10 Tips for Staying at an All-Inclusive Resort

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Here are 10 tips to all-inclusive resorts; some will seem like no-brainers, but others are  learned the hard way.

1. Don’t forget about airport transportation.

2. Keep your valuables safe

3. Tips aren’t always included  

4. Bring a brand new bottle of sunblock

5. Take it easy with the food.

6. Plan some downtime. 

7. Bring your own cup and watch the pour. 

8. Look into Kids’ Camp. 

9. Plan ahead for excursions & other activities.

10. Be prepared to disconnect from WiFi. 

Grand Canyon Map

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The Grand Canyon Map provides details on attractions in the area, itineraries for half day, full day and two day visits. This Grand Canyon map is a valuable resource when visiting Grand Canyon South Rim.

Grand Canyon Map

Grand Teton National Park Easy Hiking Tips and Trips 

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No matter what your fitness level, there are many hikes to be enjoyed in Grand Teton National Park. Best of all, you do not have to be a mountain climber to enjoy the beautiful vistas, canyons, and waterfalls in the park.

Be Prepared
Weather can and does change rapidly in the mountains. Take along extra clothing when hiking into the higher elevations, wear sunscreen, and take plenty of water and high energy snacks. If you are planning a long hike, start in the morning and keep your eye on the time. You do not want to be caught on the trail after dark.


Be Bear Aware

You will notice these signs everywhere in the park. Take them seriously. At certain times of the year, some trails may be closed due to increased bear activity. Park rangers put on bear safety presentations which you should also consider attending.

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Whenever you are hiking in the park always take along bear spray, know how to use it, have it immediately available, and talk or make noise while you hike. Never hike alone.

Lakeshore Trail Hike at Colter Bay, Jackson Lake

This flat, 2.0 mile loop trail follows the shoreline along a peninsula in Colter Bay. You will enjoy beautiful views of Mount Moran across Jackson Lake and reflections in Colter Bay. The trail begins on a paved service road near the boat docks at the Colter Bay Marina.

Heron Pond and Swan Lake Hike

If you enjoy waterfowl, wildlife, and water lily covered ponds, this hike is for you. Look for trumpeter swans, beaver, moose, and bears. This relatively flat hike starts at Colter Bay Village and is a 3.0 mile loop.

Willow Flats Shuttle or Loop Hike

When snow still covers the mountain trails in the spring, the Willow Flats area west of Jackson Lake will be snow free and ready for hiking. The willows and marshes are prime habitat for a variety of wildlife. Look for moose, sandhill cranes, beaver, bears, and other wildlife. The area is, as the name suggests, flat and it can get rather warm trekking through the flats and open meadows due to the lack of shade trees so you may want to choose a cooler day for this hike.

The shuttle hike is 4.9 miles. You can start the shuttle hike from either the Colter Bay coral or at the small parking lot on the south side of Jackson Lake Lodge. For the shuttle, you will need to park your car at either end and get a ride back to the trailhead. The loop trail is 8.3 miles starting at the Jackson Lake Lodge trailhead. The shuttle and first part of the loop trail are actually an abandoned dirt service road.

String Lake Hike

Nestled between Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake, what String Lake lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. This relatively flat 3.4 mile loop hike is wheelchair accessible for approximately 0.3 miles and we maneuvered a sturdy stroller through the entire hike with an occasional lift by Mom and Dad. You’ll enjoy beautiful mountain views reflecting in a placid lake, footbridges, and streams. Begin your hike at the String Lake Trailhead parking lot by turning west at the North Jenny Lake Junction turnoff from Teton Park Road.

Taggart Lake Hike

This 4.0 mile loop hike. Park your car at the Taggart Lake Trailhead parking lot (off Teton Park Road) and follow the path to your right (north). You will soon be crossing the footbridge over Taggart Creek, the perfect spot for your first picture. I can not exactly call this hike easy as it is a gradual uphill climb to Taggart Lake. You may need to make a few pit stops to catch your breath but continue on. You will be rewarded with splendid views of the Grand Teton over the lake. Once you cross the footbridge at the outlet of the lake there is a little bit more of a climb but the rest is all downhill. Be sure to turn around to catch the view overlooking Taggart Lake.

Jenny Lake Hike

Some consider Jenny Lake to be the most picturesque lake in the park, and it is gorgeous. This 7.7 mile loop takes you all the way around the shoreline of Jenny Lake. Start your hike by parking in either the String Lake Trailhead parking lot or the parking lot at the South Jenny Lake Junction off of Teton Park Road. I recommend starting at the String Lake Trailhead in the morning. This way you will be arriving at the south end of Jenny Lake around lunch time where you can grab a bite to eat, enjoy the visitor center, and use the facilities before completing your hike. A worthy side trip while on this hike is the loop up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point Hike via Jenny Lake Boat Dock

If you are not up for the 7.7 mile loop around Jenny Lake, take the boat from the South Jenny Lake parking lot. The boat departs approximately every 15 minutes and is a beautiful ride across the lake. Once you disembark, it is only a 0.2 mile hike to Hidden Falls and another 0.4 miles on to Inspiration Point where you’ll enjoy sweeping vistas of Jenny Lake and the valley below. This is a gradual but simple climb on a well traveled trail. If you are afraid of heights, you may not be able to complete the last section of trail up to Inspiration Point as the trail is on the side of a rock wall although the drop-off is not as high as it seems. Looking out over the valley makes you feel like you are way up in the air. There is a very nice lookout point just before this last bit of trail so you can still enjoy the view from up here.

Cascade Canyon Hike via Jenny Lake Boat Dock

The Cascade Canyon hike continues on past Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. The is the perfect opportunity to get into the back country with mountains soaring above you on either side. After leaving Inspiration Point, the trail climbs steeply for about a mile but once you get past this it becomes a gradual climb through the meadows of the canyon. You will hear and see crystal clear Cascade Creek roaring through the canyon to Hidden Falls below. The trail is 9.8 miles round trip if you go all the way to the junction with the Lake Solitude and Paintbrush Canyon trails. If you are planning to take the boat back across Jenny Lake on your return be sure to check the last departure time before you leave. If you miss the boat you can follow the Jenny Lake Trail and additional 2.1 miles back to the parking lot. Due to the higher elevation of this climb and lingering snow, the best months to complete the hike are July and August. Check with a park ranger for trail conditions.


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This is by no means an all inclusive list of easy to moderate trails within Grand Teton National Park. There are many more and several of the above trails have off-shoot loops taking you to an additional lake or hidden mountain treasure. If you love to hike, buy yourself a book on the trails in the park. Most hiking books have graded the trails according to difficulty level so all can enjoy the splendor of Grand Teton National Park.

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How can we help you travel?

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Here is an example of a trip prepared by one of our travel planner/advisors. This is a very basic plan. A more detailed plan would have reservations to any and all events you would be attending during your stay, including dinners.  If you think we can be of help for any of your travel needs contact one of our travel planner/advisors to help you plan your next adventure. Exampleimg_4284-25

Where Sustainable Travel Is Headed in 2017

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Article Contributer New York Times


Sustainable tourism — bringing global awareness to travel and putting it into action — is a top priority for the United Nations this year. The organization has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.There were nearly 1.2 billion international travelers in 2015, up from 674 million in 2000, according to the United Nations. The latest figure represents nearly one out of seven people in the world and is expected to grow to 1.8 billion people by 2030.


This rapid increase of tourists is exactly why sustainable tourism needs attention now. The impact of tourism on the world can be negative or positive.


 Sustainable  tourism has three guiding principles for hotels, tour operators, airlines and cruises (as well as destinations and tourists): environmentally friendly practices like minimizing the use of plastic; protecting natural and cultural heritage (think rain forests and historic sites); and supporting local communities by employing local staff, buying local products and engaging in charity work.

Granted, these aren’t novel ideas, but they are ever-evolving. Here is a snapshot of where sustainable travel stands today and what’s in store for it in the coming year.

The Mainstreaming of Sustainability

Travel experts say that sustainable travel is still a niche movement. “Some travel companies try to be sustainable, while others ignore the idea, and from the traveler side, demand and awareness is soft.

 Booking.com, which describes itself as the world’s largest travel hotel booking site with a database of around a million properties, conducted a global survey last March of 10,000 travelers and found only 42 percent of those questioned considered themselves to be sustainable travelers. Sixty-five percent said they hadn’t stayed or didn’t know if they had stayed in eco-friendly accommodations. 

In another survey the company conducted last year of about 5,700 hotels, only around 25 percent reported that they had sustainable travel initiatives in place.Nevertheless, the travel industry and travelers have made significant progress. 

Cruise Ships Get On Board


Cruise lines have lagged behind hotels and airlines when it comes to sustainable travel,  but lately that’s changed, with several cruise companies stepping up their efforts.

Royal Caribbean, for example, has a new partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to help with ocean conservation. For starters, the company will reduce the carbon emissions from its ships by using scrubbers, machines that eliminate nearly all of the environmentally harmful sulfur dioxide from a ship’s exhaust system.

Also, by the end of 2020, its fleet of 44 ships will use seafood only from fisheries and farms certified as sustainable and won’t serve overfished species like swordfish. And most of the ships being built for the line will be powered entirely by natural gas and generate electricity through fuel cells, which produce minimal air pollution.

Smaller cruise companies, too, are getting into sustainability. Peregrine Adventures is introducing 10 carbon-offset itineraries in 2017, and the riverboat brand Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is now working with the social enterprise ME to WE to offer guests the opportunity to volunteer, including one in Rajasthan, India, where they help build a new classroom at a village school.

Airline Incentive: Cost


Airlines are in the midst of a big push to reduce their use of fossil fuels. These fuels are harmful to the environment and expensive, and the more airlines use, the more it costs them. Fuel accounted for one-third of operating costs in 2015.

Last October, 191 countries reached a landmark agreement at the International Civil Aviation Organization meeting in Montreal to help aviation achieve carbon neutral growth starting in 2021.

Qantas, Lufthansa, American Airlines and JetBlue are among the carriers making sizable investments in aircraft that burn less fuel and are therefore most cost-efficient. Lufthansa has ordered 116 new Airbus planes that are 15 percent more fuel efficient than comparable models. Five of the planes are already in the sky.

JetBlue made news last year with its purchase of 330,000 million gallons of biofuel — fuel that is made from organic matter including agricultural products and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It will start using it in 2019. 

Eco-Friendly Tours Are Increasing

There are a growing number of tour operators today that are committed to running socially and environmentally responsible trips.

Intrepid Travel, for example, now offers more than 1,000 group tours a year that are fully carbon neutral, up from around 900 last year. The company uses local transportation and locally owned accommodations and donates money to carbon offset programs. In 2017, Intrepid will offer 65 new carbon offset tours, including a 15-day trip of Myanmar’s cultural highlights.

Luxury tour operators like Remote Lands, Butterfield & Robinson and Abercrombie & Kent are also incorporating sustainability on select trips. Abercrombie & Kent has a new 11-day Iceland itinerary this year, which includes accommodations in an eco-friendly hotel, a tour of Hellisheidi Power Plant, one of the largest geothermal power plants in the world, and a visit to a sustainable geothermal greenhouse.



More Hotels Green Up

Efforts by hotels to go green have been fairly modest: reusing towels and sheets and installing low-flow shower heads, for example. But a growing number of properties are making sustainability their main attraction. “When it came to hotels, sustainability was once associated with eco-resorts or African safari camps, where they’ve been working to protect local wildlife for years. But today, it’s become the defining element of both trendy urban properties and stylish beach resorts.

More than a dozen such hotels are scheduled to open this year, including the February debut of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., the third location for Barry Sternlicht’s sustainably focused brand. The 194-room hotel will incorporate native greenery and reclaimed materials in its décor, including walnut from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and offer electric car service from Tesla.

Also new is the Reef by CuisinArt, a beachfront property in Anguilla powered by a solar generation system that saves 1.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year and creates potable solar water for guests and the island’s residents.

And in Africa, there’s a sustainable camp, Bisate Lodge, opening in June that’s newsworthy because of its location in Rwanda next to Volcanoes National Park, known for mountain gorillas. The lodge’s parent company, Wilderness Safaris, is reforesting more than 66 acres of habitat of the critically endangered gorillas, hiring mostly local employees and selling only locally produced items in its gift shop.

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Your Vacation Gurus

Stylebook the packing App

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Article by Jess Atkins

Leaving for a unexpected trip at the last minute means rushing to pack, but it doesn’t have to be stressful if you use Stylebook’s packing feature!  Don’t have much free time to plan what to pack. If  your wardrobe was cataloged in Stylebook, you could use the pack-by-outfit method to quickly put together a packing list.


Stylebook.  Can help you become a packing superstar – in fact, It can show you how to fit twelve outfits inside a carry on! Even with advance notice, overpacking can be your number one problem – seriously. If  you are a “what if” packer: what if it rains, what if it’s hotter than I expected (or colder), what if we go to a fancy dinner?  You will just toss a million random items in your largest suitcase and pray it was under 50 lbs. The worst part is you usually wound end up wearing only a small fraction of the clothes You packed. With current airline baggage fees, this isn’t the best approach. You definitely would rather use the $25 fee on a dinner out at your destination – and skip the wait at the baggage carousel. Thanks to Stylebook’s method of packing by outfit, you  can make sure everything inside your bag will be worn .


You can still be a “what if” packer to some extent, but now each item that you pack has a purpose. With Stylebook it’s so easy. Start by creating a new packing list and then begin browsing your saved outfits. Select an outfit for each day. Then, if you still have room, allow yourself one or two “what if” looks. 

Always make sure to pack an outfit for dinner at a fancy restaurant, casual looks, and something suitable for an outdoor excursion. Once you selected the outfits  the app automatically generates a checklist of the individual clothes you need to bring. That’s it! It takes just a few minutes to select what you want to pack. Here are some things you might consider while looking for outfits:

Is the outfit in season for the destination? Is it weather-appropriate?

Have I worn this outfit on previous vacations? Did it work out?

Can I use any of the items in this outfit in other looks as well?

Are any of the clothes included easily wrinkled or uncomfortable to wear?

Number three is the most important. If you choose multiple outfits that use the same item, you can save space in your bag and have more options. It’s easy to find outfits like this inside Stylebook by viewing the “Used In Looks” screen on the notes page of a clothing item. This will show a list of every outfit that you ever saved that uses that clothing item.


Allow yourself one “what if” outfit, which is an look for a rainy day. Check the weather report before you leave and see if there is any chance of rain.

Other advantage of packing with this method is you can reference your outfits while on the trip. Stylebook’s packing list doesn’t require an internet connection, so you can use it even if you don’t have any cell service. This makes getting dressed fast and easy and ensures you won’t forget why you packed something. 

Finally, here is how you can actually fit all 12 of your outfits inside your carry-on, along with your shoes, accessories, and toiletries. Below are some suitcase packing tips and tricks!


Use a large packing cube to pack your clothing items into one flat container – Basically, you fold your items to the size of the cube and velcro or zip it shut. This prevents clothes from flying out if you need to take anything out of your bag in transit and it compresses everything so you can fit more items.

Use a small packing cube for undergarments and swimwear – You can layer three pairs at a time, roll them up and place them in your narrow packing cube.

Use negative space – Stuff the crown of your hat with extra clothing items that didn’t fit in your packing cube to help the hat keep its shape and to use the space more efficiently. You can also fill the  space  around your hat with bags of toiletries. If you don’t bring a hat, you can also fit your toiletries into your shoes or next to your packing cube.

Consider flat shoes – Flat shoes can fit right under the packing cube and basically don’t take up any space. Plus, you know you’ll be comfortable wearing them.

Minimize your liquids – To minimize and prevent prevent any unwanted spills, try to substitute solid sticks or wipes for liquid toiletry items (deodorant, makeup remover, face wash, etc)

Use your Stylebook checklist – As you pack your bag, check off each item inside Stylebook  so you don’t forget anything!

Using your virtual closet and packing by outfit makes it easy to pack confidently and quickly. You’ll know that everything you’re packing is there for a reason, and can be used as part of a well-planned outfit. And once you’ve made your choices, the checklist feature will help you quickly pull together the different clothing items you’ll need on your trip. Try Stylebook the next time you travel!

Utah & Arizona’s National Parks Road Trip Itinerary

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Starting in Salt Lake City and ending in Las Vegas.


Highlights: Arches National Park, Monument Valley Navajo Park, Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon National Park

Utah and Arizona hit the jackpot when it comes to National Parks and natural wonders. We have outlined an extensive road trip itinerary for exploring Utah. There are so many natural wonders to see in this part of the USA. If you love alien landscape, rich red rock and hiking then this is the road trip for you.


Itinerary:

This itinerary can be done in one week or expanded up to two weeks if you want to spend more time exploring each park or in Las Vegas at the end of the trip. You can start this itinerary in Salt Lake City and end in Las Vegas or do a round trip from Las Vegas.

Start in Salt Lake City, UT – Utah Natural History Museum and Antelope Island State Park

Moab – Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park

Page, AZ – Via Monument Valley Najavo Park, Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon tour

Grand Canyon – Grand Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon, UT – Bryce Canyon National Park at sunset and sunrise

Zion – Zion National Park