Travel Spotlight: Carnival Glory Cruising

I sat down with Cruise Specialist and Travel Agent, Carolyn Parrish to discuss her December Cruise experience and all the best highlights:

Tell me about your cruise. How long was it, what was thIMAG0805-179x300e name of the cruise ship and what were your destinations?

Carnival Glory Dec 16-23
Miami to Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk

Tell me about your favorite dining experience on the ship.

This was the first time that we ever ordered room service! We did it 3 mornings!

Describe your favorite experience on your cruise.

There were 18 of us. Being with family was the best part. Having the time to spend with them. Continue reading

Sleeping Needs for Your Toddler While Travelling

It is enjoyable to travel as a family at whatever age our children are at, we don’t have to wait till they are all grown so we can have a road trip or fly for holiday or delay that family get together.  We do life together with them as young as they areno matter what.  Though enjoyable, it doesn’t come with its pros andcons travelling as it involves a lot of pre-planning and packing to ensure you don’t leave anything behind.

The truth is no matter how hectic it is, we cannot keep them holed up in the house for all their baby life.  We only need to come round it and know how to keep them jolly and comfortable all through the travel.  One thing that is majorly important is their sleep, a well-rested child is happy and healthy and in turn everybody is happy.Sleeping Needs for Your Toddler While Travelling

Putting your toddler to sleep enroute

Whether you travel during the day or night, your toddler is likely to fall asleep, it seems like travelling soothes them to sleep.  You will need to bring a travel cot to ensure they sleep comfortably and un-interrupted.  Toddlers are different and they behave differently to change of environment, while some will easily be calm and fall asleep easy, others will be anxious and tend to cry a lot as they fall asleep.  It is important to prepare for anything especially if you are travelling for the very first time with them.  Bringing one of their favorite bed time toys or blanket or reading them a story would help calm them down.

Ensure you pack well in advance and using a checklist so you are sure you won’t forget anything.  Some toddlers are not good sleepers once their environment changes, they will have difficulty adapting and sleeping.  This can cause anxiety to both the parents and the child leading to lack of sleep to both.  You are advised to make sure you feed your toddler well with a balanced diet and keep them warm maybe you can hold them close to you if they are too anxious.

Choosing the right baby travel cot

It is very important to choose a travel cot that fits within your budget, comfortable to your child and is close to what they use at home for familiarity purposes.  If you purchase your travel cot a few days before you travel, have the child use it maybe during the day sleep to allow them have a feel of it and watch their response.  The market is presenting us with an overwhelming choice of travel cots to choose from and its best to know what exactly we are looking for before we hit the market.  They come in many types today ranging from inflatable cots, folding cots, popup travel cots, bassinette travel cot etc.  The choice is yours but remember you are choosing it for your little one, let them not see much difference from what they are used to at home.

Important things to consider:

  • Age related –Different models can only accommodate a certain age bracket. For example bassinette travel cotsare designed for newborns upto 4 months.  This is because they are small in size and cannot fit bigger babies.
  • Weight – with your luggage all packed up, the least you want is any added weight all in the name of a toddler travel cot. It is wise to buy light cots and if possible foldable to be able to easily pack them into your bags or car.  A popup travel cot is lightweight weighs around three kilos.  It comes in a foldable frame that is firm and padded with four mesh sides that allows free air circulation when the child is sleeping.  Inflatable mattress cots are even lighter and many have chosen them to be their children’s travel partners.  There are variable foldable lightweight options in the market to choose from, chose what pleases you and what fits your child’s needs.  Much as we consider the weight, think of the size too, consider a size that easily fits to allow easy movement.
  • Stability – this is very important when it comes to toddlers cots especially for the foldable cots, inflatable mattresses. They must be stable enough to hold your child’s weight and allow them to sleep comfortably without shaking.
  • Ease of assembling – It is one thing to buy a foldable and it’s another to be able to easily and quickly assemble it a ready cot. If it is complicated with lots of screwing work to assemble clearly you won’t be able to do it while you are travelling, worse still you might lose the screws while working and end up in a bigger mess.  Ensure you get one that is easily put together and dismantled at the same time to allow easy movement.
  • Mattress – A cot is made more comfortable by the mattress. If the cot doesn’t come with a mattress, shop for a mattress that fits perfectly on the cot and that provides a comfortable surface for the baby to enjoy sleeping on.
  • Cost – We can shop all we want but we must ensure it fits within our budget, that’s why it is important to shop early before we travel to allow us time to go through different brands at different prices before we can settle on that which is pocket friendly.

It is our task to find out more information about a particular brand before we can really invest in it.  Getting enlightened about the pros and cons about the product is key to finding good value for your money.  With the right toddler travel cot and a lot of love your child will be well rested and therefore minimal or no fuss will be experienced.  If the travel involves older children the whole family will enjoy traveling with the little one.

Invest in yourself physically and emotionally by taking a rest before you travel to allow time for your body and your mind to rest.  Inform your family members well in advance about the travel so you can allow then enough time to pack and rest before the travel too.  Older children need time ample time to pack and inspection of what they have packed.  Do this well in advance to allow changes or additions.

Travel Spotlight: Carnival Breeze Cruising

carnival-breeze-sunseekers-karismatravelsToday’s Travel Spotlight is with Travel Agent Collette Howard of Michigan. She and a group of family and friends took a cruise on the Carnival Breeze in December 2012 for her birthday. I sat down with Collette to get the scoop on this fantastic vacation and all the juicy details.

Tell me about your cruise. How long was it, what was the name of the cruise ship and what were your destinations?

Our cruise was 6 days, we visited the Eastern Caribbean, ports of call were Grand Turk of Turks and Caicos, Foulmouth, Jamaica which is the capital of Jamaica, and Nassau Bahamas

Tell me about your favorite dining experience on the ship.

Our dining experiences were extraordinary. The cruise had different cuisine from various cultures even a Sushi restaurant. There was even Indian cuisine and Mongolian Wok station.

Describe your favorite experience on your cruise.

I think one of my favorite experiences on the cruise was our nightly visit to a R&B jazz band were we made a lot of new friends and being treated to a free cocktail party hosted by the Ship’s Captain and Cruise Director because we have achieved the Gold Level as a VIFP (Very Important Fun Person)

What activities did you participate in on the ship?
Some played basketball, and used the water works park, I enjoyed my full body massage and escaping to the Serenity Deck for adult only relaxation area.

What was the highlight of your land experience?
Since we are travel professionals, we were given a complimentary day pass to the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in Nassau Bahamas. We toured the Sandals resort and were privileged to the All inclusive activities extended to paying guests

What else should we know about this cruise experience?
Our cruise was the best hassle free experience in my 8th cruise sailings thus far. The food, entertainment and enjoyment of friends and family who cruised with us made it the perfect cruise experience.

What travel tips can you offer to make traveling easier?
For Travelers to make sure to review the baggage weight allowance as each airline varies. The standard baggage weight allowance is 50 pounds, however we traveled on Spirit whose baggage weight allowance was only 40 pounds. Some of the travelers in our group were charged $ 25-75 dollars because their luggage was overweight at the start of the cruise.collettescruise-300x225

Please provide your website link and a brief description of your business and what services you offer:
My business is a home based travel business that provides full service travel for our customers to ensure a hassle free vacation for our travel clients. We are also members of the Sun Seekers Travel Club who are a group of people who Enjoy Live, Travel & Fun in the Sun.

3 Powerful Posts Travel Agents Should Share On Social Media

hawaiibeach-150x150The Travel Industry and Social Media is a match made in heaven. All businesses can benefit from social media marketing, but you could probably argue that Travel Agents could benefit more than most. Why? Because highly shared content is visually driven. And what is more eye-catching that beautiful beach landscapes, palm trees, oceans, or amazing architecture? These photos catch people’s attention. Because the travel industry is all about fun, adventure, relaxation, food, entertainment, who doesn’t want to talk about it really? So that’s the advantage travel agents have. They also have a wealth of information and experience. Plenty of value to offer to their audience. Get the picture? Pretty powerful.

So what type of content should travel agents share online. I believe there are 3 things that they should focus on:

1) PICTURES!! Nothing is more popular that picture posts. Several studies have already proven that. Travel agents should be sharing photos of fabulous destinations. Follow those vendors that you book your clients on vacation with and share their photos. Better yet, share your own!

oahusunset-150x150Oahu Sunset

2) VIDEO: Resorts often post video to capture the beauty of their property and the surrounding area. Post these video clips to get your clients dreaming of their next vacation.

3) TIPS! Travel agents have accumulated a huge amount of information even in short periods of time on the best places to stay, dine or visit at various vacation destinations. Share tidbits and tips. What’s the best place for sushi in Las Vegas? What hotels has the best amenities in New York City? Which property has the most amazing beach in Montego Bay? What’s the best way to save money on a Disney trip? How can airline travel be less of a hassle? How should your client pack? Share some nuggets!

More importantly, listen to your audience. Pay attention to what they ask, what they look for, and provide that valuable information to solve their problems. Be sure to engage engage engage! Be SOCIAL :)