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Fun Adventures in Liberia, Costa Rica

I had a great time vacationing at the Riu Palace in Costa Rica.  The new resort is a good fit for those who are 1st time all-inclusive vacationers.  My family enjoyed the spa, the pool entertainment and the personal service.   The great adventure tours outside of the resort were amazing as well.  We toured through the different small cities and countryside on ATVS.  We also took a river tour on the Tenorio River where we got a chance to see crocodiles, iguanas and the elusive white face monkey.  The Costa Rican people were nice as well and take great pride in their country.  Unlike some countries in the Caribbean, there was not a lot of soliciting of tourists.   The Costa Ricans main source of income comes from farming.  Their top crop is sugar cane followed by corn.

Overall, we enjoyed our time in Costa Rica.   If you interested in eco-tourism and adventure, this is the place for you.   Just remember to bring your bug spray!

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How To Best Use a Professional Travel Consultant

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A professional travel consultant is a valuable resource if used correctly.  If you are like most hard workers, your vacation time is limited so it’s important that you use your vacation time wisely.  Most Americans only receive two weeks’ vacation time if they are lucky.  And let’s face it; most of that allotted time is not used for your personal/family vacation.   Our motto at Showtime Travel is “You deserve a luxury vacation” because we assist many who want to maximize their vacation experience by using the services of a professional travel consultant.  Today I am going to give you 4 quick steps on how to best use a professional travel consultant.

Recognize Their Value:

Professional travel consultants are trained and certified by various travel suppliers and destinations to offer you the best service.   They also have a vast network which can include: travel consultants, clients, resort mangers, cruise directors, tour operators, business development managers and more.  When you hire a professional travel consultant you are privy to this network.  This network allows the travel consultant to better serve you and to resolve issues quickly.

I was able to get some of my guest upgrades for special occasions because of my strong network relationships.  It’s always a pleasure hearing their surprised response when they get back home.   I also was able to resolve issues quickly.  I had a client whose name was mistakenly omitted from the list for her transfer from the airport to the resort.  She didn’t have to call a call center and hope to get it resolved.  She contacted me and in a few minutes she was on the way to resort.  This type of personal service is invaluable and gives you peace of mind as you travel.

Time Commitment:

Using professional travel consultant also saves you time.  Most travel consultants have a service fee which is a mutual agreement that acknowledges the commitment, time and expertise that will be provided to customize your personal travel package.   There is a misconception that a travel consultant just gives you a quote.  A professional travel consultant will set a consultation time to discuss your travel goals and provide you with a proposal based on your request.  That research takes times and there may be a lot of “back and forth” until the right destination/resort/cruise is chosen.

Research:

To help expedite the process it’s ok to have done some of your own research.  Some of our clients have specific idea where they like to travel and others may rely on a few suggestions.  It’s fine with either case but lean on the professional travel consultant’s knowledge and expertise when it comes to making a decision.

I have clients who like to bounce ideas to me for Caribbean group getaways.  Sometimes we find out that the specific destination that they initial chose is not a fit for their group.  Although some of the informational you receive online is beneficial, it is not always correct, especially reviews.  I make sure that each client knows the pros and cons prior to making their decision.

Incentives:

Once you have made your decision on your vacation, ask your professional travel consultant if there are any incentives or promotions that you may be eligible for.   A lot of suppliers have great incentives if you get some of your friends and family to join you on your vacation.  Some of the incentives may be resort credits, discounts, complimentary dinner, room upgrades and even a free night stay.  Keep in mind not all suppliers may have an incentive during your vacation time but it never hurts to ask.

In conclusion, a professional travel consultant provides a valuable service for your limited vacation time.  Just like other service oriented professions, i.e. attorney, mechanic, hair stylist, etc., you can attempt to try to do it yourself; but why?  Don’t take a risk with your time because time is something you can never get back.

Author: Belvin Baldwin II – Showtime Travel -www.showtimetravel.com

Top Things You Should Know Before Booking An All-Inclusive Island Resort

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I have booked many people at various all-inclusive resorts.  Most of the people like to stay in Mexico or the Caribbean islands.   Prior to booking any client I want them to know every all inclusive resort is the same.  Here are the “Top things You Should Know Before Booking All Inclusive Resorts”

Not All Islands Have The All Inclusive Options.   I have had many all-inclusive resorts requests for Hawaii.  Too bad Hawaii doesn’t have the all inclusive options.  There are many islands and destinations that do not have the all-inclusive option.  The top destinations where you will find a variety of all-inclusive options are Cancun, Mexico area, Jamaica, and The Dominican Republic.  There other islands that may have all-inclusive resorts but not as many options at the aforementioned destinations.

Top Shelf Alcohol Is Not At Every All-Inclusive Resorts.   The complimentary alcohol option at all-inclusive resorts is a big plus for some people.  If you plan to take advantage of this option, you need to know what type of alcohol your resort offers.  Some all-inclusive resorts only provides local brands and have a limited option while other resorts will have the premium brands with a touch of local flavor.   The best thing is to ask your travel agent in advance so there will be no surprises.

Dinning Choices One of the top questions I hear at all inclusive resorts is “How is the food?”.   Everyone has different taste so what I think is a good steak dinner, you may think is horrible.   To counter attack the food dilemma is to have a lot of options.  If an all-inclusive resort has many dining options, it usually will have a restaurant that will satisfy your palate.  Some of the top all-inclusive options will serve a variety of cuisine such as: French, Italian, Japanese(Hibachi), American, Mexican, etc.  Also, a good all-inclusive resort will have 24 hour room service to satisfy that late night craving.

Activities  Not everyone goes on the vacation just to lay on the beach and to gain a few pounds at the buffet.  If you are an active person, find out what type of activities are offered at the all-inclusive resorts.  Most all inclusive resorts offer non motorized water sports like kayaking.  Some all-inclusive resorts include complimentary golf and scuba classes.  If you are fitness buff, make sure that your resort has a gym and find out what type a fitness classes are offered.  Some of my clients took their first Zumba class while on vacation.  If you have children, find out what type of activities are included.  Some all-inclusive resorts offer children activities from toddlers to teens. The children activities can include everything from hanging out with their favorite cartoon character to learning how to DJ like a professional.

Night Life   Night life is different for everyone so make sure you find out what is provided.  Some all-inclusive resorts will have live bands, comedy performance, Vegas style shows or local entertainment.  Some couple resorts will have entertainment specific for those who are on a romantic getaway.  There is also the casino option for those who want to hit it big.   Night life doesn’t have to be at the resort.  Find out if there are any local bars, restaurants or night clubs that you can visit that are close to the resort.

All Inclusive resorts can be very enjoyable if you pick the right resort.  It is important that you discuss your plans with a travel agent prior to making your first deposit.  Proper planning will make your all-inclusive vacation a dream getaway with many memories.

Belvin Baldwin – Travel Consultant – http://www.showtimetrael.com – (770) 495-8855

The Top 5 Things You Need to Organize a Group Trip

I have helped my people who try to organize group travel with their family, friends, club members, co-workers, etc..  In the travel industry, we call this person a group leader.  The group leader has the best intentions but with out proper planning a group trip can turn into a nightmare.

It’s always a pleasure to travel with a group that has a common interest.  There are many advantages to group travel which can include discounted rates, special incentives, exclusive amenities and in some cases complimentary rooms.    So the question is how can YOU organize a group trip to to take advantage of these group rewards?

Here are the top 5 things you need to organize a group tip.

1. Travel Consultant

A travel consultant can help you filter through the many travel suppliers and destinations to find the right fit for your group.  He or she will be able to provide you with incentives and advantages that the travel supplier can provide your group.  Also, a travel consultant will give you peace of mind and ease because he or she can relieve you of all the travel payment collections and travel questions.

2. A Purpose

There are many reasons people travel with groups.  Each successful group trip has a very well defined purpose for the trip.    The purpose of the group trip can be to celebrate, learn, explore, raise funds, and/or just to have fun.  The group members need to know the purpose of the group trip so they can plan accordingly.

3.  A Group with a Pied-Piper

I have come across some group leaders that are a part of a group but they are not group leader potential.  Each group has a person where a majority of the group follows and respects his or her’s advice.  We will call this person the Pied-Piper.   The Pied-Piper may not be the person who thought of the vacation but this who the group will follow if  he or she goes on the group trip.   It is key that the Pied-Pier takes an active role in promoting the group trip.

4. Commitment

A group trip has to have a certain amount of travels to be considered a group.  If you don’t reach that set group amount,  various penalties and/or rate hike may occur.   So it’s important for the group organizer to get a  strong majority commitment on the destination, budget and the number of committed travelers.   By getting these three factors, it will help you in reserving the right amount of rooms which will insure you meet your minimum group space requirements.

5. Communication

You have to have a medium that the group will follow where you can promote the group trip.  Past groups have used a e-mail database, website, social media, newsletters and more. Whichever medium that you use, make sure that group consistently follows it.

By following these 5 tips, you will be on your way to organizing a successful group trip.

These tips were given by:

Showtime Travel www.showtimetravel.com
(770) 495-8855

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