Sunday, February 7, 2016

Family Vacation Planning

It seems like every family wants to have a grand vacation, and many have great ideas, but the costs and logistics get in the way. Whether your family consists of you and a spouse, or a multi-generation family reunion, we have resources that will save you time, and can save you money.
We would love to partner with you in preparing your next family vacation. Routing, lodging options, activities, tours, and excursions, as well as flights, and cruises are just a few of the ways we can make travel easier for you.

In fact, we have some tours packages already available. Are these on your short list of places to visit?

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Yellowstone National Park - Explore Yellowstone National Park on this 5-day EXPERIENCE that includes some quality time in Salt Lake City! Spend a day discovering all Salt Lake City has to offer. Take a scenic drive from Salt Lake to Yellowstone and enjoy the mountainous countryside along the way. Once you arrive in Yellowstone, you’ll explore all its beauty and get a chance to snap pictures of some of the world’s most majestic sights, like Firehole Canyon, Isa Lake on the Continental Divide, and of course, Old Faithful. The Yellowstone Experience blends the beauty of nature along with time in the big city of Salt Lake! From $459 per person.

Glacier National Park - Enjoy the “Land of the Shining Mountains” and experience endless outdoor activities. Glacier National Park has more than a million acres of pristine forests, mountains and lakes. Roam the land where Native Americans lived centuries ago. Hike the breathtaking valleys carved by glaciers. If you love the outdoors, you simply must experience Glacier National Park for yourself. Packages start at $1369 per person.

New York City
New York City - Have you ever wanted to get a true New York City experience? Our New York City Family Adventure is just what your family needs to discover all of New York’s top attractions! Enjoy your stay in a beautiful Times Square hotel, putting your family right in the heart of all of the NYC action. Use your hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour to hit the top New York stops such as the Empire State Building, Central Park, Fifth Avenue, and the Statue of Liberty. Your three-day family adventure will give you a full “Big Apple” experience.  From $489 per person.

Mount Rushmore - Enjoy a 4-day trip to Mount Rushmore National Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, and the Badlands National Park. An included rental car will allow you to travel throughout South Dakota to experience the beauty of this region. From $449 per person.

Rocky Mountain National Park - Feel like you’re on top of the world! Rocky Mountain National Park has 415 square miles that encompass and protect the mountain environments. You can enjoy Trail Ridge Road, including many overlooks to take in the alpine worlds. With over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildlife, and fun filled days with starry nights, The Rockies are on top. From $209 per person

Fort at #4 - New Hampshire
American Heritage - From the historic streets and neighborhoods of Boston to the gleaming monuments of the nation's capital, your trip is full of things to see and do. Walk in the footsteps of Paul Revere, John Adams and other Patriots of the Revolutionary Era as walk the famous Freedom Trail, stroll through Boston Common, or visit any number of sites and attractions in Boston. Take in spectacular views of Manhattan from the Empire State building or cruise out to the Statue of Liberty in New York. See the place where the US Constitution, our nation's founding document was brought to life in Philadelphia. Visit any number of fascinating museums or impressive monuments in Washington DC. Your American Heritage tour will be an unforgettable experience! From $1949 per person

New England
New England Fall Foliage - Calling all leaf peepers! You won't want to miss this journey through two of New England's most beloved cities: Boston and Portland. Explore Boston on a hop-on/hop-off sightseeing tour. Relive history as you follow the Battle Train through Historic Lexington, Concord, and Cambridge. See New England's magnificent fall colors on a Gray Line Fall Foliage Tour. Discover Portland, “New England's Best Kept Secret,” on a Land and Sea Discovery expedition. This fall foliage excursion through New England's Boston and Portland is the perfect way to spend 6 days during this colorful season. From $1249 per person.

Don’t see the destination you are interested? We have thousands of additional itineraries, destinations, and resources to help you create the finest vacation for your money. Send us an email with details, and let us work our magic!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Zika Virus and Travel - What you need to Know!


The Zika Virus was first discovered by Yellow Fever researchers from an infected research monkey in the Zika Forest of Uganda, in the late 1940's. 

In the early 1950's researchers discovered that the virus was infecting humans, and most people tested who were age 40 or older had immunity to the disease, probably from earlier infections of the Zika Virus. Those tested lived throughout Africa, Asia, and India. Researchers indicate that these populations also seem to have developed some levels of immunity, and are less affected. Some will never show symptoms of having been infected.

From its discovery, until 2007, humans tested, showed evidence of the disease, but actual confirmed cases of the Zika Virus were rare.

In 2007, islanders in Micronesia experienced the first epidemic outbreak of Zika, Since then epidemics have occurred in Polynesia, Cook Islands, Easter Island, and New Caledonia.

Despite the irresponsible rhetoric of fear mongerers, and conspiracy theorists, it is not a man-made disease intended for use by clandestine organizations bent on dominating the world.


In 2015, the virus spread to Brazil, probably from foreign visitors attending the World's Cup. There, the virus quickly spread across South and Central America, Caribbean Islands, and Mexico. 

It has reached pandemic levels in those regions, and will likely continue to spread due to the amount of world travelers visiting these popular destinations. People living in these regions have no history with the disease, no immunities within the population, and thus greater possibility for it to spread.

Due to risks affecting travelers, the Centers for Disease Control in the US, and its foreign counterparts, have issued travel advisories, so the public can be informed of the risks, range of possible infection, symptoms, and prevention methods.

How to Avoid the Disease

The Zika Virus is transmitted almost exclusively through the Aedes genus of mosquitoes.* Unfortunately, this type of mosquito is found around the world. If its a temperate, warm, moist, climate, its highly likely that the mosquito lives in the region. (*sexual transmission has occurred, but is extremely rare, and limited in scope and probability. Safe Sex practices, while infected, nearly completely eliminate the risk of transmission)

No vaccines currently exist. While it may take until 2018 to have them fully developed, it may be longer still, due to government hurdles, before the vaccine would become available to the public.

Expecting mothers and those planning to become pregnant are strongly advised to take every precaution against infection, as the mother can transmit the virus to the infant, causing severe birth defects, abnormal delivery, and perhaps other complications to the child, including death. In fact some Central American countries are advising women against pregnancy, until a viable vaccine is available.

To lessen the probability of acquiring the virus, the most simple option would be to limit the frequency of travel to the affected areas.  This option is neither ideal for tourism or business, and frankly, not necessary.

The Best approach is to limit the risk of bites from mosquitoes, through reducing exposure, and applying repellents.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following:

  • Products with one of the following active ingredients can also help prevent mosquito bites. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
    • DEET
    • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin. Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan [outside the US])
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanicals)
    • IR3535 (Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart)
  • Always follow product directions and reapply as directed.
    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
    • Follow package directions when applying repellent on children. Avoid applying repellent to their hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Consider using permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
    • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See the product information to find out how long the protection will last.
    • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
    • Do not use permethrin directly on skin.

What other steps should I take to prevent bug bites?

  • Prevent mosquito bites.
    • Cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Stay and sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms.
    • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What if I get Sick?

First, the virus is not fatal to most people. You will feel lousy, but you are not likely to need hospitalization.

If within 2 weeks from returning abroad, you begin to feel joint, muscle, or eye pain, develop a fever or rash; you need to be seen by a doctor. Be sure to tell them that you have recently traveled. They will be better prepared to make sure you are treated properly, and recover as quickly as possible.

Why all the Fuss?

It may seem like a small matter, if the disease isn't likely to be life-threatening. You might be inclined to think that after all the precautions, if I do get sick, I'll just "suck it up" like the last bout with the flu, and then I'll be fine.

The challenge is, while you are ill, you can transmit the disease to others via mosquitoes. That mosquito can carry the disease for up to 21 days, infecting others, who then also have it transmitted to other vectors. This is exactly how a few (or one) foreign travelers caused the Zika pandemic in the Western Hemisphere.

The danger is that infants are at tremendous risk. As the disease spreads among the Western Hemisphere, newborns are increasingly born with defects tied to the Zika virus.  In some affected areas, up to 1% of children are born with microencephaly; a condition of  a small brain and skull that causes intellectual disabilities, development delays, and can cause death.

Certainly you would want to reduce or limit the spread of this disease, especially if you could prevent it from coming to the United States and Canada. Its not currently north of Puerto Rico and Mexico. Vigilance among the traveling public will go far in reducing or eliminating an epidemic in the US.

Here is a graphic that shows the probable range of the mosquitoes capable of spreading the disease in the United States.

For further information, check with your  Healthcare Provider, and review information as it is updated at the Centers for Disease Control - Zika Website.