai is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It’s really an amazing place and I really built a lifetime of memories in those few days.”
– Sean Lowe, The Bachelor

In the second guide of the two-part series, our northern Thailand journey recommendations take you through Chiang Rai, the first capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom, highlighting must-see activities, as well as some exciting hidden treasures not featured on The Bachelor.
The Bachelor Travel Guide: Thailand

Sean’s first date of the episode with Lindsay started with a relaxing ride down the sacred Mekong River, bubbly in hand. But, a river float isn’t the only way to explore the Golden Triangle, kayaking and mountain biking tours will help you explore the beautiful terrain as well.

Nestled throughout the region you’ll find settlements of Thailand’s ancient hill tribes living much the way they have for hundreds of years.
If you want to learn more about Chiang Rai’s fascinating hill tribes, the best way to do it is to immerse yourself in their culture.

These Thai hill tribes migrated to the thick forests and mountains of Chiang Rai centuries ago. Typical trek itineraries visit Akha, Karen, Lisu and Lahu tribe villages. The Akha Hill House is a particular favorite trekking group, beloved for its affordability and friendly staff.

As their date drew to a close, Sean and Lindsay released paper lanterns into the sky with wishes for “love, happiness and family” written on them. Casting off paper lanterns is a famous Thai tradition, meant to bring good luck.

If you’re the kind of traveler who enjoys planning visits around festivals and events, Thailand’s Loi Krathong festival should be on your bucket list! Known by many as the festival of lights, this festival symbolizes good fortune for the year to come. In 2013, it’s scheduled for early November.

On the season’s final date, Sean and Catherine enjoyed an Elephant trek at Anantara’s Elephant Camp.

The Anantara Golden Triangle offers many options for those looking to learn more about these majestic animals, while supporting the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation’s mission to create an abuse free world for all elephants.

If you prefer the view from the ground, the Anantara Golden Triangle elephant camp has other activities for you, including a ‘forest living skills’ trek that teaches participants about edible plants and natural remedies.

As the final episode of The Bachelor drew to a close, Sean had an important decision to make. He couldn’t have picked a better place to propose to his future wife than picturesque Pa Sak Tong. This lush, tropical hotel defines Thai luxury.

Leading up to the big night, The Bachelor’s finalists stayed at the Anantara Golden Triangle’s lavish suites. If you want to recreate their experience for yourself, check out the travel packages on Book Thailand Now.

Sean, Catherine and Lindsay saw many of Chiang Rai’s beautiful sights, but missed the chance to visit the city’s gorgeous temples. If you can’t get enough of ancient Thai history and appreciate amazing architecture, these locations are a must-visit:

White TempleWhile most Chiang Rai temples are rich in history, the stunning and popular Wat Rong Khun was recently built in 2008. This temple’s gleaming white architecture earned it the nickname, The White Temple.

Find your center at Chiang Rai’s most revered Buddhist temple, Wat Phra Kaew, originally called Wat Pa Yia. Legend is that lighting struck this temple’s octagonal chedi in 1434, causing it to split open and reveal the Emerald Buddha. Now this religious artifact is housed in a Bangkok temple bearing the same name.
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Many people journey to Chiang Rai to visit the White Temple, but they forget to visit its brother, the Black Temple. Created by Thai artist, Thawan Duchanee this temple is quite an architectural feat. The temple is made of 40 small black houses constructed from different materials, from concrete to glass.

Looking for a more adventurous Chiang Rai trip than The Bachelor finalists had? Head to Boomerang National Park where couples and friends can rock climb, zip line and explore caves together.

Phu Chi Fa SunriseOn the hunt for a more scenic view? Phu Chi Fa is known for its cool climate, sea of fog and variety of wildlife species. The Bachelor’s Sean even photographed this breathtaking view for his blog. It’s the perfect place to take in a sunrise with your love.

After an event-filled day of trekking in Chiang Rai’s jungle or mountains, relax at one of the “best spas in the world.” We recommend indulging in one of the great natural treatments offered.

And, if you’re more of a beach bum than an adventurer, don’t worry. Chiang Rai isn’t known for its beaches, but the park bordering the Mekong River comes close. Bring a picnic, kick back and enjoy the breathtaking views.

Whether you spend the day trekking through the jungle, relaxing in a park or floating down the Mekong, Chiang Rai’s night bazaar, located off of Phaholyothin Road, is the perfect place to take an evening stroll. Shop for souvenirs while feasting on Thai delicacies or take in one of their notorious free dance shows.

If our travel recommendations have you inspired to visit Thailand and you need help planning your trip, tourismthailand.org/us has all the information you need to plan a dream vacation, and our southern Thailand travel guide makes it easy to pinpoint activities to make your vacation throughout Thailand worth remembering.

On a budget? Don’t worry, our partner deals on Book Thailand Now can get you to Thailand without breaking the bank.

If you’re returning from a trip to Thailand, we want to hear about your experience! Find us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us about your Thai adventures.

For more information or to book your Thailand vacation with one of our elite specialists please call 757-240-6645.

Love is an adventure on our Romantic Routes

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Cupid has drawn back her bow and it’s heading straight to you with lots of Romantic Routes from Island Routes Adventures. 14th February is around the corner and while chocolates and champagne is always appreciated; adding adventure to the Valentine’s Day agenda creates an unforgettable experience of love.

Island Routes Northern Site Buggy Adventure

Let yourself explore the extent of your love on a two hour guided tour of St. Lucia’s rugged but picturesque Northern coastline in the Island Buggies Northern Adventure or on a six-hour guided tour that takes you from the North of the Island all the way to the Western Town of Soufriere to see its fascinating and famous features up close on the Island Buggies Soufriere Safari in St. Lucia.  You can take the wheel and take charge of your adventure while being ensconced in the unparalleled beauty of St. Lucia.

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Dune Buggy Safari

Or you can choose to get down and dirty with the Dune Buggy Safari adventure in Jamaica or on the Couples ATV Ride in Antigua. Both adventures offer you a trip to the islands’ lush and natural hinterlands where you can enjoy the dirt tracks, animal trails, scenic vistas and each other with very little distraction.  In Antigua these trails take you through old cane roads, rural lands and the historical Monks Hill. In Jamaica, this journey gives you glimpses of the verdant countryside and amazing coastline.

Luxury Transfer Packages, Jamaica

Whether you are just beginning or just ending your journey; a luxury private car transfer adds that extra special touch of romance. After all, what more can a girl or guy ask for than to be given the royal treatment on Valentine’s Day? Imagine being fast tracked through immigration and customs so that your holiday can start without delay, being whisked away by your personal butler-trained chauffeur in a full catered Audi A6 that takes you right to the lobby of your hotel. On the other hand if your are heading home; You can seal your vacation memories with a stamp of love by departing in style via our Luxury VIP Transfers. Not only will you arrive at the airport relaxed and refreshed but you can also have the luxury of awaiting your flight in the VIP Lounge.  For a bit extra, you can also customize your experience to suit your needs. Should champagne, chocolates or roses be needed, Island Routes will be happy to oblige.

Private Castaway Getaway

One of the best things about being in the Bahamas is that there are so many islands on which to play.  If you are there on this special day, decide to be a castaway. Island Routes Private Castaway Getaway is the perfect opportunity for you to live that Robin Crusoe dream with the one you love.  On our Private Castaway Getaway being deserted bad at all as it comes with a packed gourmet picnic basket, beach chairs, beach umbrella and perfect company.

Catamaran Cruises

Island Routes is the number one stop for choice catamaran cruises of the Caribbean. Our custom built Catamarans in Jamaica offer a uniquely luxurious experience on the Caribbean Seas that comes complete with an all-inclusive bar, appetizers and a dedicated D.J. You will want to have the experience of rocking to the rhythm of love on the Island Routes Lover’s Rock Catamaran Cruise especially for Valentine’s and so we are offering a buy one get one free deal on the Lover’s Rock Catamaran Cruise.

Evening Party Cruises

Not in Jamaica?  You can still toast to and cherish magical catamaran memories on the Evening Party Cruise or the Lovers Rock Sunset cruise in Saint Lucia, the Twilight Sunset Catamaran Cruise in Turks & Caicos or the Sunset Cruise, Antigua.

Heritage Horseback Beach Ride

Fancy a Heritage Horseback Beach Ride with your honey? We thought that you would too.  This adventure takes your clients on a fascinating trip through the annals of Jamaica’s history and then back to the present with a splash and plunge onto the Caribbean Sea on horseback. Original and fun and makes for great Jamaican vacation memories.

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Top Ten Reasons to Care About Tourism Cares

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First of all, I’d like to wish you, your friends, family and colleagues Happy Holidays!  We have much to be thankful for this year, and to those who have given so much back to our communities around the country – especially Tourism Cares.  Because of your past support, Tourism Cares been able to reach some incredible milestones this year-since the formation of Tourism Cares They have awarded more than $2 million in scholarships, organized more than 3,600 volunteers in give-back projects and awarded 180 grantees around the world with much-needed funding.

I’m reaching out today with a special request for your support in helping Tourism Cares‘ year-end campaign to help them achieve the best year yet-2013.  Below are the Top 10 reasons to give a personal, charitable gift to Tourism Cares by December 31, 2012. 

 

#1 Sarah Andrews and other hundreds of potential interns working with Tourism Cares to create a foothold in our industry through InternInTourism.org.

#2 Coney Island in New York City that needs our volunteers to help paint playground benches, light posts, water fountains and trash receptacles to preserve the travel experience for future visitors.  

#3 Helping historic sites such as Honduras for Ancient Ruins of Copan who need their assistance for educational and capital projects.

#4 Laurie Gray and other many other young professionals who utilize Tourism Cares‘ student mentoring program to benefit such as building a business contact base, learning best practices and securing employment.

#5 Jamaica Bay in New York City that needs Tourism cares to orchestrate volunteers to participate in dune preservation and beach clean-up project at Fort Tilden Beach.  

#6 Global Outreach to Peru to provide the Tourism Cares model of volunteering, grants and educational initiatives to spread the mission of preserving the travel experience for the future worldwide.

#7  Norman Rockwell Museum and other cultural sites that request funding each year for a variety of projects in order to sustain themselves for future visitors.

#8  Samantha Hogenson and other students like her who require scholarships to continue their undergraduate and graduate degrees in travel, tourism and hospitality.

#9  Plimoth Plantation that need Tourism Cares to organize volunteers to restore the palisade around the village, clear brush, remove invasive plants, rebuild stairs, and paint interior buildings as well as the replica Mayflower II.

#10  Natural sites like Glacier National Park that apply to Tourism Cares each year for funding assistance to preserve the beauty we enjoy today for the future.

 Whether your gift is $10, $100, $1,000 or more it will directly benefit treasured sites in need.  It’s easy.  Just go to Tourism Cares’ website at www.tourismcares.org/donate to contribute your donation today.

Thank you very much!  Again, Happy Holidays to you, your friends and family, and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!

 

Questions & Answers About Hurricanes & Travel Insurance

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Q. How can travel insurance cover my vacation investment in the event of a hurricane or other unforeseen severe weather?
A. In the event of a covered hurricane or other unforeseen severe weather, travel insurance provides coverage under the Trip Cancellation and Interruption benefit. If your trip is cancelled for a covered reason, we will refund the pre-paid, forfeited, non-refundable trip costs trip up to the limit of coverage.

Q. If a hurricane watch or warning is issued that may impact my travel plans, up to what point can I still purchase travel insurance?
A. Insurance must be purchased 24 hours prior to when the hurricane has been named. Once the hurricane has been named, Trip Cancellation and Interruption losses resulting from the hurricane are excluded from the coverage of the policy.

Q. If the resort that I will be staying at next week is damaged in a storm before my scheduled departure, can I cancel my trip and be reimbursed for my non-refundable costs?
A. If the resort is damaged and cannot accommodate you (or provide comparable accommodations), your nonrefundable costs will be reimbursed.

Q. I’m worried that a predicted storm’s path will be too near to the location of my upcoming insured vacation; can I cancel for a refund?
A. If the storm directly affects your travel arrangements or accommodations, you are entitled to Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption benefits. For example: an airport is closed due to the high winds; you are forced to evacuate your hotel/resort; the road you are traveling is impassable due to high water. On the other hand, if you choose to cancel a trip based on what you think might happen — and not because the inclement weather has directly affected your travel arrangements — that would be considered a matter of choice — not a direct loss to your arrangements.

Q. If my airport is closed due to a hurricane or other weather event, and my vacation is delayed, will I be reimbursed?
A. Yes, travel insurance will cover the expenses incurred if your trip is delayed and will cover reasonable, additional accommodations and travel expenses until travel becomes possible.

Turkey Moves Up in Tourism Ranks

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Turkey is the only country in the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) list that moved up among the top ten rankings from seventh to sixth place in 2011.

The UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

Each year it publishes the “Tourism Highlights Edition” and in the 2012 edition,Turkey was the only country able to move up in the top ten rankings.

In 2010 Turkey registered in seventh spot, but was able to creep up a notch in 2011 to sixth place with 29.3 million visiting tourists. Turkey was able to supersede England on the list and ranked twelfth in terms of tourism receipts. While England ranked one spot behind Turkey in tourist arrivals in seventh place, it also came in seventh in terms of receipts.

Summer in Turkey

“We are working night and  day to reach our [tourism] targets,” said Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay.

France continues to lead the ranking of international tourist arrivals (79 million), and ranks third in receipts ($54 billion), while the United States ranks first in receipts ($116 billion) and second in arrivals (62 million).

Spain is still the second largest earner worldwide and the first in Europe ($60 billion), while ranking fourth in the world by arrivals (57 million).

China continues to rank third in arrivals (58 million) and fourth in receipts ($48 billion), while Italy remains in fifth place in both arrivals (46 million) and receipts ($43 billion).

Germany continues to rank eighth in tourist arrivals and sixth in receipts, while Malaysia is ninth and fourteenth respectively. Australia, Macao (China), and Hong Kong (China) complete the top ten ranking by receipts in eighth, ninth and tenth place respectively, while Mexico closes the top ten by arrivals in tenth position, according to the report

For More information or to book now, please call 757-240-6645