Family reunion vacations should be time well spent strengthening the ties that bind you together. But too often, the daily grind of cooking, cleaning, and keeping everyone entertained is exhausting for everyone involved. That’s why a cruise is the perfect solution: simply select the destination, step onboard, and let the crew take care of the rest. Endless food and drinks, entertainment galore, luxurious pools and lounges, and well-planned shore excursions – what more could you ask for?Perfect for families of all shapes and sizes, cruises offer plenty of space, whether you want to spend time together or need some quiet time. Planning special events is also a snap with the help of the onboard concierge, who can arrange everything from a celebratory dinner in a private dining room to a group excursion in one of the exciting ports of call. And if you plan far enough in advance, your cabins can be placed near one another, with connected rooms specially designed for families.The diverse range of onboard activities is also perfect for multi-generational groups. From zip-lining and ice skating to wine tasting and cooking classes, cruise ships cater to all ages and interests. Even better, most of these activities are included in the price of your fare – as is the food, drinks and nightly entertainment, like movies and Broadway shows – making a cruise an incredible value. Depending on the size of your group, you may even get a group discount!And all those travel plans that are so hard to keep track of? Your travel agent will work with individual family members to book their flights and make arrangements for transportation to and from the ship. Instead of calling you when plans change, Aunt Rita can call your agent! Cruising is a beautifully stress-free way to vacation.
It’s happened to us all, you’ve just taken what should be an amazing picture, but the image on your camera’s screen doesn’t match your expectations. How can you turn picture-perfect scenes into photographs that do them justice? Follow these easy tips and you’ll be taking vacation pictures you’ll cherish forever.
It’s All About the Light – Here’s a fundamental truth about photography: natural light is always better. As George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, said: “Light makes photography…Know it for all your worth and you will know photography.” Get up early to catch the golden hour, when the sun’s soft rays are at their most flattering or go for a walk in the late afternoon when the landscape is bathed in a warm glow-you’ll be amazed by the pictures you come home with.
Change Your Perspective – Stop shooting every picture from eye level. This is so important, it’s worth repeating: stop shooting every picture from eye level. Crouch down and shoot up, stand on a wall and shoot down. Move your body and play with perspective. You’ll find this is the best way to create fresh frame-worthy compositions.
Don’t Forget the Details – Details are important, particularly for travel photography. The bright pink gelato at that wonderful gelateria in Rome, the intricately designed wrought-iron railings of your hotel in New Orleans, these are the details that make travel so enjoyable. Pay attention to what draws your eye, take a moment to think about composition, then take a picture that will remind you of your journey for years to come.
Learn to Edit – Although no photo-editing software can make a bad picture good, even the most basic programs can make a good picture great. Learn how to make basic edits such as crops and color enhancements – increasing the exposure and contrast even slightly can make a huge difference – and you’ll find just a few clicks can transform your images into great works of art.
Get Organized – The great benefit of cellphones and digital cameras is that you can take hundreds of photos in a single day – even a single hour. But that can be a huge drawback if you are so overwhelmed by the sheer number of pictures you’ve taken, you never do anything with them. Take a few minutes each evening to delete the out-of-focus and uninteresting, then have the rest printed in a gorgeous photobook dedicated to your trip.
Wellness programs are no longer the sole purview of exclusive health resorts and elite hotels. Properties all over the world now offer a wide variety of wellness services that promise to improve your physical health and emotional wellbeing. As wellness menus are becoming increasingly common, the types of services offered are becoming more diverse. From traditional wood-burning saunas to enzyme peels, we’ll help you navigate this brave new world by walking you through some of the different types of experiences.
Weekend Rejuvenation – Many people assume total relaxation is only achievable through a lengthy vacation, but a weekend away can be just as beneficial. Many luxury hotels these days offer wonderful weekend spa packages where treatments, healthy meals, and group activities such as yoga are bundled into one price that includes your room. With the right destination, and perhaps a friend or two, your mind, body and soul will return home recharged, renewed and rejuvenated.
City Relaxation – Traveling to a bustling city to find relaxation might sound like a strange idea, but for many, combining shopping and world-class entertainment with a wellness experience is a perfect match. Many urban properties have caught on to this idea, offering guests the incomparable gift of complete relaxation in a retreat-like environment. These days, sneaking away to the spa has never been easier.
Traditional Spas – Though relaxation may be the primary motive for visiting a wellness property, many guests find the location to be just as important. Some of the world’s best spas draw from the heritage of their unique surroundings, incorporating ancient rituals and local customs into their programs. From wood-burning saunas in Scandinavia to Korean bathhouses in Seoul, these experiences are a chance to learn about a country’s healing traditions first hand.
State-of-the-Art Treatments – Over the last decade, technology has deeply transformed the spa and wellness industry. State-of-the-art treatments and cutting-edge equipment have brought forth the most discerning clientele, while infusing the market with renewed energy and a results-driven enthusiasm. From infrared saunas to enzyme peels and fractional resurfacing, these new treatments are worth exploring and the results are sure to please.
No one likes to think about a medical emergency while traveling, far from friends and family, your trusted doctor and local hospital. And while the overwhelming majority of travelers return home without incident or injury, accidents and emergencies do happen. Like everything else in life, it’s best to be prepared, and while medical evacuation insurance is often part of a good travel insurance policy, it’s worth checking your policy to be sure.
Why is medical evacuation insurance important? Most people think of it as providing emergency transportation out of a county that lacks modern medical facilities, which, depending on where you travel, may or may not be necessary. Europe and Australia, for example, have fine medical systems that rival our own, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re off the hook. Medevac plans, as they are often called, can also provide medical escorts who travel with patients to provide medical assistance on their journey home and even private planes when flying commercial isn’t a viable option.
Cruise passengers should also consider this type of insurance. What if you or a loved one became seriously ill while aboard a cruise ship and needed a helicopter to get to the nearest hospital? This kind of specialized transportation can easily exceed $100,000.
Also, some medevac companies offer specialized field rescue from remote areas and some even include military-trained security extraction in the event of civil unrest, terrorist attack or natural disaster. These services can be lifesaving, even within the United States and Canada.