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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.


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


09 Jan Five Great Vacation Ideas For Super-Active Kids

If your child has ADHD, having a “relaxing” family vacation can be challenging — but it can be done. Here are a few vacation ideas that can help keep super-active kids happily occupied while also letting the whole family have fun.

Theme parks:

Theme parks are designed for kids—full of rides and child-friendly activities. They are one of the top family vacation ideas for kids with ADHD. TIP: Due to long lines, it’s a good idea to figure out beforehand which activities to do. Consider going on an off-peak day or week.

All-inclusive resorts or cruises:

Kid-friendly resorts and cruises are another vacation option for active kids. Both often have group activities for kids.TIP: When researching your options, check to be sure they offer the kind of activities your child enjoys.

National parks:

Enjoy the outdoors? Going to a national park can be a great family getaway and is often affordable. Being outside can offer kids with ADHD space and freedom to have fun. Spending time in nature is also good for your child — many kids with ADHD find “green time” to be a much needed break.TIP: Be sure to bring games and toys for any down time, like when it rains.

Farms and dude ranches:

Ranches and farms both tend to offer a variety of things to do throughout the day, such as collecting eggs, milking cows and riding horses, which will keep everyone active.TIP: Look for a ranch or a farm with plenty of organized activities to keep your child busy.


Zooming down a hill on skis can be thrilling for active kids. Going to a ski resort is also a great winter outing.TIP: Look for a resort with lots of different activities the family can try, such as toboggan rides or ice skating, in case the novelty of skiing wears off.

Whatever vacation you end up choosing, a little preparation can help you avoid travel challenges, like sticking to your child’s usual routine for eating and sleeping. Kids with ADHD do best with a set routine.

We would like to thank Understood.org for this wonderful article. Learn about Autism Travel.


15 Nov Understanding the 5 Types of Autism

Types of Autism

 To fully understand autism, you must first understand the different types of disorders.

Types of Autism

  1. Asperger’s Syndrome
    Children with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to struggle to understand and interpret social cues, develop intense, often obsessive interests in one or two subjects and often display a higher-than-average and even gifted intelligence. Although children with Asperger’s can suffer from sensory integration difficulties, like sensitivity to tags on shirts or seams on socks, they do not usually have delayed speech. In fact, many children with Asperger’s Syndrome have an advanced vocabulary for their age.Due to its subjective nature, some children with Asperger’s Syndrome receive an initial misdiagnosis because other conditions resemble it, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. Parents can help children with Asperger’s Syndrome by locating social skills classes, taking part in behavioral modification for any obsessive tendencies, possibly altering diet to remove preservatives, gluten, artificial sugars and food coloring, and looking into differentiated curriculum for advanced learners.
  2. Rett Syndrome
    This type of progressive autism only affects girls and begins to become apparent when they reach about 6 months old. Typical symptoms of Rett Syndrome start with several characteristics found in other forms of autism, including repetitive hand and arm flapping, delayed speech and problems with fine and gross motor skills.More severe symptoms start to appear as the child gets older. These can include difficulties breathing, mental retardation, grinding teeth, seizures and growth delays. Girls with Rett Syndrome usually need lifelong care. Treatment includes physical therapy to help increase mobility and straighten limbs, occupational therapy to reduce involuntary movements and to promote self care, speech therapy, diet modification and certain medications to control seizures.
  3. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)
    You may have heard stories of children who seem to develop normally — meeting all of their milestones — but then suddenly start regressing around the age of 2. This type of autism — CDD — can feel devastating and confusing for parents. Children often show no signs of developmental delays whatsoever, then out of the blue will stop talking, stop making eye contact and often completely lose the ability to socially interact with others. Doctors have seen a connection between this rare form of autism and seizure disorders. Parents can help kids with CDD through early intervention involving behavioral modification, dietary changes, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
  4. Kanner’s Syndrome
    Also called Classic Autistic Disorder, children with Kanner’s Syndrome usually demonstrate what many people consider the standard behaviors of autism. These include difficulty understanding and communicating with others, limited to no eye contact, hypersensitivity to noises, touch, light and smell and a strong preference for routine.Children with this more common type of autism often seem absorbed in their own world and have little to no interested in interacting with the world around them. Children with this form of autism can benefit from a weekly immersion program that incorporates different forms of cognitive and occupational therapies with social skill development.
  5. Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
    This more mild form of autism can cause children to have social or developmental delays, like walking or talking later than most children. Children with PDD-NOS often learn to cope with their developmental and social challenges more easily than children with more severe forms of autism. Like Asperger’s Syndrome, children with PDD-NOS can benefit from social skills classes, dietary changes and occupational therapy.
Beaches Negril Resort, Jamaica

14 Sep Beaches Negril Wins EarthCheck Award

Beaches Negril Beach Resort & Spa has been recognized for its environmental efforts by EarthCheck, a leading certification and benchmarking organization, which has rewarded the resort with a Platinum level certification.  As a result of having consistently demonstrated its commitment to host communities and high standards of environmental care over a period of ten consecutive years, Beaches Negril has joined an elite number of organizations around the world in achieving the highest level of EarthCheck Certification.

“This achievement highlights the long term commitment that Sandals Resorts has shown to the communities and environment of the Caribbean,” explained EarthCheck CEO Stewart Moore.  “They’re well ahead of most governments and industry players globally as a result of their efforts, and serve as a leader in the field of sustainable practices.”

Beaches Negril chose meaningful approaches to sustainable tourism, involving the use of EarthCheck’s science-based software and tools to measure the effectiveness of its environmental and corporate social responsibility practices over the past decade.

Beaches Negril Resort, Jamaica

About Beaches Negril:
Located amidst twenty lush acres fragrant with the scent of jasmine, and rich with tropical flora, lies an enchanting resort. Classic island architecture effortlessly brings the outside in, blending fine woods and polished marble with the dramatic detailing of stone arches and hand-painted domed frescoes. Beaches Negril Beach Resort & Spa is a world-class beach resort, with a caring staff that warmly treats you as family. Discover a host of unending amenities and services… day and night… on land or at sea… all included.


12 Dec Worst Airlines for Accessible Travel

Wheelchair Users Will Soon Know the Worst Airlines for Travel

This month a new federal law goes into effect requiring airlines to declare how many wheelchairs or motorized scooters they damage or lose.

This new rule will essentially allow wheelchair users to check a government website to find out which carriers are better or worse at handling their wheelchairs, an important item to their independence and mobility.

“It’s really consumer-empowering,” U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth told the Daily Herald. Duckworth is a war veteran and Hoffman Estates Democrat who helped pass legislation to speed up this new federal law.

Duckworth herself has had two wheelchairs break on flights between Washington and O’Hare International Airport. In one instance, the solid titanium rod that connects the seat and the frame had been broken and when she sat in it and she sunk to the ground.

“It’s 5 inches long and 1-inch square. I don’t understand how it could be snapped,” Duckworth said.

She was offered an inferior model that didn’t even allow Duckworth to roll herself in it.

“My wheelchair is my legs and it can’t be easily substituted.”

Before this new rule went into effect, it was unclear how many wheelchairs airlines had damaged or lost.

“We know there were 32,445 disability-related complaints of any kind filed with domestic and foreign air carriers in 2016,” said Liz Deakin, spokeswoman for the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Airlines must report damaged or lost wheelchairs starting this month. The data will be available to travelers in February at the U.S. DOT’s Consumer Air Travel Reports website.

More by Alex Temblador

12 Dec Florida attractions, accommodations striving for greater accessibility

Over the past several months, I’ve received close to a dozen press releases about attractions, accommodations and events around the Sunshine State that are making changes to their offerings or programming to make travel easier and more accessible for guests with disabilities.

For example, Legoland offers a “Blue Hero” pass to allow no-wait access to attractions and rides for families with autistic children. Saturdays at the Miami Children’s Museum are now sensory-friendly, and the Orlando Repertory Theatre adjusts several of its shows each season to a sensory-friendly environment. Sesame Place, which originated in Pennsylvania but will be added as a “land” to SeaWorld Orlando in 2019, was the first theme park certified as an autism center, featuring specialized attractions for children on the spectrum.

There’s clearly a course-correction being made in tourism for families with disabled children and for disabled adult guests. In the case of autism, the numbers speak for themselves: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 59 children will be identified as being on the autism spectrum. Alice Horn, CEO of VillaKey, a vacation rental company that specifically markets to families with autistic children, said, “Families with disabled children need an extra layer of support, and they need help establishing a comfort level even with the idea of traveling.” Out of VillaKey’s 1,200 rental properties, most of which are in Miami and Orlando, 250 of them are specifically intended for families with autistic children.

Horn worked with the University of Miami’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities on a focus group about families with children on the spectrum and travel. “There was a desire for these families to travel, but there were needs that weren’t being met,” she noted. VillaKey is now the first vacation rental company to be autism certified by the IBCCES, the leading organization for standards revolving around cognitive disorders.

VillaKey’s sensory-friendly properties, which range from $120 per night to well over $600 per night, depending on location and size, are chosen for their quiet locations, soothing decor in calming colors, lights on dimmers and extra security such as fenced pools, doors with chimes or alarms for wandering children. Many are pet-friendly, as some families have service or support animals, and all have kitchens for families with kids on special diets and cook familiar foods.

Autism is just one aspect of these “ability-driven” tourism adjustments. Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach is now giving tours in American Sign Language. Hannah Campbell, associate director of education at Loggerhead, said, “It’s critical that we strive for equal accessibility to the tools and resources we offer individuals to make informed choices and take responsible action regarding the environment.” Creating equal opportunities that enable deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to connect with the center’s mission to protect and conserve ocean ecosystems is essential, which drove the center to include sign language tours in their offerings.

At Loggerhead , the field operations assistant, Jennifer Reilly, who is a member of the deaf community herself, developed the translated content for the tours. “She continues to seek ways to connect the deaf and hard-of-hearing community with our conservation messaging,” said Campbell. Additionally deaf and hard-of-hearing accessible on-campus programming and virtual resources are forthcoming. Guests who have participated in the sign language tours have provided positive feedback, “particularly because they have experienced limited knowledge and access to the field of marine conservation in the past,” said Campbell.

Organizations that market to people with physical disabilities are also expanding their offerings. Special Needs Group, a company that works with physically handicapped travelers to deliver and demonstrate wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and other equipment, recently unveiled a “white glove service” initiative at Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises terminals in Florida.

Andrew Garnett, president and CEO of Special Needs Group, said, “So many people automatically think that they cannot travel if they cannot walk as far as they used to or maybe they have started using oxygen. We want to get the word out that anyone who wants to travel can go and enjoy the trip.” To Garnett, the biggest gains in physical accessibility have been made in cruise travel as well as theme parks.

“There is still work to do, but a person with a special need who has a successful and enjoyable trip to your hotel, attraction or event will be your customer for life and will tell everyone they know how great your brand or location is,” he said.

Horn agreed and touted her connections to travel agents who either specialize in special-needs travel or have diversified their skill set to include special-needs travel. “There are 11 million families who have at least one child on the autism spectrum,” she said. “It makes good business sense to assist this market, but it also allows opportunities for accessibility to those who may have never been able to participate in tourism before.”

Courtesy of Holly V. Kapherr