Tips for Booking Group Vacations

There’s nothing quite like traveling with the people you love. Getting to see beautiful new sights, try exotic and delicious new foods and drinks, experience local customs and excitement – all of it is better when you have a friend with you. Better yet, keep the fun rolling when you travel with a bunch of friends, otherwise known as group traveling.

Sharing journeys and making memories with friends is one of the greater gifts in life. However, take it from any group travel agent, things can quickly and easily go awry when you try to plan a vacation with a number of people. Everyone has different taste, preferences, budgets, wants and needs. Trying to balance all of that while in a new place can be stressful at a minimum and a nightmare in its worst iterations.

Rather than having a massive fight and blowout during the trip, or even before it stats, plan ahead to ensure smooth sailing, or flying if you aren’t going on a cruise, and heed these words of wisdom from Denver travel agents that have seen it all and know how to mitigate any troubles.

Agree on a location

Obviously this is the first thing you should all do if you decide to travel as a unit. Oftentimes, people default to majority rules, but that will often leave one to a few people left out and bummed out about the choice. Always be open to suggestion and compromise. Consider one location for this trip, and a different one to give the others a chance to take the lead. Even if you all agree on location, the net big concern is money.

Set a budget

Some people like to live lavishly when they travel and stay in five star hotels, throwing their credit cards around for the finer things in life to feel pampered. Others might want to take a more modest and conservative approach and spend their funds on other endeavors. Set the budgets ahead of time so no one feels uncomfortable later. Make sure everyone is willing to pitch in on essentials, such as accommodations and groceries for group meals; feel free to discuss optional activities that people can opt out of if it isn’t for them.

Let the planner take the reigns

Every group has that one friend that loves to plan every minute of every day. Let them be in charge of booking and making decisions to make things easier, assuming everyone else is on board with that hierarchy. There’s nothing worse than 5 friends arguing about where to eat for dinner at 8pm when you’re all already famished from a full day of activities.

Book flights and hotels early

Waiting till the last minute means you’ll be greeted with sky high airline fares and top dollar per-night charges for hotel rooms. By booking in advance, you can lock in low rates, meaning more money for the important actives and meals.

Collect shares before confirming bookings

There’s nothing worse than spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on a big excursion to have people back out last minute, driving up the cost for everyone else. Before you hit confirm on some plane tickets, or a hotel website, make sure you receive everyone’s payments. This way, if people find out that they need to back out, you have time to come up with a backup plan. Additionally, agree as a group that deposits are non-refundable to avoid any headaches later.

Enjoy your vacation

Don’t hesitate to break off from the group for a little solo adventure; don’t forget, this is your vacation as much as it is the group’s! Explore on your own if you have the energy, but everyone else is feeling a bit worn out from travel, or from an earlier activity. Don’t miss out on something you want just because the others don’t want to go.

We’ve got plenty more expert travel agent tips to help you make an unforgettable trip (and not an unforgettable nightmare). Contact us today for help with planning your group vacation and we’ll be happy to assist.

The European Travel Ban

Tensions are high and rising ever higher and Colorado travel agencies, particularly our Denver vacation planning and travel agency, are checking the news every day to see if there are any updates regarding international travel to Europe and what it means for Americans. The travel industry has already been in relative shambles due to the outbreak of COVID-19 as we’ve previously reported, but this travel ban could strike a particular blow to couples looking to enjoy a honeymoon vacation or a quick getaway to Europe. The travel ban against Americans was announced on June 29th and went into effect on July 1st.

For those with family who live in the European counties, this poses an extra layer of strain and confusion as many will no longer be able to visit relatives until the travel ban is lifted. On the flip side, those with citizenship, or passports based in other countries, may be able to come and go freely as they are returning home. For all others, they will be denied entry into any member nation of the EU.

Joining the US on the list of no entry are India, Russia, and Brazil. What is the basis for this blockage of travel? The EU argues that these countries have not done enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 and that travelers pose excessive and egregious risk to peoples of the EU nations; the leaders state that they fear a second wave will spread, especially if tourists from the aforementioned countries are allowed in.

The potential good news out of this situation is that the list will be updated every two weeks and if any so choose, countries can allow visitors from these barred nations in, but at their own risk. Were US coronavirus cases to go down over the coming weeks, it is likely that the EU leaders would readmit American travelers abroad. As of July 1st, over 2.6 million cases have been confirmed in the US and new hot spots are appearing across the map.

For those looking forward to a trip overseas to one of the many popular destinations, such as London, Paris, and Rome, this ban may come as a shock and/or inconvenience, if not outright annoyance. There are still other attractive vacation spots and tourism hot spots available to US travelers and we’d be happy to go over such a list. Beach vacations are still available and we can help you plan the perfect honeymoon, or weekend getaway, devoid of crowd interactions so that you can practice safe social distancing while still enjoying your time off. Airline prices are beginning to creep up, so now may be a good time to lock in a low rate to save yourself some extra money; call our Denver travel agency office today to learn more about our featured getaways.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and the EU takes aggressive measures against American travelers, we will be paying close attention as the situation unfolds and will have regular updates about a continuation of the restriction, or an alleviation of it.

Copyright Travel N Relax Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page as long as it is attributed to Travel N Relax Inc, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Best Vacations Post-Quarantine

We know you’re tired of reading news about COVID-19, sheltering in place, social distancing, and everything else that goes with it. While it’s obviously in the best interest of people across the US and the globe, many people are bitter about needing to cancel their vacations and trips to celebrate honeymoons, anniversaries, or just an excuse to get away for a bit. Travel restrictions won’t exist forever and even now, cities across the world are beginning their reopening strategies to work towards a return to normalcy. Some restaurants and shops are open and soon, things will be like they were before COVID-19 hit.

When the reopening is in full swing, you’ll likely want to capitalize on the vacation you had to defer – and we understand that. We want to help you plan the perfect getaway for every occasion. Once restrictions are lifted, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the virus will be completely gone and some people may want to continue to the social distance to avoid possibly contracting the virus. The good news is there are a few vacations and destinations to choose from to get away from the stresses of everyday life without being thrust into densely populated areas, shopping centers, and crowds.

Tropical getaway

Picture yourself on the beaches with no one else around, soaking up the sun as the waves lap at the shore mere feet away from you, or meters if you’re outside of the US. There are plenty of resorts that have private bungalows to stay in that keep you far away from other guests, or residents of the town/island so that you can escape and have isolated peace and quiet. If you’re a fan of beaches, snorkeling, grilled foods, tropical drinks, and fun in the hot sun, consider booking a tropical getaway. We’ll be happy to help you pick the right destination for your budget and timeframe.

Mountain resorts

Do you love to ski and snowboard, or do you just enjoy being in a frozen wonderland where you can bundle up and get cozy in front of a roaring fireplace? You should consider a mountain getaway. There are plenty of hiking, climbing, and outdoor adventure opportunities in the colder climates where populations are limited and other guests don’t often go. If you love the cold, snow, cozy inns and cottages, and slow cooked comfort food, you should choose a mountain and chilly getaway for your next vacation.

Countryside cottage

Do you just want peace and quiet in a little village where you can forget about the business of day to day life? Book a trip the the countryside; Europe has plenty of small little towns where you can cozy up and rest to get away from it all. Take in local sights, scenery, cuisine, and more without feeling crowded, or claustrophobic. No need to worry about social distancing when there aren’t enough people to make it a concern!

We hope these three destinations have inspired you to think about your next vacation and have helped you envision yourself there. We’re happy to help go over the benefits of each location, what you can expect when you get there, and how to keep yourself and others safe while on your trip as the world recovers from the pandemic. Contact our offices today to learn more about our vacation package offers and how we can make your next dream vacation a reality.

Copyright Travel N Relax Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page as long as it is attributed to Travel N Relax Inc, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

How to Stay Safe During Reopening

By now, you’re probably tired of quarantine, social distancing, and most stores and restaurants being closed day in, day out. By sheltering in place, we’ve collectively reduced the spread of COVID-19 and have helped to flatten the curve.

As expected, people are itching to get outside, especially as the warmer weather begins to roll in and the sun stays out longer. But, just because we want things to go back to the way they were before the pandemic struck, doesn’t mean the threat of spreading the coronavirus has up and disappeared.

Rushing into reopening cities, states, and the US at large, could and likely will result in a massive spike of cases and is ill advised by most medical experts. Many states are implementing their own plans for gradually reopening to minimize the second wave of outbreaks and give people a chance to begin resuming daily life as we knew it before lockdown. The last thing any of us need is an uncertain extension of quarantine where we all need to stay indoors as restaurants and small businesses shutter their doors.

As of May 27, Colorado restaurants were allowed to open and seat customers to 50% of the restaurants full capacity and keeping tables at least six feet apart. Additionally, you will need to wear a mask while inside the building to stop the spread of saliva droplets in which the coronavirus travels. While this may seem like a burden, it is for the best of those who are immunocompromised as the virus can ravage their respiratory systems and cause them to go to the hospital where they may need a respirator to help them breathe.

As we’ve noted before, some people have been against the lockdown and don’t believe in the severity of the virus. Restaurants, as private businesses, can impose the rules to wear masks in the restaurants; in order to stay safe and keep others safe in the event that you are an asymptomatic carrier, kindly wear a mask, or face covering, and abide by the current reopening guidelines.

If you want to go out and enjoy the small reopening, be sure to carry hand sanitizer, continue to wash your hands in warm water for 20 seconds, avoid others with six feet of distance, and avoid touching your face while you’re out.

However, if you fear that you might contract COVID-19, it’s best to continue staying home and using delivery services for food and groceries to minimize contact with others who may, or may not, be carrying the virus (and not know it).

If you’re feeling trapped, remember that you can go for walks and hikes to get some exercise and fresh air. Heading to a state park will give you a chance to take in the sights with minimal to no people around you so that you don’t need to worry about social distancing. There are plenty of activities and places to go to remove yourself from the same old surroundings, and soon that list will include stores and restaurants to visit and enjoy like we once did. For any questions or concerns about reopening, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to fill you in.

What Happens When the Travel Ban is Lifted?

Are you tired of Tik Toks, Instagram music covers, This or That questions in people’s stories, and searching for another sourdough recipe? We’ll safely assume, yes, you are. You’re probably dreaming of the day when we can return to normal and get on with the lives we had planned before COVID-19. If you’re following our coverage, you’re more than likely dreaming of a vacation.

Was your annual trip, weekend getaway, honeymoon, or anniversary ruined by the virus? You’re in a welcomed company as the travel industry ground to a halt seemingly overnight. Some politicians are calling to re-open the country immediately. Some medical experts say that’s an unwise decision until we understand the virus and how to treat, cure, and/or prevent it better.

Regardless of your political ideology, you most likely aren’t traveling much right now. But it won’t be this way forever. We all have the future to look forward to when we can take those trips we had planned, or maybe have planned in the coming months. But, what is the travel industry going to look like right when the shelter-in-place orders are lifted?

For one, things are going to be hectic, and airfare is likely going to skyrocket. People are going to rush to their laptops, phones, and Denver travel agents to try and get something on the books, meaning demand is going to go way up, and supply is going to drop. You can either book now while fares are low, but run the risk of shelter-in-place being extended, or wait it out and try to beat the rush.

The destinations are where you should focus your caution, not because any places are more likely to have lingering cases of COVID-19, but that everywhere will have a concentration of people again, likely some who are carriers of the virus, and we may see a second spike and wave of infections. It may be wise to wait things out a bit once the lockdown orders are lifted, just to be safe.

Plenty of people are protesting shelter-in-place and ironically contracting the virus, but it’s a glimpse into what may come when we’re allowed to travel as we once were. Things are strange, and a little caution goes a long way. Contact us for more information about Denver travel agents, upcoming travel plans, and our recommendations for travel during these strange times.

This Weekend’s Shelter-in-Place Workaround

You’re cooped up. You want to go outside and just get out of your home for a bit, but the shelter-in-place order is still in effect. You’ve gone for drives, you’ve walked around the neighborhood, or the local park, you may have even taken up running. Anything to keep you from sitting on the couch binging Netflix and Doritos.

We’re all going a bit stir crazy. We’ve got cabin fever, it’s driving us insane. But we’ve got a suggestion to help you get out of the house, get some fresh air, and relax, all while practicing social distancing like a pro.

Go camping.

That’s it. That’s all it takes. You’re combining a long and peaceful drive, hiking, probably swimming, fishing (as long as you get the license), and whatever other outdoor activities you’d like to toss in the mix – all while staying (way more than) six feet away from everyone. It’s a relatively cheap hobby to take up and you get to see some incredible, beautiful, and breathtaking sights.

Sleeping bags are cheap and affordable from Amazon, Target, and Walmart; you can easily pick up some pots and pans suitable for outdoor cooking if you want to go beyond the basic hot dogs and marshmallows; get an affordable hatchet and chop some already dead trees for firewood (it’s typically illegal to cut down live trees).

Camping is a great way to explore nature and get some alternative forms of exercise. You’ll likely also get on a healthy sleep schedule, especially if you’re like the many who are experiencing strange mini bursts of insomnia. In reality, a break from social media, since that’s pretty much all we can look at, is a welcome idea. Picture yourself wandering around the woods, or taking a dip in a pond, or lake, and drying up by the fire, before you cozy up in your sleeping bag in your tent under the stars.

Then you wake up and have an open day of exploring and relaxation. Is starting another new show really that much better?

We hope you stay healthy and safe during the quarantine and can get the supplies to go for a quick weekend camping trip. Let us know if you’d like any additional tips for success!

Book Your Next Trip Ahead of Time

While we know you’re stressed, anxious, and exhausted with COVID-19 news, the sad reality is that we need to continue practicing social distancing and limited travel while we all work together to flatten the curve and spare immunocompromised people from risk of catching the virus. You may have had travel plans when all of this spiraled, and that’s unfortunate that your plans likely were postponed, if not outright cancelled.

Traveling is a wonderfully enriching and exciting activity to be experienced by all people for any number of reasons. Honeymoons, annual trips, anniversaries, or even just to get away for a few days to recharge your mental batteries. New sights, new smells, new foods, new adventures. And yet here we all are, stuck inside.

If there ever was a silver lining, a small glimmer of hope and optimism, to be seen through this nightmare, it’s that you can book your next vacation and save some money. Flights are cheaper, hotels and other abodes (Airbnb, hostels, etc.) are open, and you can capitalize on that to make up for lost time.

Picture it, once things start to resemble normal again, you can pack your bags, head to the airport, and fly off to your next great adventure. Canada, Mexico, Europe? You name it, it’ll be there waiting for you. And once the coronavirus is under control, you won’t need to worry so much about mandatory quarantines when you return. You’ll simply be able to go and be a tourist (if that’s your thing).

Maybe that can be a fun activity to pass the time and plan ahead: look and see the top three places you’d like to visit within the next year. Once you’ve decided, give us a call and we can help you plan the perfect trip to guarantee good times and fond memories. For the time being, please, stay safe and take it one day at a time, but know that this isn’t permanent and we’ll all be able to be the jet setters we’ve dreamed of being soon enough.

What to Expect from Travel in the Future

With COVID-19 turning the travel industry upside down, would-be travelers are unsure of what it will be like to book their next vacation — or re-book a trip that was cancelled due to the pandemic. Additionally, the big question of “when” weighs on everyone’s minds.

While everyone is sheltered-in-place, it’s easy to let the mind wander to far off destinations and check flight prices to see what could be. The low fares right now are obviously tempting and some people, usually skewing younger in demographics, are a bit more tempted than older demographics to take advantage of these deals.

There is no immunity to the virus; the best case scenario, if you do catch it, is that you’re asymptomatic and don’t feel sick. That being said, traveling does impose some risks and you may be more likely to touch a surface that is infected with the virus than if you stay in your home and practice social distancing. There’s plenty of room for error, no matter how cautious you are.

Eventually, the curve will flatten and we’ll see travel restrictions lifted; the west coast states have banded together to form a pact to open their territories once signs of the virus waning are apparent. TO that end, east coast states, including New York, are adopting similar strategies. When those restrictions are lifted, we’re likely going to see a steep increase in travel bookings as people will feel freed from the cages of their homes.

When that happens, expect prices to reflect the demand – they’re going to go up quickly. Those with additional extra income will snap up the plane seats and hotel rooms quickly, while those still recovering form the pandemic will pass for the time being until we reach stasis again. Though the travel industry is down now, it has always made incredible comebacks once medical emergencies, like COVID-19, have subsided.

An easy and cheaper way to travel, once the ban is lifted, will be to take your car and head out to your destination. Gas prices likely will go up to meet demand, but it will still be cheaper than airfare as more people try to book seats, including the middle ones.

As we’ve written, it may be in your best interest to book early while prices are still low, but if you’d rather play it safe and see what happens first, there’s no harm in that. Regardless, we’re here to help you book your next trip and are happy to lend a hand and continue to inform you of travel advisories, tips, and tricks.

Tips for Avoiding the Coronavirus

There is nearly a 0% chance that you haven’t heard about Coronavirus and the dangers surrounding it at this point. Many cities and states are in lockdown to try to contain the spread of this highly infectious disease, and your local grocery store is probably out of toilet paper (for some reason). It’s a scary time for some; for others, they don’t see the reason for the hype.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle, but closer to the worrisome end of the spectrum (but really, no one needs that much toilet paper). For many, they fear leaving their own homes as we are all told to practice social distancing, which we absolutely should. The Coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is spread through droplets in saliva, normally produced from coughing, sneezing, and even sometimes talking. By staying at least 6 feet away from people, you seriously minimize the chances of those droplets getting on you.

There are a number of other ways to protect yourself from contracting COVID-19, or spreading it. Some will say they feel fine and go out into the world, as if nothing was different and we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic; you should know that you can be asymptomatic (not show any symptoms of the virus, but have it and be a carrier) and spread it, but you can still go out. Realistically, it’s mostly okay to go out. If you need to travel, you absolutely can. We understand travel and we don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way of contracting this virus; it is safe to hop on an airplane right now. All companies are taking extra precautions to disinfect every surface and limit large gatherings to mitigate the spread of the virus.

In order to protect you, if you choose to travel, or not, we’ve compiled a simple list of tips to keep yourself safe.

  • Wash your hands after being in public, or touching common surfaces, such as doorknobs. Wash your hands in hot water, with soap, for at least 20 second.
  • If you have it, carry hand sanitizer and use it.
  • Disinfect common surfaces in your home.
  • Only wear a face mask if you are sick, or show symptoms. Do not wear them if you aren’t sick as you have effectively taken it away from someone who is. The face masks are meant to stop the spread of the virus for people who are already sick, they won’t protect you.
  • If you need to go to the grocery store, go during off-peak hours to limit the amount of people in the building.
  • If you are able to (especially for work), stay home. The less you go out into public, the less chance you have of contracting and/or spreading the virus.

If you need to travel, you should, but if you are immunocompromised, then you should definitely check with your doctor to make sure it’s okay. If you are under 60 and healthy, you face less risks of contracting, or severely suffering, from the virus as of current opinions from medical professionals and researchers.

If you have any additional questions about upcoming trips, for family vacations, or honeymoons, contact us immediately and we’ll be happy to help and review your itinerary. Stay safe.

US Virgin Islands Sunscreen Ban

By now, you’re likely tired of being cooped up in quarantine and the last thing you want to hear, or read, is anything related to COVID-19. Well, we’ve got good news (twice, actually), we’re bringing you an eco-friendly update that has nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic.

The US Virgin Islands just put a sunscreen ban into effect. Now, it’s not what you might be thinking. They banned the use of octinoxate, oxybenzone, and octocrylene, otherwise known by their catchy and sinister name, the Toxic 3 Os, in any sunscreen products. Why, you might ask? Well, these harmful chemicals, popular components of your average sunscreen are detrimental to the health of coral and people. The ban aims to restore the fragile coral ecosystem in the ocean of this popular tourism destination.

This simple measure will help restore the vitality of coral in the oceans that has otherwise been abused via chemicals for decades. Hawaii and Florida will also issue sunscreen bans early next year to join the fight to protect and restore the coral in their oceans as well. We’ll bring updates and additional travel notices regarding the sunscreen ban(s) as they become available to help you prepare for your vacations.