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


Do You Need Some Packing Tips?

Do You Need Some Packing Tips?

Are you a packing procrastinator? Is your goal to fit everything in the carry-on, but you always wind up checking your bag? We’ve compiled some handy tips that may help you save some time, space, and frustration during your travels.

Split up your Valuables

Don’t put everything you’re bringing of great value in one spot. Make sure to divvy up your prized possessions in the event that a bag gets lost or stolen. That way, you won’t be completely wiped out of all identification and money at the same time. Another great thing to do BEFORE you leave, is to make copies of your credit cards and passport. Leave it with a family member or friend back home for reference in case you lose them.


DON’T put all of your valuables in one spot!

Check the Weather

Are you traveling internationally? Are you visiting a destination with opposite seasons? Don’t always assume that the climate you’re about to enter will be similar to the one you left. This may sound like a no-brainer, but a lot of times we’re rushed. And if you wait to pull up that weather app when you’re already en route to the airport…well, you’re too late!

Plastic Bags

Plastic bags can be handy for several reasons – so make sure to stuff a few in the corners of your suitcase (you’ll thank us later). These guys are great for packing liquids in case of spills, they are the perfect solution for separating your dirty and clean laundry, and have you ever had to leave a hotel with a wet bathing suit? Throw damp items in a plastic bag before you put it in the suitcase and you’re all set with no mess.

Travel Size Toiletries

Pharmacies and convenience stores have dedicated sections for travel size items. You can get most anything you’ll need in a smaller and compact package. And if you don’t like repurchasing products you already have plenty of at home, you can always get reusable bottles to fill with your favorite shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc.


Travel size, small containers, & plastic bags!

Wear your Heaviest Items

This tip is very helpful when you’re visiting a colder climate. Our suitcases become a lot heavier when it’s chilly simply because we need warmer clothes, shoes, and jackets. On the day you’re set to travel, wear that big sweater and coat with your boots. And make sure you layer up so you can easily remove or add on as needed while traveling.

Rolling your Clothes

Backpackers swear by this method. Rolling works well with pants, skirts, t-shirts, and tanks. Lay the item face down, fold back the sleeves and then roll from the bottom up. It’s also a great way to add cushion to fragile items. You can roll it up within your clothes to keep them safe and save space. So, go ahead and roll away!

Rolling method saves space!

Leave Room for Souvenirs

Well, you don’t have to, but it’d be nice 😉 Did you promise someone back home that you’d bring them back a souvenir from you trip? Many times, people pack their suitcases to the brim before departing. Unfortunately, this leaves little to absolutely no room for purchases while you’re traveling. We recommend packing a small empty backpack or duffle bag within your main suitcase before you leave. Then you’ll have a separate bag and plenty of room to fill on the way home.

Did you have some more handy tips to share with our travel community? Let’s hear them! Add a comment and tell us how you pack.

Contact Colesville Travel for your next vacation!


Cynthia Amin Hall

P.O. Box 4844

Silver Spring, MD 20914

Office:  301-989-1654

Fax:  301-989-8473




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 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

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

The 10 Worst Travel Mistakes to Avoid

Travel Mistakes

I thought this would be interesting – have you thought about the 10 worst travel mistakes to avoid? Even experienced travellers make these mistakes.  They may seem obvious at first, but knowing about them will hopefully help you avoid learning from painful first hand experience.

  • Forgetting your passport – or not having at least 6 months validity left.  This has happened to more of us than care to admit it.
  • Checking baggage. Most experienced travellers will only have carryon luggage – if at all possible.
  • Getting annoyed with airport security.  Unfortunately they hold all the power and occasionally you’ll encounter someone who abuses it.  Getting frustrated or angry won’t help get you through to your gate any faster – in fact, you can end up missing your flight.  Under no circumstances mention the word bomb anywhere in the airport.
  • Not checking stopover duration. Getting stuck in an airport for 8 hours isn’t much fun and will have you wishing you’d spent the extra few hundred dollars to fly direct. This is where your travel agent can assist.
  • Drinking too much alcohol on the flight. Airplanes already dehydrate you – drinking will make that worse, stop you from sleeping properly and leave you more susceptible to catching a bug.
  • Leaving your iPad / phone / wallet in the seat pocket in front of you.
  • Missing a meeting because you overslept because of jet lag.  Check your alarm clock – know what it sounds like and then put it out of reach so you can’t simply turn it off. Also ask for a wake up call as a backup.
  • Missing flights because you misjudged traffic conditions.  Ask your hotel concierge about peak traffic hours and if anything special is going on in town.  A marathon can cut a city in half – leading to delays of over an hour.
  • Forgetting your reading glasses.
  • Religiously sticking to one airline or network to maximise points/miles. The reality is they are often difficult to redeem and expire quickly yet many road warriors go out of their way to fly on an airline, even when it’s more expensive, takes longer and is less convenient.

Here are a couple of bonus tips:

  1. Not having adequate insurance coverage. You should consider medical, car, flight and belongings. Your travel agent can arrange your insurance also.
  2. Not having an online backup of all your files in case your laptop gets lost or stolen

Have we missed any of your top 10 mistakes to avoid? If so, please send them to me. I would like to know.

If you are interested in hearing more travel trips or want to book a stress free vacation, contact us at 301-989-1654 or email us at

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Are You Ready to Set Sail on the Oasis of Seas?

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is not just a larger cruise ship, but a whole new breed of ship. Oasis of the Seas is the first ship to tout the cruise line’s new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas.

In addition to Central Park, the “neighborhoods” include the Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa & Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone: 28,700-square-feet just for kids and teens with Kids Avenue, a central boulevard connecting various themed play areas; a nursery for infants and toddlers; a theater just for children. Central Park is an area of lush, tropical grounds spanning more than the length of a football field. The area features serene pathways, seasonal flower gardens and canopy trees. A central piazza functions as the ship’s “town square,” which also serves as a gathering space for alfresco evening dining and entertainment. Five decks of balcony staterooms offer views of the park below.

Boardwalk, inspired by the nostalgic seaside piers of yesteryear, features an original handcrafted carousel and AquaTheater, an amphitheater-style venue with tiered seating platforms that lead down to cruising’s largest freshwater pool. By day, AquaTheater serves as a spot for sunning, swimming and other water-based activities. By night, the venue is transformed into a performance space.

Two giant LED screens flank the stage as do a pair on enormous rock climbing walls. You also have the chance to try the first zip-line at sea suspended nine decks above ground level.

The Royal Promenade is home to a vast array of shopping, dining and entertainment options including the Rising Tide bar, the first moving bar at sea. The bar traverses three decks and allows cruisers to enjoy a cocktail as they slowly ascend into Central Park.

Stretching the length of the ship, the Pool and Sports Zone features private cabanas, four types of pools, and two FlowRider surf simulators – each larger than the single FlowRider found on the line’s Freedom-class ships. The first Beach Pool at sea has a sloped entry where guests will be able to wade into the water or relax in colorful beach chairs under an umbrella as the water rolls gently beneath. Two whirlpools flank either side of the “beach” for guests who prefer warmer waters.

Located on the opposite side of the ship from the Beach Pool and separated by Central Park six decks below, is the Main Pool with two side-by-side whirlpools. Overlooking both pools are private cabanas, complete with a dedicated attendant.

Adults looking for a retreat from the bustle of every day life find solace in the grandest Solarium yet. Boasting a redefined layout, guests will have the sensation of floating on air from the two-deck high, glass-paneled enclave designed with seating on various “islands” surrounded by water. The open-air Solarium offers a tranquil swimming pool, two serene whirlpools, and four cantilevered whirlpools suspended 136 feet above the ocean. The mezzanine level of the adult-dedicated area overlooks the pool deck below, offering additional chaise lounges and seating.

Created as the crown jewel of the cruise line’s Vitality program, the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center encompasses various amenities that cater to complete body wellness. As a precursor to any treatment, guests are encouraged to begin the spa experience by unwinding in the calming relaxation rooms. The new Vitality at Sea Spa includes a Thermal Suite, featuring heated tile loungers, saunas and steam rooms; three couples massage suites and seven individual treatment rooms – the largest collection at sea. Kids and teen guests also find their own dedicated Spa in which to enjoy specially catered services.

Oasis of the Seas: Two Dozen Dining Venues Oasis of the Seas features two dozen dining outlets Here’s a breakdown of Oasis of the Seas’ restaurants by neighborhood.

Here are some of the main ones.

Central Park
• Chops Grille, featuring fine steaks, with a $25 surcharge.
• Giovanni’s Table, featuring Italian. $10 for lunch, $15 for dinner.
• 150 Central Park, featuring tasting menus, and dinners paired with wines. $35 per person.
• Vintages, a wine bar with a tapas menu that includes a selection of free and a la carte items.
Park Cafe, serving soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps. Specialty is the steak sandwich

The Boardwalk
Johnny Rockets, featuring burgers, shakes and more. Additional charge.
• Seafood Shack, featuring items such as fried seafood, ribs and more. Additional charge.

Boardwalk Bar, serving salads and sandwiches.
• Boardwalk Donut Shop, offering donuts and coffee.
Ice Cream Parlour, “shipmade” ice cream. Additional charge.

Fast Facts & Interesting Tidbits: Oasis of the Seas

• Oasis of the Seas uses more than 3,000 miles of electrical wiring. Think about that. The wiring could stretch across America – coast to coast!
• Central Park will feature more than 12,000 plants – and full-time horticulturists who will give guided tours.
• AquaTheater Pool is nearly 18 feet deep and is the largest pool afloat.
• The Rising Tide elevator takes about six minutes to transit from the Royal Promenade (deck five) to Central Park (deck eight) — or vice versa.
• Oasis of the Seas carries 5,400 passengers double occupancy and 6,296 when all berths are filled – plus, more than 2,000 staff.
• Oasis of the Seas is 1,187 feet long, 208 feet wide, and its 18 decks rise 213 feet above the waterline.
• Oasis features the first Carousel at sea as well as the first Coach boutique (think fine leather goods).
• There are 24 restaurants and 37 bars on board.
• Oasis of the Seas’ Royal Promenade is twice as wide as those on the Freedom- and Voyager-class vessels.
• Passengers can reserve shows before boarding — or once on board, on their stateroom televisions or the Box Office at the Royal Promenade.
• To control traffic flow, restaurants use technology that measures the head count, so that passengers can see which restaurants are busy from their stateroom televisions and on displays throughout the ship.
• Electronic mustering means that you’re no longer required to don your life jacket for the safety drill, and there’s no name calling to check off passenger participation. Life jackets, in fact, are stored at the muster stations, and not in the staterooms.
• Photo Finder integrates your check-in photo with photos taken on board, so that there is no more scanning the picture walls to find your photo. Kiosks will offer the ability to swipe your stateroom card and see all of the photos taken of you on a voyage.

I just returned from my cruise on the Oasis of the Seas and I must say it was a facsinating experience and one that you must experience for yourself.

To book your cruise on the fabulous Oasis of the Seas, contact:

Cynthia Amin Hall
Colesville Travel
Phone: 301-989-1654

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)

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

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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)