Friday Feature: Cambodia

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Cambodia

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Cambodia is teeming with lush jungles, picturesque beaches, mysterious caves, and friendly locals! There is something here for every travel style - relax on a private island resort, rock climb the caves near Kampot, experience ancient temples, or taste authentic Amok (a famous Cambodian meal)! Ready to book your ticket?! You can find flights out of Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and more! The Phnom Penh International Airport is the gateway to the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. However, Siem Reap International Airport better serves visitors to the temples of Angkor.

Best Times to Visit: Most travelers visit Cambodia from November to March. If you prefer to dodge the crowds and go when prices are lower, the best time to visit is from May to early October. Cambodia’s most rainy months are September and October.

Things to do:

Eat fresh seafood on Ko Ta Kiev Island. Ko Ta Kiev is the largest island of the Cambodian islands and a beautiful place if you are looking to escape reality. It is a popular destination for day trips and island tours for visitors to Cambodia because the quiet island is it’s own tropical paradise. After a day of exploring this jungle island, refuel with fresh caught seafood served by the most friendly locals!

Visit Kep National Park. The nearly 5 mile trail can be done by foot or bike, and leaves visitors with impressive views of the ocean and mountains in the distance. There is a $1 entrance fee into the national park and a perfect day trip from the nearby towns. Make sure you bring water and comfortable shoes!

Explore the caves near Kampot. This is a great way to sneak away from the tourists in Cambodia as mostly only locals know of these caves. Some of these caves are Phnom Ta or Phnom Sia, which has an elephant rock formation. You can also see Phnom Chhogok, which has a small temple inside the cave. You have to walk up some steps to the cave but will see stunning views of the rice fields in the distance - so make sure to bring your camera. We recommend reserving a tour in advance for a half day of caving, abseiling, and rock climbing! 

Visit the temples of Angkor. These temples feel like heaven on earth. Angkor is one of the world’s foremost ancient sites, with the enormity of the Great Wall of China, the detail of the Taj Mahal, and the symbolism of the pyramids, all rolled into one! To say these temples are breathtaking and a must do while in Cambodia is an understatement.

Feature Hotels: Song Saa Private Island, Belmond La Residence dAngkor, Amansara Cambodia


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Things To

Know Before You Go...

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  • Brush up on your negotiation skills. Haggling is expected with street vendors, taxi drivers, outdoor markets, and some restaurants.

  • Keep your hands to yourself. And never touch someone else’s head as it is considered sacred.

  • Cover your shoulders. Cambodians dress modestly and always remove their shoes before entering a home or wat.

  • Clasp your hands and bow when greeting someone. Bow lower for the elderly as a sign of respect.

  • Be happy. Avoid showing negative emotions, especially anger. Always receive compliments humbly.

TOP 5 LIVE: How I started my company

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How I started Explorateur Travel

After posting on Facebook about my humble beginnings in starting Explorateur Travel, I thought it would make sense to get a little vulnerable about how I started my business and how I sacrificed to get my dreams off the ground. Disclaimer: I am not a small business consultant and I am not saying that this is the only way to do things! I am just merely hoping to share my journey with you… and maybe inspire a couple of people along the way!

  1. I was a sponge. There is a wealth of free information online about every topic imaginable so take advantage of it! When I first had the idea about starting my travel company, I listened to travel podcasts non-stop! It is so important to soak up as much information as you possibly can, especially in the beginning when you are starting from square one.

  2. I was willing to work for free. I am not necessarily recommending this. However, I believed that I had to sacrifice a little to create something that would one day become a lot more. I worked for free in Italy (workaway.info) to gain knowledge and experience. I beta tested my business for a year doing itineraries for people free of charge. And I did all of this because I always had to do something that was pushing my business forward. However, the downside to working for free is that I did not value my knowledge enough. I think that this is typical of people starting a new business. It is important to remember that you are coming to the table with something, so don’t discredit yourself.

  3. I quit my corporate job. I took a risk by leaving my comfortable corporate job with a salary, health care, and normal working hours because I had to make space to travel and create my vision. While this was hard at first to wrap my head around, I got closer to doing what I wanted to do because I was no longer working towards someone else’s dream.

  4. I was poor. Like no money poor. I had to be okay with not buying a new dress, not going on a group trip, or not getting a new couch for my apartment because every dollar I saved was another dollar I could pour back into my business. These are the scary things people don’t tell you about starting a business but always remember that this season is temporary and it is all a means to an end. Just know that it is okay to not be rolling in dough right away! Side note: I highly recommend reading Shoe Dog. It is about the founder of Nike… who didn’t pay himself for years in order to build this brand into what it is now. Also, Girl Wash Your Face is another great inspirational book that makes you want to run head first after your dreams! I highly recommend them both!

  5. I ignored what other people told me would work. I believe that I was secretly fortunate to not know anything about this industry before I started it. I came into it with such a fresh and creative mindset that wasn’t squashed by following someone else’s processes and vision. Don’t get me wrong, I found mentors later on. But by ignoring what other people thought would work, I let the other’s anticipation of failure fuel me!

  6. Bonus: I started to celebrate other peoples successes. Instead of fearing or be annoyed by other people’s successes, I learned to be excited about them because I wanted that to someday be me. Comparison is the thief of joy. Everyone has to start somewhere so don’t beat yourself up about the current season you are in because it is all part of your journey.

  7. Bonus: When I wanted to stop, I didn’t. There will be setbacks and hard days and doubts, but you must not allow yourself the option of giving up. Treat everything as a lesson, admit your mistakes, own your short comings in the beginning, and be okay with not knowing everything! You got this!

Friday Feature: Santorini

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Santorini

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Santorini is iconic for its world renown architecture, signature blue roofs, white walls, and breathtaking coastline. Similar to the Amalfi Coast, Greece (particularly Santorini) has taken social media by storm with beautiful new pictures popping up constantly… making it no surprise that this seaside hotspot is one of the most frequently traveled destinations in the world! You can see this beauty for yourself by flying into Athens and taking a ferry boat ride to Santorini! Be sure to book your ferry boat ticket in advance - either online or through your trusted travel agent!

Best Times to Visit: The best time to visit Santorini is between late May and mid-October when the weather is warm and there is little rain. For nightlife, swimming, and sunbathing visit in June - September. For less crowds and comfortable sightseeing, visit in late April or late October. Be aware that the winds and rain roll in starting early November, making the ferries less reliable and the weather less attractive for site seeing.

Things to do:

Go on a sunset wine tour. On an island with more water than wine, it is no surprise that one of our suggestions would be to taste some of the island’s finest grapes! However, spice up your traditional wine tasting with a sunset wine tour that takes you to three different wineries to sample over 12 different wines of the region. Bonus: take in a famous Santorini sunset while cruising the Aegean Sea!

Hike the Fira Trail. If you want some beautiful sights of the island, be sure to include this hike in your vacation time. The trail goes from Fira to Oia and can take about 3 hours at a leisurely pace. We recommend going around sunset for great views and cooler temps.

Go cliff jumping at Ammoudi Bay. This is a great option for all of our adventure seekers out there! This secret spot is a little off the beaten path and requires some stair climbing to get to, but totally worth it if you look forward to the thrill of jumping into the crystal clear Mediterranean waters. There are also places for you to swim straight off of the rocks if heights are not your cup of tea.

Rent four wheelers to explore the island. Santorini is a smaller island that takes only 45 minutes to travel from end to end. Renting a four wheelers is the perfect way to see the entire island while having a little off roading fun! We recommend scheduling this towards the beginning of your trip to get your bearings while exploring all of the different beaches Santorini has to offer!

Feature Hotels: Chromata Hotel, Canaves Oia Epitome, Sun Rocks Boutique Hotel, Astra Suites


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Things To

Know Before You Go...

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  • Santorini’s style is a little more relaxed. If you are looking for an exciting nightlife, you should check out Mykonos or Ios.

  • Get up early for the sunrise. This island is known for its colorful skies so make sure that you spend at least one morning soaking in a beautiful Santorini sunrise! This also will cut down on the crowds around sunset.

  • Research your ferry. Many ferries travel to Santorini but they generally fall into two types - fast or slow. Make sure you do your research before booking so you know which option you are on.

How to: Expedite your passport

Applying for a passport is the first step towards starting your adventures over seas. However, passports can take anywhere from six to eight weeks to process before you are able to actually use them! But what happens if you have a quicker timeline than that?! The good news is that it is possible to expedite the process with these easy steps:

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  1. Complete the appropriate passport application form. Your application status will dictate which form to complete:

    • Form DS-11 : for first-time applicants, minors and those wanting to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport. DS-11 should not be signed until an agent asks the applicant to do so.

    • Form DS-82 : for renewals by mail.

    • Form DS-5504: for passport name change, data correction or replacement of limited validity passport.

    • Form DS-4085 : for those who want to add visa pages to their passports.

  2. Gather all supporting documents. For first time passport applicants you will be required to bring your birth certificate or proof of US citizenship and proof of your identity.

  3. Submit the appropriate form.

    • To receive your passport in 2-3 weeks (first time applicants): Present the completed, but unsigned application Form DS-11 and supporting documents to the agent. Include payment of $170 in the packet - this includes an application processing fee of $110 and an expedited service fee of $60. Write the word "expedite" on the outside of the envelope.

    • To receive your passport in less than 2 weeks: Applicants who need to obtain a passport, renew their passport, request a passport name change or additional visa pages in less than two weeks can apply at a regional agency. Call the National Passport Information Center's automated appointment system to schedule at visit. If you are unable to visit a regional agency, you could hire a professional expeditor. Simply Google an expeditor, complete their online application, and send them an envelope with the completed application, photocopies of supporting documents, and payment that will be submitted to the U.S. Department of State.

You can apply, track your application status, report a lost/stolen passport, and more HERE!

  • Important note: governmental processes and conditions are subject to change. Refer to governmental resources and webpages for the most up to date version of processing a passport. Explorateur Travel is not held liable for any failure to obtain a passport due to the guide outlined above.

Friday Feature: Ireland Road Trip

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Ireland

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With a picturesque coastline, lush countryside, and rich history, there are many reasons to consider visiting Ireland! What is the best way to see this beautiful country? Our vote is a classic road trip! Ireland is a tiny country - you could drive from one side to the other in only a few hours. Renting a car lets you experience the beautiful Irish hills and warm culture on your own time! How do you get there?! There are 5 international airports within Ireland and most offer direct flights from major US cities!

Best Times to Visit: Rain is something that you can’t truly avoid in Ireland, but March - May and September - November offer the most ideal temperatures of the year. June - August tend to be the country’s busiest months meaning more crowds and higher travel costs.

Recommended Stops:

Dublin: Most international airlines offer nonstop flights into Dublin, making it a great starting point! This city is truly gorgeous with stone architecture, green space, and pubs on almost every corner! This is also home to the Guinness Factory - the #1 attraction in all of Ireland! Spend some time touring the factory, tasting new flavors, and indulging in their Guinness-made cuisine.

Kilkenny: Kilkenny is a little more touristy than other parts of Ireland, but the town has a great balance between the outdoors and luxury! You can hike through Killarney National Park during the day and then come back into town for some shopping or afternoon tea. We also recommend exploring the Medieval Mile and the Kilkenny Castle!

Dingle Peninsula: Dingle is a charming seaside town perched on the Atlantic and the only town on the Dingle Peninsula. It is known for its lively music scene and colorful streets. Indulge in a local pub crawl, explore Shea Head Drive, and meet the infamous local dolphin, Fungie!

Waterford: Waterford is a maritime destination with a rich history of Viking and Norman invasions! The city was developed around its seaport and wall of defense, which remains today. Enjoy afternoon tea at the Waterford Castle or visit the Waterford Crystal Factory.

Cliffs of Moher: Step on to the edge of the world and into the most awe-inspiring view! Even on a cloudy day, these ancient rock formations are dramatic and a must see for any Irish itinerary!

Feature Hotels: Dromoland Castle, Castlemartyr Resort, Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Ashford Castle, The Westbury Castle


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Things To

Know Before You Go...

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  • Prepare for the weather. Ireland is known for its rainy, overcast weather so make sure to pack appropriate travel gear to stay warm and dry.

  • Do your research before renting a car. Ireland is one of the few countries that require you to purchase separate Collision & Damage Waiver policy through the rental agency.

    • NOTE: the extra fees associated with the CDW are not normally outlined in the rates agencies show when booking so make sure to factor this into the cost.

  • Carry cash and coins for tolls/parking. There are instances where you can use your credit card to pay for metered parking, but not always.

TOP 5 LIVE: Hawaii Travel Hacks 🌺

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TOP FIVE LIVE

Hawaii Travel Hacks to Make it Economical for Families

Hawaii is one of those exotic destinations that is just about on everyone’s bucket list but may seem a little out of reach financially, especially for families! However, we are here to tell you that it does not have to be! Read below for our top 5 travel hacks for making this tropical destination a little more budget friendly.

  1. Be open to cooking for yourself a couple times during your stay. Most Hawaiian resorts have a kitchen or kitchenette in the room which makes cooking meals an option during your stay! This is one of the easiest ways to cut cost since food is more expensive on the islands. Consider packing lightweight items in your carry on (i.e. small crockpot, hot plate, etc.) to help you avoid relying on restaurants for every meal.

  2. Pack your own breakfast. You can not bring fruit into Hawaii but you should consider stopping by a supermarket on your way to the resort to stock up on some easy breakfast options - breakfast bars, hard boiled eggs, etc.

  3. Stay on one island. The logistical costs of island hopping definitely add up over time. Transfers and plane tickets are very expensive so it is best to be aware of the logistical components associated with your vacation. The Hawaiian islands are all very different so do your research to ensure that you are staying on the island that best works for your travel style. (Need help picking an island? Check out our Hawaii blog HERE!)

  4. Rent a car. The wait time for Ubers are much longer because destinations are more spread out across the islands rather than in a city! Having your own car ensures that you can get from point A to point B without the hassle. If you are looking to rent a car, do so in advance to ensure you get the most economical car available.

  5. Bring a Tumblr. Not only does this help you to stay hydrated throughout your vacation, but it is also a clever way to get out of buying expensive cocktails pool side! Grab your favorite beverages when you stop to stock up on food for your room and your wallet will thank you later.

If you have some Hawaii travel hacks, share them in the comments below!

Friday Feature: New Orleans

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New Orleans

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Who hasn’t heard some crazy stories about New Orleans?! The city is definitely known by most for it’s bar scene and exciting nightlife. However, this historic destination is full of Southern charm, beautiful architecture, and amazing food! No matter your travel style, there is something here for everyone. It is easy to arrive in the Big Easy through a direct flight into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport from numerous airlines across the country. The airport is only 15 minutes from downtown New Orleans and easily accessible!

Best Times to Visit: The best time to visit is between February and May when the weather is comfortable, humidity is low, and the celebrations are in full swing. If you would rather pass on all of the Mardi Gras madness, December or January is best as the city is calm and hotels are easier to book.

Things to do:

Visit Cafe Du Monde. What better way to start a morning in NOLA than with fresh beignets and cafe au lait!? For anyone who doesn’t know beignets are delicious deep fried dough covered in powdered sugar and Cafe Du Monde is famous for them! As one of the top tourist restaurants in New Orleans, be sure to get here early if you want to avoid the lines and bring cash because they do not accept credit cards.

Grab a drink on Bourbon Street. Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard many crazy stories from the infamous Bourbon Street! This stretch of bars is full of street performers, jumbo sized drinks, and excitable friend groups on vacation.

Explore French Quarter. French Quarter is one of New Orleans oldest neighborhoods stretching over 13 blocks. It surrounds Bourbon Street but is best known for it’s beautiful architecture and picturesque streets. Make sure to take some time to walk around to explore the shops and restaurants in the area. If you would like a little more structure, check out the delicious food tours and voodoo tours offered!

Take a plantation tour. Situated along the Mississippi River just outside of the city are some of the most beautiful plantation homes! Straight out of Nicholas Sparks novel, these homes are grandiose, impressive, and extremely historic. If you are looking to explore the Louisiana countryside and take in some time away from the crowds, we definitely recommend adding this onto your itinerary!

Feature Hotels: The Roosevelt, Hotel Monteleone


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Things To

Know Before You Go...

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  • Pack your sunscreen! Being in the deep south means that the sun and heat can be more intense than other parts of the country.

  • Mardi Gras falls on March 5th in 2019. However if you know any Louisiana locals, you will know that the party isn’t pigeon-holed to just one day! It stretches out for weeks so make sure to keep that in mind when looking into travel plans around the same timeframe.

  • Bring your walking shoes. The Big Easy is not known for it’s public transportation, but luckily the city makes for a beautiful walk!

TOP 5 LIVE: How to avoid feeling awful after a long flight 🛫

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TOP FIVE LIVE

Thing to do to avoid feeling awful after a long flight

The absolute worst thing is prepping for an amazing trip only to get off of a long flight and lose a day at your destination because you are suffering from the infamous “post-flight hangover”. Check out some of our travel tricks to help you step off the plane feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy your vacation!

  1. Hydrate the week before. It is very important to hydrate as much as possible before any flight, but especially on long flights! Airplanes suck moisture out of the air when flying at that altitude… including your body and skin. So be sure to drink as much water as possible leading up to the flight and save the alcohol for your arrival celebrations!

  2. Chug a coconut water the morning of your flight. Again, this tip goes back to hydration because that recirculated air is no joke! Coconut water is the perfect beverage for restoring hydration and replenishing electrolytes.

  3. Hand Cream. Hydrating is super important - especially for your skin! If you are a plane reader, hand cream is especially important because I think we can all agree that cracked hands are not something you want to worry about during your vacation!

  4. R+F Ultra Hydrating Body Cream. All Rodan and Fields stuff works great, but this body cream is a game changer! It is so good to incorporate a great moisturizing regime into your routine the week before a flight to prepare your skin as much as possible.

  5. Sephora’s Pomegranate Sheet Mask. This mask is a great way to give your skin that dewy, refreshed glow. It is super hydrating, smells amazing, and easy to slip into your bag/carry on for a little mid-trip pick-me-up!

If you have any tricks of the trade that help you feel like a rockstar when you land from a long flight, share them with us in the comments below!

Friday Feature: Portugal

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Portugal

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Portugal is a beautiful country that borders Spain on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. If you are looking for a vibrant country full of culture and jaw dropping views, Portugal is the spot for you! It is not nearly as well known as France or Italy, making it great destination if your goal is to avoid the crowds. How do you get to this beautiful country? There are plenty of direct flights to Lisbon, Faro, and Porto from some US airports - New York, Boston, and Miami! However, there are cheaper options available that include a brief layover in London. Pro tip: Portugal has a very hilly terrain so it is best to consider packing comfortable shoes that you can explore in!

Best Times to Visit: It is best to avoid Portugal during the busy months of July and August. May, June, and September have great weather and less crowds.

Places to visit:

Take a port wine tour in Porto: Porto is a vibrant, coastal town that is most commonly known for it’s bright tiled buildings, cobblestone streets, and port wine production. This is a charming city with picturesque views and intricate architecture throughout. However, no trip to Porto is complete without trying their authentic port wine. There are plenty of local port houses where you can get a taste of the process, literally!

See the museums + monuments of Lisbon: Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal sitting atop seven iconic hills (i.e. comfortable shoes). There is no shortage of things to do in Lisbon. Explore the many monuments/museums like Padrāo dos Descobrimentos, the Popular Art Museum, Cultural Center of Belem, the Maritime Museum and dozens of others! Stroll the beautiful streets and take in the Spanish architecture. Or ride the iconic tram that takes visitors through Lisbon’s finest districts, including Baixa, Graça, Alfama and Estrela.

Road trip around Madeira: Madeira is composed of four islands just off the northwest coast of Africa. This beauty is a little under the radar but a beautiful destination to consider adding to your Portugal itinerary! Drive the countryside and take in the gorgeous mountains overlooking the cobalt blue Atlantic Ocean. Madiera has a sunny and warm climate year round with plenty to do - including shopping, fine dining, hiking, whale watching, and more!

Feature Hotels: Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa, Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel, Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel


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Things To

Know Before You Go...

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  • It’s standard for waiters to bring you little dishes of olives, bread, cheese and cold meats but they are not freebies unless they are part of a set menu. If you don’t want them, just politely send them back untouched and you won’t be charged. 

  • Wear comfortable footwear. This may seem like common sense, but it’s a tip that needs to be highlighted. The cobblestone streets can also create unstable footing, and sometimes the roads are slippery. 

  • Remember the number 112. This is Portugal’s 911 number that will get you in contact with the police and emergency medical services. 

TOP 5 LIVE: Things to Know When Traveling During Hurricane Season🌪

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TOP FIVE LIVE

Things to know when booking travel during hurricane season

As messy as travel is, the one thing that is even more messy is weather! As we head into hurricane season (looking at you, Florence 🌪…), below are some tips and things to consider if you have upcoming travel plans during hurricane season.

  1. Hurricane season is from June - November. This seems like a very large window but typically us Florida folk will see have seen the most activity build around August to late September. However, it is good to know that June brides and summer travelers are not exempt from these possible delays caused by hurricane season!

  2. Get travel insurance. This used to be the box at the end of your trip reservation that we used to ignore because “nothing bad ever happens”… until it does and we kick ourselves for not investing a little more on our trip up front. Even if you are flying to and from places that are not typically affected by hurricanes and severe weather, it is good to remember that flights are always coming from somewhere. Your travel plans could be impacted if your flight is heading through an area about to experience a tropical storm. If you are saving up time and money to go on a vacation, it is always better to insure your trip should the unthinkable happen and mother nature take a turn for the worst.

  3. Prepare early. This will allow you to be minimally impacted. When you have travel plans that could be impacted by crazy weather, make sure to pay attention to updates from the airline. Sometimes they will offer blanket travel waivers for windows of travel that may be impacted by weather threatening future travel. Airlines try to get ahead of mayhem of cancellations and reschedules but allowing travelers to adjust in advance. Pay attention and adjust early to get your top pick of flights (worst case scenario).

  4. Be flexible. You choose to travel during hurricane season because of the amazing weather that goes hand in hand with summer, which means that more people are impacted by big storms. Let’s face it- travel is very emotional because you are spending your hard earned money and time to go on a vacation. However, keep in mind that the bottom line is that no one can control the weather - including that sweet little gate agent who is fielding every travelers concerns at once. Be patient and be flexible!

  5. Have an ally. When travel delays and cancellations happen (and they do happen during this crazy season) it is best to have someone in your corner who can have your back throughout the stressful process! Whether it is booking you a hotel, rerouting you to a different airport, or working through your trip insurance with you, it is best to partner with someone experienced in dealing with travel! And we would love to be that person for you 🙋🏼‍♀️

  6. EXTRA: Pack light! If you are delayed, your luggage is not going to make that connection so make your life easier by packing a light carry on. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

    Safe travels to everyone this hurricane season!

Friday Feature: Hawaii

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Hawaii

You may have seen this beautiful chain of islands make a debut in our Top Destinations blog a couple weeks ago. People are flocking to this domestic escape because of all that it offers it's visitors. With white sandy beaches, luscious rainforests, world class resorts, mountains, and even desert landscapes, there is truly something here for every travel style. The best part of all? You will not have to worry about passports or customs. A trip to Hawaii can sound exotic and expensive to most travelers, but it doesn't have to be! There are several airlines that fly direct into Honolulu, Maui, and Kauai from cities on the west coast.  

Best Times to Visit: May through September offer the perfect summer temperatures while April, May, September, October, and November are the cheapest months! 

Experience the Hawaii Islands:

Oahu, the "Heart of Hawaii": This is the most popular island where you will find the capital of the state, Honolulu. It is also home to the Pearl Harbor Memorial, North Shore, and one of the most famous beaches in the world, Waikiki. Being that it is the most populated island of them all, Oahu is a foodie paradise with hundreds of restaurants and world-class shopping. Added perk: flights from the mainland to Oahu are the cheapest.

Hawaii, the "Big Island": From active volcanoes to coffee farms, there is so much to do on Hawaii! Mostly because it is always growing in size from the active lava flow of the Kilauea Volcano. It is home to at least 11 climate zones, so one can enjoy the sun, snow, rain and even desert conditions. You can enjoy some of the best snorkeling, beautiful resorts, scenic waterfalls, and coastal scenery on this island. 

Kauai, the "Garden Isle": This is the oldest island of the Hawaiian islands. It is located farthest north in the island chain making flights a little expensive from the mainland. Kauai offers some of the most dramatic scenery of all the islands with mountains, cliffs, and valleys as well as waterfalls, rainforests, and rivers. Spend your days kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking or relax at one of the many top-notch resorts on the island. 

Molokai, the "Most Hawaiian Island": This is the most local spot you can get throughout all of the Hawaiian islands. Molokai is spacious and private with no buildings standing taller than a palm tree. There are no fancy resorts but if you are seeking outdoor adventures paired with some peace and quiet, this is the spot for you!  

Lanai, the "Rugged Island": Lanai is not for everyone, but it does have a lot of offer! It is very quiet with minimal nightlife but offers it's guests relaxation, beautiful weather, hiking, and renowned golf courses. Lanai is easily accessible from Maui by a quick ferry ride.  

Maui, the "Valley Isle": On Maui you will find world-famous beaches that feature black, red, and white sand. This is a great option for travelers looking for a little adventure with snorkeling, hiking, and ATVing! But, like all of the Hawaiian islands, it is also a beautiful place to take in some sunshine and relaxation. Flights to Maui are the second-cheapest of ll the islands! 

Feature Hotels: Turtle Bay (Oahu), Hotel Wailea (Maui), Four Seasons Hualalai (Big Island) 


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Things To

Know Before You Go...

  • Be respectful of the islands! A lot of the land is considered sacred to locals and they expect you to treat it as such.

  • Pack your camera. This may seem obvious but its is certainly worth a reminder because with so many different landscapes you will want to be snapping pictures left and right.

  • Experience a true luau! This is something you will not want to miss out on during your time in Hawaii.

How to: Get your tax rebate from shopping abroad

Did you know that you can get money back for your purchases... all over Europe?! Yes, its a big deal and we are here to help you claim what is rightfully yours! 

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WHAT IS IT?

VAT stands for "value added tax". It is tax on consumption rather than income and it can range from 15-25%! If you pay into this tax while shopping abroad, we are eligible to receive this money back once you return home. This tax is included into the price of just about any good that you can buy abroad. However, it does not apply to services (hotels, restaurants, tours, etc.) because these items can not be exported out of the country. It is also good to know that smaller merchants, like street artists, don't participate in the program and don't provide the paperwork.

There is typically a minimum purchase amount to qualify so it is best to do the majority of your shopping in one place. This also allows for less paperwork (you'll thank us later). The minimum amounts and VAT rates are different from country to country - see them HERE.  


HOW DO I GET IT?

It takes a little planning and extra steps to get your money back, but don't think that it it anything crazy! It's always worth it to make between 15-25% back on purchases - which can turn into more plane tickets down the road! 

  1. Take your passport to shop. Most retailers who deal with international customers participate in VAT, but double check before shopping! Not all shops have to offer VAT-free shopping. They will tell you if they do and some shops might advertise in their window ‘tax-free’ or ‘VAT free’. This may of course be in their local language.

  2. Ask your salesperson for the paperwork you need. He or she needs to fill it out as well.

  3. Keep all your purchases, receipt and forms together. Show these to customs before heading back home and make sure that they stamp the documents. No stamp, no refund! The customs office is generally located in the departures/ticketing area so stop by there to get your stamp before checking any bags as they will request to see the item for proof that you are bringing them out of the country.

    • TIP: If you are visiting other EU countries on your trip, you can get your completed documents stamped by a customs officer at the point of exit of the last EU country you’re visiting– not necessary in the same EU country where you bought it. Be cautious if you’re leaving your last EU country by train because not all train stations have a customs office. In addition to that, if you forget to get your stamp in the EU country you departed from and have a layover in another EU country, you can still visit the customs office on your layover if time allows and get your stamp/refund. Just remember the items have to be with you and not in your checked bag!

      • For example: You are leaving Denmark to go back to Florida, but you have a layover in Amsterdam, you can visit the customs office at the Amsterdam airport to obtain your stamp/refund.

  4. Get your money back. This can either be done right at the airport (at refund offices) or by mailing in forms once you’re home. The system will depend on which retailer you used and should be outlined on your forms. You don’t have to have the original form of payment for the item purchased, any credit or debit card they accept will work for them to apply the refund.

    • TIP: You have 3 months from the date of purchase to get your tax refund.

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If you know you’re going to be shopping in the country you are visiting, you can register for a Shop Tax Free Card to simplify the process. 

CLICK HERE

 Important note: governmental processes and conditions are subject to change. Refer to governmental resources and webpages for the most up to date version of processing a tax refund Explorateur Travel is not held liable for any failure to obtain a tax refund/rebate due to this guide.

Friday Feature: Merida, Mexico

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Merida, Mexico

  

Mexico is as exotic and picturesque as it is convenient... Throw in white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, boutique hotels, some mouthwatering local cuisine and we are sold! Merida is located on the gulf side of the Yucatan peninsula 45 minutes inland from the coast with easy access to nearby beaches and Mayan ruins. It is the largest city in the Yucatan peninsula and offers visitors gourmet dining options, world class plays, and rich history! While there are some direct flights out of Miami, most other airports have a layover in Mexico City International Airport.

Best Times to Visit: Late September to May offer ideal temperatures and less rain - but it is best to avoid the crowds during January, February, and March.

Don't Miss: 

  • Discover the Cenotes - Cenotes are a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. There are over 5,000 cenotes located across the Yucatan peninsula. You can snorkel through these natural wonders or take in their beauty while lounging in the sun. 
  • Spend some time in the Plaza Grande - This is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike! Surrounded by beautiful Spanish architecture in the historical center , you can spend the day people watching in the square or try out some of the local food vendors. It also offers complimentary WiFi! '
  • Experience a game of Pok Ta Pok - This reenactment of an authentic Mayan ball game involves players trying to score by hitting a ball with their hips into a post. Every Friday night, players and fans crowd the streets of Plaza Grande to watch the action being played out alongside a live orchestra!  
  • Explore the Mayan Ruins - There are countless Mayan Ruin sites throughout the Yucatan peninsula with plenty of history to explore! Chichen Itza are the most famous ruins near Merida and home to the largest Mayan archaeological site in the region. We recommend getting there in the early morning hours before the crowds! Uxmal is another amazing site to consider! Unlike Chicken Itza, you can climb to the top and inside of these ruins. 
  • Relax on the beaches near Merida -  Merida offers a much less crowded and more local beach experience than the other popular Mexican destinations of Cancun and Riviera Maya. The beaches of Progreso and Celestun are a quick day trip from Merida with budget friendly restuarants and shops nearby. 

Feature Hotels: Chable Resort, Hacienda San Jose


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Things To 

Know Before You Go...

      

  • Get your negotiation skills ready because haggling is expected and encouraged at local markets!  
  • Don't drink the water. It is best to buy bottled purified water rather than drinking from the tap. 
  • Be aware of scams - particularly around the resorts! Some of these may be legitimate while others are not. 

TOP 5 LIVE: Travel #Fails

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TOP FIVE LIVE

Jennifer's Top 5 Travel Disasters

We have said it before but we will say it again, travel is messy y'all! But that's what makes it fun right? Well maybe down the road... for times like these when we can tell you our horrible stories with a smile and a glass of wine in hand.

Keep reading to hear some of Jennifer's top five travel #fails: 

  1. Airbnb Fail: The scene: November in Santorini with rainy, cold, damp weather. I arrive in Santorini ready to go to our Airbnb, but I did not reserve a cab in advance! As you probably know from our previous post, there are a VERY limited number of cabs in Greece. Our Airbnb host also did not receive our correct travel information so there was no one waiting on us when we landed. Again, it is raining sideways rain in November while we stand on the side of the road. My friend and I waited for 30 minutes only to find out that our Airbnb was 20 ft away, within walking distance, with an overhang, out of the rain and cold... Pro tip: Do your research about the location of your Airbnb when you actually have data or make sure to reserve a cab in advance! 

  2. Limencello Fail: The scene: Solo traveling through Italy with a one day stop in Capri. This is were I learned the important lesson between gracious hospitality and overconsumption. I was sitting at a bar receiving multiple limencello shots from the wait staff without realizing how much I actually drank... Life lesson. Do not drink more than two limencellos! Thankfully due to weather my trip was extended or else I would have spent the one and only day I had in Capri very ill. 

  3. Rental Car Fail: The scene: Oversleeping in Malta with a low quality rental car. I rented a Toyota Tersel while in Malta that decided to die on me as I was headed to catch my boat ride. It was a manual car, which my Airbnb host told me could not be jumped. We jumped up and down on the side of the road until we finally flagged down a mechanic (ironically enough) who was in fact able to jump the car. The good news is that we did eventually make it to the boat... 3 hours late.      

  4. Parking Garage Fail: The scene: Early morning flight out of Croatia. If you have been to Croatia you know that all of the cities are walled and there are parking garages outside of those walls. You can not drive inside of the city but you can park outside of the perimeter (Side note: bring a backpack if you go because the cobblestone streets are no joke). We are up early at 4:00am to catch our flight that leaves at 6:00am. When we try to exit the parking garage we realize that it requires exact change... I frantically run back our hotel where the clerk was able to get us proper change. Thankfully despite my early morning sprint, we were still able to get to the airport with an hour to spare.  

  5. Cardio Fail: The scene: Flight delayed 30 minutes coming from Paris into Philly. Initially, I thought I was fine. However, on this particular trip I checked my bag and had to wait for my luggage at customs. When it finally comes I grab my bag, get to the front of the line, and find out that I have to go FOUR terminals over (which is essentially the same as running a 5k in fur boots). As I am running through the Philly airport to my gate, I finally arrive only to see that the gate agents are in the process of closing the door. I hear my name over the intercom and in a moment of exhaustion and desperation, I shout out CARDIO! Thankfully I was 1 of 14 people who actually made my connection #sports! 

Do you have a funny/horrible travel story?! Share your travel disaster with us below!

Friday Feature: Croatia

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Croatia

    

It's hard to think of Croatia and not think of it's iconic crystal clear waters! This little slice of paradise is located in Eastern Europe on the beautiful Adriatic Sea. There are no direct flights between the US and Croatia, so plan to have a layover in another European city before flying into Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split or Pula.

Best Times to Visit: during "shoulder season" months of May, June, September, and October

Don't Miss: 

Dubrovnik - Located on the southern-most points of Croatia, Dubrovnik is nestled on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. For all of the pop culture fans, it is also the sight of where Game of Thrones was filmed. Make to schedule some beach time and a trip up the Dubrovnik Cable Car during your trip!

Feature Hotels: Villa Dubrovnik - amazing sea views, Hilton Imperial - best for a quick walk to city center

Hvar - This glamorous island is just off the coast of Split, and teeming with friendly locals and crystal clear waters! This coastal escape claims to be the sunniest spot in all of Europe. If you are seeking some beach time without the overwhelming crowds, this island remains relatively secret to travelers and perfect if you are looking for something different. 

Feature Hotels: Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort - great sea views + amenities, Hvar Riva Yacht Harbour Hotel - great location

Trogir - This quiet, small harbor town is the hidden gem of Croatia. Trogir is only 30 minutes away from Split and a great pit stop! It is very small... as in walk from one side of the town to the other in under ten minutes. But what Trogir lacks in size, it makes up for in scenic views, charm, and amazing local restaurants. 

Feature Hotels:  Brown Beach House - closest to Split airport

Split - Split is the second largest Croatian city and incredibly accessible by plane, boat, or bus. Most attractions are located in Old Town, the cities center. Enjoy a walk along the water on Riva Promenade, see the entire city from atop the Bell Tower, or enjoy the colorful architecture of Old Town. Split is also a great base for day trips and exploring other neighboring islands.  

Feature Hotels: Le Meridien Lav Split 


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Things To 

Know Before You Go...

      

  • Cash is king. Most larger hotels and restaurants do accept credit cards, but a majority of small business owners will only take cash. 
  • Tipping not apart of the Croatian culture and service is generally included in the cost of the bill. 
  • Wifi is free! There are over 200 Wifi hotspots available throughout most major cities. 

Check out more tips HERE

Eat Your Way Through Italy.. With Us!

If Italy has been on your bucket list... we have exciting news for you!

Explorateur Travel is ecstatic to host a 8 night trip through Italy with a focus on gastronomy and cultural experiences. With hand picked hotels, bespoke curated experiences, and the perfect balance of free time and structure....this trip is sure to be one to remember! 

We will be eating our way through Italy from May 31 - June 9, 2019 & we can't wait for you to join us! This trip aligns perfectly with school calendars and a great way to kick start your summer vacation!

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 * Do you want to extend your trip to add on a chance to cruise the canals of Venice,  
boat along the the Amalfi Coast, bask in the sunshine along Lake Como... or visit another area of Europe?
It can be done! Just ask and we can provide your custom quote. 


The Itinerary

Saturday, Day 1: June 1

Arrivals with escorted airport transfer and luggage assistance from Rome or Florence airports (U.S. departure should be on May 31)

Check into Hotel Albani Firenze

Celebrate with a hosted 'Welcome Dinner'

Sunday, Day 2: June 2

Free morning to shake off the jet lag

Optional historic Florence tour (a la carte option)

Learn about Italian flavors in a cooking class with dinner included  ***Flytographer present to capture candid pictures for guests as souvenirs!

Monday, Day 3: June 3

Enjoy a day trip to Tuscany from Florence  ***Flytographer present to capture candid pictures for guests as souvenirs!

Harvest dinner at a vineyard

Tuesday, Day 4: June 4

Free day!

Optional Galleria dell'Accademia tour (a la carte option)

Optional Cinque Terre day trip (a la carte option)

Wednesday, Day 5: June 5

Transport to Bologna with luggage assistance

Check into Art Hotel Commercianti

Half day Parmesan tour with Balsamic tasting; guided tour to the dairy to discover the steps of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese production with final tasting, guided visit to a Parma Ham producer ***Flytographer present to capture candid pictures for guests as souvenirs!

Thursday, Day 6: June 6

Spend the morning on a truffle hunt

Indulge in a a 4 course truffle-based lunch

Enjoy a free evening

Friday, Day 7: June 7

Transport to the train station with luggage assistance

First class train ride to Rome

Check into Starhotels Michalangelo

Optional Vatican Skip the Line Entrance (a la carte option)

Saturday, Day 8: June 8

Optional Roman Ruins tour (a la carte option)

Afternoon gastronomy tour around the world-famous Piazza Navona area. 

Free evening to celebrate a wonderful trip!

Sunday, Day 9: June 9

Depart from Rome and head home with a full stomach and happy heart!


Package Price: $3189 per person by September 30

After October 1, pricing will increase to $3389 per person

CAN'T PAY NOW? DON'T WORRY!

There is a minimum deposit of $2100 per room due upon reservation.

This deposit is non-refundable and the remaining balance is March 2019. 


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Why travel with us?

Not only is this trip tailored exactly to the passions of a seasoned foodie, but this once in a lifetime adventure is customized to ensure that each transfer, connection, hotel, and tour is selected from top notch and consistent vendors to provide a high quality experience for a Italy newbie or an experienced traveler.

We will be helping all attendees through their travel preparation by providing tips and guidance.

We've done all the legwork so that you don't have to! All you will have to do is PACK & GO! 

TOP 5 LIVE: Hot Destinations Right Now! 🔥

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TOP FIVE LIVE

Top 5 Destinations Right Now!

If you are ready for a serious case of wanderlust, check out our top five destinations right now: 

  1. Amalfi Coast, Italy - It is no surprise that the whole Amalfi Coast, especially Positano, is drawing visitors from all other the world lately! While it is full of beautiful scenery, there are some logistics involved when planning a trip here. It is about an hour and half to two hours (depending on what town you are staying in) from the Naples airport/train station, and transfer will typically cost around 200 Euros there and back - so budget accordingly! Another thing to consider is what month you visit. Beach towns in Europe are different than the states in that they close during off season (November through mid-April). So if you are looking for a winter holiday away, this is not the destination for you! Also, be sure to book hotels at least 9 months out for the best deals.  

  2. Pacific Coast Highway & Napa Valley, California - While these can be considered two entirely different trips, Napa Valley and Pacific Coast Highway are being booked together more and more frequently! Pacific Coast Highway and Big Sur area is one of the most requested trips we are seeing right now. It is good to know before heading out on the open road, that there is no cell service on the highway. There are also no turn offs from the highway so be sure to check the road closures in California before you go. 

  3. Hawaii - Hawaii is making a serious comeback y'all! People are asking more and more for Hawaii vacations which feels almost retro to an extent. While it is beautiful and exotic, it use to have a generational feel about it - but not any more! Each island is so different that it can fit many different travel styles.      

  4. Greek Islands - This is another Instagram favorite! The Greek islands are known for it's iconic blue roofs and clear water, but the logistics can be tricky. One important thing to know is that there are very few cabs on the islands... very few! It is our recommendation that you either emotionally prepare to wait a while or reserve a cab in advance to meet you upon your arrival. One of our personal favorite islands is Naxos! It's a great option if you are looking to escape the crowds of Santorini. Another thing to be aware of is that the ferries are not always your friend. During "cusp" season you may experience some cancelations so it is important to go during a reliable time of year. Also note that Mykonos closes the first week of November through mid-April.   

  5. Bora Bora - This is such an awesome bucket list item right now! Other than the fact that it is absolutely gorgeous, it is also a very versatile destination in that you can either have a very cultural, Polynesian experience or a high-end luxurious experience! It is important to note that this is a very long flight. To make the most of your trip, it is best practice to dedicate at least nine nights minimum to account for all the travel time. You may also experience an overnight airfare connection. Most flights are out of LAX to connect in Papeete, and it is important that this flight time properly aligns with an inner island flight. Be aware that if you are fly too late in the day, you may have to stay on the mainland overnight and take a transfer out the next day. This is where is it best to be flexible with dates! Also, know that all inclusive does not mean the same as it does with other resorts so be sure to check the fine print... or ask your trusted travel partner to make sure you are getting the best deal 🙋🏼‍♀️. To make this trip truly worth it, we recommend saving it for when you have the time and money to invest in the best experience possible! 

 

Friday Feature: Amalfi Coast

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Amalfi Coast

    

Who hasn't seen the Amalfi Coast pop up on their social media feed lately!? This destination is as beautiful as it is popular, and there is a reason for that! With adorable seaside towns tucked into the Mediterranean mountainscape, there is no shortage of things to do, eat, and see! This paradise is only an hour and a half from Naples, and the flights departing out of Naples tend to be very early in the morning, so make sure to plan accordingly!

What is the best times to visit? The busy season begins around Easter and runs through September, but prices are generally lower in May and June. May is a top month to visit the Amalfi Coast, with perfect temperatures, lush blooms, and fewer tourists!

Don't Miss: 

  • Sorrento - This is the official starting point of the Amalfi Coast and the easiest town to reach. This accessibility makes it the easiest place to stay if you are looking to day trip to Naples or Pompeii. However, this also means that is gets packed with other tourists during the busy season. 
    • Stay here if: you are looking for a convenient location you can plan day trips from, if you are looking for a spot where most people speak English, if you are wanting to ease into your Amalfi Coast vacation, you don't mind crowds, or you don't have a lot of time to spend on the coast. 
  • Positano - Positano is famously known for it's pastel colored houses that cover its steep cliff into the sea. Known for upscale shopping, sandy beaches, and great nightlife, this is a destination for travelers looking for a chic, upscale getaway. 
    • Stay here if: you are looking for a vacation in luxury, if you don't mind spending some extra money on your vacation, you are physically fit and don't mind walking through steep streets, prefer sandy beaches to rocky coasts, if you are looking to shop and experience the nightlife!
  • Ravello - This is a tiny village that sits back away from the coast atop a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Ravello is a hidden gem because it does not have direct beach access which makes it less popular for travelers and therefore slightly less crowded than other Amalfi Coast towns. 
    • Stay here if: you are looking for a more romantic getaway, want a destination that is a little less crowded, you don't mind not being directly on the beach, if you are looking for a little more peace and quiet. 
  • Capri - Aside from being a summer favorite of holidaying VIPs, Capri is also a hugely popular day-trip destination for both cruise ship passengers or tourists staying on the mainland. Ferries depart from all major towns on the coast. Be sure to leave time to take a Capri boat tour to explore the nearby sea caves, take pictures of the iconic rock formations in the water (known as Faraglioni), or simply enjoy a dip in the beautiful water. After a full day in the sun and water, leave room for some local Limoncello and Torta Caprese. 

Our Favorites 

EuroLimo - The transfer from Naples to the Amalfi Coast is a hairpin road not for the faint of heart and EuroLimo is a great alternative to a car rental. This transfer typically costs about 100 Euro each way for 2 people. 

Cantina del Vesuvio - This local winery is a great halfway point between Naples and the coast, making it an ideal lunch spot!

Franco's Bar in Positano - Beautiful views, friendly staff, and great drinks... What more could you ask for in a place as beautiful as Positano?

La Fontelina Beach Club in Capri - This is arguably one of the most beautiful locations possible to spend a day. Take in some sunshine while enjoying amazing food, private beach access, and stunning rock formations. 

The Sommelier's table at Rossellinis Restaurant - The perfect place an authentic and unforgettable Italian dinner with wine, cheese, and a romantic atmosphere. 

Blue Star Boat Tours - Blue Star provides private and personalized excursions along the Amalfi Coast & Capri daily. 


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Things To 

Know Before You Go...

      

  • There is no Uber currently in Italy 😱but there are plenty of cabs available! Much of the area near the beach is only accessible on foot, so any mobility limitations should be considered before picking certain areas of the coast. 
  • It is best to over-budget for this leg of the trip, especially if you are looking for a room with a view!
  • Make sure you reserve your ferry tickets in advance, especially during busy season! 

TOP 5 LIVE: Destination Weddings 👰🏼

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TOP FIVE LIVE

Top 5 Tips for Destination Weddings

Once you have picked out your dream location, it's time to start planning... while being thousands of miles away! (What?!) Destination weddings are beautiful, exciting, but a little intimidating at the same time. If you or a loved one has contemplating hosting their big day abroad, check out our top five tips about planning a destination wedding: 

  1. Expect lag time in communication - In different countries, it is important to realize that there are different senses of urgency! America is a very fast paced, efficient culture compared to the rest of the world. Do not worry if you do not get immediate responses from vendors. Just because they do not work as quickly as American vendors it does not mean that they are not taking your big day just as seriously!  

  2. Work with someone who can break down language barriers - This tip goes beyond just the normal language barrier that happens between different cultures - which is still very important! It is best to find someone who can also break down destination wedding language into manageable pieces that you can properly understand. You do not necessarily need a wedding planner, but it is best to find an ally to help you figure out the logistics of a totally different country (which we are happy to help with)! 

  3. Think through guest logistics - Destination weddings are meant to be more intimate and a special time for those closest to you. However, before deciding on a destination wedding think through your guest list and if a wedding abroad is feasible for the majority of those who mean the most. If not everyone can attend, don't take it personally. Everyone is in a different season of life with different financial situations so just because someone can not celebrate with you in person does not mean that they can not celebrate you from afar! 

  4. Be aware of legal ceremony requirements - There are hoops to jump through on the front end in order for ceremonies to be legal in different countries. For example in Italy, you can not be legally married unless you have been in the country for four days and have approval from all of the proper channels. Do your research! 

  5. Be flexible - Part of the fun in a destination wedding comes with embracing the unfamiliar. It is so important to remain flexible throughout the entire process! Be open to date changes, unique contract processes, different venue options within peak season, communication lags, and more! This is not to scare you but as with any travel it is best to know that the road to your destination will not always be smooth sailing. Things will arise and it is best to roll with the punches - and if those punches become too much to handle, reach out to an expert... We might just know a guy ;) 

Friday Feature: Geneva & Lausanne

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Geneva & Lausanne

    

Known for the sweeping Swiss Alps and beautiful lakes, Switzerland is a great addition to everyone's bucket list! Lake Geneva is nestled between France and Switzerland at the base of the Alps. Geneva and Lausanne are the two largest towns on the Swiss side. Between luxury shopping, lake cruises, family run vineyards, and artisanal chocolate shoppes, there is a little something here for everyone! These quaint Swiss towns are only a short train ride apart, making it easy to get the best of both worlds. How do you get to this beautiful destination? There are some non-stop flights to Geneva are typically available in some east coast cities, including Washington D.C. and New York City. 

Don't Miss: 

  • Visit the Jet d'Eau "Water Jet" - It is hard to find a postcard of Geneva that doesn't pay tribute to this beautiful water feature. As one of Europe's tallest fountains, the "Water Jet" shoots 132 galloons of water 459 feet in the air making it one of the most famous landmarks in Geneva. 
  • Wine tastings at local vineyards - You probably know by now that we are suckers for some good vino. The vineyards of the Lavaux district has plenty of beautiful viewpoints to stop and have a sip while taking in the gorgeous panoramic views of the Swiss Alps! 
  • Indulge in authentic Swiss chocolates - Learn all about the chocolate-making process while treating yourself to a sweet treat! There are plenty of shoppes with gourmet chocolates and hot chocolate drinks, so make sure to bring your sweet tooth. 
  • Check out the Olympic Headquarters in Lausanne - Experience all of the excitement of the Olympics, minus the exercise! Be sure to leave some time in your schedule to tour this impressive museum that takes you through the founding and development of the historic games.  
  • Cruise on Lake Geneva - Lake Geneva is Western Europe's largest lake that touches both Switzerland and France. From the water you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps, Savoy Alps, vineyards and chateaux region. Cruising this beautiful lake is most definitely a bucket list item when visiting this amazing part of the world 

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Things To 

Know Before You Go...

      

  • Make sure you are on time to all reservations during your trip! The Swiss highly value punctuality.    
  • Don't be offended if people come off unfriendly. Unlike the United States, making friendly small talk with cashiers and waitresses is discouraged. 
  • Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

Check out more Switzerland travel tips HERE