Romantic Croatia for Couples

EXPLORING CROATIA!

map of croatia

Here is Croatia as located in relation to other countries. Due to it’s proximity to Italy, it’s an easy 1-2 day stop-over in Venice for honeymooners. When you have time, read up on the fascinating history. In the mid 1990’s I personally witnessed part of this history taking place while working in Albania just to the south of Croatia. Croatia only recently joined the European Union in 2012, going from communist state to a free republic.

LAND AND SEA:

Croatia land and sea

Dalmatian Coast Photo credit: DestinationsMagazine

There are several ways to explore. Many cruise ships sail the Adriatic Sea either departing Venice or on the way to Venice. Cruises will stop in the ports of Dubrovnik and sometimes Spit. Reminder – don’t plan to visit Dubrovnik when the ships are in port as it can become very crowded. When you hear of the Dalmatian Coast, it is a narrow area along the sea from Rab, Croatia south to Kotor, Montenegro. It’s name comes from the Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae who inhabited it in 100 BC.

Yachting the beautiful islands can feel like your own private place. Here’s a sample itinerary: Dubrovnik – Korčula – Metković – Split – Krka Waterfalls / Šibenik – Zadar – Rab – Opatija. This can also be combined with a land portion. You can also sail on a themed cruise, like wine, yoga and more.

yachting in croatia

Katrina cruise yacht

Stunning, breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, traditional culture and laid-back style. This new, sumptuously designed and fully air-conditioned Deluxe superior vessel with spacious en-suite cabins is the perfect way to experience the beauty of this long stretch of Croatian coastline. On the move, relax on spacious decks or swim in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea during stops. When we dock, explore small waterfront towns and wander.

Seeing the many sites on land, just the two of you (not a big tour group) will create your own memories. We work with several suppliers that are based in Croatia so you have the best experience. They will arrange either a self drive car and/or a private driver. Ferries are included to get to the islands. Many of the daily options are done independently or can be included as part of a group, like kayaking.

Different types of itineraries can be customized to your interests. Biking, hiking, wine, food, active and still be romantic for a honeymoon. Croatia also welcomes the LGBTQ community.

MOVIE MAGIC:

Many movies have been filmed here, below are some of the more popular ones. How much fun could Game of Thrones fans have on an excursion to play-act scenes right in the very spot where filmed? There’s an Instagram moment!

movies filmed in croatia

  • Game of Thrones (2011–2019)
  • Robin Hood (2018)
  • Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
  • Knightfall (2017– )
  • Captain America (1990)
  • Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
  • Mama Mia II (2018)
    waterfalls in croatia

    National Park Plitvice Lakes by Pixaby

    The park is a series of 16 lakes connected by beautiful waterfalls. It is surrounded by untouched nature with many animals & rare birds.

    croatia sunsets

    Sunset in Zadar by Pixaby

    Head to Zadar (a small town with Roman ruins) for one of the most awesome sunsets in the world. What could be more romantic than that? There is more than that, the history combines many eras, the city belonged to the Republic of Venice until 1943. Ugljan, an island with nice beaches is just a short boatride off the coast.

    Zadar is know for having the most beautiful sunset in the world. What could be more awe-inspiring than enjoying that! There’s also many beaches and lively markets.

    sunsets

    ZADAR – solar-powered work of art that explodes with an array of brightly colored lights – The Greeting to the Sun. The glass surface changes hues as you & your partner dance across it.

The Greeting to the Sun consists of three hundred multi-layer glass plates in the shape of a circle 22 meters in diameter. It is conceived as a spatial installation in the form of an amphitheater surrounded by stone blocks with a presentation of all Solar System planets and their orbits.croatia facts

Take a boatride to Island Brac (pronounced “Bratch”), one of the largest islands known for its famous beaches. However, check out the rare olive trees from which olive oil is made dating back to the 1600 ac. Also check the white stone buildings from Roman times, now used worldwide. Popular beaches are Bol and Zlanti Rat.

Private and romantic spots are all over Croatia. Besides the Platvice Falls and Zadar, it’s easy to find some private beaches of Hvar (H-var) town on the island. Couples can hop a boat to one of the Pakleni Islands.

Pakleni Islands

Pakleni Islands and Hvar by Pixaby

 

marina in croatia

Strossmayerova

Strossmayerova in Zagreb by Pixaby

If in Zagreb, take a stroll hand-in-hand along this tree-line promenade or find the fairy-tale street of Tkalčićeva, which snakes up from focal Jelačić Trg, was once the flowing stream of Medveščak. The first Croatian wine shop (Vinoteka) was born 30 years ago which gave birth to a renewed Croatian wine scene with many wineries in the country.

food in croatia

The coastal cuisine is Mediterranean infused with Balkan influences. Lots of fresh seafood drizzled with olive oil and rosemary. Hearty stews with gnocchi are common as is eggplant made with roasted red capsicum.

TIDBITS OF INFO:

  • No Visa for US citizens staying under 90 days.
  • Currency is the kuna. They are not yet on the euro.
  • Croatian is official language, English is widely spoken.
  • The climate on the coast is Mediterranean with mild winters and hot, dry summers. Inland may have colder winters.
  • History, culture galore, mixed with great food, wine, and adventure.
  • Beautiful and inexpensive!

There are so many places to explore with private beaches and yachts covering the many islands. This will be your truly memorable honeymoon.

Written by: Katie Cianciolo, Dreamcatcher Destinations

Greek isles are amazing!

Just back from amazing trip through the Greek Isles on Celebrity Cruise. Let me share our favorite Greek Isles with images, because its hard to explain the beauty, you have to see it to believe it.

Each Greek isle has its own character, they are all so different and unique in their own way. Whether tropical or historic, their beauty flows through each personality.

mykonos

Island of Mykonos is my personal favorite, its so pretty with its turquoise blue waters, soft sand beaches and white villages.

santorini

Santorini is for breathtaking and if your a Wine lover, this should be on your top of your list, they are known for their amazing vino!

rhodes

Rhodes is a good example of historic and beauty all wrapped into one!

Athens is very historic, beautiful city as well.

Athens is very historic, beautiful city as well.

 

 

 

Virtual Honeymoon & Couples Resorts launch Virtual Destination Wedding

Virtual Honeymoon has been preparing for the launch of Virtual Destination Wedding for a while now, in preparation of proving that in order to go to the next level of marketing with wedding venues and resorts, you have to be up on the latest technology, which is VR (virtual reality) It’s the next best thing to being there!!!!!

Virtual reality wedding

Virtual Honeymoon just launched a pilot program,   Virtual Destination Wedding, where they are working with two selected resorts that specialize in destination weddings, in two different destinations. They have had dozens of resorts/brands around the Caribbean and Mexico apply, but the first in their launch was in Jamaica at the Couples Resorts, a favorite of Virtual Honeymoon owner, Robin Hawkey!Couples Resorts

 

Robin Hawkey owner of Virtual Honeymoon hand selected their top Virtual Honeymoon affiliates to travel to Jamaica, site inspect all 4 of the Couples Resorts and help with the launch of Virtual Destination Weddings.Virtual Honeymoon also brought their team of partners who are experts in VR(virtual reality) Photography and Videography to capture the Couples Resorts beauty in their rooms, all their amazing amenities and outstanding and unique wedding venues.virtual honeymoon affiliates
Meet our Romance Travel Exerts above from left to right, Michele Botnick of Lucky n Love Travel, Brooke Stark of Couples Resorts, Kathleen Scallion of Somerset Tours & Travel, Connie Van Hoff of Tranquillity Vacations, Dianne Meyers of Beyond Events & Travel, Mindi Phillips of Beloved Getaways, Cindy Berre of Cindy Berre Travel, Beth Anderson of Journey’s Imagined, Robin Hawkey of Virtual Honeymoon and in front is our brilliant VR photographer, Igor Bjekic of VR Tech Lounge.

Virtual reality videography

Meet our brilliant VR Videographer, Edward of Elite Media Concepts

 With a average over two million weddings per year in the U.S. alone, with couples spending over $72 billion on weddings and $8 billion on honeymoons, Virtual Honeymoon can help Resorts and Venues capitalize on a big percentage of those weddings by literally dropping a couple into the wedding to experience it without being there, thus doubling wedding bookings!

virtual reality

“This interactive tool saves time, gets your clients excited and ready to book!”

Virtual Destination Wedding

Virtual Destination Wedding is an interactive destination matching tool, Destination Wedding planners use on those time-consuming clients that are “all over the map” find their top two destination matches and virtually experience it before booking, thus closing the sale!

Virtual Destination Wedding software is very intuitive, using scoring + algorithm to search & match destinations…with combining 360* VR technology, we are revolutionizing the way smart agents sell travel!!!

 

 

Why Visit Riviera Maya, Mexico?

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Let me start of by saying, I simply love Mexico! Mexico is a vibrant, beautiful country filled with friendly people, rich in culture and has a dynamic energy that makes you have a real zest for life. Riviera Maya is a beautiful destination south of Cancun. It has some of Mexico’s best beaches and plenty of options for eco-tourism and reserves and adventure parks.  When visiting Riviera Maya, you can view phenomenal architecture, and taste delicious food. I mean who doesn’t love Mexican food right? And of course, there’s Tequila and Mezcal! You really can’t go wrong with either of these.  Did you know that Riviera Maya is one of the best destinations for diving and snorkeling?  The Caribbean waters make it great to see and enjoy the tropical fish, coral reefs and you can even swim with the whale sharks.

eldorado maroma

If you are looking for a great vacation destination, Riviera Maya should be at the top of the list. There are some fantastic resort options you can enjoy during your stay. If you are considering an all-inclusive vacation option where you never have to leave the resort, Riviera Maya has many options that can appeal to almost everyone! For those interested in a family vacation there are some great family resort options for families, adult only, groups or romantic getaway you can choose from so many resorts. There are also options for those who are very interested in eco-tourism as well as resorts and eco parks that support the Go Green initiatives to support wildlife and nature conversation. Riviera Maya really does have everything to fit your vacation needs.

Generations resort

A helpful tidbit is to try to learn a few helpful phrases in Spanish. Many people speak some English in the resort, but learning a few words such as Gracias, which means Thank You, Hola, which means Hello and Da Nada which means Your Welcome, can help break the ice during your time in Mexico.  Whether visitors want to visit the Mayan ruins, experience the true beauties of nature, water parks or the bustling nightclubs of Riviera Maya has so many great options for visitors to experience that can help you enjoy your Mexican getaway.

Palifitos
By Michelle Scott from Indulgence Travel

 

 

Special needs travel

Special needs is a growing problem when traveling. Having a family member with special needs can be incredibly difficult. Not only can your daily routine be affected, but it can also affect relationships, education, employment, and life skills. Many times, the caregiver or family member, can feel overwhelmed. I have spoken to many family members who feel like they can’t take a vacation with their entire family. I’m here to tell you that it’s possible!
Traveling with a family member who has special needs will require a different planning process than the typical family. Will the family member be able to handle an airplane, train, or boat ride? How long of an airplane ride will they be comfortable with? Where is the destination? Is it inside domestic or international and will a passport be required?  If a family member with special needs requires additional attention or considerations, will I be able to have a break? How can I prepare my family member for this trip?
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has been trained for special needs through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), meaning they are certified as being autism-friendly. Their kid’s program staff has been trained in autism-awareness, they have additional features for these family’s that include priority boarding and disembarkation, special movie screenings that are sensory-friendly, a toy exchange program, and an accommodating staff onboard. They have cruises that leave from Galveston, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, and many other locations.
Beaches Resorts is one of my favorite destinations for families with special needs. They are the set of family friendly resort related to the Sandals Resorts that are adult-only.  They have also been certified through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), but their entire staff of the facility has gone through this training. They are an all-inclusive resort, so the room, food, tips, entertainment, kid’s program, and airport transportation are all included in the cost. Their resorts are located in Jamaica – in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril. What I like the best about the Beaches Resorts is the fact that they also offer one-to-one buddy services. It’s not only for children, but it’s also for adults! All of these “buddies” have been trained in working with people who have special needs. So, if your family member who has special needs is an adult, you have the chance for respite and time to yourself during this vacation as well. The cost starts at $7 an hour and it’s offered 24 hours a day. If you have more than one family member with special needs or want to travel in a group, they have plenty of buddies available. They are also wheelchair accessible, including the beach.
If you have a family member with limited mobility, there are companies that offer equipment rental. This can range from wheelchair or scooter rentals, to a hospital bed or lift system, to oxygen equipment and dialysis equipment. These rentals are available on almost any cruise, many domestic destinations, and some international destinations. You don’t have to let a limitation stop you from traveling!

special needs

For more information about accessible travel or traveling with special needs, contact:
Erica Ryan
SuiteTravels707, an affiliate of CruiseOne.
707-314-0110
e.ryan@cruiseone.com
www.SuiteTravels707.com
www.facebook.com/SuiteTravels707

Romance in Los Cabos

Whether you’re going for your honeymoon, anniversary, or to pop the question, if you love the beach and sun, Los Cabos is a great place for lovers.
Los Cabos
There are numerous “adult only” resorts in Los Cabos that offer romantic dinners on the beach, tequila tasting, dancing under the stars, seaside swimming pools, beautiful beaches and stunning views of either the sunrise or sunset.

While at your resort, don’t pass on a spa day!  Get pampered together with a couple’s massage followed by time in your private jacuzzi tub filled by your butler. Have room service deliver an incredible dinner for two with champagne.  Or…dress and meet on the beach for a private, romantic candlelit dinner prepared just for the two of you.

Cabo

For the more adventurous….

Whale watching is an amazing experience. Humpback whales come each year for feeding and to give birth (December-April). Take a ride out into the ocean on a catamaran and view these amazing creatures in their natural habitat up close and personal.

Los Cabos

 

Explore the county by horseback or even better yet, camel back.  You’ll have the opportunity to see gorgeous, untouched beaches, 20-foot cacti and desert flowers in the back drop.  Along the way, be sure to look towards the ocean for the humpbacks that swim close to shore for your delight.  Riding gives you the freedom and delight to see things you’d never view from a car or bus window.

Los Cabos

 

Hit the town, either Cabo San Lucas or San Jose Del Cabo, for an afternoon of window shopping or looking for those special souvenirs.  Stroll hand and hand and view the products of local artists.  There are many little restaurants and bistros along the way to stop for a taco and a bottle of local beer, or get adventurous and try a mango margarita, the spicy salt on the rim is what makes it extra tasty.

Cabo San Lucas

The best time of year for warm weather to visit Los Cabos is May to mid-July (after the spring breakers) and mid-October-December.  August and September can be rainy.  January-early March expect cooler weather, especially in the evenings.
These are just a few of the many things you can see and do in Los Cabos, we love sharing this beautiful destination with you as one of many options for a romantic getaway.

Care Travel

For more information on planning your romantic getaway or honeymoon contact: Laura at romanticescapesbylaura.com

Maldives: Escape to Paradise

The Maldives is a small tropical Asian country that is comprised of 26 natural atolls in the Indian Ocean and is located just south of India and Sri Lanka.
These atolls are made up of more than a thousand coral islands.

Are you looking for that escape to paradise for your honeymoon or “just because” romantic getaway? The Maldives has beaches that have been untouched and would be a getaway beach destination unlike any other.
Can you imagine these soft, white-sand beaches and the beautiful crystal-clear blue waters, and being on an island alone with your partner?

The Maldives provides a romantic honeymoon destination for couples on their honeymoon, or on a “just because” romantic getaway to celebrate one another.

Enjoying time together, without the hustle and bustle of distracting tourists, taking in and enjoying the real natural beauty. There are many things to do and explore in the Maldives; from exciting water sports activities to couple’s massages at an exotic spa, to the fascinating explorations of underwater life.

Aside from just laying back and enjoying this paradise full of peace and tranquility, there are many things you can do in the Maldives.

maldivesmaldives

* The Maldives has an abundance of beautiful coral reefs and marine life. Take time to enjoy a diving or snorkeling adventure and snorkel alongside whale sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays, all while taking in the beauty of the reefs and other marine life.

maldives

*Go on a dolphin-watching excursion. The dolphins in the Maldives can be active and playful; a fun show to watch

maldives

* The Maldives is excellent for stand-up paddle boarding. The waters are shallow and calm, perfect for paddle boarding!

 

 

Balinese massage

*Treat yourself to a Balinese massage at your resort’s spa. Enjoy the peace and tranquility in paradise!

maldives restaurant

*Experience an Underwater Spa or Restaurant.

 

maldives

* The Maldives has more to offer than the sand, sun, and sea. You can also visit their capital city, Male’. Here, you can visit the Sultan’s Palace, the fish market, experience their culture & heritage, and authentic restaurants. You can also go island hopping and experience how Maldivians live.

romance in maldives

*Most of all, enjoy the privacy, isolation, and relaxation of your escape to paradise with your partner!

 

Let’s not forget about choosing that perfect resort for your stay in the Maldives. There are many top luxurious resorts to choose from.

Here are a few you may enjoy:
The Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives is situated on the exotic island of Emboodhu Finolhu. This resort offers beautiful ocean-view villas, and overwater suites. Take a 15-minute speedboat ride from the airport to this idyllic resort surrounded by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa is a beautiful escape for a romantic getaway or honeymoon.

maldives resort

If you love diving, Fushifaru Maldives is an ideal resort for your trip, located in Lhaviyani Atoll.
Fushifaru is a relatively new resort which opened in 2017. This resort also offers beautiful
beach-view and water villas. Expect to enjoy excellent facilities and excellent customer service.

maldives
Are looking for that most intimate and secluded island? The Outrigger Konotta Maldives
Resort, located within the crystal waters of the Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, offers you the ultimate in
privacy. This resort offers you the perfect place to unwind and enjoy your partner. Indulge in an
intimate and luxurious holiday in an overwater villa or beach villa, while also enjoying top-notch
spa services and beautiful, high-quality infinity pools.

maldives resorts

The Maldives offers you an ultimate escape with your loved one. Plan your romantic getaway or
honeymoon to the ultimate paradise destination, the Maldives.

For more information on planning your honeymoon or romantic getaway in the Maldives,
Contact: Cami Collison at Shore Travel.

Unsure of your destination for your getaway, click on the link below to take our fun quiz and
find your perfect destination based on your travel preferences.

fiji

Antigua

Antigua- Looking for the perfect beach?  Then I’m sure you can find it on one of Antigua’s 365 white sand beaches.  A beach for every day of the year! This is a water-lovers paradise where you can go kayaking, yachting, swimming with the stingrays, and snorkel the amazing reefs in crystal clear blue waters.  If you are looking for calmer waters, then the west side or Caribbean side is where you want to stay. The ocean side is perfect for the surfers.

With amazing picturesque beach views, Antigua offers breathtaking accommodations. Romance is almost inevitable in this tropical paradise . With romantic backdrops, each resort offers an abundance of amenities.

Jumby Island Resort offers the ultimate in privacy where you will ferry over to their private island.  Bikes are personalized and available to get around on the island. They even have their own small farm with chickens for fresh eggs in the morning.  Can you imagine a place where there’s no need for a key and everyone knows your name? That’s how private it is.

Antigua island

Photo credit: Life Enhancing Travel

If you time your stay right, you can also catch the Hawksbill Sea Turtles hatching.  Their nesting season runs from approximately June through October. In some areas you will notice red street lights along the road by the beach at night.  This is so the bright lights won’t attract the turtles to the road, believing it’s the bright light of the sea.

island of Antigua

Photo Credit: Life Enhancing Travel

One of the resorts that offer an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the sea turtles is Hermitage Bay, a stunning, tropical hideaway.  Imagine your destination wedding with this beautiful intimate setting.

Then, enjoy your honeymoon from one of the 25 intimate cottages nestled into the hillside at Hermitage Bay.

Antigua

Photo Credit: Life Enhancing Travel

If you are looking for a little history you will find Nelson’s Dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site here.  It is the only remaining example of a Georgian fort commissioned by the British in 1755. Overlooking the dockyard is Shirley Heights, where you will find the best views and sunsets.  On sunday nights, be prepared to party. There is food and drinks with local entertainers and bands as you watch the beautiful awe-inspiring sunset.

Antigua island

Photo Credit: Life Enhancing Travel

Marriage Requirements

There is no waiting period or residency requirements to get a marriage license.  You can’t get any easier than that!

Climate- Antigua and Barbuda are sunny and warm year round with cool trade winds. The average temperature ranges from the mid-seventies Fahrenheit in the winter to mid-eighties Fahrenheit in the summer.

Language- English

Population- Almost 90,000 residents on Antigua

Entry Requirements- Visitors from the U.S. need a valid passport (valid for six months after travel dates) and a roundtrip or onward ticket. Some non-U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents traveling from the U.S. require a visa, which can be applied for on arrival at the airport.

Currency- The unit of currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD$). The exchange rate is approximately US$1 equals EC$2.70. However, U.S. dollars are widely accepted on the island, as are traveler’s checks and major credit cards. ATMs are available.

Tipping- 10-15 percent depending on the service. Some restaurants and hotels will automatically add a 10 percent gratuity, so be sure to check the bill.

Time- Antigua is on Atlantic Standard Time year-round. During the fall and winter, noon in New York is 1 p.m. on the island. During daylight saving time in the U.S., the hour is the same on the Eastern Seaboard as it is on the island.

Antigua offers incredible views, understated luxury and pampering.  You can’t beat a better place to plan your next romantic vacation and I know you are going to love it!

See you on the next adventure!

-Tammey

 

P.S.  If Antigua looks like your dream destination and you want to make this trip a reality, contact Tammey Perkins, tammey@LifeEnhancingTravel.com , with Life Enhancing Travel

 

P.P.S.  You can follow my journeys on Instagram @enhancingtravel




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Romantic Cruise Weddingmoon

Have you ever thought of “tying the knot” or renewing your vows at sea?  Sailing away into the sunset on your romantic honeymoon?  Well the cruise lines offer that and so much more.  Cruise lines now are the floating resorts of the seas stopping at different port around the world for you to venture out and explore shop, eat or just stay on the ship and relax and enjoy.
Many of the cruise lines offer a variety of wedding packages to assist you with a wedding ceremony on the ship in one of the many beautiful venues or shore side at one of the destination ports along the ships itinerary.
Family and friends can join you for just the ceremony or the full cruise.
See how beautiful and wonderful your wedding day can be.

cruise weddings

There are several cruise lines that offer different wedding packages to fit your dreams.
These are a few of the cruise lines that offer wedding packages:

Princess
Carnival
Norwegian
Royal Caribbean
Disney Cruise Line
Celebrity
Cunard
Holland America
MSC Cruise Line

cruise ships
After the wedding you can go start your honeymoon in one of the beautiful staterooms on the ship.

Stateroom bed

Or enjoy a dip in the pool, feast in the dining rooms, enjoy a show, go to the spa and get couples massage, shopping, hang out in the bar/lounge, participate in the many activities on the ship, or just honeymoon in your stateroom.

cruise dining

One of the many dining venues on the ship

 

 

cruise pool

There is always time to take a dip into the pool.

spa cruise

It is time to enjoy a couple’s massage.

sunsets at sea

 Just think you could have your Wedding/Honeymoon anywhere around the world with family and friends or just you two sailing into the sunset.

Written by Sandra Scott of JFM Travel
For more information on creating your Destination Wedding/Honeymoon or any Specialmoon,
contact Sandra Scott at Sandra@jfmtravel.com
Don’t know where to go on your next getaway?

Find your Destination match here

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Lanai

Lanai – The smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, Lanai offers big enticements to its visitors. Only nine miles from Maui yet a world away, this island can feel like two places. The first is found in luxurious resorts where visitors can indulge in world-class amenities and championship-level golf. The other is found bouncing along the island of Lanai rugged back roads in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to explore off-the-beaten-path treasures. You’re sure to find serenity, adventure and privacy on Lanai.
Lanai

Perfect Weather: Tropical averaging 75-85* degrees

Main City: Lanai

Time Zone: Lanai Standard Time 5 hours behind US East Coast & 3 hours behind Pacific time – they do not observe daylight savings time.

Language: English/Hawaiian

Top Highlights:

*Hiking Lanai – Miles of breathtaking, uncrowded trails make this island paradise a hiker’s dream, from easy cliffside walks to intense hikes through other worldly rock gardens.

*Hulopoe Beach Park is a sweeping crescent-shaped beach located on the southern coast in Hulopoe Bay, fronting the Four Seasons Resort in Lanai. Most accessible on the island for great surfing.

*Polihua Beach –Take a 4-wheel drive adventure about an hour northwest of Lanai City to find two miles of pristine and  blissfully empty coast perfect for sunbathing or beachcombing.

*Snorkeling- Strap on your mask and explore Hulopoe Bay’s crystal-clear tidepools, or book a trip to the Cathedrals to scuba dive in amazing underwater lava tubes.

*Whale watching- Each year, scores of majestic kohola (humpback whales) travel to Hawaii to breed, calve and nurse their young in the winter and spring, before returning to Alaska for the summer.

Experience Lanai, contact Virtual Honeymoon to find a Lanai Specialist today!

Molokai Island

Molokai Island – Hawaii’s fifth largest island, Molokai is only 38 miles long and 10 miles across at its widest point and is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world and the longest continuous fringing reef. Molokai remains true to its island roots, with a high percentage of its population being of Native Hawaiian ancestry who continue to preserve their rural lifestyle thanks to their love of the land. forest to the black sand beaches, this island is a natural wonder of unrivaled expression in the powers of nature at work!
Molokai island

Perfect Weather: Tropical averaging 75-85* degrees

Main City: Lanai

Time Zone: Molokai Standard Time 5 hours behind US East Coast & 3 hours behind Pacific time – they do not observe daylight savings time.

Language: English/Hawaiian

Highlights

*Kalaupapa National Historical Park–  Take a quite ride on a Historic site accessible by scenic mule ride on the northern tip of Molokai
*Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove- Historic coconut grove in Kaunakakai across from Church Row across from Church Row, visit Coconut Grove, an ancient Hawaiian coconut grove planted in the 1860s
*Halawa Valley- Historic Hawaiian valley with towering waterfalls on Molokai’s East End, Hike into the East End’s classic cathedral valley to see the Hawaii of long ago.
*Papohaku Beach Park- At three miles long and 100 yards wide, this is one of the largest white-sand beaches in all of Hawaii.
*Kaunakakai– Take a sport-fishing charter, for some once in a life time fishing experience.
*Kalohi – During winter months, whale watch in the Kalohi Channel.

 

Experience Molokai island, contact Virtual Honeymoon to find a Molokai Specialist today!

Hawaii Island

Hawaii Island – ‘Big Island’ the youngest and the largest of all the islands and it’s still growing! The home of one of the world’s most active volcanoes and tallest sea mountain. From the green rainforest to the black sand beaches, this island is a natural wonder of unrivaled expression in the powers of nature at work!
Hawaii island

Perfect Weather: Tropical averaging 75-85* degrees

Main City: Hilo

Time Zone: Hawaii Island Standard Time 5 hours behind US East Coast & 3 hours behind Pacific time – they do not observe daylight savings time.

Language: English/Hawaiian

Highlights:

  • Hawaii Volcano National Park- Home to Kilauea Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
  • Kailua Village- Lively, historic gathering place in the heart of quaint town of Kona, with shops, eateries, pubs.
  • Hilo- Home to dramatic waterfalls, fertile rainforests and blooming gardens; the geographic flipside of the volcanic kohala coast.
  • Holualoa- This is a great place to taste the rich flavors of 100% pure Kona coffee, a rare commodity exclusively grown in north and south Kona
  • Kahua Ranch- Located in town of Waimea, in Cowboy country where stop signs read ‘Whoa’ instead of ‘Stop’ a working ranch to explore the scenic landscapes by horseback or ATV.
  • Volcano Winery- Since 1986, this beautiful winery utilizes local fruits, macadamia nuts & tea to blend with traditional wine grapes that transforms their wines to perfection, stop and taste before visiting the Volcano!
  • Beautiful Beaches- Kohala Coast known as South Kohala is nestled amongst the jet-black and rust-red lava rock fields amongst the breathtaking black sand beaches. Hapuna Beach is Hawaii’s white sand beach and been rated on numerous international top ten lists and offers good conditions for swimming, bodyboarding, sunbathing and snorkeling.

Exclusive Inclusions: Sample of VIP Perks* at one of our Preferred Resorts:

      • Free wedding website & honeymoon registry
      • Daily buffet breakfast for 2
      • Luau for 2
      • Sunset cruise

Experience Hawaii island, contact Virtual Honeymoon to find a Hawaii Specialist today!

Maui Island

Maui Island-  The magic isle and second largest hawaiian island, but with low population, making it very desirable with its diversity and attractions, there something for everyone here! From its heavenly beaches to its scenic wonders its no wonder why Maui has been voted best island several years now!

Maui

Perfect Weather: Average yearly temperature is a tropical 75-85*degrees

Main City: Wailuku

Time Zone: Maui Island Standard Time 5 hours behind US East Coast & 3 hours behind Pacific time -they do not observe daylight savings time

Language: English~Hawaiian

Highlights:

  • Road to Hana- leads you through tropical rainforest, with dramatic scenery of flowing waterfalls and plunging pools, experience old hawaii first hand.
  • Haleakala National Park- Maui’s highest peaks 10,023 feet above sea level, morning sunrises are unforgettable
  • Lahaina- Hot spot on the west, historic whalers village with shops, restaurants & marina, catch some great tours leaving from here.
  • Molokini- A small island a few miles off of Maui’s southwestern coast, great for snorkelers and divers.
  • Wailea- South shore of Maui, known for its world class golf courses and crescent-shaped beaches.
  • Beautiful beaches- Kaanapali Beach on the west is Maui’s famous beach known for its powder white soft sand, and Makena Beach on the south is known as Maui’s ‘big’ beach, the largest beach on Maui.

Exclusive Inclusions: Sample of VIP Perks* at one of our Preferred Resorts:

  • Free wedding website & honeymoon registry
  • Luau for 2
  • One sunset dinner cruise for 2
  • Daily breakfast for 2
  • VIP cocktail reception
  • Room upgrade & late check out (based on availability)

Experience Maui island, contact Virtual Honeymoon to find a Maui Specialist today!

 

Oahu Island

Oahu Island-  The ‘Heart’ of Hawaii with its timeless beauty blended with todays modern luxuries. The third largest Hawaiian island is home to a diverse population and the contrast between the ancient and the modern that makes discovering historic Oahu so enjoyable

.Oahu island

Perfect Weather: Average yearly temperature is a tropical 75-85*degrees

Main City: Honolulu

Time Zone: Oahu Island Standard Time 5 hours behind US East Coast & 3 hours behind Pacific time – they do not observe daylight savings time

Language: English~Hawaiian

Highlights:

  • Pearl Harbour- National Historical Landmark features five historic sites memorializing the December 7, 1941 attack.
  • Diamond Head- Formed more than 100,000 years ago, a popular hiking spot with panoramic views of Waikiki and Oahu’s south shore.
  • North Shore- During the winter months, this legendary surf mecca attracts the best surfers in the world.
  • Polynesian Cultural Center- A ‘must see’ hawaiian attraction, interact with the people from the South Pacific Islands, experience a canoe pageant and authentic Luau.
  • International Market Place- Famous shopping features over 130 carts, shops and artisan stands in an open-air setting under the banyan trees in the heart of Waikiki.
  • Beautiful Beaches- World famous Waikiki was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty. Known in Hawaiian as ‘spouting waters’, it is the best area for learning to surf.
  • Turtle Bay- Protected from large waves and surf, this beach, located on Oahu’s northeastern tip, great place to snorkle.

Exclusive Inclusions: Sample of VIP Perks* at one of our Preferred Resorts:

    • Free wedding website & honeymoon registry
    • $50 Aloha Credit toward food & activities
    • Chilled bottle of Champagne & Chocolate Strawberries
    • Room upgrade & late check out (based on availability)

Experience Oahu island, contact Virtual Honeymoon to find a Oahu Specialist today!

Kauai island

Kauai Island – Kauai, known as the ‘Garden Island’ is the island of discovery, with 50 miles of breath taking beaches against the clear Pacific Ocean with its sparkling blue water to its lush tropical rainforest and cascading waterfalls with rushing rivers, colorful valleys and quaint historic small towns, where no building is taller than a coconut tree. ‘Kauai is the island begging to be explored!’

Kauai Island

Perfect Weather: Average yearly temperature is a tropical 75-85*degrees

Main City: Lihue

Time Zone: Kauai Island Standard Time 5 hours behind US East Coast & 3 hours behind Pacific time – they do not observe daylight savings time.

Language: English~Hawaiian

Kauai Island top Highlights:

  • Napili Coast- Take a boat tour along the scenic northshore to experience colorful sea cliffs.
  • Waimea Canyon- Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
  • Wailua River- Enjoy this scenic river, take in famous Fern Grotto.
  • Beautiful Beaches- Poipu on the sunny south shore  and Hanalei bay on the north shore, experience Kauai’s white sand beaches.
  • Wailua Falls- Known as the Secret Falls – 80 foot high, as seen on fantasy island.
  • Spouting Horn- One of the most photographed spots, known as ‘blowhole.’

Exclusive Inclusions: Sample of VIP Perks* at one of our Preferred Resorts:

    • Free wedding website & honeymoon registry
    • Upgrade on arrival- based on availability at check-in
    • Buffet breakfast daily for up to two
    • Evening appetizer, once during stay
    • Complimentary daily spa access for 2 ($60 value per day)
    • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

Experience Kauai island, contact Virtual Honeymoon to find a Kauai Specialist today!

 

Fiji – A destination that touches your soul

Fiji is consistently listed as one of the Happiest Destinations in the world. After spending time in the Islands of Fiji, it became very apparent to me how true this is Full transparency here.

As a travel professional, I have a tendency to “compare”destinations with similarities. Having traveled all over Mexico, the Caribbean and the Islands of Tahiti, I thought for sure Fiji would be another tropical, beach destination on the list. I was very wrong! What I found within Fiji  was nothing short of incredible.

It took me a bit to realize why, but I finally put my finger on it. Fiji, the people, the beauty and the pureness, it connects you at the heart and truly touches your soul. Needless to say, it cannot, and should not, be compared it to any other experience.

Let’s start with some of the reasons why you will fall in love Fiji from the moment you arrive and what makes it the perfect destination for any occasion–wedding, honeymoon, anniversary or bucket list trip.

fiji beach#1–Fiji is authentic. We hear so many say they want an “authentic” experience, yet what they describe as ideal is far from it. The Islands of Fiji are considered to be one of the exotic destinations. Remote,with a simple way of life, yet modern is many ways. With couples seeking more exotic, off- the-beaten-path, authentic destination, Fiji takes you beyond the typical vacation destination, and hits the mark without having to sacrifice on the comforts of home.

fiji pool#2–Diversity of Options. Fiji offers a wide array of resorts in various locations. From large, chain types to very small and intimate. Those for the more minimalist, budget minded to incredible luxury villas. Many resorts offer a great mix of traditional Fijian design while providing modern amenities. The bures (this is what they call their rooms, aka huts on the beach) are very spacious, offering modern updated bathrooms (most with outdoor showers) and a stunning view. Many with a sitting area (inside and out), air conditioning, mini refrigerator, and some with a private plunge pool. None the same, though. All uniquely designed with local touches.

fiji food#3–Activities to satisfy everyone. The activities offered in Fiji are endless. You will find a great diversity to satisfy all types of travelers. From relaxing on the beach, lounging by the pool, snorkeling just off shore, hiking to a waterfall, visiting a local village or school, and SO much more. Soft adventure activities such as kayaking, standup paddle boarding, horseback riding,ziplining… With Fiji being the soft coral capital of the world, scuba diving is very popular and much different than what you will find in the Caribbean and Hawaii. Foodies don’t despair. Your palate is tempted and satisfied as well. Indulge in a fusion of cuisines such as local Fijian, Indian, Polynesian and more.

island of fiji#4–Natural beauty. Breathtaking beauty is everywhere! From the Mamanuca Island group, to the Yasawa Island group, from Viti Levu to Vanua Levu. Some islands are small, some a bit larger, but ALL have their own beautiful setting. Did you know? One of the 1001 Places to See Before You Die is located within Fiji? Horseshoe Bay is an incredible site to see! The coral is magnificent, vibrant and a variety of colors. It seems to jump right out of the water. Speaking of those take- your- breath- away views. The best way to see many of the islands and coral is by air. Helicopter, seaplane or inter-island flight. However, you choose, get up in the air to see the amazing world below.

fiji sunset#5– Remarkable Sunsets. Fiji is blessed with some of the most remarkable sunsets in the world. I mean from every island! The colors light up the sky, like a new painting each evening. After the sun goes down, be sure to do some star gazing. You will see different stars and constellations that we are not able to see from the Northern Hemisphere. The most prominent are the Southern Cross and the Milky Way. Certain times of the year, these can be seen very clearly.

fiji locals#6– The locals. I have saved the best for last. By far, the best part is the Fijians themselves. From the moment you arrive, “Bula” is heard everywhere. It is a greeting, similar to aloha, but has other meanings. The literal meaning is “life” and also implies wishes for happiness and good health. When being greeted, remember they are saying more than just a simple “hello”. Fijians are exceedingly warm and friendly. They love to express their love of life and share it with visitors. They have an infectious joy, enthusiasm, and genuine hospitality about them. It’s easy to join in!

If you are looking for a destination that is “not just a spot on the beach” or “not just another resort with a comfortable room and swim-up bar”, take a look at Fiji. These islands truly touch your heart.
I dare you to visit and leave without tearing up or crying!

Fiji expertWritten by Stephanie Cannon of SC Travel Design

For more information on the Islands of Fiji, contact Stephanie Cannon @hello@sctraveldesign.com

Don’t know where to go on your next bucket list trip?fiji

Island of Maui

The island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands with a population of just over 117,000. Maui has a thriving tourism industry and is one of the most popular islands to visit, featuring alluring attractions like the massive Haleakala volcano, the bustling whaler village of Lahaina, the magnificent humpback whales, the infamous stretch of road to Hana and its numerous family-friendly resorts and inviting white-sand beaches. Maui is also the largest island within Maui County, which is comprised of three other islands: Lana`i, Kaho`olawe, and Moloka`i.

Maui

Quick Facts:
Climate:
Year-round temperatures range between 70-90° F with 50% humidity, generally cooler in higher elevations

The island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands with a population of just over 117,000. Maui has a thriving tourism industry and is one of the most popular islands to visit, featuring alluring attractions like the massive Haleakala volcano, the bustling whaler village of Lahaina, the magnificent humpback whales, the infamous stretch of road to Hana and its numerous family-friendly resorts and inviting white-sand beaches. Maui is also the largest island within Maui County, which is comprised of three other islands: Lana`i, Kaho`olawe, and Moloka`i.

Top Maui Island Picks

Road to Hana – A meandering drive on the road to Hana, a classic Hawaiian small town, is full of hairpin turns, one-lane bridges and breathtaking island views.Pools of Oheo – A series of seven beautiful pools fed by waterfalls.Iao Valley State Park – Visit the 1,200-foot Iao Needle or hike in the 4,000-acre valley.

Haleakala National Park – Go on an excursion to the “House of the Sun”, an active but non-erupting volcano.

Molokini – A small island just off the southern coast of Maui creates a paradise for snorkelers and divers looking for beautiful coral and tropical fish.

Whale watching – Calm, clear, shallow waters create the perfect environment to attract whales during the winter season (December – May). Visitors will find a variety of options for whale watching experiences departing from Lahaina which can be followed by a visit to the town’s shops, art galleries and restaurants.

Go to a luau – Rich with Hawaiian history, the shores of Maui are the perfect setting to experience a traditional luau, including a main course cooked in the earth accompanied by live music and a hula dance sharing Hawaii’s stories.

Golfer’s paradise – With 14 courses to choose from and several options falling onto various best course lists, golfers can tee off near ancient lava flows, palms trees or an ocean mist.

Upcountry – Paniolos, also known as Hawaiian cowboys, spent their time in the small Upcountry town of Makawao, where you’ll find famous cream puffs at T. Komoda Store in addition to other boutiques and galleries. While in Upcountry, make a stop at Maui Wine for a tour and tasting – we recommend the pineapple wine.

The day trip to Molokini is a must.  The snorkeling is fabulous!

Home to nearly 250 species of tropical fish, Molokini is one of the top ten dive sites in the world. Snorkeling at Molokini crater is truly a unique oppourtunity as there are only 3 volcanic calderas including Molokini in the entire world.

I Was there is January and the mother whales were teaching their babies life lessons.  What a treat to see a baby whale learn to dive!  They were breaching, just having a wonderful time. The best part, we sat on the beach to watch them! Take a trip to HaleakalaFor a sunrise view and a bike ride down the volcano.  Or you can do what I did, and to at sunset.  4:00 AM is too early for me.  Beautiful.  If to go up at sunset,  be sure to go to Mama’s fish house.  Exceptional seafood.  The menu will tell you who caught your dinner, and the boat  involved.  On the waterfront.  Pricy, but well worth the trip.Haleakala

The Iao Valley State park is very lush and may be a bit foggy.  There is an entrance fee, but you can drive in a bit for the beautiful views.

You must go to Lahaina, the major tourist area.  The cruise ships stop here.  A lot of restaurants, casual and upscale. I can be very crowded, but there is a local bus that gives free transportation, or your hotel may do it.

If you are a  member of a yacht club, bring your card, and have dinner at the Lahaina Yacht Club.  Over the water, for a wonder sunset!
Any time is good to visit Maui.  It can be windy especially in the winter months.Maui weddings


Your special day deserves a special place and Maui provides an idyllic setting for the wedding of your dreams. Whether you’re planning a casual beach wedding on the shores of West Maui or a lavish ceremony in a five-diamond resort in Wailea, Maui meets every expectation.

You’ll find an impressive list of venues and resources, and expert wedding planners will attend to your every need. Nothing is spared to make sure your special day turns out exactly as you imagined. So let Maui’s specialists take care of the details so you can concentrate on what matters most: each other. Learn more about Maui wedding photographers, planners and venues.

Written by Claudia Augustson of Riviera Vacations

For more information on Maui or any Hawaiian Island getaway, contact Claudia Augustson @ rivieravac@cox.net

Don’t know where to go on your next getaway? Find your Destination match here

VH

 

Romanced by Bora Bora

Labeled as the most romantic place on earth, Bora Bora screams honeymoon and destination wedding. Romance, Romance, Romance which can steer travelers away unless going there for a monumental trip as opposed to going for a summer vacation.  When I went there; I wasn’t going on a honeymoon, having a monumental anniversary or attending a destination wedding and my trip surpassed all of my expectations. Bora Bora beach

If I’m being honest, it brought tears to my eyes, gave me an expressionless face, and left me feeling a way I have never felt before.  So is the label right? Is it a place that really needs that special romantic occasion to truly be enjoyed?
Not so much!!!  Seeing the  Bora Bora waters for the first time brought me to tears and had an effect on me that no other destination ever has and future destinations are going to have to work hard to live up to.

Granted, this was my #1 heaven on earth place to visit.  Was on my bucket list ever since I can remember so you can only imagine my excitement pre-trip; but nothing prepared me for what I would feel when I got there.   Mesmerized, in aw, speechless, and totally in love.  I was romanced by this small island in a way no man has ever romanced me.  I was transported to a place words can’t even describe.  I had finally found my soulmate.  A place that made me feel secure, giddy, and wanting to experience and share more.
In that moment I realized first hand why the tiny island of Bora Bora is known as the island of romance and that realization has nothing to do with a honeymoon, a wedding or even a significant other.  I could spend months alone in Bora Bora and never once be lonely, feel lost, afraid, or unhappy.  This tiny little island pulls you in, wraps you up in it’s beautiful blue waters and whisks you away to places you couldn’t even imagine even existed. (And let me tell you, I have an imagination like no other and even I couldn’t have imagined this!!!), so grab your favorite glass of wine and enjoy the love story That is Bora Bora…………….Tahiti

Yes it is true, couples you have found your ideal destination, but this little island is perfect for the whole family and solomooners alike. The small island of Bora Bora is only 18 miles in circumference, but it’s home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and waters that don’t discriminate, they love your little coconuts and solos as well as the love birds.
As a solo traveler, allow yourself to embrace mana and be swept away by the luxurious pampering resorts with overwater bungalows and thatched rooves we’ve dreamt of for our ultimate retreats. Spend lazy days sunbathing while watching the sharks and sting rays swim by your bungalow.  Your little coconuts will think they are living in a real life storybook when you let the azul waters wash over them and embrace them in this carefree, picture perfect lifestyle.
The captivating, majestic Mount Otemanu, sharply rising almost 2,400 feet above sea level, lush tropical slopes and valleys, transport you to a paradise that will forever be burnt into your mind allowing you to continue your love affair with Bora Bora long after you are thousands of miles away. bora bora
Your resort will be located either on the southern end of the main island or on its own motu (islet in the lagoon). The water is the key to what will keep you active when you want to venture from your lounge chair or spa treatment. The turquoise lagoon surrounded by picture-perfect white sand beaches is your playground for such unique experiences as shark feeding. You stand in the shallow lagoon far enough away but yet close enough to watch your guides hand-feed the sharks. Explore the lagoon via glass-bottom boat, motorboat or jet ski, or just snorkel from your bungalow or off the beach anywhere on the island. Diving is also huge attraction because Adventure off the coast and to the interior roads on a hike or 4X4 accompanied by a local guide. You’ll be treated to unbelievable overlook views. Be sure to make some time to shop for local and international original art, Tahitian pearls, perfumes and oils, and precious wood handcrafts. Bora Bora
Most meals will be eaten at your resort, where you’ll be treated to world-class dining, complete with some of the best water views you’re ever going to see. Many of the properties also offer after-dinner Polynesian shows, incorporating the cultural flavor into your stay. Cuisine here is as you would expect — lots of local seafood, fruits and vegetables to enjoy.
Don’t forget to have at least one of those over the top experiences like a gourmet picnic on a private beach or a sunset cruise with four-course dinner aboard a private catamaran. We can’t forget the ultimate in room service, breakfast by outrigger canoe brought to your overwater bungalow or villa. The flower-decorated canoe brings with it fresh fruits, pastries and juices by a welcoming resort staff member.

International flights land at Faa’a Airport in Papeete on the island of Tahiti. Flight time is just under eight hours from Los Angeles and about 12 hours from New York’s JFK with a swift 51 minute flight from Papeete to Bora Bora and your life with forever be changed.  Air Tahiti Nui is Tahiti’s national carrier.
The Bora Bora airport is built on a motu; making resort transfers by private motorboats from the airport which sets the tone for your amazing experience that is yet to come causing your little coconuts to ask why all resort transfers can’t be by boat!!!!
Whether you are traveling for romance, celebrating yourself, or introducing your coconuts to a real-life fairy-tale setting, Bora Bora will check all the boxes and when you visit; may your sleep be peaceful and restful, and may you wake by the warmth of the sun refreshed and ready for each new day of possibilities in paradise!!!

**Photo Cred – My Own!!
Miki Taylor of Taylor & Co. Travel
Bora Bora

VR videos helping agents close sales

A growing number of travel advisers are reporting that virtual reality (VR) is helping them close sales more often and faster, and several said they’re considering ways to put the technology in their clients’ hands with branded headsets to make it more accessible.

“You know, you can talk up a resort, you can talk up a destination, but letting them experience it for themselves like they’re really there gets them very excited about trips,” said Michele Botnick, owner of Lucky N Love Travel in Roswell, N.M.

Botnick is among the agents using a product developed by Virtual Honeymoon, a company owned by former agent Robin Hawkey, who created a set of interactive, online quizzes to help clients narrow their preferred destinations.

The service now offers quizzes for honeymoons, vacations, anniversary trips and weddings (including venue matching). Agents who sign up for the service also get access to VR content for which Hawkey partners with a Canadian company, Explor VR.

A number of Hawkey’s agent clients, including Botnick, have begun bringing VR headsets powered by smartphones to bridal shows. They have prospective clients take Virtual Honeymoon’s quiz, which takes into account personal preferences and budgets to determine two recommended destinations. They then showcase one or both destinations on the VR headset.

“It literally is doubling their sales,” Hawkey said. “They are closing sales quicker, and it gets the clients really excited.”

Hawkey has seen agents’ use of VR increase in the past year or so, a trend she attributed to the increasing quality and affordability of headsets.

VR has existed in some form for decades, but the market for headsets designed for consumer use has exploded in recent years. At first, headsets required expensive computers to run, but versions that utilize a smartphone have become very common.

Some cost less than $20, among them the Google Cardboard, a smartphone-powered headset. Sets that run off smartphones range in price and quality.

Newer entrants even run as standalone systems, not requiring a smartphone. Among those is the Oculus Go (starting at $200). Higher-end headsets requiring the use of a computer cost hundreds of dollars for the headset alone.

Companies in the retail travel space have been experimenting with VR in recent years. For example, Virtuoso several years ago beta-tested the use of high-end headsets in member agencies. The consortium found that interest varied greatly among members, and VR efforts are now member-driven.

One of those interested members is Direct Travel. Vicky DiMichele, digital marketing manager of leisure at the agency is Willoughby, Ohio, said it plans to introduce VR this year using Oculus Go headsets.

vr headsets

Guests viewing content from Virtual Honeymoon at a bridal show.

The idea is to place headsets in offices with walk-in leisure business. She would showcase videos from suppliers but is also considering creating her own VR content, especially from familiarization or adviser-incentive trips. That could also be useful for agents, DiMichele said.

Largay Travel of Waterbury, Conn., another Virtuoso agency, was an early tester of using high-end headsets in agencies, but Scott Largay, director of marketing, said the agency ran into issues with content development.

The agency was attempting to create its own content and app, but Largay said he found that limits to the amount and quality of content “was very restrictive to what we were looking to do.”

Companies producing VR content weren’t able to produce the caliber of content Largay wanted, he said, and those that could were “astronomically priced.”

“Virtual reality will be a big part of the travel industry moving forward, and I will be there with my headset on when it happens,” he said. “But it’s just not right now.”

While some have taken a step back from VR, Virtual Honeymoon’s Hawkey is doubling down on the technology and encouraging resorts to start filming weddings with it.

She works with several VR companies, and each has agreed to record at least one complimentary mock wedding as long as the resort hosts the production (and, of course, arranges the event). Hawkey said she has several resorts interested and that she believes they will see a direct impact on bookings if agents showcase weddings virtually.

She said other resorts would likely follow suit and pay to have their own mock weddings recorded in VR.

“The reason that we’re doing that is to prove how powerful viewing VR weddings really is and to show how that venue is going to double, if not triple, their weddings by doing something as powerful as a virtual wedding,” she said. “Because then you can literally drop the couple into the wedding without being there.”

It’s not a cheap prospect. In addition to the mock wedding, VR videos feature other aspects of the property to give viewers a better feel for what they will experience. Hawkey estimated that recording one property costs between $7,500 and $10,000, a price driven not only by the effort to videotape at a resort but also the costs of expensive professional equipment and the editing process.

The expense involved in VR is what led Camille Sanders, owner of Chic Romance Travel in Fresno, Calif., to partner with Virtual Honeymoon to offer VR to her clients instead of trying to create her own program and content.

“It’s very expensive to produce,” she said. “It definitely is better to partner with somebody.”

Like Lucky N Love’s Botnick, Sanders brings headsets to bridal shows.

“I feel it really sets me aside differently than anything out there, especially with other local agencies,” Sanders said. “It’s something different to offer.”

Miki Taylor, founder and CEO of Taylor & Co. Travel in Auburn, Ala., lives in a college town and brings the headsets to many local events. She said VR has gone over very well with clients, especially students, for whom Taylor plans many spring break trips.

“If I had a storefront, I’d have [headsets] on every station,” Taylor said. “Every agent would have them, and they would use them to sell. It sells itself.”

Both Sanders and Botnick are also considering purchasing branded headsets that are inexpensive, foldable and easily mailable to clients around the country, who can use their smartphones to view VR content.

Hawkey said VR is a powerful technology for agents to have in their arsenal.

“I just feel it in my gut,” she said. “If agents don’t get on with the technology, they’re going to be the next ones out of business.”

 

Paradise is called Jamaica, the island of All Right!

Rising out of the Caribbean Sea is an island full of life, music, and spice, is Jamaica!
Landscape of rich tropical vegetation, white sandy beaches, and turquoise waters is a kaleidoscope of amazing color. Its people are every bit as vibrant as the landscape and their music is every bit as calming as the ocean’s waves.
Jamaica is the kind of place you can’t wait to get to and never want to leave. It is truly the quintessential island escape you only thought existed in the movies. Featuring an abundance of the Caribbean’s most spectacular resorts paired with thrilling adventures and laid-back relaxation Jamaica truly has something for everyone. For this reason, Jamaica is an ideal location for honeymooners and for those planning a destination wedding. Secrets St. James
No matter whether it is a romance-filled honeymoon or a fun-filled destination wedding one is seeking, they can expect to find the ideal resort matched perfectly with their personality and desired level of action or relaxation. Each resort is unique in design and individualized for the specific traveler they are attracting. From family friendly to couples only, from quiet and relaxed to energetic and active… on the island of Jamaica variety is the spice of life!
The opportunities for romance are at every turn… from couples’ massages to champagne toasts at sunset. From catamaran cruises to snorkeling tours. From hiking up Dunn’s River Falls to diving into Jamaica’s Blue Lagoon. However you choose to spend your time in Jamaica you can be assured that it will be nothing short of incredible. jamaica
In the event that you’re still just not sure if Jamaica is right for you, allow me the opportunity to paint you a picture… It won’t take you long to realize what your time in Jamaica is going to be like. In fact, you’ll get a pretty good idea as soon as you load into the van taking you from the airport to your resort. With the van bumping and swaying along as your driver cruises up and down the twisty turny 2-lane roads with the Reggae music blasting you’ll start to understand the Jamaicans care free no worries attitude.
Once you arrive at your resort things will start to slow down a little… The stresses of traveling will start to fade away, the tension in your neck and shoulders will start to relax, and you’ll even realize that your body has begun to sway to the sounds of the music. You’ll stop and stare, trying to take it all in as you stand looking out at the gorgeous lagoon style pool with the breathtakingly beautiful Caribbean Sea in the background.

There will be people all around you, the Reggae band will be playing, but the only thing you’ll be able to hear is Bob Marley singing over and over again in your head, “Don’t worry ‘bout a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be alright”.

For more information on Jamaica, contact Kevin Lowe of Better Days Travel

If you don’t know where to go on your next getaway, take our fun quiz and find your top destination match

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