Do You Know How to Stay Safe on Vacation?

The world isn’t dangerous or unsafe. Quite the opposite. There are some desperate places and people, even in your home town, but these are a minority. In fact, you’re more likely to get into trouble at home than travelling if you follow these common sense tips on your trips.

1. Remember to look behind you

Get in the habit of looking back when you get up to leave somewhere. Travel is very distracting, and you’re probably carrying more stuff than when you’re at home, so you’re more likely to leave a jacket or journal at that Parisian cafe table where you were people watching.

Walking the Streets

2. Separate your sources of money

You know how you keep all your bank cards in your wallet/purse when you’re at home? Well, don’t do this while you’re travelling. Keep at least one in a different place, preferably not on your person. If you lose all your cards on the road it is very difficult to get replacements, and being without money outside of the country would not be fun.

3. Don’t keep your wallet/purse in your jeans’ back pocket

To avoid being pickpocketed, keep your wallet in your front pocket, especially a pocket that can be buttoned up. Best of all, use the inside pocket of your jacket. There are also a lot of money ‘money belts’ that either hang inside your shirt or wrap around your waist (under your shirt), etc. Make sure it’s waterproof because travelling can often be sweaty/perspiring work. I’d advise against the bum bag/fanny pack type. There is no better way to advertise the fact that you have a load of valuables on you…and, of course, they were never ever cool.

Wallet in Pocket

4. Scan all your major documents

Scan your travel documents and email them to yourself. It was traditional to photocopy your passport and visas, travel insurance, etc, and keep them in a separate part of your luggage or you can leave a copy at home. But these days, digital is best – that way your documents won’t go missing even if your bags do.

Stamps on Passport

5. Don’t trust strangers

It is hard to get to know the locals at a destination if you don’t trust them, but there are limits to how much you should trust them when it comes to your personal safety (going with them into a risky area of town, store), money, and consuming their food or drink (if they are not consuming it themselves). You can do a search for the latest scams that travelers have reported for where you are going. You can also ask your hotel concierge for safety tips.

Meeting Strangers on Vacation

6. Get travel insurance

This is mainly for health costs if you get ill or injured while abroad. Hospital costs can quickly get into the tens of thousands of dollars, even for a minor injury. Insurance is worth it. I use Alliance and Travel Guard.

7. Get vaccinated

Visit your doctor before you leave to get all the relevant vaccinations/immunizations for the destinations you’re visiting, and to learn what health precautions you should follow.

8. Avoid Public Displays of Affluence

If you’re travelling abroad then you’re more than likely to be richer than most of the locals, but advertising this fact by wearing gold jewelry or carrying an expensive camera around your neck is not advisable. It makes you a target for thieves. Leave your jewelry at home and keep your camera in a bag when you’re not using it.

9. Some things are best perfected at home

It may seem like a breeze, but be advised that teaching yourself to ride a motorbike or jet ski in a foreign country is probably unwise. In Thailand, for instance, 38 people a day die in scooter accidents.  Be aware that some travel insurance policies won’t cover scooter-related injuries.

Motorcycles on Vacation

10. Check the fine print and certificates of instructors

If you’re doing a specialist course (scuba diving) or something risky (bungee jumping) then check the operators have legitimate qualifications and a good safety record. There’s usually a reason a course is cheaper than the others. PADI has a list of qualified diving operators – check that list.

Scuba Diving on Vacation

11. Don’t leave your belongings unattended in public spaces

This is so obvious that I am embarrassed to mention it, but people do it all the time. Most notably, travelers leave their bags at their feet or hanging from the back of chairs when they’re at cafes or restaurants. Either keep them on your lap or wrap its strap around your leg.

12. Give it up

There is a simple rule that people find hard to follow: if you are mugged, give over your wallet, watch etc. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have insurance and you’ve left all your irreplaceable items at home. Just do it, and walk away uninjured.

13. Don’t give to beggars

There are exceptions to this rule, but, in general, don’t give away money to people on the street. Apart from the fact that you may have to get your wallet/purse out, encouraging begging is not the most efficient use of your money (and goodwill). If you want to help out then do some volunteer work in the destination or donate some money to a local charity for the homeless.

Beggars on Vacation

14. Be wary of using your credit card at an internet cafe

Internet cafes’ computers may have keylogger software or hardware that records your key strokes, so unscrupulous characters (not necessarily the owners of the cafe) can see the username and password to your online accounts (banking, email, etc) or grab your credit card details. A good trick to make this more challenging is to open a couple of other browser windows (for the website you are using) and half way through entering your passwords or credit card information type incorrect information into these windows.

15. Don’t pat stray dogs and cats

You may be missing your pets at home, but stray animals may be carrying rabies and other infections or they may bite you.  You should also not feed monkeys, for the same reason.

16. Your worst enemy may be your travel companion

Often your travel companions will take risks that compromise your safety. They’ll ask for help from people that you wouldn’t go near, they’ll aggravate a situation with arrogance, or they’ll break any number of the no-nos mentioned above. Don’t submit to their peer pressure. Stand your ground. And if they continue to be unsafe then consider parting ways.

If you are interested in hearing more about how to stay safe on vacation, or need help planning your next dream vacation, contact us at 301-989-1654 or email us at info@colesvilletravel.com. Our staff is ready to assist. Website:  www.ColesvilleTravel.com.

Advertisements

The Advantages of Booking Airport Transfers

Getting to the Airport

The world is getting smaller and smaller. More and more people are travelling greater distances than ever before for both business and pleasure. With so many people in the world travelling airport shuttle companies and airport transportation companies are becoming very popular. These companies insure that you get to the airport on time and arrive at your destination safely. If you have a trip planned, you do not need to be late getting to the airport, or get lost on the way to your destination. Book your airport transfers in advance to avoid the following inconveniences.

If you arrive at the airport late for your flight, you typically wind up spending much more. Airlines might re-book you for free if you’re late by means of no-fault of your own, however, if you’re late because of your own behavior, you will probably pay a hefty re-booking fee to get to your location. This may change the whole dynamic of your trip.
If you have to buy a new ticket, an airline may give you a partial refund, but this really is after huge deductions that may leave you with merely a portion of what you paid for your ticket. If you are travelling with a non-refundable ticket, which is usually the case with promotional flights and sales, you will not be offered any refund.

One more consequence of being late for your flight is being late for whatever you have planned at your destination. Business travelers might miss meetings or important parts of a conference. Missed possibilities normally mean lost money. If you are travelling as a tourist you take the risk of being late for tours, as well as losing the money paid to book them, or perhaps missing your reservation at a resort or restaurant.

By arranging airport transfers this ensures that this would not take place. You should always book your airport transfers in advance. This is something your travel agent should always suggest and can do for you. Airport transfers as well as airport transportation companies typically ensure they shall be on time – which, as a result, you’ll be on time also.

Booking airport transfers as well as paying for airport transportation in advance may seem like an extravagance, but it is really very practical. Some other advantages of booking roundtrip transfers in advance is the fact that you do not have to haggle with taxi drivers who may not speak your language. You may not have the local currency to pay for the cab upon your arrival. You may not know where you are going and you may end up spending more money trying to get to your destination. Having airport transfers will also ensure you arrive safely to your destination.

By booking transfers in advance you will not arrive late to the airport and end up missing your flight. So in order to relax and get more out of your business trip or vacation, remember to always book your airport transfers in advance.

I hope you have enjoyed these travel suggestions. Feel free to contact our offices for more travel advice.

Cynthia Amin-Hall
Colesville Travel
Phone: 301-989-1654
Email cindy@colesvilletravel.com.
Website: http://www.ColesvilleTravel.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/colesville.travel

Are Your Ready For a Spa Vacation?


A Caribbean spa vacation may be right up your alley if you are looking for some place warm and inviting to take your next vacation.

Spa Day – Facial, Massage and Fragrances

Picture yourself relaxing in a tropical paradise sipping lemongrass tea while the ocean waves lap at the shore! Can you imagine anything more beautiful than sunrises or sunsets over alabaster sand beaches? There are several spas available in the Caribbean for your vacationing pleasure and here are a few of the top choices.

Sandals Resorts and Spa

One of the most well-known spa resorts on the planet is Sandals; they have locations in Jamaica, Bahamas, Antigua and St. Lucia. This chain of spas has often been voted the most luxurious couples oriented retreats, they specialize in wedding and honeymoon accommodations. Their Nassau location boasts beautiful tropical gardens, crystalline beaches and lavish suites, some as large as a typical villa! You can even have your very own butler if you so desire. The Red Lane Spa offers massages, facials, body treatments and salon service, all with a Caribbean flair.

Spa Couple

One and Only Ocean Club – Bahamas

Are you looking for a seaside escape in the beautiful Caribbean? Perhaps the One and Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas will meet your needs. This secluded oasis will provide everything you need for a warm relaxing vacation. Warm turquoise waters and white sand beaches are only the beginning; you will also enjoy luxury accommodations, spa treatments, delicious cuisine prepared by renowned chefs. Take advantage of their round the clock butler service while relaxing away the hours.

Zoetry – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Los Cabos, Mexico and Riviera Maya, Mexico
When you visit Zoetry this will be your time to escape, energize and enrich. The idea of wellness will be brought to an entirely new level. True wellness includes a balance of mental and bodily health, excellent nutrition, and rejuvenating spa therapies — as well as ultra-luxury accommodations, creative activities and cultural enrichment. You will leave Zoetry as a new person.  Amenities at this spa resort are truly endless; enjoy water sports, floating lounge, sailing or snorkeling lessons and so much more! This is definitely an all in one spa and resort location.

Spa Hot Rocks, Massage, Male Massage

Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts – Aruba

Rejuvenate Your Mind, Body & Spirit.  Feel the day-to-day stress slip away by pampering yourself at our day spa, the Intermezzo Spa. The spa offers aromatherapy, massage, facials, wraps, and a wide assortment of spa packages. This resort is situated on 14 acres of powder white sand, and published as one of the few “Dream Beaches of the World”. Enjoy breathtaking views of the sparkling-clear blue-green sea, feel the warm trade winds and marvel over the stunning tropical sunsets – it’s all here, waiting for you. Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts is Aruba’s most romantic Adults Only oasis and island paradise.

There are many different spas and vacation locations located throughout the Caribbean. Those listed above are but a few of the accommodations you will have to choose from, and they are at the top of the list when it comes to luxury and amenities.  You will enjoy a warm tropical vacation at any one of the many Caribbean spas.

If you are interested in hearing more about the resorts above or need information on any other spa vacations, please contact Colesville Travel at 301-989-1654 or email us at info@colesvilletravel.com. Website:  http://www.ColesvilleTravel.com.

Travel Tips and Reminders

Vacations are meant to inspire relaxation and peacefulness. While you and your family may be excited to hop on the plane and travel to a tropical destination for your next summer vacation, read up on these few travel tips that will help to ensure you have a fun vacation, not a stressful one.

Tip 1- Always book flights and reservations under your legal name. This is especially important if you have just gotten married but have yet to change over your passport and ID. You may receive a hard time from TSA if the name on your ticket doesn’t match the name on your ID and passport. So remember, no nicknames or post-married names if that’s not what’s on your ID.

Tip 2- You usually receive a discount for combining hotels, flights, rental cars, and more. Check with Colesville Travel when you are ready to book your next getaway. We not only offer you great rates, but can arrange great travel packages.  We can also make deposits on most of your reservations.

Tip 3- Watch what you pack. With baggage fees and weight limit charges, you will want to be aware of what you are packing so you can avoid getting hit with more-than-a-couple-dollar-charge when it comes to your luggage. Only take necessities and consider bringing as much as you can on your carry-on bag. It will help to weigh your luggage at home before you head to the airport so you know what you are getting yourself into and can plan appropriately if you know you can’t get under the weight limit. If your luggage is too large to simply place on the scale, jump on first and weigh yourself. Grab your bag then hop on the scale a second time and see what the new weight is. Take this weight and subtract your weight alone and that’s how heavy your bag is.

Tip 4- Don’t carry cash. Instead, opt for prepaid credit cards. Travelling with cash is dangerous and can lead to theft or the loss of money. Sign up for a prepaid credit card and get all of the conveniences of playing with “plastic” without the worry of amassing debt or ruining your credit by choosing to buy that diamond ring you saw in St. Thomas on your caribbean cruise. You’ll only be able to purchase as much as you preload the card with, plus many companies offer theft and fraud protection which is much safer than carrying cash.

I hope your enjoyed these travel tips.  Please call our office to hear more about our services.  We are waiting to plan your next getaway.

Colesville Travel
Office:  301-989-1654
Email: cindy@colesvilletravel.com

How to Stay Chic While Packing Light

When you pack light, there is a constant battle between what to take and what not to take. Usually, a backpack or small suitcase will only have enough room to accommodate the essentials when it comes to clothes. When you’re travelling, the essentials are comfortable clothes that are easy to wash, can be worn wrinkled and are versatile. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for nicer clothes . . . or does it?

Unless you’re a hiker, chances are that there will come a time during your travels when you’ll need to wear something a little nicer or fancier than usual. While on vacation, you may want to indulge in a nice dinner or visit a lounge and you certainly do not want to go out looking like a bum or dressed inappropriately.  So, I have put together a few fashion tips, for the ladies only, for the weary light-packing traveller.

Wear Boots
A comfortable pair of boots, preferably black without heels, can be worn out for a day of sightseeing, and transfer effortlessly into nighttime attire. With boots you get two functions for the price of one. They will eliminate the need for you to carry around an extra pair of “nice shoes” and can replace sneakers or tennis shoes so long as you’re not doing any major hiking. I have a couple pairs of Bass and Aerosoles shoes that I travel with.  They have proven to be comfortable and very durable.  They come in lots of different styles and price points.

2. Scarves/Wraps
The perfect way to dress up a top or a dress is by adding a scarf or a wrap. Not only are they fun, fashionable and inexpensive, but they are very easy to carry and pack.  Especially in cooler weather, a scarf or wrap can be worn on you all day, giving you the look of an especially fashionable traveller. Kohl’s, Target and lots of other stores like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx sell lots of great wraps and scarves in a variety of fun colors and styles. If you pick simpler patterns or solid colors they are more likely to coordinate with any outfit.

3. Cotton or Cotton/Poly Blend Blazer
Don’t even think about bringing a sweatshirt.  Leave them at home. There’s a more fashionable alternative that’s relatively cheap and just as comfortable. Try a cotton blazer. I discovered cotton blazers a few months ago and have been in love with them ever since. They are perfect for travel as they’re so comfortable and the cotton/poly blends don’t really wrinkle. These jackets are a perfect way to dress up an outfit.  They are comfortable and functional and can be worn all day.  They can be purchased the same time and at the same place you buy your scarf.

I hope you enjoyed these travel tips.  If you would like additional travel tips, please contact Colesville Travel at info@ColesvilleTravel.com or call 301-989-1654.

How To Get the Most From Your Vacation Money

What’s more fun than going on vacation? Wouldn’t you love to be able to afford to do it more often? Of course you would!  Travelling the world and lying on hot sunny beaches is much more fun than staying at home.

Unfortunately vacations are expensive, and unless you are rich and retired you probably can’t afford them too often. But here are some tips that you can use to make your travels cheaper, which means you can go more often!

First the key to affording even your wildest travel dreams is to start saving, and start saving early. But as I said earlier, unless you are independently wealthy, have just won the lottery, or stand to inherit a big chunk of cash, odds are you can’t just set off on an expensive adventure on a whim. It takes some planning. It takes some plotting. And, yes, it takes some budgeting.  Why not set up a travel fund and save a little from each paycheck? Budget some fun money!

Take Extended Vacations

A large part of the cost of a holiday is the travel to actually get there, add to that the fact that you can often negotiate bulk discounts and you can save a good amount of money by staying for longer. A two week vacation is more fun than a one week vacation and less than double the price.

Travel To Exotic But Inexpensive Countries

Remember to think not just about the cost of your vacation but also the cost of living in that country.  Often paying a little more to go somewhere further can save you money overall when you get there and you get to see more of the world too.

Another bonus is that even if it works out the same price, you will spend your vacation not having to worry about what you spend, which will make the whole vacation more enjoyable anyway.  Who wants to worry about money on vacation!

Get More Money For Your Money – Money Exchange

Check an accurate currency calculator before you travel, there are different rates for buying and selling, so make sure you know what to expect. It is also worth planning ahead and keeping an eye on where the rates are going. If the rate is showing signs of improving it may be worth waiting until the last minute to exchange you money, whereas if it is getting worse you should buy sooner rather than later.

Go When No-One Else Wants To – Travel Off Season

If you really love travel then it isn’t always about the hot and sunny weather. So rather than travelling during high season why not go out of season when the resorts are less crowded?

You can often save a staggering amount of money and you might find your vacation is more enjoyable outside of peak season when the locals go back to their normal ways of life.  The resorts, streets and tourist attractions are also less crowded.  Also going during low season you may also experience things that few tourists ever see.

I hope I have given you some things to think about.  If you would like additional travel tips or need assistance planning a vacation of your dreams, contact Colesville Travel.

Cynthia Amin Hall
Colesville Travel
P.O. Box 4844
Silver Spring, MD 20914
301-989-1654
cindy@ColesvilleTravel.com
www.ColesvilleTravel.com
www.facebook.com/colesville.travel

Do You Know How to Make Your Travel More Enjoyable?

Here are some accessories for both men and women travelers that can help you arrive at your destination fresh and relaxed.

Eye Mask – These little items store easily in your day pack and can be life savers. Use them to shut out the light on a plane so you can arrive refreshed or wear them to bed to cut down on the sunshine that inevitably flows into your hotel room window after a late night out.

Noise Canceling Headphones – While many of these can be on the bulky side, if you have the room (and the dough), they’ll cut out white noise on a plane and provide you with clear sound if you’re listening to your iPod, DVD player, or the in-flight movie.

Guide Book – Never leave home without a good guide book to your destination. Make sure you’ve pick up the most recent edition as they are generally only updated every two years.

Travel Blanket – Few airlines offer blankets on flights now. And those that do? Well, let’s just say that not all blankets actually get washed between flights. Yuck. Bring your own. They’re cheap and will keep you cozy when they decide to crank up the air on a flight or when the heat isn’t working properly on that next train ride through Europe. Also some airlines have begun to charge for blankets.

Travel Pillow – I find it really easy to sleep on planes, trains, in cars, buses, and, pretty much anywhere (even movies). I use the “getting there” time to unwind and completely relax so that I can be ready to go once I’ve arrived in anew city. A travel pillow is a must to be successful at sleeping well. Pick up either a Bucky pillow filled with buckwheat that conforms to your neck and head or an inflatable pillow which is easier to pack but more difficult to keep firm.

Here are five additional essential tips to help you travel smart! Avoid those hefty luggage fees and weigh in before check-in with the On Your Weigh Luggage Scale. Keep your things safe with the Search Alert TSA luggage locks. Remain fresh in transit with convenient Paper Soaps. Restore your health after long distance travel with JetPax Jet Lag Relief. And stay dry in an unexpected rain shower with a classic pocket Knirps Umbrella.

Are you interested in getting additional travel tips or interested in travelling? Please contact Colesville Travel at 301-989-1654.

Cynthia Amin Hall
Colesville Travel
Phone: 301-989-1654
Email: cindy@ColesvilleTravel.com
Website: www.ColesvilleTravel.com

Do You Know How to Have a Successful Vacation?

Being a travel agent has given me the opportunity to plan many vacations, not only for thousands of clients, but my own personal travel.  Because of my expertise, I have decided to share some of the things to look  for to have a successful vacation.

Plan Early. This is especially true when you are going away for long vacations during peak travel periods. Planning early for your vacation can help to ease some of the last minute anxieties. Removing these anxieties can help to ensure that you will have a stress-free vacation. Here are some other benefits of why you should plan early for your vacation.

Better Prices for Air fares/Hotels. Planning early can help you lock in low prices especially when you know that you are travelling during peak seasons, such as, holidays,  summer vacations and special events. I am sure you have noticed that when you travel during peak seasons like Christmas or Thanksgiving, prices are higher.  As you get closer to the holiday, the prices increase even more.   A good rule of thumb is to book two to three months prior to departure; by doing this I am sure you will get a better price. Of course, there are last minute flight and hotel deals, but these are good for off-peak periods.

Personal Arrangements. Planning early can give you time to make personal arrangements. For instance, you may want to submit your leave request so that you do not have any conflicts with your colleagues. Also, by planning early, you will have time to make arrangements for someone to look after your house, kids, or pets while you are away.

Anticipate. One of the best parts of planning early is that as you go about your busy schedule each day, you know you will be rewarded with a well-deserved and well planned vacation in the not too distant future.   In fact, studies have shown that people derive substantial happiness simply by anticipating their upcoming vacation.  So what are you waiting for, call your travel agent and start planning that vacation early and start deriving the joy of happiness now!

Budget. It is important to establish your budget early when you start planning for your next vacation. This is where your travel agent comes in.  First, you need to establish what you can afford to spend.  Your travel agent will provide you with quotes on different locations taking into account your budget and lifestyle. You also need to budget for your daily spending while on vacation.  Think about all the souvenirs you need to buy, your transportation while on vacation and all the miscellaneous stuff.  I always tell my clients to purchase all of their tours and activities while they are in the U.S. for a couple of reasons.  First, it is usually less expensive to pay for your tours in the U.S., and secondly, it gives you more spending money while you are away.

Adding in the tours and activities while planning your trip may overrun your initial budget estimate, but you will be better off in the long run.  Adding in your tours and paying for them in advance will guarantee a stress free vacation and ensure that you get to see all that you can see in the country that you are visiting.

There is nothing worse than being on vacation and not being able to go on a tour, splurge on a local delicacy, or miss out on seeing some of the country because you are short on funds.  This is when anxiety sets in and disrupts your entire vacation.  So, it is always important to include all your tours and activities in your budgeting, and pay in advance. The last thing you want on your mind when you go on your vacation is worrying about how much to spend/save and not having enough money.

It is therefore important to think ahead, establish a budget and stick to it.  If you’re only buying gifts for your parents or kids, then stick to it. You will enjoy your vacation more knowing that you have planned ahead for all the expenses along the way.

Plan Ahead – Know What You Want To See And Do. If you are going on an unescorted tour, you have the flexibility of going and doing pretty much whatever you want to do.  Having said that, it is always important to know what you want to do when you arrive in your destination.  Why not buy a travel guide and do some research on the destination?  It is always a good idea to know what you want to see and do before leaving on vacation.  You can read your travel guide on the plane so you can hit the ground running!

If you are not adventurous, then you may want to join a group or an escorted tour.  This is a very carefree and stress-free way to travel.  You just show up at the predetermined time and everything is taken care for you.  On an escorted or group tour, you will also have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

Murphy’s LawThings Do Go Wrong. It is always important to keep an open mind when you are travelling. According to Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong will go wrong! Bottom line is – when you travel things can and will go wrong!

Can you imagine landing in the wrong airport, missing a connection, the hotel losing your reservation or not knowing that a visa is required to enter the country you are visiting?  When these things happen, my advice is to remain calm and contact the proper authorities to assist you.  Don’t let these setbacks ruin your vacation.  Just pick up the pieces and make the best of the situation and enjoy the rest of your vacation. On a smaller scale, you might have forgotten your shaver, your phone or adaptor.  It’s not the end of the world, you are still on vacation and there is lots of fun to be had.  Enjoy the moment and the time you have for vacation!  When you look back and recall the incidents you may laugh or cry, but the memories will remain forever.

Last but not least, enjoy your vacation and the thrill of anticipation.  Call Colesville Travel today to get started planning that much needed vacation.

Cynthia Amin-Hall
Colesville Travel, LLC
P.O. Box 4844
Silver Spring, MD  20914|
(301) 989-1654 (office)
(301) 989-8473 (fax)
Website:  www.ColesvilleTravel.com
Email:  cindy@ColesvilleTravel.com
BLOG:  https://colesvilletravel.wordpress.com/
Facebookwww.facebook.com/colesville.travel

Looking for a Beautiful Beach? Try Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Are you looking for the perfect Caribbean vacation? Surf, sand, plenty of sunshine and the most incredible beaches ever! If you are looking for a great beach getaway then you can’t beat Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
The beaches are absolutely stunning – with their sugar white sand brilliance and their magnificent coconut palms that sway in the wind. The tropical Bavaro beach is considered as one of the ten best beaches in the world. Many diving and snorkeling lovers come from all the world to dive in the wonderful coral reef.

Upon arriving in Punta Cana most of the resorts are no more than 30 minutes away…so you can generally spend your first afternoon on the beach, rest up from your flight and start to wind down into vacation mode right away. I’ve been to beaches all over the world, including Hawaii, Australia, Thailand, Mexico and most of the Caribbean islands, and I believe Punta Cana beaches ranks right up there with the best of them. To complement the beautiful beaches, you have a wide variety of resorts to choose from, most of them all-inclusive, that cater to either couples or families with children or friends just wanting to escape the stress of everyday life back home and chill out on a great beach with a good book and a rum punch or a cold Presidente – that is the local beer.

There’s not a lot of nightlife outside the resorts, so the resorts all have clubs, lounges and lots of entertainment right on the premises.  There is not a lot of shopping, but there is a mall and a couple of open air markets where you shop. What they do have is water sports galore and activities for all ages including casinos, jeep safari tours, horseback riding, swimming with dolphins, and championship golf courses. You’ll even find a number of exclusive award-winning resorts offering impeccable service, impressive spas and world-class facilities.

There are many great resorts in Punta Cana worth mentioning. A few of my favorites are Dreams Palm Beach, Majestic Elegance, Hard Rock, Riu Palace Punta Cana, Secrets Royal Beach and Paradisus Palma Real.

Contact our offices to book your next vacation getaway to Punta Cana, you won’t be disappointed.

Colesville Travel
Phone: 301-989-1654
Email: Cindy@ColesvilleTravel.com
Website: http://www.ColesvilleTravel.com

Turks and Caicos – Beautiful Island, Beautiful Beaches

Turks & Caicos is such a beautiful island. If you are a beach person there are spectacular white sand beaches plus amazing multi-hued turquoise waters. I am sure Turks will be at the top of your  favorite beach destinations! Recently, Condé Nast Traveler voted Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales (Provo) as The World’s #1 Beach. And now with so many outstanding resorts to choose from, the appeal has grown significantly. Add to that the close proximity of the islands to the U.S. and the fact that English is the official language and the U.S. dollar the official currency and it becomes even more appealing for those looking for a comfortably familiar island escape. Always a favorite with honeymooners and couples planning their dream wedding, Turks & Caicos is now fast becoming a great family destination as well. If you love the beach and water activities – this is definitely a destination you should consider.

The Turks & Caicos Islands consist of 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited. The islands are located 550 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, just below the Bahamas chain and just to the east of Cuba and the island of Hispaniola. (Technically, the Turks & Caicos are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea.) The islands are home to roughly 30,000 full time residents, and welcome more than 200,000 tourists annually. Since the first resort opened in the ’80s, most of the island’s development has been in the last six or seven years; things are so new, it’s not just the turquoise water that sparkles or the white sand beaches that shine…it’s all the impressive enhanced and new resorts too!

ISLAND ACTIVITIES

The vast majority of people come to the Turks & Caicos to relax and enjoy the clear, turquoise water and its plethora of water activities. Provo has excellent beaches, particularly the long, soft beach along stunning Grace Bay, where most of the island’s hotel development has taken place. (Psst…It is said that some of the smaller, more-isolated islands in the chain have even better beaches – hard to believe! but seeing is believing so be sure to check them out.)

– Reefs are plentiful and are often close to shore, making snorkeling spots excellent. The reef and wall diving are among the best in the Caribbean. Surrounded by the third largest coral reef system in the world, the still pristine dive sites feature bountiful and diverse fish populations.

– The same reefs that draw colorful tropical fish draw big-game fish, so deep sea fishing is also quite good and very popular.

– If you are a golfer, Provo has one of the Caribbean’s finest courses.

– You can get a bird’s eye view of stunning beaches and cliffs with surprisingly affordable flightseeing options. Watch the aquamarine waters for sea life and you’re at a safe distance for shark-spotting.

– Day trips from Provo to the beautifully preserved Salt Cay are possible on Caicos Express flights for around $160 roundtrip.

– Rent a golf cart or bike to seek out great snorkeling spots and pirate graves.

– In February and March, you’ll be treated to daily whale sightings.

Explore the Islands – From developed Provo to sleepy Grand Turk to sleepier South Caicos, the islands offer miles of undeveloped beaches, crystal-clear water and abundant sea life. For such a small archipelago, the Turks & Caicos offers much diversity; each island has a unique personality, so tempted as you will be to stick to Provo and all it has to offer – don’t miss an opportunity to venture out and explore at least a couple of the other islands. You’ll be rewarded with stunning beaches that are truly secluded. You’ll view landscapes that take your breath away. You’ll meet local people that may become your friends for life. You’ll learn how creative people can be when they live in an isolated place. And best of all, you’ll step back in time to a more laid back era with old Caribbean charm. Ferries and light aircraft make the island-hopping trips on a regular basis (or somewhat regular basis – it’s the islands after all!), and your concierge at your resort can assist with arrangements.

East Caicos: One of the many uninhabited islands of the Turks & Caicos known for its plantation ruins and cave artwork. There are miles of beaches perfect for the adventurous beachcomber as well as beautiful views from the highest point in the Turks & Caicos.

Grand Turk: Founded by Bermudan Salt Rakers centuries ago, Grand Turk is the administrative and political center with Cockburn Town as its capital. The island is reminiscent of Colonial Bermuda with many historical buildings and has a countryside warmth to it. Just 7 miles long and a little more than 1 mile wide, Grand Turk is widely known as one of the top ten scuba diving destinations in the world.

Little Water Cay: This small, uninhabited cay is a protected area under the Turks & Caicos National Trust. On these 150 acres are two trails, small lakes, red mangroves, and an abundance of native plants.

Middle Caicos: At 48 sq. miles and with fewer than 300 residents, this is the largest and least developed of the inhabited islands in the Turks & Caicos chain, with a fantastic network of caves to explore.

North Caicos: Thanks to abundant rainfall, this 41 sq. mile island is the lushest of the Turks and Caicos. Bird lovers will see the home of the pick flamingo reserve, anglers can find shallow creeks full of bonefish, and history buffs can visit the ruins of a Loyalist plantation.

Parrot Cay: Once said to be a hideout for pirate Calico Jack Rackham and his lady cohorts Mary Read and Anne Bonny and now the ultimate getaway for the rich and famous, the 1,000-acre cay, between Fort George Cay and North Caicos, is now the site of an ultra-exclusive hideaway resort, a holistic health spa, and upscale homesites.

Pine Cay: Pine Cay’s 2½ mile long beach is among the most beautiful in the archipelago. The 800-acre private island is home to a secluded resort and around 37 private residences. Visitors are welcome by prior arrangement.

Providenciales: Arriving tourists typically become awe-struck when their plane starts its descent, mesmerized by the shallow, crystal-clear turquoise waters of Chalk Sound National Park. This island, nicknamed “Provo”, is by far the most developed of all the islands and is home to Grace Bay Beach and its miles of world-class resorts.

Salt Cay: (pictured above) Fewer than 100 people live on this 2½ sq. mile dot of land, maintaining an unassuming lifestyle against a backdrop of stucco cottages, stone ruins, and weathered wooden windmills. Little has changed in Salt Cay since 1900, when the Salt Industry flourished.

South Caicos: This 8½ sq. mile island was once an important salt producer; today it’s the heart of the fishing industry. Nature prevails, with long, white beaches, jagged bluffs, quiet backwater bays and salt flats.

West Caicos: Currently uninhabited, with stunning views of a dramatic coastline, world class diving sites and an array of wildlife, divers often spot turtles, eagle rays and a plethora of marine life just off its famous cascading wall, dropping to an amazing 7,000 feet just off the shoreline.

TRANSPORTATION

Airports: The main gateway into the Turks & Caicos Islands is Providenciales International Airport (PLS). There are smaller airports on Grand Turk (GDT), North Caicos (NCS), Middle Caicos (MDS), South Caicos (XSC), and Salt Cay (SLX). All have paved runways in good condition. Even if you are going on to other islands in the chain, you will most likely stop in Provo first for customs, then take a domestic flight onward. It’s easier now than ever before to get to Turks & Caicos, with new direct air service from a wide range of U.S. gateways being added all the time.

Taxis: You can find taxis at the airports, and some resorts provide pickup service as well. A trip between Provo’s airport and most major hotels runs about $12 per person. Transfers can cost more on the smaller islands, where gas is much more expensive. Taxis (actually large vans) in Providenciales are metered, and rates are regulated by the government at $2 per person per mile traveled.

Driving: Driving is on the left side of the road, British-style (T&C is a British Overseas Territory after all.) The maximum speed is 40 mph, 20 mph through settlements, and speed limits, as well as the use of seat belts, are strictly enforced.

Note: If you are staying on Provo, you may find it useful to have a car since the island is so large and the resorts are so far-flung, if only for a few days of exploring or to get away from your hotel for dinner. Car- and jeep-rental rates average $39 to $80 per day on Provo, plus a $15 surcharge per rental as a government tax. Reserve well ahead of time during the peak winter season. Most agencies offer free mileage and airport pickup service. Avis and Budget have offices on the islands. There are also local agencies if you prefer.

NIGHTLIFE

You’ll find plenty of bars, music clubs and exciting casino action on Provo. A must-see, the Infiniti Bar at the Grace Bay Club is the longest (and arguably the coolest!) bar in the Caribbean at 90 feet, stretching its black marble from the restaurant at the Grace Bay Club all the way to (and, seemingly, into) the ocean. The bar is the most active in the evening though it is a great place to hang out during the day too. It is the first infinity-edge bar in the world and features full restaurant service allowing guests to dine under shaded umbrellas with waves lapping at their feet. Casino gambling is legal in the Turks & Caicos and Providenciales features two full casinos. Casablanca Casino in Provo offers blackjack, American roulette, poker, craps and baccarat as well as a wide array of video gaming terminal and slot machines and is open from 7pm until 5am. The Player’s Club is located near Turtle Cove Marina and offers similar gaming options as well as a full service restaurant and bar upstairs. Most bars and nightclubs on the island offer video gaming terminals to test your luck.

DINING

Venture out from your resort for modern takes on Turks & Caicos’ classic island flavors. You’ll be treated to local favorites as well as delightful imports from other island nations. Island delicacies such as conch, prepared in a multitude of mouth-watering ways, will vie for your attention with Jamaican specialities such as jerked chicken and curried goat. If you’re slightly less adventurous with your palate, never fear, there’s always a good old-fashioned cheeseburger or tasty pizza prepared just the way you like it.

WHEN TO GO

High season in Turks & Caicos runs roughly from January through March, with the usual premium rates during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period. Several hotels on Provo offer shoulder season rates in April and May. During the off-season, rates are reduced substantially, as much as 40%. You can find specials even during peak seasons though, so don’t hesitate to call for specials any time.

There are two major festivals in the Turks & Caicos. In summer, big names play at the annual Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival, usually held in August. At the end of November, the Turks & Caicos Conch Festival offers local boat races, live music, and conch recipe competitions at the island’s most famous culinary extravaganza.

Visitors to the Turks & Caicos islands will experience world class fishing and snorkeling, outstanding diving off one of the largest coral reef systems in the world and spectacular powder-soft beaches. With water so turquoise that it glows, you may find it difficult to stray far from the beach, and since the beaches are among the most incredible you will ever see, don’t be surprised if you wake up on your last morning and realize that you didn’t find a lot of time for anything else. Indulge your ideal vacation fantasy of the ultimate, relaxing island escape at one of the many award-winning resorts. Turks & Caicos – so easy to get to but so difficult to leave!

We at Colesville Travel constantly endeavor to help our clients find the perfect destination. If you love beautiful beaches, Turks and Caicos is for you.  So call us today at 301-989-1654 or email us at info@colesvilletravel.com to start planning your next vacation.

Cynthia Amin-Hall
Colesville Travel, LLC
P.O. Box 4844
Silver Spring, MD  20914|
(301) 989-1654 (office)
(301) 989-8473 (fax)
Website:  www.ColesvilleTravel.com
Email:  cindy@ColesvilleTravel.com
BLOG:  https://colesvilletravel.wordpress.com/
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/colesville.travel