7 Tips For Traveling With Kids

Traveling with your children is a wonderful opportunity to share an experience, explore and learn about new places, and just spend some time together. Now that school's out for the summer this is a great - but prime - time to travel and vacation. 

Before you book your flights, consider these tips for making your summer travel fun for you and your kids.

1. If you have older kids, let them help plan the trip. Talk about places they might want to go, activities they might want to try, and sights they want to see! You're much less likely to have a moody child if they've helped pick out the tours or activities on the itinerary.

2. Bring entertainment for the travel. This is the time to loosen any restrictions you have on screen time. Watching a movie on the plan with a tablet and headphones is a great way to make the time pass and reduce "when are we going to get there" conversations. Choose headphones made specifically for kids as they have volume controls that don't allow the volume to get dangerously high.

3. Consider all-inclusive resorts. Most all-inclusive packages include meals, drinks, snacks, and sports packages. This can be really helpful when you have kids in your group.

4. Look for hotels or resorts with specific kid packages. Many hotels and resorts will have a kid center or kid's activity zone that may include babysitting, games, and other recreational activities so you can take a snorkeling lesson while your child is safe and having fun.

5. Bring children's medicine. It's a good idea to bring your own children's Tylenol, cough medicine, and antacid. If they end up with a fever, cough, painful scrape, or upset stomach you don't want to risk trying to dose down on an adult medication. This also includes sunscreen and bug spray. 

6. If you're traveling internationally, plan ahead with passports, which can take up to three months. Remember that children's passports expire in five years. It can be stressful and expensive trying to expedite a forgotten passport.

7. Try some new things and keep some things familiar. It's exciting and fun to try new cuisines and new activities but sometimes a familiar meal and a low-key afternoon help to rejuvenate before the next adventure.

Whether you're looking for a beach vacation, a cruise, or a DisneyWorld  trip, I can help you plan a perfect kid-friendly get-away! 

Why Jamaica?

Looking to plan your next vacation or destination wedding and can't decide on a location? Jamaica is a fabulous option to consider! Why Jamaica? Here are 8 reasons:

1. Beautiful Beaches for Miles

Home to some of the Caribbean’s most impressive beaches, Jamaica offers a vast expanse of spectacular white sands. With breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, mountains, and crystal blue waters, the beaches are the perfect place to relax on vacation. Consider Whitehouse, & Montego Bay as wonderful beaches to enjoy. Or the famous Seven Mile Beach with amazing sunsets!

beaches in Jamaica

2. Tropical Climate & Weather

If you like tropical weather, then Jamaica is for you. Jamaica is a tropical destination where you can put on a bathing suit and enjoy an island with an average temperature of 81˚ all year round!  

3. Enjoy Local Cuisine

Jamaica is well known for its exotic and locally sourced food. You may have heard of jerk-seasoned dishes, which is native to Jamaica. And while you're here you have to try the national dish of Ackee and Saltfish, a locally grown fruit sautéed and served with onions, peppers, tomatoes and salt cod. Delicious!

4. Perfect for Nature Lovers

If you love to experience nature, you'll be delighted with the new experiences and adventures to take in while visiting Jamaica. Known for their exotic wildlife, the area bird species and flora will astound you. And if you dream of swimming with the dolphins, you can in Ocho Rios!

Jamaican sunset

5. All-Inclusive Resorts Abound

The easiest and greatest way to experience Jamaica is with an all-inclusive resort. Vacation packages with all amenities and activities included give you the freedom to immerse yourself in the culture and island while on a refreshing travel. Whether you're traveling on a budget or searching for the luxurious side of the island, you're sure to find an all-inclusive package that fits your needs.

6. Child Friendly Resorts & Activities

Traveling families know the importance of making sure children can and will enjoy the vacation just as much as the adults do! That being said, the adults need to have some fun themselves, too.

Many resorts in Jamaica offer childcare for the days and nights when parents need a little alone time. Don’t worry about dreary childcare in a room filled only with crayons and paper. Kids are on vacation too, and you want to make sure it stays that way!

7. An Island Rich in Culture

Still asking yourself “why visit Jamaica?” Jamaica has a proud and astounding culture, embracing the land and the lifestyles they lead. One of the greatest aspects of Jamaica’s culture is the friendly and welcoming nature of the locals. You won’t feel like a stranger when you arrive at the island; the locals will welcome you with warm hearts. Visit the island with a schedule a tour, and don't miss out on the Bob Marley House in Nine Mile.

8. Destination Weddings

It's easy to have a destination wedding on a friendly island with no blood tests required, where you only have to arrive 2 days prior to the ceremony, and with so many resorts to chose. From large all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels to villas, your destination wedding in Jamaica will never be forgotten.

destination wedding in Jamaica

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by Planning a Trip to Ireland

Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day by Planning a Trip to Ireland!

What better way to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day than to plan a trip to Ireland? Ireland is a warm and inviting country full of emerald green pastures, friendly folks, plenty of beer pints and is a wonderful place to make memories.

Ireland is an excellent choice for couples, families, or groups of friends looking for adventure. The members of your party will play a part in determining where to go and how you want to see this beautiful country. You may want to drive yourself with a self-guided vacation or select a stress-free escorted motor coach tour with C.I.E. Tours International. You might choose to stay in a bed and breakfast, castles or manor houses, or different hotels. Many people choose to spend one or two nights in one place before moving on to another in order to travel around the country and see as much as they can. The type of trip and length of stay that you're planning will help determine the best places for you to stay.

There are so many amazing sites to see in Ireland: The Blarney Stone, Ring of Kerry, Dingle, The Cliffs of Moher, Dublin, Giants Causeway. You probably won't be able to see everything in just one trip, but building the right itinerary will allow you to see the places that are most important to you without being exhausted and missing out on what Ireland has to offer. The best landmarks and sites are hidden from the main tourist routes, so let's work together to plan the right itinerary!

Maybe you have ancestors from Ireland and want to reconnect the past to the present; maybe you're a Game of Thrones fan and want to see the heart of the Seven Kingdoms, the wicked Lannisters, and the honorable Starks; or maybe you just want want to raise a pint in honor of Saint Patrick. Whatever the reason, Ireland is a wonderful place to plan your next trip.

Our mascot, Marco, recently took a trip to Ireland and he had a wonderful time!

Want to see what Marco saw? Contact me today and we'll plan your trip to Ireland!

Grand Velas Riviera Maya | Luxurious All Inclusive Resort

Grand Velas Riviera MayaLuxurious All Inclusive Resort

If basking in the sun on pristine beaches while enveloped in luxury is your idea of a perfect vacation, then Grand Velas Riviera Maya Mexico Resort is the place for you! Grand Velas is easy to get to - it's located just 35 minutes from Cancun Airport - and it's perfect for couples, weddings, and families.

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The Riviera Maya in Mexico is a spectacular destination because of its turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, nightlife, shopping, and golf. Grand Velas adds a layer of pampering and splendor with its world-class spa, named "Best Spa in the World" by Virtuoso in 2010. 42 treatment suites with services that span from massages to facials to hydrotherapy means you'll find the relaxation or rejuvenation you deserve.

The accommodations at Grand Velas live up to the title of luxurious with large suites that include 2 double beds or 1 king, a sitting area, and views of the ocean from your private terrace. This is where I want to start my day with a cup of coffee and then sit and unwind before dinner. All rooms include large TVs and wireless Internet, but this is the place to unplug so I hope you don't use them much!

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For those that like to sit and bask in the sun, in addition to the ocean or the zen garden you can enjoy three huge swimming pools with plenty of chairs to relax. There's also a children's pool. Yes, the Grand Velas is luxurious enough for a romantic couples getaway but it's also family-friendly with kid's activities and a kids club.

From the amazing service to the delicious food rolled into an all-inclusive resort, Grand Velas Riviera Maya is a stellar vacation spot. If you want to know more about this resort or you're ready to book your vacation, contact me at 978-745-2575 or marisa@sensationaltravel.com.

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Family Travel and New Year

When the holidays are over and you have begun to miss your family & friends do you think about next year?   Perhaps a family reunion in 2016 where you can spend a week and not just a few hours with love ones.  Something to think about?  Marisa of Sensational Travel can help! All inclusive resorts offer a stress-free experience for families of all ages where your meals, snacks, drinks, entertainment and activities are all prepaid. They are located everywhere in the Caribbean and Mexico.  Just unpack once and start the fun to build memories.

Perhaps you want to plan a family reunion for grandparents, children and grandchildren who are spread across the United States.  How wonderful to explore a new culture, volunteer in a country and  still enjoy some pool or ocean time while on vacation.

Resorts offer special savings and amenities for groups starting at 6 rooms depending on the time of year you travel.

Sensational Travel handles all the reservations, payments, questions and we provide a dedicated web page for family & friends. We have emergency service for you prior or during your trip.  Offer trip insurance for those unforeseen events that may prevent you from traveling.  And we have been assisting families for over 30  years.

Contact Marisa@sensationaltravel.com to begin to research the best group travel for 2016

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

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 Day 8

Today was an exciting day since we drove from Hotel Alyeska to Whittier and was to experience a narrow tunnel in the mountain that is one way to reach Whittier, Alaska.  They time the one-ways on the hour to let tourists and residents in/out of Whittier.  I was told the digging out of the tunnel was amazing since two teams began the job and when they meet halfway were only off by 6 inches! 

When we arrive into Whittier it was howling with white caps on the Prince William Sound and our boat was small, only 22 passengers.  Lazy Otter Charters was wonderful and we had a great captain, Captain Mike, owner of the charters with shipmate, Debbie, that both did a great job.  It turned out to be smooth sailing and we looked for wildlife and glaciers.  Another sunny day and we had a great time with a delicious lunch onboard.  Best item for lunch??  Smoked salmon spread on bagels along with sandwiches, cookies, ships and drinks.    Journey thru the tunnel just in time brought us to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center with our private tour guide, Scott.   Here you can drive around the center to view the animals or leisurely walk from area to area.   Animals roam freely in very large enclosures from bears, caribou, musk ox, moose and bisson.  This is a wonderful place to explore and a worthwhile visit from Anchorage.

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

AWE Fall FAM

 

 

Day 6

 

Early morning with the group to the popular breakfast diner, Snow City Café, and of course it was salmon cakes for breakfast!  The Alaskan Museum was a wonderful way to spend the morning and it features all the tribes of Alaska and rotating exhibits of all types of art.  Delightful lunch at Muse at the Museum allow museum goers to taste one of the local chefs fine cuisine without venturing outside.  Early afternoon we drove to the Rust’s Flying Service for a great adventure of 3hrs to view Mt McKinley or correctly named “Denali”.    Denali means “the High One” for Athabascan Indians north of the Alaska Range. Strapped in and praying all would be fine, we departed, soared and view the majestic mountains of Denali.  As a surprise we also landed on a glacier lake, all alone, and walked the glacier beach.  It was a wonderful experience to remember and a highly recommended way to see the mountains.  Our tour didn’t end since we were off to the Alaska Zoo, just outside of downtown Anchorage, where you can secure a free shuttle to the zoo.  Here many animals are rescued and exhibited naturally.  By late afternoon the group was hungry and we were treated to the Glacier Brewhouse for another wonderful meal, salmon burgers!

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

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Day 5 

A beautiful day in the Alaskan City of Anchorage began with breakfast at Sizzlin’ Café, next door to the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel.  Very friendly staff, quick service and amazing eggs Benedict with smoked salmon.  Here is the destination for salmon lovers!  Alaska serves many different types of salmon and for breakfast it is no exception.

Then the fun begins with Salmon Berry Tours for a scenic city tour and chocolate tour with tour guide, Brett.  We visited Flattop Mountain for the views of the city, sample chocolate truffles and embraced liquid silk, a yummy hot chocolate drink.  We learned many Alaskans own a seaplane or floatplane.  We visited some of the locations of the 1964 earthquake.  Tonight we dine as locals at the Bears Tooth Theatre for great food and off to Chilkoot Charles for drinks and a visit to the “Birds Nest”. 

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

ImageDay 4

 

Unfortunately the last day at DenaliNational Park was the day it rain, shall I say poured all day.  The sled dog tour to see puppies was canceled and I spent the morning  working from our cozy log cabin with time to purchase a lunch for our motorcoach ride back to Anchorage.   Early evening check into the Sheraton Anchorage with modern rooms and convent location.  Also good locations are the Westmark, Hilton, and Captain Cook Hotels.  Tonight a short walk to Humpys’, very popular place with the locals, where the burgers are big and the place serves over 49 different types of beer.  My selection was a raspberry/hard apple beer, very tasty.

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

Grand Denali Hotel

Day 2 

It is an early morning as we depart with Alaska Travel n Tours for the 5 hr trip to Denali.

Luckily the motorcoach departs from the AlaskaConvention Center and across the street is a charming coffee shop, Bean Roost, that offers various coffees and delicious caramels to ease the long road trip to Denali.  Alaska Travel n Tours operates nice clean motorcoachs, provides bottle water and snacks for the drive.  Since it continues to rain the early morning scenery is limited but we are awarded with moments of sunshine as we head out of the city into the mountains. 

 We arrive to Denali Cabins and settle into our cabin #34 to find comfortable two beds, heat and bathroom in a rustic cabin setting.  A good value and accommodations just 15 minutes away fro the DenaliVisitorCenter with free shuttle service.  Leaving our luggage and heading our immediately time was spent at the VisitorCenter viewing a  20 minutes movie on the national park and then off for a short hike in the mountains.  

Still plenty of daylight left time to visit Denali Grand Hotel and meet with the new sales manager, Dee Dee, to learn what is new at this popular resort on Sugarloaf Mountain.  Beautiful rooms with planned upgrades for 2014, maybe mini-frigs in each room?  Staff was very friendly and the views from this hotel were amazing!  To top of the day, dinner was planned at the Denali Grand Hotel and was the one of the best meals in Alaska at Alpenglow.  Seafood bisque and fresh halibut over steamed vegetables topped with a mango chutney.  Chef Jacob continues to serve amazing entrees however skip the desserts and enjoy a wonderful cocktail with a sunset view from this hotel.

 

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

Day 1

I start my journey from Boston to Alaska with connection service via Dallas. I begin to wonder if others feel it is worth the long distance to travel to this state, our 49th state of the U.S   Upon arrival it is rainy in Anchorage and  so it begins “travelers must be prepared for rain with layer clothing and cool temperatures in the 50’s”.   First night layover is at the Historical Anchorage Hotel, a charming hotel near the train and close to shops.  Large rooms, a bit old, however friendly staff and an amazing free breakfast make this a good value.  Time to get some sleep before heading out tomorrow to Denali National Park.Image

Heading to Denali National Park and Anchorage

 Heading to Denali National Park and Anchorage

Heading to Denali National Park and Anchorage

In 7 days I will return to Alaska and experience Denali National Park along with the city of Anchorage. Will I see wildlife? Will I see Mt McKinley? Will it be cool or warm and sunny? Will I continue to love this state? Check back for updates next week or follow me on Sensational Travel Facebook page. Happy Traveling....

Travel Family Reunions in Paradise

Nothing Completes a Family Vacation like The Whole Family How do you get the entire family together and keep them happy with plenty of activities for every age? You take them to Beaches. Family reunions at Beaches give you the chance to spend quality time together while giving everyone the space to do what they love. Little kids can hang out with their favorite Sesame Street characters, teens have the Xbox 360® Game Garage, Scratch DJ Academy®, and their own places to hang. That gives grown-ups time alone to scuba dive, play golf or head to the spa. It’s the perfect way to please everyone in the family, because sometimes you have to get away to get closer together. 

Book 5 rooms or more & you will receive:

  • A Private Family Picnic (10 guest minimum)
  • One Group Dinner Gathering
  • Exclusive Family Reunion Activities
  • Family Portrait Session and 5" x 7" Family Photograph
  • Private Check-In For The Family
  • Delectable Farewell Cake
  • Family Reunion Concierge

Contact Sensational Travel for details, 978-745-2575.

Destination - St Lucia

Want to travel to the South Pacific? Want to save time and money?  Consider a vacation to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. You can do a drive-in volcano, scuba dive or snorkel, sail or swim at black-sand beaches, zip line in rainforests, taste unforgetable cusine, stay in family-friendly Coconut Bay Resort, luxury honeymoon at Jade Mountain, or "the Bachelor" treatment at Cap Maison.  Contact Sensational Travel for special offerings  at 978-745-2575.

Kayaking in Mexico

New for 2010 is a 3 day kayaking tour in Sea of Cortez Mexico then 3 days of volunteer work for the green sea turtles with RED Sustainable Tourism. Travel dates 24-31oct10. Great for beginners and immediate kayakers.  Contact Sensational Travel for this limited offering at 978-745-2575 or email marisa@sensationaltravel.com

Summer Travel with Children

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Ok, so you have done Florida, Grand Canyon, and some Caribbean islands and are searching for a different but educational vacation with your children.  Consider this......................Gladiator Training in Rome, Italy 2010!

Photo of Rome Roman Gladiator School: Learn How to Become a Gladiator Rome Gladiator School
  • Master the basics of hand-to-hand combat at a genuine gladiator school on the ancient Appian Way. You'll discover the secrets of Imperial Rome's gladiator games, get hands-on with ancient Roman history and have the best fun you can imagine!

During your two-hour lesson, your gladiator instructor will teach you how to fight with authentic weapons used by the gladiators of ancient Rome. Lessons are organized and led by members of the Historic Group of Rome who specialize in the re-enactment of Roman life and gladiatorial combat.

Don't miss this opportunity to re-create Roman history and life as a gladiator. Dressed in a traditional gladiator tunic, belt, leather protective glove and rudis (training sword), you can let your imagination run wild as you play like Spartacus for a day, fighting off ferocious lions and sword-wielding warriors!

Next, learn the basic techniques of gladiatorial sword fighting and take part in an optional gladiatorial tournament, with the winner receiving a victory prize. All participants receive a certificate of accomplishment.

If you're fascinated by Roman Gladiators but not sure if you're up for it, you can choose to watch friends or family free of charge. There's a great viewing platform.   Are you up to the challenge of this truly Roman experience combining culture, sport and ancient legends!