1. Travel can be complicated on your own.
With so many new cruise ships coming out in the next few years through many lines such as Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line and so many more, having a professional help with the planning and logistics can have a big impact on how much time you spend on research, planning and how much you enjoy your vacation.
2. Travel Planners are on top of what’s new and exciting.
The world is full of experiences and your bucket list can be big and expensive. Travel professionals have access to the best tour packages, events, and pricing. They also have relationships with suppliers you will not have. They know when and where to look for promotions as well as the best times of year to travel.
3. Travel Professionals save you time and stress.
Planning a trip is hard work if you do not have your own first hand experience. Travel agents spend many years traveling the world, investing their own money on experiences to learn from for their clients, reviewing many different hotel rooms and cruise ships as well as all of the dining options in house and nearby. If they haven't personally been where you want to go,one of their friends has!
4. Travel advisors are there when you need an advocate.
Whether you have a problem getting to your destination, while you are actually there, or when you are coming home, your travel agent is there to help you 24 hours a day!
5. You have one shot to enjoy your vacation.
Your vacation time is extremely valuable in today's world. Travel agents can save you hours, if not days, of research to find the perfect vacation. If you ever have a change you also will never have to sit on hold for hours with your airline or resort trying to fix it.
6. Travel Planners add the human touch.
Travel advisors listen, suggest, understand and become a friend who really learns all about you. Every communication is with the same person who forms a connection with you. You can not get that online or with a 1-800 number.
7. Destinations are forever changing and agents receive that news first.
Has the Caribbean recovered from the latest Hurricane? Is it safe to travel to the Mexico? Travel advisors research and experience the places they sell and always have the latest news first.
8. They often save you money along with delivering value.
The value you receive will be bigger than what you paid for. Many agents do not charge a fee and are paid directly through the supplier you book with. You normally will pay the same price booking yourself that you would using an agent!
9. Travel agents offer unique services for clients who want to book those off the beaten path activities.
It all comes down to who you know and many of them know that special someone who can get that special off the grid activity you have always wanted to do.
10. Like any professionals they really do know more than a Google search engine.
You don't cut your own hair do you? Or fix your own leaky pipes? Just like any profession you want the person who specializes in that field and when it comes to travel that is what they know!
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As my day winded down in the Magic Kingdom I was excited to head over via ferry to the Wilderness Lodge for my dinner date with Snow White. For those who don't know the Storybook Dining at Artist Point is the newest character dinner offered at Walt Disney World. Upon my arrival I was greeted by a hostess outside the seemingly inconspicuous Artist Point restaurant in the lobby of Wilderness Lodge. Entering the restaurant I found myself surrounded by wonderfully themed details such as, full blown tree columns, glowing lanterns, and the dwarfs' pictures underway.
Storybook Dining is a pre-fix menu that will set you back $55 per adult and $33 per child (ages 3-9). If you are utilizing the Disney Dining Plan this is a one credit experience which in my opinion is pretty low for the value, this could change in the future.
You are only offered the choice of your main entree whilst your three appetizers and desserts are placed on the decorative tree centerpiece at your table. Your three appetizers include Winter Squash Bisque, Hunters Pie, and Wicked Shrimp Cocktail. Truthfully the appetizers would be small for any party other than my party of one, but the variety and quality of them is admirable.
My main meal of choice was the Royal Prime Rib Roast, which was recommended to me by my waitress. I ordered it medium rare and it came out perfectly cooked. The cut was a bit fatty in spots however the portion was large. The sides included Horseradish Mashed Potato and Hay-smoked Carrots. Honestly the horseradish was not my thing but for those who enjoy it on a normal basis would probably find them to be pretty good.
I decided to pair my steak with the Enchanted Apple cocktail. This is the Storybook Dining's take on an Appletini. The drink came with a full apple slice, rimmed in sugar, and as sweet as drinks get. At $12.50 the drink was small but tasty.
The desserts were shared just like the appetizers and were equally small but very well themed. They start to come out with the arrival of the Hunters Gift To The Queen, which is carmel corn and a heart shaped gnash in a swamp of fog contained within a beautifully engraved box.
The other three desserts were then placed on the centerpiece. The Miners Treasure was extremely rich while the Fairytale Gooseberry Pie was pretty mellow. My favorite of the small four dishes would be the "Poison" Apple. This was an apple shaped mouse cake with an edible chocolate root and a glittery outer shell.
After you enjoy your dessert you are free to join the Queen for a picture if you dare. There is a Photopass photographer to scan your band and take your picture if you have Memory Maker, otherwise you are allowed to hand them your cell phone or camera to snap a photo.
Overall my impressions of the Storybook Dining are positive. I think that it is a well themed and well valued dining experience not too far away from Magic Kingdom. The character interactions are plentiful, and the food, while small, was very cute and quality based. For one credit on Disney's Dining Plan, this experience is a must-taste.
For more information stay tuned for our video review on our YouTube Channel for our Tidbit Tuesday.
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As a travel professional it goes against my grain to sit here and tell you not to thoroughly plan your long weekends or getaways but the older I get, the more I work, and the busier I am, I have come to realize how important spontaneity is in our life every so often.
There is something about being spontaneous that brings some excitement to your life that we miss during that daily grind. Many of us are working full time jobs, maybe even more than one, running around all week, full of stress and responsibilities. It is so important every once in a while to let go and live life as it comes, to its fullest. This past weekend me and my husband decided to do just that. Now I would be lying if I told you it was completely out of the blue. We did plan on staying in New York City Saturday evening, however Friday we made a decision to go in a day early and spend the whole entire weekend. A few hours later we were on the train and headed in.
The hotel we had booked for Saturday night was not available Friday so I quickly booked a less expensive option close to the same area of Times Square just for the evening. I am a planner by design. My career and my life runs on the fact I plan for a living. For me to blindly book a hotel I do not know much about is a large leap for me, even if it is only for the night. However, we were so pleasantly surprised at how great the hotel was we were actually disappointed we did not know about it earlier. Not only was it inexpensive (For NYC standards) it was clean, in a great location, and had many amenities most hotels in the area usually do not offer. You could walk right out of the door and Bryant Park was literally steps away. As you can see from the picture below that was taken just steps away from our hotel, we totally scored with our impromptu last minute decision to go in a night early.
Saturday morning we woke up without a plan for the day. It was rainy which meant we knew whatever we were going to do was going to be inside. We decided to see Aladdin on Broadway and scored amazing box seats. We laughed and said, "Wow, we really made out with the hotel last night, and now great seats to a last minute show? Can the rest of the weekend be this wonderful?" As a professional planner, it is hard to believe when spontaneous things just work out without even trying.
After check out at 12:00 p.m. we headed over to the new hotel. Since check in at the new hotel was not until 3:00 p.m. we just assumed we would be dropping the bags off before wasting some time before our show. After arriving at the hotel we were advised our room was ready early and we were welcome to go upstairs and enjoy the room. Again, we looked at each other as if to say "This weekend is too good too be true" and smirked, then headed to the room to freshen up before the show. You will see how great our box seats ended up being, along with the amazing location of The W Times Square which was the second part of our stay for the weekend. After seeing Aladdin, we headed over to Juniors Deli for a bite to eat and snagged two great seats at the Bar right away which is usually always unlikely. Later on that night, we decided on a whim to head downtown to see a comedy show at the New York Comedy Club.
Sunday morning we challenged the universe and went out looking for a spot to have a good breakfast before we headed home. Just a block away was a restaurant we had dined at previously in another state called Bond 45 that offered an inexpensive Italian breakfast buffet. We could not believe it was just that easy to enjoy a complete weekend off the cuff without an ounce of planning.
Many things in our lives, even including most vacations, need to have a good amount of planning to be successful. That being said, some of the best memories can be made during times of complete spontaneity where we are just enjoying each other, our life and letting it happen. So every once in a while you have to take a chance and plan on not planning!
To book your next spontaneous getaway, contact Starstuff Travel at Info@Starstufftravel.com
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