Travel Blog

Pleasure tripping...

  • Where Are You Going When We Can Travel Again?

    4/24/2020 12:54:18 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment


    As travel advisors, we’re always dreaming of the next vacation. We have all kinds of clients: those who are so desperately missing their vacation that they will hop on the first cruise ship to leave port after the restrictions are lifted, those who are going to stay home for a while and wait to see if COVID numbers start to increase as beaches and resorts begin to open again, and those who fall somewhere in the middle: people who really, really want to get away for a break but don’t feel completely safe vacationing the way they used to—yet.



    If you’re in this last category, we have some suggestions for you to consider when it becomes safe to travel again. Here are some great destinations that are generally within driving distance of Charlottesville, offer an opportunity to unplug, and can give you most of the space you need to continue social distancing.


    * Williamsburg, VA: lots of outdoor historical sites, outlet shopping, and golf



    * The Greenbrier, WV: wide open spaces in a more remote location, fantastic resort amenities.


    * Savannah and Tybee Island, GA: charm galore, outdoor spaces that are perfect for picnics, beach and water sports.



    * Gatlinburg, TN to Asheville, NC: scenic views of mountains, some of our country’s most beautiful national parks, and small towns that make you want to slow down


    * Assateague Island National Seashore, MD/VA: wild ponies, miles and miles of pristine beaches, delicious seafood



    These destinations are perfect for a long weekend. And they’re easy! You won’t need to fly in a plane or go to crowded tourist sites. We can help you find excellent accommodations in all of these locations, as well as some activities that will give you a chance to enjoy the very best of the area. And if you think you might prefer to rent a car rather than put miles on your own, we can help you with a great car rental too.



    Let us know what you’re thinking for your next destination when we’re able to travel safely again, and we’ll help you find the perfect destination!



  • Earth Day 2020

    4/17/2020 1:46:33 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment


    We are excited to celebrate Earth Day next week where, for one day, much of the world will focus on this year’s theme of climate action. As travel advisors, we recognize that the better we treat this special planet that we call home, the more opportunity we will have to explore and enjoy it through travel.



    On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I hope you will join me in the celebration. Here are a few ideas:


    * Participate in Earth Challenge 2020 where you can gather scientific data on air quality and water pollution as part of a citizen scientist effort

    * Attend a Digital Earth Day event (full list available on the Earth Day 2020 website)

    * Volunteer to be part of a cleanup or to teach others about the environment



    And when you’re ready to travel again, consider looking at sustainable travel options that enable you to leave a destination better than you found it. Volunteer on vacation. Support local people through activities that keep your money in their communities. Travel with companies that commit to conservation, education, and economic support of destinations. Celebrate other cultures, their traditions, and their practices. We can help you find the right travel partner that will accomplish your travel goals while making the planet a better place. Earth Day isn’t just once a year; it’s a year-long commitment by each and every one of us. And your travel plans can support your care for the environment. Let us know how we can help you with that!




  • Iguazu Falls

    4/10/2020 3:21:12 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment


    You’ve heard of Niagara Falls and probably Victoria Falls too. If you haven’t heard of Iguazu Falls, though, you wouldn’t be alone. Although it may be less well-known, in many ways it is more impressive. In fact, Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed “my poor Niagara” when she saw the enormity of Iguazu Falls.



    Both taller and wider than Niagara Falls, Iguazu Falls is located on the Iguazu River between Argentina and Brazil. It is actually comprised of 275 waterfalls that are smaller or larger depending on the season and the amount of water at the time. The highlight of Iguazu Falls is the Devil’s Throat, a horseshoe-shaped series of falls that is so large and powerful it creates a cloud of mist visible from miles away.



    Iguazu Falls is accessible from Brazil or from Argentina. If you have time, try to see the falls from both countries. The majority of the falls are in Argentina, which means that you will get the best panoramic view from the Brazil side. However, viewing them from Argentina is more of an immersive, close-up experience. You can also see them by boat, which gives you a very “immersive” experience.



    In Argentina, there are a series of catwalks that go across the river and enable you to get very close to the falls. You will experience them with all of your senses, not only seeing them, but also hearing their deafening roar and feeling the mist. In Argentina, there is an upper walkway that often gives you the view of the calm water before it begins its massive descent down the falls. There is also a lower walkway that offers a different perspective, seeing the falls themselves more closely and getting a better sense of their power. These two walking paths offer two different ways to experience the falls in Argentina.



    One of the great features of Iguazu is that, on both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides, the falls are in national parks. This is nature at its finest. No neon signs, high-rise buildings, or tacky tourist traps here. Just the falls, the jungle, native animals (monkeys and coatis), and fresh air. There are plenty of human comforts: convenience shops for buying snacks, souvenir shops at the entrance to the parks, etc. But Mother Nature truly is the star of the show here, and she does not disappoint!



    Details and Recommendations


    Getting There: Because of its remote location, flying is the best way to get to Iguazu Falls. There are airports on both the Brazil and the Argentina sides. You’ll need to fly from a major city, such as Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro, to an Iguazu airport. It is most economical to fly domestically; for example, if you want to stay primarily on the Argentina side, you would fly from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina.


    Staying There: The only hotel actually in Argentina’s national park, the Gran Melia Iguazu has falls-view rooms that are absolutely spectacular. The 5-star hotel also has a gorgeous infinity pool with views of the falls and a friendly troop of monkeys that often hang around. Best of all, you are within walking distance of all of the falls on the Argentine side.


    Don’t Miss: Wild jaguars. Just kidding! While there are jaguars in the jungle there, as one person told me, “It’s not good for you if you see one!”


    How Long: This is a great place to spend a long weekend. You can see the highlights in one day, but you can get off the beaten path and explore more of the parks and beyond with more time.


    Contact: Call us at 434-296-0171 to discuss adding some time at Iguazu Falls to your South American vacation.




  • Armchair Travel

    4/3/2020 1:21:34 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment


    Just because we’re all at home doesn’t mean we can’t dream of our next destination. Check out some of these virtual travel experiences to test drive your next vacation destination:



    Northern Lights

    If you’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights, check out this live stream every evening. You might need to try it a couple of nights to see a good show. It’s almost like being there, except you can be inside your cozy house!


    National Cherry Blossom Festival

    If you generally go to Washington, DC for the festival each spring, check out their virtual festival this year. Take a tour of the Tidal Basin with a National Park ranger and see performances intended for the Festival.



    UNESCO World Heritage Sites

    Thanks to Google Earth, you can visit 30 different UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Sphinx, Versailles Palace, Taj Mahal, and Angkor Wat. I went to La Sagrada Familia, the basilica in Barcelona, about 15 years ago, and there was a lot of construction. With Google Earth, I was able to see it again without construction walls and scaffolding. What a gem!



    Cliffs of Moher

    If you’ve been wanting to go to Ireland, sunset at the Cliffs of Moher should be on your list. Enjoy this virtual experience of the cliffs.



    You can’t go inside the stones if you visit in person, but you CAN if you visit virtually.



    Great Barrier Reef

    For an underwater look at this coral environment and its inhabitants, check out this video.




    If you’ve ever wondered what the 7th continent is like, enjoy this video that offers beautiful images and commentary about Antarctica, as well as tips for traveling there.


    What new location is on your bucket list as a result of some armchair travel that you’ve been doing while you’re safe at home? Let us know what you’re dreaming of, and let’s get planning for 2021!



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