Still hoping to get that summer trip to Walt Disney World planned? You're in luck! Disney released a few new offers this morning:
Receive one FREE meal per person (ages 3 and up), per night at a select Walt Disney World Resort quick-service dining location when you purchase a non-discounted 4-night/5-day room and theme park ticket package at select Disney Moderate and Value Resort hotels. Offer valid for arrivals most nights from May 28 through August 21, 2019. Book through June 30, 2019.
JUST ADDED: Are you a Disney Visa Cardholder? Savor the magic this summer with a FREE dining plan when you purchase a non-discounted 4-night/5-day Walt Disney Travel Co. package that includes a room for 4 nights at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel and 5-day theme park tickets with Park Hopper® Option. Book through June 16, 2019 for arrivals most nights August 1 through August 21, 2019!
Save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels, valid for stays most nights May 28 through August 28, 2019 when you book through August 28, 2019. Book this offer for an arrival between May 28 and June 30 and receive a Disney Gift Card at check-in so you can enjoy even more magic during your stay! The value of your Disney Gift Card will vary:
Last but not least, there's an exclusive new offer for Florida residents! They'll enjoy up to 30% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels most nights July 1 through August 28, 2019. Book through August 28, 2019.
#1. Disney Springs is a hot bed of entertainment, shopping, and dining these days. Some of my favorite things to do at the Springs are really geared toward grown-ups so having it so close to the French Quarter is a huge perk. The boat ride is no more than 20 minutes, relaxing and breezy - a great way to start and end the evening.
#2. The pool area at French Quarter was great. The pool bar was larger than most, and there were always seats available on the patio. I particularly appreciated that the hot tub was in a completely separate section, away from the pool. There were a dozen or more lounge chairs in addition to the oversized jacuzzi; there were very few kids around which made for a much more relaxing experience.
#5. Overall, we loved this resort. I'm sure it was mostly sold out, but it never once felt crowded. The grounds were beautiful, well-maintained and themed so appropriately for the Quarter. The pool and hot tub areas were never loud or boisterous; both are large and there was never any need to hunt for a chair or quiet spot. Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is a hidden gem among quick-service restaurants; everything we ate here was amazing! I will never publicly admit how many beignets I consumed in those four days but let me tell you, every one was delicious. The buildings are gorgeous, inside and out; our room was clean and comfortable and every public space we visited was, too. Transportation to and from the theme parks was quick and easy, even when we shared a bus with the neighboring Riverside. I was pleasantly surprised with how close we actually were to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, those bus rides seemed to take less than ten minutes from door-to-door. Most importantly, the service we received from every Cast Member at French Quarter was second to none.
We absolutely can't wait to get back to Walt Disney World's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter but please, don't take my word for it - go see it for yourself!
Local Travel Agent Becomes Cruise Expert by Earning Prestigious Top Rank in Princess Cruises Academy
(March 5, 2019) – A Swampscott travel agent has achieved prestigious Commodore status in Princess Cruises’ Academy training program, certifying her as an expert cruise professional. As a Commodore, Kayla LeClerc of Dream Come True Vacations joins an exclusive group of travel agents who are now recognized by Princess at the Academy's highest level for their unique qualifications and knowledge as a cruise planning professional. LeClerc earned this distinction after completing the minimum
25 courses necessary to graduate from the program.
“We at Princess are very proud of Kayla’s dedication, as she put in extra effort to offer clients exceptional knowledge regarding our cruise vacation product as well as our worldwide destinations,” said Jan Swartz, Senior Vice President of Customer Service and Sales at Princess. “Travel agents who reach this top level in our Academy program have completed hours of course work to become a cruising expert, which will prove invaluable to providing clients with a great vacation.”
Princess Academy is the cruise industry’s most comprehensive online training program available to travel agents in the U.S. and Canada. Agents who complete the extensive coursework become experts on a wide range of topics, offering travelers full knowledge of important details about a Princess vacation such as the different passenger amenities on the line’s 17 ships, the company’s worldwide destinations and the many special programs available onboard.
“I'm thrilled to be a Princess Commodore and expand my expertise about cruising. The knowledge I've gained makes me a more valuable resource for my clients, and enables me to recommend the very best vacation which matches all of their needs,” said LeClerc.
To become a Commodore, travel agents must fulfill 25 required and elective classes, representing approximately 15 hours of total course work covering worldwide destinations, onboard programs, and customer service skills. As they complete courses, agents receive their “stripes” through four levels: First Officer, Staff Captain, Captain and finally Commodore. Agents can continue to take elective courses to expand their knowledge and keep their Commodore status current.
As promised, here is the start of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals offered by select hotels, resorts, cruise lines and airlines. Travel Deal Tuesday offers will be listed here, too. I'll keep updating it as info is coming in. Now is the best time to book your 2019-2020 trips, my friends!
Skip the stuff this holiday season, and instead give the gift of time spent together with these deals:
Hotels & Resorts
Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana
Up to 65% off plus a Spa Bonus of $50 per adult per room for select dates
BOOK BY DECEMBER 2, 2018
Karisma Hotels & Resorts
Mystery Mexico Sale with $99 per person/per night rates for select dates
BOOK BY DECEMBER 2, 2018
Casa de Campo Resort & Villas
Up to 50% off plus up to $500 resort credit, based on room category & length of stay, for select dates
BOOK NOVEMBER 23 - NOVEMBER 26, 2018
Doorbuster Savings plus up to $1,500 in Resort Credit for select dates
BOOK NOVEMBER 22 - NOVEMBER 25, 2019
Hard Rock Hotels
Up to 60% off and Kids Stay Free at select resorts, for select dates
BOOK NOVEMBER 20 - NOVEMBER 28, 2019
Up to 50% off on select room categories, for select dates
BOOK NOVEMBER 20 - NOVEMBER 28, 2019
60% off the 2nd Guest, Up to $300 Instant Savings & Kids Sail Free on select sailings
BOOK NOVEMBER 22 - NOVEMBER 27, 2018
Norwegian Cruise Line
Take up to 5 Free Offers and Receive Free or Reduced Airfare on select sailings
BOOK BY NOVEMBER 19, 2018
Enjoy the Cyber Event: Save up to $900 or Enjoy 3 Free Perks on select sailings
BOOK NOVEMBER 20 - DECEMBER 3, 2018
Cyber Monday Only: $1 Deposits
BOOK NOVEMBER 26, 2018 ONLY
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
Up to Free Roundtrip Premium Air on European River Cruises
BOOK BY NOVEMBER 26, 2018
American Airlines Vacations
Secret Sale: St. Lucia, travel between November 24, 2018 and August 31, 2019
BOOK NOVEMBER 22 - NOVEMBER 28, 2018
United Airlines Vacations
Up to $300 packages that include air and hotels, for select destinations and dates
BOOK BY NOVEMBER 29, 2018
15% off select tours, including newly launched Explorations
BOOK NOVEMBER 21 - NOVEMBER 25, 2018
Updated November 20, 2018 at 11:15AM
When I was on my way to Walt Disney World last week, I was preoccupied with crazy last minute packing! There are two types of packers - those who pack a month in advance and those who pack the night before. I'm an odd mixture of both, as I typically start piling all my stuff into a bag or bin pretty far in advance. But the organizing and actual packing tends to happen the day (or night) before my flight. There are pros and cons to both schools of thought, so keep doing what works for you. Looking for some tips on how to pack for your next trip a bit more efficiently? Look no further!
Pack outfits and bring some extras. I prefer to pack my clothes by outfit, so it's easy to pull out what I need day by day. I do the same thing for my daughter. I always have extras in case of spills, etc. but it's easier for me to not try to match things on the go. There have definitely been trips where I haven't been as prepared and ended up with mismatching tops and bottoms on the last day.
Pack shoes for all weather. Even if you're only going for a weekend, don't risk that your only pair of sneakers or flip flops could get wet in a sudden downpour! It's okay to be that person that packs all the shoes! Funny side note, I zipped up my suitcase last night having forgotten to pack ANY shoes. Thank goodness I double checked my list.
Speaking of lists, make one! They're a lifesaver (or in my case, a feet-saver). Personally, I use an Excel sheet with columns - one for checking things off as I pack them and another for when I'm re-packing at my destination. No one wants to leave their phone charger plugged into the wall or forget a drawer full of clothes at their hotel, so utilize the list on your arrival and departure days.
Pack your First Aid kit. My husband calls me 'K-Mart' because I travel with a little bit of everything. I prefer to have a toiletry bag with everything in it - things I honestly never end up using. Of course, you want band-aids and the like, but try to think outside the box. A couple things I never travel without are tweezers and an eyeglass repair kit.
Pack a few of my favorite extras. There are some things that I always pack - ponchos, especially for Walt Disney World; Ziploc bags for transporting leftover food or wet clothes; fuzzy socks for the cold plane; my portable phone charger so I can recharge on-the-go - just to name a few. I'm not famous for packing light, but I always have what I need when I travel so I think it's a fair trade-off.
It's hard to believe that summer is coming to an end. School is back in session but the extreme heat feels like it's here to stay. Soon enough, I'll be missing the warmth of the sun and the leisurely pace I've enjoyed these last few months. One week from today, I'll be in Walt Disney World with a couple of my friends and teammates from Dream Come True Vacations. It's certainly not easy for us moms to sneak away, even for a long weekend. Between the three of us, we're leaving five kids home with their dads and grandmas. But a s much as I love planning these trips and counting down the days, there's always the inevitable pang of guilt when it's time to go.
Business trips are a little easier to justify. I remind myself how fortunate I am to work from home; the occasional conference is a fair trade. But when I'm leaving for a girls weekend or a night away with my husband, I struggle a little more. I wonder, does looking forward to these trips or having as much fun as I do make me a terrible person? (Spoiler alert : No. ) Over time, I've learned that these trips are invaluable; it's like hitting a refresh button, both mentally and physically. The truth is, it's a well deserved break for anyone that works hard at the office or at home (or both) and there's no shame in admitting that once and a while, I need it! Trust me, I still feel sad and admittedly, cry a little every time I travel without my daughter but there's a little less guilt these days. Sometimes leaving makes coming home even sweeter.
Looking for a reason to book your own getaway without the kids? Here are three great ones:
#1. Take time to reconnect. A survey done by U.S. Travel Association in 2016 found that 86% of respondents who travel as a couple believe “the romance is still alive in their relationship." Relax with a couples massage in Mexico or get a little adventurous with an excursion to Dunn's River Fall in Jamaica. Take the trip, for science.
#2. Girls (and guys!) just wanna have fun. Get your best girls together for a wine weekend in Napa. No one wants to be left out so let the guys plan a few nights in Vegas. Are you friends with a few couples that might enjoy traveling, too? Plan a trip together! Even a long weekend away would be a blast for all.
#3. Family time. Now that we're older, my cousins and I are a little more spread out. We're very close, and I miss getting to see them often. We've found that getting away for a few days is the best way to reconnect and spend time together, just like when we were kids. If you have parents, siblings, cousins or even close friends that you miss, plan a trip. You'll treasure that time together.
Summer is almost over, and I'm gearing up for a busy fall full of adventures! Some of my travel will be for fun, like my girls' weekend and family vacation to Walt Disney World; some of my travel is really for work, like my Cruise World and Destination Weddings conferences. I'll let you in on a little secret -ALL of my travels are exciting and enjoyable, I'm very fortunate to have a career that I love! But I have to dispel one common misconception: being a travel agent does not mean I get to travel for free! That means, just like all of you, I'm always trying to maximize my vacations funds. Notice: I don't say 'getting the best deal'. Why? It implies that I'm willing to settle for the least expensive option everywhere I go, and that's definitely not the case.
Don't confuse maximizing your vacation funds with 'booking the cheapest everything'. Most of us are working within a budget, and you want to get the most bang for those precious travel bucks - I get that, trust me. But I ask you to consider, what is the the value of every element of your travel package? Let me give you a common example! A lot of first time Walt Disney World visitors come to me and ask, 'Kayla, be honest with me - isn't it a lot cheaper to get a hotel not on Walt Disney World property?' The short answer is always, yes.
Consider the Holiday Inn near Disney Springs - their average nightly rate is always going to be lower than that of a Walt Disney World resort. But what about the perks of being an on-site guest at Walt Disney World, like Extra Magic Hours, earlier access to dining and Fastpass+ reservations, complimentary roundtrip transportation from the airport and shuttles to the theme parks?
These perks don't necessarily have a price tag but they do have value. Are these things going to make your vacation easier and more enjoyable? Absolutely! The value of these perks is almost always going to outweigh the minimal savings of staying at a less expensive off-site hotel, so maximize your vacation funds by staying on-site and getting a lot more bang for your travel buck. In short, it's not always about the bottom line. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper and really consider the experience as a whole to ensure you're maximizing your vacation funds!
Looking for more travel tips? Subscribe to my brand new Ezine, and they'll hit your inbox weekly!
Attention fellow Bostonians! It may be hot and humid today, and I know I'm wishing for a reprieve from this heatwave. But before we know it, we'll be shoveling snow and wishing for a warm, tropical getaway. Plan ahead, and check out this amazing cruise, setting sail from our very own backyard.
The 14-night Southern Caribbean cruise is sailing roundtrip from Boston on March 29, 2019 so skip the hefty airfare costs and splurge on a Suite or the Haven aboard the beautiful Norwegian Gem!
In addition to everything you'll find on the recently refurbished Gem, you can expect to experience some beautiful ports of call on this sailing, including St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands); Philipsburg (St. Maarten); St. John's (Antigua); Bridgetown (Barbados); Castries (St. Lucia); Basseterre (St. Kitts), and Tortola (British Virgin Islands). You'll relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, and you'll only have to unpack once to see them all.
Interested in more info? Shoot me an e-mail, give me a call, and let's get you cruising in 2019!
Just announced... get a FREE Blue Man Group ticket when you book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation package with me! Check out all the details below.
Book a minimum of 4-nights hotel accommodations and include theme park tickets in your package to qualify for your free Blue Man Group tickets. Don't forget, Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens is included, too.
I had the pleasure of seeing the Blue Man Group perform last September when I visited Universal and it was a blast! The theater is conveniently located at Universal CityWalk so you can access it easily from either the parks or your on-site hotel. I had previously seen the show in Boston, but I love the little changes they make to keep it fun and fresh in Orlando! I always recommend a night with the Blue Man Group to my clients, so I'm thrilled to share this offer with all of you traveling this fall!
Offer expires August 30, 2018. Travel between August 12 - September 30, 2018 and November 1 - November 21, 2018. Valid for one (1) Blue Man Group Show Tier 1 Ticket per person with rollover to Tier 2 seating based on best availability; excludes Poncho or Premium seats. The Blue Man Group Show Tier 1 Ticket entitles one (1) guest admission to a specific Tier 1 seat for a specific performance and date of the Blue Man Group show at Universal Orlando as stated on the ticket. Promotional ticket is valid only on the Create Your Own Vacation Package from Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations™ which includes 4-Night or longer hotel accommodations and theme park tickets. Cannot be combined with any other offers, promotions or prior purchases. No group rates apply. Free Blue Man Group show ticket is non-transferable and will be forfeited if not used. Children ages 3-9 must have a ticket; Children 0-2 years old are not required to have a ticket but must sit on the lap of another paid adult in the party. Offer is subject to availability and to change without notice and additional restrictions may apply.
I am so excited for my clients traveling to Moon Palace Jamaica at the end of this month! They are going to have the most amazing time snorkeling, tubing and exploring the Konoko Falls... and thanks to Moon Palace's awesome resort credit program, they'll receive $1,500 towards everything they want to see and do in Jamaica! Starting today, Moon Palace Jamaica has a new offer that you won't want to miss... Fly Me to the Moon Palace Jamaica!
You can get up to two free round-trip flights to Jamaica* from any commercial airport in the Continental US when you book six (6) nights or more at Moon Palace Jamaica. That's in addition to the resort credits you'll earn and be able to use on a wide selection of activities like exotic tours, sumptuous spa treatments, unique culinary experiences, and more. Don't forget, you can bring the whole family - kids and teens under the age of seventeen stay free.
Book now through August 31, 2018 for travel September 1, 2018 - April 30, 2019. Blackout dates include November 17 - 24, 2018, December 24, 2018 - January 3, 2019 and April 14 - 20, 2019. If you're ready to take advantage of this awesome promo, then send me an email or give me a call.
**Free flights are round-trip tickets from commercial airports in the Continental US only. Free flights are applicable to lowest coach fares available for the dates in question, inclusive of all taxes. Luggage fees are NOT included and guests are fully responsible for verifying if their assigned air transport carrier(s) charge additional fees for luggage. Guests are fully responsible for verifying if their assigned air transport carrier(s) charge(s) additional fees for concepts including, but not limited to, seat assignments, seat upgrades and food & beverages. In such cases, guests are fully responsible for covering such fees. Air transport carrier(s) cannot be selected by guests and will not be assigned until tickets are issued. Free flights may include more than one stop or connection. Free airport transfer applies solely to shared ground transportation from Montego Bay Sangster International Airport to Moon Palace Jamaica and back to Montego Bay Sangster International Airport. Promotion does not apply to reservations made for Deluxe Ocean View category rooms. Maximum number of 2 free round-trip tickets per room (Presidential Suite reservations will apply as 1 room for the purposes for this promotion)