Thursday, January 31, 2008

Las Vegas ’08 – Places to Be, Things to See

Las Vegas always rolls out the astounding, and 2008 will be no different with a number of new attractions. Expected to once again be the top domestic destination booked with Carlson Wagonlit Travel this year, here are a few new options to experience this year in Vegas:

Everyone knows world-class entertainment can be expected in Las Vegas. In fact, some people even visit just for the entertainment and never step foot onto a gaming floor. The new big ticket this year will be the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys.” The Broadway hit production, which includes such musical favorites as “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and a slew of other memorable tunes, will start April 4. Tom Jones will heat up the stage beginning in late March, and Elton John sets up his piano for an extended stay starting in March.

Las Vegas features the cream of the crop when it comes to exhibitions, as well. Drop in on the Titanic Exhibit featuring more than 300 artifacts from the doomed ocean liner, or get an inside look into the body at BODIES...The Exhibition – a little warning to the queasy; they’re real preserved human bodies! Whatever your penchant, from small productions, gigantic stages, laugh romps, pop acts to the crooners, you’ll find it in Las Vegas any time of year.

Want a breath of fresh air? Check out the newly refurbished Freemont East; a new downtown entertainment district adjacent to the Freemont Street Experience. After a $5.5 million street makeover completed mid-summer last year, pedestrians on the newly expanded sidewalks are greeted with retro neon signs that capture the vintage side of Las Vegas. Numerous restaurants and bars have been updated or found a new home in the district.

Searching for a perfect destination wedding location? Las Vegas just might be it. Now, marriage in Vegas is nothing new, but it’s far from the so-called “shotgun” wedding stereotype. It’s actually a fantastic destination wedding location: Las Vegas is easy to get to and there’s literally something for everyone. For the bride and groom, they can choose from a myriad of locations, from small to big-time, then whisk themselves off into a world of fun fantasy – after all, isn’t that what Vegas is all about?

Don’t gamble on your next vacation; contact Carlson Wagonlit Travel and make your Las Vegas vacation a real winner.

Monday, January 28, 2008

How to Choose the Best Cruise

Years ago there used to be two options: ketchup or mustard, apples or oranges, Florida or Hawaii. Now we as consumers are bombarded with hundreds of options, additions, upgrades, and choices. So how do we know if we are making the right choice - especially when it comes to spending money on a cruise? Here are the steps to take when deciding which cruise is right for you:

First - develop a budget. If you are not restrained financially you can continue on to the next steps. However, if you are like most other travelers, your budget will play a major role in your vacation planning. You can save money by cruising in off-peak times or by varying your cruising options. Keep in mind that the price tag only includes your cruise - it doesn't include airfare, shore excursions, or items such as alcohol (not applicable for all-inclusive cruises).

Secondly - decide where you want to go. Popular cruise spots include Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Europe. However, there are many more locations that you may not even be aware of. Consider heading to South America, Asia, or even around the world!

Thirdly - when do you want to go? What type of weather would you prefer while on your cruise? In the Caribbean the August heat may be too much to bear; however, Alaska might be a perfect destination for an August cruise.

Coming in Fourth - Which cruise line to book. Each cruise line has its own feel and different activities and options while you are on board. Talk to your travel professional about which cruise line would suit you the best.

Fifth - Which ship to book. You selected the cruise line that best fits your personality. Now which ship to pick? Consider the size of the ship and all that is offered on board. If dining options and entertainment options are vital to you, you may want to consider a larger ship. If you are more interested in fewer people and more personal attention, you may want to consider a smaller ship.

Sixth - What room is best for you? If you are like me, you don't spend much time in your room while on vacation- therefore, spending the extra money on a balcony wouldn't be worth it. However, if you like to cozy up in your room, don't be afraid to spend a little more to get that spectacular view. Another thing to consider is what will be outside of your window to see. If you are cruising mainly in an ocean, the balcony cabin may not be worth it. If you are cruising on the coast of Alaska, you may want to be able to see those beautiful mountains from the comfort of your room.

Lastly - Keep in mind that most cruises are booked by professional travel agents. There are a lot of variables to consider when planning a cruise and agents have all the knowledge to help you make the best choices.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Traveling with Pets

Traveling can be difficult when pets are involved. Instead of leaving your pet at home why not bring them along? Here is some advice when traveling with a pet:

Taking your Pet

Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with its name and your contact information on it. You also may want to consider getting microchip implanted in your pet.

Car Ride

Familiarize your pet with riding in a car before taking long trips. Failure to do so may result in a sick pet. Some people prefer to use carriers for pets on long drives, while other allow their pets to ride along free from restraint. This decision should be assessed on an individual basis.

Don't feed your pet right before leaving. Feeding your pet the night before will ensure that his/her stomach is settled.

Stop frequently so your pet can stretch their legs and have time to go to the bathroom. Walk with your pet on a leash during all stops.

Before you Leave

Pack a water dish, feed dish, plastic bags, a leash, blanket, and a favorite toy of your pet. These items will make your pet's journey much more comfortable. If your pet needs medication, make sure to bring it.

If you are relocating, make sure you bring your pets records from the vet.


Make sure you find out if you your hotel is pet friendly before you make reservations.

Bring your pets health documentation with you because campgrounds, hotels, and kennels will need to see that information before your pet can stay.

Airline Pet Policies

Different airlines have different policies when it comes to bringing your pet on board. Check back next week for airline specific requirements.

Jet-Lag Diet Secrets

Feeling the effects of jet-lag can start any trip off on the wrong foot. Whether you need to be 100% for the important business meeting or you don't want to waste time on your vacation, combating jet-lag is important to all travelers.

Jet-lag causes fatigue and disorientation that can last for days after arriving at your destination. Lack of concentration and motivation, interrupted sleed, confusion, dehydration, uncomfortable legs and feet, and overall health problems are all signs of jet-lag.

Jet-lag is caused by the following conditions (or combinations of them):
  • Crossing time zones - going east is usually worse than going west. People who have a regular routine are more apt to jet-lag.
  • Your pre-flight condition - get a good night's sleep prior to departure and leave your stress behind.
  • Dry atmosphere - try to drink a lot of water on board the plane as eople who are used to a humid environment can be negatively affected by changing into a dry atmosphere.
  • Cabin Pressure
  • Stale Air
  • Alcohol - the impact of alcohol on the body is 2 - 3 times mre than when on the ground.
  • Food and drink - don't drink really strong coffee, team or orange juice in flight if you aren't used to such drinks
  • Lack of exercise

Argonne has come up with a diet that will help any traveler combat the effects of jet-lag. This diet is also being used to speed the adjustment of shiftworkers who are periodically subjected to rotating hours.

The diet was developed by Dr. Charles F. Ehret of Argonne's Division of Biological and Medical Research. Argonne National Laboratory is one of the US Department of Energy's major centers of research in energy and the fundamental sciences.

Without further ado...the secret on how to avoid jet lag......

1. Determine what the breakfast time will be on the day of arrival at your destination.

2. Feast - Fast - Feast - Fast: Start four days before breakfast time in Step #1.

On day one of the diet, feast; eat heartily with high-protein breakfast and lunch and a high-carb dinner. No coffee except between 3 and 5 p.m.

On day two of the diet: Fast on light meals of salads, light soups, fruits, and juices. Again, no coffee except between 3 and 5 p.m.

On day three of the diet: Feast again as you did on day one.

On day four: Fast again as on day two.

*If you drink caffeinated beverages, take them in the morning when you will be traveling west, or between 6 and 11 p.m. when you will be traveling east.

3. Break the final fast at your destination's breakfast time. No alcohol on the plane. If the flight is long enough, sleep until normal breakfast time at your destination, but no later.

Wake up and feast on a high protein breakfast. Stay awake and active. Continue the days meals according to the mealtimes at your destination.

What to eat during feasting and fasting times

Feast on high protein breakfast and lunches to stimulate the body's active cycle. Suitable meals include steak, eggs, hamburgers, high-protein cereals, green beans.

Feast on high carb dinners to stimulate sleep. They include spaghetti and other pastas (no meatballs), crepes with no meat fillings, potatoes, other starchy vegetables, and sweet desserts.

Fast days help deplete the liver's store of carbs and prepare the body's clock for resetting. Suitable foods include fruit, light soups, broths, skimpy salads, unbettered toast, half pieces of bread. Keep calories and carbs to a miniumum.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reward Yourself

I'm starting a new promotion specifically for people who read my blog. Be glad you are here. The promotion is simple and completely in your hands. Shoot me an email or leave me a message on my blog with comments, suggestions, jokes, travel information..... you get the picture. Anything that you submit that I use here will earn you points. Points lead to prizes! Prizes include your name being entered to win a fabulous trip for two, an FSA approved luggage lock, exclusive 2008 calendars and more!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Surefire Safety Part 6: Street Smarts

There is nothing wrong with being a tourist or a travler, but you don't always want to apear as one. Keep in mind some of these tips while you are on the street in an unfamiliar city.

  • Study a map before going out. Then once you are on the street use a pocket-wsize guidebook.
  • Dress down.
  • Don't wear a lot of jewelery, it can be easily stolen. Do wear a wedding ring though.
  • Loop a money belt around your belt loops so that if someone cuts it, it won't fall from your waist.
  • Be wary when getting off a bus or train, or riding stairs and escalators; that's when pickpockets tend to strike.
  • Carry just one credit card and photocopies of important documetns.
  • Don't expose your large wad of bills.
  • Become familiar with foreign currency.
  • If a car starts to follow you, immediately turn and walk the opposite way.
  • If you need to ask for directions, ask families or women with children.
  • On sidewalks, keep your handbag and other valables away from the street side
  • If attacked, run, fight, and yell as loud as possible.
  • When in a restaurant, slip your foot through the strap on your bag so no one can run off with it.

I hope you took something away from these surefire safety tips. If there is something I forgot or something you think should be added to the list, feel free to let me know. Traveling is a fun adventure. It allows you to explore the world and make memories that will last a lifetime. However, there are people out there who want to take advantage of travelers, stealing their money, belongings, or hurting them. Watch out for yourself while out of town and continue adventuring through travel.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Surefire Safety Part 5 - Tips for Trips

Something bad will NEVER happen to you I know, however, keep these tips in mind just in case....or in case you're involved in some sort of safety trivia competition.

  • NEVER get into an attackers car, even if he pulls a gun - Most attackers don't want to shoot you....they want to drive you to some deserted place and do something undescribable to you.

  • Don't pull over when someone driving next to you is pointing at your car pretending something is wrong - Head to a gas station with other people near-by.
  • Lock your doors while driving - Attackers have been known to walk up to cars and get in while it is sitting at a stop light.
  • Identify who is at your front door before you open it.
  • Pay attention in parking lots!
  • Look in your back seat before entering your car.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don't assume a sex offender looks a certain way. Only a small percentage look scary, the rest just look like the rest of us.
  • Lock your car and keep the keys with you when purchasing gas.
  • Unload your car at the front door of the hotel.
  • Have your keys in your hand when you walk to your car.
  • Never stop at a rest stop or truck stop alone.
  • Don't take the stairs alone unless it is an emergency.
  • Never leave your drink unattended.
  • Be discreet when ordering in hotel restaurants or poolside. - you don't want anyone to hear your room number.
  • Never leave your patio door open or nlocked.
  • Drive directly to a well lit parking lot and call 911 if you think you are being followed.
  • Always stay below the 7th floor in a hotel - Most fire department ladders can only reach that high.
  • Take the hotels information with you - if you get lost it will be handy to have their number and address with you.
  • Always have a charged cell phone


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Surefire Safety Part 4 - Hotel Safety Tips

For those of you have been anxiously waiting - here it is! Part three of Surefire Safety: Hotel Safety.

You check into your hotel room in a strange city and head to your seemingly safe room. But how safe is it really? Does the housecleaning staff look suspicious? Did someone in the lobby overhear your room number? A million questions can be asked but in order to answer all of them simple safety measures can be taken....

  • Don't use the door hanger to order breakfast. - This provides passersby the opportunity to determine if there is only one person in the room
  • Look for the exits when you enter a crowded place.
  • Ask for another room if the hotel representative tells you aloud what your room number is.
  • Ask for two keys, even if you are travelling alone. - This indicates you are not alone and helps in case you lose your key.
  • Always request a room with NO adjoining door to another room.
  • Make sure you lock the door to the adjoining room if you must stay in one.
  • Ask the hotel to call a cab for you.
  • Don't stay in a hotel with doors to the outside.
  • Carry a can of mace.
  • Stay at hotels instead of motels.
  • Request a room on the second or higher floor.
  • Don't be paranoid- be alert.
  • Just because your hotel is in a "safe" area stay alert.
  • Refrain from going to the bar alone or drinking alone.

Here are some easy to follow room guidelines:

  • Request a room near the elevator and away from renovation work.
  • Door should have double locks and a peephole
  • Bring along a rubber door stop to slide under the door so no one can get in.
  • If your bag is stolen from the hotel, have the hotel management look for it.
  • Hang the 'do not disturb' sign on your door.

Guidelines when choosing a hotel:

  • Smaller is smarter
  • Choose a well-trafficked street or a residential area
  • Ask a female employee (other than one in reservations) if she walks around at night
  • Reception desk should be near the hotel entrance
  • Should be privacy for guests checking in
  • Room numbers should be written on the key envelope, never said outloud
  • Parking lot should be well lit and secure.
  • Valet parking is even better

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Surefire Safety -Part 3 : Driving and Car Safety

High tourism areas are known for bad drivers. Travelers are uncomfortable with their surroundings and can make some bad driving decisions. Driving in foreign countries is even more difficult, as the rules of the road may be completely different than what you are used to.

Driving laws vary depending on location. For instance, after sunset in Texas the speed limit drops 5 mph. In New York it is illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving.

Who knew?

(well your travel agent for one)

But anway...

Here are some more safety tips to consider BEFORE you even start to drive.

  • Put your luggage and bags in the trunk of your car. This way, passers-by will not necessarily target your vehicle for a break-in and will not target you just because you are a tourist.
  • Always lock the doors on your vehicle
  • Check your back seat when you enter your vehicle
  • Leave the driver's seat in a forward, leaning position when you exit the vehicle. This provides a sign from a distance if the seat has been tampered with.
  • Use valet parking when available. Even if it costs a few more bucks you can insure your safety and peace of mind.
  • Approach your parked vehicle in a zig-zag route. This provides you with many opportunities to see if there is someone watching you or following you.

Keep in mind there are over 35,000 instances each year of shoppers being assaulted outside their parked cars in mall parking lots. (those are just the instances that are reported)

Are there any other safety tips you would recommend?

Have you ever felt unsafe approaching your vehicle? What did you do?

Little Known Ways to Save Money on a Cruise

Fuel surcharges are becoming an unavoidable part of taking a cruise. The extra charges can sometimes be enough to cause a family to cancel their cruising plans. However, travelers do have other options that will help save them money when it comes to taking a cruise. The following information was taken from and written by Christopher Elliot.

1. Buy early. When Jeff Cooper worked for a cruise line, the best deals came just before wave season. "The sailings prior to Christmas and New Year's were rarely at capacity," says Cooper, who now works as a hospital administrator. And while the bargains during wave period were good, these were better.

2. Skip the air-inclusive cruise. "Cruise air is usually the worst possible deal," says Amber Blecker, an agent for "You get bad itineraries, multiple connections and higher prices." And, she adds, don't think for a moment the cruise line will wait if your plane is late. "That's a wives' tale," she says.

3. Find a preferred agent. There are travel agents, and then there are travel agents. "Find one that specializes in booking with your desired cruise line," advises Charles McCool, a consultant who specializes in finding travel deals. "Only a select few have preferred status. These agents and agencies offer better discounts and amenities, and the cruises cost between 10 percent and 20 percent less than cruises bought from other agents."

(Travel Travel Carlson Wagonlit is a preferred agent of the following cruise lines: All Aboard Vacations, Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line
Globus River Bruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Orient Lines, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, Singeles Cruise, Trafalgar, European River Cruises, and Viking River Cruises. )

4. Think small, think shoulder-season. Crystal Griffith, a nurse from Baker, Florida, scored a deep discount on her Alaska cruise by choosing a September itinerary and picking a windowless inside cabin. "We rarely spent much time in the cabin, and used it mainly for sleeping," she says. "It saved us lots of money."

5. Become a shareholder. "If you buy 100 shares of Carnival or Royal Caribbean stock, you'll get between $50 and $200 of free cabin credit on every cruise," says George Smart, a consultant in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. NOTE: Carnival and Royal Caribbean own most of the cruise lines out there, so this is a pretty decent deal.

6. Ask about discounts. One of the most popular is the military discount. Some cruise lines insist on either active-duty status or evidence of a long career. But not all. "Carnival Cruise line will sell their military rate to anyone who has served for two years," says Liz Lamagese, a Tampa, Florida-based travel agent. "As long as you have your separation papers to fax them, you can get very low rates on most of their cruises."

7. Private tours can save you big money. That's what Jerry Rothstein, a New York investment consultant, discovered on a recent cruise to the Greek islands. "We quickly figured out that for six people, we'd be better off having a private arrangement for shore excursions," he says. Now he regularly runs Internet searches to find less costly tours for groups that are "more intimate" and cost less than those offered by the cruise line.

8. Become a frequent cruiser. Evelyn Fine, a market researcher based in Daytona Beach, Florida, has found that loyalty pays. Cruise lines offer her everything from discounts to special on-board perks, like VIP receptions and priority dinner reservations. "Becoming a loyal customer is worth it," she says.

9. For a free upgrade, tell them you're a VIP. Actually, get your travel agent to tell them you're a VIP, says Royce Jones, a Jackson, Mississippi, furniture manufacturer's representative. "My agent tells the cruise line I'm one of her best customers, and that if I like the trip, I'll return again in the future," he says. "And then she asks for an upgrade. It works most of the time."

10. Don't get on the bus. "One of the best ways to save money on a cruise is to not take the provided transportation that meets you at the dock," says Michael Berger, an information systems consultant in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. "They usually cost more or end up taking you to their uncle's store to get a discount." Instead, he recommends walking a block or two away from the dock and finding a local transportation option. It's cheaper, and you're less likely to fall for a tourist trap.

11. Get a soda sticker. If you like bubbly drinks, buy the soda sticker for the cruise if your cruise
line sells one. On Princess, for example, $29.50 gives you unlimited soda -- something Tom Kinsella, a Woodbridge, Virginia, software manager, discovered on his last cruise. "And bring your own large soda mug. Ours is 64 ounces, and they'll fill it any time you need it filled. That way, you're not stuck with their small glasses."

12. Or try these two booze tricks. TIP NO. 1: Bring your own wine and pay a corking fee at dinner. "It's still cheaper than the roughly $30 low-end wines offered by the cruise line," says Kirsten Taylor, an information technology manager in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts. TIP NO. 2: If you prefer hard liquor, try emptying a water bottle and replacing it with your favorite vodka or gin. "No one will notice," says David Tuder, a banker from New York.

13. Buy your next cruise ... on your cruise. "The cruise line will offer special deals available only onboard, with much lower base prices than you'd find off the ship," says Kevin Harris, a hotel owner from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "And when you book with the onboard person, you usually receive higher onboard credits to spend anywhere on the ship."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Surefire Safety Part 1-Before You Go

Welcome to the first of a six-part series about travel safety! From the largest city to the smallest town, -travelers need to be aware of their surroundings and be prepared for any situation.

Before you leave home for any trip, whether it be regional, national, or international, remind yourself that you don't have to be on the subway at midnight to find yourself in a dangerous situation. In fact, many people are robbed or kidnapped during daylight hours! Be prepared and remember the following advice:

Dress Conservatively - don't allow yourself to stand out like a tourist.

Travel light - you can move more freely and will be able to keep a better eye on your belongings

Leave the valuables behind - only take with you what you need. Leave all jewlerey at home and take the least amount of cash as possible with you.
Put your name, address, and phone numbers inside and outside each piece of luggage -avoid strangers learning your name and information with covered luggage tags.
Leave a copy of your itinerary with your friends or family at home.

Photocopy your passport, airline tickets, driver's license and credit cards - Leave one copy with your friends or family at home and pack the other copy in a separate place from your valuables. (Travel Travel Carlson Wagonlit photocopies all their traveler's passports so Travel Travel is able to send the copy directly to the US Embassy of the country the traveler lost his/her passport.
Always be aware of your surroundings
Bring a cell phone
Carry 5 dollars in your pocket - this will prevent you from becomming stressed should someone approach you for a handout.

Check back tomorrow for more common sense safety tips. Part 2 of the 6 part series will cover driving tips - because the more you know, the better off you will be.
A special thanks to Mike Marchev for the great tips!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Who else is ready for a beach vacation?

A Beach Vacation: The Destinations Are Endless
Copyright © 2008 Thomas Husnik

A beach vacation is possible at any time of the year. Given the way seasons change around the world, there's always a beach somewhere that's full of sand, crystal clear waters, and warm sunshine. The only decisions to be made are where to go, what to do, and where to stay.

Given how popular the beach vacation is, it's no surprise that the choice of accommodations is as varied as the colors in a setting-sun horizon. From luxury beach resorts to private huts on the shore, you'll have your pick. Budget can help with some decisions, but for most destinations, there are enough options to accommodate your preference, no matter how much you have to spend.

As for what to do, a beach vacation is naturally the perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Recreation ideas include surfing in Waikiki, golfing in Wailea, scuba diving in Fiji, sailing in the Caribbean, or bird-watching in Australia. For those who would prefer to relax, there's always somewhere quiet to do so. A beach vacation is a way to get away from the noise, crowds, and distractions of daily life. From tropical gardens to tidal pools to kayaking to the center of the sea, visiting the beach is definitely a "right" step towards paradise.

Deciding where to go will depend somewhat on when you plan your vacation, as well as how much you have to spend. Do you have enough to get all the way to Australia? Or will a trip to Mexico leave you with more spending cash? Planning your trip is part of the fun though, as you explore the many destinations around the world- all perfect for a beach vacation. From Kauai, Hawaii, to Jamaica to Thailand to the remote Out Islands of the Bahamas, each offers the visitor something unique and memorable.
The purpose of your beach vacation will also help pinpoint where to go. For a weekend getaway for instance, you'll likely want to stay closer to home, to cut down on travel time and leave more for relaxation, recreation, sightseeing, and fun. For a family vacation, there are certain destinations that cater to families, such as Maui and Molokai, Hawaii; Palm Beach, Florida; and San Diego, California. For the romantic beach vacation, choose from secluded villages, spa resorts, and peaceful beach rentals right on the sand.

Finally, there's the destination wedding, where a beach vacation is the honeymoon. For many couples, there's nothing more romantic than a beach or island wedding, with the sun setting behind them as they exchange I do's. What's more, after the ceremony, there's no place to rush off to for a honeymoon as it's right there. Guests of the wedding are also totally set to enjoy a beach vacation of their own.

Popular destinations for beach weddings include the Hawaiian islands of Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island; Jamaica; each of the Caribbean Islands; Mexico; and Fiji. In truth however, if you're determined, you can have a dream wedding with a beach setting most anywhere. All you need is the beach and as said, the destinations are endless!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Passport Confusion

Congress and President Bush have again delayed the passport requirement from 2008 until at least mid-2009. Travelers and those living along the borders of the United States can continue to freely cross the border with a picture id and birth certificate.

However, keep in mind if you plan on traveling to Canada by air or ship, you will need a passport.

Travel Travel Carlson Wagonlit recommends that every person traveling out of the United States get a passport. "It just makes things so much simpler, and in case something goes wrong, your passport ensures you will be able to make it back to your country. The prices for passports continue to rise and this law will come into affect at some point in time, so travelers might as well just apply now," said a Travel Travel Carlson Wagonlit representative.

The State Department issued a record 18.4 million passports in fiscal 2007, compared with 12.1 million in 2006. The number is expected to keep rising.

The delay of the passport requirement is a relief to many living along the borders. Many Canadian border residents and Americans alike are upset about the eventual passport requirement. Some feel it will make the borders a little less friendly.

The requirement would also hinder the economies of several border towns on both sides of the divide.

What do you think? Should travelers be required to have a passport to travel in-between Canada and the United States? Why?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jamaica - Isle of Enchantment

Jamaica is truly a fantastic destination for all ages, offering beaches, biking, fishing parks, gardens, golf, hiking, historic sites, plantation tours, rafting, safaris, tubing, water activities, and gorgeous waterfalls.

The island is 146 miles long and 50 miles wide and is located in the Caribbean Sea. Visitors from the United States don’t have to worry about translation issues, as the official language of Jamaica is English.

While in Jamaica, visitors can experience musical and movie history. Several James Bond films were taped on location in Jamaica, as was the film Cocktail.

The Bob Marley Jeep Safari, an all-day tour, explores 9-Mile; a quaint village in the beautiful mountains of St. Ann that prides itself in being the birthplace and final resting place of reggae legend, Bob Marley. On this tour, passengers have a first-hand look at Bob Marley’s home and resting place, along with learning some great stories about Marley’s life in Jamaica. There are also plenty of other museums and theaters that highlight the life and music of the man Jamaicans call “The King”.

For the adventurous, white water rafting and a rainforest river tour are offered. On the rainforest tour, patrons can swim in a mineral pool, swing on ropes, or simply relax while gliding down the river on a raft. On the other hand, white water rafting is an intense, thrilling experience, showing the authentic, untamed beauty of Jamaica.

Rum is often associated with the Caribbean, and while in Jamaica, people can explore the Appleton Estate and learn how rum is made today and how it was made in the 18th century. Visitors also have the chance to make and sample their own rum. Other working plantations are also available to tour, along with coffee factories, and historical castles.

Guests looking for beauty in Jamaica don’t have to look far. Tropical scenery is all around. Embedded into Jamaica’s landscape is Dunn’s River Falls, one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in the world and a source of great pride to Jamaicans.

When the sun sets, the island comes alive with sounds of music and laughter drifting out of bars, discs, and theaters. Lovers of the nightlife can take their pick between reggae, blues, and other styles of music while sipping their favorite tropical drink.

No matter your lifestyle or interests, Jamaica has everything you’re looking for.

For more information and a first hand account of Jamaica from a certified travel specialist please visit:

Monday, January 7, 2008

Destination Weddings - A Dream Come True

Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular, especially among those who enjoy traveling. In the United States there are 360,000 destination weddings or more per year, with a prediction of a 20 percent increase in the next 15 years.

Couples who choose a destination wedding generally do so because of the following reasons:

  • The couple wants to do something different and personal
  • The couple is paying for the wedding themselves and would like to save money.
  • Many resorts and destination wedding locations offer lower rates to destination wedding groups.
  • Couples will spend on average 41% less on a destination wedding compared to a traditional wedding in their hometown.
  • Wedding packages can be customized and can be all-inclusive.
  • When engaged couples are from different areas of the country it becomes difficult to decide where to hold a wedding.
  • With destination weddings, both families are in neutral territory. Everyone has to travel and is therefore on common ground.
  • The couple desires a carefree event.
  • The couple is renewing vows or are getting married for a second time.
  • All attendees have the opportunity to spend quality time together, while taking a vacation.

    “A destination wedding is a great way to get your closest family and friends together and minimize the usual stress of a traditional wedding. With the help of your travel agent and wedding coordinator at a resort of your choice, not only will you spend less than you would on a traditional wedding, you will have the beauty of your chosen destination for your wedding photos, plenty of activities or relaxation for yourself and guests, and a honeymoon all in one!”
    -Katie, Travel Travel Carlson Wagonlit Destination Wedding Specialist

Where do people hold their destination weddings?

The top wedding destinations are:

  • Hawaii

  • Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island

  • Caribbean

  • Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bahamas

  • South Pacific

  • Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, Fiji

  • Bermuda

  • Las Vegas

  • Mexico

  • Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos

  • Lake Tahoe

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Missing Music Festivals

One of the best parts of summer in the midwest are the music festivals. WeFest, 10,000 Lakes Festival, Ribfest, County Fairs, and Moondance Jam are some of the premier events around the Fargo-Moorhead area that bring in thousands of visitors from around the world each summer.

During the winter, festivals are limited in the midwest due to the harsh weather conditions. However, music lovers don't have to be left out in the cold.

The St. Barts Music Festival is an annual event, taking place this year from January 11-23. Audiences are treated to intimate concerts by some of the world’s most prominent classical, opera, ballet, and jazz stars, while being able to enjoy paradise.

The Barbados Jazz Festival takes place January 14-20 and features 15 amazing artists from around the world. This festival is one of the premier jazz festivals each year.

The Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival has been jamming for fans since 1996. 40,000 visitors attended the event in 2006 and the numbers continue to grow! The dates for this years festival are January 24-26.

The St. John Blues Festival is taking place from March 19-23 this year and offers amazing music accompanied by gorgeous scenery.

Many music lovers say the only way to truely experience music is to become submerged in it. Submerge yourself this winter in the carribbean.