Making Roman Footsteps

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.  Did you ever wonder what that truly means?

When I visited Rome a few years ago, it was my first trip to Europe and I was very excited to see what everyone was always talking about! My first experience was stepping out of the hotel with my husband and walking to the Spanish Steps nearby.  We were at the top and looking down, I was amazed at all the people, mostly, sitting on the steps, having lunch, meeting friends or loved ones, laughing and talking.  Just taking in the beautiful sunshine.  No rushing around.  No hustle and bustle.  We walked down the steps into the neighborhood to grab a slice of pizza. Rounding the corner, the smell of fresh garlic being sautéed and fresh bread baking.  I closed my eyes and drank it all in.  I was in Rome!  And we’re going back there October 9th!

Imagine exploring ancient Rome through the Circus Maximus Palatine hill with a stop at the Colosseum. If you close your eyes, you can hear the roar of the chariots and conjure up Roman soldiers sparring with lions.  Standing at the top of the Colosseum, you’ll get a tingle up your spine as the reality of the history that happened below begins to hit your senses.  It’s truly amazing. . .

Enjoy your first afternoon on your own exploring or we can arrange an optional tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel so that you skip the long entry line and discover the artistic masterpieces inside, including Michelangelo’s famed ceiling. When I saw the Sistine Chapel for the first time, I stood in awe trying to capture all of into my memory.  You CANNOT take any pictures of it as the flash from your cameras has been causing the deterioration of it over time.  The Security Guards are on their game in guarding this beautiful artistic buffet, so don’t even try to sneak it in.  They become quite offended.  This is their history and heritage and you need to respect it.

In the evening, we begin our culinary adventure on a walking tour of Campo dei Fiori, Trastevere, the historical Jewish Ghetto, and Piazza Navona. During tonight’s tour you will meet vendors, taste local specialties and live the ambiance just like a Roman.  Rounding out the night’s fun, a stop at a famous local Gelateria for delicious artisanal gelato.  And I can assure that what you thought was gelato in the United States is nothing like true gelato in Italy  So many flavors and combinations and so little time!

This is the first of the culinary “footsteps” we’ll be taking beginning on October 9th of this year . . . stay tuned for our next stop on this 10 day tour! Ciao! 

 

 

What Are You Waiting For??

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On January 2nd of this year, we lost a very dear friend of 30+ years.  We went to his house for a New Year’s Eve Party, just as we had done alternately for the last 25 years, only to hear from his daughter that her mom was following him in the ambulance on his way to the ER.  They thought he had the flu and just needed fluids.  He had endocarditis, a strep virus that was attacking his heart, producing multiple heart attacks, strokes, and then organ failure.  He was a very young, active 75.  And we are all devastated by his loss.

You’re now asking “WHY is she sharing this sad story with us?”  And my question to you now is “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??”

What is keeping you from taking that bucket-list vacation?  What is holding you back from going somewhere that you’ve always dreamed of?  Is it that you don’t want to plan too far in advance, what if something happens?  That’s what trip insurance is made for!  (It isn’t just for medical reimbursement anymore.)  Is it that your kids are still young and in school?  You only have 18 summers of your life to travel with your kids while they are young (and possibly still want to travel with you!).  That’s not a lot of summers in the grand scheme of things. And with the help and guidance of a professional travel agent, you can plan those trips that will give you and your family the memories of a lifetime, without all the stress and worry.  The Agent takes that worry and stress away from you and will be there through all of it with you, as well as waiting patiently till you get back to regale the beautiful and funny experiences you shared!  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???

Are you waiting till you retire and can travel with your spouse or significant other without having to worry about returning to work?   What happens if you retire and like so many other people we hear about, suddenly fall ill and can’t travel?  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???

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My point for all of this is that life is way too short to dream about all the places in the world you’ve always wanted to go to and NEVER making those dreams a reality.  If you keep waiting, you may never get there.  And I can assure that there were places our friend would have loved to go to, but kept putting off for various reasons.  Life has a funny way of smacking us in the face with reality, so why not take the plunge and plan that bucket list trip???  Call your travel consultant and let them show you how easy it is!

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???  ENJOY LIFE, MY FRIEND!!  LA DOLCE VITA!!

Packing 101 – Did you forget something?

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Packing for that family holiday trip to Grandma’s or Aunt Josie’s?  Or maybe you’re getting away to an island to escape the holiday rush? Boarding a cruise ship to let all your cares float away? Beginning the year by checking off a country on your bucket list?

No matter where you are heading, you will definitely want to print out the packing list contained in the link below.  It is the ULTIMATE checklist for packing.  Even if you don’t need everything on there, once you’re back from your trip, cross out what you didn’t need or use and keep it for your next packing adventure!  Either way, GET AWAY, and enjoy life!  Happy Holidays to all!

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Merry Thanksmas!!!

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Merry Thanksmas! Grab Some Sweet Deals in the In-Between Holiday Time.

Have you ever considered a non-Holiday holiday? With November, December, and January stuffed with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, sometimes it doesn’t occur to people to take a break around this time.

But in the travel industry, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the week after New Year’s, are considered “dead weeks,” with a big drop in demand. And in the travel market, a drop in demand = a great time to grab a fantastic deal on a trip. So if you have some flexibility in your holiday plans — or better yet, if you have adventurous family members who would love an unusual way to spend this time together — then put us on the hunt for some fabulous last-minute bargains and pack your bags.

Go off-peak for bigger savings. The days right before and right after major holidays tend to be the busiest (and most expensive), so opt for off-peak and you can save considerably, sometimes 25-50% off.

Off-peak savings also apply to destinations, not just travel times. Consider this advice from Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations:

Cities that regularly host conventions can be good places to find last-minute hotel deals over the holidays. Sometimes you can find a last-minute deal in cities like Orlando or Las Vegas just because there are so many hotels to fill and no conventions going on (at this time of year).

And for beachside lounging, don’t limit yourself to Florida. Consider sandy (and cheaper) spots in other warm destinations along the Georgia and Texas coastlines, including towns like Tybee Island near Savannah and Galveston. Many hotel rooms in Galveston sell at or below $100 per night in November and December.

Consider a vacation rental. Especially at resorts, prices can be as steep as the slopes. If you’re willing to drive a few extra minutes, you can often rent a larger space for much cheaper. There are hot deals available on luxury apartments, homes, condos, and cottages. Other advantages: your own space, more room for larger families or groups, no noisy hotel patrons to keep you up. (For help scouting out the perfect space for your family or group, schedule a phone chat with me by replying to this email.)

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Don’t rule out Europe for a pre- or post-holiday escape. TravelChannel.com author Valerie Connors says, “During the winter, roundtrip flights to Europe can be as much as 20% cheaper than during summer months, when hordes of travelers descend on popular European cities like Paris, London and Rome. In winter these same cities can be blissfully quiet, with short or no lines to enter major attractions like the Louvre or St. Peter’s Basilica.” Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

Don’t be afraid of traveling during the Holiday season — when you know where the deals are, the holidays can be better than ever!

Working with a Travel Professional is one of the best ways to get the most value on your dream vacation!  We would love to help you plan your perfect getaway this Holiday season.  Fill out the comment section below to schedule a “Let’s Get Acquainted Session” with us today. Or visit our website, http://www.skylandworldtravel.com for more vacation ideas to start your year off right!

From all of us at Skyland World Travel, we wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!!

 

 

 

 

 

Kangaroos, Koalas or Opera?

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What does Australia mean to you? Kangaroos, koalas, Sydney Opera House? It’s all that and so much more. It’s a vast continent with 24 million people and a truly diverse landscape, with aboriginal history and culture in everything you see and do. Australians are warm, friendly people with a great  sense of humor.  It’s a bucket list item for many people and much easier to get to then you would imagine. The seasons are opposite to the USA,  so Australians are having barbecues on the beach in January. On a first visit the main three are usually a must see-  Sydney, Great Barrier Reef and Uluru (Ayers Rock).  All three are great for families, couples and groups.

A typical itinerary would have 3 or 4 nights in Sydney, 3 nights in Cairns and 2 or 3 at Uluru, with flights in between each city.

In Sydney you can climb or walk the Harbour Bridge, visit the Opera House for a tour or a performance, walk through the Botanical gardens, take ferries across the harbor, watch the surfers at Bondi Beach and even take your own surf lesson. Take a day excursion to the Blue Mountains, go to Hunter Valley for wine tasting and watch movies under the stars.

Queensland is the home of the Great Barrier Reef – a great place to stay is Port Douglas – a charming walkable village full of great restaurants and boutique stores. An inexpensive shuttle runs to all the hotels from the main street, so you  never have to worry about driving. Day trips to the reef go from this point and you can snorkel, scuba, do a semi-submersible or sit and enjoy the view of the spectacular coral.

Another great day out is the Kuranda scenic rail, Skyrail and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Stunning scenery from an original steam train – time in Kuranda to visit Kuranda Koala Gardens (who doesn’t want their picture taken holding a cuddly koala?) and then the return journey is on the Skytrain Gondola across the rainforest. At Tjapukai you can learn about the culture of the Aborigines, try your hand at spear and boomerang throwing – not as easy as it looks, and of course, spend time in the gift shop.

Uluru – previously named  Ayers Rock, is the huge red rock you see in all the pictures of Australia, and is a sacred site to an indigenous Aboriginal tribe. Rising up from the desert floor in the Northern Territory, it is millions of years old, over 2,800 feet high, and is part of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to view this sandstone monolith and nothing can beat a ballooning experience over the area. The field of light experience under the stars, is a wonderful pattern of glass globes lighting up the night sky, and this is currently extended until March 2018.

Australia is almost the same size as the USA so it is worth two or three trips to uncover this vast and diverse country. Each region has its own climate so there is no right or wrong time of year to visit.

I am a Certified Australia Specialist and would be happy to assist you with planning your dream vacation DownUnder.  Please either email me directly at Pauline@skylandworldtravel.com or fill in the comment form below.