Our quick travel tip is to not “over-plan” Your Vacation.
If you’re anything like me (I’m definitely a "type A" person) who likes to plan everything down to the last detail- this may be hard to do. Planning all the details may seem like the logical way to go about your travel prep, but trust us, over-planning can ruin a trip, and make it seem more regimented than it needs to be. Learn from me and- RELAX….
We recently experienced the downsides of this when trying to "be prepared" every single day of our 9 night small group tour to Germany with plenty of activities. Then came the last day, and we thought we were boarding a flight home from Germany. Well.....both our flights were cancelled and we were “stuck” in Germany for an extra day. So, whatever would we do with zero “plans” in one of my most favorite countries? Well…. we were spontaneous!! We quickly settled into our hotel rooms. My sister and I hopped on a bus, then took the local commuter's train to drop us off in the middle of downtown Frankfurt, so that we could explore on our own. Help from a friendly, local German man sent us on our way to get off at the best spot to experience downtown Frankfurt. BONUS: we ended up at a small, wonderful wine festival that we weren’t aware of, and it was absolutely fabulous!! We ended up enjoying Gluh wein (hot spiced wine), yummy food, great music, neat little shops, amazing architecture and lots of fun German locals.
Planning is always good, but remember to leave some room for changes and especially times of spontaneity. We'll always cherish our extra day in Germany for years to come.
Interested in an amazing small group tour to Germany with us, then CONTACT US now to get a trip planned in the near future!
International Vacation Tips & Tricks!
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
Here are some tips, tricks and general guidelines that will help to make your international vacation very enjoyable.
When Planning Your Trip:
* Always use a Travel Consultant! Your travel professional will sort through any of your concerns or questions ahead of time, along the way to your destination, while traveling in the country, or when you’re headed home. Should you have a cancelled or even delayed flight, they are there being just a simple phone call away. Should you hotel have issues, be over-booked (yes sometimes it happens with a few), a medical emergency or other situations that can happen, they’ll be right there to assist you immediately and help you quickly get back on track to your destination!
* Do you have a group tour or cruise you’re trying to get to? Always plan on arriving to your destination in advance. We recommend at least a day before you need to be there. Let’s say you have a dream cruise you’ve saved up for a while for, and you chose to arrive the same day of embarkation. Should you inevitably get delayed due to weather, flight cancellations or a flat tire, you may not be able to board the cruise in time. Or, if your flight was cancelled and you were re-booked, your luggage may have gotten lost in transit. A 24-hour window allows your luggage to catch up with you, or a delay to not de-rail your dream trip. And always consider insurance, trip delay or luggage lost is normally covered by most travel insurance companies.
* Reconfirm all those fine details long before you depart on your vacation. If you are traveling over several time zones or even the International Dateline, remember to verify the arrival date(s) are the correct dates that you will be arriving at your destination. It’s imperative to pay very close attention to any overnight flight schedules regarding connections and arrivals that may interfere with your travel itinerary, group tours, cruises, etc.
* Booking your trip across several airlines can be confusing, is very stressful while traveling, and can even be potentially more expensive to your budgeted vacation dollars. It’s good to hire a travel professional who will be certain to review your itinerary when it’s first issued as well as prior to your date of travel. They can advise you as to whether it's really do-able as far as connection times, baggage handling, and other issues/concerns. The consultant can also serve as your one-call contact, should something unfortunately go wrong.
Packing For Your Trip:
* Don’t forget to carry your passport, important medication, emergency contact information (especially your travel professional’s contact info) and other critical information with you at all times. Never pack your important documents and medication in your suitcase that’s checked! Your carry-on, or on your person is the best option.
* When packing your suitcases for your vacation, consider opting for two smaller suitcases over one large suitcase. Many airports abroad are not equipped to easily handle a full cargo of luggage, and may be in a constant state of “catch-up”. Your luggage may not arrive with your flight (as it should) but could even arrive on a later flight, instead. This frequently occurs when you have several connections. When a flight is overweight, the first things to be off loaded are those heaviest bags. If your suitcase is not light, but is an overweight massive bag, it could be one to be off loaded first.
* Pack your itinerary, to include your travel professional’s full contact information and your own contact information while traveling in each piece of luggage you plan to bring on the vacation. This will help the airlines catch up with you and coordinate the delivery of your luggage during your trip, should this need arise.
* Pack everything that’s absolutely necessary into your carry-on. This could include the following: a full change of clothes, toiletries, and medication should your luggage not make it to your destination or be delayed. Pack items not readily available in stores at the destination and that you need. Also, some other items that may be handy: gum, candy, nuts, granola bars, that may help you with your energy in case a store/restaurant is closed whether in transit or when you’ve reached your final destination!
Have a Wonderful Vacation!!
What's essential to you when you travel Internationally? Comment Below.
International Toiletry Essentials to Pack for Your Next Trip-
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
Packing for your International Trip doesn't mean you have to go all out for your next vacation. With a few ideas, shared below, you'll be well on your way to being completely prepared with all your toiletry items needed.
· Place your travel size toiletries in a hanging toiletry bag or jewelry. Hotels have limited counter space. This can easily be hung over your bathroom door at the hotel.
· Bring any dual voltage, compact folding hair dryers/curling irons/flat-irons (if needed) on your vacation. Dual voltage appliances are practically the norm, now, and can easily be found at many local stores. If you can go without, this would be much better, and lighter!
· Most 3+ rated hotels will have hair dryers. But, what could be better than air drying your hair!
· Even with dual voltage appliances, you'll need an adaptor plug for the sockets. Of course, if not bringing dual-voltage appliances, you'll need to bring an electrical converter, as well, but be aware even the smallest of these can add as much as 5 lbs to your luggage weight.
· Many of the nice hotels abroad will provide at least a small bottle of shampoo, so be prepared. Bring a couple with you, at least, or fill travel bottles with your favorite products.
· Pack a cheap, dozen washcloths or handy facial/makeup wipes. They don't exist abroad (that I could find). Use one a day and simply toss.
· Pack a micro-fiber "turby towel." This is helpful to dry your hair, body, etc. I always carry my "turby towel" with me on my travels as it helps dry my hair quickly.
· Purchase double-purposed type products: shampoo/conditioner-in-one; tinted moisturizer instead of packing foundation + moisturizer.
· Don't forget the travel-sized products come in very handy while traveling overseas.
· Tweezers, nail polish remover pads (definitely not the bottle of liquid); emory boards, toothpicks, dental floss.
· Manicure scissors, small needle and thread kit (with common colors).
· Safety pins, in various assorted sizes.
· Barrettes, bobby pins, ponytail holders, hair clips, stretchy headband (good for cold weather, too).
· Perhaps consider packing a very small roll of duct tape (hey...it may come in handy to mend clothes, bandages, luggage if it's ripped, etc).
And remember, unless you’re planning on camping during the "Wild nights in Munich, during Oktoberfest" about anything you need, can be very easily purchased along the way!
3 Super Quick Tips for Traveling Abroad!
Don't laugh...but these have to do with paying attention to Your Precious Feet!
1. DO NOT SKIMP ON FOOTWEAR! Your feet are so worth it!
Vacations abroad are by their nature, very much walking, climbing and touring vacations. So many times you'll find yourself off the beaten path. The center of many towns are traffic free, so walking is how they are seen. Think of all of the cobblestone streets in Europe!
It's so important to purchase quality, well fitting, supportive and comfortable shoes. Make it a huge priority. Don't go "cheap" on the shoes, invest in something that will reap you healthy benefits. Buy them in advance before you leave for your overseas adventure and walk in them often, before-hand. Blisters or super sore feet can ruin your entire time abroad. You want to make memories, not nurse sore, aching feet.
2. INVEST IN GOOD SOCKS-
Do invest in good socks and good footwear.
Wool or synthetic blends will tend to help to cushion your feet, even when wet and easier to rinse out and wash by hand while abroad. They dry more than twice as fast, because they breathe well and wick moisture. Cotton will soak up sweat and moisture, and this isn't great when walking (especially if you're going long distances).
Such a quick, simple little tip, but worth so much! Trust me please. Your feet will thank you.
3. BRING (2) PAIRS OF COMFORTABLE SHOES-
Pack two pairs of comfortable, well-broken in walking shoes. Each day switch to the other pair if possible. Your feet will thank you. Find some that are versatile and can be worn with anything in your suitcase.
I try to remember to pack a pair of black flats and a pair of flat-soled boots, often, but sometimes even instead, a second pair of slip-ons in place of the boots. In either case, they can both be worn with slacks, jeans, or dresses. You can even switch them back and forth from day to evening-should you have a nice night on the town!
The reason has to do with various pressure points on your feet. No matter how well-fitting a pair of shoes may be to you, your feet tend to rest differently within them. By switching off shoes, you can give those pressure points in your feet a much needed break. This will lessen your chance for blisters or sore spots.
It’s another simple little traveling tip, but worth so much! Trust me. Your precious feet will thank you.
Do YOU have any particular shoe styles, or brands that have worked well for you on your travels, please share below!
St. Augustine was credited with the following quote: "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."
Where do you want to go? If you're like me, it's everywhere! I'd love to hit every continent on the globe before I die. It's a dream to see all those locations I dreamed of as a child. I had wanderlust at a very young age, and used to dream about globetrotting all over one day.
If you choose to travel, we hope you might consider our business to help you get there. We can help you carve out that special travel path you've chosen. Or....travel with us. Our next wonderful tour leaves this fall, for 10 glorious days to discover intimate Germany. We know this will be the trip of a lifetime, so we hope you'll join us.
You can have opportunities to see the many wonderful places on our great earth. You can meet new people, great lands, have exciting unique experiences, and learn other cultures and perhaps discover something about yourself along the way. Life is short....so savor the moments...and choose to get out there to discover all its wonder and beauty!
Create An Incredible Vacation Memory!
For close to 2 years, I've been planning a Dream Vacation Experience to Germany!
A Little About My Love for Germany:
My stepdad & Mom (going on the trip too-Yahoo) were stationed in Heidelberg Germany for 4 years, from when I was 4 until 8 years old. I had such fond memories of Germany that I couldn't wait to get back there to experience it again, one day.
My junior year of High School, I was so blessed to be a Rotary Youth Exchange Student to Germany for the whole school year. This was also the year the Berlin wall fell, I was able to go all over Germany, live with 3 host families during this time & immerse completely in Germany. Wonderful memories I will forever cherish.
I couldn't get enough of Germany....it was the land of great memories & wonderful dreams! So, I went back several times after that to work & live with my older sister (who's husband at the time) was stationed over there. I was quite fluent in German & could go all over the country easily. Since then, it had been 20 years since I'd been back (two children later)! My stepdad was working over in Germany for 2 weeks & invited me & Mom to join him. Well, it simply felt like going home again....I was in love with this land (all over again) & couldn't wait to get back.
So, this intimate trip to Germany was born out of my love for Germany & having a native German help me lead this tour (having a true insider's edge to the land & culture) seemed like a natural fit for the small group. I'm so very excited about going back, enjoying the sights, sounds, tastes & sharing my Love of Germany with you too!! I do hope you'll join us & I'm soooo very excited for those who have signed up already to travel with us!!!
This fall of 2017, we will explore intimate Germany with its ruins, castles (including the famous Neuschwanstein Castle pictured above), wineries, breweries, enjoy Oktoberfest, quaint restaurants, small boutique type hotels, small towns & villas. This is the Trip of a Lifetime and I promise one you won't want to miss!
With less than 8 spaces left on the tour, make plans to join us today! MORE INFO
HERE ARE A FEW QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE GERMANY TOUR:
I look forward to helping you plan your Germany trip of a lifetime! Please plan to join us!! Call 910-379-4033, OR...check out our detailed breakdown of the trip (day by day) HERE!
Small group touring is Different- Check out Intimate Germany!
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
Why book a small group tour to Germany with Us?
Easy….you’re not made to feel like a herd of Buffalo’s corralled to the next activity, with a large, sometimes hectic and chaotic herd…..err….bunch of people.
Join us in the fall of 2017 with a small group tour to Germany!
A maximum group size of 20-30 keeps the tour in a smaller coach vehicle, which means the size of the group is intimate. The bus can get into and out of places that large groups simply can’t get to. In Germany, where the roads can many times be quite narrow, this is perfect!
Many travelers choose small-group touring because this style of travel is super cozy and comfortable. Plus as a tour guide, it’s a more manageable size for our agency, more like family and less like an informal group of people. Our smaller size will provide opportunities for you to mix socially with other people on the trip and can interact with the 2 guides more deeply. Your interests and opinions on side trips and detours will be taken into account! You simply cannot do this with a large group!!
Smaller groups can accommodate small, boutique, quaint type hotels. Our tour is opting for local, indigenous lodging over multinational hotel chains. This is another advantage of a small tour size, we can accommodate our small group almost anywhere. When we stay in local lodging, you can absorb the culture without having to jump into a drafty old museum to do so.
Our tour will strive on immersion, not just into the environment in Germany, but among the people who live there. Our goal is for you to relate to the local culture, to eat in locally owned restaurants trying new cuisine and to see local craftsmanship.
Cultural immersion is what will distinguish our tour from some of the larger, cookie cutter type tours! One of the most powerful things we can do as your guides, is to place our small tour into situations and introduce you to local people, and show you unique and foreign things that you simply won’t see back home. We want you to enjoy your immersion environment! We don’t want you to head to Germany and spend all your money and get the same type of experience you’d get on a typical road trip stateside.
This smaller tour size is becoming more appreciated by many, who want to dig deep into a culture and land, as they visit Germany. And for some who have already been to Europe a few times, this trip is something quite exciting in that it visits some familiar places as well as new and exciting locales. This tour is focusing on one region, Germany….not many countries packed into a few days. The small group will get you up and close and personal with this amazing and historic destination.
Our agenda is flexible! You may want more time to explore independently, to reflect or just simply rest. Our trip is structured with flexibility built into the schedule.
Our tours goal is to get you off the typical “tourist track”. We have your behind the scene access! We’ll encourage wonderful, personal encounters with locals. We’ll put you in the heart of true foreign travel. This is simply the best way to experience any new place. Plus our tour guide is a native, which means you can ask him any questions about the life and history of Germany and Markus’ knowledge and expertise, will bring each destination to life!
Anyone can purchase a ticket to Oktoberfest and go there, but going as a small group together will bring the festival to life, with its rich history and age-old traditions shared! Just imagine, it’s going to be a true adventure to go into a small village where you meet families, traditions and authentic cultural views that have been ingrained into many for hundreds of years.
Our tour will travel through the romantic back roads and small towns. We’ll get you to the destinations of small villages so you’ll feel like you’re a part of the region, and having local experience to guide us there, will be the icing on top!
You’ll go home with a real life, amazing, personal experience of Germany, one that could probably not be had anywhere else.
Don’t take my word for it, please read some of Markus’ company reviews below and then check out our May Special (good only through the end of May when you place your deposit down) on this absolutely memorable trip of a lifetime!
“Markus and his company are just fantastic. It's like having a long-lost relative in Germany drive you around. I spent ten days in a car with this man, and we're still on speaking terms. If you're headed to Germany, check into Markus’ tours and tell 'em Andy sent you!”- Eunice/Andy
“Markus, Thank you for giving us a wonderful first experience outside the States. We admire your devoation towards your job. You were not only an excellent guide but a friend. Thank you so much!” -Becky, Ray, Glen and Chuck
“Thank you for a great tour! We felt like we were being guided by a friendly relative who wanted us to appreciate his country. We did the tour based on the itinerary adjusted according to the weather and spiced with little surprises that made the trip fun. Instead of a one country trip, we slipped into two more and got to taste French cuisine. Since Markus knows all the good places to eat, we never got to the snacks that we all had brought along.
Usually at the end of a trip you are ready to go home, I wanted to stay longer to enjoy more of the fun and beauty of Germany.” -Bobbe
“Markus, I know I speak for all of us that if it was not for your terrific services we would not have enjoyed ourselves as much as we did.
Germany is a beautiful country and your expertise only enhanced the experience.
The choices of hotels, sites and restaurants were perfect.
We have not stopped talking about our trip and tell everyone about your services. If you ever need a reference or someone has a question about your services, we will be more than happy to share our experience with them.
I cannot thank you enough for making our first (hopefully not the last) trip to Germany perfect!” -Theresa
“I can't begin to thank you enough for such a memorable vacation and fun vacation. I loved every minute of it.
Our tour was in fact "The Perfect Germany Tour" as we enjoy telling all our friends and family. We enjoyed your company as much as we enjoyed the beautiful sights and activities of the tour. You have set a high standard for our future tours that will never be equaled until we come back to Germany for another tour with you.” -Gus & Fay
OUR BLOG SPECIAL- BOOK YOUR GERMANY 2017 FALL TOUR BY 12/31/16 (by placing your deposit down) and receive $50 off per person on the total tour price, PLUS enjoy a FREE wine, beer and appetizer WELCOME PARTY (for 2 hours) when we arrive in Germany!
NOTE: Must mention this special when booking.
Call Escape Destinations Travel today to join the tour: 910.379.4033 OR...check out our detailed day-by-day agenda HERE!
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Fussen and then Frankfurt!
We all met Bev and Randy for breakfast at the lovely buffet from The Edelweiss Lodge and Resort's Restaurant and said our "goodbyes". What an amazing place the hotel was.
Then we headed to my most favorite castle of all, Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen, Germany. One word: AMAZING!! The Neuschwanstein Castle is incredible!
It brought back such fond memories, wow I love this place! The crowds were super crazy as it was a holiday in Germany...so we didn't do the tour, just walked around a bit, enjoyed some coffee at the foot of the castle, checked out the souvenir shops where I purchased a poster of the Neuschwanstein Castle, and took tons of pictures.
Then it was time to head to Frankfurt where we arrived at the hotel right at the airport (the Hilton), enjoyed the executive lounge for drinks and snacks.
I cannot believe that our 2 weeks in Germany flew by. Such wonderful memories I will treasure for a lifetime! Take me back!!!!!
Interested in our small group trip to Germany in 2017, do check out our website for further details! Always wanted to visit Germany, but didn't want to travel solo, or feel like you were out of place in a foreign land? Well then consider joining us for a real trip of a lifetime, next fall!
Okay...so you can probably realize that I could live in Germany the rest of my life and be one super happy gal! Yes, it's true, it feels like my mother-land!
Garmisch is one of those kinds of places you could stop in and never leave!
We ate a yummy breakfast at Starbucks, then Bev took us downtown to shop and purchase some more lovely souvenirs. It was a foggy day at the Zugspitze, so we couldn't quite get a wonderful picture or see the top but that's okay, it was beautiful just the same. We headed downtown with the gorgeous alps in the background. Talk about pretty and peaceful! After we shopped, and snacked and walked, we came back to met the guys to eat at a traditional Garmisch German restaurant, with wonderful music, little dancing young boys and so very good German food.
Do You LOVE Germany Too? Well then, make plans to join us for a Small Group Tour to Germany in 2017? Check our website for details!
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