Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Now, more than ever, travelers are seeking assistance from travel professionals with planning their future vacations. With so much uncertainty in the world, having an expert in your corner helping you every step of the way not only helps to give you peace of mind when planning your trip, but it also ensures that you will be able to rest easy knowing that  your Travel Agent has thought of everything for you.

So, why should you use a Travel Agent?

  1. You won’t pay anything additional for your vacation package when you book with a Travel Agent versus booking your vacation directly through the destination. Utilizing an expert that can personalize your entire vacation is truly invaluable; the expertise and knowledge you’ll gain from using an agent will help ensure your vacation is as relaxing and worry-free as possible!
  2. Using a Travel Agent is a huge time-saver! There are way more important things you could be doing than wasting time comparing prices on countless confusing travel websites.
  3. Travel Agents have access to quickly find deals and special offers that may not be clearly visible for you to find in your searches.
  4. You can’t beat the customer service when you book with a Travel Agent. You’ll never get an automated answering service when you call your Travel Agent. Need suggestions or help sorting something out? You’ll get through to your agent a lot quicker than you would if you booked through some of those websites you search through. And your agent will do everything they can to help you get what you need, stat!
  5. Your Travel Agent will be your main point of contact from the time you start planning until after you return from your trip. They can also be as much (or as little) involved in the planning process as you’d like them to be.
  6. Not sure where you want to travel? Your Travel Agent will help you come up with some great ideas for destinations, while also keeping your budget in mind.
  7. Your Travel Agent will follow up and follow through to see that all of your special needs and requests are met whenever possible, as well as make sure you are aware about any deals that you may be entitled to.
  8. When you use a Travel Agent, you can rest assured that in the event something goes wrong on your trip or you have an emergency requiring last minute changes, your Travel Agent will be there to do the legwork for you so you don’t need to worry about any of that.
  9. Most online travel booking sites require you to pay your entire trip cost up front, regardless of when you book. When you book with a Travel Agent, you may be able to set up a payment plan to make smaller payments over time.
  10. Travel Agents love what they do and truly value your business!

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Beaches Ocho Rios

Beaches Ocho Rios

For a limited time, book your family on the ultimate beach vacation for an incredible price! Rates as low as $159 per person, per night in 2021 at Beaches Ocho Rios!

Beaches Ocho Rios has something for everyone in the family. If you’re game for “surf & turf,” from a huge action-adventure waterpark to championship golf for the whole family, look no further than Beaches Ocho Rios all-inclusive resort, voted among the Top 10 Best Beach Resorts by Parents magazine. Twenty-two acres of lush tropical gardens, a gorgeous private white-sand beach, seven gourmet restaurants, five fantastic swimming pools, a dedicated scuba practice pool and an entire ocean of watersports are just a few of the places & things to explore.

If you’re looking for a family beachfront getaway with an intimate private beach, a Pirates Island Waterpark, extra large accommodations, the only all-inclusive golf program for kids and near Jamaica’s best attractions, Beaches Ocho Rios is for you.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, tree, cloud, outdoor, nature and water
Greek Honeymoon Beachfront Walkout Concierge Suite

This resort is ALL INCLUSIVE!!! That doesn’t just mean food and drinks….that also means:

  • All tips, taxes and gratuities (NO TIPPING!!!)
  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • Kids Camp with certified nannies
  • Pirates Island Waterpark
  • Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street®
  • Liquid at Beaches nightly teen club
  • Xbox Play Lounge
  • PADI-Certified SCUBA diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Complimentary Green Fees in Jamaica
  • Unlimited land sports
  • Unlimited water sports
  • Fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment
  • Day and night entertainment including live shows
  • All amenities and inclusions at all other Beaches
  • WiFi in room & all common areas

*Select dates available. Blackout periods apply. Rates above are sample rates based on a family of 4, 2 adult and 2 children). Must book by May 20, 2020. Rates are based on booking 7 nights. Rates are available for less nights but the same discounts may not apply.

Self Care and Travel

Self Care and Travel

With back to school upon us, self-care for moms is a ubiquitous topic on social media and even the news. We are told everyday in the media we should be taking care of ourselves. Sounds simple enough, right? But what does self-care look like, and how can we really do it? Sometimes seeing past the stress to even know what we want to do is hard. Like any other task, breaking down possibilities into smaller segments is a fantastic approach.

Start small: how can I rest today? This week?

This month? In the next six months?

For today, try taking a walk. Unplug the phone. If you have small kids, even just a lap around the block with the stroller or putting on some dance music in the house can do wonders. If you are working, maybe a quick walk outside at lunch or an outdoor spot for an afternoon coffee break will help. Be sure you take those lunches and coffee breaks! The daytime downtime is important. A few times a month try to schedule a date with a friend or your significant other. Not everything has to cost money – simply going to a park, the beach, or a walk around the neighborhood will give you a chance to talk and reconnect.

Happy Coffee

My neighbor and I walk in the mornings after she drops her kids at the bus
– it gives us an hour or so to exercise and chat, before she’s off to start her workday. My husband and I try to go out to dinner a few times a month. We talk about the mundane but we always try to add in a “hopes and dreams” section in our conversations. It’s fun and helps us stay focused on each other. It’s so easy to get caught up the day-to-day demands of work, kids, house, stress.

Photo of Woman Wearing Pink Sports Shoes Walking

One of my favorite self-care opportunities is taking experiences with the family. My husband and I try to get away once a year overnight just the two of us. We are fortunate to have parents who are able to stay with our kids. We don’t always do something big – sometimes it’s a hotel in our city, sometimes a neighboring city, sometimes it’s a big bucket list trip like a cruise. If family isn’t available, see if you can swap childcare with a friend. It takes a little planning and coordination, especially if you have special
needs kids, but it’s worth the time and effort.

Two Person Holding Hands While Sitting on Grey Cushion

The last planning point for self-care is to dream big! What’s your bucket list item? Maybe a family trip to Europe. Or Disney World. A beautiful beach somewhere. The mountains in the fall.

Travel has a way to refocus our priorities and connect the family. My very favorite thing about travel destinations is seeing families (multigenerational, teens, toddlers, parents) connect. They are walking
through the theme parks laughing, talking, and enjoying their time together. In more exotic travel locales, many phone plans don’t work so there is an absolute disconnect from daily life.

Here are a few ideas for long-term planning:
– Take a trip to Beaches (with family or friends) or Sandals with your significant other. Everything is included but your airfare, leaving with you nothing to worry or think about.

– Cruises – something for everyone. Activities for kids, a spa, deck sports, shows, and amazing food. Unpack once, visit many locations!

Girl Enjoying on Beach

– Disney/Universal/Sea World – perfect for families, multigenerational trips, and even adults. My husband and I enjoyed a 24 hour date at a Disney Resort before grandma brought the kids down. It was amazing.

– Living With the Magic is hosting a Girls Getaway Weekend in April 2020. I went last year with my college sorority sisters – we celebrated 20 years of friendship! There is something special about spending time with your village.

This weekend, set a short term goal to look at the calendar and see what’s open. Make a plan for short and long term self-care. Together we can strengthen our human connections, relax and refresh!

Let’s get excited, plan a trip, and I’ll See Ya Real Soon!

Contact Andrea

What Does All-Inclusive Mean?

What Does All-Inclusive Mean?

We are often bragging about Sandals and Beaches All-Inclusive resorts…but WHY do we love it so much? One of the reasons is they are the MOST All-Inclusive resort out there! Let’s see what that really means!

Are all all-inclusive resorts the same?

No. All-inclusive resorts vary the benefits they include in their all-inclusive vacation package

The trick is to do your research in advance, as the quality of these options may vary, depending upon the hotel or resort that you choose – some resorts include meals and drinks as part of their all-inclusive package, while other things including tours and water sports must be paid for separately – and that would be no good if you want to go out on a jet ski and have no cash…

Sandals all-inclusive resort in Antigua

With Sandals, some of the all-inclusive perks are 5-star gourmet dining at up to 16 restaurants per resort, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and anytime snacks. Foodies will love this type of all-you-can-eat vacation, especially when you can tell, based on resort ratings, that what you get will be well worth the price you pay. Dining at Sandals includes themed options, which make it possible to give your taste buds a worldwide perspective. At Sandals Ochi for example, you can try cuisines from the OrientNorthern Italian cuisine, Caribbean favorites, and gourmet French cuisine.

Back to your room you’ll find a fully stacked mini fridge, which is free to use 24-hours a day! Sandals also offers unlimited top-notch Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks® wines as part of their all-inclusive experience. 

all inclusive dining royal bahamian

Fancy a drink? Not all all-inclusive resorts include alcoholic drinks as part of the package. Sandals hosts up to 11 bars per resort, available to order your favorite alcoholic and soft drinks as often as you want.

Golf aficionados, your green fees are covered at select Sandals resorts including Sandals Regency La Toc, which features an 9-hole par 33 course, the award-winning Greg Norman designed course at Sandals’ all-inclusive resort in Exuma, Bahamas (18-holes, par 72) and the expansive 18-hole, par 71 golf course at the Sandals resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Sandals recently acquired a new golf course in Saint Lucia, the 18-hole Sandals Golf and Country Club in Cap Estate, which means you can pretty much just play golf and forget about the world during your stay in Saint Lucia. The resort offers free transfers from any of the three Sandals resorts in Saint Lucia to both golf courses, so you don’t have to concentrate on anything but staying on top of your game!

golf resort saint lucia

At some all-inclusive resorts (like at all Sandals resorts), tips, taxes and gratuities are included in your stay, so there’s no need to walk with cash to tip servers or other staff while on property. This is something you might want to check the fine print on, before booking an all-inclusive vacation. If you plan on venturing out of the resort however, you should walk with cash, as most vendors do not accept cash or debit cards.

Just as soon as you step out of customs at your destination, you’ll find a Sandals representative waiting to take you to the fully air-conditioned shuttle bus, which will take you directly to your resort. During your departure, a complimentary shuttle will also transport you to the airport. Guests booked in Elite Butler rooms can opt for exclusive Rolls Royce transfers

Free Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is everything while away from home, and it is refreshing to arrive at a resort that understands just how important it is to stay connected. At Sandals you’ll find Wi-Fi in your room (in all room categories), as well as in all common areas. The codes are given to you upon arrival, and you’re free to use it for as long as you please

Know the difference…

butler service on the beach

You might be wondering about the difference between all-inclusive, and some of the other options available on the vacation market. Here’s a few of the most popular measured up against the all-inclusive product:

All-inclusive vs A la carte

All-inclusive resorts typically cover lodging, daily meals, drinks, gratuities, and other services. A la carte resorts, as the name suggest, allows you to select what you need for your vacation, rather than a combination of services at a fixed price. Often this means you’ll ended up paying more than expected, at the end of your vacation.

All-inclusive vs Self-catering

At most self-catering hotels, resorts, or villa options, you’ll have various facilities made available to you (including kitchenettes or full kitchens), so that you can feel right at home on your vacation. This option means you’ll more or less have to do everything yourself (like doing groceries, preparing your meals etc.), unlike the all-inclusive concept where you can just sit back and relax, having everything done for you.

All-inclusive vs Half-board

Half-board properties tend to include some options and services, and not others as part of your package. For example, two meals, such as breakfast and lunch may be included, but not snacks, drinks and dinner. This is very different from the all-inclusive option where all meals and drinks are included in your stay. 

All-inclusive vs Full-board

Full-board means that you can expect most meals to be provided as part of your stay. Some full board hotels charge extra for things like (alcoholic) drinks and snacks, which sets them apart from the all-inclusive hotels and resorts.

What’s Included?

Every Sandals Vacation Includes:

  • Luxurious and Unique Rooms & Suites
  • Unlimited Meals at up to 16 Fine Restaurants
  • Up to 11 Bars per Resort
  • Unlimited Premium Liquors
  • Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks® Wines
  • Entertainment Day & Night
  • All Sandals Resorts are Adults-Only,Designed for Couples
  • Exclusive Butler Service*
  • Club Sandals Concierge Service*
  • PADI® Certified Scuba Diving
  • Unlimited Land & Water Sports
  • State-of-the-Art Fitness Centers
  • Complimentary Green Fees for Golf**
  • Exclusive Exchange Privileges Between Resorts
  • Free Non-Stop Round-Trip Airport Transfers
  • All Taxes, Tips and Gratuities
  • Airport Arrival Lounge in Jamaica and Saint Lucia
Why this Disney addict fell in love with Sandals and Beaches!

Why this Disney addict fell in love with Sandals and Beaches!

The World’s Only 5-Star Luxury Included Resort!
Why Sandals?You probably are used to receiving emails all about Disney destinations and might be wondering WHY we are talking about Sandals? I am a die-hard Disney fan! Our family travels to a Disney destination a few times a year. I was hesitant to try out a Sandals vacation but had heard about their incredible guest service and decided to try out. I was BLOWN away!!  I’m so excited to share with you all the things I fell in love with during my time at Sandals!!
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I always have said I’m not a “beach person” but you know what…I am! I still can’t lay on the beach all day but I really enjoyed my time relaxing in the warm Caribbean sun while listening to the turquoise water crash into the beach! Pure paradise!

If you know me, you know I love to eat! That’s why I love the Disney Dining Plan and Disney Cruise Line vacations. I love that the stress is taken out of meals…I don’t have to  decide what I’d like to eat based on the price, I don’t have to wander around to find somewhere that’s included in my
plan. That’s what makes Sandals so amazing! EVERYTHING was included! From alcohol (cocktails, wine, beer, etc) to all your food! Morning, noon and night whatever you want! AND  most of the time you don’t even need reservations in advance! I ate everything from asian inspired cuisine, to Italian, American, Jamaican and so much more!

I slept like a baby while at Sandals! Every Sandals resort room includes a KING size bed with fluffy pillows! And who couldn’t fall asleep to the sound of the waves (and sometimes frogs and birds chirping) outside. Plus you can’t beat the views. Can you imagine waking up and having breakfast here?

One thing I was worried about was, “Would I be bored?” I was so used to visitng Walt Disney World and being on the go all the time…we even tend to stay pretty busy when we cruise! My worries soon melted away (too many rum punches?) and I realized I had nothing to fear! Sandals is TRULY All-Inclusive!! There are so many activities throughout the day including water sports! From kayaking, to paddle boarding, sailing, glass bottom boat…there was so much to choose from!

Plus if you are interested in getting outside the resort, Sandals has partnered with Island Routes for some incredible excursions!!
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We love vacation at Disney because we have been spoiled by their incredible guest service. Sandals definitely didn’t disappoint me. They strive for excellence in customer service and there was always someone willing to help, answer a question or just ask how my day was going.
Did  I mention this yet?  Just kidding…but it’s one of the highlights of staying at a Sandals (or Beaches) property instead of another resort.

Are all all-inclusive resorts the same?
No. All-inclusive resorts vary the benefits they include in their all-inclusive vacation package. 

The trick is to do your research in advance, as the quality of these options may vary, depending upon the hotel or resort that you choose – some resorts include meals and drinks as part of their all-inclusive package, while other things including tours and water sports must be paid for separately – and that would be no good if you want to go out on a jet ski and have no cash…

What’s Included?
All meals, anytime snacks and fine dining
Scuba diving (if certified)*
Luxurious accommodations
Free Wedding
Golf green fees in Jamaica and Saint Lucia
Sailing, water skiing, snorkeling & more
Land sports 
Wi-Fi at all resorts in all public areas and all room categories.
Exchange privileges
Airport transfers and resort transfers**
Top–shelf drinks
All tips, gratuities and hotel taxes
* Certification card and dive log required.
** Transportation to other neighboring Sandals (within the same town) are included.
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Intrigued yet? I’d love to chat with you about exploring a Sandals resort for you next vacation! Want to bring the kids? Beaches offers everything I’ve talked about but for the whole family!

Saint Lucia
The Bahamas

Turks and Caicos