Travel Blog

  • A Life List of Experience. Private Jet Travel .. Seriously, it is worth its value!

    Day 2 – Time to #DreamBIGJourneys and go #aroundtheworld by #privatejet with @TCSprivatejet.


    When I think of private jet, sure I think of comfort and luxury but as a luxury travel advisor,  what I also think of is the extreme convenience. These days the commercial airlines are just so stressful to deal with. Advisors and Clients are both taking the beating. Delays, equipment failures, strikes, lost baggage, missed connections, etc. etc. How would you like to experience expedited airport security service where possible? Fly into smaller less congested airports and terminals? Travel on guaranteed aircraft equipment such as a custom designed 757 jet? (Equipment changes happen often with commercial) Have continuous VIP luggage service? Never carry your bags!  WOW, and fly NONSTOP everywhere? No missed or stressful connections. And in the event of inclement weather, airport strikes or whatever, you have the flexibility and freedom to adjust routing or get the heck out of there. There are also no flights at night. All daytime travel and they always tend to go WEST as it gives you extra hours. :o)


    Ok, so we know what the private jet can do for us. What is the experience like on board? Despite it being a full 5 star experience with relax time, the experience is customized to whatever your needs are with food, drink.. you name it! There is a chef on board with all flights! There is actually a licensed physician that travels on board with you all for the entire duration of the trip. This medical program is actually overseen by the Harvard School of Medicine. The TCS and Four Seasons Jets seats decline to 180 degrees which basically also gives you about 6.5 feet full recline …WITH a privacy screen. It also encompasses ipad storage area with complete power station so you can stay connected.. since you are able to keep your items on the plane if you do not want to take them with you to the hotel. This 2x2 configuration plane typically has about 52 seats and again, is more for the TCS Journeys and the Four Seasons Private Jet itineraries.


    So let’s say you want to consider the National Geographic type expeditions. These aircrafts seat more around 80 passengers. They are reclining business class seats! These planes definitely go to more of the remote locations where you will experience adventure and iconic sites. In your value filled package price you experience exclusive ICONIC excursions with guides included. A lecturer and photographer accompany the trip. The seats typically decline to about 45 degrees with typical in seat power outlets and USB ports. These are BUSIER itineraries with a focus on photography and encounters. So if you are a spa and shopping fanatic, perhaps this experience is not for you.  


    A few things more… With TCS World Travel . For example, before the trip, I  will work directly with the full sales team on your package. There will be a dedicated guest services manager that will meet you at the departure city! ( meet and greet, answer questions, get to know ya! )  You will receive an Ipad loaded with intensive content about your upcoming adventure, luggage, backpack, flashlight, bug spray, and much more.. There are no kids under 12 on the journeys as well.


    A great resource to learn more about this experience Go Inside Our New Jet 2016


    Please contact me, Julie Chaump, your private jet experience specialist! or 214-342-9045  @strongtravel #travelvacations


  • The Four Seasons , Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica .. Pura Vida & Beyond !

    (You can view photos on Facebook at Travel Vacations Travel Agency.)

     “Pura Vida” is Spanish for “pure life”, a Costa Rican philosophy that encourages the appreciation of life's simple treasures. Wow, the simplicity and beauty of the area is breathtaking. I am still in awe of this resort and area of Costa Rica I am super excited to share details about the resort, but let’s begin with a little about Costa Rica.  

    The seasons of Costa Rica. They basically have 2 seasons.. Green and Gold. Green being the lushest of seasons from May – Nov.. and Gold is the driest of seasons December to April. All I know is everyone says.. “DON”T come here in October! Rainiest of them all.” Traveling in June brought us heavy afternoon thunderstorms and a very sunny open sky. I can see myself preferring to travel in the Green season. Seems to embody more of what people envision of Costa Rica. In my room at night, I was amazed at the sensorial experience.. you hear so many varieties of birds.. bugs..monkeys.. and lightening bugs just like a Christmas light show in the trees.  Some of the best zip lining around is found in Costa Rica and wow, it was an epic experience! Costa Rica is considered to have one of the most stable governments as well, people are very friendly, and the unique beauty of the Papagayo coast is breath taking! Oh and everyone will tell you.. if you are a star gazer.. this is the place! If I were to pick a favorite week it would be the 1st few weeks in December.  Before the dry season kicks in and everything dies.. and less rain.. and I learned December is excellent for star gazing!...................

  • Oceania Exclusive Cruise Sale

    Exclusive Virtual Event – 2-for-1 Cruise Fares PLUS an additional up to 15% off, Free Gratuities AND Reduced Deposits!

    Runs 03/17/16 to 03/31/16

    Book  with Travel Vacations during our Exclusive Sale to receive 2-for-1 Cruise Fares PLUS an additional up to 15% off, Free Gratuities AND Reduced Deposits on ALL 2016-2017 Oceania Cruises sailings!

    • Offer applicable to new bookings only and is combinable with select offers. Please contact us to see what other offers may be combined with your desired sail date.
    • Savings offer applies to Balcony and higher cabins only.
    • Exclusive Savings are up to 15% per person and vary by sailing and cabin category. 
    • 2-for-1 Cruise Fares are based on published full brochure fares and are already reflected in the pricing above.
    • Free Gratuities amount varies by cabin category and length of sailing and applies to the 1st and 2nd guests only.
    • Reduced Deposits are $250 per person and apply to select sailings only. 
    • Prices listed are in U.S. dollars and are cruise only, per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability at time of booking.
    • Additional restrictions may apply.
    • Hurry, this is a limited time offer!
  • 9 Mistakes Not to Make When Booking a Cruise

    9 Mistakes Not to Make When Booking a Cruise ( article from )

    If you’re new to cruising, don’t fall prey to these potential pitfalls. Here are the top nine mistakes cruise newbies make and how to avoid them for smooth sailing, from the minute you walk up the gangway for the first time to the moment you disembark.

    1. Not Prebooking Special Shore Excursions

     If you know you really want to do the ship’s flightseeing excursion over the Mendenhall Glacier, or tour the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam, sign up online before your cruise, or the tour may be sold out once you get on board. Just remember: Some cruise lines will issue a refund if you change your mind, but others won’t—so read the fine print.

    2. Packing Oversized Suitcases

     Standard suitcases and duffel bags can be stowed under the beds, but oversized suitcases are too thick to fit there, or in slim closets. You’ll have no place to stow them except out in the open.

    3. Not Bringing Body Lotion or Hair Conditioner

     Luxury lines stock all bathrooms with lots of decadent toiletries, but most major mainstream lines only provide a shampoo dispenser in the shower and a bar of soap in the bathroom. It’s up to you to pack any other products you’ll need.

    4. Going for the Deal Without Considering the Weather

     Cruises to the Caribbean are cheaper between September and early December for a reason. It’s hurricane season, and there’s a greater chance of rain. In Alaska, fares are lower at the beginning and end of the season—May and September—but it can be snowy and muddy in May, and rainy in September. Cruising Europe during the off-season might mean fewer tourists and lower prices, but be prepared for cool temps and rougher seas.

    5. Booking a Weekend Cruise for Peace and Quiet

     Short three- to four-night cruises to warm-weather destinations like the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Caribbean attract lots of 20-somethings looking for a party. That said, shorter cruises in Europe and Asia—or on the Disney ships—won’t have the same party vibe.

    6. Flying in the Same Day a European Cruise Starts

     If your flight is delayed or your luggage is lost, you’ll be in a real bind if you book a night flight to Europe intending to start your cruise a few hours later. Fly in the day before to be on the safe side, and enjoy a day and night of sightseeing in the port of embarkation.

    7. Expecting to Stay Dry in Alaska

     It rains a lot in Southeast Alaska, especially in Ketchikan, so bring an umbrella and raincoat and be prepared to do your excursions—whether hiking, kayaking, biking, or sightseeing—even in a downpour. The locals are used to the wet weather, and activities are rarely canceled. June is the driest month, but some rain is still likely.

    8. Booking a Cruise During School Holidays

     If you don’t have kids of your own—or aren’t traveling with them—avoid summer and holiday cruises, when one-third of a ship’s passengers can be children. On the biggest ships, that means more than 1,000 kids filling the pools and hot tubs, packing playrooms, running in the hallways, and making mealtime a loud and chaotic experience.

    9. Assuming Everything is Included OnBoard


     Even if you book your own tours and don’t plan to use the specialty restaurants, you can still expect to run a bill over the course of your cruise. For example: Except on the all-inclusive, high-end cruise lines, you’ll be charged for what you drink in your cabin, whether it’s in the mini-fridge or on your dresser. (Depending on the size, sodas and bottled water will run you about $2 to $4 each.) Some onboard activities also incur fees. Case in point: fitness classes. Years ago, they were free, but no more. Zumba® dance, spinning, boot camp, and yoga will cost you an extra $10 to $15 per session.

    This post originally ran on



  • Pueblo Bonito Pacifica , Los Cabos, Mexico


    The trip was so much fun! The resort was perfect.  It was just the right size so that you didn't feel like you had to have a map to find everything. It was beautiful and so peaceful. The grounds were so well taken care of and the employees were very nice. I have never been a huge fan of all inclusives but this may have changed my mind .  A lot of them seem to water down their drinks...(I really felt that at the Sandals resort) but definitely weren't at the Pacifica. The food was always very fresh tasting and I don't think I had anything that wasn't delicious.  


    The guys went fishing one day and caught several mahi mahi.  The resort has a cooking class, so we asked if we could have one with just us and cook our fish.  To our surprise, the chef that came was the executive chef.  He taught us how to cook the fish three ways and then we had it for lunch. It was so nice of him to do that for us.  We rode camels down the beach one day and afterwards they cooked us an authentic Mexican lunch with a tequila tasting.  We also went whale watching and saw a mama and her baby frolicking in the ocean. It was a great trip and everyone had a great time!  Thank you so much for all of your hard work in making it such a memorable trip! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone. 


  • Carnival Cruise Line- Faster to the Fun

    Our cruise on the Carnival Magic was good overall (good food, interesting/fun shore excursions, very nice dinner table mates), and the ship has a huge array of food options and entertainment venues.  Some couples even told us that they like the Magic so much that they take repeat cruises on it.There is one thing I strongly recommend: encourage your clients to take the "Faster to the Fun" package on Carnival, especially on large ships like the Magic.  That got past me this time and we paid the price:  we waited 2 1/2 hours in the embarkation line (sailing was delayed 2 hours due to an inbound medical emergency, and the nearly 4,000 passengers all seemed to be in line at the same time), and we were about 6 1/2 hours late disembarking yesterday (fog closed the port, plus our deck was the last one called to disembark.)  "Faster to the Fun" would definitely have saved us time on both ends.  Those booking cruises on Carnival really need to know that.

  • Sandals Regency La Toc St Lucia- "picture post card beautiful, with amazing views, great excursions and fun night life"

    I thought the island and the resort were so beautiful. The views, beaches and pools were amazing. I thought that overall the service was less than prompt. The service was sometimes slow and sometimes non existent. We had to request a different table one night at dinner, due to sitting for almost 15 minutes and no one waiting on us. We heard that people who were on their honeymoon or having a wedding had amazing service. The beach had several people who constantly pressured you to buy merchandise or excursions. These people would have made great waiters or bar tenders!!! I was at times nervous to leave Jennifer and Amy alone on the beach.  One thing that Jennifer pointed out was that the hotel staff was prompt. The room was cleaned and restocked every day. There was no complaints regarding the hotel side. Our only complaint regarding service was at the restaurants. Every meal was very good. I was looking forward to eating seafood every night. I had never been anywhere like this and didn't realize that they didn't have much to choose from.  Our choices for dinner were usually chicken, steak or some type of fish. There wasn't any where to eat shrimp, lobster or crab legs. This surprised me, but like I said every meal was very good.  I would describe this resort as picture post card beautiful, with amazing views, great excursions and fun night life. I would want better service and less pressure from people selling merchandise on the beach. The travel was long including the drive from the airport and back. However, knowing what to expect I would go back anytime for those amazing views and the beautiful beach.


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