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Family Friendly

couple-relaxing-at-sandals-resort

28 May Sandals and Beaches Resorts Introducing Layaway Plan

Sandals Resorts International has become the latest travel entity to join the layaway option. Sandals is introducing Layaway & Playaway, a payment plan similar to store layaway options that enable travelers to spread the cost of a trip to Sandals or Beaches vacation over time. There are no fees and no interest payments with the Sandals plan, which can be used at any of the 18 Sandals and Beaches resorts across the Caribbean.

How does it work?

Almost exactly the same as retail stores.  Travelers must make a minimum deposit of $49 per person when booking and then select a payment plan in which the payments can be made in installments – as few as three or as many as 24.  Book with a credit card and Sandals keeps the card on file and charges you automatically every 30 days no matter which plan you choose. Final payment must be paid in full 45 days prior to travel. Please call 1-888-963-8986 to learn more about the Layaway plan offered by Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.

New-Orleans

18 Mar 7 Reasons Why You Will Love Guided Vacations in the USA

7 Reasons Why You Will Love Guided Vacations in the USA

When you hear “guided vacations,” your mind almost undoubtedly goes straight to Europe. You already know this is a great way for you to discover faraway or unfamiliar places—all the details are taken care of, you have the guidance of an expert travel director and an amazing itinerary that combines iconic places with incredible experiences you didn’t even know existed. Doesn’t that sound like a great European vacation?

But wait, doesn’t that sound like a great vacation anywhere? All the reasons you love guided vacations in Europe will ring true anywhere your travels take you, even when exploring close to home right here in the U.S.

And explore close to home most Americans do. In fact, according to MMGY’s 2017 Portrait of American Travelers, domestic vacations made up 85 percent of total American vacations, with U.S. travelers taking 13.9 million more vacations in the U.S. than internationally.

For some Americans, a guided experience may seem superfluous since they are ‘home,’ but what they don’t know is how much they are missing traveling otherwise. Guided vacations make it possible for lifelong New Yorkers to experience the ways of authentic cowboys in the Great Plains, or for rural farmers to explore bustling cities guided by the comfort of locals. If you you are looking for iconic places, truly unique experiences and a seamless vacation, guided vacations are a great option worth considering.

Read on for 8 reasons your clients will love guided vacations in the U.S. (including reasons you’ll love to sell them!).

1. Exclusive access
There are high-demand places throughout the United States and the national parks regularly top that list. One of the highlights of visiting these incredible places is staying inside the park grounds, but these coveted stays are incredibly difficult to book as an independent traveler. I can’t tell you the number of times people have told me, I’ve tried to book a hotel inside the park, but it’s nearly impossible. The parks come to life in the late and early hours between day visitors and guided tour guests are the few who get to witness these incredible places in this authentic way. Animals graze outside your windows as you relax at night, and in the morning, there is no long, complicated drive to get in—you’re there, and before everyone else.

2. Bucket-list and beyond
The guided experience goes far beyond cool hotel stays. Well-known destinations like Las Vegas or New York City, while home to icons travelers from all over the world come to see, are also home to off-the-beaten-path attractions and activities even locals wouldn’t easily find without a guided vacation. The local guides know so much about their home cities. They point out things that you’ve never heard of. They explain parts of history that you may not have learned in school. You go to restaurants and special locations that a regular tourist wouldn’t know about—hidden gems.

To share an example in Utah; explaining that guests come excited about Zion and Bryce national parks, but a visit to the unusual Goblin Valley State Park surprises even those who have visited Utah before. Most have never heard of this place, with its strange goblin-like formations called hoodoos. It’s so cool to see, yet so many miss the opportunity.

3. Unique experiences
It’s one thing to see a destination, but it’s quite another to experience it. In today’s travel culture, cookie-cutter experiences are a definite no-no as travelers seek authenticity and connection to the places they visit. Jenn, of Trafalgar Tours, loves the reaction from her guests during these heartfelt encounters, like a meet-and-greet in South Dakota with Stephen Yellowhawk, of the Lakota tribe, who performs and shares stories about his Native American traditions during a private gathering just for them. “A genuine transformation takes place when our guests connect with Stephen as he shares his unique Native American heritage,” she says. “There is no substitute for spending time, real time, with locals. This is the power of guided travel.”

No matter where you travel in the United States, guided vacations allow you to make connections and enjoy experiences you simply couldn’t re-create on your own.

4. Perfection in planning
Independent travelers spend hours and hours researching and piecing together vacations. With guided vacations, the planning is done by a team of experts who meticulously craft each itinerary so you get the most out of your vacation time. In a time-deprived society, you can’t put a price on letting someone else to do the legwork. Our team have traveled extensively throughout these destinations, taking care to find the best possible experiences. And beyond the surface, there are dozens and dozens of people behind the scenes ensuring everything runs smoothly. You can rely on experts to deliver incredible vacations to you.

5. Lasting friendships
The human factor is a key part of any vacation, and with a guided vacation, travelers mingle and forge potentially long-lasting friendships. It is a known fact that travelers seek connection. One of the big benefits is the people you’re traveling with, from different walks of life and from around the United States and even around the world. The destinations are amazing, and when you tie that in with great conversation, great company and great people, you feel part of a community, and you feel comfortable and relaxed.

6. Unmistakable value
As if there weren’t enough reasons to love guided vacations, they are a tremendous value.  Guided Vacations are a very good value, since most things are included. Everything is taken care of and you simply just enjoy the experience. You don’t have to worry about being nickel-and-dimed because you know exactly what your guided vacation is going to cost.

7. Stress-free all the way
Travelers who book guided vacations can rest assured that they’ll be taken care of every step of the way. All-in-all, guided vacations are a great fit for travelers looking to enjoy memorable vacation experiences throughout the United States.

Search for Guided Tours and Vacations

Family-Vacation-Packages

07 Feb Announcing our New Family Travel Collection

Here at Travel is SWELL, we believe that travel is essential for a happy life—and of course, it’s better together. Taking trips with family can be life-changing, but with so many different desires for the ideal vacation experience, it requires some careful advance planning. That’s where your Travel Designer comes in! Our Family Travel collection provides you and your Travel Designer a vast selection of exciting destinations, luxurious accommodations, and delightful amenities and activities to suit every unique member of your family. From boutique resorts offering relaxation away from home, to expansive residences perfect for multi-generational adventurers, this collection is sure to inspire your next vacation experience, with amazing memories in store for the whole family.

 

We Invite You to Preview Our New Family Travel Collection

margaritaville-island-reserve-by-karisma

07 Feb Introducing the All-New Margaritaville® Island Reserve By Karisma, Riviera Cancun

Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville® Island Reserve By Karisma, Riviera Cancun provides the perfect setting for guests who want to escape the everyday with a tropical change in latitude. Margaritaville® Island Reserve By Karisma, Riviera Cancun is unique in that it has all the world- class amenities of a luxurious, all-inclusive hotel coupled with a laid-back, beachy vibe – making it the perfect place for people who value exceptional quality without any pretense.

From the moment guests enter the property, they are greeted with a welcome refreshment and flip flops and are immediately transported to a seaside paradise. Whether guests want to spend the day relaxing in one of our beach hammocks, partaking in margarita inspired spa treatments, or celebrating that it’s always 5 o’Clock somewhere with a poolside margarita, there are unique, authentic experiences for all.

With exceptional Island Reserve Inclusive restaurants, specialty bars, and daily live music, Margaritaville® Island Reserve By Karisma Riviera Cancun is a place to raise a glass and take a bite out of paradise.  With all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Margaritaville Island Reserve grants
guests a license to chill, relax and unwind. By the end of their stay, guests will leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and daydreaming about their next stay in paradise.

Resort highlights include Rita’s Taco House, serving traditional Mexican fare with phenomenal ocean views, S.O.S. (Stranded on a Sand Bar) Swim Up Bar complete with hanging beds, Blended where guests can whip up their favorite fresh fruit on a bike blender or the oceanfront, adults-only License to Chill Bar, for a relaxing day lounging beachside. Our St. Somewhere Spa, with over 8,000 square feet of treatment areas, offers guests the chance to delight in tropical-inspired treatments which take relaxation to the next level.  The property’s intimate size plays a major role in providing an experience which encompasses a thoughtful expression of the Margaritaville essence with plenty of space to seek refuge. A team of Island Ambassadors will ensure that every guest’s vacation is entertaining and memorable. A concierge, vacation-planner and catalyst for fun, these experts are on-call to answer questions, take requests and to make guests smile throughout their stay.

 

Accommodations

Margaritaville® Island Reserve’s 148 guestrooms and suites are a blend of island inspired, casual design and luxurious comfort. Influenced by the colors of the sea, sand and sky, the accommodations offer bedding with crisp all-white linens, custom furnishings accompanied by subtle maritime accents, ensuring maximum comfort and total relaxation. All rooms have a “no worries” tropical vibe with modern conveniences that make them comfortable and relaxing along with the special indulgences that make them uniquely Margaritaville®.  A first-of-its-kind offering exclusive to Margaritaville® Island Reserve, every room will have a complimentary in-room bar experience. Guests can treat themselves to their favorite drinks, complete with all the glassware and tools needed for true personalization. Whether enjoying a morning coffee, mimosa, mid-day beer, or a frozen margarita on your balcony at sunset, nothing beats the comfort, privacy and convenience of this experience. Best of all, there is an extensive variety of items included and available to customize your in-room bar experience at Joe Merchant’s Coffee & Provisions located in the main lobby.

Margaritaville-Reserve-jr-suite

All accommodations open to a balcony complete with Adirondack chairs or day bed, overlooking either the Caribbean Sea, pools, or gardens, perfect for relaxing with morning coffee or a signature beverage.  The resort offers 9 styles of rooms and suites, allowing guests to choose the perfect setting for their vacation experience including ocean front and swim-up suites with direct access to the swimming pools. All guest rooms and suites are provided with air conditioning, smart TV, either one king bed, two queen beds, or one king + pull out sofa bed, safety deposit box, amenity kit, direct dialing telephone, deluxe bathrobes, rain forest shower head, hairdryer and vanity mirror.

Margaritaville-Reserve-Compass-Bar

Restaurants

Indulge in delectable dishes at the Margaritaville and Karisma inspired restaurants and bars. Guests can enjoy meals with the utmost confidence in knowing that a team of expert chefs are prepared to cater to all dietary requirements throughout each and every dining experience.

THE BEACH HOUSE
Located beachside, this open-air Caribbean inspired restaurant serves international fares from our mouthwatering food display. From early morning to
late night, all to be enjoyed in an upscale yet casual atmosphere, ideal for family and friends.
Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Open 6:30 am – 9:30 pm

RITA’S TACO HOUSE
With a spectacular ocean front deck, Rita’s Taco House redefines the joy of Mexican tacos and beach inspired fares. Enjoy some of the finest agave-based beverages in the Riviera Maya and be sure not to miss our mariachi nights with live local performances.
Lunch & Dinner
Open 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm

FRANK & LOLA’S – ITALIAN TRATTORIA
Serving handcrafted, authentic and exquisitely prepared Italian cuisine, Frank & Lola’s is the resort’s premium dining experience. Our house made pasta is a must, accompanied by a wine from our extensive Wine Spectator awarded wine list. Reservations are recommended. To enhance the overall dining experience, we request no men’s tank tops, baseball caps or swimwear.
Dinner 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm

LATINO – FUSION CUISINE
Latino offers the best of two culinary cultures where Latin flavors meet Asian spices and preparations. The restaurant offers fresh, locally sourced ingredients for creative dishes, intriguing flavors and fun presentations. Dinner 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm

St. Somewhere Spa, By Karisma

Welcome to St. Somewhere Spa, featuring 8,000 square feet of rest and relaxation, including an exclusive Couples Suite and Bridal Suite, an expansive hydrotherapy area, and a full-service beauty salon. Facilities include an herbal steam room, dry sauna and chromotherapy shower. Dedicated to overall wellbeing, St. Somewhere Spa, by Karisma presents tropical-inspired offerings designed to awaken the senses, strengthen circulation, soothe nerves, improve digestion and balance metabolism.

Fins Up! Fitness Center

Fitness can be fun at Margaritaville® Island Reserve by Karisma Riviera Cancun.  Enjoy a morning outdoor yoga or stretching session to start your day. Stay fit in style with a workout at our fitness facility. Accessible and welcoming for those who want to re-energize, tone, or embark upon a new workout challenge, we offer a variety of cardiovascular and strength training equipment. Fins Up! Fitness has everything necessary to make indulging worth it, helping travelers stay on top of their fitness goals, even in Paradise. Learn more about Margaritaville® Island Reserve by Karisma Riviera Cancun.

guided-tours

02 Feb Touring 101

So, what exactly is a tour?

If you’re new to travel, you may be unclear on some of our terms. A tour? That’s what rock stars go on, right? Not exactly. Travelers looking to experience the wonders of the world go on tours, too. To help you understand this rewarding style of travel, we’ve broken down the components of a tour and how people just like you are the VIPs. We invite you to learn more about escorted tours and guided tours.

touring101

Xolumado-cottage

26 Nov Experience the All-New Xolumado Inspiration Village

Experience the all-new Xolumado Village, an inspirational luxury retreat in the heart of a tropical paradise.  Xolumado Village is an inspirational retreat located amidst tropical lush gardens. Here, you will encounter a place of peace, stillness, inspiration, art and music all in harmony with nature. Surrounded by mangrove and beautiful, natural vegetation, Xolumado is a true fairy tale setting, full of romance and attention to detail everywhere you turn.

Xolumado Village is an inspirational village located amidst tropical lush gardens and world class, AAA 4-Diamond Karisma Resort – Generations Riviera Maya. Here, you will encounter a place of peace, stillness, inspiration, art and music all in harmony with nature. Surrounded by mangrove and beautiful, natural vegetation, Xolumado is a true fairytale setting, full of romance and attention to detail everywhere you turn.  From the moment you walk in, you will feel an ambience of peace and creativity in a 2.5 acre brimming with tropical vegetation, flowers and birds that coexist here and have made this their home.

There are gardens and pathways bordering the cottages, intertwining to join at the pool area which is inspired by the Orient with both Mexican and local art. A great choice to get away from it all or to practice meditation, with a style very much in harmony with its surroundings.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Xolumado features 20 cottages divided in two categories, each with a unique décor. All accommodations are provided with two queen bed, air conditioning, ceiling fan, night table, radio/alarm clock, safety deposit box, private bath, 48” Flat Screen TV with cable, terrace with a table and 2 chairs, hammocks (upon request).

Zen Garden Suite
Spacious suites with two queen beds, connecting doors and main door, TV, living space, contemporary bathroom with double sinks and glass enclosed showers. Perfect for families or friends traveling together looking to be delighted by the natural surroundings and enchanting bird songs with a private balcony among the pine. Enjoy the warmth of traditional Mexican home.
Max occupancy: 2 adults + 2 children

Tranquility Suite
Spacious suites with the perfect combination of two Zen Garden rooms connected and own main door, each with two queen beds, connecting doors and main door, TV, living space, contemporary bathroom with double sinks and glass enclosed showers. Perfect for families or friends traveling together looking to be delighted by the natural surroundings and enchanting bird songs with a private balcony among the pine. Enjoy the warmth of traditional Mexican home.
Max occupancy: 4 adults + 4 children

XOLUMADO PACKAGE FEATURES:

  • Accommodations as selected with bathroom amenities included
  • 1 swimming pool
  • Valet parking Service
  • Daily room cleaning

OTHER FACILITIES AND SERVICES
(NOT INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE – EXTRA COST)

  • Gift Shop
  • Car rental
  • Candle light dinners on the beach
  • International wine selection
  • Laundry service
  • Money Exchange
  • Medical services (available 24 hours a day)
  • Wedding, honeymoon and anniversary packages
  • Tennis Lessons, Group Clinics, Private Lessons
  • Optional In Room Amenities & Packages
  • ATM –USD only
  • Fully Equipped Spa
  • Gourmet Inclusive Package with free access to the facilities and services of Generations Riviera Maya
  • Tours and excursions inside outside the property

BONANZA RANCH

Horseback Riding Stables located within the premises, offers exciting and unique way to get in touch of the true nature of the Mayan Riviera with its two-hour guided tour along jungle trails to encounter one of the marvels of the Yucatan Peninsula: The Mayan Cenotes. Commonly known as sinkholes where you can jump in for a refreshing dip in the crisp, cool waters. Healthy, well trained horses appropriate for people with little or no experience at horseback riding. Semi-private tours consist of groups up to 12 riders, ensuring that everyone receives personal attention from friendly, knowledgeable guides.

WEDDINGS

We are the wedding specialist in the Riviera Maya, with on-site professional coordinators we are fully equipped to take the challenges of planning a wedding celebration and turn them into the joyous occasion that it should be. Beautiful and unique ceremony locations, including a private event at Shidartha Plaza, Amstar Plaza or Buda Plaza, beach front chapel. Our distinguished service was created to enhance the experience and allow the bride, groom, family and friends to have not just a day celebration, but a lifetime of memories.

Learn More About Xolumado Village…..

sandos-caracol-eco-resort

18 Mar The Sandos Hotels & Resorts experience

The Sandos Hotels & Resorts experience

Experience all-inclusive done right with Sandos Hotels & Resorts. These amazing Mexico resorts offers something for everyone at outstanding values.

Experience boutique luxury at the Sandos Cancun Lifestyle Resort, a lifestyle resort with spectacular views, gourmet food, and warm, white sand beaches.

Have an eco-experience at the Rainforest Alliance-rated Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort on the unspoiled beaches of the Riviera Maya.

Experience the world’s best beaches amid the excitement of Los Cabos at the Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos or the secluded Sandos Playacar Beach Resort just outside Playa del Carmen.

Sandos Caracol and Sandos Playacar

Immerse yourself in paradise and nature at our truly unique all inclusive resorts in Playa del Carmen. At Sandos Caracol, you and your family can dive in a natural cenote, enjoy the beach and have fun at the water park. On the other side, at Sandos Playacar, there is something for everyone, like mini golf, the oceanfront water park for children, a teen club and amazing night performances.

Water Park

Sandos Caracol has 19 slides ranging from towering kamikaze slides to small child-friendly ones, while Sandos Playacar has a brand-new oceanfront water park for children.

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The Beach and Nature

The white-sand beach is the perfect spot to relax or have fun by renting kayaks, paddle boards and snorkeling gear, or even organizing a dive trip. At Sandos Playacar, people can also have fun with a different beach party every single day. Sandos Caracol is perfect for enjoying a dive in a natural cenote, exploring jungle-lined rivers and seeing animals roaming around.

sandos-carcol

Accommodations

Choose between fully furnished, spacious villas and up to five different family room options ranging from standard rooms to breathtaking penthouse suites.

Food & Drink

Enjoy authentic cuisine from Mexico, France, Thailand, Japan, France, Brazil, Italy or Argentina, plus beach and pool bars, and much more.

Entertainment

Aside from the water park and swimming pools, there are plenty of daily activities such as mini golf, beach volleyball, water polo, tennis, jungle walks, yoga sessions and more. There’s even a fully-supervised Kids Club, plus every night there are exciting performances.

Spa del Mar

Escape on a journey of relaxation and rejuvenation inside the Spa del Mar, with its Jacuzzi and outdoor hydrotherapy area. Book yourself for a session of self-indulgence or visit to the beauty salon.

Learn more about Sandos Resorts

Ski-Vacation

28 Feb Have You Ever Considered a Ski Vacation?

For those who enjoy outdoor adventure, scenic vistas and idyllic mountain towns, ski vacations are the perfect trip! No prior ski experience required.

About ski vacations

Few trips can compete with the adventure and scenery of a ski vacation. The memories you make on a ski trip are the ones that will last you a lifetime. Ski vacations mean something a little different to everyone. Some people simply love the thrill of sliding on snow, others appreciate the scenic chairlift rides or the awe-inspiring summit views most. Many others enjoying experiencing the down-to-earth, mountain-town culture. Plenty of skiers and snowboarders cite après-ski as their favorite aspect of ski vacation, which can be everything from a lip-smacking, comfort-food to a wild dance party to a cold beer in a hot tub. Still, many ski vacationers enjoy the many attractions that ski resorts and mountain towns supply from fine-dining and shopping to fun outdoor activities like snow tubing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and snowshoeing. Discover your favorite aspect of a ski vacation this winter. Give me call or shoot me an email to get started.

Where should I go?

These days, most major ski resorts offer a laundry list of on- and off-mountain experiences, services and amenities. You can expect high-touch services, like free on-mountain tours; state-of-the-art facilities, like spacious lodges, ski school centers and cutting-edge lifts, gondolas and trams; and awesome activities, like groomed, lift-accessed snow tubing, snowmobile excursions and festive outdoor ice rinks. Additionally, world-class resorts offer a stacked-list of events, parties, festivals and concerts, which provide the perfect cherry on top of an awesome ski vacation. All of this and more is commonplace at modern ski resorts.

Choosing the right resort for you comes down to a couple things: your budget, the type of terrain you want to ski or ride, the atmosphere you want to be surrounded by and how easy it is to get there. Some people prefer end-of-the-road resorts, while others crave the convenience and high-energy buzz of well-visited destinations.

I can book more than 120 mountain resorts worldwide and 4,000 properties so your options are truly endless. Unlike a beach vacation, a ski trip requires more planning and coordination and that’s where I come in! You could spend hours and hours doing online research to collect information and comparing what you find. I’m here to do it for you and provide my very best recommendations.

If you know your budget and have an idea of your preferred travel dates, we can get started on your ski vacation right away. If you would like to discuss all the options available to you, give me a call or shoot me an email and I can answer any questions you might have.

Contact Elite Travel Consulting at 1-888-963-8986 to learn more about Ski Vacations or visit Ski.com

21 Feb Introducing: The New All-Fun Inclusive Hotel Xcaret Mexico!

Five miles from Playa del Carmen in the heart of the Riviera Maya, a new hotel concept is born: Hotel Xcaret Mexico, a natural haven by the Caribbean Sea and the mystic jungle—inspired by the warmth of true Mexican hospitality, full of both tradition and modernity.

Enjoy the best of Mexico, with unlimited access to Xcaret parks and tours: Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xoximilco, Xenses, Xenotes, and Xichen; with transportation included and a meal plan offered by each attraction. The ALL-FUN INCLUSIVE® program transforms the traditional all-inclusive into a unique experience!   Learn More…..