10/28/2020 0 Comments
A Visit To Xel-Há Park
Xel-Há Park is one of the 7 parks and two tours that Hotel Xcaret Mexico offers. You can also visit these parks without being a guest at the hotel, however staying at the hotel gets you unlimited complimentary access during your vacation. We stayed on property with Hotel Xcaret Mexico so we reserved our park day in advance and took the shuttle bus from the hotel to the park. The shuttle is the same type of bus they utilize for their airport transfers. They are extremely clean, plush and comfy with nice cool air-conditioning. They play videos on the bus showcasing the park your headed to for the day and a local guide explains what to expect when you arrive and additional activities you can book through his microphone on the bus. The guide even gets off the shuttle with you bringing you to the front of the park and explains how the return shuttle works on the way back. They answer each and every question which is a great help for those who are unsure of what to expect. It is also great for those who typically feel nervous to leave the hotel property.
There are many things you can take advantage of with your admission into the park. Unlimited snorkeling, all the food and beverage you wish to consume (even all of your alcohol is included), river tubing, cliff jumping, ziplining into the river, ropes course on river and in jungle and a bit more. So you can safely enjoy the day going through the park at your own pace without purchasing extra activities, but it should be noted, they drop you off in the morning and do not pick you up until about 5:30 pm. If you are not the type to relax all day long you will most likely want to add some extra excursions to your day. They also have complimentary lockers for you to leave your things in as well as showers which is great after a long day in the salt water!
We started the day on the river tubing. This starts at the opposite end of the park from where you will enter so they make it very easy for you to get to where you need to be. You can either walk, bicycle, or take a tram to the start of the river. We took the tram because we were on a time crunch with some of the additional activities we booked. This is a very lazy river and can take you up to an hour to get through. During your time floating you will pass by others cliff diving, rope climbing in the water, and zip lining right into the river. They also have exits every so often so if you want to get out at anytime you can.
When we finished river tubing we headed to our first activity which was Adrenalina, a speed boat that goes out into the ocean and reaches almost 60 miles an hour top speed. We have done a similar excursion in the Bahamas and thought we knew exactly what to expect but this one is definitely different! Not only does this boat whip around in full speed 360s, it also stops short and goes into what they call an "immersion" when half the boat goes pretty much under the water and the waves smash you in the face. It is a lot of fun but not for the faint of heart.
After our adventurous boat ride we showered off the salt water and headed to grab some lunch. Did I mention they have 4 restaurants and 4 bars and all of your food and drink is included? You can have your breakfast, lunch and dinner here at Xel Ha with a few Margaritas or Pina coladas! Then you could head over to the hammock station and take a nap.
A little later on in the day we scheduled a 25 minute deep tissue massage. While it is way less expensive here for the massage than it is at the hotel, the hotel would be a much better experience. The massage itself was not bad but since the spa is outside near a busy area of the park you can hear people yelling and playing so it may not be as relaxing as you would hope it to be. But hey, a massage outside in the beauty of Mexico can never really be that bad can it?
I also want to point out that they make it impossible to get lost at the park. They have signage all over the grounds that is easy to spot. All in all we had a fantastic time with very little to complain about. The only downside we felt was that when you get to the park you are there until the shuttle comes back at 5:30 pm, so if you wanted to leave early you are going to have to take a taxi. Below you can enjoy some additional photos from our day as well as a video tour of the full property.
We had a lovely day here and would totally recommend you visit here for some beautiful scenery and relaxing activities. We are looking forward to heading back ourselves. To book your next excursion to Xel-Há Park visit us at Info@StarstuffTravel.com or by clicking here!
10/25/2020 0 Comments
My Time At Hotel Xcaret Mexico
I have always loved traveling to Mexico. There is something about the people, the culture, and the heritage, that just makes traveling to the area so lovely, but I had no idea that when we recently visited Hotel Xcaret Mexico I would leave loving it more than I already did.
Where do I even start? The staff at this resort go out of their way to treat you as a part of their own family. It has always been one of the many reasons I love traveling to Mexico, but at this resort specifically, you can just feel it in a way that you know they are proud to be there, and you can understand why after visiting.
After landing in the Cancun airport you are greeted by one of the staff from their complimentary airport shuttle. The shuttle is a large comfortable bus with plush seats and a television that provides video of what to expect at the hotel and all of their parks. While aboard the shuttle they take care of a majority of the hotel check in process so when you arrive to the hotel you only have about another 10 minute process before you are officially on your vacation. During this process you receive a wristband that works as your room key, your charging privilege's, and your admission to all 7 of their parks and two tours they offer. That is right, this is a true all inclusive, or as they call it, "All Fun Inclusive Vacation"
The property is completely stunning with an eco-friendly vibe. They have made every effort to design it in a way with sustainability in mind. The buildings work harmoniously with the surrounding nature making the lay out a true paradise. As you walk throughout the property you will discover anything and everything from caves, coves, waterfalls, rivers, lagoons, beaches and jungle areas. You will also find swinging bridges scattered through the property connecting you from one building to the next, restaurants carved into rock, hammocks inside private coves, and an attention to detail that will blow your mind.
The rooms here at Hotel Xcaret Mexico are comfortable and luxurious. They offer a good mix of art, nature and contemporary Mexican design. The hotel offers four different room categories: Suites, Junior Suites, Swim ups, and Master Swim ups. Each room category offers a garden, ocean, river, or pool view. I loved learning that the hotel worked with local craftsman from around Mexico and brought their items into the rooms here. The beds are very comfortable and I always love having a separate rain shower and jacuzzi tub. There is a 55" inch flat screen television, a fully stocked mini bar, Nespresso machine, snacks, and a beautiful balcony with a swinging hammock, a chair and small sitting area with throw pillows. If you are not traveling with family and looking for an adults only type vacation the resort does also offer adult only buildings. Below you will find video of our room which was the garden view suite.
The hotel offers 10 restaurants and 8 bars with something for everyone including an amazing dinner show. There are a few restaurants that require reservations and one that is an additional charge. Room service is also included complimentary 24/7 which is a nice feature when you come back from one of the parks and are exhausted. We took advantage of room service one evening when we wanted dessert and did not want to have it at the restaurant, we wanted to be in our robes, comfy in bed, enjoying television while we ate.
There are a nice variety of choices you can chose from when it comes to where you are going to swim, sunbath or enjoy your water sports here at the hotel. They have a main beach on the ocean that is a little bit of a walk, they have loungers on the rocky portion of the beach where you can not swim but you can be oceanfront relaxing, they have a man-made lagoon type area with waterfalls where you can let the kids run wild and multiple pools around their property. They also have kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling in the river part of the man-made area that goes along the property.
For those who like to continue their fitness routine, they can do so in one of the really awesome state of the art gyms here at the hotel. One of the best features of the three gyms is the picturesque views you can focus on while working out. The spa area is built around caves and trees and completely secluded in full blown nature in a way that is in comparison to no other that I have seen before. Each massage room is completely different and some even have personal cenotes.
Why is this the place you should be visiting if you have a family? There are awesome play areas for young children, a water slide area, and that great beach area with no waves so you can relax without the fear of them getting swept away. Included with your stay here is complimentary admission to all seven of their amazing parks. Everyone in your travel party will have unlimited access to the parks Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xavage, Xoximilco and Xenses, as well as tours to Xenotes and Xichen. The hotel has designated shuttles to and from each park as well, making it virtually seamless to not have an insane vacation! Stay tuned for additional blogs on some of the parks we visited while we were there!
This property is an absolute must when you are ready to plan your next trip. From the people, to the property, to the food, to the parks, and everything in between, this place is going to leave its mark on you just like it did on me. The moment we left we were already talking about when we could get back here with the rest of our family.
To book your next vacation to the Hotel Xcaret Mexico reach out to us at Info@StarstuffTravel.com or by clicking here!
10/14/2020 0 Comments
So You Want To Be A Planner?
IS THIS THE JOB FOR YOU?
Do you find yourself chatting with random strangers about anything and everything Disney or Universal? Do you follow Disney and Universal fan groups, listen to themed podcasts, or watch Vloggers on YouTube just to stay on top of any and all breaking news even if you don't have a vacation scheduled? Are you helping family and friends snag those hard to get dining reservations, creating step by step itineraries, or recommending hotels just for fun?Do you price out vacations to Mexico and the Caribbean even when you know your not scheduling a trip in the near future? If you answered yes to any of these questions then, THIS IS THE JOB FOR YOU!
ARE PEOPLE EVEN TRAVELING RIGHT NOW?
Believe it or not, yes, people are traveling. We are currently seeing some travelers booking some last minute trips as opposed to years passed where they would spend months planning a vacation. Not only are some traveling now, many clients had to postpone this years vacation and are going stir crazy being stuck in the house, because of that, we are seeing a ton of interest for travel in 2021. Postponed family vacations, destination weddings, honeymoons and family reunions are all just waiting to start planning again and that is why WE NEED YOU!
WHAT IS ACTUALLY INVOLVED
We do not require prior travel agency experience per say, however, since our clients come to us for our first hand knowledge of travel, it is imperative any planners who consider filling out an application hold a vast amount of their very own first hand travel knowledge. We offer in-depth training both directly from our agency in all aspects of the position as well as training from each booking platform, supplier and destination you are going to be working with daily. Training can be flexible and tailored around your schedule.
The first year of business is truly spent promoting yourself and building your book of business. It can be tiresome and exhausting but also extremely rewarding. Most of our planners came on board because they were already known to family and friends as the go to person to help with their vacations or travel experiences. We offer tons of training, tips and advice for self-promoting and all of the suppliers we work with also offer complimentary marketing collateral to use to help build your business. Unlike other agencies, Starstuff Travel also has our own in house marketing director who is available to you for anything you need. We conduct many webinars every month, run inner agency promotions and hold contests for our planners for potential increased commissions and/or rewards like FREE THEME PARK TICKETS!
WHAT ARE THE PROS
For starters, you get to talk about your some of your favorite destinations daily and if you're like me, a total Disney/Universal geek, you can talk about it all day long! You also get to research new places through out the day (which could also be considered a con since your own personal bucket list will grow). A few times a year we also come together to attend onsite trainings around the world to educate ourselves on what each destination offers. But the very biggest "Pro" in my book is that you play a part in the creation of travel experiences your clients will remember for the rest of their lives, and YOU GET TO MAKE PEOPLE SMILE.
WHAT ARE THE CONS
While I absolutely love this job and could never see myself in another industry, the cons list is quite long. This job is not for everyone and perhaps very different than many expect. The biggest con is that we do not get paid unless the client books their trip with us and it is not until after the client travels do we even get paid for the hard work we put in. Therefore, you could actually work with a client for a year before actually seeing the commission for their booking and if they cancel for any reason your commission usually vanishes. Since you do not get paid until after travel, you could be waiting months for your first paycheck when you start as a planner. With all of that being said, THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN AGENCY
You definitely want to do your homework when you are taking the leap to join an agency. Below you will find a few things you should be thinking about when looking into an agency. Also think about reaching out to planners that are currently working with the agency and see what they are saying as well.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP
If you are still interested in possibly making the best career decision of your life, then please head over to the Join Our Team portion of the website by clicking here and filling out our application. After reviewing your application a team member will reach out to you with a follow up email and depending on position availability and interest we will then move forward with a phone interview. For now, please enjoy some photos and video below from a few of our favorite agency trainings together with the suppliers we love, IT IS ALWAYS SO MAGICAL!
10/11/2020 0 Comments
A Frightfully Sweet Weekend in Hershey
Last weekend we hit the open road for a weekend getaway to Hershey, PA. Not only is Hershey relatively close to our NJ home (less than a 3-hr drive), but it also offers a variety of family fun activities in a centralized location. Furthermore, because there are currently no COVID-19 travel restrictions between NJ and PA, we knew it was a viable option for a quick trip. Based on ambiance, proximity to attractions, budget and amenities, we chose the Hershey Lodge for our stay. The beautiful stone fireplace in the lobby gives the lodge a rustic and cozy feel; perfect for a fall getaway! Also, the rooms are casual and comfortable. Additionally, the lodge is a short 5-10-minute drive to all major area attractions. Plus, with various packages and price points, it’s an economical option to get the true Hershey experience. Still, most appealing of all, are the on site amenities and extra perks. (Can you say FREE Hershey bars?)
Hershey Lodge offers a variety of dining options from the Cocoa Beanery, an all-day coffee shop, to Fire & Grain, where we enjoyed a delicious table service dinner. (We liked it so much we returned one morning for breakfast!) Also available, is an outdoor 18-hole miniature golf course (free to hotel guests). For additional fun, Hershey Lodge offers several special seasonal events for children. Activities such as; pumpkin painting, candy bingo and campfire s’mores were offered during our stay.
Nevertheless, of all the amenities offered, I think kids and grownups would agree that Hershey Waterworks takes the cake. This small scale indoor water park was a true highlight. There is a large pool with obstacle course, along with two children’s water play areas. Twizzlers Twists waterslides offers a whirling, swirling adventure for those seeking a bigger thrill.
Hershey Chocolate Works was another fan favorite. This year round attraction offers some behind the scenes fun into the world of Hershey’s chocolate. Here we took the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, a family friendly ride that takes you on an immersive journey through Hershey’s chocolate making experience (the kiddos couldn’t decide what they liked more, Cupcake the cow or the free chocolate samples.) For added fun, guests here can purchase tickets to create their own chocolate bar and/or take part in a mystery with Hershey’s 4D Chocolate Movie. Last,
but certainly not least, guests can shop a wide array of specialty Hershey apparel, gifts, souvenirs, and of course candy!!
The main attraction of our trip was Hersheypark. With over 20 rides for little ones, our crew had plenty to experience. And if you have thrill seekers in your group, they won’t be disappointed, as there are 14 coasters to try (the Wild Mouse received our vote for best ride of the day)! Zoo America (which you can enter right through Hersheypark) gave us a chance to take a more leisurely pace. We enjoyed viewing and learning about the numerous animals that call Zoo America home. (The River Otters were so fun to watch!)
Nevertheless, our favorite part of Hersheypark, was the Trick or Treat Trail (available during Hersheypark in the Dark weekends). Here, each child was given a special treat bag and able to visit 13 sweet stops along the path to receive special Hershey’s candy treats. From a pumpkin patch to a potion shop, each stop was decorated in a festive Halloween theme. Between the decorations and the crisp evening air, it truly felt like a magical Autumn night.
All in all, our weekend in Hershey was a fantastic fall getaway. Between the amenities offered at the Hershey Lodge and the variety of attractions offered in the area, it is a great choice for families looking for a quick trip to enjoy some sweet fun. We look forward to visiting again soon!
Things to Know!
-Hershey Park in The Dark (Oct. 2 nd –Nov. 1 st 2020)
-Hershey Christmas Candylane (Nov. 13 th 2020-Jan. 3 rd , 2021)
-Hershey offers a variety of packages when staying at one of their 3 properties (The Hotel
Hershey, Hershey Lodge, and Hersheypark Camping Resort)
-Guests staying at The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge receive FREE Parking, Reserved
Admission, Preferred Pricing on tickets to Hersheypark and Zoo America, and Complimentary
Admission to Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story’s Museum Experience
-Admission to Hershey’s Chocolate World is FREE, however guests must reserve a time to enter
online. Guests will be given a ticket to scan at entrance and must complete a temperature
check. *Face coverings are required.
-Hersheypark requires temperature checks and a reservation to enter. Tickets can be scanned
for contactless entry. *Face coverings are required.
For more information on booking your next getaway to Hershey, or anywhere else, reach out to Kristin Scoza via email at KScoza@StarstuffTravel.com
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