Grand Canyon - A Fun Family Road Trip • World Travel
Grand Canyon – A Fun Family Road Trip

Grand Canyon – A Fun Family Road Trip

Grand Canyon road trip adventure with our family was a blast!

If you are looking for an outstanding family trip, look no further than the Grand Canyon!  Our family contacted World Travel to assist us in planning a trip to the Grand Canyon & Las Vegas this last August. We worked with one of their agents Heidi Nanigian. She walked us through our options and worked through our requests with ease. Heidi was always accessible and very quick to respond.

In the days leading up to our trip, she checked in, to see if we were in need of any assistance, which was very reassuring. 12 hours before our trip, my husband decided it might be best to rent a car for our trip. Heidi was right there to assist us and was able to get us an amazing deal.

Our trip was so amazing! We drove the first day to the Grand Canyon in a spacious mini van. Viewing the desert landscapes we all agreed to go wireless for the trip. Our family bonded and shared stories along the way. Once we arrived to our hotel, we were able to unwind and prepare for the next days adventure.

Up at the crack of dawn, we set forth onto our day of adventuring to see the Grand Canyon and all its glory. The sights and sounds of this magical place, just took our breath away, which is not something easily come by, in a household of teenagers, let me tell ya!

After a short hike and some exploring we headed off to the Hoover Damn (shown above). What a sight! Such a modern marvel, we were completely blown away.

We rounded up our travels in Las Vegas. Our outstanding travel agent Heidi booked us a room at the fabulous Signature Resort. Our family was truly impressed with all the special attention that both Heidi and the hotel staff gave us, that we decided to stay an extra night!  We had a blast and just cannot wait to do it again!!

Heidi Nanigian a Travel Advisor from World Travel will get you there…
Get Started: http://wtbinc.com/get-started/
Call Us: 888.879.4261

Hawaiian Paradise and the Aloha Spirit

Hawaiian Paradise and the Aloha Spirit

The Hawaiian paradise of Waikiki showed World Travel clients Jennifer Robles and Valerie Gomez the true Aloha spirit.

Wow, what a trip to a Hawaiian paradise!  Everything was wonderful.  I’ll start with our car that picked us up at the house, which Heidi had booked (Shuttle to LAX) and we had a private car…awesome!  The driver was prompt, professional and very pleasant.  We began the trip in style feeling like the Kardashians!

The Aqua Palms Hotel was great.  It was in the middle of Waikiki and close to everything!  We received a wonderful surprise upgrade to the 15th floor so we had a view of the City, Diamond Head, and a little of Waikiki Beach – awesome!  The hotel staff was very friendly and informative.

Germaine’s was Luau fun and we had a blast!  I would recommend it — it was family style which made it even better.  They do their best to make you feel like Ohana (family)!  I was told by some friends that the location was not good, but I thought it was great…right on the beach.  We have some great pictures of the sunset!  The bus drivers were great too.  They made the ride so much fun and were very organized too.  My mother in law paid for my wife’s family to join us at the luau as a nice surprise!  It was so great to have our Ohana join us at the last minute and they also had a wonderful time!

My wife and I had a beautiful beach wedding at Waialae Beach and it was amazing!  It was the only day it rained and we had the most beautiful rainbow appear during our ceremony!  All of the Hawaiians were telling us that rain was good luck and a blessing.  Once we got on the sand, it stopped raining a bit, just a very light drizzle and a rainbow appeared.  The ceremony was beautiful and we had dinner at Tiki’s Bar and Grill in Waikiki.  I would recommend that place, very fun and casual atmosphere!

We ended our trip at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa.  It was truly another paradise on earth there, so beautiful!  We want to go back to the Hawaiian paradise soon and it was worth every penny!

We used another private car with Shuttle to LAX for the trip home from the airport and again, the driver was prompt and professional.  Since it was late, we drove straight home with no traffic and thank goodness Heidi recommended the later flight.  It’s definitely the way to go!

Everything was amazing with our Hawaiian paradise adventure!  We can’t thank Heidi Nanigian enough for her friendly and professional service!  We look forward to taking our next vacation with the help from Heidi and World Travel!

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Seychelles – Cruising in First Class Style

Seychelles – Cruising in First Class Style

Scott and Renee Pfeiffer had the unique opportunity to visit Dubai and cruise the Seychelles in February of this year along with their adult children Kyle and Kelley.

We started the Seychelles cruise adventure from Dubai where we had a chance to tour some amazing sites including Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, landmark hotel Burj Al Arab and who could miss the Dubai Mall with the world’s largest fish tank.

Seychelles

We are all scuba certified and have been wanting to experience the warm, welcoming water of the Seychelles and Crystal Cruises new yacht Esprit was the perfect option. After two days of touring in Dubai, we boarded the yacht which carries on 60 passengers. Everyone on board experienced first class service and had a chance to socialize and get to know the captain and crew.  While on board, we all enjoyed scuba, snorkeling and wake boarding. Especially exciting was time spent exploring the islands by hiking, biking, zip lining, enjoying helicopter and even submarine rides.

If you asked what I enjoyed the most (Renee) it would be being together and spending quality time on sugar white beached, lush emerald mountains, UNESCO protective wildlife preserves and one of the most dynamic coral reefs in the Seychelles.

Thanks to our savvy Travel Advisor at World Travel, Marsha Dolbow, for all the smoothly functioning travel arrangements.


World Travel adheres to the standards of quality, service, and flexibility. As your Travel Advisor, our goal is to develop a relationship where you rely upon us to deliver service that goes beyond merely booking flights and making hotel reservations. We believe in a hands-on approach, and feel our attention to detail exemplifies who we are when it comes to personal attention to your travel needs and expectations, as well as those of your travel companions.

Big Texas Adventure in Only 5 Days

Big Texas Adventure in Only 5 Days

George and Mikki Borquez detail their 5 day Texas adventure “spurred” by the desire and love of travel.

My husband and I had 5 days to spend on a long weekend and after much deliberation, we decided to fly to Dallas, Texas and see what we could do during that short time period.  Our Texas adventure started when we picked up our rental car at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and began our drive to Arlington, Texas, about 25 miles away.  This was our first stop as it was still baseball season, and we decided to get a hotel within walking distance of the Texas Ranger’s baseball stadium (now known as Globe Life Park) in Arlington.  We’d be able to take in the game, not worry about fighting traffic or paying for parking plus we’d get to enjoy a few beers without having to drive.  It was a fun evening as we walked there and back to our hotel after the game, feeling sorry for those stuck in grid lock traffic!

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The following day, we took the VIP guided tour of the magnificent AT&T stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, located across the street from Globe Life Park.  Thanks to staying in a nearby hotel, we were able to walk there as well.  You name it, we saw it from the locker rooms of the Dallas Cowboy players to those of the Dallas Cheerleaders, the private suites, the press box, the interview room, the Miller Lite Club and most exciting, the field itself.  There is nothing like standing on the 50-yard line in that immense stadium!

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Our third day was spent at the Fort Worth Stockyards (17 miles from Arlington) where there’s a daily cattle drive through town (definitely an experience for this city girl).  We weren’t there for the annual rodeo but I’m sure it would be a lot of fun to see!  We had lunch at a cowboy saloon, toured the Cowboy Hall of Fame and listened to some great country-western music before heading to Dallas (36 miles from Fort Worth Stockyards) for the remainder of our stay.

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I was always a fan of the TV show “Dallas”, starring Larry Hagman, Linda Grey and Patrick Duffy, so of course touring South Fork Ranch was high on my list of things to do!  The grounds and the main house are impressive and meticulously maintained.  There is a small restaurant on the premises in addition to a gift shop.  A tram takes you from the visitor center to the main house; along the way you see horses and Texas longhorn.  They’re open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the cost is very reasonable ($15.00 or less depending on if you’re purchasing an adult ticket, senior citizen or child’s ticket).

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A more sobering tour was that of the Texas School Book Depository building, or the JFK History Museum and Sixth Floor Museum, as it’s also known.  I was 12 years old when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and have always been fascinated with his life and legacy.  The tour is self-guided and is respectful to all that happened there.  It overlooks Dealey Plaza and the grassy knoll, as well as the bridge the motorcade passed under on the way to Parkland Hospital that fateful day in November of 1963.  The hours and prices for this museum are almost identical to that of South Fork Ranch.

We managed to get in some time to tour downtown Dallas before heading back to the airport for our journey home.  I’d definitely visit this area again, lots to do there!

World Travel Travel Advisor Heidi Nanigian would love to help you on your next Texas Adventure or any adventure your heart desires. Get started today! Click Here and ask for Heidi!

Azamara Quest Luxury Cruise Memories

Azamara Quest Luxury Cruise Memories

World Travel clients Marvin and Nancy guest blog about about their adventures during a luxury cruise aboard the Azamara Quest.

Please note, I start with our last night aboard the Azamara Quest. I had received a bottle of Taittinger’s Champagne from a ship officer which I shared with three new friends onboard. We toasted the fun we shared, new friends, and our future cruises which were booked onboard, too. Up in the Living Room they have tapas each evening which were great to nosh with our icy champs.

Champagne

A fun event on an at sea day was Iron Chef, set up so beautifully. The chefs were the cruise director vs the hotel manager and their selected passenger aides. The ship’s chef and his sous chef supervised. The wine flowed into food, contestants, and judges. The laughter must have resonated throughout the ship.

I took along yarn to knit scarves and met other knitters, too. It was a great ice breaker and we shared projects and resources. We also borrowed books from The Drawing Room, the ship’s lovely library.

Willemstad, Curaçao was our southernmost port. It is colorful, people were so friendly, and crossing the pedestrian pontoon bridge from one side of town to the other is fun. We walked, toured, drank beer (3 for $7 plus free wifi!!!) and stopped for lunch.  As we left port Captain Carl spun the ship so everyone enjoyed the beautiful views.

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An interesting discovery:  Azamara Quest has designated crew members who can stay ashore with guests if a need arises. On our cruise, a man needed hospitalization in the Dominican Republic. The couple was packed up, ambulance arranged, and a young lady from the crew packed up and stayed with them as interpreter and to help. That is hugely humane and well handled by the crew of the Azamara Quest.

We can’t wait for our next adventure on Azamara Quest. Planning it with our Travel Advisor Elaine Clapp will be great fun, too.

 

Hiking Destinations Lake 22 Trail

Hiking Destinations Lake 22 Trail

Hiking destinations filled with beauty!

In Washington State there are tons of hiking destinations to get you out into nature. It’s one of the things I love most about the Pacific Northwest. My favorite adventures are the ones where you throw the dog and a pack in the car, and hit the road to the great outdoors–destination unknown.

I’m a hiker who loves a good workout, beautiful waterfalls, and the pay off of a stunning view at the top. This hike had it all. Lake 22 in the North Cascades, just off  Mountain Loop Highway is approximately five and a half miles round trip with an elevation gain of 1350 ft. The trail is wet in some parts, but well kept and well traveled by people and dogs alike.

Click to images to enlarge and hit back button to return to blog.

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It starts in a damp, thick forest full of moss, ferns, boulders, streams and huge hemlock and cedars. As you move up the side of the mountain, there are beautiful waterfalls nestled alongside the trail, and a bridge to stop and enjoy the sound of the water rushing by.After a while the trail breaks out into a rocky area with switchbacks. It’s a good workout, but still the scramble up was no match for our fearless mountain dog.  Beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the majesty of the vast wilderness make the climb more than bearable.

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The last stretch, just before the top, is very wet. It is best to wear good shoes for tromping through some mud and to bring a spare pair of dry socks. In case you’re graceful, like me, these will come in handy. The trail opens up to wooden walkways that lead around the beautiful alpine lake, Lake 22. The water, like glass, is nestled in the shadow of Mount Pilchuck. It is a perfect place to take a cool dip on a warm day, and to find a boulder upon which you can eat a well-earned lunch. It’s the kind of outdoor summer adventure that stays with you, and comforts you in the winter months when the mountains are calling, but the weather keeps you inside.

Written by World Travel guest blogger Viki.

 

Alaskan Cruise Adventure

Alaskan Cruise Adventure

A World Travel customer, MB,  blogs about her family’s Alaskan Cruise.

An Alaskan cruise had always been on my bucket list and in June of 2015, I finally got to experience it!  My eldest granddaughter, Katie, had just graduated from college in May of that year so as a graduation gift, this grandma took her to Alaska, which interesting enough was also a destination she’d wanted to visit.

We traveled with 7 other people, some of whom were family members so it made the trip that much more enjoyable.  Our Alaskan cruise began in Seattle, Washington and our ports of call included Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm, Ketchikan and Victoria, BC.  As my granddaughter had never been on a cruise before, she was especially excited!  What made our cruise even better was having a balcony room.  It’s true what my cousin Lydia said, once you’ve experienced a balcony on a cruise ship, you never want to cruise again unless you have one every time.

We sailed on Princess and had a wonderful experience on our cruise. There was so much to do on board and age didn’t matter.  We all spent one evening dancing the night away together although our ages ranged from 21 years to 67 years old.  My granddaughter had confided in me after the cruise that she didn’t think there would be much to do but was amazed when the opposite was true.  She told me she couldn’t fit everything in that she’d wanted to do!  One of her favorite shore excursions was zip lining with the younger people in our group.  In addition to dancing and attending variety shows, we gambled, attended wine tastings, visited the spa, walked around the deck for exercise, swam in the pool, bought souvenirs in the gift shop and most fun of all, attended a tailgate party for the Seattle Seahawks, who were on board our ship for the duration of the cruise! We were all impressed with the attentive service we received from the waiters, room stewards and the Princess staff in general.

Of all the ports we visited, my favorite was Tracy Arm, where we witnessed first hand the majesty of the fjords and glaciers.  Their beauty is evident in photographs but to see them in person is breathtaking.  It was also the first chance we had to actually wear our jackets because prior to that port, the weather was warm enough to wear shorts and tank tops.

Thanks to our great travel agent, Heidi Nanigian from World Travel, our trip went off without a hitch and we returned with many fond memories and lots of photos!

Checking Sicily off the bucket list

Checking Sicily off the bucket list

Checking Sicily off the bucket list.

Tom Jackson has been traveling the world since 1952 and has visited 151 countries so far! A destination on his “Bucket List” was Sicily and recently, Tom and his wife Sharon made an in-depth visit there. Below Tom gives us a brief overview of their Sicily adventure planned by the Travel Advisors at World Travel.

Sicily is the largest Island on the Mediterranean Sea. The history and culture of this region of Italy is unique and engaging.

Our adventure started with a flight from Rome to Catania, located on the east end of the Island. We secured our rental car and drove north along the coast to the Greek founded city of Toaromina. This community is located on the coast in the shadow of Mt. Etna, a volcano that is still active with smoke drifting out of its dome 24/7. During our visit, spring, there was still snow on the volcano. One has to be there to see how dominating Mt. Etna is relative to the surrounding area. Its slopes, at lower levels, are dominated by vineyards for Sicilian wine production. Our hotel was the Grand Timeo placed above the city and harbor with spectacular views. Adjacent to the Grand Timeo is the Ancient Greek Amphitheater. In the late spring, all summer and early fall, performances are presented amongst these ancient facilities.

The history of Sicily is a mixture of diverse populations attacking and seizing the Island. These attacking groups include, Greeks, Romans, French, Normans, Spanish and Africans among others. This has created a multi-civilization core amongst the people of Sicily. The people here are very nationalistic regarding this region and state of Italy. The inhabitants would normally say they are Sicilians rather than Italians.

Our next destination was the largest city in Sicily, Palermo. The drive time from Taormina to Palermo was approximately four hours. The roads and auto-straddas there are good to excellent. Some freeways are toll roads and reasonably priced. By the way, we had a GPS system in our rental car and found it indispensable especially in crowded Palermo. The sightseeing adjacent to the city is the reason to come to this capital city. The western portion of the Island, around Trapania is loaded with so much history and culture, making it a highlight.

After Palermo, we preceded to the South Coast, between Sciaccia and Agrigento. Here we found a more relaxed, less busy region. Our landing spot was the Bellmont de Bureua Resort, a contemporary property on this coast with all the extras one would expect at a five star resort. The accommodations, food, and staff were all exceptional. The highlight of our time on this coast was a two hour, three course hands on cooking experience with the terrific Chef Alfredo. He explained details in depth and coached us with his tricks of the trade. Our menu included caponatta, homemade pasta called fusilli and canolli. This all took place at La Forestria Inn accommodation in the vineyards adjacent to the village of Memfi. La Forestria is owned and operated by the Plantera Winery Company. They have five different vineyard locations on the Island producing different varietals for both red and white wine.

We said goodbye to Sicily with a short and scenic drive to the airport in Palermo for our flights home via Rome and London. This wonderful trip was planned by the experienced travel advisors at World Travel. They continue to beat expectations for us trip after trip!

Are you ready to get started on planning your next Adventure!

Click here to connect with a Travel Advisor at World Travel.


 

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Hawaii in the winter

Hawaii in the winter is filled with the Aloha spirit.

Wendy Swenson, CTC breaks down her Hawaiian winter adventure she took her husband on in early January of 2016.

It pays to listen to advice from your experienced travel agent.  When I told my boss, Thomas Jackson, President of World Travel Bureau, that I was planning a trip to Hawaii for my husband and myself, he immediately suggested that I go a week after the New Year, to avoid the crowds and enjoy the good weather.  We had always visited Hawaii in the summers, but this was our chance to come in the winter, to see the big waves that happen this time of year.  We were not disappointed!

We took off the week of January 9th, and our outbound flight to Honolulu was half full.  When does that happen anymore?  Waikiki Beach had plenty of beachgoers but it was not too crowded compared to summertime.  The sidewalks had people but there was room to walk, but the main drag, Kalakaua Avenue,  was crowded with traffic as usual. I really liked the way they configured the pedestrian crossing to have all people crossing in both directions while the cars waited and vice-versa.

The days were sunny and very comfortable – 77 to 80 degrees and the water temperature was listed as about the same. The breezes were very light and in the mornings, non-existent, and there was very little humidity.  There were no bugs, even when the wind stopped.

We stayed at the hotel we honeymooned in over 40 years ago, The Moana Surfrider, now a Westin Resort & Spa.  It’s right in the center of Waikiki offering easy access to beach activities such as surfing, outrigger canoe rides, sunset catamaran cruises, shopping and eating! New for this trip were the Stand up Paddle boarders.  Our room was in the old section of the hotel with an ocean view over the banyan courtyard.  Every night we heard music wafting up to our room.  Every day we saw photographers posing wedding couples all over the hotel. Sometimes we wondered if it was the same white tuxedo and same white wedding dress on each couple!  We even saw a guy in a white tuxedo riding the waves on a standup paddleboard, and falling into the water!

We took several drives to the North Shore to see the big waves, and they were beautiful, powerful and huge – about 20 to 30 feet.  Sunset Beach was big on one day, and Waimea Bay had the biggest waves on our last day in Hawaii. It was exciting to watch the surfers take off on the waves.  My phone camera could not do it justice as they were so far out there. One needed a huge telephoto lens.

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Now I was motivated to take my own surfing lesson at Waikiki, which remained very gentle while the North shore was wild.  It’s best to take your surfing lesson in the morning before the trade winds begin to blow.  I was taught a specific technique which guaranteed that I’d stand up before I fell off.  My instructor pushed me into the wave so I didn’t have to worry about catching it.  It was such fun, but after about an hour of attempts, I was exhausted!  I still need to take another lesson next time because I almost got it!

We visited the Bishop museum, which is a beautiful building, reminding me of our Orange County Courthouse in its stone construction.  Inside there are lots of historical, cultural, scientific exhibits including a history of the Hawaiian Kings and Queens, but my favorite was the Duke Kahanamoku exhibit. It included a surfboard which I could balance on, and an interactive video which responded to my foot movements on the board. I replicated Duke’s 35 foot wave ride of 1917!  It was a mile long, starting in front of Diamond Head Crater and ending at the Moana Surfrider hotel.  I didn’t even fall off!  Kids of all ages would love this exhibit, which has been extended until Feb. 28, 2016 according to their website (click here).

We spent most afternoons at the Moana Banyan courtyard enjoying our Hawaiian drinks and pupus, as we watched the surfers at Waikiki.  The biggest thing we had to worry about was where to have dinner each night, a perfect vacation!

Passport Applications to Increase in 2016

Passport Applications to Increase in 2016

The US Department of State passport services is predicting a strong increase in passport applications in 2016 and an even stronger surge in 2017.

One of the reasons for the increase in passport applications is due to the number of passports that will be expiring in the next two years. It is also thought that the strong dollar to euro ratio will encourage foreign travel. Peak time for the passport offices is January to August. During this peak time processing can take longer because of the abundance of passport applications. It is highly recommended that advance planning would allow your passport to be processed at an off peak time. It is also highly recommend starting the passport applications renewal process when there is one year of validity remaining on your current passport. Passport services is working towards an online passport applications renewal capability which they expect to have in place in the latter part of 2016.

There is also another major change with passports that begins on January 1, 2016. Page inserts for passports will no longer be available. For frequent travelers outside the US, you may request a passport with 52 pages. Another option is to obtain a second passport which will be valid for 4 years rather than the usual 10 years. To obtain a second passport you must show a reasonable need, i.e a letter from your company stating the requirement for recurring foreign travel.  A second passport would be very helpful in situations where your passport is sent to a consulate due to visa requirements and during that processing time you must also travel abroad.

Many travelers wait till the last minute to renew or obtain their passports and then find themselves in a bind. We urge you to allow yourself plenty of time so that there is plenty of time for the state department to properly process all the passport applications.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program , STEP, is highly recommended and can be accessed at www.step.state.gov. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

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