Choosing a Date for a Destination Wedding

There are so many things to think about when planning a destination wedding. One important thing is selecting the date of your BIG day.

Here are a few things to consider when selecting your date:

  • What days of the week can guests fly to the destination easiest?
  • The day of the week for you wedding day. There may only be a non stop flight option on Saturday so that may not be the best day so consider Monday so your guests have a sometime to settle in, relax and get to know the resort.
  • Family birthdates and anniversaries
  • The proximately to holidays
  • High travel times to the destination you have selected
  • If you are inviting children think about school breaks
  • Consider your anniversary date – Are numbers important to you? I personally choose 11/11 so my husband wouldn’t forget. My parents got married on dad’s b-day … my mom always says it’s so he will never forget, LOL

Let’s find the perfect date and start planning your Destination Wedding!

Start a Private Facebook Group for Your Destination Wedding.

Planning a Destination Wedding? A great way to communicate with all your guests is to create a private Facebook Group. Be sure to include your travel agent in the group as well. This will allow them to share information on the trip and details on the wedding. A group like this offers a very personal touch with all your guests. 

A few reasons why a private Facebook group is a great tool for a Destination Wedding Group:

  • Facebook has become a primary communication tool so your guests will receive details faster.
  • Allows your travel agent to field questions about the trip
  • Gets your guests excited about the trip and most importantly … YOUR BIG DAY!
  • Post things about the trip & destination
    • Videos & photos about the resort
    • Destination facts & weather
    • Things to do
  • This is a great place to note all guest arrivals and departures
  • A good way for the group to connect prior to the trip
  • You can start planning a group excursion or dinner. Plus, you can poll your guests to see what they are interested in doing.
  • This is a great way for your guests to build a relationship with your travel agent and they will be more comfortable booking with the group

Now you can see the many reasons why this is a great tool. Let’s start planning your wedding and create that Facebook group.

Family Spring Break Planning Tips

The warm glow from a family vacation lasts long after you’ve returned home. With spring break just around the corner, here are some tips for planning a fun and memorable getaway with the kids.

First, decide what type of vacation you want to take. You’ll have lots of company if you’re traveling during a school vacation week, so start planning early and take advantage of the expertise provided by a travel advisor from Travel Leaders Group.

For example, if you’re thinking about Disney World, let your travel advisor book your stay at a Disney resort. It’ll give your family perks like the ability to get earlier access to the most popular rides. If a cruise is on your vacation bucket list, your travel advisor can help you decide which excursions to go on as a family, and which ones you may want to skip so that you can enjoy the ship at a time when there are fewer people onboard. Mexico and the Caribbean have excellent choices for all-inclusive resorts that offer amenities for the whole family, from kids’ clubs and waterparks to spas for the adults. Your travel advisor can help you explore all the options.

Once you’ve booked your trip, it’s time to get down to packing.

If you’re flying to your vacation, space in overhead bins is likely to be at a premium. Make sure that your luggage meets the airline’s size and weight restrictions for both carry-ons and checked baggage. Make color photocopies and digital copies of important travel documents, including your passport, the front and back of credit cards and health insurance information for you and your children. If you’re traveling internationally, bring a copy of your children’s immunization records. For safekeeping, pack all copies in a separate location from your identification.

The Transportation Security Administration allows each passenger one quart-sized bag of liquids and gels that are 3.4 ounces or smaller. But medications and certain items for children are an exception to the 3-ounce rule. Infant formula, breast milk and juices for infants and toddlers, as well as ice packs to keep them cool, are allowed through airport security checkpoints in higher, yet reasonable quantities. Just make sure you keep them separate from the items in your one-quart bag.

When traveling with young children, make sure they’re wearing comfortable clothing. If your child is young enough, consider giving him or her a ride to the security checkpoint and gate in a stroller. It’ll help keep them in tow and keep your stress level low.

Children age 12 and younger never have to remove their shoes or lightweight jackets at airport security, and they don’t need their own TSA Precheck boarding pass. They can go through the TSA Precheck with any qualified adult with whom they’re traveling. If you’re traveling outside the United States, children under 18 don’t need to get their own Global Entry, as long as they’re with a parent or legal guardian.

For help planning a family vacation, contact us today!

Favorite Attractions at Disney World for Kids 8-12 Years of Age

During my recent trip to Walt Disney this past September I found out how beneficial it is to purchase the Park Hopper Pass.

I got to experience so many rides during my stay that you won’t want to miss when you make your next visit.

Here are my top rides from each park for school age kids:

Magic Kingdom
In the Magic Kingdom I narrowed it down to 2 attractions. One is the climbing adventures of Swiss Family Robinson’s Treehouse. There is so much to hear and see every step you take. This is a self guided tour that takes you up to the crows nest! I can’t wait for you to experience the view! My other favorite ride in Magic Kingdom was the Pirates of the Caribbean. The calming boat ride takes you back in the day of pirates. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for all the different treasures along the way!

            

Animal Kingdom
While in Animal Kingdom I went straight to the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. Walking the trails to get to the ride was so eye catching it’s hard to concentrate on where you intended to go! The guides sure put on a show in case you miss all the animals right beside your jeep! Yup, we had 2 adult giraffes and a baby cross right in front of us. You won’t want to miss this exciting adventure!

            

 

Hollywood Studios
As I made my way to Hollywood Studios I was met by Star Troopers securing the premises! Surprise character visits can show up anywhere! As I looked ahead I saw this huge, colorful roller coaster. And there is was, the newest attraction, Slinky Dog Dash. This is such an exciting roller coaster you’ll want to get back in line to ride again! I highly recommend adding this ride to your Disney Experience!

         

Let’s set you up with a Park Hopper Pass … it’s time to head to Disney!

Kangaroo Island at its best

An added benefit of staying at Southern Ocean Lodge is that all excursions are included. It’s more like an all-inclusive luxury resort.

These are some of the tours we did:

  • Kangas and Kanapes. On this historic tour you will learn about the early island settlers at Grassdale, an island property that can be reached by a short drive from the lodge. There is plenty of local wildlife including kangaroos and wallabies that congregate to graze. It’s amazing to observe these creatures in their natural environment. During you trip you will sip on premium Southern Australian beverages and nibble on a canapé while enjoying the sunset
  • Seal Bay. Seal Bay is home to Australia’s third largest colony of Australian sea lions. You will join a naturalist guide for an exclusive tour on the beach with these wild animals. Hear about their unique breeding cycle and the ongoing research programs implemented on site. This is privilege unique to KI!
  • Wonders of KI. This half-day signature experience is a spectacular introduction to KI’s wildlife, maritime heritage and stunning coastal landscapes. The trip highlights include: visit Cape du Couedic lighthouse, a stop at Remarkable Rocks, a view from Admirals Arch and a fur seal colony encounter. What a wonder it was!
  • Koala Sanctuary. We also stopped at a Koala Sanctuary nearby to look for some Koalas in the trees. We spotted 3. It was really raining when we stopped so we didn’t stay too long to search for them. But there were a few!

                                

Merida from Brave is my Favorite Disney Princess!

Merida has become one of my favorite Disney Princesses! She’s passionate, feisty and so much more. Her fearlessness and adventurous spirit is just so inspiring to watch. Merida is not your typical princess when it comes to love as she has no desire to marry her prince charming and live happily ever after. She yearns for her freedom and she will do just about anything to gain it … like turning her mom into a bear.

Without saying too much, in case you haven’t seen the movie, Merida overcomes some head budding conflicts between her and her mother throughout the film. This is very symbolic to me, and a big inspiration to show that you can change; your expectations, your fate, your actions, your flaws, and still be you. Her character development throughout the film is by far one of my favorites of all the princesses.

If you haven’t seen Brave please add it to your watch list. 

Luxury Livin’ at Southern Ocean Lodge

Southern Ocean is an exquisite luxury lodge located on Kangaroo island. You can reach this lodge by plane from Adelaide or via a ferry ride. This is one of the most sought after places to stay in Australia and now I know why. We arrived very late in the day from Adelaide and were anxious to get to the resort. Upon landing in Kangaroo island, the resort had someone waiting at the airport to pick us up. The staff member at the airport knew who we were and were awaiting our arrival. As it was dark once we landed, we learned how alert and a driver/guide have to be on the roads on Kangaroo island. Those Wallabies, Kangaroos and Koala’s don’t always obey the animal crossing signs. LOL They can jump out in front of a car at night or even during the day. The training for these drivers and guides is intense as they have to learn to not be distracted while driving and always on the lookout for these cute animals. 😊  

      

We traveled there in the Winter so it was rainy season, but the lodge was still completely booked. Upon arrival at the resort, the Manager of the hotel was waiting for us and ready to welcome us. There is no standard check in desk, you are lead to the beautiful couch in front of the fire place to get all checked in. Once we were checked in, we mentioned we were starving from traveling all day. They kept the kitchen open a little later for us to be able to have something to eat so that we didn’t go hungry. So thoughtful and made a great first impression.

      

The dining at the lodge was superb some of the best I have divulged in my travel. There was everything from burgers to the gastronomic journey of Kangaroo Island. The menu changes daily and there are plenty of selections to please your palette. There is also complimentary FULL bar as well … and when I say full bar, I mean full bar. They had wine selections from all over Australia and endless beer varieties including local specialties. All beverages were self-serve. The rooms and common areas were focused on the outdoors and amazing surroundings. 

      

The rooms are absolutely breathtaking. Since we arrived in the dark, we were very anxious to see our view and the rest of the hotel once the sun came up. Trust me, it didn’t disappoint. 

       

The lodge is located on Hanson Bay on the southwest coast of the island. There are just 21 luxury suites with some of the most amazing views you will ever have the pleasure of experiencing. The best features of the room were the heated Floors, free Wi-Fi, walk in closet and a mini bar that is stocked daily 

      

When you’re ready for the ultimate luxury experience in Australia contact me and I will share more about this once in a lifetime experience and help you to plan your own personal journey.

Should We Honeymoon Right After the Wedding? Or Postpone a Few Months?

There are a lot of factors that can determine what’s right for you. The destination you are visiting … what’s the best time of year to visit? Is there better pricing certain times throughout the year? What will the weather be like? 

One good reason to travel immediately after your big day is to help relieve the stress. Planning a wedding can be very stressful and what better way to unwind then lying on the beach with a drink in your hand.  It’s also nice to spend some special time with your spouse immediately after your special day.

One reason you may need to postpone your honeymoon is to catch up with other responsibilities that you’ve been holding off on because you have been busy planning a wedding. This gives you some time to catch up at work and finish those house projects that you’ve put off. Plus, you may need some extra vacations time to extend that honeymoon a little longer.

My husband and I personally postponed our honeymoon. We were married in the summer in Minnesota so we wanted to wait until the cold and snow arrived to escape. We jetted off to Hawaii a few short months after we were married.

When you’re ready to plan this once in a lifetime trip let me help make your honeymoon dreams come true.

Romantic Vacation Planning Beyond the Honeymoon 

You never need a reason to take a vacation, but if you’re looking for one how about rekindling the romance. 

Celebrating an anniversary is a great reason to plan a romantic escape. You could runaway to a beach or escape for an adventure in Europe. You can find accommodations that will provide the perfect ambience for you and your sweetie to enjoy.  My husband and I personally jetted off to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate 20-years of marriage. We scheduled a spa day that was full of relaxation and it was well worth it!

Pregnant? … Why not plan a Babymoon? Children are fantastic, but we all know once they arrive they take up a lot of your time. Enjoy a final getaway before children takeover. But don’t worry there will be plenty of family vacations to look forward to with the little ones once you are ready to bring them along.

A couple’s retreat is a great way to rekindle the romance and getaway with a group of friends. Invite friends that shared your big day with you years ago. Be sure to plan adventures as a group … catamaran cruise, ATVs in the jungle or horseback riding on the beach. You must carve out some special time for you and your spouse … a candlelight dinner on the beach, a sunset cruise or maybe a spa day.

Whether it’s an anniversary trip, babymoon or couple’s retreat, I’d be happy to help plan your next romantic getaway!

The Magic Bands are Truly MAGIC!

Heading to Disney? If you have not yet tried out the Magic Bands I highly suggest that you get one for you next trip!

Your Magic Band has arrived … YAY! Just the packaging alone will get you pumped up for your trip. Now … what do you do with them?     

Here are just a few amazing ways you can use your Magic Band while on your Disney World vacation:

  • Disney’s Magical Express: On the way to catch your Disney Magical Express transfer from the Orlando airport to your resort have your Magic Band ready to pull out of your carry-on bag to put on so they can scan it to find out which resort you will be transferring to. The Magical Express area at the airport is on the bottom level and clearly marked so finding it is very easy!

  • Magical Express Check In: Checking in with the Disney cast members at the Magical Express desk. Easy as 1-2-3 . . . they scan your band, your reservation is displayed for them and they direct you to your Magical Express motor coach for your 1 hour transfer to Disney World.
  • Resort Check In: You’ve arrived at your resort – what’s next? Simply find the front desk check-in area to scan your Magic Band with the front desk cast member. If it’s early in the day and you want to visit one of the parks or maybe Disney Springs you can drop off your luggage and head out for some fun. They will send you a text when your room is ready and your Magic Band is now your room key. How cool is that – no more misplacing your key card or it not working because it got demagnetized or something.
  • Dining at Disney: Now it’s time for breakfast, lunch or dinner so you try the food court at your resort. You order your quick-service meal or maybe a snack and head to the cash register to pay for it. They will ask you if you’re on one of Disney’s Dining Plans and if you are they will scan your Magic Band and you are on your way to enjoy your meal. It’s so quick and easy – almost like an all-inclusive vacation! This is also the way it works at Disney’s sit-down restaurants and snack carts. When you scan your band at any dining establishment they will print you a receipt showing how many meal and snack credits you have left for the rest of your stay so you can plan ahead.
  • Your Ticket to Magic Kingdom: Here I am scanning my Magic Band to get into the Magic Kingdom! My granddaughter and I went through security and up to the entrance to the park and scanned our Magic Band at the koisk (they can be made smaller for little ones) and we were in! I didn’t have to worry about digging thru my purse for our park passes or paper tickets. Can you feel the stress of getting in and out of the parks become much easier?
  • Souvenirs Purchases: You can also use your Magic Band to pay for any souvenirs you purchase during the day/night at any of the parks or Disney Springs as long as you have set-up your account with your resort.They will even deliver your package to back to your resort if you don’t want to carry it around the rest of the day.
  • Memory Maker Photo Package: Another amazing perk of your Magic Band is using it with your Memory Maker photo package. Whenever you have a photo taken with one of Disney’s photographers in the parks or you have a video or picture taken during one of their rides they will scan your Magic Band and it will go magically to your MyDisneyExperience account you have linked with your Magic Band. This is such an easy way to keep track of your vacation photos and my favorite perk . . . everyone (even Mom) can be in the picture!

If you’re not convinced yet … give me a call and I will share more with you.

If you are ready for relaxation head to Xolumado.

Xolumado is a resort by Karisma located in the Riviera Maya. This resort opened in 2018 and is located just minutes from Generations. As a guest at Xolumado you have access to that Generations. You can head over to the beach, restaurants and enjoy the entertainment.

The accommodations at Xolumado are beautiful. You will stay in huts inspired by the Mexican culture, which is also infused throughout the grounds of the resort. The grounds are very tranquil and there is very relaxing music played throughout the resort. When you step out the front door of your hut you can lay in your own personal hammock and enjoy the lush greenery that surrounds you.

This is a smaller resort with just 41 cottages. The restaurant on this property is FANTASTIC!  Everything tasted incredibly fresh. There were plenty of food options for you to choose from and the menu changes daily. There is also a pool for you to enjoy and plenty of relaxing seating areas for you to relax and enjoying your surroundings.


I’m planning a destination wedding in 2+ years. What should I be doing now to plan?

The hardest part for most wedding couples is finding the perfect destination. When you have 2+ years to plan this allows you to take your time, and with the help of their knowledgeable travel specialist, find the perfect destination for your special day. Will it be a beach in Mexico? A chateaux in France? Or a wine estate in South Africa? The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few other things to start thinking about:

  • Destination Options. Consider where you and your fiancé have traveled in the past and what you liked or disliked about those experiences.
  • Wedding Party. Who do you want as your attendants? You want to give them plenty of advance notice to save for the trip.
  • Guest List. You want to send out save the dates early to give your guests plenty of time to save and plan for the trip. Will you be inviting children?
  • Ceremony. Consider if you want a religious ceremony and if so, which denomination. Do you want to get married on the beach? In a sheltered area? On the ship or in port?
  • Location of Guests. Consider the airports that your guests will be flying from. Does it make sense to choose a destination with nonstop flight options for most of your guests?
  • Cruise or Resort. When considering resorts or cruise ships for your wedding, you’ll need to consider the demographics of your guests.  Are they couples, families with children, singles (young or old), elderly grandparents, disabled guests with special needs and any divorced couples. Any of these things could affect some of your choices.
  • Vendors. Your wedding will have endless picture perfect moments so you should book a photographer early.  The music really sets the mood so look at DJ, band or playlist options. Who doesn’t enjoy a good meal … review meal options for your guests and consider tastes and allergies of your guest list. Decorations are also important if you have a theme in mind and you can work with your agent and wedding coordinator to set the tone.

A knowledgable travel advisor can be your guide through many of these questions and help match you to the right kind of destination wedding experience.

Advice From Couples Who Tied the Knot in Mexico.

While planning a wedding is always stressful, throwing one in Mexico comes with its own sets of challenges. Before you decide to jet off to tie the knot here’s some advice from real-life brides that will guarantee a successful out-of-town celebration.

See the venue in person. 
Many resorts are now offering a “Test Drive” package where the bride and groom can visit the resort prior to the wedding. 
This will give the wedding couple a chance to see the resort, meet with the wedding coordinator, and check out possible wedding locations. It’s great to put faces with names and discuss details in person as sometimes there are delays in email responses.

Arrive early.
The wedding couple should arrive at the resort a few days before their guests do. In Mexico there is a residency requirement that must be met and it varies by hotel so make sure you know what yours is.

Add an extra day.
Once your guests leave stay an extra day or two so you can relax and unwind. You will be busy with pre-wedding activities and visiting with guests that you will want a day to relax before you head home to the daily grind.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.
You and your guests are going to remember the beautiful sunset during the wedding ceremony, not the centerpieces, bouquets and place cards. So if you can, cut out these details and keep it simple!

You won’t necessarily save money.
There’s a big misconception that hosting a wedding in a location like Mexico will save money. 
The truth is, even if you have fewer attendees, you’ll probably end up shelling out more on an entire weekend’s worth of events. But it will be a wedding full of memories for everyone.

 

Honeymoon Cruising … why not?

Sail away with your spouse and start married life off on the right foot.  

Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider a cruise …

  • Unpack one time. Start by settling into your cabin on of the greatest benefits of cruising is unpacking once and visiting multiple destinations.
  • Daily Romantic Dates. There are plenty of dining options to choose from that provide a romantic atmosphere and great food options. Plus, there is plenty of entertainment on board.
  • Spa Treatments. Schedule a couples massage … ultimate relaxation for you and your spouse
  • Disconnect. What better way to escape reality then cruising the open waters. 
  • Multiple Destinations. There are multiple ports that you will stop in giving you the opportunity to visit more than one destination of choice. Find a romantic itinerary suited for a honeymoon.
  • Meet People. There are plenty of opportunities to meet other couples to hang out with if you are interested. Maybe you’ll get some good tips on what has made their marriage successful.
  • Food & Beverage. All your food is included and many cruise lines offer a beverage package as well.
  • Entertainment. There is plenty to do on board you can enjoy show, head to the casino, enjoy the sunset with a cocktail in hand or simply relax in the lounge. The choice is yours!
  • Adventure. Book shore excursions and experience some adventure on your honeymoon. You could swim with dolphins, go zip lining or take an ATV tour … just to name a few. There are endless options in each port for you to choose from.

If you think a honeymoon cruise is right for you let me help with the planning so you can simply focus on starting your life with your soon-to-be spouse.

Exciting Thailand

I spent three nights in Bangkok, where the traffic and noise are extreme.  We visited some temples including the Marble Temple and a gem factory where we were able to watch the craftsmen set gems in rings and necklaces.  The following day, we visited the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market which is a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Bangkok.  We traveled by boat through the market, which is a must! When we wanted to see something at one of the stalls, the driver would pull over so we could look at the item and begin bartering. Food was also sold from the boats that you could buy.  It was a fun experience. 

We then flew to Chiang Mai, a much smaller and quieter town.  Our guide met us and took us to our hotel, the Rati Lanna Resort and Spa.  It was a beautiful and very relaxing hotel – I would have loved to stay here for several days.  We visited five different temples here and saw what remained of the city wall.  The next morning, we traveled to the Elephant Sanctuary, a one-and-a-half-hour drive.  We fed the elephants bananas, interacted with them and took pictures.  Then the elephants went for their bath, where you threw water on them and then they were off to the mud baths.  It was a great experience.  

Thailand has a lot of different experiences to offer from the bustling city of Bangkok, to the quieter city of Chiang Mai and beautiful beaches in the south of the country.  There are so many things to see and do or do nothing at all.  Thailand is a very exciting place to visit.