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

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

Virtual Honeymoon in TravelWeek news!

Robin Hawkey, owner of Virtual Honeymoon, was recently interviewed by Travel Week about how she came up with the concept for this VR interactive matching tool, and how its solving problems for hundreds of  Travel specialists in the Romance Travel industry, as well as plans for growth.

 the travel industry largest and most trusted media source in Canada!
See below a copy to article.

Virtual Honeymoon launches sister sites, partners with ExplorVR amid company...

Virtual Honeymoon launches sister sites

Virtual Honeymoon launches sister sites, partners with ExplorVR amid company growth

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

TORONTO — Here’s a common scenario: You ask your wedding clients where they would go on their dream honeymoon, and they respond with a bunch of destinations in quick succession. Bali. Italy. Tahiti. The list goes on and on.

But there is a fun and easy way to whittle down the options so that your clients are left with a destination that best suits their needs and preferences. Virtual Honeymoon is an interactive destination matching tool used by agents with indecisive clients. Using intuitive software and an algorithm to search for and match destinations, the tool matches couples with their top two destinations, allowing them to ‘test drive’ these locales and help agents close the sale.

Robin Hawkey

Robin Hawkey- Owner of Virtual Honeymoon

Started and owned by travel industry veteran Robin Hawkey, Virtual Honeymoon kicked off in January 2015 for year-long testing before launching its affiliate program in March 2016. Hawkey says the idea came to her after “years of frustration of working with couples that were all over the map”, which resulted in wasting weeks of valuable time, sometimes only to lose them to the Internet.

“When couples have no idea where to go on their getaway, or say something like ‘We just want to go some place warm and tropical’, that usually leads to seeing every tropical island and comparing them all. We call [these couples] ‘tire-kickers’ or ‘time-wasters’ for using travel agents as a human resource tool,” she tells Travelweek.

How it works is simple: Clients answer a series of fun, interactive questions, the tool then matches them to their top two destinations based on their answers. After clients fill out a contact form, all the questions and answers, including their matches, are emailed directly to the travel agent who will then follow up directly.

The tool costs $24.95/month, or $239.52 per year with a savings of 20%.
You can access the site at virtualhoneymoon.com.

To enhance the experience, Hawkey has added a virtual reality component to the website’s destination pages. She’s teamed up with ExplorVR to allow clients to pre-experience their matched destination. Virtual Honeymoon’s affiliates have already used VR headsets and videos at wedding fairs where clients were able to test-drive their destinations on the spot.

“I think [VR] is so beneficial as most millennials want to be involved in the planning process. VR is the next best thing to being there!” said Hawkey. “I also feel that the agents who don’t get on this VR trend will be left behind – literally!”

Devin Kinasz, President & CEO of ExplorVR, adds: “Virtual Honeymoon is embracing VR technology and partnering with ExplorVR to give their agents access to exciting destination experiences. We are very excited to partner with Virtual Honeymoon because they align with our values of being a forward-thinking company that embraces technology.”

Virtual reality acts as the perfect selling tool in the destination wedding and honeymoon market as it allows clients to “try before they fly”. As Hawkey puts it, all couples want their weddings and honeymoons to go off without a hitch, so the best way to ensure that the destination matches their vision is to virtually travel there ahead of time.

“There is on 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. The romance niche is such a great niche to get into to build your entire travel business,” said Hawkey. “If an agent does a great job on the wedding or honeymoon, and builds a good relationship with their client, they will do all their travel-related activities such as anniversaries, babymoons, graduations, family trips and more, not to mention the referrals to all their friends getting married. This creates a booming business that will continue to grow and prosper.”

With business booming, Virtual Honeymoon launched its sister site – Virtual Destination Wedding – at the Love Mexico event in Cabo last December. Operating much like Virtual Honeymoon, the new site not only matches clients with their top two destinations but also helps plan the wedding. And like its sister site, it costs $24.95, or $239.52 with a 20% discount.

Looking ahead, Hawkey is preparing to launch the company’s newest addition – Virtual Vacationing – on April 10 at the Travel Agent Forum in Las Vegas. While its main concept is the same as interactive destination matching, she says the new site does not focus on romance as the other two sites.

“We realize that not all getaways are about romance, sometimes it’s about vacation travel with family and friends and they too can be confused about where to go on their getaway,” she adds. “We are so excited to be at the Forum with our VR partner, ExplorVR. They have really helped our vision of bringing virtual travel to life, allowing clients to virtually experience their destination match before booking and, thus, closing sales!”

“Test drive” one of our demo-sites below and find the best match for your business:

Travel agents specializing in Romance Travel

Virtual Destination Wedding

       Destination Wedding Planners

Virtual Vacations

     Travel agents selling Vacations

Virtual Destination Wedding launched!

Virtual Honeymoon is excited to announce the launch of their sister site, Virtual Destination Wedding!

We found adding the wedding planning portion very important, as our virtual tool now not only matches top destinations, but helps plan the wedding as well.

Virtual Destination Wedding was created for Destination Wedding Specialists to use on their couples that have NO idea where they want to go to have their dream wedding!

The perfect client to use this interactive matching tool, is one that is “all over the map” or says something like,
“we dont’ know where we want to get married, maybe some place in the Caribbean?”
This interactive tool SAVES TIME, gets Couples EXCITED & ready to BOOK!

Virtual Destination Wedding is a interactive destination matching tool, Wedding planners are using for 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!
Our software is very intuitive, using scoring + algorithm to search & match destinations, combining 360*VR technology, we are revolutionizing the way SMART PLANNERS book Weddings!

“How cool would it be to take Virtual Destination Wedding tool to a Wedding fair, try on the couples that don’t know where they want to go?”
They can take our fun interactive test, get their destination match and then put a VR headset on and virtually pre-experience it before they book, making it a “easy sell!

Are you a Wedding Planner or Destination Wedding Specialists interested in trying this virtual tool to work smarter in your business?
Apply here

Taking Mark Zuckerberg’s Travel Challenge on!

You may have seen Mark Zuckerberg’s travel challenge on facebook, he is challenging us to travel 12 times this year!

“Can you visit 12 new places you’ve never been, meet someone new, will you accept this travel challenge and join us?”

I know visiting 12 new places is a lot, but really if you break it down, you can go to one new place every month. The places don’t need to be far away, you don’t have to jump on a jet plane and fly across the country, although that would be nice, but not realistic for most people, atleast not 12 times a year!

But you could get out of your own backyard, take a half-hour drive, to see something you’ve never seen.
Maybe go to a new restaurant, try a new coffee shop, check out a new wine tasting bar, or drive to that quaint little town you keep hearing about!

You get the picture! So, grab your favorite travel buddy and hop on this travel challenge ride…….
Lets make 2017 the year of new experiences, new sites, new friends, lets travel Gods world together one city, one beach, one country at a time, claim it!

Follow us on facebook and share your travel challenge experiences with us, where are you going this month?

We will be live on facebook this weekend at our first travel challenge destination, follow us.

See you on the road!
Robin  XO

Virtual Reality the new trend for Travel

Is VR- Virtual Reality the next big trend for marketing travel?
We here at Virtual Honeymoon agency think it is!
Marriott hotels and some Cruise lines are jumping on that virtual travel experience.
Virtual reality is a great way to attract clients, imagine being able to pre-experience a destination, hotel or cruise ahead of time before you invest any money in booking!

The Marriott launched a great Virtual Reality marketing campaign with their Teleporter.
Imagine, getting swept away on a beach vacation, complete with your hair blowing in the wind, the smell of the ocean and the mist spraying you while your virtually walking along the white sand beach!


The Marriott hotels are on the right track and some of their hotels also have Virtual Reality – VR headsets in their rooms for clients to experience some of their destinations in the privacy of their rooms, very exciting future in store.

Virtual Reality is part of the reason Virtual Honeymoon was born!
We envisioned our clients to be able to pre-experience a destination before booking, by interactively matching their top 2 destinations and being able to test drive their honeymoon, with videos, virtual tours, google maps, virtual honeymoon itineraries and much more!
Experience it for yourself @ http://www.virtualhoneymoon.com

Virtual reality travel and honeymoons

Virtual Honeymoon at SF Luxury Wedding Show

 

Virtual Honeymoon is the leading travel agency in this Virtual Reality Travel market that will be driving travel futures, expect to not only be matched to your top destinations but to be able to virtually experience it before you book!

We are happy to be finishing up our travel agent affiliate program to launch early April 2016.
This will be open to travel agents that specialize in honeymoons and romance travel, stay tuned for details to follow in a press release very soon!