Incredible Journey Newsletter Issue 25
January 2007

Dear Joyce,

Travel in today's world typically consists of going online to research what specific destination to travel to, followed by talking with friends, researching travel books, and going online to determine if those on Tripadviser liked the places you want to visit and stay at.

I love it when my clients know what they want from a vacation, however, I am very leery of what the guidebooks and Tripadvisor seem to be telling would be travelers about the quality of the accommodations and destinations to visit. I recently came back from Prague and stayed at one of the top rated hotels on Tripadvisor - it was nice. However, I found other hotels that were so much better - and guess what, they weren't in any of the guidebooks; I found them by exploring the city on my own.

In Hawaii, Mexico and Tahiti we have many properties that the guidebooks or Tripadvisor don't mention. I am a bit astounded since we recommend only the best properties in all of these locales. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad our properties aren't listed in the guidebooks as this translates into more availability for our clients! But don't you ever wonder how some properties receive high marks and others no consideration at all? I do all the time...

I really think that Tripadvisor and guidebooks should be used sparingly when planning vacations. For once in a lifetime experiences, I urge you to seek your own adventures when globetrotting. In my travels through Asia and Europe I have used Fodor's and Rick Steve's guidebooks as a guideline only, and to be honest with you, the best destinations we have explored we found on our own! It is the little towns and unknown venues that are worthy of our time – this way we are depending on ourselves to make an adventure happen not Fodor's, Rick Steve, or whomever else we should read.

I often wonder if in the midst of all of our researching we are losing what most of us truly seek – the thrill of an adventure. When you look back on your fondest memories isn’t it the excitement of the unknown that stands out in your mind? There are countless stories I could illustrate of adventures we had that weren’t planned that actually were the highlights of our trips, and you know what? It is these experiences that help make a vacation an Incredible Journey! I think that when you make your own discoveries you grow as a person and become a traveler not a tourist...

Next time you plan a vacation I highly encourage you to leave some time for self discovery – so that you can find adventures where nobody has recommended you go visit.

In this Issue
  • Critical Passport Information
  • You go girl
  • Now's the Time to...
  • Discover Central America
  • Ask Endora
  • Featured Property - Four Seasons Punta Mita
  • Cruise News
  • 2007 Alaskan Explorer

  • You go girl

    Women traveling solo, or with fellow compatriots – they are everywhere! Look at all the soft adventure, extreme adventure, and spas that try to lure women. These companies are banking on the fact that women want to get away from it all – to let their hair down, kick back, relax, learn a new skill all with a spirit of camaraderie and self-discovery that is important to us. And they are right!

    Now's the Time to...

    • Call about specials to Hawaii to witness the majestic humpback whales
    • Make reservations for spring break before all the best space is gone
    • Reserve your home for the summer in Hawaii and Mexico
    • Inquire about our cruise specials
    • Check out our group cruise to Alaska (Greek Isles Cruise -- sold out!)
    • Inquire about Christmas space -- this typically sells out by the end of February

    Discover Central America

    I am very excited to be sharing the undiscovered jewel called Central America with our clients. There are an untold number of ways to explore nature here. Our more adventurous clients can bungee jump off a bridge, fly over the ocean, hike fiery craters, scuba dive with sharks, kayak through fierce currents and meet wild animals face to face. Culture lovers will find indigenous people living as their ancestors did thousands of years ago and fascinating Mayan ruins to explore. Everyone will enjoy the peace and quiet of walks through rainforests, bird watching tours and miles and miles of sandy, uncrowded beaches. And I haven't even mentioned the tropical retreats and luxurious spas.

    Ask Endora

    Dear Endora,

    I was planning on booking my own air from the East coast to Hawaii – the best fare showed different carriers being used and I was wondering am I going to have to get my luggage when I get onto the next flight?

    Leery traveler

    Featured Property - Four Seasons Punta Mita

    The scenic beauty and wonderful climate of the coast north of Puerto Vallarta make it a favorite of international travelers. Here, Four Seasons has created a spectacular and very special five star resort.

    Divinely comfortable and perfectly appointed suites and rooms are arranged in handsomely tiled casitas overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the golf course. Flawless service harmonizes with style and seclusion, making this resort a place guests will visit again and again.

    Cruise News

    In October, Conde Nast Traveler announced its Readers' Choice Awards. Significant in the cruise category was that two new leaders emerged in the small ship and large ship categories -- SeaDream Yacht Club and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, respectively. SeaDream was launched in September 2001 with two 110-passenger vessels that were formerly part of the Sea Goddess fleet. The yacht-like ships were completely refitted and deliver a casual luxury (no tux and no tie) that differentiates them from many other luxury lines. These two lines are highly recommended by Incredible Journey, with both known for their stellar service.

    2007 Alaskan Explorer

    Here's your chance to witness the natural beauty of Alaska - the wilderness destination - on a fabulous 7 day cruise round trip from Seattle aboard the ms Noordam, Holland America's newest ship, with staterooms 25% larger than other premium cruise lines.

    Critical Passport Information

    Beginning Jan. 23, 2007, ALL travelers, including citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda, are required to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere.

    Exceptions are limited to travelers possessing an Air NEXUS card, U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document, or Alien Registration Card (Form I-551). This initiative is part of the departments of State and Homeland Security’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and does not apply to travel between the United States and its territories.

    As a result, U.S. citizens traveling directly between the United States and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa can continue to use established forms of identification to board flights and for entry.

    A separate proposed rule addressing land and sea travel will be published at a later date with specific requirements for travelers entering the United States through land and sea border crossings. As early as Jan.1, 2008, citizens traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea may be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security to enter the United States.

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