Happy Labor Day!
As we get ready for the traditional final weekend of summer, we know that many of you are going to be traveling. We’ve made reservations for you! And…statistics tell us that you will be traveling. Check out these stats for the Labor Day weekend:
- 25% of Americans plan to leave town for the Labor Day weekend
- 86% of those traveling for the holiday will go by car
- 7% of those will travel by plane
- Top 3 destinations for Labor Day travel are New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles
- 45,000+ people will be injured in car crashes traveling over Labor Day weekend
Wherever you go, we hope you are safe for the holiday weekend and that you spend extra time with people you love! We will be closed for Labor Day, because we’ll be celebrating the holiday too. When we all get back to work next week, we look forward to helping you plan your next adventure!
If you’ve been to Mexico’s Maya Riviera this summer, you’ve probably heard about or seen the sargassum. It seems like the brown seaweed is popping up all over the Caribbean, but primarily in the Quintana Roo/Yucutan Peninsula beaches. It is rather unpredictable and pops up in different areas, so there is no real way to predict which beaches will have it and which won’t.
Many resorts in the area are working hard to give their guests a great vacation experience, despite the sargassum. Some resorts are cleaning their beaches. Others are providing access to nearby beaches that don’t have sargassum. Some localities are installing floating barricades or fences to keep their beaches pristine. Sargassum tends to be an annual summer event; the Mexican Navy has announced that it is building ships that will collect sargassum in order to support continued tourism in the area for the long-term.
While it is not dangerous, saragassum does not make for a great beach experience. The good news is that Mexico offers so much more than beaches! Here are a few other ideas for things to explore in this region. This list can come in handy, especially if your beach is impacted by sargassum:
* Enjoy the resort pool. Most resorts in the area have fantastic pools and water parks.
* Swim in a local cenote. Your resort staff should be able to direct you to a nearby cenote that will be refreshing on a hot day.
* Visit Tulum and explore other archeological sites. The Mayan culture is a huge draw for tourists to this part of Mexico.
* Sample delicious Mexican cuisine. Spend some extra time scouting out local specialty restaurants.
* Shop in local markets. Take home a truly unique souvenir, such as a local handicraft or piece of art.
There’s a reason for the phrase “force of nature.” Mother Nature has her own plans that we can’t control. Having a full understanding of the situation and some ideas for a variety of activities and excursions to explore can help you enjoy all that Mexico has to offer and give you a memorable vacation.
A 2020 Destination: Egypt
Egypt used to be a top tourist destination for Americans. Then came the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, which signaled the end of a political regime and almost an end to tourism in the country. A few years of political instability after the Revolution have kept travelers away. But I think most of us still have dreams of going to Egypt, sometimes called the Cradle of Civilization. We’ve learned about Egypt’s ancient history in school, and we’ve seen pictures of its incredible sites like the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. There is no doubt that Egypt is a very special place.
Today, Egypt is relatively stable and is welcoming visitors who had stayed away. Many tour companies have returned to Egypt and are offering fantastic opportunities for visitors to soak up the history and culture of the area. As you’re looking at tour options, here are some of the top sites and experiences to look for:
Cairo: The capital of Egypt and the country’s largest city, Cairo has many sites not to be missed. One of my favorites is the Citadel. Originally a fortress, the Citadel is based high on a hill and offers sweeping views of the city skyline. The highlight for me are the mosques that date as far back as the 12th century. Their alabaster, mosaics, and hanging lights are spectacular. And it is perfectly fine for visitors to step inside these holy places.
Giza (near Cairo): The Great Pyramids and the Sphinx are probably the biggest attractions in the country, and deservedly so. When you consider how old these structures are (approximately 2500 BC), and when you learn about how they were constructed, you will be amazed. Opening in 2020, the Grand Egyptian Museum will be located near the Giza Pyramids. It will include the best artifacts from the current Egyptian Museum of Antiquities in Cairo, as well as expanded exhibits that the current museum simply doesn’t have the space to display. There will also be dedicated working laboratories as Egypt strives to maintain precious cultural and historical artifacts.
Luxor: Known for temples and tombs, you will find wonderful examples of ancient temples and burial grounds (from 18th century BC) for the country’s pharaohs, including King Tutankhamen and Queens Nefertiti and Hatshepsut.
Nile River: The Nile actually runs south to north, emptying in the Mediterranean Sea. The lifeblood of the country, the Nile is an attraction in itself. Whether you stroll along the river banks, take a cruise on a felucca (a traditional wooden sailboat), enjoy a dinner cruise and belly dancing show, or spend more time on a multi-day Nile cruise, the Nile is not to be missed.
Go with a tour company that is well established in Egypt. While tourism is critical to the Egyptian economy and Egypt is safe for tourists, it is important to stay in tourist areas and for your tour operator to have established safety procedures. Going with a tour also means that you don’t need to navigate the wild traffic in Cairo or figure out how to get around a street demonstration.
Details and Recommendations
* Getting there: You will need a tourist visa. Your tour operator will help you with that; visas can also be purchased in the airport when you arrive.
* Staying there: Tour operators generally use 4- or 5-star chain hotels because these often have the standards that American travelers are used to. You will most likely stay in the downtown area near Tahrir Square or near the Pyramids of Giza.
* How long: A week or more will allow you to do a real cultural immersion into the country. A 4-day visit to Cairo and Giza is an excellent addition to any trip to the region, such as a Mediterranean cruise or a trip to the Holy Land.
* Don’t miss: Khan el-Khalili bazaar in Cairo. This is everything you think of when you imagine a Middle Eastern bazaar: fantastic smells, haggling for prices, narrow winding alleys, stalls stuffed with all kinds of imaginable goods, and people smoking hooka pipes. THIS is local culture.
* Contact: Globe Travel at 434-296-0171 or firstname.lastname@example.org to help you find a tour to Egypt that lets you both step back in time to appreciate the ancient civilization and also enjoy today’s Egypt that is resilient, rebounding, and welcoming.
With the stresses of today’s world evident in our daily lives and on the nightly news, we are finding more and more of our clients opting for wellness travel as a way to relieve stress and aim for a healthier balance.
If you’re thinking of fitness, scheduled exercise, or strict diets when you read “wellness travel,” I’m here to re-educate you. Today, wellness travel is about physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It’s about a focus on self-care and feeling recharged after a vacation. It’s about avoiding the excesses that sometimes go along with travel, and instead, embracing the healthy habits that you want to cultivate as a lifestyle—those things that help you live your best life.
Here are some examples of wellness activities that can be purposefully incorporated into travel:
* Yoga or meditation
* Eating healthy, local foods
* Nature walks or hikes
* Spa treatments
* Fitness activities like biking or paddling
* Classes or workshops
* Volunteer activities that provide a sense of accomplishment or purpose through giving back
If you’re considering wellness travel in the coming months, the first thing I would encourage you to do is to understand why you want a wellness vacation. What is your intention for the trip? What do you want to get out of the experience? What do you want to do?
Each person’s definition of “wellness” is a little bit different, and your Globe Travel advisor wants to make sure we understand what that means to you so we can suggest the best options that suit your goals, your lifestyle, and the best-self that you are striving for. Give wellness travel a try. I think you’ll find that you come back refreshed and rejuvenated—and not in need of a vacation from your vacation!
Cooking and Laundry and Mail…Oh My!
We all know that the worst part of your vacation is when you get back home again and realize that you have to go back to all the stuff of everyday life. You have to cook your own food again, do all the laundry from when you were gone, and sift through mail, email, and messages that have piled up.
In the spirit of trying to make that transition just a little bit easier, I am going to offer up one of my favorite travel tips: freezer meals. When I get back from vacation, honestly, I’m ready for a home-cooked meal and a vegetable that is more than a garnish. I don’t have a kitchen fairy who will leave a home-cooked meal in my fridge for when I return, so I do it myself. I make something in advance and pop it in the freezer so I know that’s one less thing to worry about.
I’m about 2 months away from my own vacation, and this weekend I am planning to make a dish to put in my freezer for when I return. It’s one of those trip prep items that I can do well in advance, before the pre-trip laundry and the packing. As it gets closer to departure day, I also try to make a grocery list for the meal after my freezer meal so that my post-vacation trip to the grocery store is painless.
If you’re looking for recipe ideas, just google freezer meals. You’ll get tons of options. This weekend, I’ll be making Turkey Potpies. Do you have a favorite freezer meal? Please share in the comments below.
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