Clearing Your Bucket List While on a Budget

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Clearing Bucket List

One of the biggest questions I get as a Travel Professional is, “How can I take multiple trips in a single year while on a budget?” Often this question leads to a broad range of answers depending on the traveler.

Today I m going to share with you how you can clear your bucket list while on a budget and still travel frequently in one single year.
So, we’ve all heard of the credit card pyramid when it comes to paying off credit cards, right? In case you haven’t, the credit card pyramid gives you a more assuring way to pay off your credit cards by listing all of your credit card balances and placing the card with the lowest remaining balance on top and following in an order where the credit card having the highest remaining balance is at the bottom hence, pyramid.

That same strategy applies to your Travel Bucket list! Let’s say South Africa, Paris and Jamaica are all on your Travel Bucket List. Honestly, we know that Jamaica will most likely be the most affordable between the 3 and that South Africa will, in fact, be the most expensive. So, what you want to do is, place Jamaica on top then Paris and finally South Africa. Now, remember, this example is being used so that you can clear your bucket list and still take other trips within a single year.

Next, you want to list the prices of each vacation and how long you are staying. This effort becomes extremely helpful as it will also allow you to determine just how long you really “need” to stay in each destination. Finally, note the dates so that when mapping out your financial plan, you’ll have available the dates your working with.

Now that we’ve created our pyramid and we know that Jamaica will be our first destination, we now need to know how many payments are needed in order to pay off the trip so that 1-2 more trips can fit into our plan. So, what you want to do is, take the total of the trip and divide by 6( 6 months is the normal payoff time given by most travel agencies) to give you the monthly payment amount. So for instance, let’s say you decide to stay @ the Riu Ocho Rios for 6 days /5 Nights with a total package price of $1,300. If you divide $1,300/6 you should get a total monthly payment of $216.

Now that you know how much your trip to Jamaica will be in addition to the monthly payments and how long you have to pay the trip off, you can easily understand your financial status with regards to taking additional trips within the same year. This strategy will also help you not become over whelmed or quickly accept that you can’t afford to travel. This same strategy also helps me when I plan travel. I testify that it works!

All-Inclusive vs Air Inclusive:Is There a Difference?

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Often, when speaking with clients and customers who inquire about a Caribbean vacation package, the first thing they’ll mention is “we want to have an All-Inclusive vacation”. When asked would they like to include air, the idea of having an All-Inclusive vacation is yet, reiterated and judging by their tone, we can tell that its assumed All-Inclusive means Air Inclusive, too! Below I’ve defined the difference between these two commonly misunderstood vacation values so that you’ll understand what each one means and how you’ll benefit from the option you choose.

All-Inclusive Defined
An All-Inclusive vacation consists of a variety of amenities and perks that the resort is willing to offer guests for a flat rate. At most, having an All-Inclusive vacation in addition to your choose of room category will consist of the following:
Unlimited Food
Unlimited Drinks
Alcoholic Beverages(Some Resorts offer in-room mini bars)
Daily & Nightly Entertainment
Beach Activities
Non-Motorized Water Sports
Gratuities

In luxury resorts like Sandals, Couples and Beaches, Round Trip Ground Transfers are often included with the All-Inclusive features above.

Air Inclusive
The ugly truth about Air-Inclusive packages is that it does NOT constitute by any means your vacation is All-Inclusive. Air Inclusive packages, in a nutshell, simply means that you chose to purchase air when your hotel or other form of lodging was booked. And that you chose to purchase your lodging and air transportation together in effort to save money hence, air inclusive.

In sum, you can purchase an Air-Inclusive package traveling to islands like Jamaica & Dominican Republic without purchasing an All-Inclusive package! And, if you purchase an All-Inclusive package, you can do so without having to purchase an Air Inclusive package!

Further, there is actually no similarities between having an All-Inclusive vacation and an Air Inclusive vacation.

The difference is this: All-Inclusive vacations offer you a choice of select amenities and perks at a flat rate. The main reason most travelers choose All-Inclusive packages is because what’s included would otherwise have to be paid for anyway. Air Inclusive, on the other hand, simply says that you chose air to be added to your travel package.

So the question remains is there a difference between All-Inclusive and Air Inclusive Vacations? You bet it is!

Carry On…Keep The Change!

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So your ready to pack for vacation but now your hindered by the thought of the check baggage fee. Lots of thoughts come to mind including how to pack so that you can carry on and avoid the fee. No matter how many times you’ve rearranged your packed items to make everything fit, it just doesn’t seem like you can avoid checking your bags in. Sounds familiar?

Many times we’re so excited about traveling and landing some place we’ve never been that we actually pack as if we’re not coming back home! I know I’ve been guilty of this in the past. Below I’ve shared some tips and suggestions on how to pack light by only bringing items and clothing you will actually need while on vacation. If you lighten your bag by packing only the essentials, you can actually save $50 or more per trip!
Tip # 1 – Where Are You Going and for How LONG?
Ding! Ding! Ding! The magic question! Pack your bags according to your length of stay. For instance, if traveling to Las Vegas and staying for only 4 days/3nights, chances are you’ll only need 4 rounds of clothing; 2 outfits for during the day and 2 for night life or formal events. The same applies if your traveling to the Caribbean Islands. In fact, here is where you’ll most likely pack more swim clothes and less every day or night life clothes. This will lighten up your carry on and make all ways possible!
Tip# 2 – Apply The Shirt to Pants Rule
The Shirt to Pants rule applies even when traveling and especially if you want to pack where you’ll avoid paying an additional $50 or more roundtrip for your luggage to fly. Basically, the rule says this: for every 2 pairs of pants or shorts, you can pack 3-4 shirts that will match them making it look as if you have 3-4 different outfits! I’ve also used this rule when packing footwear. Pack sandals, sneakers, shoes and flipflops according to how they match the clothes your packing. Also, don’t be ashamed to bring your favorite pair of sneakers or shoes. If they fall apart while your traveling, at least that’s one less thing to bring back. Or, you can always use that as the perfect excuse to buy another pair while on your journey!
Tip #3- Footwear in Bag First
There was a time where I would throw my footwear on top of the clothes I put in my luggage and wondered why it would never close or would appear bulky. Later, I discovered that if I placed my footwear in a draw string bag and then place them in my luggage, it would afford more space and wouldn’t appear bulky. So, my final suggestion is to place your footwear in a bag first then into your luggage.
To recap, avoiding check baggage fees is doable. You can pack your luggage only using a carryon bag if your mindful of what your packing. To do so, you have to consider your destination, your length of stay and match your length of stay with how much clothes and items you’ll actually need. Remember, you can always buy things along the way so you don’t have to pack up your entire wardrobe for the trip!

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3X’s A Charm In The “Sin City”!

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Having the likes of many of my clients, I wanted a quick getaway; nothing too expensive and certainly not for too long. My determination to getaway before the Christmas holiday landed me in Fabulous Las Vegas! Since I didn’t want to take this last minute getaway alone in part because my agency had such a good bargain on Vegas vacations in December, I decided to invite 13 others to join me! My stay in Las Vegas was as exciting this time as it was 6 months prior when I had visited!

Onboard US Airways Flight 435 approaching McCarran International Airport. Preparing for landing. Vegas here we come!
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Checking in @ Flamingo Las Vegas, our host resort for this Fabulous Weekend Getaway! But not before we check out the Flamingos!

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Ahhhh…at last! Off to my room after a 5 hour NON STOP flight that left Philadelphia, PA @ 7:50 AM! This room is the FAB Deluxe w/ King. Room #15029. Yup, a FIVE digit room number!

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Some members of my group were in the Go Luxury Double Room. Niiiiiiiiice!!!!

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For most people, seeing the resort and your room upon arrival is part of the top 10 high lights of their trip. So, after we all marked off seeing our rooms, it was time to enjoy what the “Sin City” had to offer! Our first stop was down stairs in the Flamingo Las Vegas to eat @ Carlos & Charlies, a Mexican Bar & Grille inside the resort. Their menu is good. Pretty average and so were their prices. Try to dine during Happy Hour so that you can take advantage of their 2 for 1 drink specials.

CHEERS!
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Walking the strip is fun and heck, you’ll even walk away a pound or 2 lighter with all the attractions and activities that are available via foot!
After leaving Carlos & Charlies, it was time to walk off the food! So, we decided to spend the afternoon checking out all of the sites on the strip. Here’s what we came to when we arrived in front of the Venetian Resort…Can you see the leaves moving?

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Of all the resorts that I’ve actually walked through on the Las Vegas Strip, none fascinate me more than The Venetian and Caesars Palace. This statue (pardon my ignorance as I m not sure of what it is) sits in the Reservations Lobby of Caesars Palace. Walk past the statue, bear left and to the Forum Shoppes for a day of shopping you go!

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There are a hosts of attractions & activities, shows and entertainment to keep even the most unhappy person satisfied in Las Vegas. From shows to gaming. From fine dining to luxury shopping trips. From budget friendly adventures to top notch and personal tours. No one visiting Las Vegas will ever come back unhappy unless of course, they just want to! If your visiting the “Sin City” any time soon, here are my recommendations…
Try to leave on a weekend and return on a week day if at all possible. Our agency ran a good deal during the time we traveled(12/16-12/19/12) and we were able to book each of the travelers who went @ $288 per person double INCLUDING air and $325 per person single INCLUDING air.
If you want to be in the area of the strip where everything goes down, you want to stay @ The Flamingo Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, Harrahs, Bally’s, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, The Venetian, Wynn, Encore or the Quad Resort formaley Imperial Palace Resort.
If your looking for resorts that do not impose a resort fee, Caesars Entertainment Resorts Collection offers no resort fee when staying as a guest at any of their resorts. They include: Caesars Palace, The Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrahs, Bally’s, Planet Hollywood, The Quad Resort, Paris Las Vegas & Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino.
Dining in Vegas is from average to a bit pricey. Take advantage of ANY coupons you have. Most of them will even allow you to use one same coupon for up to 4 people. This way only one person needs a coupon depending on your party size. Also, check out restaurant.com, a website that sells discounted food gift certificates. Several of the restaurants located on the Strip are listed on restaurant.com. Just sign up to join their mailing list, get the codes to purchase $25 gift certificates for as little as $5 and your good to go! This was a true bargain for me on this trip.

As for activities, I really didn’t part take in too many activities this time. However, I did get a chance to witness the show Absinthe performed on the property of Caesars Palace in a blue highlighted tent! The show, I will say has its own twist and certainly not recommended for anyone who is offended quickly regarding race, religion, sex or political party. Yup! He put you on the spot!
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Madame Tussaud next door to the Venetian will never loose my interest. Nor will the CSI Experience @ MGM Grand Resort. Yay! I m a Certified Agent! But most important, and for the sake of me being allowed back in the house, I can never put Madame Tussaud or the CSI Experience before the M&M Candy Shoppe thus sayeth my kids! Located a few steps away from MGM Grande is the M & M Candy Factory, check out the FREE tour the M&M’s give! Then stir it up a little and create your own colors of M&M’s!

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I hope that you’ve found this blog useful in making travel plans to Las Vegas. Enjoy your stay and maximize it to the fullest!

Merry Christmas!
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Anitra R. Byers
Travel Professional/Owner
Wallet Happy Vacations

Helpful Ways To Pay For Your Vacation in 2013 and Beyond.

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So, here we are at the end of 2012. It’s about this time of year when you look back to see where did the time go and how did your spend it. One question that may come to mind is did I travel like I wanted to this year? And if not, was the reason due to finances or poor preparation? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, join the crowd! Certainly you are not the only one who knows the lyrics to that song! Thankfully, that can all change in 2013. I’ve shared two simple tips with clients, family and friends even before I joined the travel industry. I invite you to take advantage of these money saving strategies and tips for paying for your vacation in 2013 and beyond.  I have faith in both tips because I have used them time and time again. Remember, flexibility is key to landing the perfect package price.

Tip#1

Before you start to figure out how much of a cash flow you’ll need, first choose a destination. Visit your travel agency for brochures on three different areas you’d like to visit in 2013 and explain your plans to your Travel Professional. Once you’ve made your decision, ask your travel agency to research 3 different dates with quotes.  A key tip here is to be flexible. Believe it or not, in the wonderful world of travel, numbers are everything! They are almost as important as numbers in accounting. That means a week before you want to travel can make a difference between traveling during the time you want in regards to price, availability and crowds.

Tip#2

Ok. So you’ve picked your destination and travel dates and are ready to go! Wooo hoooo! Were going on vacation! But wait, how are we going to pay for this trip? Worry NOT! If your on a budget, the best way to pay for your vacation is to treat it like a temporary monthly bill. Yes, I know. Who wants another bill?!

Here is what I m saying: let’s say you’ve chosen to vacation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica for 7 Days / 6 Nights and the estimated package price is $1,300 per traveler. Once you have finalized the package with your Travel Professional, you will then be told how much is needed to make your reservation and lock in your rate.  Here at Wallet Happy Vacations, most of our Caribbean vacation packages only require a minimum deposit of $150 per person. Once you’ve made your “initial” deposit, divide the total remaining balance by how many pay weeks you have until the trip needs to be paid off. For instance, using Ocho Rios, Jamaica again, the package has been offered to you for $1,300 per person. Since each traveler has already made their deposit of $150 the remaining balance is now $1,150 per person. If the final payment is due in the month of June and you have made your deposit in January and receive bi-weekly paychecks, here is what your payments will look like:

Ocho Rios, Jamaica Travel Package $1,300 per person

Initial Deposit: $150 per person

Remaining balance: $1,150 per person

Bi-weekly paycheck : $1,375 (each employed person)

Pay weeks leading up to final payment due date: 13(bi weekly)

$1,375/13 = $88. So I’ve divided the amount received from a bi weekly paycheck by the total number of weeks until your final payment is due. So each traveler’s biweekly payment will be estimated @ $88 each. See, told you it can happen!

At Wallet Happy Vacations we believe that it is possible to mix budget with quality. We help people create flexible vacation payment plans customized to all financial challenges that may hinder the opportunity to take a vacation. We understand the financial crunch that life can bring because, at some point or another, we, too have been there. Don’t let 2013 leave without seeing the world!

 

Anitra R. Byers

Travel Professional / Owner

Wallet Happy Vacations

 

 

Get Off That Beach!

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 Get Off That Beach!

Ahhh….the sun is beaming just perfect for a sun bathe.  Ocean waves dancing and singing a tune while the resort prepares for another day of activities to keep me busy for the next several days. I have my tropical drinks and entertainment to accommodate me and I’m feeling great and relaxed! I’ll soak up the sun during the day and unwind and jam at night. Then the day before its time to check out, I’ll go down to the resort’s gift shop and see what they have for everyone back home. No need to come leave the resort. I “think” everything is here!

Sounds familiar? How many times have you taken an All-Inclusive vacation and said those very words? Or, how many times have you taken an All-Inclusive vacation and, upon returning home, you were asked what did you do for 7 days and 6 nights while on the Caribbean Islands? If your only doing the beach and shopping at the resort’s gift shop, allow me to be the first to tell you you’re throwing away money and not maximizing your vacation.

While the concept of All-Inclusive vacations is to accommodate guests so that they don’t have to worry about any additional expenses like food, beverages and nightly entertainment, remember the reason you chose to vacation to begin with. Don’t get so caught up in what the resort has to offer that you miss out on seeing what the destination is all about. Leave the resort and take an excursion or 2.

Diss the resort buffet and chow down on some authentic food and dine with the locals. Montego Bay, Jamaica, perfect example. People are friendly and easy to talk with and there is always something fun going on. Taxis are available from your resort and their restaurants are great! In addition, there are so many tours that you can partake in and transportation is included with most tours. Plus, they’ll even pick you up from your resort. If Jamaica is in fact where you have landed, take advantage of Dunns River Falls & Mystic Mountain both located in Ocho Rios, about 90 mins from Montego Bay. Or, take a taxi down to Montego Bay’s Hip Strip for some shopping. After, grab a nice Caribbean entrée with a rum punch from Margaritaville Caribbean to end the day. Catamaran & Snorkeling, Appleton Estates Rum Tour and Horse Back Ridding are just a few of the many tours that are available to tourists once they arrive to Jamaica. Here’s an idea of how you can include some of these excursions and activities during your stay…

For a 5 night stay in Montego Bay, Jamaica, try planning your activities like this:

Day 1 – Arrival. Check in & Relax

Day 2 – Explore the beaches, activities, entertainment and foods of the resort

Day 3 – Dunns River Falls tour in Ocho Rios. Bam! You just made plans to see another

area of the island in one trip!

Day 4 – Beach day at the resort. Relax and map out day 5.

Day 5 – Hit the Hip Strip and go shopping! By the way, if you decide to eat at

Margaritaville Caribbean, you may want to bring your swim clothes. It’s on the

beach and they have these fun water activities for FREE!

Notice how the sample itinerary didn’t sound over whelming or prepared to wear you out. You still get some sun and relaxation. But you also get a chance to explore the island.

So, the next time you visit the Caribbean Islands, go off the beaten path and explore the island in depth. Make your hard earned dollars work for you! Maximize your vacation and clear your activities bucket list together with your destination bucket list. Here at Wallet Happy Vacations, we recommend taking advantage of the many excursions that are available to travelers upon arrival to their destinations. We help our clients determine what will be fun, interesting and rewarding for them. Like the example above, we help plan itineraries so that our clients will taste what the resort has to offer and the island itself.

Get off that beach!

Anitra R. Byers

Travel Professional/Owner

Wallet Happy Vacations

 

 

Group Travel Planned Simple

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So you’ve reached the decision to visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica with your family and friends. Awesome choice! The only thing is you have no idea on what to do next in order to get the word about your group trip. One other problem is, you’ll need to figure out how much time will everyone need in order to pay for their trip and who will be responsible for taking payments since you’ve come to the conclusion that, although  you’re the group’s organizer, you simply won’t touch no one else’s money. Believe me; I hear these exact questions at least 4 times a week. Worry no more! I’m going to walk you through and offer tips and advice on how to plan your family and group’s vacation so that you can be worry free and everyone is happy. If you follow the tips below, be prepared for nothing but a sweet reward upon arrival!

Tip #1 -Host A Travel Party

Yup! Everyone loves gathering for family & friends social outings so why not gather with a focus on vacation? Host a travel party! Recommended time to host the party is at least 12 months prior to departure. For instance, if you’re planning to travel in November 2013, it’s a good idea to present the idea to your family and group in November 2012. Why? First, as mentioned, you want to engage everyone to your idea and how you think it would be nice for everyone to vacation together. Also, this will open the floor for additional suggestions and ideas. Sooooo, host a party with a theme. If you chose the Caribbean and you are interested in Jamaica, have your party set on the theme of Reggae music, Caribbean vibe and have some authentic Jamaica food to go with it. You can even decorate your house or venue with beach attire to represent the beautiful white sandy beaches that are home to the island. This will set the tone for your vacation idea and help pull in the “Yes! I’m in!”

Tip #2-Invite Your Travel Professional

You read correcto! After the first meeting and you have a solid commitment from all who are going on the trip, set the date no later than 45 days after the first meeting for an info session on the destination of choice. But this time, invite your special guest, your Travel Agency. Depending on who you are working with, they may be willing to come out and help you with the party. Since they’ll bring brochures of your destination this will go over well with your guests because it will add more excitement and a tease. Plus, if you invite your Travel Professional, you can leave all the talking and Q&A session to them. BAM! You win again. Told you this will go smooth!

*Suggestion* If your Travel Agency is not available for your event, simply let them know what you are doing. Although they may not be able to attend the info session, they may be willing to call during the event and you can place them on speaker so that everyone can listen in. Also, ask if you can stop by to grab some brochures for your guests.

Tip #3-Face 2 Face With Your Travel Professional

After the info session, arrange a date to meet face to face with your Travel professional. Be sure to make this appointment no later than 10 days after the info session. Remember, time is everything in the travel industry. And, with the travel party and the info session now over, those who are committed are ready to book! The last thing you want is a delayed process and people backing out. Once you and your Travel Agency have discussed what you are looking for, they will draw a Travel Request Form detailing your group’s information, destination and what’s included in your package. It will resemble that of a contract. Once this is all finalized, you are ready to go. At the meeting, be sure to ask all the questions that were raised during your party and info session. Especially those questions that you are still not clear on. Once your questions have been answered and you are satisfied with the rates, dates, and package amenities, you can make your official announcement on where your group will vacation at in 2013!

Tip #4 -Deposits Dates& Payments

Be sure you leave your Travel Professional’s office with a clear understanding of how paying for your vacation will work. This is especially important when working with groups. Remember, if you don’t ask, it’s assumed you already know. Key questions to ask are what are our payment options? Can we pay over the phone? Do you accept PayPal? How will I receive an invoice? Are passports required?

Once you’ve asked these questions it’s time to move on to the next and final step of the group travel process. Your Travel Professional will help you create a customized payment plan for your group. You will NOT have to be concerned with hunting anyone down for payments. That’s our job! On the flyer will be a detailed payment plan including the final date to make initial deposits, future payment dates and amounts of all payments. Below is an actual plan for a group trip taking place during Mother’s Day Weekend 2013 with a Travel & Social Club here in Philadelphia. My agency detailed the payment plan so that payments would be affordable and not over whelming. Take a look…

“Deposit Deadline 09/01/2012

Initial Dep of $150 Per Person Due by September 1, 2012 (No Extension Date)

Min Per Person Dep of $100 Due by October 1, 2013

Min Per Person Dep of $100 due by November 1, 2013

Min Per Person Dep of $100 Due by December 1, 2013

Min Per Person Dep of $100 Due by January 3, 2013

Min Per Person Dep of $100 Due By Feb 1, 2013

Final Payment Due No later Than March 25, 2013”

Notice that it looks almost like a uniform in that all payments except January and the final payment are due on the same day but different months. This is important because not only is it a repeat, but your group will treat this almost like a “good” credit card bill. Although the trip isn’t taking place until May, we created the plan to accept the final payment in March. While the point of a payment plan is to alleviate the stress of having to pay for your trip upfront, it also becomes boring having to keep paying!   double. Because our clients make monthly payments on their trip, when their final payment is due and if

Overall, this can take every bit of 6 – 10 months planning. But don’t stress. It’s all worth the hassle! Well planned vacations are often the best ones. Your group will be happy that you’ve taken the time to put this together. And honestly so will any Travel Professional! At Wallet Happy Vacations we work with families and groups all the time. I can’t stress enough how many people I’ve spoken to intended to back out or cancel their “idea” of bringing family and friends together through travel prior to calling us. My suggestion is this, don’t ever back out before you’ve asked all the questions. While this is a very dedicated task indeed, it’s also very rewarding to any Group Leader. Oh, did I mention that Group Leaders travel for FREE?! Of course there are stipulations. But, after all of the hard work, I’m sure you’ll qualify!

So, go ahead and get planning for 2013. Your family and friends are waiting to see where it is they will be traveling to next year!

Anitra R. Byers

Travel Professinal/Owner

Wallet Happy Vacations

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What’s Your Group’s Theme?

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If you’re the lucky person who has been asked to organized next year’s travel event, this is the time of year where you’re trying to decide where to go. At most, you’ve collaborated surveys and polls and researched past trips the group has taken in effort to help make a beneficial decision on where to take the group in 2013. But, after careful consideration, you still can’t come up with a destination that you feel will be fun, yet different. To say the least, your goal is to make this group trip one to remember and base it on a theme and NOT a destination. Aside from that, your final request is to make the process smooth and worry free.

If that’s your story then join the many other group organizers worldwide who are singing the same song! Year after year, people who organize group vacations find themselves in the same position around the same time of year. That is, until NOW. Specializing in theme vacations for Families & Groups, I know just how challenging it can sometimes get when trying to plan a vacation for lots of people. The sweet reward is that I’ve come to realize it’s not the amount of people I plan for; it’s finding a common interest. HUGE difference!

Here are some themes for your group that can rock out 2013!

  • Health & Wellness Retreat-Each year in St. Lucia, the island hosts a Health & Wellness Retreat. This is an awesome time to bring together your mother, sisters, cousins and gym buddies. Lots of events are planned for the entire weekend the event is held. Last month was the 3rd year the island hosted the Health & Wellness Retreat. It seems that the time hops between September – November so be sure to check the exact dates before announcing dates to your group.
  • Milestone Birthdays– Ahhhhh, we see these a lot here at Wallet Happy Vacations. What better way to celebrate Sweet 16, Legal 18, Big 21 & Over The Hill than gathering up all of your family and close friends and embark in Miami for a 7 night sail on Carnival Conquest and head to the Caribbean Islands? Sounds chaotic? Nope! With the right planning, this will go so smooth that you end up with a FREE cabin!
  • Family Reunions– A very popular choice for the past 10 years is hosting your Family Reunion abroad. Whether it’s on a Carnival Cruise or the Caribbean Islands, most people have pulled away from the traditional family gathering held at the elder’s house in the Southern States. *Tip* if you consider a cruise you may want to book as early as 13-18 months in advance as summer cruises fill up quicker. Now is a good time to hold a family meeting and discuss. If enough time is given, payment plans will be offered to your group.
  • Spa Weekend Getaway– If you’re like me, next to family time, there is no time like spending it with the girls. Spa Weekends are becoming a very popular group travel trend. Here, you can request specialty packages customized to your group’s needs as with any other theme vacation. Now, the trick here is to find an ideal location. Honestly, you don’t want any resort or hotel that’s going to be super busy or chaotic. May I suggest the Shaw Park Beach Hotel & Spa located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica? Very low key resort situated in a secluded area of the island right outside of downtown Ocho Rios. I promise you’ll love it!
  • Golf, Golf and more Golf– Just like us, guys need their time alone, too. Why not gather up your boys and head to West Palm Beach for a weekend of unlimited golf @ the PGA National Resort & Spa. Many Caribbean destinations like Jamaica, Mexico and St. Lucia all cater to the golf lover as well. So go ahead guys! Make it happen.
  • Food & Wine + Rum– Who said the best food is local? This is the perfect theme group vacation. St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos, Barbados and Mexico are no strangers when hosting food and wine events. Amongst the many activities offered to guests at Food & Wine & Rum events are cooking classes, rum & wine seminars and depending on which island you choose, you could be in for a seafood or barbeque party! Visit the official websites of the islands mentioned above to see when the events will take place for 2013.

 

So there you have it, our top theme vacation categories for 2013.  I hope that you will find this information to be rewarding to you and your group. Wallet Happy Vacations is a full service, licensed and accredited family owned travel agency specializing in theme vacations for families and groups. We know how stressful it can get for group leaders to organize group travel. We invite you to leave the planning to us!

 

Anitra R. Byers

Travel Professional / Owner

Wallet Happy Vacations

215.200.8311

www.wallethappyvacations.com

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Use It OR Loose It

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                                                   Use It OR Loose It

 

If you’re like me, the second someone says let’s go, you’re ready! You really don’t need a reason to travel. Just the fact that you are over worked and stressed is good enough. Now, while that may work for you and I, there are lots of people out there who actually need a “reason” to come out of their never changing 4 wall city to see what the rest of the world has to offer.

The next few paragraphs I’ll give you some of the best reasons to travel and even offer ways to make it happen. Trust me; this is the last year you’ve decided to stay in your city! Ready? Here we go…

Reason #1

YOU need a break. If your over worked and stressed out, why not treat yourself to a nice weekend getaway? Don’t you think YOU deserve it? A nice trip to the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Montego Bay, Jamaica or even Puerto Vallarta, Mexico should get you back in the swing of things. Or, take a 7 – 10 day guided tour of South Africa or Europe. Notice how refreshed you’ll feel upon your return home. Not to mention I am sure you’ll want to return soon!

Reason #2

When I worked in corporate America, there was a saying that went “Use it OR Loose it”. That term was regarded toward my vacation time. If I didn’t use it, I’d loose it. Although I no longer work for corporate America, to my knowledge, that rule still stands. Need I say more?!

Reason #3

Now in days, vacations are super super affordable. Most agencies, including myself, offer payment plans so that clients can pay their trip off and not be overwhelmed with paying for their vacation upfront. At Wallet Happy Vacations, we offer EZ payment plans tailored specifically for our clients’ budget. This way, not only do you have a trip to look forward to but, the ease of paying on it is also available.

In sum, get out of your town and explore what the rest of the world has to offer!  Take a break from work. Treat your stress to a nice day in the Spa while on the beautiful Caribbean Beaches. Use your vacation time and treat yourself. Utilize your Travel Professional’s EZ payment plan programs. It’s the best option for making your vacation a reality!

Cheers to a reason to travel and taking advantage of your vacation time in 2013.

Anitra R. Byers

Travel Professional/Owner

www.wallethappyvacations.com

215.200.8311

Wallet Happy Vacations

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New York City On A Budget!

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Ok, so you want to take a weekend getaway, right? The plan is to leave town but, not travel too far. Indulge in some place nice but not too pricey. Have free time to explore the city yet, enjoy nightlife. With all this, you also want to go with people who are fun and will go with the flow. Impossible? Not so!

I m a living witness that organization along with good planning and research can go a long way and make for an unforgettable and affordable weekend! Take New York City, for instance. For many, when it comes to traveling to the Big Apple, after Times Square, the next biggest thing people think about is the financial nightmare of visiting this must see island. Well, let not your hearts be burdened! Check out the plan my travel club members and I coordinated in order to make our stay fun, affordable and unforgettable! Qualitive organization, valuable research and traveling with friends who are dare devils, flexible and ready to have fun affords the end result of a 4 star hotel in bus Manhattan along with a few other added values, for only $670 per person!

Our cost included the following:

  • Hotel Stay @ the Milburn Hotel located 3 blocks from Central Park. 1 Bedroom suite that offered 2 twin beds, a sofa and rollaway. It also included a full kitchen and FREE continental breakfast daily. This alone equaled to $15 bucks per person saved in the A.M.!
  • R/T transportation via Megabus
  • Metro Card
  • Cab(this was for the times we didn’t want to take the train)
  • New York Pass (This pass gets you access to over 70 attractions, tours & museums in NYC! This pass is a MUST buy if you are traveling on a budget OR with children!)
  • Food & beverage expense.

 

Now, I just want to briefly tell you about the New York Pass. The pass includes access to most of New York City’s main attractions & museums and popular tours like Madame Tussaud, On Location Tours Central Park Movie Tour (Like movies? Well this tour is for YOU!) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to name a few. You simply show your pass upon arrival and the nice staff will take care of the rest.

I must warn that, you should be careful of the attractions and tours that need reservations like On Location Tours Central Park Movie Tour and the NBC Studio Tour. Both of these tours require reservations be made prior to arrival. If you don’t keep your reservation, your credit card will be charged. And, if you don’t make a reservation prior to arrival, you won’t get in! In addition to the already rewarding and money saving features, there is a service that comes with the pass called Hop on/Hop Off. It works like the I-Trolley in Orlando, Florida on I-Drive where the service is organized to transport tourists. The only thing with this is you must purchase the pass that comes with this feature. Although we purchased this pass type, I would suggest sticking to the train as I thought it was a hassle waiting for the tour bus to arrive. To learn more about the pass, click here to be taken directly to New York Pass official website.

So there you have it. An affordable weekend in New York City without breaking the bank! By the way, do YOU know why New York City is referred to as The Big Apple?

Anitra R Byers

Travel Professional/Owner

Wallet Happy Vacations

www.wallethappyvacations.com

wallethappy247@gmail.com

whv247.wordpress.com

215.200.8311